Sunday, May 22, 2005

A new ferment

Today I started a new ferment: beet kvass.

It's a simple one:
3 organic beets
- washed
- peeled
- corsely chopped
1 Tbs salt
1/2c of active whey (as an innoculant)
2 qt water

Put it in a jar. Mix. Wait 2 days.

After it's fermented, you can strain out the beets, add more water, and ferment for 2 more days.

Beet kvass is supposed to be a great detoxifier.

I started a 3rd attempt at a ginger bug. This time I added a little whey to help it get going. We'll see if it worked later this week.

Finally, some bad fermentation news. The 3qt batch of kombucha I started last week wasn't souring quickly. Today I noticed a spot of mold. Dumped the whole thing in my compost bin.

I would have liked to start a new batch, but I was out of tea. Hopefully I'll pick up more soon.

Note to self: don't skimp on the starter (a bit of fresh kombucha that lowers the pH of the batch).

Saturday, May 21, 2005

continuing the CWB trip

I was going to CWB for two reasons:

1. To volunteer. I like CWB and wanted to give back. This day they were having a "work party", so I figured I could get a lot of volunteer hours in.

2. To take the Sail the Museum Pieces class.

On the 3rd & final bus, on walked Vern, the everpresent desk personality at CWB. He had his CWB hat on, and I my CWB shirt. We chatted on the way there, and he said he was short on sailing instructors for the day's lessons.

So, instead of working in the boat shop to clean it up, and then paying for sailing, I volunteered as a sailing instructor all day!

Vern had been pushing me to become an instructor for a year, but I always figured there would be some training, evaluation, advice, practice, etc. But instead I was thrown right in to it. Well, it's a good way to learn.

It was awesome. I ended up spending a lot more time on the water than I would have if just renting. I got to practice all my nautical vocabulary ("tiller to port to head up. trim the jib", etc.), and show off my docking-under-sail skills.

I figure I learned as much as my students - from refining my sailing skills to figuring out how to teach it. And I racked up a bunch of volunteer hours.

Turns out that the Museum Pieces class was canceled anyway. I'll take it next month.

I hope I didn't too much damage to my students!

A novice bus rider.

Woke up early, packed warm clothes & food for the day (including homemade yogurt!), and caught the bus. It takes 3 to get to CWB from my home.

At the transfer to the second bus, there was a young woman waiting, and she seemed a little apprehensive. She said it was her first time using the bus, and she wanted to make sure her route would work. I looked over her tripplanner printout and confirmed that it made sense. After chatting idly for a bit, we realized that her itinerary was from a Friday, and we were traveling on a Saturday. Saturday schedules are a little different than weekday, and her plan was to transfer at the Evergreen Point stop, which is actually on the highway (SR-520), right before the bridge. It seemed like an uncomfortable place to be waiting for an hour if her intinerary wasn't going to work out.

I offered to use my Pocket PC Phone (with web browser & GPRS) to help her figure out the right route. Unfortunately, as the bus sped along the highway I couldn't get a good signal & load the web pages.

She decided to take her chances at Evergreen Point. However, she didn't ring the bell. She walked up to the front of the bus and surprised the driver just as he was about to accelerate away from the stop.

I hadn't occured to me that anyone wouldn't know how to signal for a stop. I guess it really was her first bus trip.

If you haven't taken a bus before, here's the info: either pull the string or push the yellow strip. It will light up a sign that says "STOP" or "STOP REQUESTED". Or just talk to the driver about where you want to go.

Anyway, I hope she got where she wanted to go, and without too much hassle.

Friday, May 20, 2005

A small trip to CWB

Center for Wooden Boats has a "3rd Friday speaker" program. Today the speaker was talking about a member of his family who was a sailor in the Age of Sail.

I took the bus to CWB from the Factoria area. There were 7 of us at the bus stop. When the bus arrived, I could see that it was packed full. After 4 of us got on, the driver said he couldn't take any more, and closed the door. The other 3 were left behind! I've never seen that happen before.

It turns out they were all going to see the Mariners play. When we got to the stop for Safeco Field, the everyone got off and suddenly the bus seemed empty. 10 passengers?

I finally got to the lecture about 10 minutes after it started. The speaker's relative was crew on the barque Queen Margret (265ft, 4 masts) a century ago. It was an interesting talk.

The talk ended a few minutes early, and I started to work on figuring out the bus ride home. I realized I wouldn't get home until at least 9:30pm (having left at 5:30pm). A 4 hour excursion for 45 minutes of speaking? It hardly seemed worth it.

After talking to my wife, decided not to catch the bus home. Instead ate dinner at a restaurant alone (with a book, imaging that I live alone with a cat).

Passed out shortly after returning home, exhausted.

online registry - for all occasions!

Just saw this headline: U.S. to launch sex offender registry Web site. This is the opportunity to buy the perfect gift for the sex offender in your life. No more guessing wrong & buying junk they don't need.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005


As you know, I'm trying to do more of my own food preparation. I hope to make food that is better for us. That has spread to gardening. We now have strawberries & carrots growning, and just bought two tomato plants. This morning I got a mail from my wife that a friend of hers has two egg-laying chickens that she wants to give away. Should we take them? I don't know anything about chickens, and I don't know if I balance the responsibility of caring for chickens, caring for my family, caring for myself, and work. But it means very fresh, known-good eggs for the family. And it would probably be a good experience for my son.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

thrift store / kombucha

Sunday I picked up some stuff at the thrift store. A pair of blue jeans. Some odd T-shirts (the one I'm wearing now says "GO VIKINGS - inglemoor high school fight song - Pep Club"). A few small mason jars ($.29 / ea). And a 4 quart glass bowl.

Last night I tried to boil 3 quarts of water in the microwave. This is going to take getting used to. I figured that 1 cup of water for tea takes 3 minutes to boil. 3 quarts = 6 pints = 12 cups * 3 minutes = 36 minutes. We didn't feel right about leaving the microwave on for a 1/2 hour, so we started with 15 minutes. When I came to look at it, the water was steaming & I thought the bottom of the microwave was wet from boiling over. So I took it out & put in the 5 tea bags. Then I added 1 cup of sugar. The tea brewed pretty slowly. (The water had not boiled at all; the sugar cooled it down more.)

Finally I decided it was ready and added the mushroom + started from the last batch. Then I remembered to actually check the water temprature and it seemed a little too warm. I was able to hold my finger in for 10 seconds, but moving it around was a little uncomfortable.

Anyway, now it's sitting on the dining room table, and we'll see what happens.

The last batch was good. The mushroom was thick & white. I cut it in 3 peices which I will share with friends if the new batch goes OK (if I didn't totally screw it up).

This morning I enjoyed a large glass of kombucha before coming to work.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Quiet here?

Something has happened in my life that is too personal, and too tragic for me to share to the anonymous blog-reading public.

I'm feeling so sad about it that it's hard to think about blogging.

Then I think about the other people in the world who have been through something similar, or something worse, and I think that they may find comfort in this story.

I'll think about it...

gift economies

I found an interesting blog post:
I've been thinking about how ... much more valuable is the relationship between me and my neighbor than between me and my

Right on! I think when I make my next kitchen creation, I will deliberately make too much, and share the extra.

For most ferments (beer, sauerkraut, kombucha), the cost of ingredients is low, but the work is significant. However, you can do anywhere between 1 quart and 30 gallons for about the same amount of work. So I can just double the recipie and make the rest a gift.

If you see any foods mentioned here that you'd like to try, and you are willing to come get it, let me know ahead of time & I'll set some aside for you.

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