A post from My Beer Blog

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Sharing a post from my Beer Blog that is at least 50% about “gardening”. Elements of Beekeeping and Beers!

Hive loss but found a soothing ale….Please check it out.


Easing the Pain of Loss


How to get the Kitchen Floor Mopped?


It is a given that my wife married a man that is just a little sloppy with his activities, and yes, his(my) activities include use of the kitchen for;

Honey bottling

Jam and jelly making

Making beeswax lip balms

Beer making & bottling

And obviously cut up, shredding and prepping meats for the grill and smoker.

And I am sure there are some unnamed transgressions.

Today was a little busier than usual! I finished cutting up and bagging around 15 pounds of strawberries…….. note – yesterday I ran off to Wood Duck Farms in the morning and picked 6 buckets of strawberries, returned home, cleaned and packaged half the haul and made it into the shower for an on time departure to see George Strait at the Houston Rodeo.( English majors and other grammar police….I kinda like run on sentences)

As I said – finished the berries but then decided to make strawberry jam! It is a pretty simple process. I have determined that a gallon freezer bag stuffed full is perfect for a batch. I follow the SureJell package instructions very closely. Critical are the boiling sequence and times. Add pectin and a 1/4 cup of sugar, on high heat, mash and stir at the same time. Once at a full rolling boil, add the remaining 3 – 3/4 cups of sugar and return to a full rolling boil….count slowly to 72 while it boils and remove from the heat. Oh yeah, toss in a tbsp of butter to reduce foaming…….I am not sure it helps but the directions suggest it.

Skim the foam, yes there will be foam. Waste not, want not. My wife loves the foam on top of here egg white and oatmeal frittata. Three tablespoons of quick oats in a small non stick pan, add enough egg white to cover and cook to done. Smear a little strawberry foam on it and enjoy. Remove a jar from the hot water bath and fill to 1/4 inch of the top. Snug up sanitized lids. The process took a little longer as I made 19, 55ml jars, cute little things, and 5 – 7 ounce hex jars. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath and then set aside.

This is not a full rolling boil. There is foam and a few boiling bubbles but not what you are looking for.

Getting close! If it is still bubbling and spattering, even while stirring, you are there.

Processing for 10 minutes.

The finished product ready for labeling. To the right is the yummy foam my wife uses for her frittata.

Next up was prepping two chickens to be cooked “Beer Butt” style on the grill. It takes 75 minutes or so while trying to keep the closed grill temperature at about 350 F.

The final result. In the beer cans was a nice oatmeal stout and a few crushed garlic cloves. I used A rub and garlic salt seasoning.

A quick dinner with a nice quinoa cold salad before heading off to the gym. When I returned I still had the beer to rack over with the reminders of the spots on the kitchen floor still fresh in my ears. Got the beer, a nice Wit beer, racked and the floor mopped – Hun!

It says priming tank but has been put into service as a fermenter due to leaks in my original fermenting bucket.

I think it is bed time now.



An Early Spring – Maybe

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February 6th was yesterday, bees were hauling in pollen and maybe even nectar. We had a bit of discussion at the Liberty County Beekeeper’s meeting two nights ago concerning pollen and nectar. The discussion; Can you tell if a Bee is hauling in nectar just by how the bee looks? It is very easy to tell if they are bringing pollen but nectar…..that is a different story. Most comments mentioned nectar hauling bees will be coming in “heavy” and rather clumsy and maybe a bit chubbier. That aligns with my observations! Watch the video below and look for chubby clumsy vs. those hauling pollen. This video is from one of my hives shot a few days ago.

I have left a feeder jar on this hive but haven’t used it. This hive had good stores and was heavy so I have just been monitoring. I suspect that there is a nectar source nearby. I hope that the bees don’t build up thinking it is spring and then get hammered by a freeze. Did you see any chubbiness or clumsiness in the slo-mo portion?

A front blew in today so it went from 82 yesterday, to mid forties this afternoon. Certainly puts a pause on Bee activities! So, I prepped a couple of swarm traps today and tackled a task that I had procrastinated on for too long! I have been out of my lip balm for more than a month……..today was the day!

Tube tray loaded and ready to fill. This is my Burt’s Bees clone recipe

First of two batches. 46 tubes filled and then another 38 with 3 tins.

A bowl full of creamy smooth lip balm. If you are Santa’s nice list you may score some!

I managed to squeeze in some beer brewing activity to help fill in the day. Ten days ago I brewed a SMaSH IPA. (Single malt – Marris Otter malt and single hop – Mosaic). The beer should roll in at 5.8% ABV. I racked it over into the secondary fermenter and will dry hop it with a couple ounces of Mosaic. It will be delicious. I may get frisky this weekend and bottle the 4+ gallons of wild Mustang grape wine that is now finished.

Beets, turnips, carrots and strawberries are looking good. I will plant sugar snap peas in a day or two along with some radishes and more carrots. I will pick-up a few buckets of rabbit manure this weekend and scrape out some chicken manure, will let it cool before using it on my lemon tree. That’s how my garden grows.



Enjoying the Central Coast


Following my class reunion in Bakersfield on the 31st of August I drove over to my Mom’s place in Los Osos, CA. Nice change from 98 F to , what the locals considered hot, a pleasant 81 F. Her list of honey do’s was short. I had a dead potted plant to deal with and a few drip sprinklers that were misbehaving. My work done I could concentrate on just visiting with mom, she has been very lonely after losing her best friend and husband, Ed, a few years ago. She does have a good deal of spunk, she teaches/facilitates a Tai Chi class in her little community three days per week. It as much a social session as it is a physical activity session. The women benefit from both.

Mom likes to nap in the afternoon and I will usually slip off for some sightseeing or picture taking. The weather was amazing, hot for the locals but so perfect for this Houston boy. I walked across to Sweet Springs Nature Preserve for a few photos….nice view of Morro Rack and the estuary at the south end of Morro Bay. I then walked on over to Baywood Park. It runs together with Los Osos! Baywood Park is a nice picturesque location where I have captured some nice sunsets as well as shots of locals & visitors. (Click on any image to see it enlarged)

A panoramic crop looing toward Morro Bay

A panoramic crop looking toward Morro Bay – Taken from Sweet Springs

Across the water to the Baywood Park area

Across the water to the Baywood Park area – taken from Sweet Springs

Baywood Park sunset

Baywood Park sunset – From in front of the coffee shop

My timing was right! The farmer’s market was in full swing and the streets were full of people. The diversity and quality of produce grown along the Central California coast is amazing! I wandered up and down the main aisle crowded with shoppers. I didn’t buy anything as I was leaving early the next morning and Mom didn’t need anything at the moment. The little coffee, breakfast and lunch spot near the water was full of visitors. I found something to my liking there……they now serve beer. Two on tap, the Firestone 805 and an IPA from a local San Luis brewery. FYI, if you stop by the Back Bay Café in the near future some of my photos may be hanging on the walls. Yee Haw!


The crowd enjoying the day at the Farmer's Market

The crowd enjoying the day at the Farmer’s Market

Wonderful colors

Wonderful colors

Great Selection

Great Selection

Squash with blossoms attached. Looks yummy.

Squash with blossoms attached and Brussels Sprouts. Looks yummy.

The day before during her usual nap I drove over to Morro Bay showing up just in time to catch a few laps of a sailboat race. The route was not long but it did involve some changing obstacles. Fishing boats coming and going, tethered boats, kayakers making the trek across to the dunes and the harbor cruise boat. The there was the old guy in his little day sailor, oblivious to the race, looking very much like I would in a year or two……warning to my kids, I like the image of me emulating this old guy!

That is me I a few years!!!

That is me I a few years!!!

The tourists flock to the massive Morro Rock at the harbor entrance. This time of year is a great time to be entertained by the otters feeding in the boat channel. It seems that they know that people are watching and strike a pose as the tourists snap photos. I brought several lenses so I put the 400mm lens on to get a little more up close and personal. They are handsome creatures.

Smile Mr. Otter

Smile Mr. Otter

I then had to fly home to Houston to see what damage the heat and humidity had wreaked upon my garden. The stellar plant(s) in my garden right now are the sweet potato vines. Not sure if I will have lots of sweet potatoes but the vines have overwhelmed the area. My job today will be a massive haircut with the string trimmer for the runaway vines.

I dream of a few acres somewhere near San Luis Obispo. I would have a slice of gardener’s Heaven!

If you like my photos and would like to have one or two please check out my refurbished web page at; http://pappadecker.smugmug.com/

Hopefully the redesign will be easier to navigate!

Sunsets are in this folder; http://pappadecker.smugmug.com/Outdoors-and-Wildlife/Landscape/Sunsets



Beer Trumps All

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Link to my beer blog post…..a mix of growing and beer! – enjoy

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