This is a blog of the 31 things we will be doing in the month of January 2010 as part of our sustainable communities group. This post explains it all.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Liquid bread

I was given a beer making starter kit for my birthday a few weeks ago so it seems as good a time as any to start planning. We have some recycled bottles, the kit and now all we need is a bit of cooler weather or my father's cellar. Beer needs to be kept at a constant temperature and it's easier to keep it warm in cool weather than cool on a hot day. It can easily be wrapped in a blanket to keep in the heat that the fermentation produces. Another tip is to use long neck bottles or short stubby bottles as they provide less surface area for the secondary fermentation of the yeast. I've been told that oil in additives such as chilli is the key to enhancing those flavors. Also water purity and general cleanliness is paramount, as the less other junk there is in there the nicer the beer is at the end.
We're looking forward to the experimental side of brewing. I have had some experience with preparing wine for bottling, on my uncle's vineyard, and in that situation too, cleanliness in all things is paramount. One year everyone forgot the metabisulphite, used to stabilize the fermentation in the bottles, and corks popped all over the place. The next year too much was added and the wine was undrinkable.
Here's some link love

Autumn is here and with it a whole new season of work in the garden. I think the weed tea is about done and it's going to rain this weekend. I'm hoping to bust open a bail of pea straw and get mulching.
Speaking of mulching I've been tearing up the cooch grass and turning it in on itself. It seems to be keeping it down to some extent but it's so dry and thirsty under it that it's like sawing through wooden skewers.
I've been trying to get my head around a philosophy that Cass found about weeds. They improve the soil and get it ready for the plants you want. Weeds are part of biodiversity and soil health. All monocultures are doomed to collapse. In short weeds are a good thing if managed properly.
I'm going to put up a "no spray zone" sign on the footpath and start encouraging some of the purslane growing in the cracks.

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