wayne stephen wrote:The one who coined the term defined it as :
"Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenence of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity , stability , and resilience of natural ecosystems." - Bill Mollison
Wowzers. I've been trolling this website for years and I was never sure exactly what permaculture was until I read this sentence. Thank you Wayne and props to Bill Mollison; when you're right you're right.
If you are adding those things it sounds like you must be doing an all grain mash. If you mash with *only* corn or rice, then there are not enough enzymes to break up the starches. If you are using a bunch of barley and adding some corn, then the enzymes in the barley will break up whatever starch they encounter, regardless of the source. You can control what reactions happen by changing the ratio of different grains and the temperatures and times they are exposed to in the mash.
When you make beer by adding a commercial yeast pack, you are adding like a trillion cells that are all from a single strain, propagated in a lab in sterile conditions. If that strain can't produce enzymes that break up complex polysaccharides, then those molecules will remain in the finished beer and affect the properties of the beer. That may be intended: undigested sugars and starches add sweetness and "maltiness" and mouthfeel, and your body will digest whatever the yeast don't. A classic brewing anecdote is that in the days before pasteurization and reliable city water, orphanages would brew weak beer, >2% alcohol but with lots of sugar and starch left over (i.e. lots of calories) and serve it to children.
The Kefir scoby is more "wild" and wild things tend to be more adaptive, there will be some dominant strains in there doing their Kefir thing when they are in milk, but there will be countless other strains hanging around that will be able to digest all kinds of things, and the mix will change when you put them in wort.
Well, we always say hops are added to beer to inhibit spoilage bacteria, but there are sour beers like Belgian Lambics that are hopped and yet bacteria are integral to the flavor profile.
I have tried to make malt vinegar from beer, and did not have good success, and maybe some of that can be blamed on the hops, but I didn't have much success with wine vinegar either, so I think it's more about my technique or local conditions than anything else.
My guess is that the hops will slow the bacteria down, but not completely kill them, or maybe only kill certain strains. Again, if you want to favor the production of alcohol, then you want conditions that favor yeast, so that should work in your favor.
You could also consider adding some lactose (milk sugar) since the Kefir grains are used to eating lactose in milk. Most brewing stores sell powdered lactose.
I think the outcome of the beverage you make will have a strong dependence on the amount of air that the Kefir colonies get. Typically Kefir is an aerobic fermentation: surface exposed to some oxygen, maybe covered lightly with a cloth. The yeasts will munch on sugar to make some alcohol as they do, and the bacteria will munch on the alcohol to make some acid.
Beers and other alcoholic things are usually fermented in anerobic conditions: with an airlock so CO2 can escape, but no more air can get back in. Yeast can still munch sugar to make alcohol without air, but bacteria have a much harder time munching alcohol to make acid. I don't think the bacteria will die, but you will definitely tip the scales in favor of the yeast (and therefore the production and retention of alcohol) by adding an airlock.
I'm not hating on it, I totally embrace this plant in my permaculture lawn. I've got some dandelions, and they are signaling to me an area of my lawn where the soil is compacted and maybe a little low on nutrients; so I sprinkle some compost there. I have clover, and it is signaling to me an area of my lawn that is nitrogen deficient, so I sprinkle a little nitrogen rich fertilizer there. I have crabgrass, and it signalling an area of generally poor soil; so I sprinkle some compost and fertilizer there. Or whatever. Sometimes I just do nothing and see what happens.
What I don't like are the areas of my lawn that seem to be a monocrop of creeping charlie. It is definitely glechoma hederacea, and it is blooming now, and it makes a good tea. I'm not really worried about it being an invasive just because it's a non-native to Wisconsin, I think it can coexist with grass. I just want to encourage the grass a little more.
This is an old thread, but it is appropriately named, so I will keep it going.
I've got lots of creeping charlie. I'm trying to have a lawn, but I'm trying to have as permaculture of a lawn as possible. I mow high with a reel mower, I never water my lawn (but I do strategically empty my rain barrels.) I've done soil tests, and they show high pH and low boron, so I've added sulfur, and sprayed a weak borax solution to try to make my soil as favorable to grass as possible. Now that I read more of Elaine Ingham's stuff, I'm wondering if adding those things is adding too many salts and disrupting the soil-food-web. Always more to learn.
My Question! If I take the most permaculture perspective that the problem is the solution, what problem is the creeping charlie working to correct? Is it a dynamic accumulator? (of what?) Is it really tolerant of something I have too much of? Is it hardy against a deficiency I might have? How can I help this plant do the work it is trying to do?
I think spent grains are actually nitrogen rich. When we brew, we're trying to extract the starches and sugars, and a lot of the nitrogen in proteins is left behind. In my experience putting spent grains in a compost pile, they are like a "green" material, and need lots of "browns" to balance them out. Here's a report from a quick search:
We raised sheep on a small farm when I was young. The main product was meat, and the wool was considered a byproduct. They were pastured in the summer, then fed indoors on feed and hay from an overhead slatted manger, so the wool was dirty from that. Minimizing hay feeding and indoor time would keep the wool cleaner, especially if the animals are paddock-shifted so they are constantly being moved into fresh areas with plenty of growth and no mud.
Wool is hair, and the healthier the animal, the healthier their hair. If permaculture keeps the sheep in peak health, then the wool will be more better. Extreme conditions is malnutrition and stress can cause a "wool break" where the whole fleece sloughs off in one matted sheet. That's baaaaaad.
Paul Wheaton, sometimes you are annoying any sometimes you say things I don't agree with. Sometimes you say things I do agree with in an annoying way. But SOMETIMES, you say things that are so on point that my mind is turned inside out with an amazing essay that goes places I never would have thought to think. They are (like this one) mostly of the form: "X is a good thing, but it's more complicated than that. Have you thought of ..."
Thanks for being you. I'm glad I live in a world with you in it. I look forward to further annoyance.
All good points C Gallas. I think about the permacultreability of beer in three ways:
Barley (or other grains) seems like the hardest part, because even if you find or grow grains according to permaculture principles, you still have to malt them. That being said, there are some organic malts available, malted by producers who claim to use all renewable energy.
Hops are easy. They are a hardy perennial that you can grow in your backyard. Totally permaculture without even trying.
Honey is a great thing you can add, and it's getting easier to find sustainable, local, raw honey. Raw honey can even be a source of wild yeasts!
Other spicing and flavoring ingredients can be grown or wild-harvested, like spruce tips, juniper berries, even (apparently) creeping charlie.
This also includes the use of the leftovers: spent grains are awesome in compost (typically high in protein so nitrogen rich) and they are just about sterilized from the mashing process, so they are primed for fungiculture.
2) Process energy (mostly heating water)
You have to heat water for mashing, heat it again for sparging, heat it some more for boiling, boil the crap out of it for an hour, then dump all that heat out. Anything you can do to generate that heat in a more sustainable and efficient way will be an improvement. Heating with wood on a rocket stove is a great idea. Also solar heat; I'm going to experiment with a (danger ahead) Fresnel lens. You can also experiment with styles of beer that minimize the boiling step or skip it all together.
3) Water consumption
This does not count the water that actually goes into the beer itself, but all the water that goes into all the other steps for cleaning and cooling. Some breweries that are concerned with sustainability will report a ratio of gallons of water consumed to make a gallon of beer. From what I am remembering now, getting that under five is an accomplishment. Obviously if it is done without harsh chemicals, pretty much all of that water can be cycled directly back into whatever soil needs watering, some of the water will even contain delicious sugars soils love. Cleaning uses a ton of water that I don't really know how to eliminate, I try to soak things and reuse that water as long as it's not dirtier than what I am trying to clean, and have everything lined up and ready to go so that I have the water running as little as possible for my final rinse. For the cooling water, you can use a device called a coolship that spreads the hot liquid in a thin layer for fast cooling. This also allows for the collection of wild yeasts, and is considered level 9 kung-fu ninja brewing. You can also just wait a long time for things to cool off, or get a more efficient heat exchanger. I have not considered using the hot wort to heat more water, but that is so crazy it just might work.
I have a standing order with my friends that if they bring me a case of empty bottles, I give them a 6-pack of my homebrew. Once you make a few trades like that, you'll have more bottles than you know what to do with. You have to be OK with other peoples moldy bottles, some of which aren't even re-cappable, but following one of the general axioms of recycling: if you take more of all of it, you get more of what you want.
I soak in 5-gallon buckets in plain water for at least 24 hours, then in some soapy water for at least 24 hours, scraping labels in between. That one-two punch cuts through most things and leaves the bottles sparkling clean. I have enough now that I can be really picky about the ones I keep, and I send some to the recycling every time I cycle through them.
Even beginners can make their own fermented foods! This guide includes in-depth instruction for making kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles and then offers more than 120 recipes using the same methods to make over 80 other fermented vegetable and herbs, including pickled Brussels sprouts, curried golden beets, carrot kraut, and pickled green coriander. Many of the recipes can be made in small batches (such as single pint). There are also recipes for using the fermented foods.
I am wary of "acorn inflation" and I know the point of these reviews is not to just make it look like these books are all good, so let me explain why I think this is truly a 10-acorn book. First off, this is not a book of recipes, this is a book describing types and techniques of fermentation. It contains all the info you would need to begin developing your own recipes (salt concentrations, vegetable types and possible variations on a style, etc.) with useful information about methods and techniques. Where the book really shines is in its completeness; if there are other types of fermentation that Mr. Katz left out, then they are obscure indeed. It contains information about African fermentations that take less than a day in the blistering heat, to Scandinavian traditions of pit-buried fish that last all winter. The other exceptional feature of this book is the clear presentation of information with no agenda. This book is much more "brown" than "purple," presenting well documented and referenced information, and letting the reader draw their own conclusions. His discussion of botulism is especially good and well-researched. As far as readability, you need to be pretty jazzed up about fermentation in order to sit down and read this book for hours. I have read it cover-to-cover, but it is much more useful now as a reference book as I participate in the collective re-learning of fermenting traditions. When I am ready to try a new ferment, I always revisit that section in The Art of Fermentation. It's a book that will have a space on my shelves for a looooong time.
Well, I got some aloe, and in terms of immediate, local relief, it works very well, better than hydrocortisone in fact, so that's great.
I liked your comment that the itch is the symptom, something else is the cause. It always starts in the late winter / early spring. I will have to reflect and think about what else is changing in my life and routine at the same time.
I definitely get my probiotics and ferments, I just started a fresh batch of kraut today. And I try to get my 64 oz of water (though that can be a tough job, but I'm almost always at 48+ oz/day.)
Every spring I develop an itch that starts on the back of my hands and neck. It starts out like dry skin from the winter, but eventually, it just seems to take over and move out onto my knuckles and up my arm. If I let it got and really scratch at it, then I will get little weepy bumps. It responds well to topical hydrocortisone cream, and I've always just attributed it to some kind of allergy to an oil in the air as plants are budding in the spring. My mom gets it too, as do several aunts and uncles; we've always just called it "spring itch."
Anybody know what is going on here, and/or what natural remedy I can apply? Or what should I avoid (or seek out) in the first place to prevent it. Thanks in advance, and let me know if I'm not in the right forum. -Luke
Amber Beckerson wrote:This must be where Frank Herbert got the idea for "wind tunnel moisture traps" used by the Fremen in the "Dune" books. I always wondered how possible it was for that to actually work.
This has always fascinated me, and there is an ancient middle-eastern structure called a Qanat, which is more of a sideways well, but can also be used for cooling/air conditioning (that will inevitably collect water as well.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qanat
That's cool, and the boom deployment system reminds me of these http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SkySails designed for container ships to use wind simply for propulsion, like... a sail! I am loving the innovation in this space, especially with these tethered systems that can be put up and taken down with minimal ground site construction space/time/materials/expense. Hooray for high-tech versions of classic simple concepts!
I just saw Anchor Hocking glass cookie jars, one, two, and mabye even 3 gallons in the $15 - $25 range. Sur la Table and Amazon, probably lots of other places, too. Nice squat cylinders with wide openings, great for fermenting. Totally transparent, so you'll want to keep them away from too much UV light.
"Kosher" salt refers to the form that the salt is in (fairly large, flat, somewhat sharp grains) vs table salt (tiny perfect cubes) or rock salt (big, icemelting chunks.) Kosher salt is used to make other foods Kosher by drawing out water and blood, I don't think the Torah/Bible says much about how salt must be made, but I am certainly not an expert on that.
I like to use sea salt for my ferments, because of the micronutrients, both for myself and for the bacteria. It's usually been refined at least a little bit, and the most recent box I got is actually Kosher sea salt.
It's a $45 glass jar, so I'm not sure exactly what your definition of cheap is, but it's got to be less than oak barrels. The top is plastic, but this would not be in extended contact with your foodstuff, and I'm sure an ingenious person could come up with a solution...
Can you be more specific about "they just don't taste that good?"
Too salty? Too acidic? Or not enough of something? Have you made them before with better results?
I prefer my pickles very well fermented, with lots of strong acidic taste, but I prefer the taste from fermentation that happens in cool places like basements or even refrigerators. Almost any variable you can think of will have some effect on the flavor.
Not sure if anyone is still watching this thread, but it's definitely something that I am thinking about. I really started gardening this year in the suburbs, and rabbits were a major issue. My joke was to tell people that I wasn't gardening, I was just making a list of plants that rabbits did and did not like. I also have squirrels and probably racoons (and an occasional neighborhood dog...) so im looking for "broad spectrum" nibbling critter solutions.
I did find that they tend to leave solanaceae (nightshade) plants alone. My tomaoes and potatoes were mostly undisturbed. I had an eggplant that was knocked over at a very young stage and did not recover, and I did not plant any peppers. Perhaps the alkaloids in these plants make them un-tasty to critters?
They also did not bother my butternut squash, or the zucchini (once it was established.) I believe that they did not like the tiny, sharp, "guard hairs" on these types of plants. Too prickly for their delicate noses.
They left my hop plants alone, and did not touch the sage or basil. Again, too much flavor for their delicate palates.
I had several collards, and those did well, but I think they grew tall enough to be resistant to some mild chewing, as long as the central "new leaf" section remained undisturbed.
Lettuce: I thought I could plant so much it would overwhelm them or satiate them, or give them diabetes. No. They ate it all. Tiny leaves would poke out only to disappear when you turn your back.
Carrots: What's up, doc? I'll tell you what's up, the rabbits ate all my carrots, that's what's up.
Peas: worse than lettuce, if that's possible.
Asparagus: I think the squirrels like to just dig things up
I'm going to try again this year, with a combination of raised beds, cages, fence, location, guard plants, etc. We'll see what works.
Trying to heat sterilize your naturally fermented foods IMHO is a waste of energy. Your intuition to ferment in a large crock and then transfer to small jars is probably the best idea. At the beginning of fermentation, the bacteria that dominate are called "heterofermentative" i.e. they make many things, including lots of CO2 gas. You want this gas-producing part of the process to happen in the crock under a weight so the CO2 can just bubble out. Once the ferment is pretty well acidified, then the "homofermentative" bacteria have taken over and they just make more lactic acid and very little gas. Then you can put it in a jar, smash it in good, fill it really full, and put a lid on it. The saltiness, acid, and live bacteria keep the baddies from taking over, and your jars shouldn't blow up. When I walk past mine in the unheated basement (not in the fridge) I tap on the lids, and if they seem bulge-y, I just vent them a little. Some people claim that the glass jars with the wire closure and rubber rings are sort of self-venting, but I don't know.
Cooks Illustrated magazine a few years back had a fried chicken recipe that involved making a brine from buttermilk, salt, and garlic, soaking the chicken in it over night, then covering with flour and frying. The taste of the meat was phenomenal, salty throughout and so garlic-y, and the breading stayed on, because the thick buttermilk layer held it in place.
The "sugar" in bread is going to be tied together in long chains of starch, so it won't actually be as easily accessible to the microorganisms as the beet sugar. And whatever yeasts or bacteria that were present in the fermentation of the bread dough will be killed by the baking. (Certainly there will be an eventual recolonization of the bread, but that is often molds before bacteria.)
Perhaps what the bread adds is protein. I'm not sure how much protein is in beets. You mentioned you have trouble digesting grains, and those proteins are often a source of irritation, but that gives me two thoughts:
1) maybe the organisms in the kvass will help digest them *for* you.
2) try adding a grain that does agree with you: rice? quinoa?
Cider vinegar mother should work on wine and vice versa. There is some diversity among acetic acid bacteria, and there may be particular combinations which work particularly well in wine vs. cider vs. beer, but that will quickly even itself out. They are all trying to convert ethanol into acetic acid, and that is the same no mater what the ethanol was made from.
I have had some failures with vinegar which I attribute to lack of oxygen, i.e. tried to ferment in a big jar with a little neck. Ethanol fermentation is anerobic, so tiny openings are great because they are easy to plug up with airlock, but acetic acid production needs oxygen, so now I always make sure that the jar has straight sides with a big lid, like a mason jar. I have also had more success throwing a little sugar into the beer/wine I am trying to ferment to give the bacteria something to eat besides pure ethanol (~1 Tbsp/pint.)It seems that if I don't add the sugar, molds start to take over before the bacteria have a chance to start making acid, and the eventual vinegar has an off flavor.
I am using a aggregated method mostly based on Katz's Art of Fermentation:
Soak vegetables in brine (too salty to eat, ~5% salt by weight) for 1-3 days
make a spice paste using chilis, garlic, ginger, and rice (plenty of rice) with a little fish sauce and some Sriracha sauce (or whatever looks spicy and needs to be used in the fridge...)
drain the veggies, rub/mix with the paste and pack in a crock, add brine/water if needed and weight (then wait.)
in 1-3 weeks, remove from crock and pack in glass jars for storage and distribution.
in 1-3 more weeks, wonder where all your kimchi went and start more.
I've had it out of the fridge for weeks, but not months yet (doesn't last that long) but I don't see why not. To maximize shelf life, pack in jars with as little air space as possible, store as cold and dark as possible, and vent periodically, taking care to minimize the amount of stuff that gets back in. Higher salt content also extends shelf life.
You could also look into Harsch crock, which has a water seal at the lid. In theory, a well packed crock of this style left undisturbed should last through the winter in a cool dry place.
My dad has carried a pair of small Vise-Grips in a leather belt pouch for years, and swears by them. Pliers-cum-wrench, makeshift handle, and the Vise-Grip brand ones have a wire cutter at the base of the jaw.
If I put a pond like this in my backyard, do I have to circulate the water? Do I have to filter it? What happens if I don't? I've got rainbarrels now, but they only hold so much, and I want to make the water that falls on my house stick around for a little while longer on my little 1/16th-acre proto-permaculture-suburban plot.
Beer can have a lot of protein (hence nitrogen) in it too, depending on the style. What you should really go after are the spent grains from the brewing process. They are a super-rich nutrient source for compost (and vermiculture, I'm sure.) When I'm building compost piles with spent grain, I consider them a "green" (nitrogen-rich) material. The only piles I've gotten up to 160 F have always contained significant amounts of grain and plenty of leaves/sawdust/cardboard/carbon-rich material.
Also you need to figure out why this person is making so much bad beer. Is he actually making terrible tasting beer, or is it going stale/sour before he can drink it all?
I say go ahead and add it your compost and/or other plants; maybe thin it out with some water at first to see if it gives you any problems.
Most beer is around 5% alcohol, so it shouldn't be concentrated enough to sterilize your compost pile. As it is digested by bacteria in the presence of oxygen, the ethanol will turn into acetic acid, so be aware of your soil/compost pH and adjust accordingly. The biggest problem I see is that if you dump a whole keg of beer on your pile it will make it too wet.