Sunday, November 27, 2016

10 Ways to Be Sure Your Real Estate Buyer's Agent is Taking Care of You!

My dentist says, ‘you only have to floss the ones you want to keep.’ The same is true for any customer-client relationship. You only get to keep the ones you treat right.

But what if you’re a first-time buyer, or moving to a new area? Hiring a local buyer’s agent makes sense, but without a recommendation, you might be going into the process blindly, hoping for a good outcome, only to find maybe weeks after working with an agent, you’re just not getting what you need, personally or professional.

Assuming you’ve done your homework (checked with your state licensing board to check their license status, disciplinary actions, etc), here are 10 tips that can help identify an agent that is committed to providing great service and is seeing you as a customer for life.

1) Your first meeting place: Meeting for the first time should be done either, ideally, at the office of the agent, or at a public place. Most public places are noisy and distracting and don’t always allow both parties to concentrate on business. They should come with whatever documents they need, be professionally dressed and ready to earn your business in the first 30 seconds.

2) Being on-time: Real estate agents carry cell phones and most are obsessed with them. So any agent who shows up late without calling, texting or emailing is lazy and disrespectful. Good agents are always busy and simple things like traffic, a late previous client or a mishap at a showing can cause an agent to run behind. But expect a call. Always. And BEFORE your meeting time. Calling 10 minutes after your meeting time to say they’ll be 10 minutes late is not providing good service.

3) Riding in cars with Agents: Most agents will prefer to show homes in their car. It’s better for the environment than taking multiple cars, prevents people from getting lost or separated, allows the agent and buyer(s) to chat between showings and talk about likes and dislikes, and provides a forum to get to know one another on a personal level. And that means your agents car should be super-clean (there’s no excuse for a messy car), gassed up (unless your agent has had a busy day of showings before you, they should be ready to go), and well-maintained. While clients will read into an agents life, politics and assumed success by the car they drive, they shouldn’t. Agents who live in snowy areas, show a lot of rural properties or cover a large territory may drive beaters, trucks or small, efficient hybrids. Absence of a $95K Mercedes doesn’t mean unsuccessful.

4) Daily Provisions: At some point working with an agent, you may spend 4-6 hours on the road, looking at a lot of houses. Is your agent prepared? Good service to clients means water in the car for hot days, coffee or other hot drinks on cold ones; good area maps for each buyer to help orient them to the landscape, plans for meals if that’s appropriate, shovels to remove snow in winter from rural or vacant listings, and snacks for long days to keep everyone focused. Simple gestures that show your agent understands the process and is providing great service to keep you comfortable, happy and on-task.

5) Interruptions: Most busy, successful agents will be fielding phone calls, emails and text messages throughout their day. While some will turn their phone off completely when with clients, most will handle other business while with you, but hopefully quickly, quietly and only when absolutely necessary. If your agent is loud, obnoxious, clearly talking to friends or if rude, demanding or unprofessional with other agents, it’s a good sign that their level of respect for you is pretty similar.

6) Showings: Good agents know that your and their ability to negotiate successfully starts when they set up a showing with another agent, and continues when they get to the home with you. Smart agents know that being on-time for appointments minimizes inconvenience to sellers, parking on the street rather than in the driveway (where appropriate) gives you a better view, allows you to see any issues with the driveway (oil stains, cracks, other damage), and let’s the sellers and other showing agents come and go easily. Good agents will also announce their arrival verbally before entering (except for vacant homes, naturally) so as not to catch a seller who forgot or didn’t get the message off-guard, and leave notice of their visit with either a note, a business card or signing a sheet left by the listing agent.

7) Show and tell, not show and sell: Agents who talk about how great every house is, try to hustle, persuade or convince you this ‘this is the one,’ aren’t doing their jobs. Agents should facilitate getting you into properties that meet your needs, not sell you. Unless you specifically ask, good agents will keep their opinions to themselves, other than pointing out things you might miss, problems that might be new to the untrained eye or regional in nature that you might not be familiar with if you’re coming from elsewhere. If you want an agent’s opinion, ask. No property is perfect, so you should expect a well-rounded observation and commentary.

8) Commission/pay structure is clear and upfront: Every state and local agency is different in terms of how agents get paid. In most states, it’s pretty confusing, and if you only buy a house once every 10 years, the rules and what’s normal and customary often changed during that time, too. Be absolutely sure your agent spells out, in detail, how they work and how they get paid-in writing. In most places, the seller provides a portion of their proceeds at closing to pay a buyer’s agent, but not always. Be sure you understand who pays for what services and when, what to do if you and the agent decide NOT to work together before a purchase is made, and what your options are if the seller portion of the buyer’s agent fee is less than what you agreed to pay in total.

9) No questions go unanswered: Your agent is in the service business. They aren’t buying or selling anything, and their pay is likely based on a commission. If you have questions about a process, a property or procedure, ask. Agents don’t have all the answers all of the time, but should be ready and able to get them for you, quickly. Any agent who isn’t taking notes about your questions and providing timely, thorough follow-up is not providing top-shelf service. And if not that, what ARE they doing for you?

10) How does it feel? No agent should make you feel anxious, creepy, worried or in a hurry. There are too many agents to settle for someone that you might spend weeks or months with to feel uneasy. If things start badly, cut them off quickly, explain to your agent that you might be better served by someone else, and move on. If things start nicely, but deteriorate, don’t feel like you’re stuck. Have a frank conversation, difficult as it may be. If you can’t or won’t, call the agent’s designated broker and talk with them. Whatever you do, don’t stay. Things will get worse as you become more reluctant to interact and as a transaction moves along, cooperation becomes more critical and time-sensitive. You need clear, open lines of communication to tackle issues as they arise.

Most buyers and agents come to know one another during the buying process and have a meaningful, often friendly and sometimes life-long relationships. With a little paying attention up front and during the process, you can have that too by ensuring you have the right agent for you.


1,000 Words About Botswana

As we talked to locals in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital city, people were so proud to talk about the things they love about their country.

“We are free here, our country is so peaceful, you don’t have to be afraid,” said one.

“You can criticize the government, you have free speech, free elections,” said another.

Botswana is indeed an incredible country.

Home to not only the most beautiful wildlife we’ve seen yet, including elephants, giraffes, impala, kudu, and warthogs, but also to the friendliest people. It was one of the most vibrant political democracies we’ve seen so far, a nation proud of its peace and stability.

More than diamonds, people in Botswana consider water their most precious resource. This landlocked country’s national flag is blue to symbolize water and it even named it currency pula or “rain.” Nearly everywhere you go in the country — including public toilets, sinks and showers–you see signs asking you to curb your consumption of water.These signs are tied to a massive national education and advertising campaign geared at creating constant reminders about our obligation as individuals to conserve water.

Efforts to converse water have led Botswana to become leaders in environmental conversation in the continent.

In fact we can learn a lot from Botswana on the importance of conservation and techniques to reduce our consumption of energy and resources.

Here are two simple techniques they are using:

1. All electrical outlets — from the cities to the countryside — come with an on/off switch (pictured). While this switch might sound simple, how many times have you seen these in the United States (instead of just having to unplug everything)? Most importantly — people really use them — when they are done watching TV or using an electric kettle, they turn the switch off. Televisions, alarm clocks, air conditioners, and other appliances are programmed to withstand these power shifts and they don’t have to be reset when the power is turned back on.

2. We’ve all seen plastic bags on the side of the road or in trash bins — taking lifetimes to biodegrade — and doing irrevocable damage to the environment. While a few U.S. cities are trying to implement a small fee or even ban plastic bags such as Seattle (it passed but now goes to referendum in August), San Francisco, and Washington DC, we were impressed that Botswana has already implemented a surprisingly high (by local standards) national fee of their use or purchase. As a result, people bring their own bags to the grocery or use no bag at all for their groceries. Why can’t the United States implement a national law?

We also visited a project helping to conserve another of Botswana’s precious resources–wildlife. The Mokolodi Wildlife Reserve teaches the community about conserving and protecting wildlife and the environment, while also educating students about permaculture. By growing indigenous vegetables, recycling water for irrigation, and using organic fertilizers-including elephant dung-the Reserve’s Education Center is demonstrating how to grow nutritious food with very little water or chemical inputs. We met with Tuelo Lekgowe and his wife, Moho Sehtomo, who are managing the permaculture garden at Mokolodi. Tuelo explained that the organically grown spinach, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, green peppers, garlic, basil, parsley, coriander and other crops raised at the garden are used to feed the school groups who come regularly to learn about not only animals, but also sustainable agriculture. Tuelo and Moho use the garden as a classroom, teaching students about composting, intercropping, water harvesting, and organic agriculture practices.

Another plus to our travels here is that everything seems affordable here compared to its more expensive neighbor, South Africa (especially since we weren’t shelling out hundreds to go to Chobe national park for a safari). The pula is roughly valued at six to one against the US dollar. To put prices in perspective: a beer costs roughly $1 USD, a taxi anywhere in the city costs $3, a nice dinner for two costs around $15, a birdwatching walking tour with a private guide for two, around $25 per hour, and the bus ride from Johannesburg to Gabarone via Intercape costs around $25. The countryside might be a little off the beaten track, but it’s well worth the trek and you can still find a nice, clean, and comfy private double room with bath, hotwater, and air-conditioning for around $30 dollars a night.


$1,000 Ice Cream: The Golden Opulence Sundae

To many, the idea of spending $1,000 on an ice cream sundae is completely ridiculous, or even out of the question. Who can really afford $1,000 on an ice cream sundae? At the same time, however, there are many people would tell you that the Golden Opulence Sundae which is offered at the famous Serendipity restaurant in New York City is worth every penny. So, what exactly do you get for your money when you order this oh so expensive dessert? Is it really worth it?

What Comes With the Golden Opulence Sundae?

There is a lot that the Golden Opulence Sundae has to offer to anyone who orders it. With five scoops of the finest Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream, 23 carat edible gold leaf, expensive chocolate, rare chocolate, exotic candied fruit, a dessert caviar, various types of fruit, truffles and so much more. It is served in a baccarat Harcourt crystal goblet with an 18 carat gold spoon, a mother of pearl spoon, and gilded sugar flower by Ron Ben-Israel. The Golden Opulence Sundae is by far the world’s most expensive sundae, and many do agree that it offers enough to be worth the amount of money that you would spend on it.

Is the Golden Opulence Sundae Really Worth it?

Of course, some people do not believe that the Golden Opulence Sundae is really worth the money that you will spend on it. If you wanted to buy ice cream sundaes, at $10, you would be able to pay for 100 of them at the same amount of money that you will spend on the Golden Opulence Sundae. Of course, the main thrill of ordering the Golden Opulence Sundae from the Serendipity is the fact that once you have purchased it, you have order the world’s most expensive ice cream sundae.

What Should You Know About the Golden Opulence Sundae?

The most important thing that you need to know if you are interested in ordering the Golden Opulence Sundae, whether it is because you have $1,000 to burn or if it is because you really want to taste the world’s most expensive ice cream sundae, is that you need to let the Serendipity know. The Golden Opulence Sundae is not something which is served on a regular basis. Serendipity only serves between one to two of these ice cream sundaes a month. What this means is that they will need to know that it needs to be prepared. Giving the Serendipity at least 48 hours in advance is very important if you wish to order the Golden Opulence Sundae.


100 Tons of Dead Fish Wash Ashore in Brazil Following Massive Arkansas Fishkill

Millions of dead fish measuring an estimated 100 tons began washing ashore along Brazil’s coastal beaches last Thursday, Dec. 30, alarming local officials. According to Parana Online, the regional coordinator of Civil Defense, Captain Edson Oliveira Avila, issued a warning and temporarily suspended the sale of fish in the area as a precaution. The sudden appearance of dead fish in Brazil follows the disturbing report out of Arkansas of a fishkill that numbered nearly 100,000, an occurrence officials there believe was caused by disease.

Officials in the Parana region of Brazil said that dead sardine, croaker, and catfish began appearing Dec. 30 and were a cause for concern, considering that nearly 3,000 fishermen in the area depended on the local seafood for their economic survival.

“We will wait to see what happened,” Avila said said earlier this week, “but speculations suggest that fish may have died due to an environmental imbalance, dropping a fishing boat or leakage of chemicals.”

Other theories advanced as to what killed such a large number of fish included a type of algae entering the water that is known to deprive its environment of oxygen and the pumping of raw sewage into the water from coastal villages.

The deaths of such massive numbers is worrisome on a local scale, impacting not only the lives of the locals but also their environment. The fear often is that whatever caused the deaths might not be isolated or might impact other areas over the long-term.

And then there is the question of a global impact. The fish die-offs in Brazil and Arkansas seem to have only been one of a growing number of fishkills throughout the world. Following the almost 100,000 fish along the Arkansas River and the Brazilian fishkill a few days before the new year, a massive 2 million-fish die-off was reported in the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland. More reports have surfaced in South Carolina and New Zealand.

Most of the fishkills are being blamed on the unseasonably cold winters being experienced, especially in the dead fish populations found in the U.S. However, dead fish found in the southern hemisphere are dying for other reasons, because the theory of “winter stress” will not float in a tropical climate or in an area where it is seasonally summer.

Investigations into the dead fish populations — as well as a growing number of dead bird populations throughout the world — continue.



Leonardo Coleto, “Mysterious of killing of fish coastal,”


100th Day School Activities

Reaching the 100th day of school is a big milestone for both teachers and students. It’s a particularly big event for younger students. A lot of these school students are still learning how to count to 100, so reaching the 100th day of school should be a day full of fun activities and celebration. Celebrating the 100th day should not only be educational, but also fun. Consider any of the four activities below and your students will have a great time whiles learning something in the process.

100th Day School Activities: Art

One of the many great activities for the 100th day of school is to make an art project celebrating it. This can easily be done by giving your students a bottle of glue, a sheet of colored paper, and a hundred small objects. You can use macaroni noodles, leaves, cheerios, fruit loops, pennies, confetti, grass, or anything else you can find lying around.

For kindergarten students who are still having trouble counting, you may want to count out a hundred pieces for them and place them in a small paper cup. You can then give the students a cup, glue, paper, and let their creativity shine.

These activities for the 100th day of school don’t have to be the same object either. For example, you can fill a paper cup with 25 fruit loops, 25 noodles, 25 cheerios, and 25 pennies. You can use this as the perfect opportunity to teach young children about adding and counting by 25s.

100th Day School Activities: Math

Another one of the many activities for the 100th day of school is to challenge your students to do a hundred math problems. This school challenge was originally inspired by Dan Gutman’s book, “Mr. Klutz Is Nuts!“. In the book, the principal of the school challenges all the students to do a million math problems before fall break. If they succeed, the whole school gets a chocolate party!

These Activities can be easily adapted to fit the 100th day of school celebration. Instead of one million, challenge your students to complete a hundred math problems in one day. If they can do it, offer them a fun reward. Whether it’s a chocolate party, pizza party, or no homework for a week, even kids who hate math will be eager to reach the goal.

100th Day School Activities: Spelling

If you’re looking for activities that involve spelling, challenge your students to write a hundred words in honor of the 100th day of school. Invite them up to your white board and allow them each to write three or four words they know how to spell. Students will love that they’re able to write on the white board and also show off what they know. Depending on your classroom size, if each student can come up with a few different words, you’ll reach a hundred spelling words in no time!

100th Day School Activities: Reading

If you have any old magazines lying around, consider using them for fun 100th day of school activities. Pass the magazines out to your students along with some glue and scissors. Challenge them to find, cut out, and glue a hundred words they can read on their own.

If you don’t have any old magazines lying around, that can be turned into fun activities for the 100th day of school too. Send home a letter to your students parents a week before the 100th day of school. Tell them that you’re trying to collect a hundred magazines in honor of the 100th school day. If they can collect that many magazines, offer a fun reward, like no homework for a week. The children will love it and so will their parents.

Dan Gutman, “Classroom Activities”


1,000 Words About Mozambique

We love the energy of Maputo.

It’s the good kind of energy where we never felt like people were trying to hustle us like in the tourist traps of Arusha and Zanzibar, Tanzania. We also felt safe to wander in the evenings unlike in Nairobi, Kenya or Johannesburg, South Africa where we would jump into cabs after evening meetings (or linger in the suburbs).

Maputo’s vibrant, entrepreneurial, positive, and alive. It reminded us of Kampala, Uganda where the youth are bursting with energy, from the buzzing music scene, to the street and informal economy, and small upstart businesses.

Mozambique is not without its problems. Real poverty is everywhere, drug use rampant, many schools are dilapidated and deteriorating, and there is lots of evidence of environmental destruction and deforestation. But Maputo is clearly on the move, transforming itself and melding some of the best parts of its rich and diverse cultures.

We arrived by an Intercape bus from J’burg on an all night ride that spent an extra five hours on the road due to a closed highway from a chemical spillage and accident. And after pulling an all-nighter we jumped right into a series of meetings for Dani’s research for Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet.

We checked into Base Backpackers largely because it was in walking distance to the Intercape bus station and twenty dollar a night for a private room. We’d be lying if we told you it was a perfect situation: we were in the lower basement (it wreaked of mold), had to walk two flights of stairs and across a hallway to go to the bathroom (twenty people were sharing the one working toilet), cold water showers, and internet so bad that old school AOL dial-up would have felt like luxury. With that said, the hostel was in the heart of the city and across the street from vegetarian friendly Chinese and Indian food. The hotel staff was extremely friendly, and the “guard” — a mutt resembling a bijon frise named Spudd — made for a warm, tail wagging welcome when we came home.

We spent the day visiting a workshop organized by Prolinnova, the Spanish NGO Centro de Iniciativas para la Cooperación/Batá, and the National Farmers Union of Mozambique, UNAC, about different agricultural innovations. The workshop brought farmers together from across the country to share with each other different innovations each farmer was practicing in her or his community. What I loved about the workshop was that it wasn’t some NGO preaching about what should be done, the farmers led the meeting, they drove the discussion, they presented their own findings. It was really refreshing to hear from the people who know best what is working and what needs to be scaled-up across the country. Throughout the morning, farmers presented other innovations and practices-including how to prevent diseases that affect their crops and fruit trees and how to raise farmed fish. Batá/Prolinnova/UNAC plans to identify 12-14 innovations and practices identified at the workshops for a book which will be translated into three of Mozambique’s languages, allowing these different innovations to spread throughout the country.

The next day we spent an awe-opening couple of hours with Dr. Rosa Costa at International Rural Poultry Center of the Kyeema Foundation in Mozambique. We know all too well how avian influenza, H1N1 and serious diseases can ravage livestock and rural communities. Newcastle disease, which can wipe out entire flocks of chickens and can spread from farm to farm, is especially devastating for rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Vaccines for Newcastle used to be hard to come by in Africa. They were imported and usually expensive, putting them out of reach of small farmers. And even when they were available, they required refrigeration, which is not common in many rural villages. Today, however, thanks to the work of the Kyeema foundation in Mozambique, villages have access not only to vaccines, but also to locally trained community vaccinators (or para-vets) who can help spot and treat Newcastle and other poultry diseases before they spread. With help from a grant from the Australian Government’s overseas aid program (AusAID), Kyeema developed a thermo-stable vaccine that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and is easier for rural farmers to administer to their birds.

Dr. Costa also talked at great length about the importance of nutrition when it comes to treating HIV/AIDS. Many retroviral and HIV/AIDS drugs don’t work if patients aren’t getting enough vitamins and nutrients in their diets or accumulating enough body fat. She noted that while many farmers are often too sick to grow crops, “chickens are easy.” Because women are often the primary caregivers for family members with HIV/AIDS, they need easy, low-cost sources of both food and income. Unlike many crops, raising free-range birds can require few outside inputs and very little maintenance from farmers. Birds can forage for insects and eat kitchen scraps, instead of expensive grains. They provide not only meat and eggs for household use and income, but also pest control and manure for fertilizer.

On our last day we visited with Madyo Couto who works under the Mozambique Ministry of Tourism to help manage the country’s Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs). These areas were initially established to help conserve and protect wildlife, but they’re now evolving to include other uses of land that aren’t specifically for conservation. Madyo explained that in addition to linking the communities that live near or in conservation areas to the private sector to build lodges and other services for tourists, they’re also helping farmers establish honey projects to generate income. In many of national parks and other conservation areas, farmers resort to poaching and hunting wildlife to earn money. He added that establishing alternative-and profitable-sources of income is vital to protecting both agriculture and biodiversity in the TFCAs.

Finally we met with Jessica Milgroom, an American graduate student working with farming communities living inside Limpopo National Park, in southern Mozambique. When the park was established in 2001, it was essentially “parked on top of 27,000 people,” says Jessica. Some 7,000 of the residents needed to be resettled to other areas, including within the park, which affected their access to food and farmland. Jessica’s job is to see what can be done to improve resettlement food security. But rather than simply recommending intensified agriculture in the park to make better use of less land, Jessica worked with the local community to collect and identify local seed varieties. One of the major problems in Mozambique, as well as other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is the lack of seed. As a result, farmers are forced to buy low-quality seed because nothing else is available. In addition to identifying and collecting seeds, Jessica is working with a farmer’s association on seed trials, testing varieties to see what people like best.

After only five days in Maputo, we will definitely come back for another visit. Mozambique is so vast and incredible with loads of incredible projects to visit that our brief trip simply wasn’t enough time. But with meetings already scheduled in Durban, we boarded the 20 hour bus ride (had to go via J’Burg) back.


1000 Genomes Project Compares People with Healthy Genes to Those with Disease

A multinational team of researchers has, according to science journal Nature, been collecting gene samples from over a thousand volunteers from around the world that will allow them to compare the genes of “healthy people” with everyone else, to help in discerning genetic patterns that lead to diseases such as diabetes and cancer. The 1000 Genomes Project as it’s called, says the Voice of America, entails collecting samples from people that have demonstrated a lifelong history of health without the negative effects of genetic diseases. The hope is that such patterns will help head off such diseases in people that are born without such genetic benefits.

Nature says that the project, which included taking samples from fourteen unique populations from four different regions of the world: Europe, Afria, Asia and the Americas, will help narrow down the variants responsible for genetic diseases. Scientists believe that the vast majority of such diseases are due to a variant in just 1 in every 100 people. The difficulty has been in discovering such variants. This new study will go a long way towards finding them all.

To make the data recovered from the samples most useful, VoA says, the researchers will be putting all of it on a public database which means anyone that chooses to can do research on their own. They add that another way to look at the data is to say that by mapping the differences in the human genetic makeup, researchers hope to gain a better understanding of why some people are more susceptible to genetic diseases than others, and then to use that information to provide benefit to those that are more susceptible.

The great challenge of such a study was of course in finding the right individuals to sample and then convincing them to allow their DNA to be studied. Such individuals had to have attained middle age at least without ever showing any evidence of any kind of genetically related disease. By sampling 1092 such individuals, the team found not just a collection of people who appear to be free from genetic disease, but people who also come from diverse backgrounds which means ethnic differences in their DNA. By making the samples more diverse, it makes it much easier to highlight those DNA sequences that are common to all of those studied. The process took five years but now that it’s done, researchers from around the world can get busy looking at the samples to help finally unlock the secrets behind genetic diseases.


100 Really Wicked Awesome & Totally Cool Things You Should Know About Science!

When you have kids that are nerds it doesn’t take much to set them off. It could be something as simple as an IMAX movie at the planetarium or new slides for the microscope. When I saw the series of “100 Things You Should Know About …” at Barnes & Noble, I knew that they would get a kick out of them. It’s an interesting and highly educational series of books that gives you a lot of condensed information but can definitely be used as a stepping stone to research other things. For homeschoolers they are a really nice supplement for a variety of subjects.

100 Things You Should Know About Science is a great book for kids between the ages of seven and ten but with some help from mom or dad, younger kids could really learn a lot from it. It is divided up into easy to manage sections that cover a lot of different aspects of science. One of the nicest things is that there is a lot of usable information meaning that its based on stuff that kids come in contact with, let’s face the facts here, the periodic table of elements might be fun to memorize but seeing it over and over in books is just boring. This book takes common science themes and presents them in an easy to digest format with great illustrations and small quizzes along the way. There are also experiments that kids can do to learn more about the topics that are being covered and give them a true “hands on” experience.

Let’s take a look at one chapter of the book so you can get an idea of what this offers you. The World of Chemicals (pages 34 and 35), it has five numbered entries about how the world is made of chemical substances, how crude oil is processed, acids, bases and lastly how acids and bases react when exposed to each other. There is a large diagram of the different types products that can be made from crude oil depending on the temperature used and their overall weight. It is pretty cool to see that crude oil makes everything from tar and asphalt to fuel based gases. Kids can use this to learn more about alternative fuel programs, how crude oil is extracted and who uses the most in the world. Kids can also try out the “Frothy Fun” experiment that allows them to see the reaction between vinegar and baking soda.

Even though I made that rather harsh statement about the table of elements being boring, it is covered in 100 Things You Should Know About Science (pages 36 and 37). What makes this different? Entries 74 through 79 give you some solid facts about them including aluminum, carbon, hydrogen and uranium. There is a quiz and a color coded table with complete listings (name, abbreviation, number). I still have to smile when my oldest struggled with the word “xenon”, he would say it “x-non” and get completely red faced.

Other books in this series include “Space”, “Mammals”, “Earth”, “The Human Body”, “Inventions”, “Penguins”, “Elephants” and “Explorers”. If you are looking to build a home library and want to ensure that the books are used over and over again, this series makes for an incredible investment. Take advantage of the “buy one get one free” specials that Barnes & Nobles runs to save money on the various titles.

Pros: Friendly bur educational format, great for homeschoolers, awesome investment.
Cons: May turn your child in a complete science geek.
The Bottom Line: I will not be held responsible if your child turns into a complete nerdling after reading this book.


1,000 Words About Durban

We spent a couple of days in Durban which is the third largest city in South Africa. We arrived exhausted from Maputo, Mozambique after a 24-hour bus ride on Intercape (gotta love when they breakdown for hours in the middle of the journey and you have to jump on a replacement bus seven hours later).

Durban has a population of almost 3.5 million, and is a major domestic tourist destination, close to national parks and the historic sites of Zululand and the Drakensberg. Similar to our experience in J’burg, people kept warning us about the crime rate due to the economic crisis that resulted in very high rates of unemployment, reaching over 30% in many parts of the city.

Again we felt pretty safe, never felt threatened in any way or scared, despite staying at a hostel right in the city center, where we took advantage of all the terrific hi-speed wi-fi spots, nightlife, and affordable restuarants in walking distance.

We met with Richard Haigh, who probably doesn’t look like your typical African pastoralist. Unlike many Africans who grew up tending cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock, Richard started his farm at the age of 40 after quiting his 9-5 NGO job and buying 23 acres of land outside Durban, South Africa. Today, he runs Enaleni Farm, raising Zulu sheep, which are considered endangered, and Nguni cattle, a breed indigenous to South Africa, which is very resistant to pests, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables. Richard is cultivating GMO-free soya, as well as traditional maize varieties-“all the maize,” says Richard, “tells a story.”

Like the sheep and cattle, many maize varieties are resistant to drought, climate change, and disease making them a smart choice for farmers all over Africa. This sort of mixed-crop livestock system is increasingly becoming rare in South Africa, according to Richard, because of commercial farms that rely on monoculture crops rather than diverse agricultural systems.

But perhaps the most important thing Richard is doing at Enaleni doesn’t have to do with the different agricultural methods and practices he is using, but with the “stories” he’s telling on the farm. By showing local people the tremendous benefits of indigenous breeds of cattle and sheep and sustainably grown crops can have for the environment and for improving livelihoods, he’s putting both an ecological and economic value to something that has been neglected. “Local people don’t value what they have,” says Richard, because of extension agents who promote exotic breeds of livestock and expensive inputs.

And Richard is also helping document the diversity on his farm. He’s been sending blood samples to the South African National Research Foundation in order to help them build a DNA hoofprint of what makes up a Zulu sheep. This sort of research is important for not only conserving the sheep, but also helping local people by increasing their knowledge about the breeds they’ve been raising for generations.

We also met with Dr. Raymond Auerbach, the founder of Rainman Landcare Foundation, who nearly bursts with enthusiasm when he talks about the growth of organic agriculture practices in South Africa over the years. The Rainman Landcare Foundation (located outside Durban) is training farmers living outside of Durban on how to grow food without the use of artificial pesticides, insecticides, or fertilizers, as well as permaculture methods that efficiently use water and build up soils. The Foundation recently had to discontinue the trainings at its headquarters, which is also the home Raymond shares with his wife, Christina, because of lack of funding. Now, the Foundation works with farmers at their own farms, teaching them how to build swales to prevent erosion and runoff, use mulch to help protect soils, and make and utilize organic compost. “Compost is very much the heart of the farm,” says Auerbach, referring to how compost can eliminate the need for many expensive outside inputs, such as inorganic fertilizers.

Organic farmers in South Africa share some of the same problems as their colleagues in the United States, says Raymond. While Raymond and others fought for organic certification standards for farmers in the 1990s, the requirements are usually too expensive and cumbersome for many small, rural farmers. Certification can cost anywhere from 10,000-20,000 Rand (about $1,300- $2,600) and requires complicated paperwork, which can be difficult for semi-literate farmers. But by developing Participatory Guarantee Standards (PGS) for Organic Agriculture, which includes developing local standards and training local inspectors, while eliminating expensive certification fees for small growers, Raymond believes that poor, rural farmers can benefit from the growing demand in South Africa for organic food.

Other things we recommend while visiting Durban:

1. Have breakfast or lunch at Earthmother Organic (134 Davenport Road) where you can choose from delicious salads, sandwiches, and hot meals with very healthy organic ingredients. For vegans this might be your best option in the city, and we highly recommend anything off the menu of freshly squeezed juices. Raymond is a supplier to them as are many of the local farmers outside Durban.

2. Whether you like walking along the beach, surfing, swimming, or all of the above — Durban’s “Golden Mile” boats warm water all year round.

3. Go check out the Durban Botanical Gardens, a beautiful get-away, with free live concerts on Sunday afternoons, and a laid-back atmosphere (they let you bring in groceries to have your own picnic).


100 Calorie Snacks You can Make at Home

We have all seen them on TV ads and in the store, “100 calorie snack packs” from cookies to crackers. Small imitations of the real thing and in only small amounts (maybe five or six at the most for cookies and slightly more for crackers) – not really a satisfying snack and can left you wanting more. With a little pre-planning and preparing, you can have snacks that are one hundred calories or less and leave you feeling satisfied. According to Good Health, fresh fruit and vegetables that are the size of your closed fist is a good portion size and the length of your forefinger is good for protein such as cheese. The people at Good Housekeeping and WebMD agree with Good Health, further, preparing snacks beforehand will save you money and time as it will keep you from running to the vending machines as well as keep you from over eating which can lead to weight gain. They also suggest eating slow and savor the snack as it will help give the feeling of fullness. Further, you can add a teaspoon of jam, peanut butter, light mayonnaise or lite ranch as a dip.

For items that do not need to be refrigerated, keep them near so when hunger strikes you can quickly satisfy same without passing a vending machine or the doughnuts that were brought in my co-workers even as tempting as they are. For items that need to be kept cold, either keep in refrigerator or use a small cooler packed with blue ice that can fit easily under your desk or in a drawer. If you have to use the office refrigerator, make sure that your name is clearly written so no one else mistakes your good snacks for their lunch.

Here is but a brief list of snacks that are 100 calories or less. It should be noted, that these snacks play double duty in that they also count as a serving of the recommended daily allowance of such things as fruit, vegetables, protein and fats:

1. 29 shelled pistachios
2. 60 baby Goldfish crackers
3. 2 cups of raspberries
4. 28 grapes
5. 15 strawberries dipped in ¼ cup of lite whipped cream (such as Cool Whip)
6. 1 cup raspberries with a dipping sauce of 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt sweetened with one teaspoon honey
7. 1 cup applesauce (any flavor)
8. 1 medium peach
9. 1 sliced medium tomato sprinkled with 2 ounces of feta cheese and sprinkled with olive oil
10. 1 small banana or ½ large banana
11. ½ cup shelled steamed edamame
12. 2 packages of light string cheese snacks
13. 1 cup baby carrots with 2 tablespoons of hummus or lite ranch dressing
14. 1 ¼ ounces of turkey jerky
15. ½ medium cantaloupe
16. 1 tablespoon peanuts combined with 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
17. 1 small orange
18. 1 small apple
19. 1 hard boiled egg
20. 2 ounces of lean chicken, turkey or roast beef
21. 40 pretzel sticks
22. 1/3 cup whole grain granola

Although the amounts to not appear to be very large – consider the size of a medium cantaloupe or how much a cup can really hold. These snacks are much more satisfying and filling. They do not contain empty calories and can help you feel better about yourself. Happy snacking.


100 Push Up Program: Exercise Program Review

Most of you have seen advertisements on the sides of your webpage for workout programs or one simple tip to get fit. They show you pictures of guys who would be in body building competitions and say in 6 weeks you could look like that. That is probably one of the biggest lies I have heard in a long time, if it was that easy everyone would look like a bodybuilder. I found this program online for free that didn’t advertise online promising killer abs or biceps the size of bowling balls. I heard of this program through my friend so I decided to check it out.

The program is called 100 push ups so obviously it is push ups. It is a 6 week training program that tells you that after the 6 weeks you will be able to do 100 push ups. There is no membership, email, credit card or anything required. You just load the page and you have it right there in front of you. Of course there is a donation button on the side so that if you liked the program you can help whoever is running it. This website is great because they tell you why you should pick push ups and they show you how to do a proper push up so that you don’t end up hurting yourself. There is also a list of alternative push ups if you don’t want to or can’t do the proper form push up.

The program starts by having you do an initial test to see how many consecutive push ups you can do. Once you have done the test you are placed in a certain category and you follow the specific number of repetitions and sets listed under that column. There are 6 weeks in the program so it starts of with a relatively low number of push ups in week 1 and gradually increases as the weeks go by. There are also tests at the end of certain weeks that you will have to do call exhaustion tests. These are basically like the initial test you did where you do as many as you can and it places you in a category for the next week.

I did this program being able to do about 13 push ups in a row and by the end of the program I was able to do about 87 push ups. Now you may think that the program failed because I couldn’t do 100 like they promised but after 6 weeks I could do almost 7 times more push ups than I could initially and I have noticed some muscle definition on my arm where there wasn’t before. This is a great program to do because it is free, simple, you don’t need to buy any equipment, it works so long as you do and the results they promise are attainable.


100 Million Americans Are Poor, and What to Do About It

100 Million Americans are “Poor,” and What To Do About It

100 million Americans are “poor” by US standards (about $24,000 for a family of four), and 50 million more are “near poor” (about $36,000). What can be done about it? Here’s a link to a New York Times article to which I’m responding. The Times didn’t take my comment; said “try again later.”

So here’s what I would’ve told them.

Are “taxes” and “medical expenses” “unavoidable outlays”? GOP and Libertarians would cut taxes. As for medical expenses, I paid $50 out of pocket, and $100 via insurance, and insurance talked the hospital out of $250 it wanted, for a prescription I could’ve written myself, but needed a doctor to write. That “medical expense” of $400 was really a regulatory expense. Change the regulations so people can compete with doctors. The law is written to make doctors richer and the poor poorer.

And laws like that abound. Hey, mass transit? Let the poor paint “taxi” on their cars and sell rides: get rich selling, and stay rich paying less because competition increases supply. Let them paint “barber” on their porches and sell haircuts. Let them paint “legal secretary” and compete with lawyers. Regulations protect the ins from the outs; instead, let the poor choose! Libertarians, not bureaucrats, have the answer here: freedom!

Education? Divide the money among the students and let them choose what they want–home, private, any public, online, college…even park the money in a pension fund, study real life, and retire as millionaires. Increase diversity and parental involvement and innovation. Stop locking the poor into ghetto schools. Choices!

Child care? Dan Quayle recommended marriage over fornication.

To equalize money by force requires a non-equal Equalizer; it de-equalizes power. The rich don’t come after me, but the IRS would.

Jesus Christ is rather libertarian, and that’s what works. Follow Him. (Repent or perish.)

The Institute for Justice ( works well at getting rid of regulations that hurt poor people.

Let God arise and His enemies be scattered (Psalm 68).

My own website is, and includes links to other creations and subcreations of mine, including “Tax Day Song:”

Amazing Grace: an easy tax
Count ten and give God one
The IRS’s laws of tax
Ten thousand pages run…


100 Bottles of Beer – Sour, the Final Frontier, to Boldly Go Where Few Beers Have Gone Before

Here we are fellow brewers, beer geeks, and aficionados, the final phase of our epic journey. I hope you have enjoyed the ride. Over the past three years or so we have discussed my beginnings in home brewing and my growth along the way. I have shared 99 home brew recipes; plus a couple bonuses along the way; and some related stories, anecdotes, and disasters. This edition culminates the journey with beer #100, which is actually two beers made from the same wort. Let me introduce an epic brew, one which a fellow beer geek and beer blogger has proclaimed, “the best beer he has ever tasted.” Let’s have a round of applause for: Jolly Roger Red!

Ok, Ok, that was a bit over the top, but so is this beer. This was my first attempt at making a lambic or sour beer. You may recall back in part five of our journey I accidentally made a very bad sour with the sanitation issues I had on the Cherry Fever Stout recipe. I also promised we would get to doing this correctly and on purpose, so here we are.

This beer is inspired by the Bristol Brewing Skull & Bones series, specifically the Flanders Red. The name, Jolly Roger Red, in a way pays homage to that brew. The base recipe for this is an adaptation of several Belgian/Trappist/Chimay/Corsendonk recipes found in various internet sites. The souring is completed using the Bristol wild yeast culture and oak chips obtained from Russian River Brewing containing the yeast culture used in their award winning beers.

I got the Russian River oak chips from Brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo when I attended his symposium on sour beers he was presenting at the American Homebrewers Association convention in Denver in 2007.

The story on the Bristol culture as I understand it is it was obtained from the natural wild yeast found on the surface of wild raspberries from Cheyenne Canyon. Nearly all fruits have natural yeast on the surface. This is why they rot or ferment so easily when the skin gets broken. This yeast was grown up into a culture which was then inoculated into oak barrels in which the beers were aged. It is my understanding there was 40 some individual strains of wild yeast and bacteria in this culture.

Before I get into the recipe; really, what is a sour beer or a lambic? For a beer to truly and legally be called a lambic, it must be brewed in the Pajottenland region of Belgium near Brussels. Unlike ales or lagers, which use specifically cultivated strains of yeast, the lambic style is produced by spontaneous fermentation. This is achieved by using open fermenters which expose the wort to the naturally occurring wild yeasts and bacteria in the air in the Senne valley around Brussels. Over 80 different micro-organisms have been identified in lambic beers. The most significant however are Brettanomyces bruxellensis and Brettanomyces lambicus. They are typically hopped with aged dry hops which have lost most of their bitterness. This beer is then aged for up to three years in wooden barrels which also contain a myriad of delightful little critters. These beers typically have a cheesy, old hop aroma and a dry, wine like, very tart, sour flavor. It is very refreshing, like a tart lemonade. They may also develop a musty character often described as horse blanket, barnyard, or funk. Many lambic styles also have fruit added like cherries in a Kriek or raspberries in Framboise. There are many other fruit varieties as well. Check out “lambic” on Wikipedia for a good explanation of the lambic style.

Modern sour beers are quite similar although do not typically use open fermentation. Brewers today are somewhat more concerned about the undesirable critters which may fall into the wort. Typically, they are fermented with known ale yeasts and then soured in wooden barrels inoculated with the hungry little bugs. It is much easier to make a consistent product when you know exactly which critters are doing the work, most commonly Brettanomyces, Pediococcus, and Lactobacillus.

Jolly Roger Red

9 lb Belgian Pale Malt

1 lb British Mild malt

½ lb Belgian CaraMunich malt

10 oz Maris Otter malt

1.5 oz British black patent malt

1.5 oz British roasted barley

1 lb Belgian Dark Candy sugar

1 lb 14 oz honey

½ tsp Burton Water Salts

1 tsp Irish Moss (15 min)

2 oz Hallertau Mittelfruh hop pellets (60 min)

1 oz Kent Golding whole cone hops (60 min)

1 oz Kent Golding whole cone hops (15 min)

2 tbsp Anise seed (dry hop secondary)

UCCS Belgian Strong Ale 1388 yeast

1 oz Home Grown “Aged” Hops (dry hop tertiary)

1 oz Russian River Oak chips (tertiary)

Bristol Flanders Red yeast slurry (tertiary)

Priming: 1/3 cup honey x 2

Begin with three gallons water treated with water salts and heated to 168F. Mash in all the milled malts. The temperature dropped to 150F. My target temperature was 158F so added more near boiling water and continued heating until temperature was stabilized at 158. Cover the kettle and let mash for 60 minutes.

Lauter and sparge with 170F water and collect seven gallons of wort. Bring to boil and add honey and Belgian Candy sugar. Belgian Candy sugar is hard rock sugar crystals that typically come in white, amber, or dark depending on the molasses content. Return to boil and boil for 30 minutes before beginning hop additions. Total boil time is 90 minutes. Remove hop bags and cool wort before pouring into fermenter with the 1388 yeast. Original gravity was 1.074.

After 15 days in the primary fermenter, rack to a secondary and add anise seeds in a hop bag. The intermediate gravity was 1.016 for about 8% ABV.

After just over a month in the secondary the yeast activity has nearly ceased and the beer has cleared very well. We are ready to begin our souring. But I was curious as to what the beer would taste like un-soured. So I decided to split into two beers, one soured and one not.

Rack off three gallons to tertiary fermenter and add Russian River oak chips and the sediment/yeast slurry from two bottles of Flanders Red. You should be able to get similar results with the slurry from any bottle of commercially available unfiltered sour ale. Or, lambic cultures are availability at your home brew shop from both Wyeast and White Labs. Also add the aged hops at this time. These are hops which I left on the vine to dry and picked after the leaves had dried and fell off in the fall. They were very dry, brown and papery. I am amazed that they do not fall off along with the leaves. They contained mostly Santiam, Perle, Brewers Gold, and traces of a few others.

Rack the remaining beer, about two gallons, to a bottling bucket and prime with 1/3 cup honey. The FG was 1.012 for about 8.4% ABV.

This first bottling turned out much darker than anticipated, more brown than red. It had a moderate level of chill haze and the carbonation level was perfect. It had a thin but persistent head and nice bubbly mouth feel. It was slightly sweet with a hint of anise and a dry finish. Overall it was very good and an excellent base for the final soured product. Oh, and the 8.4% ABV was very apparent as well.

Here is where a brewer learns true patience. How long is this going to take to sour? Is it going to just “go bad” or is it going to be worth the time and effort? Well, there is really very little effort at this point, just patience. I let this age in the tertiary carboy for a full year. Yes, you heard right, one year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours. You get the idea, a freaking long time.

During this time the fermentation activity was very slow but never did stop. It cleared very well and developed a build-up of sediment clinging to the carboy walls. I was eagerly watching for the formation of a pellicle or for the beer to get “sick.” Pellicle is a white yeast film which can form on the top of the beer in the presence of oxygen. It is formed by the Brettanomyces and protects the beer from oxidation and acetobacter, a spoiling bacterium which creates vinegar. Sick or Ropy is a slimy thread like substance formed by Pediococcus. It is harmless and consists of carbohydrates, acids, and proteins. It will break down and settle out in three to four months. I did not see either of these substances form in this beer.

I bottled this using 1/3 cup honey for priming. It had a very refreshing sourness and just a hint of the barnyard funk. The FG was 1.003 for about 9.6% ABV.

I let it age another 3 months before trying a bottle. WOW! This was freaking heavenly! Dark red amber with no chill haze and the carbonation level was perfect; a thin tight head which persists to the bottom of the glass. This classic Belgian had a mellow balance of sweet, tart, sour, and a hint of funk. It even still had just this slightest hint of anise in the finish.

I sampled this sparingly over the next nearly two years and it just kept getting better and better. It was never kept refrigerated. It never became over carbonated. The funkiness increased slightly but that only made it better.

Patience; that would be fourteen months from brew to bottle and then aging another three months; but the true test is in making 30 bottles of this heavenly brew last two years. I still miss the rare occasion I would dig one out of the back of the closet. I really need to make another one of these.

Brewer’s Log – Star Date 03212012: “We have reached the end of our mission, 100 bottles of beer and I am still standing. I hope I was able to enlighten and inspire some beings of this planet to begin their own journey; and gave them a few chuckles along the way as well. Beam me up Scotty, my work is done here”

“Scotty…hello…Scotty…Spock…Damn, they left me behind. I guess all I can do now is… Keep on Brewin”

You didn’t really think I was done, did you? That I really only brewed 100 beers and quit? No, we have much more to talk about. So, let me light up this campfire with my phaser and get some wort boilin’. Gather round while we talk about things like growing hops, making wine, mead, cider, and of course, more beers.

Keep on Brewin…

To be continued…


100% Emu Oil for Hair Loss. For Men and Women

100% Emu oil has been used for thousands of years by the aborigines of Australia to reduce the pain and swelling of arthritis, heal wounds & burns and to reduce the pain, itch and swelling of insect bites and stings.

It is a given in hair loss treatment that frontal regrowth is much more difficult to attain than regrowth in the vertex or crown. Emu oil has consistently gotten the most positive feedback in regards to frontal regrowth, with many users experiencing the initiation of vellous (fuzz) growth within weeks. Emu oil blocks DHT. When DHT attaches itself to the follicle, it begins to kill it. There are certain natural products that have the ability to block or “keep” the DHT from attaching to the hair follicle. If the DHT cannot attach to the hair follicle, it cannot kill it. If the hair follicle is just “sleeping”, many consumers report an awakening of the hair follicle with the use of Emu oil! Emu oil is an all-natural tissue nutrient; by applying it to the skin, it helps make the skin become healthy and alive again. Additionally, the study showed that over 80% of hair follicles that had been “asleep” were woken up, and began growing. This is what emu oil may do for you!

I recommend massaging a small amount of emu oil into the hairless or thinning area of the scalp three times per day, if possible. In the evening or on weekends, apply a greater amount of emu oil to the scalp and leave on for 20-30 minutes, then wash hair with a mild shampoo or Emu Oil Shampoo. If your hair follicles were in a sleep state, you should notice signs of regrowth in 30-90 days.

Emu oil is shown to have no side effects, and this means that even at full strength, Emu oil has irritation levels so low that they are the same as those found in putting water on the skin, in other words, nonexistent. Emu oil is an excellent natural remedy for hair loss that is safe and inexpensive.
Properties of Emu Oil

Emu oil contains both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the heart. The omega-3 oils increase the concentrations of good cholesterol (high density lipoproteins, HDL) while decreasing the concentrations of bad cholesterol (triglycerides). In addition, eating omega-3-rich food will result in a moderate decrease in total cholesterol level.

Omega-6, or Linoleic acid, is a colorless to straw-colored, liquid, polyunsaturated fatty acid. Linoleic and another fatty acid, gamma-linolenic, or gamolenic, produce prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are substances that are found in every cell, are needed for the body’s overall health maintenance, and must be replenished constantly. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, which means that the body cannot produce it, so it must be obtained in the diet.


100 Bottles of Beer – Nuts and Seeds and Weeds

100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer, take some down and pass ’em around…10 more bottles of beer on the wall!

That’s were we are, the final 10 bottles. I sincerely apologize for having abandoned y’all on the trail for so long, but I have returned to continue our journey. I even brought a little trail mix for your enjoyment.

Nuts and seeds and weeds? Whatever could that mean?

Well I am talking about non-standard ingredients in beer. We have previously used various spices, now we are going to expand upon that a bit. Historically, there have been many different herbs and flowers used to flavor beer. Such as bayberry, myrtle, birch bark, chamomile, ginseng, heather, sassafras, and sage; just to name a few. Some once popular beer flavorings have since been determined to be toxic. It just has, over the decades and centuries, come down to hops being the most common in modern day brewing.

So, I am going to present to you four different brews, each using different combinations of nuts, seeds, and weeds, or herbs if you prefer; and, of course, we are still using hops as well. The first of these was inspired by Bristol Brewing’s Cheyenne Canon Pinon Nut Brown. This is one of their Community Ales which benefit various organizations in and around Colorado Springs. This particular brew benefits The Friends of Cheyenne Canyon, a conservation group which works to conserve Cheyenne Canyon recreational area.

Pinon Nut Brown Ale


7 lbs light DME

1 lb Demerara sugar

10 oz 77L American crystal malt

7 oz chocolate malt

1 lb Roasted Pinon Nuts

1 oz Simcoe whole cone hops (60 min)

1 oz Chinook whole cone hops (60 min)

1 oz Chinook whole cone hops (30 min)

1 oz Simcoe whole cone hops (10 min)

UCCS 1028 Olde English ale yeast

Priming: ½ cup corn sugar & ½ cup DME

This is an original extract with specialty grains recipe inspired by the Bristol brew but not necessarily based on it.

Roast the shelled pinon nuts for 20 minutes at 350F, checking and stirring every 5 minutes. Nuts should begin to brown.

Steep the milled grains in a grain bag in 3 gallons of cold water and heat just to boiling. Remove from heat and remove grains and let drain back into kettle. Add the DME and Demerara and bring to boil. Add 1 oz Chinook and 1 oz Simcoe in hop bags and pinon nuts in a grain bag, boil for 30 minutes. Add 1 oz Chinook and boil for 20 minutes. Add 1 oz Simcoe and boil for final 10 minutes. Total boil time: 60 minutes.

Remove hops and nuts and let drain back into kettle. Cool the wort and pour into fermenter with yeast. OG was 1.060.

After 8 days, rack to secondary and bottle after another 9 days. FG was 1.016 for an ABV of about 6%.

This beer had a bit of a sharp bitterness with a nutty dryness. Color was a very nice reddish brown. Very nice brew and compared well with Bristol version.

Well there you have the nuts, now lets move on to the seeds.

The next brew was also somewhat inspired by the Bristol Pinon Nut, but in a different way. One day at work at Bristol I was munching on a bag of sunflower seeds and thinking about the Pinon Nut, which the brewers were brewing that day. And I thought, “Has anyone ever made a beer with sunflower seeds?”

I asked the Bristol brewers if they had ever heard of anyone brewing with sunflower seeds. No. I asked brewers from other breweries and other home brewers. No. So, I decided I would blaze the trail on this one. I gave it some thought and decided Sunflower Wheat sounded just right.

Sunflower Wheat

7.5 lbs American White Wheat malt

3 lbs American 2-row malt

1 lb German Light Munich malt

1 lb American 10L Crystal malt

2 lb Wildflower honey

1 lb Roasted Raw Sunflower seeds

1 tsp Irish Moss (10 min)

1 oz Home Grown Brewers Gold whole cone hops (60 min)

1 oz Home Grown Santiam whole cone hops (60 min)

1 oz Home Grown Brewers Gold whole cone hops (30 min)

.75 oz Home Grown Santiam whole cone hops (10 min)

.75 oz Home Grown whole cone hop blend* (10 min steep)

UCCS 1010 American Wheat yeast

Priming: 1/3 cup corn sugar & 1/3 cup DME & 1/3 cup honey

*Hop blend is hops which I salvaged after a hail storm knocked them off the vines. It is primarily a mix of Brewers Gold, Santiam, Perle, Willamette, and small amount of various others.

Use only shelled, raw, unsalted sunflower seeds. Roast 1 lb for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, checking and stirring every five minutes. Seeds began to brown.

Crush seeds in grain mill to break the thin hull on each seed. Aroma from warm seeds as they were being crushed was amazing.

This is a step infusion mash. Heat 9 quarts water to 100F and add all milled grains, stir well and cover and let mash for 30 minutes. Heat to 122F by adding 1 gallon 140F water and applying heat. Cover and mash for 20 minutes. Heat to 145F and cover and mash for 60 minutes. Total mash time is 2 hours.

Lauter and sparge with 145F sparge water and collect 7 gallons of wort. Bring to boil and continue boiling for 30 minutes.

Add honey and sunflower seeds in a grain bag and return to boil. Add hops and Irish Moss at times indicated for an additional 60 minute boil; total boil time 90 minutes.

Remove from heat and add hop blend for a 10 minute steep, then remove all hop and grain bags before cooling and pour into fermenter with yeast. OG was 1.072

This wort had a unique aroma, not bad, just different than all previous brews.

After 2 weeks in the primary and 2 weeks in the secondary, it was ready to bottle. It was interesting in that after the fermentation settled down in the primary, there were puddles of sunflower oil floating on top of the wort. It was fairly easy to rack to secondary and avoid picking up any of the oil slick. FG was 1.010 for an ABV of approximately 8.2%.

This turned out to be one of the best wheat beers I have ever tried. It had a typical cloudy orange color and the banana-clove esters were subtle. The sunflower seeds came through as a nutty dry flavor, primarily in the finish. It was an excellent brew.

Moving on to our next brew we are staying with seeds but this time more in the form of seeds normally used as spices. Pumpernickel Stout is an original recipe based on a couple of recipes from various sources. I am trying to duplicate the spicy nutty dark flavor of pumpernickel rye bread in a beer.

Pumpernickel Stout

8 lb British two row pale malt

2 lb Rye malt

1 ½ lb American Red Wheat malt

½ lb American White Wheat malt

1 ½ lb British Chocolate malt

1 ½ lb American 120L crystal malt

½ lb British Black patent malt

10 oz American Roasted barley

12 oz flaked Maize

4 oz rice hulls

1 cup Organic blackstrap molasses

1 Tbsp caraway seeds

1 Tbsp black peppercorns

1 Tbsp green peppercorns

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp green peppercorns

2 oz Homegrown Brewers Gold whole cone hops (60 min)

1 oz Homegrown Willamette whole cone hops (10 min)

1 tsp Irish Moss (15 min)

2 tsp gypsum

UCCS 1028 Olde English Ale Yeast

Priming: ½ cup corn sugar and ½ cup DME

Heat 4 gallons cold water treated with gypsum to 164F. Mash in all milled malts, barley, maize, and rice hulls. The rice hulls are used to keep the rye and maize from thickening up and causing a stuck mash.

Stabilize temperature at 152F, cover and let mash for 75 minutes. Raise temperature to 160F and transfer to lauter-tun and sparge with 170F water. Collect 7 gallons of wort, bring to boil and add Brewers Gold, boil for 45 minutes. Add Irish Moss, boil for 5 minutes, add molasses and Willamette, boil for 5 minutes, add 1 Tbsp each of crushed caraway and peppercorns, and boil for final 5 minutes of 60 minute boil. Remove from heat and cool before pouring into fermenter with yeast. OG was 1.070.

After 4 days of primary fermentation which began very vigorously, rack to secondary with 1 tsp each of crushed caraway and peppercorns. Intermediate gravity was 1.021. It was bottled after 3 weeks in the secondary. FG was 1.020 for about 6.8% ABV.

This came out very good, dark roasted malt flavor with a subtle spiciness from the rye and peppercorns. The caraway was very subtle but was there if you knew to look for it. The carbonation was very low with a thin creamy brown head. After aging a bit the pepper and caraway became stronger but it never developed the caraway aroma I had hoped for. Overall, it was a very good stout.

OK, enough of nuts and seeds, lets move on to weeds. More specifically, lemongrass, which is a grassy herb with a subtle lemon flavor which I had seen suggested as a beer flavoring somewhere. I decided this should go in a lager instead of ale. I decided on a German light lager known as Helles. Helles is German for light. It is similar to Pilsner but tends to be a little heavier in body than Pilsner. It also does not necessarily contain Pilsner malt.

Lemongrass Helles

11 lb 2 row pale Malt

½ lb American Carapils malt

½ lb German Light Munich Malt

½ lb German 2.5L light crystal malt

1 oz Vanguard hop pellets (60 min)

1 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (30 min)

1 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (15 min)

1 tablet WhirlFloc (15 min)

.36 oz dried lemongrass stalks (5 min plus 10 min steep)

.18 oz dried lemongrass stalks (dry hop secondary)

UCCS 2305 Munich Lager yeast

Priming: 2/3 cup corn sugar and 1/3 cup DME

This is a standard single infusion mash. Heat 16 quarts of water to 170F and mash in the milled grains. The temperature dropped to 156F. The target was 153F but this is close enough. Cover and let mash for 60 minutes and then lauter and sparge with 180F water. Collect 6 gallons of wort and bring to boil adding hops at times indicated for a total 60 minute boil. Add the Whirlfloc tablet for the final 15 minutes and .36 oz lemongrass for the final 5 minutes. Then remove from heat and let step for 10 minutes before removing hops and lemongrass.

Whirlfloc is a new form of fining which comes in tablet form. I believe it contains powdered Irish Moss or perhaps just the active ingredient in the moss, carrageen. The tablet fizzes away in the wort like an Alka-Seltzer tablet and seems to settle out the debris faster than the moss. The amount of lemongrass was defined by the contents of the spice jar found in the spice section of the grocery store. One jar, net weight .18 oz, so two jars were used in the boil.

After removing the hops and lemongrass, cool the wort and pour into fermenter with yeast. OG was 1.056.

After 5 days in the primary, rack to secondary fermenter and add the final jar, .18 oz, of lemongrass. Intermediate gravity was 1.012 for about 6% ABV.

After 14 days in secondary, prime and bottle. FG was 1.010 for about 6.2% ABV. I did not let this lager at cold temperature. It just conditioned at cellar temp like all my beers. It finished slightly darker than a pilsner but chill haze made it look like a hefe. The flavor was herbal and lemony with a slightly heavy body. The lemongrass came through just like a dry hop at the finish would. It made a very interesting and refreshing summer time brew. The relatively high ABV was not really apparent.

Well, as promised, there are four beers using non-standard ingredients, nuts, seeds, and weeds. But wait…

What is this growing along the trail? It looks like a fungus. I believe it may be a mushroom. No, not the magic kind, but some very tasty looking Chanterelle mushrooms. I believe we could probably make a beer with these as well. No, really, yes we can!

In his book, Radical Brewing, Randy Mosher writes about the history of beer and many unusual methods and ingredients, past and present. He also shares many recipes replicating many historical and unusual beers. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in beer and home brewing. I just knew I had to make the following recipe the moment I read it and his description of the beer, “an ethereal fruitiness, delicate and complex.” I made a few changes just because I always want to put my own personal twist on everything. Since fresh Chanterelles are nearly impossible to find here, I had to settle for dried.

Nirvana Chanterelle Ale

12 lb American 2 row malt

1.5 lb Munich malt

1.5 lb wheat malt

.5 lb dark Munich malt

1 oz Czech Sladek hop pellets (90 min)

1.5 oz Czech Sladek hop pellets (30 min)

1.5 oz Czech Sladek hop pellets (10 min)

½ tsp Irish Moss (10 min)

.5 oz Czech Sladek hop pellets (end of boil)

.5 oz Cascade hop pellets (end of boil)

1 oz dried Chanterelle mushrooms

1 pint Vodka

UCCS 1214 Belgian Abbey Ale yeast

Priming: 2/3 cup corn sugar and 1/3 cup DME

Start by crumbling up the dried chanterelles and soaking them in the vodka in a sealed container. This will be added to the beer at bottling.

This is a step infusion mash. Heat 16 quarts water to 124F and mash in the milled grains. Stabilize temperature at 113F, cover and let mash for 30 minutes. Raise heat to 145F and mash for 30 minutes. Raise heat again and mash for final 45 minutes. Raise heat to 170F and mash out, lauter and sparge with 170F water. Collect 7 gallons of wort.

Bring to boil and add hops at times indicated for a total 90 minute boil. Cool the wort.

Due to the large amount of hop debris I decided to try to do a whirlpool to separate some of the hops from the wort. Vigorously stir the cooled wort in a constant circular motion. This will concentrate the hop debris in the center of the kettle. Instead of just pouring the wort into the fermenter, siphon it from the bottom edge of the kettle. I do not know how well this worked as there was still a lot of debris going into the carboy, but there was a lot left behind in the kettle as well. Pitch the yeast. OG was 1.078, target was 1.083, close enough.

After 4 days of vigorous activity it settled down and was ready to rack to a secondary. Intermediate gravity was 1.020 for about 7.5% ABV.

After 10 days in the secondary it was ready to bottle. I racked the beer into the bottling bucket and took a gravity reading before adding vodka/mushroom extract, 1.020, no change. Strain the vodka through a coffee filter to remove the mushroom bits and pour it into the bucket. A gravity reading taken now showed minimal change to 1.019. I called the ABV 7.5%.

I let it bottle condition for 3 weeks before trying one. Oh my God! Orgasmic! It is really that good; a little darker than a Belgian Golden with just a hint of haziness. The flavor is obviously Belgian without being too strong. Ethereal is a perfect description, slightly earthy, woodsy, with an unidentifiable subtle fruitiness. This was awesome! Very Excellent!

So, there we have five beers using non-standard ingredients, nuts and seeds and weeds and fungi! That leaves us with only five more until the end of the journey. Oh my! We are almost dry!

Keep on Brewin’

To be continued…


Randy Mosher, Radical Brewing, copyright 2004


100% Organic Food, Conventional Food, GMO Food - What's the Difference? How Can You Tell?

Maybe you are chemically sensitive to food additives. Or, maybe you do not believe in GMO (genetically modified) foods or don’t trust how conventional foods are being processed these days. Some companies have made it easy to find out if your food is organic, GMO or conventional. Other companies make it tough and it requires reading labels and knowing what to look for on the package.

Organic Foods

If the label says “Organic” or “all Natural” is it? The FDA does not require a food to be 100% organic in order to use the above titles on their products. Some organic foods may be 90% organic. Some natural foods may contain additives. You have to read the labels. For example, Bragg organic apple cider vinegar says on the front label that it is organic, kosher and contains no additives. Turn to the ingredients and it says Certified Organic Raw Apple Cider vinegar and Purified water. It also says that they use 100% Organic apples! This is truly an organic product.

Conventional Foods

Conventional foods are what you see grown across the countryside on farms. From corn to beans to sugar. Most, if not all, of these conventionally grown foods have one or more of the following: chemicals. Pesticides and herbicides, livestock may be given anti-biotics and or growth hormones to prevent illness and promote fast growth.

Many believe that using anti-biotics and growth hormones are bad for people’s health over long periods. Conventional foods can also contain additives to enhance food flavor, color, shelf longevity and texture. Some people are allergic to these additives. For example, Campbell’s Chunky Split Pea and Ham Soup says on the front label “Split Peas & Ham with Natural Smoke Flavor. Turn to the back label and find ingredients. Water,split peas, potatoes, carrots, cooked ham, water added (pork, water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrate) celery, contains less than 2% of : potato starch, bacon (cured with water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrate), sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, yeast extract, flavoring, natural smoke flavoring.

GMO Foods

By using Molecular biology, new plants are created for food. GMO is used to enhance traits to improve that specific plant. For example, corn has been modified to tolerate drought, disease, damage from herbicides and pest control.

It is easier to figure out if a product is NOT using GMO products. Most companies do not say they use GMO products on the label. More and more companies are putting GMO-Free on their labels though. If food is conventionally grown in the U.S., it is a good bet that it may have GMO ingredients in it unless stated otherwise.

Fruit/vegetables and GMO, Conventional and Organic ratings.

Look on the little label on the fruit or vegetables and find the number. If the number starts with an 8 it is GMO. If the number starts with 4, it is conventionally grown. If the number starts with a 9 it is an organic fruit or vegetable.

Read your labels. Are you eating Conventional, GMO or Organic foods? It takes a bit of time, but it’s worth it.



100 Celebrity Twitter Accounts

So you have a Twitter account but you are bored with the usual Tweets.

Here are 100 names of famous sports figures, musicians, film stars and television personalities. I have checked most of these and the links work but if you come across one or two that don’t, they could have been yanked by Twitter or the person cancelled the account and opened a new one.

Eliza Dushku:
Shanna Moakler:
Danny Masterson:
Lance Armstrong:
David Lynch:

Tony Hawk:
Matthew Perry:
Shaquille O’Neal:
Seth MacFarlane:
Luke Wilson:

Ryan Seacrest:
Miley Cyrus:
Shaun White:
Barack Obama:
Al Gore:

Margaret Cho:
Justin Timberlake:
Jason Mewes:
Pet Shop boys:

Arnold Schwarzenegger:
Britney Spears:
Richard Branson:
Michael Phelps:
Snoop Dogg:

Ashton Kutcher:
Eli Manning:
Oprah Winfrey:
Lady GaGa:

William Shatner:
David Hewlett:
Tom Fenton:
Mariah Carey:
George Stephanopoulos:

John Mayer:
Kanye West:
James Tyler Hilton:
Neil Diamond:

Stephen Colbert:
Henry Rollins:
Felicia Day:
Dave Navarro:
Katie Couric:

Adam Busch:
Amber Benson:
Backstreet Boys:
Warren Ellis:
Fran Drescher:

Mischa Barton:
Judd Apatow:
Ashley Simpson:
Martha Stewart:
Soleil Moon Frye:

Trent Reznor:
Justine Bateman:
Robert Smith:
Fred Durst:
Brooke Hogan:

Demi Moore:
Kathy Griffin:
Elizabeth Hasselbeck:

Ed Begley:
John Tesh:
Paulo Coelho:
George Takei:
Wes Craven:

Adam Savage:
Michael Ian Black:
Robin Williams:
Jerry Rice:
Beverly Knight:

Donnie Wahlberg:
Duran Duran:
Mandy Moore:
Jamie Kennedy:
Travis Barker:

Tony Danza:
Sean Patrick Flanery:
30 Seconds to Mars:
Emeril Lagasse:
Nicole Richie:

Kelly Ripa:
Jonathan Ross:
The Proclaimers:
Alanis Morissette:
Jamie Oliver:

Sean Combs:
Kourtney Kardashian:
Dan Cook:

Mujahid Debu:
Eddie Izzard:
Katy Perry:
Nick Swisher:

Who posts the most interesting things? Dr Drew is always adding things about LoveLine and Adam but he doe toss out some interesting and motivational things from time to time. Kevin Smith is a total riot, most of his posts are about hockey but he does add some ViewAskew things. Ashton is unpredictable. Henry Rollins is always thought provoking and you can’t go wrong with Ellen. I am a little miffed that Kid Rock isn’t on Twitter, he could Tweet his latest adventures as well as his Waffle House orders.

There are a lot of fake accounts out there so it can be hit or miss when you come across someone that claims to be famous. Kevin Smith drove that home when he called out Eliza Dushku’s account; it was later verified with a phone call from Smith to Dushku and everyone in Twitter land was happy. There are sites that have listings of celebrities and stars but they never bother to check them out or verify the information. If someone gets busted for having a fake account it is usually big news for five minutes then fades away.

If you want to be 100% sure of a celebrity you can go to their web page and see if they have a link to Twitter. Then all you have to do is check the address and see if they match. If they don’t match you can contact Twitter to let them know that someone is posing as a celebrity.


100 Bottles of Beer – Little Old Mead Maker Me

Hello again, did you enjoy those meads we made last time around? I know I did. And, like I promised last time, I have some more mead to share with you. So, let’s get down and sticky, fire up the kettle. and make some more mead!

Pomegranate Mead

16 lb Wildflower Honey

48 oz POM 100% pure pomegranate juice

1 T yeast nutrient

1 tsp yeast energizer

2 vials UCCS 3632 Dry Mead yeast

Priming: ½ cup honey

Bring 4 gallons cold water to boil.

Add Honey, nutrient & energizer stirring constantly.

Continue heating for 30 min.

Remove from heat and stir in pomegranate juice.

Steep for 60 min. Cool wort and pour into fermenter with yeast.

Original Gravity OG: 1.110

After the first 24 hours in the primary it had developed a thick spongy looking layer of sediment. This layer slowly floated to the top, broke up and settled back to the bottom and the slow fizz began.

I racked it to the secondary after a little over four weeks in the primary. It was still a little cloudy with a nice golden pink color. A sample taste was…WOW! It had honey sweetness, pomegranate fruitiness, and an alcohol burn. It was obvious this was going to be awesome.

The mead had cleared very well after four weeks in the secondary when I primed and bottled it. It still had the sweet fruitiness and alcohol warming sensation. FG: 1.008 & 13.5% ABV

Unfortunately, I did not make many tasting notes on this one. It started off with a little cloudiness which cleared very well as it aged. I managed to make the bottles last nearly two years and I remember it being exceptional to the last bottle.

For the next mead I made I went a little crazy, Agave Nectar. Agave is the cactus from which tequila is made. Agave nectar is the sweet juice of the agave plant; available as a honey or corn syrup substitute. I used orange and lime juice as well, think: Margarita. Now, what would this be called in the hierarchy of mead names or styles; I have no idea, probably melomel because of the citrus fruits but, is agave a fruit or a vegetable? Does it really matter? I think not. It is definitely sack mead because it is well over 14% ABV.

Agave Nectar Mead

6 lbs Wild Flower Honey

6 lbs Organic Agave Nectar

Fresh squeezed juice of 2 large oranges

Fresh squeezed juice of 10 small limes

1 tsp yeast nutrient

2 pkgs Lalvin EC-1118 Saccharomyces bayanus Champagne yeast (10g total)

Priming: ½ cup Agave Nectar

Heat 3 gallons cold water to 180F

Add honey and agave nectar and stir until fully dissolved

Bring temperature back to 180F

Add fresh squeezed citrus juices (about .75L) straining out pulp

Remove from heat and let step 15 minutes.

Cool and pitch yeast and nutrient re-hydrated in 2 cups warm water

OG 1.113

Activity started very quickly with a nice thin head of yeasty looking bubbles which settled down into a steady fizz. This continued for three weeks before it was ready to rack to a secondary. The gravity at this point was 0.997, lighter than water. The taste was very strong, citrus, and actually did taste kind of like a Margarita.

It took another three weeks until it was ready to prime and bottle. It was a very clear pale honey color with bitter citrus aroma and the flavor was very dry, like dry champagne with a hint of margarita. I believe the cloudiness that settled out was all solids from the orange and lime as the citrus was much less than when racked to secondary. The FG was 0.996. I expected more of a drop as activity continued up until bottling. The ABV was about 15.6%

I tried the first one after a month in the bottle. Powerful stuff, I could still feel it the next morning. But, it was kind of disappointing. The body was thin and lifeless and there was no carbonation. It tasted pretty much just like lime and alcohol.

We all know time is mead’s best friend and this was no exception. After four months in the bottle it was crystal clear with a pale yellow-green color and it no longer had the harsh lime alcohol bite. The body was still very light but now had some definite character. And, after nine months in the bottle it was truly sublime; smooth and mellow like the finest tequila, and nearly as deadly. Viva Agave!

So, where do we go after that mind blowing excursion? I didn’t know but kind of wanted to try one of the other many varieties of mead. The inspiration came after I had made some apple jelly with cranberries, which was quite nice thank you very much. Cyser, cranberry cyser to be precise, and I added a little cherry as well.

Cranberry Cyser

2 gallons Pure Pasteurized Un-Filtered Apple Juice (no preservatives or added sugars)

32 oz organic cranberry juice

16 oz organic tart cherry juice

32 oz water

5 lb clover honey

2 tsp yeast nutrient

½ oz (2 sticks) Ceylon cinnamon (secondary)

1 T whole clove (secondary)

10g (2 pkg) Lalvin EC-1118 Saccharomyces bayanus champagne yeast

Priming: ½ cup honey

Pour all juices and water into kettle.

Heat to 150F and remove from heat.

Add honey which has been heating in the container in a pot of hot water.

Stir well to thoroughly dissolve honey.

Cool and pour into fermenter with re-hydrated yeast and yeast nutrient.

OG 1.100

It fizzed along nicely for three weeks before racking to secondary along with cinnamon and clove. I primed and bottled about 2-3 weeks later. FG was 1.002 for about 13.3% ABV.

I shared a bottle with colleagues at Bristol after about a month of aging. It had cleared very nicely but had no carbonation. The flavor was tart like the cranberry and cherry; fruity and very good. After four months in the bottle it had carbed up very nicely, stayed very clear, and retained the tart fruitiness, very good stuff.

The following two meads are current projects still in the secondary as of this writing. I recently had hip replacement surgery which was to have laid me up for no more than six weeks but, due to complications, now has me out for three months. By the time I will be able to get back to these they will have been in secondary for about 4-5 months.

Spiced Peach Mead

10 lb Wildflower Honey

9 lb frozen peaches

1 oz cinnamon stick

¾ oz whole clove

10g Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne yeast

The peaches had been given to me two summers previously by my friend Randall. They were rather smallish and were beginning to get soft, very sweet and juicy. I peeled, pitted, and froze them just for a purpose such as this.

Thaw and partially crush the peaches, they should still be cold.

Bring 5 gallons water to boil and add honey. Return to boil, skimming off foam as it heats. When honey just reaches boil, add the peaches, cinnamon, and clove, all in a nylon grain bag. Turn off the heat and stir the bag around to get all contents mixed in with honey. Cover and let cool overnight, about 18 hours.

The next day the brew was still warm. Remove the peach bag and squeeze out as much juice as possible. I was left with just under 3 lb of wet pulp. Finish cooling the brew with an immersion chiller and strain into fermentation bucket. Pitch yeast and attach lid and blow-off hose. OG 1.064

Fermentation began quickly and slowed to the point it was ready to rack to secondary in only six days. It was still very cloudy and had a strong alcohol presence. It was fruity but did not have much peach flavor. The primary flavor was cinnamon and clove, I may have used too much. The gravity at this point was 1.000 for about 8.5% ABV. I cannot expect it to go any lower than that.

As of this writing it is still very cloudy and still has signs of fermentation activity. I suspect I will have to add a fining agent like Sparkoloid to get it to clear before I can bottle this. I am also considering using peach schnapps for priming to add more peach flavor. I’ll give an update at that time.

Sour Cherry Mead

12 lb Wildflower Honey

33.8 fl oz Marco Polo All Natural Sour Cherry Juice

10g Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne yeast

1 T yeast nutrient

1 T yeast energizer

I suppose you could consider this a remake of the Sour Cherry Mead from my previous edition. I, however, believe it is a different recipe. I found this cherry juice, as opposed to the cherry syrup (sugar added) used in the previous recipe, on markdown at my local World Market import store. I bought two bottles; the second I will use to make cherry stout when I am able to.

Bring 4 gallons water to boil and add honey; when boil resumes, turn off heat and add cherry syrup. Cool with immersion chiller and pour into fermenter with yeast.

OG: 1.110 – Potential alcohol 14.9%

Fermentation began very slowly and after four days I decided to add the yeast nutrient and energizer. By the next day I had some proper activity. I would recommend adding these along with the juice to begin with.

After 16 more days I decided to rack this to the secondary. This was a bit early as there was still some slow but steady activity. But, as I was going to have the hip surgery in only four more days I wanted to get it racked. Now, I am very glad I did.

It still had a lot of residual sweetness and honey flavor with a hint of cherry and a lot of alcohol. Intermediate gravity: 1.034 & 10.1% ABV

This is still in the secondary but is very clear with some sign of continued activity. I would say it is probably ready to bottle whenever I can get to it. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Well, that covers all the meads I have made…so far. I’ll be back again soon with more fermentation adventures. Until then, Keep on Brewin’…

To be continued…


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