Monthly Archives: October 2010

Construction at Old Settler’s Park

OSP Construction #1
OSP Construction #2

There is some construction going on at Old Settler’s Park. We fortunately played after the fact. But it looks like a pipeline was put in. It runs across holes 3,4,5,6,7, and 8. This is probably a bad sign for us. They are growing the number of sports fields here constantly. And this pipeline is probably in support of some more buildings.

Line of flags

This line of flags is probably not related. Although it does peak my curiosity.

Hole 5

We could have played on hole 5 today. But some idiot parked his car right in the middle of the disc golf field! Just to launch his ultralight flying machine. Sigh.

AHS Oaked Porter beer brewing

A friend of mine is getting into brewing beer at home. And I wanted to see just what was involved in the process. Luckily, he was willing to invite me over to watch (and help — but mostly watch).

Igloo cooler for
Mash-tun steeping

The first interesting thing was that he used an Igloo ice chest as a container to steep the grain in. He also used a very fine nylon mesh fabric to line the bottom. This was supposed to allow the wort to drain off easily (kinda like a reusable tea bag). Although we still had some small problems with the mass of the grain blocking the drain outlet.


Once the grains (mash-tun) steeped for 60 minutes, we drained off the liquid (wort) into a container.

Boiling the wort

We then poured the wort into a rather large aluminum stock pot and boiled the wort for 60 minutes. This is where the hops are added. And, depending on when they are added, that determines what function they serve. At the beginning of the boil, the hops are bittering hops. For the last 15 minutes, we added flavoring hops. And for the last 5 minutes, we finished off with aroma hops.

Cooling off the wort

We then had to cool off the hops down from boiling to a temperature where the yeast can ferment the sugars into alcohol. This had to be done rather quickly. Which is difficult since water is a great heat-sink. So we used two sets of large copper tubing twisted into a radiator. One copper tube sits in a large ice chest filled with ice and water. The other tube sits in the stock pot. Water is then circulated from the outside garden hose to the first tube, through to the second tube, and then draining out to the yellow bucket. The bucket is just to capture some of the water runoff to be used for cleaning.

Fermenting container

After the wort is cooled down to 70 degrees, it is then siphoned off into a large glass fermentation chamber. At the top of it will be placed an air lock which will allow the excess carbon-dioxide to vent off.

It was a pretty easy process. Perhaps someday I will get into it.

Cat in a window

This was a rather quick snap. Especially since the cat was in the process of getting up and moving on…

And another quick snap. This time the automatic focus points were centered on the arm rather than the face.

Reflections in a shadow

Reflections in a shadow

I don’t normally walk this way, so I was happy coming across these reflections across the shadow. It worked well on the multi-colored granite tile backdrop. Although I feel that I should spend more time on the post-processing of this photo. The picture turned out too flat.

Making caramel sauce

I bought some new lights recently. Two ePhoto 1000 LED 5500K Professional Video Studio Portrait LED Light Panel Lighting Light Panel. My kitchen is rather dark. Its not next to windows for natural lighting. So it relies on fluorescent lighting. Which is okay for normal use. But not nearly bright enough for video. I tried out three halogen work lights from Home Depot. These are pretty cheap. You can work around the yellow-brown tint. But they put out a lot of heat.

LED lights are the wave of the future. They use less electricity and they run cool. The only problem is with the light balance. But that will become less of a problem as the technology progresses.

This time around, I decided to not talk as I was cooking. And I just recorded the background noises. This meant I had to wait for the refrigerator to stop cooling and turn off the air conditioner.

Now I had to write a dialog and record that track separately. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off the computer’s speaker while I was watching the video and speaking my lines. And I caught an instant messaging beep at the end. I also didn’t bother with timing out the lines and fitting them to what I was doing on the video. Sigh, this gets complicated rather quickly.

Cooking Caramel from Mark Hamzy on Vimeo.

This recipe is for a quick version of caramel sauce. Instead of using white sugar, you use dark brown sugar. The molasses is what you would normally get when you caramelize the sugar. You also mix the cream in with the sugar and just cook off the water without burning the sugar and milk solids. So I wanted to show you what stages the liquid goes through as the water slowly cooks off. Keep in mind that it will snowball towards the end. Water keeps the temperature pegged at the boiling point until it boils off. Once the water is gone, it will offer no protection and the sugar (and other solids) will quickly heat up.

When sugar syrup is heated, it goes through the following stages (which is how it acts when it is cooled back down in ice water.

Fahrenheit Term Sugar/Water % Description Use
230-234 Thread 80% Forms 2″ threads Syrup
234-240 Soft Ball 85% Ball that flattens Fondant, fudge, pralines
244-248 Firm Ball 87% Ball that holds its shape Caramels
250-266 Hard Ball 92% Ball is hard and firm Divinity, nougat
270-290 Soft Crack 95% Hard, pliable threads Taffy
300-310 Hard Crack 99% Hard, brittle threads Brittles, lollipops
320-350 Caramel 100%? Syrup from tan to brown Flan