Archive for September, 2007

Je te présente Michel et Gerard

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Some of you might remember Alain, Nathalie, and/or Philippe, the young Québecois who boarded with us at various times in the past while working in the French Immersion schools in Prince Albert. As of a week or so ago, we have not one but two new boarders. Michel and Gerard have lived in Montréal for several years, but are originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s been fun getting to know Michel and Gerard, as we have been trying to brush up on our French and they have been rapidly improving in their English.

A noble name

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I don’t know the Canadian statistics, but apparently in the year 1907, the name Earl was the 28th most popular name for American boys. By 1955, the name had dropped from the top 100 boy names, and by 2006 it was in 993rd place.

I got those statistics from this article …



What did Earl do wrong, anyway?

Whatever it was, it must have been really, really bad because Earl is taking a beating in pop culture. He’s accused of being a wife beater, a petty crook and a crooked sheriff. He’s a dolt, a slob, a guy whose idea of fine cuisine is Cheetos and a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

There’s no doubt ol’ Earl has been typecast. Whenever an Earl walks onto the screen or saunters into the chorus of a song, he is always a lovable redneck doofus, or a malevolent redneck doofus. But always a doofus. And generally a redneck.


Full article here.

I believe it’s time to re-elevate that noble name to its rightful place.


Philip Earl Loseth

Wine Juice

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

Every September for the last several years, some friends and I have pooled an order for fresh grape juice for winemaking. This isn’t the “sterile must” that some stores sell, i.e. juice that can be kept on the shelf for several months. This is fresh juice that was crushed and pressed in California within the last few days, and transported to Amico’s Winemaking of Saskatoon in a refrigerated truck. Today I made the run into Saskatoon, and picked up 16 pails of juice. I have the following in my basement:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (Specific Gravity is 1.098)
  • Syrah (SG 1.096)
  • Merlot (SG 1.098)
  • Chardonnay (SG 1.092)
  • Riesling (SG 1.092)

When last checked, the temperature of all pails had warmed up to 13 or 14 C. That’s still a bit chilly for yeast, I’ll wait until it’s around 15 C to avoid shocking the yeast.

I’ll use Lalvin RC212 yeast for the reds, and K1-V1116 yeast for the whites. Apparently a lot of winemakers using fresh refrigerated juice don’t add any yeast, since the naturally occurring yeasts from the grape skins will start a fermentation. However I prefer using the commercial yeasts to ensure a full fermentation with consistent results.

Winemaking with fresh juice is easier than making fruit wine from scratch, but there is more risk than using a “kit”. I have generally been pleased with the results in previous years.

My wife is leaving me

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

On September 23 Janet will fly to Winnipeg, where she will catch a plane for Gatwick airport (London), and then on to her parents’ place, Pelistry Farm on the Isles of Scilly.

It’s been 10 years since Janet last visited England, so it’s long overdue. Since Gordon and Fiona will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary later this month, this is a good time to go. It would have been great for the whole family to go as we did in 1997, but this is going to be Mom’s Mum’s trip.

She’ll return on October 15.

Here’s a picture I snapped on our last trip. Yes the kids have grown.

Janet and children 1997 Isles of Scilly

Alberta bound

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

Tomorrow I’ll be driving to Lac La Biche, Alberta for a couple of days, meeting with the Western Boreal Growth and Yield Association (WESBOGY). Their meetings are usually excellent, between the technical sessions, field trips, and informal discussions.  It’s a small group and I’ve known some of the members for many years, which makes for good interaction.  A great opportunity to discuss forest stand dynamics  with some top researchers and dirt foresters.

Back on Friday.

How to Taste Dark Chocolate

Saturday, September 1st, 2007


  1. Find a location free from background noise, such as television, music, a crying baby, road traffic noise or just talkative friends etc. Being able to concentrate as intently as possible will facilitate flavor detection.
  2. Clear your palate. This means that your mouth should not contain residual flavors from a previous meal. Eat a wedge of apple or piece of bread if necessary. This is crucial in order to taste the subtleties of chocolate’s complex flavor.

… check out the full article here

Apparently there is a debate on Wikihow regarding whether the subject of how to eat dark chocolate deserves an article. Personally I found it very useful.

Now enough distractions, and back to the reason I was checking out Wikihow … looking for information on the router dovetail jig that I picked up for a couple of bucks in a garage sale.