Thursday, January 31, 2013

Corn in the Backyard (How I got into Gardening)

The Beginnings of the Garden
Starting corn seeds in window
Starting my first seeds in the kitchen
My gardening adventures started around June of 2012, when I decided it would be humerous to grow corn at my house. I bought a seed packet from the store and started the seed in the kitchen.
I soon realized that I had no space in my backyard to actually plant my babies in the ground. Improvising, I found a large tote lying around and figured corn in a container would be even funnier to see. I bought some soil from my local hardware store's garden section and planted the corn straight into that. Now being the noob gardener that I was (and still am), I had no idea how big my plants would actually get. I had 10 plants in the container at about 4-6 inches of space between them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wine Batch #2 White Grape Juice Wine

In addition to my gardening, I have started fermenting my own alcohol in the closet of my apartment. The bucket you see at the top of the page is my second batch of wine. My first batch I did back when I was home for Thanksgiving and Winter break. I made a 2 gallon batch using concentrated white grape juice and bread yeast. Personally, I think that first batch was quite successful, the wine tasted pretty good for something that sat in the closet for 3 weeks. Now that I have stopped at a homebrew shop, I have picked up better supplies.

Wine fermenter

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mead Plans

A project in the making, I plan, with the help of some friends, to prepare a batch of mead. If you have never heard of mead, it is basically an alcoholic beverage created by the fermentation of honey, which closely resembles wine. I have never tried mead before, so I have no idea how our batch will turn out compared to professional stuff.

The plan is to use an old recipe (ancient, actually). Joe's Ancient Orange Mead. The recipe calls for some honey, an orange, some spices, and bread yeast. Yes, BREAD yeast. I bet a lot of homebrewers saw that and doubted its prestige. At least for me, I have a nice stock of bread yeast in addition to the wine yeast I have.
The future fermentation vessel
What is stopping me from starting my batch?

First off, my carboy is not available to use. I should use the term carboy loosely here, because I'm really waiting for my housemates to finish off their 4 Liter jug of sangria so I can wash it out and use it.

Secondly, I'll need to buy some honey. My local farmers market has a few vendors that sell it. The one on Saturday sells a 5 lb jug for $25, and the vendor on Wednesday has a 3 lb jug for $15. Both sell for $5/lb, but would I really need 1.5 extra pounds of honey? I guess it wouldn't hurt to have some left over for if I wanted to do a second batch.

Lastly, I will also need to acquire the spices: the cinnamon stick and the clove. I have a beef against cinnamon sticks; the last time I checked at the store, a jar of maybe like 3 sticks is around $7! This is adding up to be somewhere around $30 for 1 gallon worth of mead. Once I get everything though, all that is left to do is mix it up and wait for 2 months. I shall update (with pictures hopefully!) once I have started fermentation.

Nearly 2.5 years later....

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Garage "Sailing" adventure

OK, so I went to go raid the garage sales today like I've been doing for the past 4 years, always by bicycle.  It was raining but I managed to find a few.  I got a set of crutches for the bicycle trailer project (coming soon) I stopped by the hardware store to get a swivel castor that like 900 instructables articles recommend for the trailer hitch.  Also some soldering flux for some fancy unnecessary metalwork on the bed of the trailer.  Afterwards, I found an estate sale.  It didn't open until 9AM which was a good 10 min wait, something I am not good at doing.  Then they only let 8 people in, so I had to wait in line.  They had some typical stuff but all I ever am interested in these days is tools.  Like usual they had no idea how to price their items, $8 for a cassette player? nope $2 crowbar, I passed up because I don't need to do any half life 2 impersonations.  $30 craftsman vise? I can do better than that.  After all, I have broken 2 vises already so I am in the market.  Routers? not ready for that.  They had one of those pressurized water sprayer things and I thought that may have been of use for the foundry oil tank, but I really don't have my act together for that so I left empty handed.  What next... stopped by a church rummage sale and didn't get anything.  I was eying some basket storage things thinking of the possibilities, one of the guys working there said "I guarantee you need it for something" I told him he was probably right, knowing me but I have enough crap to build so far that it was not worth it.  Besides I have some trash picked bicycle basket things in the works too.  Moving on, stopped by the 99 cent store to find some yellow round reflectors for the Aku-Aku "hood" ornament project, they didn't have any.

As I was about done I found a garage sale in my favorite neighborhood that never disappoints.  The first thing I see is a MONSTROUS vise that must have weighed 100 lb min.  $20 tag on it. Unfortunately the guy who was there before me bought it.  I'm sure my bike could've handled it too.  I ended up getting a ball pein hammer (where is the rest of the handle?) and sledge hammer for future forging options, some drills, hole saws and a tube cutter. Also a wood boring auger all for under $20.
  
So what is the lesson learned today? drink the kool aid, look out for large vises, stay away from people with vices, never buy a house because you will just fill it with junk.

The start of the legacy

Welcome to the blog

My brother and I will be posting up photos and stories of our projects. Let me tell you a little about ourselves

Vinny (me):
I'll be posting stuff about my balcony garden, my brewing adventures, cooking/baking, and anything else that is cool. I go to school in Norcal.

Diecaster D:
He's into metal working, machining, welding, bicycling, and music. He goes to school in Socal, so this blog will have two different view points.

In the mean time, check out some of the pages on the side. I posted up a story of how I originally got into gardening, and my brother posted a page about his mission statement. Until later....

Foundry burning