Every three months we take a drive through the Texas hill country to pick up our wine club package. The May pickup party was lovely. The weather was beautiful. The nibblies were delicious. We made a few other stops and enjoyed a really lovely day.
I ventured down south this week to check out The Austin Winery’s tasting room. It is on St. Elmo off South Congress. It’s surrounded by lots of other spots to visit, a food truck, outdoor patio, and a big, open warehouse space inside. Pick a tasting trio of wines, a glass, or a bottle, and nice nibblies.
It’s a nice spot to enjoy happy hour. Check ‘em out!
Monte and I drove out Highway 290 on Sunday. It was a really lovely day for a drive.
Autumn means pumpkins!
Autumn wine on the veranda!
A good day.
Yesterday Monte and I drove out the Texas wine trail to our favorite wine-club vineyard to pick up our May box of wine. It’s a big deal for us. We’ve deferred picking up our wine boxes for over a year because of COVID. But the winery is now open by appointment, so I booked us for a pickup, a tasting, and some lovely charcuterie.
I’ve missed our drives out here. The visit to the winery was very nice. The wine was delicious, we saw the tail end of some lovely wildflowers, did a little antiquing, and grumbled about the return of traffic on the way home.
Days 9 through 11.
We picked up the anchor at sunrise Monday morning and enjoyed some good sailing across Albemarle Sound and Currituck Sound.
We hit the last bridge openings before rush hour and tied up at Atlantic Yacht Basin in time to watch the local rowing club practice alongside us.
For dinner we biked to a fantastic Italian restaurant for a delicious meal ashore.
Tuesday morning we caught the 7AM bridge opening at Great Bridge and followed the parade of boats and geese into the lock beyond the bridge for the one foot rise in water level between the canal and the Elizabeth River beyond it.
We reached mile marker 0 of the ICW in Norfolk and kept going on past it and into Chesapeake Bay for some more good sailing. We anchored in the Piankatank River, on the west side of Chesapeake Bay for the night.
Wednesday we picked up anchor at sunrise again, trying to get as far north as possible before sunset.
We crossed into Maryland before noon, and raced a thunderstorm into our anchorage at the Choptank River on the east side of the bay.
We made it before the rain and high winds came, and watched the full moon rise after the storm passed.
Tomorrow, Thursday, we will arrive at our destination. Annapolis, here comes Trident and her crew!
Cheers to a new year.
I met up with some friends in Laura’s backyard today to cheer in the new year and to wish Doray a happy birthday.
Let’s hope 2021 is amazing. But I’ll take at least better than last year.
Yardwork done. Frosé in the glass. Pork tenderloin on the grill. Life is good.
We joined in the Becker Vineyards virtual wine tasting last night of their 2018 Cabernet-Syrah Reserve. It sure went well with pizza!
All in a day’s work.
During this prolonged shelter-in-place, when people ask me “what did you do today?” I usually go blank. But I have been busy! Aside from the household chores, cooking, and yard work, I have found contentment in these online diversions, which fill my day.
Nikon is offering their curriculum of 10 online photography classes to be streamed for free until the end of April. How cool is that? Link here.
High Island on the Texas Gulf Coast is one of my very favorite birding destinations during migration in April. But not only is travel not in line with the current stay-at-home order, but the sanctuaries are also closed. Thankfully, Houston Audubon, who owns and runs the High Island sanctuaries, is live streaming video footage from their Facebook page at 8AM and 3:30PM every Thursday through Monday. Their Facebook link here.
Fender is offering a 90-day free trial of their online guitar, bass, and ukelele lessons. I’m a poorly self-taught guitar player of nearly 30 years and I’m learning new things by following their lesson progression, and more importantly, practicing again. Link here.
Lori recommended some beginner yoga sessions on YouTube, from “Yoga with Adriene.” I’m a yoga-newbie and am enjoying them very much. Link here.
I use an app called “30Days” to help me to do higher and higher reps of traditional strength exercises like plank, situps, pushups, etc. You pick the exercises, set your starting point, and for 30 days the app will gradually increase the reps, giving you days-off every few days. I’ve used their app for years, on and off. I’m 27 days into my latest 30-day stint and am back up to planking for 3 minutes. 🙂 The app isn’t fancy, there are prettier ones out there, but it’s free and it works for me when I use it. Link here.
Amy recommended an app she used to train herself from couch-surfer to running a 5K over the course of 8 weeks. They also have a 10K version which takes you from couch to 10K in 14 weeks, which is the one I’m using. I’m on week 4 and am still enjoying it. They are both free to try for 7 days, and then you have to pay to upgrade to unlimited access. The provider, Fitness22, actually has an entire collection of fitness apps. Link here.
After 6 years, I am still wearing my fitbit One tracker every day. I need to upgrade to a watch soon. Either way, I use their app daily to track my activity and food. Link here.
Things to listen to
Amazon Music, one of the perks of Prime membership, has a great selection of music; 2 million songs from their 50 million song library are free to listen to for Prime members. You can search by song, album, artist, or listen to existing playlists and curated stations for something that floats your boat. Keeto enjoys George Winston. Link here.
Amazon Music has a channel on twitch.tv where they are hosting live-streamed webcasts. Look for #togetherathome hashtag. I listened to Hayes Carll play live for an hour on his patio last night. The audio was very well done. Link here.
I’ve gone overboard subscribing to and listening to podcasts, true crime is my addiction. I have new content to listen to each day. I use the Stitcher app to listen. Link here.
Foreign Language Learning
I still use the free app Duolingo to practice my Spanish every day or so. Link here.
Things to watch
The British National Theatre is streaming previously recorded theater performances every Thursday in April, on their YouTube channel. We watched the first one, a comedy called One Man, Two Guvnors, last week and really enjoyed it. Link here.
The Metropolitan Opera is streaming videos of previously recorded opera performances, a new one every day. Link here.
Acorn.tv is offering a 30-day free trial of their British TV shows’ episodes (which we enjoy very much) for new subscribers, instead of their normal 7-day free trial. Use the code FREE30 when signing up. Link here.
Ok, hands down, I’ve adopted Zoom for video chat. The free version allows unlimited video meetings with a 40-minute time limit on each, which works for me. Link here.
Online multiplayer games
We have spent many hours playing online games with friends and family. I think that trickstercards.com and boardgamearena.com are both well done for this. We combine them with a zoom video chat.
Food & Drink
Virtual wine tasting from Becker Vineyards. What’s a virtual wine tasting? Well, Becker is selling different 3 pack bottles of different varietals each week, which you can order to be shipped to your home. And then a few days later, you tune into their Facebook Live sessions to participate in a group tasting of each bottle with experts from the vineyard. I just bought the 3rd tasting pack. It should be good! Link here.
I posted previously about my ongoing on-line grocery shopping adventures for delivery and/or curbside pickup. I’ve been pretty good at keeping an order scheduled a week to 10 days ahead of time, to keep fresh food in the house. Let me say, again, HEB is awesome! Link to my previous post here.
Rainy day project.
I knocked out a quick project today as rain soaked the yard. It’s a bag to hold a 3L boxed-wine bladder. Boats don’t much like things made out of cardboard; roaches do. So we don’t bring cardboard on-board. This bag will hold, hang, and dispense the wine instead, so we can toss the box for recycling. Yes, that’s right, I just ooze class. 🙂
I received a wine delivery today from our niece, Julie. She is no longer just down the street from us, and we miss seeing her. But she’s off exploring and enjoying life.
I’m a lucky auntie. Thank you Julie!
Frosé in the house!
It is HOT in Austin this summer. A cool drink goes a long way to make you forget the temperature outside. I have recently been introduced to a lovely pink frozen beverage called Frosé, made from rosé wine, but presenting as a slushie. Brick Oven Pizza served up my first one (and several since then). Pretty good!
Ever since then I’ve wanted to try making my own. We have a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker which we use to make delicious sorbets. So, I asked myself, “Self, can our ice cream maker successfully make frosé?”
The answer is, “YES!”
Today I conducted a test run. Inputs:
- – 1 Bottle of chilled rosé wine
- – 1/3 c chilled simple syrup (see recipe below)
- – 1 Cuisinart ice cream maker w/ pre-frozen canister. Our model is ICE-25R but is likely replaced by a newer model by now.
Pour wine into the canister, add simple syrup, and stir. Put canister in ice cream maker and start her up. At 15 minutes it was freezing nicely.
I ran it for another 10 minutes and it looked ready.
I scooped some into a wine glass, added a paper straw (no plastic!), and put the rest into the freezer for later.
Delicious! I highly recommend. Cheers!
Simple syrup recipe:
– Heat 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil 1 minute. Cool and refrigerate.
We recently celebrated our anniversary. Tonight, we had Lori and Pooh over for dinner and popped open one of our oldies.
It was a bottle from a winery that we visited on our honeymoon – an almost 20 year old chianti that we brought back with us. The cork didn’t leak or budge in the last two decades, so the wine was really pretty good! I am very happy to be able to share it with friends.
Back in the hood.
I joined five of my girlfriends yesterday at the Infinite Monkey Theorem winery & taproom to catch each other up on what’s been going on the first two months of this year. It was, after all National Drink Wine Day! Like we need a reason. 🙂