Making grape wine at home

I’ve read so many resources on making wine at home over the years. Wine making can be extremely confusing as on the one hand we find Westerners making wine in a laboratory kind of setting with grape crushers, de-stemmers, presses, hydrometers, racking canes, clarifiers, carboys, sanitizing chemicals like sodium metabisulphide and fancy equipment designed for wine making.

On the other hand you have those elderly French and Italian gentlemen who have learned these skills from their fathers when they were around and who have been making wine regularly for as long as they can remember. In spite of not using any of the above, (except for the grape crushers and pressers which are required due to the large volume of grapes they process) their wine comes out as per their expectations. I’ve also see them drink a bit of the juice to quench their thirst and pour the remainder back or suck on a pipe used for racking the wine without any ill effects of oral bacteria on their wines.  Continue reading Making grape wine at home

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Surviving on fiat money

This was among one of my first posts written on SimplySimple. However it never took shape as I was too busy juggling my blog hosting, learning WordPress and fiddling around with design issues and AD placements…. Fast forward to last week. Our fantastic Prime minister (and his team) pulls another one of his half baked political stunts. He decides that currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 should be demonetized. This is not the first time that someone has thought of it. It has happened twice before in Indian history -once before India  gained independence from the British and then later on in 1978, under prime minister Morarji Desai. Coincidentally, both of them are from the state of Gujarat and have similar ideology.

Continue reading Surviving on fiat money

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The Chir Pine: Pinus roxburghii

I’ve been fascinated by the chir pine Pinus roxburghii (Pinus longifolia) for quite some time and realised that I haven’t yet put down a post on it. I’ve marvelled at its beauty both at Sattal and also Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, India.  Unfortunately it is sad to see villagers set whole slopes of the forest on fire which is taken up by the layer of dry pine needles covering the mountain slopes. The villagers do it so that grass would grow again on the ground between the trees for them to take home back to their cattle. It is also suspected that the land mafia does this to deliberately deforest areas in connivance with the authorities which they can then encroach upon and sell. This is easy to do as the pine is rich in resin and catches fire easily even when wet. Continue reading The Chir Pine: Pinus roxburghii

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Trek: Kedarkantha peak

I’ve been importing Trekking/Camping equipment for years now and I’ve barely managed to put it to use because of not finding like minded people to trek or camp with. This was my first major trek, so I thought I’d better pen down my experiences for others to read before they head out on their own or make the same mistakes I did. It is easy to dump a large sum on some tour organiser and let them handle all the logistics like food, water, transport etc, but there is a lot more adventure (and sometimes danger) when heading out on your own. Sorry for the lack of photographs as I lost most of them when my laptop hard disk suddenly stopped working. Continue reading Trek: Kedarkantha peak

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Review: Tecsun PL-380 DSP Radio

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An old gang condenser which uses air as its dielectric medium

I love radio. I’ve wanted to be a Ham since I was a kid and ordered numerous resources, however due to cost constraints, nothing worthwhile happened. Later on, I took up electronics and assembled two of my own radios, the old ones -not the very old ones with valves, but the analogue pre-IC ones using transistors, coils and transformers and a polyester gang condensor for the tuner. I have older memories and remember my ex-army uncle from EME who had once given me a gang condenser with plates which used air as its dielectric medium but Iost touch after IC’s became standard and replaced discrete components. Even though I had a Sony ICF-F12S radio, my heart longed for something which used PLL tuning and had a DSP and digital tuning and storage. Continue reading Review: Tecsun PL-380 DSP Radio

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Experiments with sugarcane wine

Long story and experimentation, that’s what this post is all about. I’ve always made wines from fruit or rice, never from fruit juice…. and then I saw this post from a survival blog which said, “What do you do with all your stashed away emergency supplies as they near their expiry dates? Use them up of course. And how would you use up the gallons of so called “natural” tetra packed grape juice? You add sugar and turn it into wine! ” Continue reading Experiments with sugarcane wine

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Review : Smith & Wesson tactical pen

Looks like my bug out bag project is jinxed. A couple of years back, my 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 backpack was stolen on a train journey to my brothers house. I was testing its load bearing ability with its Y yoke being a bit uncomfortable in the Indian summers. Now I’m yet unable to choose whether to go in for the Rush 72 or stick to the original plan. In addition the Storm color I wanted (previous one was black) seems ineligible for International shipping. Thankfully, I’ve put the cart before the horse so I have plenty of equipment to review. Once I’ve finalized the  list of items that go into my bag, it will be easier for me to take a call on what size of tactical rucksack I’d need. Continue reading Review : Smith & Wesson tactical pen

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