Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Hidden Bricks

KorganIcon I was digging around in the yard, and noticed brickwork underneath the weeds just outside the back door. Poking around a bit more, noticed that there was a whole brick path out there. So a couple of hours later, with my trusty pitchfork and sweeping brush, I got it to look like this:

So that's pretty cool.

For comparison, this is how it looked before:


Sunday, 25 September 2011

New Compost Pile

KorganIconHere are some pics of the first compost pile in my garden. Just dumped 3 bags of mowed lawn into it and already it's steaming and rife with happy bacteria :D

Decided that I'm going to have to build a ton more piles to get the amount of compost I need to initialise my garden. Looks like my current garden project is compost batching.

So many people in Conway put their lawn waste out like trash. NOBODY composts! Which is awesome for me :D

Monday, 12 September 2011

Korgan's Garden

KorganIconFinally! We moved house, and I have my very own yard. It was full of long grass and weeds when we moved in a couple of weeks ago. Today, I finally got my hands on a strimmer and attacked that.

Then I put posts in the ground to mark areas and tied ropes to them. Then, we went and got pallets. I tied them together for a quick compost bin. Here are some progress pics and the plan I sketched up.

I'll be updating regularly with progress pics.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

KorganIconI tried to render some fat tonight from Kroger beef.

I've done this before and tallow is usually hard and white. You can snap it. What I got from this Kroger beef was not hard at all. It was exactly what the fat looks like in documentaries about liposuction. It was not cow fat. What the fuck is it?

...and after reading this I'm not keen on trying it again:
"Most of the serious toxins that you read about are lipophilic (or, hydrophobic) and hence will tend to partition into animals’ fat in the wild (i.e. bioaccumulate). Examples include dioxins, PDBEs, PCBs, etc."

Sunday, 24 July 2011

KorganIconWe're moving to a house with a bunch of yard space, and I have a bunch of projects in mind to start as soon as possible. there's a lot of preparatory labour work I have to do, but after that it'll be compost heaps, rainbarrels, wind-powered water pumps (if I can manage it), chickens and bees. Yep. So that starts in a month or so. Finally.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Basil Comparison

KorganIcon This is a pic of our first Basil we had together a few years ago, grown from store-bought seed. Pretty weak looking stuff. The 2nd picture is of the grandchild of this plant. Fucking amazing basil, bursting with vitality.

Keep your seed, people! Stop buying seed! Why are you buying seed! It's seed!!


KorganIconI intended to write about backcrossing a year ago, back when I was into this stuff. Here's that post.

So let's say you have a plant whose traits you want to keep. Let's say that it's bright red or something and you want to continue producing plants that are bright red. (For this example, let's assume our red plant is homozygous, RR) You have this female plant that is bright red but you don't have any males that are particularly special. You need to breed. What's the solution?

Backcrossing, and it works like this:

You mate your bright red plant RR with your random-ass male plant whose genotype we have no idea about, but we'll call it xx since it's not red.

You will get a bunch of heterozygous plants if the xx is also homozygous, and let's assume that it is for now. And let's say they're all red. Awesome. This tells us that red is a dominant trait. Our children must be:

Rx Rx Rx Rx (0% are RR, all hybrids)

But we also have our parent RR. That's our advantage. We already have one plant that we know is true breeding with regard to the characteristics that we want. So breed the RR parent with all the children and what happens?

We'll get 50% RR and 50% Rx

What happens if we mate these children with the RR parent AGAIN?

We get 75% RR and 25% Rx

See what's happening? The proportion of plants with the desired trait is increasing. We continue this and we get:

87.5% RR
93.75 RR
96.875 RR
98.4375 RR
99.21875 RR

And this is what is known as backcrossing.

When I say you're mating the parent plant with the children, you will most likely be mating a CLONE of the parent plant with the children. The parent is unlikely to survive for this much time. So you clone the parent plant before each crossing and use that.

Notes: when you first mate the parent with the child, this is known as squaring. When you mate the grandchild with the grandparent, this is known as cubing. Stupid terms you will find elsewhere online.

I even figured an equation which predicts the proportions as seen above: if n is the number of crosses, the proportion will be

Monday, 11 July 2011

3rd-Gen Basil

KorganIconWe've been saving the seeds of our basil plant for about 2 or 3 years now. The plant we have now is the grandchild of our first plant. It looks like the most amazing basil plant I've ever seen. It's so vibrant, strong, tasty, attractive. And it has just flowered, so we can keep this line forever.

Save your seeds people! If you grow anything and you're not saving seed, you're an idiot.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Make Yoghurt!

KorganIconYoghurt is amazingly easy to make. Like, seriously. If you're going to make it though, make large amounts. That way you will save cash. But really, it's cool to have your own batch growing.

I like tangy yoghurt, I like Greek yoghurt. The other day I was almost out of Greek yoghurt, and I wouldn't be going to the store anytime soon. So I made up a batch of yoghurt, incubated it and when I got home from work I had a bunch of free delicious yoghurt to eat. Blah, just do it.

So this is how yoghurt is made

946ml milk
1 tbsp yoghurt

  • Heat milk to 180F/82C. The longer you hold it at this temp, the thicker your yoghurt will be.
  • Let it cool. Wait until it's 110F/43C.
  • While waiting, boil jars to sterilize. (Or you can just take them out of the dishwasher when it's just finished.)
  • Preheat storage area. You'll have to keep the yoghurt warm for about 8-12 hours.
  • Add yoghurt to milk. Stir.
  • Pour milk into jars.
  • Cap jars.
  • Wrap with warm towels, store for 8-12 hours.
You can incubate it in a crockpot filled with 110F/43C water, set on warm then turn off and put your jars in, cover with a towel. Try to maintain 110F/43C.

...but what I do is, wrap the jars in towels, put them on top of the dryer in the dryer cupboard, then dry some clothes. Keeps the cupboard warm.

That's it! You need a tbsp of yoghurt to make about a litre of yoghurt. You can use the yoghurt you make to make the next batch of yoghurt too. I've read that after a few turns of doing this, that you should start with a fresh batch, but that doesn't make any sense to me. If you have a healthy, culture going, then by all means use it.

Btw, the iPhone sucks fucking dicks for taking pictures. iPhones are lame, guys. Worst phone ever.

--edit: made more yoghurt today (4th Aug 2011), did it with about 1 minutes work total, and took a bath while I waited for the milk to cool. This time, I shook up the jars to get that yoghurt dispersed in the milk. Checked on it 8 hours later and it was super thick. Success! Shake your jars!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Rope and Leaky Watering Can

KorganIconFound out my watering can leaks, a month ago or so. Took advantage of this: tied up the can above our basil pot and now it has a drip feeder.

Note: This isn't a perfect solution. It wets the leaves which is almost never a good thing, but it's been hot outside so I have no concern about mould growth. Other than that it's great and it's nice to be able to quickly fill up the can and walk away letting it get on with it. And it's nice to use rope. And it looks unusual.

Rope is attached to bars with an Evenk Hitch, can is pulled up with a Trucker's Hitch (with a #1058 loop), finished off with wraps. I usually never use wraps because they're such a hassle to undo even though they look good, but I can get away with it this time because I'm using the Evenk: if I need to take this down I just pull on the end.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Knot Godhood

KorganIconA while back on the IGKT forum, I made a list of knots to learn, with the idea being that it be used for teaching purposes, and to enthuse rope newbs.

Here is the document.

The preamble gives you the idea:
You are beginning your journey from unskilled peon to Knot God. The journey may be long and challenging, but each technique you learn brings you closer to Knot Godhood. Only by unanimous decision by the Council of Knot Gods can the title of Knot God be bestowed. Those who wish to become a Knot God must commit the Knot Code to memory and appeal to the Council. Once you become a Knot God, your status as such may not be revoked unless by unanimous decision by the Council.

The Knot Code follows after that, which includes a list of 112 knots including hitches, loops, bends, splicings, lashings, coils and bindings.

It makes a fun challenge out of something that may be tedious and dull if you're made to do it.