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How Eco-Friendly Monks Rekindled the Use of Spirits.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The following is a guest post by Shireen Qudosi of Heater-Home
They say people in glass homes shouldn't throw stones. Well, this is one glass home you're not likely to find a squabbling pair in.
In 1984, Buddhist monks in Thailand began gathering bottles to decorate their shelters. The interest not only attracted a lot of tourists but also resulted in a flood of donated bottles to help the monks realize their luminary vision. Since then, Thai monks in the Siasaket province just 370 miles northeast of Bangkok have used approximately 1.5 million glass bottles to create their temple.
While many eco-enthusiasts have incorporated recycled bottles into their d├ęcor, these creative and dedicated monks have taken it to a whole new level. Using a mixture of green Heineken bottles and brown Thai beer bottles, the monks find that the use of bottles as building materials is a practical solution, since the bottles don't lose their color and are easily cleaned; plus the thickness of beer bottles makes them durable enough to resist wear and tear. The monks have also cleverly put beer bottle caps to good use by creating stunning mosaics depicting Buddha.
Moving beyond simple sustainability and to spiritual sustainability, Thai monks have taken beer, normally associated with common culture, and have created a cultural goldmine out of beer byproducts. They've single-handedly redefined recyclability, and raised the bar in an eco-conscious world. If a handful of monks with limited resources can create this, what about the rest of us? The Beer Bottle Temple is a testament to eco-living that fuses practicality and spirituality to create a whole new forum for aesthetic design.
The bottles create a structure that holds up the number-one rule in architecture, which calls for an awareness of how the building uses light. The "Beer Bottle Temple," as it's now referred to, draws every last bit of light in and reflects it throughout, creating a warm glow unmatched by electrical lighting. Imagine how a stained-glass church looks -- now imagine the incandescence of an entire building arising out of glass, with reams of sunlight stretching from wall to wall.
While it's unlikely that the rest of us have a glass house, we can certainly learn from the design element, and perhaps pick up a little green lesson. It's true that many modern homes (especially pre-fab and modular homes) have a larger percentage of windows. Though increased window space is always a scenic plus, it's usually not conducive to a warm, toasty home -- a much needed transition during the approaching winter months.
The fact is, glass does nothing to insulate your home, and switching on the heater to high is not the best idea if you want to go Earth-friendly and not be out of house and home after paying your heating bill. Rather than shoveling buckets of change into the bottomless pit known as utility bills, try investing in a space heater and keep that heater in the area you use most -- like your bedroom, office or living room. This way you're channeling the heat right where you need it, so that no matter where you live, your home can still be your castle.
As for the monks, they're still busy building. They continue to collect and receive empty bottles that they're now using for additional temples and shelters. The Beer Bottle Temple brilliantly reflects what a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of patience can accomplish. It is a monument to spiritual sustainability that also defies the cultural associations we've branded on spirits.

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Corn Wine

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Photo by: r-z

* 2 lbs cracked corn
* 1 lb chopped golden raisins
* 3 lbs granulated sugar
* 4 tsp acid blend
* 1 tsp yeast nutrient
* 1/2 tsp tannin
* water to one gallon
* 1 crushed Campden tablet
* Champagne or Sherry wine yeast

Rinse the corn well, checking for any pebbles or other foreign matter. Put chopped raisins and corn in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover the corn. Soak overnight. The next day, pour corn and raisins in a fine nylon straining bag, tie the bag closed, and put in primary. Pour the soaking water into primary. Put remaining water on to boil with sugar in it. Stir well as water heats up until sugar is dissolved and water comes to a boil. Pour water into primary. Add the acid blend, yeast nutrient and tannin. Cover primary with a sheet of plastic held in place with a large rubber band or loop of elastic. When cooled to room temperature, add crushed Campden tablet, recover, and set aside for 24 hours. Meanwhile, boil a cup of orange juice, transfer to a sterilized pint jar and set in refrigerator 30 minutes to cool. When cool, add yeast to orange juice and cover with plastic wrap. After 24 hours, add orange juice to primary. Stir daily for two weeks. Remove bag of corn/raisins and allow to drip drain (do not squeeze). Discard corn/raisins, recover primary and allow liquor to settle overnight. Rack into secondary and fit with airlock. Rack every two months for six months. After sixth-month racking, check for dryness. If not completely dry (specific gravity of 0.990), allow another two months and rack again. When dry, bottle the wine. May drink immediately. [Adapted from Terry Garey's The Joy of Home Winemaking]

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Beer Reviews #1 - Sam Adams Octoberfest

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wanted to show some love to a great seasoning company called "Slap Ya Mama" Cajun Seasoning. Also this is a very good beer make sure to try it.

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