Navajo Fry Bread

3 cups unbleached flour, sifted
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 ½ cup warm water or milk
oil for deep frying

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead until smooth and soft, but not sticky.

Be careful not to overwork the dough, or it will become tough and chewy.

Brush a tablespoon of oil over the finished dough and allow it to rest 30 minutes to an hour in a bowl covered with a damp cloth. After the dough has rested, heat oil in a broad, deep frying pan at 350º-375º. Pull off egg-sized balls of dough and quickly roll, pull, and path them out into large, plate-sized rounds. They should be thin in the middle and about 1/4 inch thick at the edges. Carefully ease each piece of flattened dough into the hot oil. Using a long-handled cooking fork or tongs, turn the dough one time. Allow about 2 minutes cooking time per side or until golden brown, lift from oil, shake gently to remove bulk of oil, and place on wire rack to finish draining.

Serve hot with honey, jelly, powdered sugar, or various savory toppings such as for tacos.

Diatomaceous Earth

I received some samples from the good folks over at EP Minerals and EnviroTech Soil Solutions, Inc., who make diatomaceous earth (DE) products. I like and use DE, so it won’t be hard to put them to good use.

It Starts with Diatoms

Algae are simple aquatic plants which include multi-celled forms such as Kelp and more primitive single celled forms such as diatoms. Individually, they don’t live very long, usually under a week, but as a species diatoms are thought to be in the ballpark of 200,000 million years old.

Diatoms live in the upper sunlit areas of fresh and salt waters, and are a common phytoplankton. Sunlight is critical to diatoms as they rely on chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Individual diatoms are frequently too small to be seen with the unassisted eye and are usually observed with the aid of a microscope.

A special characteristic of diatoms is their ability to make silica oxide shells called “frustules”. These frustules tend to be intricate and geometric, forming a protective silica cover dotted with openings for nutrient uptake and waste disposal.

When a diatom dies, the organic portion will decompose and the frustule will sink to the bottom. In areas of dense diatom populations, this can result in a sediment layer formed from a vast numbers of these discarded frustules. While the organic component decomposes quickly, their silica exoskeletons can remain in sediment layers for millions of years. The layers of diatom frustules can be mined, and the material collected is referred to as diatomite or diatomaceous earth (DE).

Diatomaceous Earth

Since the frustules (broken or whole) still have voids and holes they are much lighter and more porous than a solid piece of silica would be. Diatomaceous earth is used in a variety of ways: as a filtering material for swimming pool water, toothpaste abrasive, liquid absorbent, and as an important component of dynamite to name a few. It is also used for gardening. Diatomaceous earth for gardening should be amorphous silica and contain little crystalline silica or active contaminants.

Depending on mining and processing, diatomaceous earth may be sold as chunks of stone of various sizes or ground into a powder.

Uses for Diatomaceous Earth

Chunks of diatomaceous earth may be used as a component in a growing medium. By virtue of its voids, it holds both water and air well. It may be used as a substitute for perlite with similar results.

DESECT is a Diatomacious Earth insecticide.

Dry powdered diatomaceous earth is used as a mechanical insecticide. It can be used for cockroaches, ants, fleas, ticks, grasshoppers, and a variety of other pests. It absorbs fats and oils from the insects exoskeleton while the sharp edges scrape and damage their protective coating. It is frequently applied to the medium around the plant, but may also be used on plants themselves. A bulb may be used to create a dry cloud for application, but take care to limit inhalation of the powder. It can also be applied by sprinkling dry, or by mixing with water to apply and then allowed to dry. If used directly on the plants avoid harvestable portions as it will leave a residue, and avoid spraying flowers to protect bees. Reapply as needed.

Warning

While diatomaceous earth is not poisonous and is generally considered to be non toxic to animals, breathing any fine powder can have detrimental health effects. Take care to keep out of eyes and lungs.

Review: Outdoor Performance Cannabis

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a review copy from Kyle.

Written by Dustin Fraser with the help of Kyle L. Ladenburger; Outdoor Performance Cannabis is a practical guide to growing cannabis outside.

Dustin Fraser is a well known member of the Smart Pot(TM) team, and Kyle L. Ladenburger is a respected gardening author known for his insightful Maximum Yield Magazine, Hydrolife, and Garden Culture Magazine articles.

At 77 pages and written in a conversational tone, it is a quick read that doesn’t get bogged down in overuse of scientific jargon or overly abstract theories. This is a booklet about how to grow big cannabis plants outdoors in Smart Pots(TM) written by someone who grows big cannabis plants outdoors in Smart Pots(TM) in the Emerald Triangle using a method he calls “performance gardening”.

Included are suggestions for best practices based on years of experience, and opinions on the ideal cannabis garden. A chapter at a time, it walks the reader through site selection, propagation, growth, flowering, harvest, and even advice on sales.

Not everyone has the opportunity to sit down and pick the brains of growers from California’s famed Emerald Triangle, but reading Outdoor Performance Cannabis is about the next best thing.

I would recommend this to anyone curious about the methods used to grow exceptionally large outdoor cannabis plants (hint from the book: Start early), that prefers a no-nonsense direct explanation that emphasizes on the major points of what you need to know and doesn’t dally around about it.

Dutch Babies

1/3 cup butter
4 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1 cup Flour

Melt butter in a shallow 3 qt cast iron skillet in a 425F oven.
Blend eggs for 1 minute or until light and lemon colored.
Slowly add milk, then flour while mixing.
Blend for 30 seconds. Add to pan, return pan to oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Sprinkle a little powered sugar on top or with fruit, and serve immediately.

Review: The Cannabis Grow Bible 3rd Ed.

My photos on page 92

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t pay for my copy, and on page 92 they used (and paid a flat fee for) some of my photos.

First of all, it is big, over four pounds big. The pages are thick (unlike some big books that use a cheaper, noticeably thinner paper), and there are 690 of them. There are over a thousand color photos, and the layout is nicely organized for ease of reading.

Since it is such a big book, I recommend that before diving into it, take a few minutes to break it in by limbering up the pages. For those unfamiliar with the process, while taking care not to break the spine or separate pages from the binding :

1) Set the book on its spine.

2) Open the front cover, make sure it bends along the crease, and run your finger along the inside to ensure the opening fold is along the crease and not on either side of it.

3) Then repeat with the back cover.

4) Open a few pages in the front, and using light pressure, run your finger along the page near the binding. Repeat with a few pages from the back.

5) Return to the front of the book, and repeat with the next few pages.

6) Alternating between the back and the front, continue though the entire book. If done correctly, you should end at the center of the book. When finished, the pages should be more flexible, and less likely to split from the binding.

It should only take a few minutes, and may extend the life of the book, which in this case is a good thing since it is the sort of reference book that begs to be opened repeatedly. It is worth noting that due to the nice wide inside margins, the text has plenty of room for reading when the book is opened despite its impressive girth.

Inside the Book

The first chapter is a quick overview, and while brief, people have successfully grown plants on less information, and it gives a glimpse of the tone and information to expect from the rest of the book.

The second chapter concerns the cannabis plant itself, with history, classification, and physical characteristics. Chapter three includes information on procuring and selecting appropriate seeds, and chapter four is about getting them to sprout.

The following nine chapters are filled with hundreds of pages on how to grow cannabis, indoors or out, organic techniques, hydroponics and more. These nine chapters would comprise a respectable grow book all on their own, and I’ve read plenty of entire grow books that don’t offer as much information presented as well.

But wait, there’s more.

Chapter fourteen is a cannabis pest problem solver, fifteen harvesting and curing, and sixteen is one of the better chapters on cannabis breeding that I’ve read. Chapter seventeen discusses popular varieties.

Chapters eighteen and nineteen are about concentrates, their construction and consumption. These chapters only address traditional hash, and infusions, but also dabs, oils, rosin and other topics not covered in many older publications. Chapter twenty is a nice concluding cap to the experience.

For the beginning grower, this book would be an excellent start. While I am a strong proponent of not getting all your information from a single source, I must admit this book has enough information to give a solid foundation to build further studies on. If a grower was only going to buy and read one book, this would be my suggestion.

Bagels


5 cups flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 packets yeast
2 teaspoons salt

Proof yeast, add two teaspoons salt. Slowly mix in 4 cups flour. Add more flour in 1/2 cup steps until dough is stiff (usually about a cup more). Shape. Broil for a minute a side, boil for a minute a side, and finally bake at 400f for 20 min.

For bagel dog bites divide 8 hot dogs into quarters, and divide the dough into 32 pieces. Wrap each section of hot dog in dough and cook as above.

How to Write Five Sentence Paragraphs and Five Paragraph Essays

The classic five sentence paragraph and the classic five paragraph essay are writing forms that can help an author organize their thoughts, write clearly, and present information in a way that is easy for a reader to comprehend.

Here is a tutorial:

Think of a topic.
Think about how to explain your topic in a few words.
Write that down as the title, you’ll need that later.
Examples: Why I Love My Kitties, Growing Luffas, Causal Factors in the Collapse of the Roman Empire.

Think of three things to say about your topic.
While you don’t have to write them down, it can be helpful to while first learning the form.

Examples: Physical characteristics, distraction, comfort, or planting, flowering, and harvesting.

The classic five sentence paragraph uses the following format:
1) Tell them what you are going to tell them.
2) Tell them.
3) Tell them.
4) Tell them.
5) Tell them what you told them.

Sentence 1 – Tell them what you are going to tell them.

Consider specifically what the three things you have to say about the topic have in common.
Since they are all on the same topic it shouldn’t be difficult, but it may be possible to be more specific.

Examples: I love my kitties, Luffas need a long growing season to go from seed to harvest.

Sentence 2 – Tell them.

Take the first of your list of three things you have to say about your topic, and make it into a sentence.

Example: I love the feel of their fur under my fingertips.

Sentence 3 – Tell them.

Take the second from your list of three things you have to say about your topic, and make it into a sentence.

Example: They lovingly interrupt my work and remind me of the pleasures of the here and now.

Sentence 4 – Tell them.

Take the third from your list of three things you have to say about your topic, and make it into a sentence.

Example: When I’m blue, they brighten my day and comfort me.

Sentence 5 – Tell them what you told them.

Write the conclusion.

Read the first four sentences that you just wrote. What should the read know from reading them? Write that as the last sentence to sum up what you’ve written.

Example: My kitties make my world a nicer place to live in.

Reread, and neaten up and adjust as needed.

Example:
I love my kitties. The feel of their fur under my fingertips is soothing. They lovingly interrupt my work and remind me of the pleasures of the here and now. When I’m blue, they brighten my day and comfort me. My kitties make my world a nicer place to be.

Practice with the form makes it easier, it isn’t a bad idea to pick a few random topics and try them out. Once you are comfortable with the five sentence paragraph, the next step is the five paragraph essay. The good news is using the five sentence paragraph as a foundation, the rest is mostly more of the same.

A classic five paragraph essay is made of five paragraphs in the following format.

1) Tell them what you are going to tell them.
2) Tell them.
3) Tell them.
4) Tell them.
5) Tell them what you told them.

Which should look familiar.

The 1st paragraph is the introduction.

The first sentence tells what the essay is going to be about. The second is the topic for the second paragraph, the third is the topic for the third paragraph, and the fourth for the fourth. The final sentence prepare the reader for the rest of the essay.

Paragraphs 2-4 are supporting paragraphs each making a point.

Paragraph 5 is the conclusion.

Essays can be grouped and combined this same way into longer papers or chapters. Some textbooks are written this way. Once the basics are understood, they can be applied in a variety of ways.

The number of paragraphs can be adjusted as needed. A compare and contrast may have only an introduction, two supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. A process paper may have many supporting paragraphs. The introduction to an introduction might be kept brief for ease of reading. The form should be a helpful tool, not a rigid standard.

Writing is a skill that develops with practice, and it can be difficult to organize thoughts without that practice. My hope is that this article will help that practice go easier and remove some of the anxiety frequently involved in the process.