29 October 2007

Ouzo Making

Our wine has finally finished fermenting and we bottled it all up, a grand total of 750 pounds (Whew we have a lot of drinking ahead of us). This wine is pure organic wine, no pesticides used during the production of the grapes and no preservatives or chemicals used to make it.
After making the wine we took the leftover grape skins to a distillery to make our homemade ouzo (tsipouro). First you place the grape skins in a copper kettle that has a gas heating element (kind of like a large gas stove) in the bottom, as the skins boil the steam is collected in another copper pipe with water on the outside to cool the steam down and make it into a liquid form. This first step creates Raki, what the Turks and Creteans drink, it has only been distilled once. In order to make ouzo you need to distill it twice, the second time you add anise seeds to give it that licorice taste. We cleaned out the copper kettle with fresh water to get rid of the grape skins and then we added back the liquid that was expelled the first time and added in the anise seeds. Once again we boiled this up and the steam collected was the final product going through the copper pipe is ouzo. We made 88 pounds of homemade ouzo, not much for this year, we still have some leftover from last year. If you would like to buy some the price is 6euros a pound, this is how much it cost to make it, this is why we really don't sell it in large quantity it is better to sell it by the glass at the shop.
Nick explains to me how things are done.
Two of the boiler kettles shown here (one was already used and being cleaned), and the three pipes used to cool down the steam and make it into liquid.
Raki coming out of the cooling pipe.
Looks like water, huh!
The anise to make the final product, Tsipouro (homemade ouzo), and we are all done. At least Arthur and I am, Nick stayed till to 2:30 in the morning to get the final product. It used to take a whole lot longer when the heating system was made with wood and they continually had to put wood chips under the kettles to keep them boiling.

22 October 2007

"When we met" Anniversary

Typical Stone House
Butcher Shop
Wood Shop

Looking down on Metsovo

Arthur and I celebrated our "we met one year ago" anniversary in the small mountainous town called Metsovo. They have some small hills nearby that they call ski centers, but right now we don't have any snow. So Arthur and I enjoyed a nice day walking around the village with their typical buildings made out of stone with slate stone roofs. We had some great Metsovian cheese that is pure sheep milk that has been smoked, very delicious ($9 a pound). They also have woodworking artisans in the village, they make the wood carved items out of olive wood.

20 October 2007

How we met

Arthur and I met one year ago, here in KokaRoka. It truly was fate, I had a client who became a friend and he liked to sail in different areas around the world. He wanted to go to Greece in 2006 and I had always wanted to go to Greece so I joined him and his wife and 3 other sailing buddies. After sailing for 2 weeks I spent an extra week in Greece and visited some other sights on my own. One was the famous Meteora Monasteries, I made reservations to stay at a domatia via the internet and when I arrived the owner told me he was full (I have now learned that he overbooks all the time-to me this just is not a good business practice) but he called a rooms for rent place next door and they had a room available. It was 9 o'clock at night and I was starving I asked the lady who showed me the room where I could eat and she said "Downstairs, I make the best lamb." so this is what I ordered. There was another couple eating dinner and the woman spoke a little English but she wanted to communicate more to me so the waiter became our interpreter. Some of you already know this story so you know that the waiter was Arthur and this was how we met.

17 October 2007

Protector Kitty

Our little kitty is growing up. He will follow Arthur and I home when we go home at the end of the night, it's almost like having a dog. He will then sit outside of the house and guard it. He followed us home one day after lunch so I was able to get a picture of him guarding the front door from our upstairs balcony.

Oops, 10 pounds

I gained 10 pounds in one month, oops. I'm okay with it, but the nurse told me not to eat so much. Personally I'm kind of glad because I was reading a study where they say if you are obese you will loose weight during your pregnancy. Well I lost 15 pounds and wasn't gaining it back, so I am so glad that I have gained the weight I didn't want to consider myself to be obese. Here is my six month pregnancy photos.
Arthur felt the baby kick for the first time a few days ago, I have been feeling him kick for a good 2 months, of course at first it just feels like you have gas rolling around in your abdomen. But now they are big kicks and Arthur can put his hands on my belly and feel him move around. Of course he doesn't do it on command and actually when he hears his fathers voice he gets pretty quiet and not so active, I really believe they can hear in there.

06 October 2007

The Water Bill

This story is not as funny as "The Water Boy", but I think some people back home might find it fascinating. We got the water bill for KokaRoka this week and it was 135euros, Arthur was pretty upset that it was so high and so I was like we could always try some water saving tips. This is when Arthur showed me the bill, the actual cost for the water was 45euros the other 90euros was for taxes (that's 200% in taxes). That's right the tax for our bill was double what we spent in water usage, imagine if they did this in the States, I think there would be riots. Seventy euros went specifically to the city hall and I told Arthur he should really go down there and talk to them about this taxing system. If anyone else agrees, just write "YOU CAN DO IT!".