(Visual) Andrew Narchuk Underwater Photos

Russian photographer Andrew Narchuk shows us the other world that is underwater (found via the Imaginary Foundation).


(New) Craft Beer From Bacolod

Some of you may know this as "the beer from Bacolod". It's BogsBrew, the country's first craft beer. It is not pastuerized and then carbonated, like commercial beers. The fizz comes from the fermentation process-- it is less aggressively bubbly than San Miguel, of course.

But the flavor is worth a visit! Bogsbrew uses the usual barley, local mascobado sugar and Negros spring water, and has a pleasant sweetness and smoothness. The same brewers also make Primo, an all-grain variety containing local corn and rice, and wild honey. Both are great. And to answer a few preliminary questions, it is "real" beer and doesn't taste like carbonated fruit drink.

There is a lot of buzz in the food world now about unpasteurized wines and beers, because people have begun to realize that commercializing them has made potentially healthful and funful products into things that are "bad for you". Drinking Bogsbrew gives you a nice little buzz and doesn't create that acidic taste in your mouth. The fizz is emitted by microorganisms that release CO2 as part of their "eating" the sugars-- essentially the fermentation process-- which you can get from making ginger "beer" at home. It replenishes your digestive enzymes, leaving you ready for a Sunday rebound brunch. There is a natural sediment in the beer from the fermentation process that contains vitamin B complex, which vegans could use.

Now, to track down some unpasteurized wine. And more brewers, please.


(New) Absentee Gardener Mushroom Waterers

Do you like plants and travel? Sometimes that can be a problem. Coming home to dead plants is tragic. These mushroom plant waterers may help. They are filled with water. The bottom, porous part must be buried under soil beside your plant roots (or you can plant in a circle around the mushroom). Water will seep out gradually into the roots. The rate of weeping is determined by heat, soil consistency, and other factors.

The same concept is used on a larger scale in traditional American ollas or terra cotta jars. Click on the link to see an article on ollas from the homestead Path to Freedom.

There are vintage waterers for sale in other parts of the world. The above was our favorite variation that we found on eBay.


(Literature) Hemingway And The Garden of Eden

Hemingway is the Herge of prose. Not the most complex, not the most verbose, but excites in us, early on, the desire to travel and wear linen. His protagonists are like Tintin, negotiating a strange but simplified world.

Around two hours after reading any of his novels, you find yourself speaking with the spareness of his characters. After reading a few of his books, the idea of Hemingway captivates you.

You think you know him, then you read the posthumous The Garden of Eden. A tale of Europe, lust, haircuts, cross-dressing, and slow descent into insanity. If you are harboring a particular idea of Hemingway, read this book to shake your world up a little bit.


(New) Nipa Moonshine ver. Wild Civet Cats

It is an understatement to say that our "moonshine"-- nipa vodka, distilled from the nectar of the brackish palm Nypa fruticans-- has a rabid following. We have been asked "Aren't you the ones who have that moonshine?" in the strangest places indeed.

Over the months, we've made various incarnations: plain, infused with various plants (pepper, star anise leaves, local oranges), mixed with mascobado sugar and honey. The latest, very limited variation is an excellent infusion of wild civet coffee beans (from a sprawling mountain estate in Batangas) together with pure vanilla bean.

Not that we are alcoholics, but when a night of free-flowing conversation and libations is in order, we prefer this local spirit: sustainably grown, harvested (by cutting off the fruit, pictured above, and installing a bamboo collector, below), and wood-fired distillation (allowing for a carbon emission equal to only the amount captured by the fuelwood). It is an open base, with slight sweetness, and a poweful punch (80 proof). Not jarring like coconut lambanog, it has received raves from our friends all over the world (yes, we do pack our own alcohol).

Our expriences around the moonshine have been some of our best. Riding small boats down several marshes, past wild crab hunters and those collecting nipa leaves for thatched roofing, drinking our booty in a log cabin at night, preparing our mix for the ride back home (coconut milk and pineapple). It is an honor to throw our own little wrench into the huge machinery of global alcohol production. We are perfectly happy to sip our local organic spirit, with excellent quality, sans preservatives, not from concentrate, not shipped from halfway around the globe.

Locals, get brewing, get distilling. Small-batch alcohol production, thine time has come.