The weather has not changed up as I had hope to allow me to get things going outside, so as a result I am still chomping at the bit.
This has diverted my efforts into other things, so here are some strange non-aquaponic related updates.
The first one I have to talk about is that we have discovered Kefir.
Kefir is actually Tibicos.
Tibicos are a culture of bacteria and yeasts that produce a probiotic that is very healthy when consumed.
Tibicos is also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California bees, and in older literature as bébées, African bees, ale nuts, Australian bees, balm of Gilead, beer seeds, beer plant, bees, ginger bees, Japanese beer seeds and vinegar bees,
We have tried both water kefir and milk kefir over the past while and are currently cultivating water kefir.
I have been playing with a bunch of different recipes for water kefir ranging from Vanilla (which actually tastes cream soda-ish) through to root beer, black berry, grape (white and purple) and combined fruit flavors. I now have several that are in different stages of aging and carbonating and am now looking to attempt some Kefir beer making.
For a lot of people this is not a lot of new information, but for me, it was something totally out of the norm that I had never heard of.
I have made wine, beer and mead in the past and have turned into a brew junkie as a result. I got very used to creating a batch and having to wait for a month to a year or more to taste the goodness or ending up having 5 gallons of grossness to deal with.
This high side to the kefir is that a batch can be completed in as little as 3 days and you can make small batches of 500 ml. and have a very low alcohol content (other than the beers). This opens up the ability to try a number of things over the course of a week to see what you like and what the best fit is.
So here is a Kefir Video:
As for the garden updates I am in the midst of moving some stuff around and replanting. So I everything is a hellish mess in the basement. that is not going to be cleaned up in the next few days. Excuse the short video and the mess. Spring is coming and they will get better I assure you.
For the last year I have been holding on to mushroom cultures and waiting. It seems that the wait is now somewhat over because I now have Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms starting up in a bin. I am far from an expert in rearing mushrooms, but giving it a go none the less.
I still have several jars of Grey Dove Oyster Mushrooms that I have hopes on getting started up here in the spring.
Expect that this is one of many updates intertwined with the other updates on the non-aquaponics side in the future.
As for the future, this weekend is going to be the start of a whirlwind couple of weeks. Over and above the normal day to day keeping me busy there are also some awesome events coming up!
Tomorrow is the Sustainability for Breakfast put on by REAP. This is a “must go to event” if you are interested in sustainability initiatives in Calgary and area. The networking and presentations are awesome and well worth your time to attend. Stephanie Jackman of REAP has established a fantastic group of people and businesses who are making a huge difference in the world around us and deserves a pat on the back and acknowledgement.
REAP puts on these events the last Friday of every month. If you can attend the events, I strongly suggest it! Sign up, pay up and show up. (Remember that seating is limited in these events so if you dont sign up and pay ($7.00 includes breakfast) there fast, you may not get there at all.) For you Locals, Scott Weir from Growing Gardeners is going to be presenting at this one, so come on out and cheer him on!
Saturday, we have the “Introduction to Aquaponics” course at the University of Calgary.
This course is bound to be a great time and a lot of good information. I am looking forward to it and meeting a bunch of new people looking to take the first steps into aquaponics as well as working with Scott Weir with Growing Gardeners in getting aquaponics more widely understood and mainstream.
The class is just about full but if you act fast you may be able to get in on the course before cut off.
I am off to an organic symposium in Strathmore for Monday that is bound to have me coming back with a bunch of cool information and contacts that I will be sharing with the world. Although Aquaponics is not able to be certified as organic, I am still wanting to attend to see what is going on and who the players are on that side of the world.
Wednesday is the Farmers Market at Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Centre and is being followed up with a presentation on “Seed Saving and GMOs”. The farmers market is well worth checking out and the presentations after are amazing. Hillhurst Sunny side knock it out of the park for a community centre with these kinds of events.
I will see if I can grab some footage or pictures of these events to tie into another update.
I hope that I see you folks at the cool events coming up!
Until next week, keep growing