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The HandCrafter
Features for Distinguished Handcrafters

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Finely Handcrafted
since 1996

Volume 2, Issue 9
September 2007

In this Month's Issue:
(Quick click each link)

Crafts - Birch Lamps Recipe for Hard Cider Inspiration for Writing a Novel Monthly Food Recipe

Griswold Mountain Crafts

Handcrafted Birch Lamps
Allow the spirit of the Northern Woods to light your home, study, office, camp, or cottage.

Click here for more information
and to order your Birch Lamp today!

There are several different designs 
to choose from, as well as completely customizing each lamp

Our Birch Lamps utilize real, natural birch logs.  
Note that we DO NOT cut down trees for our lamps!  

We search the northern woods for unique downed logs that will make lamps with character.  


Recipe for Hard Cider 

This is an autumn special around the homestead.  The end of the summer apple harvest means Hard Cider brewing time, just enough time to have it ready for fall get-togethers.
Recipe for Hard Cider

1 cup of warm water (95-98 degrees)

4 cups of white sugar

4 gallons fresh apple cider and/or squeezings

1 package of champagne yeast

24 champagne bottles with corks and wires

Warm the cider to room temperature.  This may take a few hours, so plan ahead.

Dissolve the champagne yeast in one cup of water.  Stir well.  Set aside for five minutes to bloom.

In your fermenting bucket, dissolve the sugar in about 2 quarts of warm water.  Stir well.  Pour in the yeast mixture, and rinse the cup to get out every drop.  Begin adding in the cider and keep stirring to thoroughly mix until all four gallons are incorporated.  Fill up to the five gallon mark with warm water if necessary.

Seal the lid with a bubbler and store at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks.  It is ok to store wherever you store your homebrews. 

When you're ready to bottle, create a sugar mixture of 1 cup of white sugar dissolved in1 cup boiling water.  Drop one tablespoon of this mixture into each of 24 champagne bottles.  

Bottle in champagne bottles with good plastic corks and twist on wires tightly, as it will be highly carbonated.  Clean up the bottles from any spills.

Bottles are ready to condition for another 2-3 weeks.  Add your own homemade labels and tightly crimp on foils for decorative gifts. 

Remember, as with any yeast product, there will be settlement at the bottom.  When pouring, be sure to leave the bottom half inch.  It is drinkable (I actually like the dregs at the bottom of homebrews), but some people donít prefer to see or drink it. 

  Important rules to remember with highly carbonated fruit beverages:

1.  Keep bottles cold, as warm temperatures can rapidly release gas

2.  Do not shake up the bottles.  If one gets shaken up, immediately put into your fridge for several hours or even days to prevent explosion.

3.  Never open indoors.  Corks at high velocity can break glass and dent drywall.  And a gush of carbonated fruit beverages can make quite a mess.

4.  Never point a bottle at anyone.  Ejected corks can be dangerous.  We've even had corks fly out as soon as the wires were loosened.

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Inspiration for Writing a Novel

by Frank Holes, Jr.

Writing my own novel has been a rewarding and exciting experience.  I was initially intrigued and inspired by the song "The Legend" by Traverse City DJ Steve Cook, which is played on the radio in northern Michigan.  Dogman, a creature of local folklore, haunts the north woods every ten years, and has been witnessed by locals for several decades.  In fact, when DJ Steve Cook first released his song in 1987 as a 'spoof', the radio station was flooded with phone calls from the good folks of Michigan who claimed to have really seen the creature.  

I was also inspired by Steven King's Cycle of the Werewolf, in which the story progresses in a month-by-month basis, each encounter leading up to the end of the year climax.  It seemed a logical fashion to move my own story along through the year, since according to legend the Dogman would only be seen in 2007 before hiding for another decade.  This gave the novel a firm starting and ending point, the length of one year.  

I first started out writing a short story, but it soon took on a life of its own as more and more of the Dogman's encounters rampaged across my computer screen.  In many ways, the story wrote itself.  Living out in the deep woods in a small town, I was able to pull stories from my own past wilderness experiences and blend these with the many unique characters around my own hometown.  The owl swooping down the dirt road actually happened to myself and a group of friends when we were in high school.  It was quite memorable.  And the general layout of Twin Lakes, the village where the story takes place, is based on my own hometown.  Even the inspiration hill and the ancient CCC camp do exist, and you could visit these if you wished, climbing down into the deep, dark foundations of the now-abandoned buildings.  

All in all, it was an excellent experience putting down the story into print.  I would advise any authors-to-be to write from their experience.  Start with what you know, what you have lived through.  Blend in characters you know, and situations you have been a part of.  And look for inspiration from many sources.  

Be sure to check out Steve's website for his song "The Legend"

Part mystery, part science fiction, Year of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet of Twin Lakes in Northern Michigan . When night falls, the nocturnal beast, Dogman, scares the living daylights out of anyone he happens upon as he searches for a timeless treasure stolen from a Native American tribe. In the midst of the chaos, a young teacher is forced to put two and two together no matter how high the cost to rid the village of the treacherous man-beast who thrives on destruction and terror.

Year of the Dogman
A new novel by Frank Holes, Jr.

Autographed copies are available!  Email us at: 
[email protected]
to get yours today.

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Recipe of the Month:

Beer Lime Grilled Chicken


Beer Lime Grilled Chicken
Yield: 4 Servings

Use your favorite pale ale in this recipe.    

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 limes, juiced
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle pale ale style beer
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Cooking Directions:
1.  Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. When grill is ready, brush the grate lightly with oil.

2.  In a shallow bowl, mix together the lime juice, beer, honey, cilantro, salt and pepper. Place chicken into the sauce, cover, and marinate for about 30 minutes.

3.  Remove chicken breasts from marinade, and place on the grill. Grill for about 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear, and the internal temperature of the meat has reached 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Discard leftover marinade.  Serve with your favorite rice recipe.


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