March 17, 2012

Less than exciting updates

It's spring break. I came into the week expecting to get completely caught up on school work and spend some time relaxing, learning about beer, writing about beer and putting together my garden. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I have been incredibly swamped by this disaster of a paper I wrote about before. I'm on my third rewrite and each time I've thrown out the majority of the paper and started anew. That doesn't sound so bad except the first draft was thirty pages of heavily cited writing and I'm fourteen pages into the third draft and only about five of those pages were carried over from the second rendition. And I still have other course work to do for next week. *Sigh*

So although I had hoped to put together a well researched and thought out post, all I really have time for are some more brief updates.

I've been pretty disappointed with my last few recipes, especially a black ale attempt at a schwartzbier. I went way too heavy on the roasted barley (should have used carafa instead...) and it's not great. I needed to make a good chocolate addition that somehow didn't make it into my recipe. I have a dubbel sitting a couple of weeks into fermentation that I hope will turn out better and make me believe I can make a good beer from time to time.

My sour/funk beers all seem to be progressing nicely. I can't tell what's going on with my most recent attempt. It's only a few weeks old so it's a little early for any pellicle production or other clear bacterial activity but I suspect a pellicle is about to form in the next few weeks. I promise I will disclose this very interesting project as soon as I have the opportunity to sit down and write more than a few quickly slopped together paragraphs.

The Bluebonnent Homebrew Competition is in town next weekend. Unfortunately, thanks to this stupid paper, I won't have time to go. However, I hope everybody has a great time.

I am still waiting to receive my rhizomes from thymegarden.com this year. I spoke with them on Monday and they said orders were going out to the southern states this week so they should arrive any day.

I am happy to report my garden is at least somewhat put together. I am planting separately in grow bags so I have some of my plants in the bags. I am going to build a raised bed around them to provide some shade from the sun and help contain the plants and give them access to a trellis system. So far I have a container tomato plant that is already starting to grow tomatoes (ok, one tomato), a couple green bell pepper plants, rosemary and I found hatch chiles so I have a couple of those. My sterling is enjoying the warm spring and substantial rain we have received. It already has two shoots with green vegetation. I saw a couple more shoots trying to peek out of the ground. So that's encouraging. I had a mt. hood rhizome that I thought died off last summer that I replanted in a pot in the garage over the winter. I gave it some rooting fertilizer even though I thought it would die. Surprisingly it looks like it is developing a bit of a root system (or I forgot what it looked like). No shoots on it but I plan on planting it with my other mt. hood rhizome when it arrives. Maybe the older rhizome will produce some shoots next spring.

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