Finished Siding on Main Floor

Woohoo finally finished the siding on the main floor around the windows. It looks a bit funny since this is new wood, and the other wood has almost 2 seasons behind it. I also did tiling for the step to the window. People said I should use metal, but one constructor said, “don’t use metal as it gets very hot, tiles are better, if you can blend them properly.”

IMG_2383 IMG_2385 IMG_2386


All of the pictures thus far of the house



I am posting an update of all pictures thus far of our house in Menzingen and the rennovation that I am doing. The pictures are out of order, but I will explain them.


Let’s with the original house. 201306171123505459142_xlThis is what it looks like now.


I am adding the siding and insulation. Notice the old house and the added floor.


Here is a view from the sideDSC_0022

The Bathroom while we were dropping the floorDSC_0069

This is how much dirt and bedrock came out of 30 cm lower.DSC_0075

Another side and notice the original house, and the added floor.DSC_0082

Now look at the house with insulation.DSC_0094

I built stairs, and plastered the wall.DSC_0135

My own invention, a gutter system with protective metal to ensure no leafs are caught.DSC_0139

Finished side, but the scaffold still exists.DSC_0150

Now the scaffolding is removed.DSC_0170

The old support beams were disjointed and had to be removed. I added a new support beam.DSC_0190

And tons, literally tons of garbage is produced.DSC_0210

Finished support beam.DSC_0222

I had to cut the beam into two as it would have been too cumbersome and heavy otherwise.DSC_0229

New support beams on the added floor.DSC_0262

Cleaning up the mess.DSC_0264

Another picture of the original house.IMG_0773

Added floor showing beams.IMG_0817

Floor is added by draped in plastic sheets so that the weather stays out.IMG_0823

Foundation is laid bareIMG_0830

Added floor at night before OSM sheets are added.IMG_0840

Added floor during the day before the OSM sheets are added.IMG_0846

Foundation covered with insulation.IMG_0851

Removing all of the old siding! Now that was a pain the ass!IMG_0871

Brother adding support beams for new windows.IMG_0885

Adding roof beams for new roofIMG_0909

First layer of insulation for roofIMG_0914

Foundation insulated and covered.IMG_0931

Adding scaffold so that I can rip off old siding.IMG_0938

Second layer of insulation on roof, and tar paper used to ensure waterproof.IMG_0962

Finally added sheet metal on roof for final protection.IMG_0971

Working on the siding.IMG_1023

Had to create a footstep at base of foundation as the floor went below the foundation.


Bathroom structure finally taking shape.IMG_1674

More bathroom structureIMG_1679

More footstep being added.IMG_1695

This is what the technical room looks like when painted.IMG_1752

Added more insulation to this house for a grand total of 30 cm min, roof has 36 cm.IMG_1755

Water purification system.IMG_1776

Getting ready to pour the patio and notice the bedrock.IMG_1986

A better view of the bedrock.IMG_1990

Rebars are in place.IMG_2005

Base has been poured, now the terrace is being poured.IMG_2034

Floor heating system used throughout the house.IMG_2063

This is how steep it is by the house. The stick is 5 meters long.IMG_2079

Doing bathroom tiling with the help of the italian tiling system.IMG_2109

Floor tiling  IMG_2159

Dogs are watching me work.IMG_2166

Bella inspecting my faux wood tiles.IMG_2171

Built my own cabinets.IMG_2359

And a finished bathroom.IMG_2367


Pop Quiz: What is the Weather Like in Medoc?

Here is a question that you probably don’t know the answer to. What is the weather like in Medoc?

For starters it is not in the South of France. It is in the South West, but on the Atlantic coast. Most folks know the Atlantic coast as a cold ocean, unlike the Pacific. People know that the UK is fairly cold and rainy. Yet Medoc is part of Bordeaux and produces red wine. Hence the weather should be a slightly warmer maritime, right?

Not really. Medoc never goes under zero. Or let me put it this way, RARELY goes under zero. Snow, does not exist, and everybody drives summer tires all year round. Yet it is not as warm as the South of France year round.

What makes Medoc special are the extremes. This is not what I was prepared for. I lived for a few years on the Cote D’Azur and in the summer it gets warm, but never too warm. And in the evening it just stays warm. Medoc gets warm, but it also gets cold.

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 12.28.15 PMLook at this graph, (which came from a Netatmo Station in Medoc) you will see that the temperature drops to 14C, and then during the day rises to above 30. This flux is not due to the device standing in the sun. This is an accurate graph as I have lived it quite a few times now. This week the temperature should hit 37C. This extreme only happens in deserts and Medoc is that. Medoc is one big sand dune with trees, fields and towns. If you were to dig say a meter you would hit the sand and maybe even water. The Ocean does not have a huge cooling off affect as often it brings the heat itself.

My wife had a hard time sleeping on the Cote D’Azur because the nights were too warm. But in Medoc we should be fine as the nights cool down making it easier to sleep.


Born to be Wild or Not?

Our neighbour in Medoc had one of his family members visit and he drove one of these things:

IMG_2249So here comes the question why does he like so many American flags?

  1. He is an American.
  2. He likes America.
  3. Watched Born To Wild too much, or Easy rider.
  4. No idea actually…

I thought it was 3, but in fact what he said was he liked Elvis Presley quite a bit and the bike screamed Elvis. So without further words… Enjoy the music!



Added Wine Appreciations

I decided to get organized with my wines and have created a wiki that will contain all of my wine appreciations. This way I will add, update, and potentially delete content related to my wine tasting adventures.


Drinking Wine, and Understanding Air

Want to know how I drink wine? It is really simple, here you go!

IMG_2136What Christian, no wine glass like this?


I am a heathen! I am unkooth, and I have no clue on drinking wine, right? Wrong!

A Tale of Champagne Glasses

First let me begin that the little yellow cup is indeed a traditional wine cup from Southern Europe. The question that you have to ask yourself is what gives? For example why was it in the 60’s that people drank champagne from glasses like this:


Yet now if you did that you would seem like an imbecile who had no clue on drinking Champagne. For now you ONLY drink wine from glasses like the following:

14288There is something to be said here, and before I say it, you need to watch this video, and please take note on the “sourness” or “acidity” comments. Or at least watch this video until the 1:30 part. Also notice the comment on “when you know something costs…”

So what happened here? Both are Cabernet Sauvignon or at least mostly, yet one tasted “good” and the other “bad”.  The answer lies in the air. I kid you not. The problem lies with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. It is a grape of dual edges. It allows a wine to age into a great bottle of wine, yet when drunk in appropriately tastes like watered down vinegar.

Breathe the Air

The bottle of Paulliac is from 1996, which in 2015 means when you open the bottle you need to let it breath nearly 20 hours! Basically one hour per year. Note when decanting a few hours will suffice, and I recommend small tastings to see the progress. And if you read my reviews you will notice that I have a shortly opened taste of the wine, and then ready to drink taste of the wine.

I never believed it myself, but when a wine bottle is opened it needs to breath and interact with the air. Remember how I wrote in my sparkling wine review that conversion to alcohol creates CO2. When you open a bottle of wine you are allowing another reaction to occur. Namely you are allowing oxidization and aerating your wine. That in turn softens and alters the wine significantly.

This is an extremely important aspect to understand, and this is why glasses have different shapes for different wines. When you have a red wine you want a good aeration and hence a big cup so that you can swirl and bring as much air in contact with the wine. Whereas with white wine that is not necessary. And as has been found out with Champagne you don’t really want this at all since it means the bubbles disappear and the wine will taste “flat”.

Decant Your Reds!

So now let’s get back to me. Since I understand wines and I understand aeration how do I aerate my wine? After all it will not happen in a cup like the big red wine glass. Absolutely, and what I do is decant my wine using the following two tools:

IMG_2138On the right is a full bottle flat base decanter, and on the left is a per glass decanter. If I know the entire bottle will be drunk then I will pour the entire bottle in the decanter. Then just before serving I fill up the bottle again and serve from the bottle. I don’t usually serve from the decanter. If however I know the bottle will not be finished then I will use the per glass decanter that effectively aerats the wine.

In either of the cases I don’t need a particular glass shape since my wine is already ready to drink. At first people look at me and think, “really?” I then show them and I have converted a few people to my approach.

So let’s go back to the video, what happened? Answer they did not aerate the old Paulliac long enough. Though how come the other bottle of wine was smoother? Same grape right? Answer the vineyard cheats to achieve the “aeration” effect from the moment you open a bottle of wine.

This then should make your brain think, how does a “cheaper” wine react to aeration? Answer not well! This is why I have two wine tastings. I want to know the quality of the wine, and only the wines that are of better quality can handle the aeration. Poor quality wines will flop on your gums like a piece of soggy white bread. The cynical me says I don’t get fooled with glasses and smells, I just want a good tasting wine for a decent price.

What About Closing Open Bottles?

And finally to answer the question can you drink an already opened bottle of wine? Answer yes. Is it as good as on the day it is opened? Most likely not. However sometimes I have been surprised.

My experience has shown the appropriate storage technique goes as follows;

  1. Buy yourself a cork system that removes the air from the bottle using a vacuum. That way the aeration effect is slowed down.
  2. Put your bottle of wine into the refrigerator. That again slows down the aging process.
  3. When wanting to drink the wine again, take it out of the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature.
  4. Remove the vacuum cork.

Presto a wine that you can drink again. Is it as good and ideal as it should be? Absolutely not, but it is ok, and will easily pass as a vin de table, aka table wine.

 Finally here is what I suggest as a party dinner event before the main meal. Take two bottles, one decanted a few hours, and the other just opened. Compare the notes and tastes. You will be surprised. Though do this on a wine that needs decanting.



Some History and My Renovation in Zug, Switzerland

A request that people have made is to show how the build in Zug is progressing. Thus over the next little while I will be posting pictures and blog entries that go back over 1.5 years. The focus will be on explaining why I did what I did.

So let’s start with what my wife and I bought.

IMG_0697 IMG_0706

This property is an old build at a 1,000 meters. It was originally built in 1960, and when I gutted the inside I saw newspapers from 1959 and 1960. What is interesting about this house is that it is solidly built. The quality is good, but there where some problems and in the later postings I will point out the problems and solutions.

The renovation will result in a building that looks as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 12.36.08 AM Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 12.37.03 AM

And to a large degree the house has turned out to the plans. There are some modifications as I changed the original permit plans to something that we wanted.


in Zug | 156 Words