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Givers and Takers

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This weekend I spent time with loads of givers. People who give of their time, their investment, their heart, soul, money, you name it. I am so amazed at the passion and dedication of my fellow “hams” and their spouses and families.

There have been calls for this to be the #summerofneighbors by a local Columbia blogger. Where you connect with your neighbors and post it on twitter. I would think I could overload twitter with the sheer volume of “neighborliness” found in the amateur radio community.

Look at this picture.

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Filled with givers. Father and son. Jon and Dave. Others who were there from beginning to end.

I look at the food board. Full of contributions from wives and families.

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And, there are club members like Dave, checking in even while attending family weddings.

I heard conversations over the weekend about other community events. Bike race support. Non profit board meetings. The next big radio contest where we will be using the national call sign to represent the US in an international competition.

Here in our hobby, long time leaders teaching new volunteers. Like Maurice teaching Melanie.

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Getting the newer members interested and active in our organization is something we know is important to our continued success.

When we look at what we accomplished, another successful, safe and enjoyable event, we realize it is all because we are surrounded by Givers. Not Takers. Not people who sit on the sidelines and criticize or expect something for nothing. GIVERS!

I blogged last year how I thought the motto on those bumper stickers “Choose Civility” didn’t go far enough. You really need a community mindset to make a difference.

CARA and PVRC exhibit this every year for this national event. People give time, money, and passion to make it successful. I realize now, after a few years of volunteering, that I can look at all the pictures and I know the names of everyone in them. Isn’t that what neighborly really means? Is just going somewhere a neighborly thing?

Isn’t immersion in your community to the extent that you know the people, know their children’s names, know their food preferences, their favorite things, important?

Are you a giver? Or, someone watching on the sidelines? Step up. Find your passion. Invest in Howard County. Your home.


Linden Spring Release Party

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The weather didn’t cooperate. Neither did my allergies and/or head cold but nothing was stopping us from attending a much anticipated case club party at Linden. This weekend and next, the 2010 reds and 2011 whites are being released at a special event at the winery. Anyone who reads my locavore/locapour writings knows that this is my favorite VA winery, and one where we have the longest association. More than 20 years.

The events are completely sold out with groups of eight people entering every fifteen minutes to space out the attendance. Outdoor and indoor stations.

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You started out on the crush deck with two different pairings of whites. 2010 and 2011 Avenius Chardonnay paired with almonds, then 2010 and 2011 Hardscrabble Chardonnay paired with salmon mousse. While enjoying the wines, you could check out the patio dressed up for springtime but not having any takers in the spring rain. The 2010 whites were our favorites, as noted below the frustrations of 2011 show in the weight of the wines.

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As many of us know, 2011 was a challenging year, with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee nailing the mid Atlantic and making the wines much lighter. In fact, inside the tasting room on the regular tasting menu, the newly released 2011 red, simply called Red, not even destined to be labeled Claret, is a simple elegant but not very weighty red. Water plumping up and diluting the juice in the grapes late in the season gives you OK wines, but not the big wines of 2009 and 2010.

We then ventured down into the stainless steel tank room, taking in the view of the vines below the vineyard.

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Here we found a new addition, a Cabernet Franc. This individual varietal bottling of franc, only done twice before at Linden was a pleasant surprise. None of that bell pepper thing found in so many VA francs, this is a very lovely wine. 50% Hardscrabble grapes and 50% Boisseau. Paired with lamb meatballs from The Whole Ox.

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Moving into the barrel storage rooms, there were three more stations. One, the Boisseau station gave us a treat. A change to the vineyards with the first cabernet sauvignon dominant blend from Richard’s vines in Front Royal. We tease Richard a bit about his “flea market red”, as his vines sit on a hill above a very popular flea market site in the middle of Front Royal VA. The 2009 was this blend. 43% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, 26% Petit Verdot. The 2010 was 65% cab, and 35% merlot. What an interesting side by side comparison.

In the middle of the three wine stations, Margaret was set up with a charcuterie, olives and liver pate on toast. She did all the catering this year. This, along with her incredible decorating skills in the winery, inspire us to say (in my old Navy terms) Bravo Zulu! for accomplishing such a transformation in the winery, and for the wonderful food today.

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Margaret is in this picture, serving those tasty pates. There was also the signature huge wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. Next stop, the Avenius Reds station. Another surprise for 2010. The Avenius is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, similar to the Boisseau in make up from vastly different due to the soil, growing conditions on the Avenius hillside, you know, the “terroir” that stamps itself into a wine’s nose and taste.

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Last we hit the Hardscrabble station, where Jim was pouring for a short while. The killer 2009, which we had for dinner last night, and the new elegant but not as weighty 2010 were poured side by side. We talked to Jim a bit about this “normal” spring compared to the hot and dry spring last year.

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A very successful event. Even in the rain, the place was hopping. They obviously have figured out what makes people happy. Outstanding wines, year after year. Lots of cases going out the doors while we were there.

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One last picture, the redecorated entrance, although too wet and cool today to enjoy, one of those reminders that this is a laid back quiet pleasant winery for those who seriously appreciate good wines that pair well with local foods.

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Stop in some day, do a tasting and see how good VA wines can be. Linden is ninety minutes away from Columbia if you head around the DC beltway and out I-66.


Our Thanksgiving Dinner

Tonight I will be cooking our personal “what I want to eat” Thanksgiving dinner for just the two of us. We do this every year, since we moved out here to the rural west county. We buy most of it locally and make spicy or ethnic foods that don’t find favor or takers at our family get together.

Some won’t eat spicy, or “weird” veggies. Their words, not mine. There are few veggies we don’t like, and the ability to experiment with what we get at farmer’s markets or in the CSA share, is what gives me pleasure.

Besides, the turkey legs will be Sunday night’s kick off Dark Days Challenge main course.

We picked up the turkey Wednesday at our local market when I picked up the CSA.

I am roasting it this year in the oven instead of grilling it, and not stuffing it with anything other than some onions, and citrus peel. I will use a dry rub that I make with Italian herbs and use a little grapeseed oil on the skin.

I am baking sweet potatoes in the other oven, along with a small batch of sausage and apple stuffing, with a spinach salad on the side.

Opening a local Gruner Veltliner from Black Ankle Vineyards.

Pictures I hope to get up here tomorrow. A romantic dinner watching the sunset from the dining room windows. Lots of leftovers to use in soups and sandwiches, and to make stock for future Dark Days Challenge meals.