Day 14–Raw Foods and the Garden

posterToday is day 14 of having only juice, nuts, and seeds.  I did have a “raw” snack bar yesterday after the gym, and despite my trepidation, it was really good.  It was a Raw Revolution Raspberry Chocolate bar stated to be 90% raw.  I will more than likely pick these up when hiking in the future.  Other than that, it is still carrots, celery, apples, oranges, lemons, and ginger.  I do have the occasional grapefruit, orange, lemon juice, but only a few times a week.

I did pick up some Chia seeds this weekend to add to my juice.  Strange little seeds that swell up and turn gelatinous when left in the juice too long.  A little motivational poster is on the left.

I was having a few energy issues the first week of my new diet, but those have past.  What I find is that while I have quite a bit more mental energy and clarity, my stamina was not as great as previously.  Yesterday and today at the gym however, all has returned to normal, and I actually did more exercises than I usually do.  So, things look good for now.  One possible negative effect is sleep.  I sleep well, but I either cannot fall asleep or I wake up early.  I also wake up very tired, but feel great by the time I leave for work.  I hope the small negatives change as I really need to sleep more, though I did wake up at 8:30 yesterday after a fairly good nights sleep.  Anyway, 16 days left before I re-evaluate my diet to see what I go from here.

The garden is almost through for the year.  We had our first frost last night, but no plants were damaged.  Garden_25Sep11_DSCF0873Planning is already underway for next year, and there will be a few modifications to what and how much is grown.  I will more than likely plant less cabbage, which I grow only because it looks good, more carrots, more spinach and baby Bok Choi, and a different type of pea.  I may plant only snow peas, or include just a row of shelling peas. 

I am currently in RSH 9102E (Research Design) at Northcentral University.  I have this class, two more research classes, an my comps to do before I start on my dissertation.  While all of my previous classes (33 hours) have been moderately difficult, the current batch of classes are becoming quite difficult.  I just turned in my Theoretical Framework paper and I have no idea what the reception will be.  And, to make motivational factors into consideration, I am not sure if this will be my last class.  At the completion of this class I can obtain another Masters, or I can decide to continue on and “attempt” my PhD.  No idea yet.

I think what is making this difficult is the complete change in thinking processes and writing style.  I feel that rather than reporting on others work, I am creating my own work.  Maybe I just need to get used to the changes. 

Oh, and I have lost 13.4 pounds in the last 14 days….

Juicing

Juice_11_Sep_11_DSCF0860After a few years considering buying a juicer, I finally purchased a Green Star Elite last week.  I have never really liked, with a few exceptions, any vegetables or fruit, and has subsisted on mainly meat, potatoes, breads, other baked goods,  and protein drinks/shakes/bars.  I have always knew that I needed to change my habits, but found my dislikes for fruits and vegetables stronger than my desire to consume them.  I like some juices, so thought that maybe juicing some vegetables with the few fruit juices that I liked, would turn into a drinkable drink. 

The first thing I juiced was an orange, grapefruit, lemon juice.  Wonderful!  The Green Star Elite produced a thick, creamy juice that tasted as good as the fruit it came from (yes, I like oranges, grapefruit and lemons….).  The pulp produced was quite dry, and the juice production was way more than the juice produced by my Kitchen Aid juicer attachment.  Better tasting too.

My daughter and I then juiced apple juice.  I really dislike eating apples, but like apple juice and cider.  I used three different types of apples and added 1/4 lemon.  When I tasted the juice, it reminded me of many decades ago when my father would take me fishing in California.  We would pass an apple cider stand and get a gallon of cider.  By the time we arrived at the late, the cider would be gone.  The Green Star Elite made an amazing apple cider that was better than what I remember.

Next came the juice I dreaded.  Carrot, celery, apple, orange, lemon, ginger.  When I think of carrot juice, I think of my Polish grandmother chasing me around her three story home in Brooklyn, NY, with a cup of carrot juice in her hand.  My father used to get upset that I would hide and make her find me, but after all, it was carrot juice! 

Anyway, what I surprisingly found was it was good.  Really good.  The carrots, along with the apples and oranges, added sweetness, the celery had a distinctive earthy smell and taste. The ginger added a bit of warmth.  It is really a great breakfast drink to get one’s day started.

My juicing plan is to cut all items for one batch of juice.  One batch equals two pint Mason jars with a bit left over for tasting.  I juice a batch and then bottle it.  I then prepare the next batch, juice, and bottle.  It goes fast this way, and the machine does not get warm.  The juicer juices fast, and I have not seen an excessive amount of foam, just a thin layer on top.  The Mason jars are filled to the top to prevent oxidation, and I make enough juice for only one day. 

Juicer pictures of my daughter and the Green Star Elite:

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Actually, juice and nuts are all I have had to eat for the past 4 days.  I am not on a cleanse, diet, juice fast, or any other thing, I simply want to take 30 days and eliminate all cooked, processed, and otherwise unhealthy food from my diet.  Of course, if I loose a few pounds or so, I will not be upset at all.  After the 30 days, if I make it that far, I will evaluate how I feel, and decide what to do next.

As for 4 days of juice:  The first day was fine, the second I was tired, the third day I thought I was going to die when I became very weak and disoriented in the morning right before leaving for work.  It was a really detached feeling that I had never experienced before.  Whether it was from my new eating regime or not I have no idea.  It was just strange. Today however, I feel great with a lot of energy and an unusually clear mind for a rainy day. 

Also today, I added Spirulina to my morning and evening drink, and also some nuts during the day and at night. 

Recipe:

Carrot, Celery, Apple, Orange, Lemon, Ginger Drink:

4 Carrots
4 Celery Stalks
2 Apples
2 Oranges
1 1/2 lemon
1.5 inches Ginger

Note: Eliminate the celery and ginger, and it makes a good drink also!

Chickens and the Garden

Chickens_11_Sep_11_DSCF0846The picture on the left is of out chicken coop and pen.  I spent last Sunday getting the chicken coop and pen ready for winter.  I covered the top of the pen with tarps, and only have the roof of the coop to cover now.  I may leave the cop on next summer, as with the rain we had since July, the pen was starting to smell.  We have had rain almost every day for the last month and a half, with just a few sunny or otherwise non-rainy days in between.  I usually put grass clippings in the pen, then rake them up the next time I mow the lawn.  However, with non-stop rain, I did not mow, and the clippings matted with chicken droppings and mud, resulting in a very bad smell.  Thankfully, it was sunny for part of last week, and I was able to clean things up.  The pen smells good again.

Two of out 5 chickens are laying.  The other three should start any week now.  My Copper Black Marans started laying last week, with a bit of a scare just prior to that.  She was a bit lethargic, shook when she closed her eyes, and had yellow poop.  After two days, she improved, and now all is well. 

Chicken and pen pictures:

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A double yolk from the Marans:

The garden is slowly dying, but we still have flowers that are blooming.  I have 4 varieties of hops growing, and I have flowers.  However, they will more than likely not have time to mature, so no hops for beer this year.  Maybe next? 

Garden pics:

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I am planning my garden for next Spring.  I plan to plant a bit earlier, since my vegetable garden is complete.  I will also plant at least twice the amount of carrots next year, as we are running out already.  My onions did very well, and we did not loose any to maggots, which is a first.  Potatoes were not that great this year, probably to the excessive rain we had.

Three Crop Ale & Wheat Porter

Beer_10Sep11_DSCF0821I bottled two batches of beer today, for a total of 118 bottles.  The first batch bottled was a Cream Ale, which I brewed the 6th of August.   Measured ABV turned out to be a bit high, at 5.5%, mainly because my efficiency on smaller grain bills is usually in the low to mid 80’s (this one was 79.3%) and I figured the grain bill at 75%.  A sample gracefully licked from the hydrometer tasted quite good.  I did a carb level of 2.9%, because I like bubbles.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I always carb to the highest level that is still within style, or so.

Recipe is a very slightly modified Cream of Three Crops Recipe from Homebrewtalk.com:

Recipe:

Boil Size: 6.75 gallons
Batch Size:  5.10 gallons
IBU’s:  16.6

Grain:

36.5% – 3 lbs 9.9 oz. Brewers Malt 2-row
33.3% – 3 lbs 5.5 oz. Belgian Pilsner
20.1% – 2 lbs Flaked Corn
10.1% – 1 lb Flaked Rice (Minute Rice)

Hops:

1 oz. – Fuggles (pellet – 16.6 IBU’s) – 90 minutes

Yeast:

1 pk – Nottingham (Lallemand)

(Note:  Initially pitched with 2L starter from Wyeast 1338 (European Ale) – no activity after 48 hours.  Repitched with Nottingham)

The below images are of the two beers being racked for bottling, and my high tech bottling station that is in my garage:

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My favorite beers are stouts, porters, and IPA’a, with Belgians being quite enjoyable also.  I found a Wheat Porter recipe in Randy Mosher’s book Radical Brewing (p. 151). 

Recipe:

Boil Size: 8 gallons
Batch Size: 5.75 gallons
IBU’s: 22.3

Grain:

32.8% – 5 lbs Wheat – Red Malt
26.2% – 4 lbs Munich Malt
19.7% – 3 lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row
9.8%  – 1 lb 9 oz. Caramel 40L
4.9%  – 1 lbs Rice Hulls
3.3%  – 8 oz. Oats, Flaked (Toasted)
1.6%  – 4 oz. Black (Patent) Malt
1.6%  – 4 oz. Chocolate (Briess) 350 SRM

Hops:

0.5 oz. – Northern Brewer (pellet – 13.2 IBU’s) – 120 minutes
0.5 oz. – Northern Brewer (pellet – 4.4 IBU’s) – 10 minutes
   1 oz. – Tettnang (pellet – 4.7 IBU’s) – 10 minutes

Yeast:

1 pk – Wyeast Labs #1332 – Northwest Ale – 2L Starter

This beer was a bit of a mess.  I toasted the oats in a 300 degree oven until they turned a light golden brown (they really smelled good!).  However, I overshot my water and ended up with 8 gallons at boil.  I had to do a 120 minute boil, and then still ended up with 5.75 gallons into the fermenter.  Still ended with a 6.7% ABV, and the sample at bottling tasted great, so things worked out well. 

The Three Crop Ale spent 4 weeks 4 days in the primary, and the Wheat Porter spent 5 weeks in the primary. 30 days in bottle for each prior to sampling.  Next week I will bottle my Abby Weis.  I am in the process of deciding what my next brew will be, but may try a Pumpkin Ale and an oak aged Tripel, since I tend to like a few Tripels on Friday nights.  Oh, and an IPA.

So, how many bottles of beer do I have:  118 from today + 54 Smoked Porter + 56 Hefe + 53 Cream Stout + 45 Gruit + 30 Tripel + 6 IPA (I need to do another IPA!) + 40 Strong Dark Belgian Ale (10.1% ABV ) = 402 bottles on hand.  Wine = 100+ bottles.  

Bottling the Wheat Porter:

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