Saturday, October 27, 2018
Tum-te-tum. Here we are again. Back to the unedited ramblings of serial misspeller, wanting to capture fleeting thoughts like a kid collecting candy at a parade, and instead of gorging on the empty calories myself, trying to find a way to share the momentary bit-o-honeys with the masses.
"Not back on it, Joe, still on it." - TMBG
This brief interlude is to present a window into the grey October morning the cover photo was taken, and the newspaper my laptop is resting on. The image replaces the former name of this web blog: "Adventures of a Rural Explorer," as I am reverting back to simply "Belle the Cat". It better reflects what I am trying to do and gives me more mental freedom to explore the varied topics I always have.
And yes, I do love absinthe.
Don't ask me why I get the newspaper. Everyone should. We also get the "big city" paper, but the paper in question is lovingly referred to as "the local rag" in this household, a fairly new conglomeration of tiny local papers bought up by a slightly larger tiny local paper. Within you will get a mighty lick of local meeting notes, musings, and high school sports updates.
It was the musings that pulled me in today. One, which last week featured the writer's dog, this week sported a photo of a goat that lives on his property. The other one is the Geiger Counter column by local writer and pontificator Matt Geiger. I don't always read his column, but I will never forget the "I tried to buy a monkey when I was 8 years old" one from a few years ago, so I skimmed the current one, called "One form among many..."
Perhaps it was the initial paragraph relating the trials and tribulations of coming up with a new password, only to realize the password I just tried to change to is my current password. Also, with recent Facebook breeches, I've had "reset passwords" on my to do list for a few weeks. But as I read on, imagine my surprise to find that the column was actually about existentialism and the fleetingness of existence?
"There is such peace in that idea - that our individual lives are fleeting, and insignificant," the author relates.
And I connect to that. Who cares if we redo our kitchen, buy a new house, loose everything in the stock market, write a blog post? Our life, the memories and goods we leave behind, the candy-wrappers of our existence are really nothing... really... This is not an excuse to do nothing, to hurt people, or to undermine your beliefs. It is a reset of the mind that honestly probably saves a lot of people from loosing it.
Anyways, you can read it here.
(Written on Notepad)
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Sunday, July 02, 2017
Their tank is 30 gallons and I found that out here:
Audio clip from https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/SOUND/SPECIES/620A.mp3
The first thing this year, over the past few months at least, has been "check to see if Brewers are still above .500 (i.e. more wins than losses), and still in first place in the National League Central division". This I know from listening to the game last night and hearing that the Cubs are still behind, so no need to check there (but if I did, I would click the ESPN App, click MLB, scroll to Brewers vs. XX and then click "standings")
I would then check to see the chance of rain using my Weather Kitty App - it is usually not the most accurate, but it is the most filled with cute kitties, and kitties are my stand-by feel-good injection so that is a plus for me. But I was pretty sure there is only a slight chance of rain, and it looks like it when I peek outside, so no need to check that.
So now I am to the point of, ok, grab a cup of coffee and... then what? I have just purchased some ratchet straps and pool noodles to create a car rack for my paddleboard, to enable me the freedom to take it to the lake on my own (vs. tying it to having access to the van or getting a hitch). So I decide to concentrate on figuring out the ratchets. I briefly consider looking at YouTube for information on the ratchets, but instead trust that somewhere in the package there are instructions (although I cannot see them) and lo and behold, there are. They seem pretty straight forward, dispite me being rather confounded by their physics. I would say that at some point, if they did not exist, I would probably have come up with carabiner clips but someone else would have had to come up with ratchets as they are not intuitive to me.
So here I am - to the point of going out to put the car rack on. I've watered the lawn, watered the garden, and let the cats out, as well as checking on the hermit crabs, the fish, and my 3rd shift husband's schedule (works tonight).
The phone is still in my bedroom.
Saturday, May 06, 2017
Friday, January 20, 2017
I woke with a headache.
Not a great start. Coffee will make it go away, but I also had one of the worst nights of sleep I've had in a long while. Too bad. Time waits for no one.
From now through April 30, 2017 I'm tracking my first 100 days of political advocacy, but also, the first 100 days of the next 4 years. I hypothesis that this is going to be tough. I wager I do talk to all 5 of my representatives, weigh in on policy regarding my two big issues - environmental protection/green energy and birth control access, and make connections with allies to help retake the political football from our opponents past this first short burst of activism.
This may seem counter intuitive to those who want to win - showing my plans like this. But while I do believe politics needs to be conducted as if it were a game, I also believe that rules need to be agreed on and followed, goals need to be set, and if possible, plans laid out in such a way that they can be tracked and recreated and tested again if they do indeed reach the intended outcomes.
My research for this came from reading a lot of articles, some planning equipment like Alex Vermeer's 8760 hours (you can find it on line), and talking to thoughtful friends and relatives about the hazy path to the future. I thank them all.
Now - this initial post on this, my old reliable personal blog, isn't indicative of how or where my political exploits will be documented. Check out my twitter handle: goatmaiden or my newly minted political blog: pirategoat.com or the Pirate Goat Facebook page for more.
I do have other goals not related to advocacy which include understanding a little more written and spoken Japanese and to create and share more fantastic creations, so you can watch for more tracking of those type of things here.
Monday, July 18, 2016
4 small red potatoes, scrubbed
2 small white onions, pealed
2 whole Lake Michigan whitefish, cleaned and heads removed
Salt, pepper, rye bread slices, good coleslaw
Boil a pot of salted water. Drop in potato and onion and cook until just tender. Add whitefish, cut into hunks. Boil until fish is flaky. Drain. Serve potato and onion in a bowl with lots of butter. Lay fish on a plate with rye bread and butter. The butter is important. Salt and pepper to taste
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Drinking it was challenging, with a sticky mix of malt and hops, lively carbonation, and an unpleasant astringent finish. Overall I gave it 3 out of 5 but do not think I would drink it again.
AVB = 7.3%
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
3. Prolific and with staying power: TMBG has created 19 studio albums in the past 34 years, but the full discography is over 40.
4. Opening bands: Some of the more famous opening bands for TMBG have included OK Go and Jonathan Coulton.
5. Fun for the whole family: They Might Be Giant released "No!" in 2002, an album aimed at kids. After that, they played a number of all-ages concerts and released a "Here Come..." series over the next few years:
- "Here Come the ABCs"
- "Here Come the 123s"
- "Here Comes Science"
On the "Here Come's Science" album, there is a cover song from the 1950s called "Why Does The Sun Shine" - which it turned out contained a number of inaccuracies. They released a follow-up correction song and called it "Why does the sun really shine?"
They released another family friendly album in late 2015 called "Why?".
6. But some of their stuff is not suitable for children: The album after "Here Come's Science" was a decidedly adult affair. "Join Us" featured a monster truck style hearse on the cover and had songs with names like "Old Pine Box" and "When Will You Die". In a countdown of top 10 They Might Be Giants songs on StereoGum, the first track, "Can't Keep Johnny Down", was noted as “... fucking grim. It shouldn’t work as a fast power-pop song.”
7. They collapsed a stage in 1992 while playing polka music in Wisconsin: Here is audio of the event. And here is an article about the theater it happened at which just went through a multi-year renovation:
Modjeska Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.
8. They covered "Bills, Bills, Bills": They have participated twice in the AV Club’s Underground concert series, where bands come in and must choose from a list of songs to cover. Here are links to their versions of Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills" and Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping".
And here is a link to another band covering them.
9. Did you know The Daily Show W/ John Steward theme song is called “Dog on Fire”: and oh yea, was performed by TMBG (written by Bob Mould).
10. You can download their March 2016 album Phone Power for free: Totally. Go here and “pay what you want” - It is set up for “pay what we want” ($9) but $0 is completely acceptable amount of dollars to pay for the download.
BONUS! The end of the tour?? In 2016 during what was said to be their final tour for a while (possibly until 2018), they sold out most if not all of their venues. In Denver, CO, they sold out their first venue and moved to a second larger location, before having to cancel due to a March snowstorm. That concert was rescheduled for July.
Here they are playing their first of two encores in Milwaukee:
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
I can’t fault him his process, as he has won more top national and international awards than any other cheese maker in North America, according to the Carr Valley website. Nor can I deny the fact that I am a big enough cheese fiend (I prefer it, vice-wise, over chocolate, wine, candy, or chips) that, when a few years ago a Carr Valley cheese store opened up just blocks from my home with possibly hundreds of different types of cheese to try, I decided to attempt to try them all.
So here it is – my chosen favorite Carr Valley cheeses, as well as brief tasting notes for all of the cheeses that were listed in this version of the brochure (this is the third one I have acquired, having to transfer my scribbles each time). In the Other’s section, there may be cheeses not created by Carr Valley (I don’t think Dancing goat is, for instance) but I included those I tasted.
BEST OF THE BEST
Big Mutton Button – The first cheese I remember absolutely loving, so much so, I had to mark it down so I wouldn’t forget. While I am more of a goat fan, I do like a good sheep cheese. This is yummy and not sharp, rather earthy. To quote the brochure “Made in 3 lb. wheels, hard but unpressed cheese made similar to Brick Cheese. The flavor is bright and sweet with lemony tartness and will stand with any red wine. Took 2nd place at 2013 us championship cheese contest, 2nd place at 2014 American Cheese Society (ACS) competition, Bronze metal at 2011 world cheese awards.”
Benedictine – Yummy, creamy but curd-y cheese that is not too sour. “Cellar cured and hand rubbed for 12 weeks, has a creamy, intense flavored washed-rind finish. 2nd place at 2010 ACS competition and 3rd at World Championship contest”
Mobay – Just delicious. “Sid’s take on a French Morbier. It features a layer of sheep milk cheese and a layer of goat milk cheese separated by a layer of grape vine ash. Taste each layer separately and then together for three different flavor profiles in one great cheese. Took 1st place at the 2007 AVS competition, 2nd at the 2011 US championship cheese competition.”
Cave aged Marissa – Yum! Creamy, good cheese flavor. “This natural-rind variety gets its complex, sweet and slightly rambunctious flavors from open air cave aging. Best of show grand master award, 2005 Wisconsin state fair, 2nd best of show and 1 place at 2008 ACS competition. 1st place and 2nd best of show at 2011 ACS competition, 1st place 2012 and 3rd place 2014 world championship cheese contest. 1st place 2013 US championship cheese contest.”
Sweet Vanilla Cardona – The second cheese I remember having to make a note of. Pretty much tastes exactly likes what it says. If ever anyone doubted cheese with dessert, they need to taste this. “A delicious and unique sweet, vanilla goat milk cheese with hints of caramel, coconut, and nutmeg. 1st pave 2011 US championship cheese contest, 3rd place 2011 ACS competition.
Beer cheddar – OK so nothing super fancy about this cheese, but damn, some times you just want really good aged cheddar, and this one has a hint of beer to boot. Would make a killer beer cheese soup, tastes delicious on any salty sandwich. Smooth and sharp at the same time.
Garlic cheddar – fantastic cheddar, with the addition of a fragrant, savory garlic. Not bitter but full flavored. Really good.
Gurneys cheddar – Great midway cheese – not too sharp, not too mild. Pretty white and yellow, salty, good body without being rubbery or too crumbly. Great for everyday.
Smoked rope cheese – I was so surprised I liked this! I’m not a big overall fan of smoked cheese – which can range from overpoweringly bacon-y to “this is really gilding the lily”. This was salty and creamy and the smoke did not overwhelm but instead added a comforting toasty campfire taste.
…and the rest!
Squeaky fresh cheddar curds – good but not the best I’ve ever had (and I live in Wisconsin, so I’ve had my fair share). Seemed lacking in salt, and the texture was too rubbery.
Fresh day old cheddar – just like eating a block of curd. Rubbery.
Baby cheddar – I liked the baby better than the curd. It was squeaky, salty and sweet.
Mild cheddar – Ok. A little sharper than expected, soft.
Medium cheddar – Very commercial tasting.
Yearling – Good, but baby is better.
1 year aged cheddar – Is there a difference between Yearling and 1 year? I don’t know and didn’t taste them at the same time. This is good, with a long finish and pretty cheddary.
2 year aged cheddar – OK but not great.
3 year aged cheddar – Softer, sharper. Tastes old.
4 year aged cheddar – Actually tasted a little alcoholic. Starting to get sharper and less cheese taste.
6 year aged cheddar – Strong and creamy.
10 year aged cheddar – Good. Dark and strong. Very crumbly and has those little calcium nibbles.
Autumn harvest (seasonal) – Good solid cheese. Easy to eat.
Cranberry hickory nut cheddar (seasonal) – OK. Sorta clashes, but the cheddar was nice.
Horseradish cheddar – pretty strong. Would have to taste again to remember what I meant.
Irish valley cheddar (seasonal) – Plain, not strong enough.
Organic cheddar – Too parmesan-y and not cheddary enough.
Pinconning cheddar – if you think that all of these cheddars are the same with just different labels, try this one. And then let me know if you like it. I found it to be almost medicinal.
Wildflower cheddar (seasonal) – Very nice.
Winter solstice cheddar (seasonal) – I may have the wool pulled over my eyes, and these are probably all the same cheese, but out of the seasonal cheddars, I like this one the best. It’s a good solid cheddar with a nice milky taste.
Montan - Mild, flaky, tasty. Very hard.
Ba Ba blue -Super creamy, very blue and very soft. Almost catches in your throat with pungentness.
Black sheep truffle – Rather sour and dusty with a milky tone.
Marisa – Very good with yummy nibbles.
Smoked Marisa – Warm and sheepy.
Virgin pine native sheep blue – Really not very blue at all. Strong.
Apple smoked cheddar – Not as smoky as some. Rich and good.
Apple smoked garlic cheddar – Smelly! Cheddary and acidic.
Bread cheese – Buttery, toasty but a little plasticy.
Cave aged cheddar – Sharp and musty, deep. Not crumbly. “Wisconsin’s only cave aged cheddar.”
Cranberry chipotle cheddar – Exactly what it says. White cheddar.
Crema kasa – Dull. A little sharp. Soft.
Glacier wildfire - Not too blue. Not too soft. Kinda hot. Pretty tasty.
Maunster – Effervescent. Sharp.
Virgin-pine native blue – Musty. Really un-blue! Nutty.
Glacier blue – Cow. Very strong and salty.
Bandaged Billy – Cave aged, musty and goaty. Did not like. May have had too small a sample that contained too much rind.
Baraboo blue – Sweet, not very moldy. Like an aged feta.
Smoked Billy blue – Smooth, somewhat goaty. The smoking was not necessary – too complex to make sense.
Black goat truffle – Mild and interesting.
Cardona – Mild, smooth, very light goatness.
Aged cardona – A touch of must. Lots of nibbles. Strong.
Cave aged cardona – Good mustiness, soft and goaty.
Cocoa cardona – OK. Gouda-like, strong.
Goat cheddar – So mild, and hardly goaty.
River bend goat – Smelly. Sweet.
Snow white goat cheddar – Moldy.
MIXED MILK CHEESE
Airco – Like the smoked skin on a skin-on hotdog.
Bessie’s blend – Soft, parmesan-y.
Carnaria – Strong and musty.
Casa bolo mellage – Firm, creamy, flavorful.
Cave aged mellage – Flavors of mushroom. Salty and creamy.
Gran carnaria – Lemony. Grassy. Creamy.
Menage – Spanish. Easy to eat. Gouda-y.
Shepard blend – Soft, sharp, sour.
Colby – I’m very picky towards my Colby. I like it crumbly, mild, milky and salty. Texture is too moist with this one, and not salty enough.
Monterrey jack – Pretty sharp, very soft.
Veggie jack – Super oniony and soft.
Ba ba blue smoked – Soft and salty. Sausage cheese.
Bread cheese – chipotle – Like a smoky spicy eraser.
Chevre au lait – Gouda soft, strong. Good. Not goaty.
Cured brick - Tastes (and smells) like you shouldn't eat it.
Double Gloucester – Like a sharp, soft cheddar.
Edam – Good and snacky.
Feta cow – Salty, cheddary. Not very feta.
Feta sheep – Too milky.
Feta goat – Fresh, salty, slightly goaty. Cheesy.
Fondella – Wine cheese, smooth.
Fontina - Jackish. Smooth.
French fontina – Quite smooth.
Glacier penta crema – Cow, creamy, salty.
Mammoth cheddar – Delicious. Crunchy bits.
Mellage – Crumbly, sharp, Gouda.
Monastery – Creamy, sharp, nibbly.
Native sheep – Sharp, crumbly, almost mealy.
Native sheep smoked – OK. Wiener casing, creamy.
Organic baby Swiss – Moist. Very few holes. Not too sharp.
Port salue – Soft, creamy, sharp.
River bend sheep – Sour, socky yet interesting.
Sid Bahl baby smoked – Warm and smoky.
Sid Bahl baby Swiss – Mild and a little off.
Tom's Swiss - Crumbly. Not Swiss like but good.
Swiss - Normal! Full bodied.
Fresh goat – v. good!
Aged Swiss 2yr + - Pungent taste, good Swiss flavor.
Asiago – Dry, strong, good, sour.
Baby Swiss loaves – Smooth and flavorful.
Medium brick – No taste.
Butter kase – Very creamy, mild, mild, Velvetaesque.
Chocolate cheese – Fudge with nuts.
Dancing goat Gouda – Very fresh milk taste.
Dancing sheep – Very smooth, cheddary.
Mozzarella whips – Good.
Provolone – Pungent, soft.
Romano – A good, hard cheese.
Rope cheese plain – Good.
Wunderbar – Rubbery, mild, good amount of salt.
I have yet to taste the following (some of these I have not seen in the store, some are not made by Carr Valley but are listed in their brochure, whereas others I may have tasted, but forgot to write them down, so they didn’t count!): Cow – Carr Valley Blue, Hot Pepper Jack, Smoked Hot Pepper Jack. General – sharp cheddar, x sharp cheddar, 5 year cheddar, 8 year cheddar, apple smoked goat cheddar, cranberry hickory nut cheddar, hickory nut cheddar, smoked cheddar, garlic bread cheese, jalapeno bread cheese, cheddar (like, really? just plain cheddar? ok...), smoked crema casa, smoked fontina, gouda, smoked gouda, aged gouda, havarti, Aged Marisa, Swedish farmer, beer kase, mild brick, caraway brick, brie, co-jack, farmer low fat, Gruyere, Limburger, mozzarella, Parmesan 3 year, smoked provolone, Romano, string and Swiss lace.
Monday, March 21, 2016
But in wintertime, I am the happy Snowidow, free as a bird, or whatever animal finds happiness in the chilly white wonderland, to cozy up into any chalet bar, content to slurp hot cocoa (or something harder) and let my computer dine on free wi-fi while my significant other cuts through the slopes of fresh powder, or whatever.
This is the introductory posting of the Snowidow Report. I hope to visit all the major ski hills in Wisconsin and report out not on the condition of the hills, nor necessarily the level of expertise needed to challenge the black diamond. No, my focus will be on what I find important; namely, the resort bar and amenities. So lets get the inauguration going!
NOTE: These reports will be dated, and amended as I revisit or gain new information. Please let me know of any requests, errors, or updates, thanks!
What: Tyrol Basin
Tyrol Basin is a relatively small but reliable ski resort in the rural farmlands of Wisconsin. It consists of 16 runs over 30 acres and a chalet located in a renovated barn from the 1900s.
The hill stretches out from a base elevation of 870 feet to a top elevation of 1,130ft (per Wikipedia). It has one of the top 5 terrain Parks in the Midwest according to Snowboarding Transworld. There is no attached resort for hotels, but it’s not far from Mt Horeb, Verona, or Madison, WI. They host a number of ski and snowboard races throughout the season. Like most places in Wisconsin, it is family friendly (and they serve beer).
Where: 3487 Bohn Road, Mount Horeb (Troll capital of the world) WI
When: 3/6/2015 – at the end of the very loooong cooooold season that also brought very little snow to the Midwest.
“Our cafe offers cooked to order burgers, hotdogs, loaded nachos, breakfast and much more!” – from website
Little cafeteria downstairs from the bar.
In a nutshell: “The Tyrol bar is home to the Tyrol Bloody Mary. We also offer beer buckets, plenty of Wisconsin craft beers and our Tyrol Punch.” – from website
This is the bar with the wall of skis.
We came on a Friday afternoon – not quite in time for the late night rate that really draws ‘em in, but not at the peak rate either. I found myself a seat next to the line of other like-minded brunettes and logged into the wi-fi.
There is all but zero cell reception, and the wi-fi was also weak and somewhat spotty, but I was able to watch some videos and listen to music.
The beer selection was pretty good, and I ordered the Winter Skal on nitro. http://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/good-beer-gas-nitro-beers-explained Wasn’t quite sure how that was gonna go, but it was as smooth as silk.
At the bar, I saw a tally list on a chalkboard labeled “Wall of Fall” - the bartender had been keeping track of how many skiers, with their preposterous Frankenstein boots, ate it on the hardwood floor. Apparently he eventually convinced those in charge of such things to purchase some safety rugs.
I counted 1 TV, 1 juke box and 1 pinball machine (South Park).
Overall Snowidow score: 3 of 5 - dandy use of a day off
Sunday, February 07, 2016
So perhaps you have heard of a certain card game Kickstarter that has gone balistic.
a famous comic artist) were very smart to focus on very few but very clear perks (donate $20 bux to make this card game, and you get a copy of this card game.) They may have set their initial sights too low ($10,000) and didn't plan out enough "stretch goals" (in case, like it did, the campaign surpassed it's goal.)
- Apparently, they reached their initial goal in 8 minutes.
- Then, over 120,000 donors broke a Kickstarter record.
- And they have now made over $5M.
The group was taking suggestions for other cards on Facebook recently, and I added a few caprine ideas. Who wants to bet if there will be more goaty magic to come?
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
(crosspost at http://goatmaiden.com/ )
First off, in the Alternative Offering of Puppybowl, five goats served as the cheerleaders.
|From Puppybowl Facebook|
born and raised at Molasses Hill Farm here (in New Jersey). The other baby goat, Cookie,
was born at the Guenther Farm, also in Clinton Township."
Then, the main reason people watch the actual game, as most people know, is for the commercials, and goats were to be had there as well: