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Showing posts from March, 2010

Confucius say,

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of."

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Lately I've been talking about homebrewing and home winemaking a lot. I plan to keep touching on it now and then so I've decided to take on a homebrewing sponsor. I'd like to welcome Do Your Brew to the website. I know this guy personally. If you're interested in homebrewing or you're an old salt I encourage you to give him a call or check out his website for any equipment or ingredient needs. He's very knowledgeable and is always happy to help with troubleshooting a brew or to answer any questions. He's also got great prices. Be sure and let him know that I sent you.

Cheap booze ftw

I just finished the last of my hard cider. It turned out really good. It tasted like sour apple juice. There was very little alcohol smell and little to no alcohol flavor. The second batch was slightly better than the first batch. The only thing that I did differently to the second batch was added a cup of dissolved sugar and champagne yeast rather than white wine yeast. I'll be this again. I really like those 1 gallon jugs, too. They're great for making small batches of wild wine. They're also nice to have around just in case the batch of whatever you're making ends up being too big for your fermenter.

I also kegged my beer. This was my first attempt at kegging. I've had a cornelius keg in the garage for the last year or so. I finally decided to clean it out and try using it. When I went to put the fittings on, though, they didn't match up. Apparently there are two types of cornelius kegs. The ball lock keg is much more popular and easier to wo…

Growing hops

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What homebrewer's garden is complete without some hops vines? I stopped by my local homebrew store today and picked up some hops rhizomes. At $5.25 these things are a bargain. Once they get established they should produce about 5 pounds or so of hoppy goodness per plant. I'll have to wait to plant them until it warms up a little bit but they survive just fine if you keep them moist in the refrigerator. Once you get them in the ground they take a year or two to get established but once they start producing they produce a lot. Now is the time of year to buy them if you've been thinking about growing your own. I'll post about my experience putting them in the ground once I get them in there.

Brewing Beer Equipment Basics

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Lately, I've been getting a lot of inquiries via email with homebrewing questions. I've also seen it mentioned a lot on other blogs. As far as I'm concerned this is one of the best hobbies that a preparedness minded individual can get into. Benjamin Franklin said it best; "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy". Before you do anything else go read How to Brew. This is easily the most comprehensive free resource that I'm aware of. If you want to drop a few bucks then I highly recommend The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. Between these two books you'll learn just about everything that you need to know.

So, anyway, once you decide that getting into brewing isn't such a bad idea you need to start thinking about the equipment you'll need. You could always just go the lazy route and pick up a mr beer kit
. Just follow the directions and you'll end up with decent beer. But if you want to keep using it you'll have to keep…

More Climate Change Shananigans

It looks like they've discovered more inconsistencies with global warming data. Remember the report that was released by the UN a few years back that claimed that livestock was responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions? The one that said that livestock accounts for more greenhouse gases than transportation. Apparently, they compared the total emissions produced from growing the feed grain to getting it to your plate with how much a car produces while driving. How much of this bullcrap "science" do we have to put up with before we can finally stop taking their word for anything? Climate scientists need to start rebuilding their credibility before we can take them seriously enough to enact sweeping legislation that will wreck our economy even more.

79% of Americans fear economic collapse

That's what a recent Fox News poll says, anyway. Now if they'd just get off their asses and start prepping. I wonder how long it'll be before we start seeing Mountain House commercials on TV.

Confucius say:

"The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

Uses for spent grain

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One thing that I hate about homebrewing beer is that you're stuck with a bunch of spent grains when you're done. They're the grains that are left over after you're done mashing. Basically you heat up some water to a certain temp and let your crushed grain sit in it for a while. The resulting liquid is the base for your beer. If you've got livestock then it makes great animal feed. It also composts very well. If I don't throw it in the compost bin then I just cook it up with some leftover vegetables and old or freezer burnt meat and feed it to my dogs. They love it. This time I decided to break out my cheapo cast iron grinder and make some bread with it.

First and foremost I had to dry the grain out. It's a wet, sticky mess after you're done mashing. I just threw it in the oven at 200 degrees for a few hours until it was mostly dry. Then I roasted it for another 30 minutes or so at 350. That got it nice and dry and it tasted awesome.

From the…

How to take out the US power grid

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Apparently some academics over in China published a paper that describes how to take out the US power grid. According to them they published the paper so that American scientists and engineers would pay more attention to this threat so that we can find ways to protect against it happening. There were no specifics on how to actually do anything in the paper. They're just trying to help us. How nice.

Between nuclear EMP, solar flares and now the constant barrage of cyber attacks originating from China I put power grid failure as a solid number two for likely TEOTWAWKI scenarios right behind economic collapse. One Second After and Lights Out by Halffast are both good reads on the subject. At least if the grid gets hacked everything would still work if you could power it. You could also still drive your car unless you have one of the new anti theft devices that can disable it remotely. If they're smart enough to hack the grid they'll probably be able to hack your car, t…

They're multiplying

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I picked up another gallon of that cider since the first batch was doing so well. With the latest batch I started the yeast with a cup of cider and a few tablespoons of sugar. As recommended I used champagne yeast this time. We'll see how it does. I've also had the ingredients for a good batch of beer lying around for a few months that I never did get around to brewing. They've been sitting around long enough and it was beautiful outside tonight. I took lots of pics of the process so I'll put up a guide to brewing from liquid malt extract within the next couple of days. Meanwhile, I found a use for that weight bench that I bought a while back. I think I can fit a few more gallons of home brew on it.

Fun with Buckets: The Homemade Water Purifier

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A while back I picked up a couple of Black Berkey purification elements. The plan was to build a simple five gallon water purification unit out of plastic buckets. I saw this link a couple of years ago on a preparedness site. Then Creekmore posted it on his blog at the beginning of the week. Thanks for reminding me to get off my butt and get this done M.D.

This was the easiest project that I've undertaken in a long time. You could literally build one of these with a sharp pocket knife as long as you have the rest of the materials. The Berkey filters come with a gasket and everything else that you need to screw them down. They cost $99 a pair at Our Happy Homestead which is pretty cheap insurance if you ask me. They're the same price everywhere so take advantage of Our Happy Homestead's free shipping on orders over $99. For the bottom bucket with the spigot I used an ale pale. It's a five gallon bucket with a spigot installed on the front that you can get at …

Making Hard Cider

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It's been a while but I finally decided to brew up some alcoholic beverages. I was at the local grocery store and noticed that they had gallons of cheap, organic apple cider in glass jugs. I just couldn't help myself. On the way home I stopped by the local homebrew store to pick up a rubber stopper that would fit the jug and a packet of wine yeast. You can use bread yeast but the flavors that will result will be much stronger. Different strains of brewers yeast will impart different flavors to the finished product.

Calling it brewing is a bit of a stretch. I just dropped the blowoff tube and rubber stopper in some boiling water to sanitize them, popped the cap off of the jug and pitched about 1/2 a teaspoon of yeast. Then I installed the stopper with the blowoff tube and put the other end of the tube in a jar with some water. This allows air to leave the jug without allowing any air in. You would usually sanitize everything but since the jug is already sanitized from…

No more Amazon links

I won't be selling through affiliate links anymore. Colorado apparently just passed a law that will affect the way that Amazon is taxed through affiliates. I'm not sure how it works. A few days ago was the first time that I'd heard of it. All I know is that they canceled my account effective yesterday and have stopped paying referral fees to Colorado affiliates. Once I find a way to get around it I'll start selling things again.

The Week in News

I can't wait for universal health care.But if you have the money you can always come here for health care...till the government gets their way.

Al Gore still refuses to shut up.At least people are finally starting to call him on his financial interests in the whole thing.

Some JBTs cracked down on a Philly bar for selling "unlicensed" beer. Apparently in Philadelphia a brewer has to register the names of their beer with the state. If it's not properly registered then the cops can raid the bars that have paid for and are selling the beer and confiscate their inventory. But if the beer's legal they'll get it back.....in 6 to 7 months after it's most likely already turned skunky. I wonder who this tavern owner pissed off. Laws like this are bullshit. If a law is so convoluted that you can't help but break it at some point then it can be used as a weapon. This is supposed to be why we have juries and appeals.

If you're into cheese making this c…

Getting started on the garden

So I finally got some seed started a couple of days ago. I decided to go the lazy route this year and buy a seed starter tray. It's the type with the compact, netted soil discs that you add water to. All of the tomatoes that I'm doing this year are heirloom varieties that I'm carrying over from last year. I'm also starting some peppers from seed that I got from last year. Last year I harvested a perfect zucchini that I had planned to get the seeds from for this year's garden. It was about a foot and a half long and 3-4 inches in diameter. It mysteriously disappeared after I came home from a weekend camping trip while I was letting it dry out. The wife likes to throw away anything that's not nailed down when she goes on her little cleaning sprees. Apparently she thought that it had gone bad because it had been sitting out for a week. Gotta love having a wife that normally tolerates everything but isn't on board.

Anyway, the plan is to fill my plan…

Some interesting news articles

A lot has been going on this week. Tempers are flaring. Countries are failing. Health care is going to pass one day and not pass the next. It's getting really nutty out there.

Apparently the pentagon shooter was a heavily armed, pot smoking conspiracy theorist. Am I the only one who thinks that they're trying to tie this whole incident to his "marijuana addiction"? I'd be willing to bet that if the government had just left him alone to smoke his pot in peace he probably wouldn't have snapped. No I don't smoke pot. I just don't care if other people do it. Considering that he couldn't hit crap he was probably stoned when he showed up to do the deed.

Speaking of conspiracy theorists, Ahmadinejad is officially a truther. This guy reminds me of some stupid little kid who likes to go throw rocks and poke sticks at tigers at the zoo. He really seems to want us to flatten his country.

Meanwhile students across the country have been protestin…