Sunday, December 04, 2016

About You?

Time for fun. Twenty-six things about me?

A- Age: 58
B- Biggest fear: Failure
C- Current time: 6:18 PM Eastern
D- Drink you last had: Diet Coke
E- Every day starts with: Starting my computer
F- Favorite song: Everything is Beautiful
G- Ghosts: Fun adventure
H- Hometown: It's complicated
I- In love with: My hubby
J- Jealous of: no one

K- Killed someone?: no
L- Last time you cried?: Today watching the opening of The Grand Tour

M- Middle name: Mark
N- Number of siblings: 3
O- One wish: Everyone being safe and secure
P- Person you last called: Work conference call 

Q- Question you're always asked: How do you travel so much
R- Reason to smile: life is a great adventure
S- Song last sang: Bright Sunshiny Day
T- Time you woke up: 7:00 AM
U- Underwear color: black
V- Vacation destination: Adventure
W- Worst habit: working too much
Y- Your favorite food: cheddar cheese
X- X-Rays you've had: 5-10
Z- Zodiac sign: Virgo

Saturday, December 03, 2016

A Job I Would Probably Not Be Good At,

This it the flavor and tasting lab at Wild Turkey.  Adults are paid to sit in this room and smell and taste bourbon samples everyday.  While I work in a certified drug and alcohol free work place, these people get paid to drink on the job.  In this day they have two goals. First is to assure that the blended bourbons maintain a consistent flavor, aroma and color from batch to batch, and when the batch size is sometimes in excess of 1,000 barrels, that is an exacting task. This produces the lowest quality bourbon sold by the distillery and probably takes the most precise skill set.  The second goal is to select the finest of the fine to be offered as single barrel releases.  That I could probably due, if the world had my taste.  

For the most part they sniff, taste, spit, and look at the color.  There are cabinets in the room with examples to be matched for profile of color, flavor and aroma. I don't know as I would be very good at tasting and not drinking the best of the best.  Still it might be fun to try. 

What job would you find fun, but probably not be very good at?  

Friday, December 02, 2016

Lair - Liar

I love telling tall tales, playing lose and fast with the facts, making things up as I go along.  Kind of like the Donald when he claims that he won the popular vote if you take out all of the people who voted illegally - something he has said with nary a fact to back it up.  It can be fun to talk like that, but when I do, people figure it out, and then they don't trust anything I say.  Over my working life, especially once I moved into the professional side of the workplace, I learned that if I want to be respected, I have to hold back on the hyperbole.  It make me less fun, but it is essential to my being respected.  

So, how much stretching the truth can you do in your workplace? 

The picture above is the fermentation room at Wild Turkey in Lawerncburg, Kentucky. It had been 10-12 years since I had been to Wild Turkey, over that time they built an entirely new distillery and bottling plant. It is HUGE, with a capacity of about 11-million gallons per year - current production is about 6-million gallons per year.  That is a lot of bourbon and a fair amount of rye.  More on Wild Turkey Soon.  

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Bourbon Express

During my recent visit to Kentucky, I toured a couple of distilleries, I wanted to add to my single barrel collection.  My first stop was Four Roses, on Bonds Mill Road, just north of the Bluegrass Parkway on 127 headed north toward Lawrenceburg.  

Four-Roses provides great information.  All of their products are from one of two mash-bills, or combinations of grains, one is wheat dominate, one is Rye dominate, and five yeast strains.  Between the two, there are 10 possible formulas.  Their lowest priced blends are going to be a blend of all ten, their small batches, will feature just a few, and their single barrel products are clearly labeled with the mash-bill and yeast strain.  Really a very amazing degree of transparency.  

Their top product is labeled "Distillers Select - Single Barrel." These are available in the onsite store and through very select retailers who go to the aging warehouse with the master distiller and select the barrel, that is then bottled and labeled for them.  I added one of the distiller selects to my collection.  It is the wheat heavy mash bill and a sweet floral yeast.  It should be very smooth. 

The bourbon truck above reminded me of Orange Juice adds run by a Detroit area supermarket chain in the 1970's (the same add ran in Cleveland for a difference super market chain.)  Sadly the Four Roses truck does not make home deliveries.  The aging and bottling facility is about 40 miles from the distillery, and the truck is used to move white whiskey from the distillery to the other facility to go into barrels, and from there after 5-10 years of rest, into the bottle.   

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bright Sunny Day

Ten Things that Make Me Happy! 

  1. A bright sunny day 
  2. The tree outside my bedroom window in winter 
  3. The sound of water lapping on the shore 
  4. Comments on my blog 
  5. A tree covered hillside 
  6. Driving in dry weather 
  7. Airline tickets 
  8. Starting a bike ride - the first push off 
  9. The smell of bread baking 
  10. Capturing a great photograph 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How Many Hedgehogs

How many hedgehogs in this picture?  There is one in the bowl, and you can see three under the bowl, there were at least four and possibly five burrowing under the bowl.  Strange, or normal behavior for burrowing animals?  They are cute, but I just can't imagine them being cuddly.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

Road Trip

Over Thanksgiving week I took a road trip, 550 miles each way, about 1,400 total miles.  Easy-peasy today. It is hard to imagine that only 100 years ago, driving 550 miles in 9  hours was well - unimaginable.  There were a few race cars built for speed and endurance that might do it, but the average car of the day could go fast enough and was not durable enough.  My how far we have come in 100 years, where will the next 100 years take us? 

It also got me to thinking about my learning to drive.  When I turned 16 my family was living in Michigan 8 months of the year and Florida 4 months of the year.  I really didn't care if I got a drivers license, my parents had been stingy about providing cars for my older siblings, the last "second-car" my middle brother had totaled in spectacular fashion a couple of years older flipping it end over end into some farmers flower beds, and walked home from the accident.  

My father on the other hand was insistent that I had to looking into driver's ed and getting a license.  I called the school that summer and asked, and the fall semester driver ed class didn't finish before we would be going to Florida for the winter, I figured I had my reprieve and I would take the class the following summer (also thinking this would get me out of 2-3 weeks of work on the farm.)  In a rate move, my father called the school the next day and then informed me I would be taking drivers ed as a special independent study in September.  Oh joys!  

Shortly after school started I checked in the with shop-teacher / driving instructor.  He talked to me for 2 minutes and gave me a copy of the text book and said the read the first half of the book and come back and see him when I was done.  It didn't take long, it was not a complex text and at the time I read about 40 pages an hour, with occasional gusts to 50 pages (and no one pointed out to me that this was an unusual talent.)  About a week later I went back the to shop teacher, he chuckled and handed me three multiple choice quizzes and a pen.  About 30 minutes later I gave them back to him, and he sat at his desk going over them and putting check marks next to nearly every answer.  Now I knew I hadn't studied hard and I really didn't care, but I didn't think I was doing that bad.  When He finished he looked up and said, you only missed 3 questions out of the 60, he was putting a check mark next the correct answers.  He said to read the rest of the book and come back and see him next week. The following Monday I was back in his office,  he asked me the average stopping distance from 60 miles per hour, the minimum safe following distance at 60 miles per hour and handed me a 10 question true or false final exam.  Five minutes later he confirmed that I had 10 correct answers and he asked me if I was free after school at 4:00 PM the next day to do some driving.  I was.  The first day of driving started off kind of rough, he asked the three students to put gas in the car and set up the jack to change a tire.  I had never used an electric gas pump (the one on the farm was gravity feed) and we had a hard time finding the gas cap on the Ford of the year.  But we managed, he stopped us before we started to loosen the lug nuts and told us we had the jack properly set and the wheels blocked.  And off we went.  The only think I remember about the route on the first drive was an impossibly rough section of gravel road the the instructor questioning my honesty when I told him I had not been driving illegally.  He said to plan on three hours the second evening, he had paperwork he needed to drop off in Saginaw and we would do some expressway driving.  There were only two of us the second day.  The other guy went first, and after the instructor backed the car out of the ditch, I took over.  On the expressway on-ramp the instructor slid over, put his foot on mine and mashed the accelerator screaming you drive the accelerator not the brake.  We arrived back at my house and I asked "what time tommorow?" and he replied you won't be back tomorrow, hang one just a second and he signed something on his clip board and said, "You passed, go get a learners permit."  

Now I was still not keen on the idea of getting a license, I couldn't really see why.  But dad was insistent.  My middle brother was very patient and took me driving, my mother only let me drive with her once.  A month or so later, just before we left to go to Florida for the winter, Mom scheduled me for a driving test.  The examiner had me go around one-square-mile, four left had turns, one with a turn light, one with a traffic light, one four way stop, one two way stop.  I didn't hit anything or drive off the road.  I was most nervous about the parking test. As we approached the end of the test drive, the examiner looked at me and said, "turn in the driveway on the right, and get it stopped in any of the 40 empty parking places in that lot without hitting anything, and you passed."  I didn't hit anything. 

The following spring we returned to Michigan and shortly after getting back into classes I needed to be there early or late, and asked my parents the evening before.  My father handed me the keys to his Chrysler and a key to the gas pump on the farm and said, always be careful.  A week later he traded the keys to his car for the keys to a red 1965 Ford pickup truck and said get yourself back and forth to school - we have always trusted you to be good. 

Tell us about your learning to drive?