Food for Free

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Foodforfree

I just got this little book today and flicked through it. I don't
think I'll go off skipping to the woods to eat mushrooms, but it's
interesting to know you can add beech tree leaves to salad, make a
frittata from fresh hop shoots or make coffee from dandelion roots.

Awesome book.

A few pictures

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Walked to across town today, or well around it. Walked through the
woods. Found a vango tent out there, similar to the ones we use at
scouts, with deckchairs and a washing line. Why on earth did they
sleep there amongst wandering junkies and drinking kids looking to
make fires, I don't know. Maybe they spent the night badger watching,
whoooo knows. Unless they were asleep or dead, I didn't see/hear
anyone.

The last shot is of the allotment covered in snow.

Wood20Donkey20Ivy20Pegs20Top20

Morning Hike

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I went for a hike around the snowy frozen fields and woods about a
mile away. Not much snow, and the snow that is here is frozen. Pain in
the backside for taking photos of wildlife as it crunches under your
boots.

RobinWoodsWoods2Wood3WindNoswimming

Eddie Vedder - Society

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(Into the Wild Soundtrack)

If less??? is more how you're keeping score?

Catch-22

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Great book, funny film.

Hop rhizomes

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Hoprhi

Two new rhizomes arrived today. A northen brewer and fuggle.

Hop photos from the garden 09

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Photos from the garden

Hops and corn 09.

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Untitled

I just spent half an hour looking for no existent time zone controls.

Bah.

Untitled

Ill give this a try and see how it goes.

Google Chrome beta

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Now available on Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora/openSUSE. 

I doubt open source enthusiasts, like myself, will move away from Mozilla/Firefox.
Download it from tools.google.com/chrometools.google.com/chrome

Buying Hop Rhizomes in the UK

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With U.S based sellers not offering shipping outside of North America -with few exceptions- there isn't a wide choice of variety.
There are a select few UK sellers. Most are little nursery's and farms, offering British hops. You wont find any Cascade for sale (if you do then comment!), instead you will find hops like Bramling Cross, Northdown and other lesser known homebrewing hops.

If you're thinking about propagating seeds for beer brewing hops. Forget it. I tried, and failed. The process is long. If you want any old common hop plant for decoration or an experiment it's easier to look in the wild and take a cutting. Hops are easy pickings for cuttings.

Here is a list of potential UK sellers for 2010. Some take orders now.

UK shipping
http://www.hopshop.co.uk/range.php?CategoryID=28
Offers: Cobbs, Wye Challenger and Prima Donna.

www.essentiallyhops.co.uk/acatalog/Hop_Plants.html
Offers: Challenger, Prima Donna, Goldings Phoenix and Fuggle --now selling a wide range of hops including cascade.

www.aplus-hops.co.uk
Offers: a range of traditional British hops. --down?

shop.deaconsnurseryfruits.co.uk/hops-62-c.asp
Offers: Hallertauer, Fuggle and other tradition British hops.

www.willingham-nurseries.co.uk/hop.html
Offers: Fuggle, Perle, (East) Kent Goldings, Saaz, Mount Hood, Santiam, Nugget, Willamette

E.U Shipping
www.eickelmann.de/Store/index.html
A German website that has UK shipping with a wide range of German hops for those who are looking for something different.

A list of sellers can be found at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grow-Hops/links/Hop_Rhizomes__Commercial_Sources_001197133665/

New to growing hops?


-- Update Feb 2011.
I found cascades from ebay late last season.
Aplus hops website down?
www.essentiallyhops.co.uk has all kinds of hops.

Fullers ESB

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Pours an amber colour with a lasting white head. Aroma of malt, caramel and a little citrus hops. Tastes of sweet toasty malt, toffee, bitter tea-like spices, and citrus hops at the back. Good bitterness. 5,9% Strength.

Rating: Great.
As you can see am a professional at rating beer
Overall: Complex, but damn is it well balanced.

Currently reading Maggie Cassidy

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maggie cassidy

What an odd cover by Paddy Eckersley. The girl in the story is young and yet the cover looks as though its her mum.

Second hand book shops are cool.

Courage Directors

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Pours an amber colour with a lasting amber head. Aroma is malt dominated; sweet malt with a little caramel. Tastes of cereal bread-like malt at first then a citrus pine like notes. Moderate bitterness. Has a citrus soft bitter finish. 4,8% strength.

Rating: Not bad.
As you can see am a professional at rating beer
Overall: Balanced ale with no surprises.

Castle Rock Harvest Pale

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Pours a pale golden colour with a small lingering head. Aroma is full on bitter citrus noted hops. Tastes of hops, grass notes, and sweet malts. Moderate bitterness. Average light body. Has a dry finish. 4,3% strength.

Rating: Good.
As you can see am a professional at rating beer
Overall: Refreshing Blond Ale from Nottingham.

Harvested Hops

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Harvested all of my final hops today. 300 Grams worth from one challenger. So the season, for me at least, is over. All that's left is to dry them, and use them.

ska boss

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Favourite reads this summer

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I got through a lot of books this summer, most of which were classics. Here's a list of my favourites.

If I'm going to start reviewing books, I want to make it clear, I am not going to write whole paragraphs listing the plot. He did this. He did that. She said so and so. Seriously, bloggers who do that are not reviewing, their just giving you the damn story before you've read it. I intend on writing little about plot, focusing more about style, themes, and what I liked.

Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this. I found it be a combination of genres, so much so its a unique novel. It explores the absurdity of war, death, and time travel. I liked how it was written in simple short prose with one sentence paragraphs.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov.
Granted, its not for the light hearted, as the narrator, Humbert Humbert, is a sly man obsessed with young girls he calls nymphets. Disturbing yes? Nabokov lets you see the world through a paedophiles eyes. He does this while at the same time showing Humbert as a -somewhat demented- human. The style features a lot of word play, puns, and lyrical run on sentences.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway.
My first Hemingway novel. Written in a very simple style, its an intense war story with a major theme of death. What interests me is despite being set in the Spanish civil war, the novel doesn't align itself with any ideology other than anti-fascist.
"Once tonight we have been impeded by the ignorance of the anarchists. Then by the sloth of a bureaucratic fascist, then by the oversuspicion of a Communist."
Hemingway writes of massacres on both sides of the war, showing the turmoil of civil war. Apparently President Barack Obama was influenced by this novel.

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Dostoyevsky lets you into the mind of a murderer, a drop out student called Raskolnikov. The story is intense as the protagonist's guilt builds, and tries to justify the crime to his moral self. The translation is good and feels modern.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson.
A drug fuelled search for the American dream. First line:
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."
Your on the roller coaster straight away.
The drugs add a surreal nonsensical element that the narrator is unaware of, which at times made me laugh out loud. An example of this:
"at one point I tried to drive the Great Red Shark into the laundry room of the Landmark Hotel - but the door was too narrow, and the people inside seemed dangerously excited."
Apart from the hilarious quotes, it has great prose, and in many ways similar to 'the Great Gatsby'.

Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger.
Salinger is best known for his novel 'Catcher in the Rye', but he also wrote some great short stories. My favourite was 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish', a catapult of an ending, and 'Teddy', a Hindu influenced story. This definitely influenced my writing.

The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac.
This is Kerouac's outdoor adventure. Think 'On the Road' meets the outdoors and Buddhism. It follows Ray Smith (kerouac) mountain climbing, hiking, hitchhiking, and wild party's. Made me want to hike in the countryside, and write haiku's.

The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald became my favourite writer over the summer. His lyrical perfect timing prose style is like poetry. Its a story of excess, lost love and want in the jazz age. Social commentary, or an art piece, I love it.

Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer.
A non-fictional biography of Christopher McCandless who, inspired by Leo Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau, and Jack London, set off to Alaska. Krakauer uses personal experience and other similar stories to explain McCandless actions. Brilliant journalism.

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy.
I started reading this one in spring from 17th of February, and finished it on the . The length and the amount of characters seems daunting at first, until you've read a few chapters. It has friendship, romance, huge battle scenes, philosophy, religion, and a lot more. What more could you want from an epic novel? I actually think Pierre Bezukhov is my favourite character in literature.

Beer for breakfast

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a bit of the replacements

Wild Hops

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Finally found some wild hops down the road.

Might try collect them soon.

Jennings Sneck Lifter

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On the bottle it says...
"In northern dialect sneck means door latch and a sneck lifter was a man’s last sixpence which enabled him to lift the latch of a pub door and buy himself a pint, hoping to meet friends there who might treat him to one or two more."
Who knew you could learn words and phrases from a beer bottle.

Pours a deep ruby red colour with a good tanned head. Aroma is toasted caramel, fruitcake and a little coffee. Tastes of toasted malts, little woody notes, and perhaps a hint of chocolate malt. Moderate sweetness. Nice hoppy bitterness. Smooth mouth feel. After taste is light bitter roasted linger. 5,1% strength.

Rating: Good.
As you can see am a professional at rating beer
Overall: A good enjoyable premium bitter.

Tsingtao Beer

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640ml Bottle imported by Halewood international uk.

Pours a clear pale golden colour with short lasting white head. Aroma is floral hops, corn and a little barley. Tastes similar to pilsners from main land Europe. Sweet malts and corn. Slightly metallic hint. Soft watery mouth feel.  After taste is dry and clean. 4,7% strength.

Rating: Not bad.
As you can see am a professional at rating beer
Overall: Nothing special, but surprisingly its a damn refreshing lager.