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The nameboard....

I removed the nameboard from the organ I'm rebuilding today. It is the vertical chunk of wood above the top manual, it often contains controls or stops. It gets it's name because that is where the organ builder puts it name. Once I cleaned it up, gave it a light sanding and a rub down with finish solvent, then alcohol, I applied the decal I had made for this purpose. Unfortunately, I should have applied a finish coat first and then put the decal on that followed by the top coat. By the time I realized my error, it was too late to change it, so now I'll have to remove the finish and the decal and then start over. Not a game over by any chance, but still if I had my druthers, it would have been perfect the first time:

2015-10-03 14.31.01

Fortunately, the finish restorer will make a quick job of removing it and while I'll not put the finish coat on tonight, I will have the replacement decal applied this evening.   Maybe this time I should let Morgan do the application of the decal.

Left foot passacaille....

The passacaille, also known as passacaglia, is a classical form of music characterized by a lumbering bass line. For organ, that generally means on the pedals. Developed in Spain, it loosely translate as a walk down the street. It tends to have a short bass repeat and is often used to tie two sections of a livelier composition together.

True to form, this piece has the bass line in the pedals, but unlike rock, jazz or honky tonk style music it is a melody, rather than just a substitute for a plucked bass or drum. What is unusual about this piece is that the entire pedal part is played with just the left foot, quite common practice in the aforementioned rock, jazz, etc. but not in classical organ repertoire, especially in a composition that is legato, such as this. There are a lot, in fact the bulk of the piece, has note placements of 4ths and and greater, which unless one has size 24 feet, is a bit difficult to pull off smoothly, but it is simply written and at a largo pace should be simple to learn.

Here is the Left Foot Passacaille by Jean-Paul Verpeaux

On friending and following..

I wonder if it ever occurs to people the friending someone when they mutually do not know each other without asking permission could be considered rude. In a time, such as now, where all sorts of suspicious behavior abounds and governments actively spying on the general public, receiving an email that someone whom you do not know is now following you on a social site is particularly unnerving. It really doesn't matter if someone stumbles across your journal and finds it interesting for whatever reason, be polite and ask first.


The apple butter finished cooking this morning. Dark as black strap molasses it is, but not too sweet and still full of apple goodness. I've gotta say, I think that I've got this apple butter thing down pat! I've only screwed up and burned a batch a few years back. I had an english muffin (I don't know what they are called across the pond or if they even have them.) with a bit of butter and a spoonful of apple butter directly from the pot. Lord have mercy, it was so good. Thankfully I only had one muffin left.

Now I've got to get over to the store and pick up some lids so I can jar up the rest of it.

Making apple butter...

I believe that I have made apple butter every year for at least 7 years now and sporadically prior to that. This year it is our very own trees giving up their fruit to be made into this delicious condiment. While it is simple to make, just apples, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and a pinch of salt, it is messy. Peeling, coring and chopping several pounds of apples eventually gets into everything. Then there is the cooking with the sauce plopping everywhere whenever the lid is removed to check on things. This year I decided to do things differently.

First of all, the only fruit preparation was to wash the apples, remove the stems and then cut them into large chunks. Everything but the stems goes in a really large dutch oven, then tightly covered and into a 300º oven until the apples are fork tender. Then comes the fun part, once cooled pass the baked apples through a food mill.  This like the one that I use: but you can use whatever you have, even the cone and ram type (witches hat).  This will remove the seeds, tough core membranes and the skins passing only the tender pulp into the bowl below.

Once you have finished, probably in batches, place the milled fruit into a large slow cooker, or a very heavy pot. For 5 pounds of processed apples add 4 cups of white sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cloves and salt.  Bring to a bubble over medium heat and then reduce it to LOW.  Be sure to stir it quite often because if it sticks, most likely it will be scorched and thus ruined.  If you are using a slow cooker, put it on it's lowest setting and cover.  This will need to cook 6 to 8 hours until it thickens and turns a dark brown.  If you have started with tart apples, they shoul have enough acid in them to allow for successful canning otherwise add a half teaspoon of citric acid (Fruit Fresh).

Ladle the HOT apple butter into sterilized jars, cap with new lids and process in a water bath for 5-10 minutes.   Remove the jars and place upside down on a towel covered counter  for 3 or 4 minutes and then turn them upright and leave them to cool.   Any jars that do not seal should be refrigerated.  Be patient, it could take 10 minutes for the lids to pop.

Apple butter is exceedingly versatile.  Of course you can eat it on toast, but you can also use it for a seasoning pork, on pastries or even in danish.   I even like a spoonfull straight from the jar.  Spoon it on top of cottage cheese or plain yoghurt.  

Back home....again.

I left at 8:00 a.m. for Kaiser Interstate medical offices in Portland. My appointment was for 11:00 and I made it with time to spare. It was a discussion of what I had experienced since my last visit many months ago. She was very interested in my blood pressure and decided to double one of the hypertension medications, the Zoloft was reduced to half with the approval for me to continue weaning myself off of it. Unfortunately, the medication I was hoping to start is still not through the formulary approval process. It combines 4 pills that I currently take daily into a single pill. Maybe next time. She asked about my Mother and how I've reacted to that. Then she pulled up my last lab reports and told me they were picture perfect, yay!

After the visit, I drove down to Wilsonville to spend some time at Fry's Electronics, it was time for a fix. I did get a couple small perf boards to see if I could fashion a midi connector for the Loduca keyboards that I got a couple of years ago. I also found a motherboard that had been reduced by over half as an open box item. Still has the full manufacturer warranty and Fry's warranty. I'll be testing it out a little later.

I didn't make it home until 4:30 and like yesterday, I feel like I was pulled through a door crack by a smelly camel yanking on my back hair. Since I don't have all that much, it hurts and leaves one like the walking dead. When I walked through the door I was met by Nigel jabbering at the top of his lungs. Nothing would calm him down until I headed toward the stairway going up to the bedroom then he and Roscoe both raced up and waited for me to open the door. All 3 of us snuggled up and shortly were in dreamland. Morgan called up around 6:30 of so to let me know that he was going over to Hunter's for dinner and at about 7 I got up and made a cup of coffee.

Now, I'm going to settle back for a bit until Morgan comes home, maybe work on the new mobo and then we will watch George Gently before going to bed.

On another note, I decided to not sing for DCINY next February. The reason is that with everything happening at home combined with planning the logistics for the trip and the weaning off of Zoloft, the stress was beginning to resemble that which I left behind in San Francisco, something I have no desire to experience again. They told me that if at some period, things should clear up, they will see what they can do to get me back on the performer's roster. We will see.


Cottage Pie....

What's cottage pie you say, you may know it by another incorrectly applied name, shepherd's pie. What's the difference you say? Cottage pie is made with beef while shepherd's pie is made from lamb.

I decided to cheat because I've yet to make one of these that tasted right to me. I figured that a prepared savory beef gravy might be a good base flavor, we will see.

I minced a large onion and sauteed it until it was soft then I minced about a 1/3 cup of carrot and added it to the saute pan with the onion. Finally a small can of mushrooms and the liquid, lowered the heat to medium and simmered the mix until the carrots were soft. In another pan, fry about 1 pound of ground beef until cooked through. Add the vegetable mixture and the can of beef gravy. Finish it with about a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Transfer the mixture to an oven safe dish. Top with mashed potatoes and if you want, sprinkle with cheese. Place in a 350ºF oven and bake for about 30 minutes.


Back home..

It took 2 hours longer than I expected. I'm completely, totally exhausted. 3 1/2 hours up, handed the box to the man, got in the vehicle and 3 1/2 hours back. Had to pee like a race horse but decided to wait until I got home. Just as well, the way the Navi routed me, over the river and through the woods, there was no place to stop anyway. Just to be sure that I tortured myself sufficiently, once I got back to Naselle, I stopped at our little market for some dinner items and then the one stop to fill the Morganmobile with petrol. THEN it was a mad dash to get home and into the loo.

Success. Dinner will be a bit late cuz I have to rest a bit. Tomorrow I go to Portland for a doc visit. I'm also just about weaned from the insane-o-meds and so far, I'm feeling just fine. I guess there is something to be said about living in the slow lane. Once I am through taking it, Zoloft, then I only have 5 other prescriptions to work on eliminating or reducing and NO, I'm not doing this on my own, I'm not truly daft when it comes to medications.


On me way to Buckley..

Heading up to Britson Organ Works in Buckley (east of Tacoma) to drop off a couple boxes of organ parts I removed from the church organ. The owner can use these and I can't so there is no point in them going to the dump.

Back at 2p.

Costco, I mean, really??

The spill was about 2" x 1" as you can see.  Rather than just wipe it up, they went to all of the trouble to getting a spill cone.  I guess that they were waiting for it to evaporate.  I grabbed a napkin on the way out and wiped it dry with a single swipe.  What gives?