Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Tue 16 Feb 10 10:09
Oh, and I forgot to mention that if you like my illustrations, you might want to check out my Facebook page "A Buddha A Day." You could enter the writing contest for a chance to win an original papercut.
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Tue 16 Feb 10 11:14
YOU did the papercuts?!?! Holy smokes, they're truly beautiful and ingenious! Looking at the cover now I can see the slight shadows that a papercut would cast. This is so amazing. I don't belong to Facebook, so I'll have to content myself with the illustrations here. I'll come back the rest of the topic, but I first had to flip out over the artwork.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 16 Feb 10 11:34
Those are gorgeous! Wow. Ellen, when I read the book one of the things that made me smile was your account of wanting to try Lambic beers, made with the yeasts and bacteria from the air. In the last four years I have gone from tasting my first sour beer, to craving and seeking out these complex and ancient brews, to reading up on said beers and making my first one a year ago. Since they traditionally take from 18 months to a year, I have jugs maturing in my basement. I have done multiple batches so that I will have something to blend with, and I have tasted and enjoyed a few of them (at about 6 months) even though they are still young. I think you might find some of what I have learned pretty interesting! While the authentic brewers in the Senne Valley near Brussels (and a few new professional brewers in America) include cool night air laden with yeasts and bacteria in the process, much of the house flavor evidently comes from organisms that colonize the barrels. SO some "wild beers" have no air exposure. Though they have bacteria working away, the brewer still avoids contaminating them, because not all "beer spoilage organisms" have a happy influence. Moern homebrewers working with sour beers have not brewed in the same room for 100 years, and are usually not making a big enough batch to fill a reclaimed wine fermentation barrel (often a good source of those treasured microbiota including Brett). So these adventurous hobbyists tend to buy the "bugs and critters" mix from White Labs or Wyeast, the two main commercial brewing yeast companies. There are also brewers who make these beers by cultivating the yeast "dregs" from the bottom of bottles of fine Belgian sour beers, and building up a beer starter much as a sourdough baker builds up a dough starter. I took a picture this morning to post for your amusement... Let me grab the link.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 16 Feb 10 11:48
This morning I photographed the newest batch, only a few weeks old. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gail/4362897528/ These were started with a vial of wild and dreg-cultured yeasts that I traded for, from another amateur brewer of sour ales. The larger (3 gallon carboy) bottle is starting to form a film on top, rather early in the life cycle. The two one-gallon jugs are behaving differently. The size of the container and even the geometry can have an impact on the temperatures, and influence which of the "bugs" have the most flavor impact. I also did one completely ambient batch (air-innoculated last April on a cold clear night in San Francisco) which is coming along. I gave it four months before the first tasting, to be sure the alcohol and acidity were up to a level to kill off any of the more dangerous bacteria that can live in warm malt-sugar with very low hopping. It had fermented some nice alcohol and had a trace of leathery Brett flavor, but no sourness yet. I'll be patient. Some of the nasty organisms that would give you food poisoning can actually contribute interesting traces of flavor complexity before the heroes of this mix contribute waste composed of alcohol, CO2 and acidity so those bad guys can't survive. Beer is important in human history as a safe source of liquid.
(fom) Tue 16 Feb 10 15:47
About the diapers, it seems like Diaper-Free Baby/EC is a great approach if the parents are willing and able to do it. Even in a modified form it uses far fewer diapers than any diaper system.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Tue 16 Feb 10 16:13
CJ, I have a few of the papercuts on the A Buddha A Day blogspot page, but unfortunately, it seems not to be findable unless you use the link from my Facebook page (I suffer from almost total technical incompetence). I did the internal illustrations, not the cover. The cover was done by a very ingenious young designer at Scribner. Gail, I'm really impressed that you make lambic beer! Don't you envy the Europeans with their accumulated wealth of fermenting organisms? fom, Are you referring to the potty training infant techniques? I really wish I'd known about those when ours were infants! It makes such great sense!
Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 16 Feb 10 17:39
Waah! I can't find your Facebook page!
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 16 Feb 10 19:09
Linda, try <http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Buddha-A-Day-Ellen-Sandbeck/356713595606> Ellen, yeasts and bacteria vary, but we have nice ones too. Some American commercial brewers are playing with local varieties, too. Russian River Brewing, Allagash, Jolly Pumpkin... some elegant beers are coming out, with local sour components. Anyway, very cool that you picked up on this peculiar and delicious trend.
(fom) Tue 16 Feb 10 21:34
>Are you referring to the potty training infant techniques? I guess so. I'm no expert but it seems to work really well with my little grandsons.
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Tue 16 Feb 10 21:39
That Facebook link worked for me. Thanks! Beautiful work, Ellen.
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 17 Feb 10 02:26
I love the papercuts! Thanks for the link, Gail.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Wed 17 Feb 10 06:29
I'm glad you like my work! And I'm relieved that you were able to access my Facebook page! I've been having a bit of trouble with the page lately.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 18 Feb 10 13:22
And our focus has moved to a new discussion, but I want to take this opportunity to thank Ellen and CJ and all of you for a lively and interesting and fun discussion. As always, the topic will remain open indefinitely.
Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 18 Feb 10 18:22
Excellent discussion! Thank you for visiting us, and please do continue.
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Fri 19 Feb 10 10:49
I too am interested in keeping the discussion going if you are! You've been a terrific guest, Ellen, and I want to thank you for your knowledge and enthusiasm. Please stick around if you have the time, and also please visit the many conferences on The Well where your knowledge and sense of humor would be more than welcome!
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sun 21 Feb 10 08:56
BTW, just put some laundry in and checked the name of my detergent, which has gotten harder to find but is one of the few 'green' products I've been using for a long time: Bio-Kleen. It comes in a 10lb box, and does 100 loads, and really does 100 loads.
For Rosetti, wombats held a peculiar fascination (loris) Sun 21 Feb 10 10:17
yup, bio-kleen is what i use (but the liquid). must be a regional thing; easy to find here in the bay area
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Sun 21 Feb 10 10:59
Good idea. I'll go (with husband in tow) to pick up a box.
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Sun 21 Feb 10 11:00
We have bio-kleen available in Asheville, NC too.
For Rosetti, wombats held a peculiar fascination (loris) Sun 21 Feb 10 16:30
just looked at my bottle of it --- made in vancouver wash, which istr is not very far from portland. so, made in usa! however, where they get their ingredients from, dont know...
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