How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Homebrewing Pumpkin Ale

I wanted to give a quick update on my home brewing adventures. I have several carboys in various stages of fermentation, sitting on the kitchen counter. Several weeks ago my husband and I attended a class on how to make beer. The White House had just released the White House Honey Ale recipe. It was all over the internet; even some of my beekeeping magazines posted the recipe and video because the recipe had honey as one of the ingredients. I actually gave my Local Brew Store some honey for the recipe. He is going to give me a few bottles of beer in exchange.. Since my husband’s schedule is always so crazy busy he had not had time to participate in the beer making class given on Saturdays. I was really interested in making the Pumpkin Ale recipe they had posted on the store website. I thought it looked perfect for the fall season and holidays. The ingredients looked so good that I really wanted to try this recipe. I was busy that morning so my husband went to the class so we could make the pumpkin ale together.

Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin King Autumn Ale

  • 6oz. Aromatic
  • 4oz. Biscuit
  • 4 oz. Cara Red
  • 2 oz. Chocolate
  • 1 lb. Maris Otter
  • ½ oz. Allspice
  • ¼ oz Nutmeg
  • ¼ oz. Cinnamon
  • ¼ oz. Fresh Ginger
  • ¼ oz. Cloves
  • 3 lbs Munich Extract
  • 3 lbs Pilsner Extract
  • 1 lb Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 oz. Cluster @ 45
  • 1 oz. Willamette@30
  • 1 oz. Mt. Hood @ 15
  • British Ale Yeast
  • 30 oz. Cooked Pumpkin @ 1 week

Several weeks later we bottled our first ever beer. Not exactly in time for Halloween but it should be ready for early November. Part of the process in making beer is the carbonation that occurs in the bottles. To achieve the proper carbonation you need to add 5oz of priming sugar to the carboy before bottling. The sugars wake up the yeast and a secondary fermentation occurs. Since the CO2 has no place to escape it stays in the bottles and carbonation occurs. Bottling was super easy and really fun. The siphoning tool actually makes it really easy to add just the right amount of beer to each bottle. Capping was super easy also. We now have two cases of delicious Pumpkin Ale. The hardest part to making any of the wine or beer is the wait until it is complete. The beer needs to stay in a cool dark place for 5 weeks. We placed it in the main bathroom in the tub. There aren’t too many cool dark places in Miami, Florida.

I think the saying goes something like “Anything good is worth waiting for!” I can’t wait for the pumpkin ale to be ready to drink!

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