Aquaponics - Fog

So it turns out I was sicker than I thought, but not as sick as I could have been.

Which is nice.

I went to my doctor, and she tested how well I could exhale.

Turns out I'm really good at exhaling.

But they thought they would give me a stack of drugs to make me even better at it.

They only managed 15% better because I'm so good at it already, but the breathing in thing became  much better. They seemed a little disappointed in my 15% new extra amazing ability to breath out.

They didn't seem anywhere near as excited about the breathing in bit as I was.

Doctors can be funny like that.

Anyway, thanks modern medicine.

It turns out if you have a chest infection, mentioning it in a blog is no longer enough to actually cure it. 

Who knew?

So, nothing unusual there, but stay with me as there is an interesting bit to come.

They put some liquids into one of these. I think they called it a nubuliserIf they didn't, that would be a pretty good name for it. 

Its a mask thinggy. with an air hose entering from the bottom right of frame.

The liquid went in just above the aqua* coloured disk connected to the other aqua bit.

That's all well and good so far, but here's the interesting bit.

Adding only air they managed to make fog.

Now, I love fog as much as the next guy, so being able to make it made me pretty happy, even if it wasn't really me that made it, although I did have control of a small green switch, so I'm taking credit for it.


Having taken home the thing, I now have the ability to make fog at will.

Fog might mean very small air bubbles, or any number of interesting and powerful technologies.

Personally I'm hoping for small bubbles.

Small bubbles mean a really large surface area. A really large surface area might mean excellent oxygen uptake in a fish tank.

Or something else.

I just love a mystery.

120 Things in 20 years is still in an aquaponics fog for the time being, but is on the mend.

*I've never used "aqua" in a sentence before, and I've been able to speak for ages. I just thought you should know. 

Aquaponics - Strawberries

We have a lot of strawberry plant in now.

Really, a lot.

The first ones to go in were in the constant flood grow bed in the aquaponics system.

They looked like this when I first put them in.

I was delirious at the time so I have no idea when it was.

They look a little delirious themselves.

They look like this now.

Clearly a lot less delirious.

They have a definite sense of direction now.

I should get one of those.

Having a define sense of direction could be fun. I wouldn't really know, as I've never really had one, but I know some people with definite senses of direction, and I've seen them smile, so it could be the go.

Who knows.


The rest of the zillion or so strawberries went in a media of dirt, lumps of concrete, and odd bits of plastic rubbish lovingly placed there by previous tenants of this place.

It's a funny thing, but until I had an aquaponics system, I figured all dirt was perfectly healthy for growing stuff in, but now I wonder.

I have no idea what's in this stuff. For all I know, the previous tenants had a small home business filling glass tubes with mercury to make thermometers, and just poured the leftovers and broken ones into the patch of rubble running down the unused side of their house.

Probably not, but it's tempting to use the glut of strawberries from this patch in gift baskets sent to people I don't really like... just in case.

I'm sure it's fine.

Did I mention we have a lot of strawberries now?

We even did a bit of this.

When I say we, what I really mean is Mrs. 120 Things in 20 years did this.

I planted some of the plants in the aquaponics system, then went back to bed.  Mrs. 120 Things did the rest.

Yet again, I've maxed out my karmic credit card, although strangely It seems I still benefit.

Mrs 120 Things in 20 years just scored a free garden shed from a total stranger who's garden shed collection obviously had gone too far.

120 Things in 20 years sees aquaponics strawberries as only part of the picture. Really it was a generous gift letting Mrs 120 Things in 20 years do all the work with the strawberries, get all the karmic credit, then nab a free garden shed I'll get to use.

This karma thing doesn't seem to work. I just keep getting benefits no matter what.

Making smoked foods - Cold smoker build

I thought I'd finally be well enough to do something, and thought building the cold smoker experiment should be a good thing to do some of.

So I did.

And it looked like this...

I started with a tap.

Then added all the other metal bits that would fit on it.

I don't really need a tap here, but it will make a good heat sink to take any heat out of my smoke, and dump it into the air.

Then I added a plastic fitting that will take a tube I found.

Then for some reason I cut the stainless steel mesh out of a kitchen strainer.

Next I drilled a hole in the lid of a cheese spread jar. (don't know why I have a cheese spread jar), and jammed the tap kit through it. 

I also drilled another hole for the "air in" tube.

I mounted the tap in a vice, and made a foil cup to hold the wood chips.

I used Blu-tack to block any holes where the tube met the lid.

I also connected the air hose into the second hose.

I connected a tube to the tap assembly and poked it into a hole in the bottom of this collection jar.

This is where the food, or in this case the salt to be smoked will go.

The sieve was jammed in place at the top of the jar, and filled with large sea salt crystals.

The lid will just rest lightly on this jar to allow the smoke to flow through it freely.

This jar might be replaced with a large olive oil tin or something to smoke other stuff like fish.

So then I lit it, and turned on the air pump.

The air pump pumps air into the glass jar with the wood chips, and the only escape for the air pressure from that jar, is through the pipe under the smouldering wood chips and into the jar with the food in it.

And screwed on the glass jar over the top.

The problem was the air pump didn't put out enough air.

It worked a bit, but there was nowhere near enough smoke.

As soon as the jar was screwed on, the glow died down to a tiny ember.

But it did work and it did make cold smoke.

This is how much was leaving the tube.

It looked like this when thae tube was stuck into the food filled jar.

If you look closely, you can just make out the smoke escaping from the loose fitting lid covering the jar with the salt.

Nowhere near enough, but close enough for a proof of concept.

All I need is a better air pump.

120 Things in 20 years still doesn't know why cold smoke will help make home made preserves, but when I did a search for smoked salt, I see 23,100,000 people have mentioned it already, so I think I can safely say it wasn't an original idea.

Aquaponics - Cucumbric die back

Even though cucumbers are a summer thing, I feel an exception should be made for me.

I'm not sure why.

It turns out you can safely turn your back on your aquaponics system for a while, but your summer veggies die in the middle of winter if you don't look at them every day.

I'll try again in a few months.

120 Things in 20 years The home of aquaponic cucumbric die back

Chest infection

Why cant colds be satisfied with being colds, and just leave it at that.

My cold was picked up ages ago from some shiny clean kids at a one year old's birthday party. I just discovered I've been in bed for another few days. My cold thought it should be up for a promotion, and  made the leap to being a chest infection. It didn't even do it with confidence. It just kind of wormed its way there.

So now I have what seems to be an anti-biotic resistant chest infection, that no doubt has aspirations to kill me.

Well I'm not going to let it.

Obviously this thing hasn't met my doctor.

She has mad Fu.

Making smoked foods - Cold smoke generator

You can preserve a stack of stuff by smoking it, but I don't know how to make cold smoke. Or at least I didn't.

But this will work.

Sometimes I like to do stuff that's already been done, but without seeing how other people do it.

This is one of those times.

I used to make hot smoked chicken wings in a BBQ kettle or whatever you call such a thing in your part of the world. It's a BBQ with a large domed lid. It's like a grill with a big lid. Whatever...

I would get some heat beads (artificial coal like BBQ fuel that are about the size of a golf ball) and set 3 next to each other with a third on top. This arrangement would allow a heat of only 50 or 60 degrees c but would stay alight.

I'd soak some wood chips in water for a while and then wrap them in foil so they would be starved of air and wouldnt burn. Then Id put the foil package against the heat beads, and would be rewarded with a stack of smoke to impart all the yummyness that smoke does.

But I want to be able to make some cold smoke. I'm not sure why, but I've heard of it.

Rather than just looking up how to do it, I thought I'd invent something.

The result is this...

Picture a glass jar with a plastic lid. (I pictured a peanut butter jar)

Drill two holes in the lid and invert the device from it's native, and more normal peanut butter aspect. (turn it upside down)

Make a foil bowl and hug it into a heatproof tube set through one of the holes. It wont matter if it doesn't seal very well. (I think)

No, I';m sure. It wont matter if it doesnt seal very well.

Now add an air line from your aquaponic system's, or aquarium's air pump into the other hole in the lid.

Fill the foil bowl with wood chips, and light them so there is at least a small bit glowing, then screw on the lid, and start the air pump.

Add a plastic tube to the "cold smoke out" tube, and run that to a container with fish or whatever laid out.

This will.... should.... give an adjustable flow of cold smoke that will keep going for ages, and allow total control of your cold smoke preserved fish or whatever.

The air will come in and build (slight) pressure in the jar. The only way out, will be through the glowing wood chips.

It will work.

I'm going to try to make smoked sea salt. That way I might be able to add smoke flavour at will to whatever I want.

120 things in 20 years lovingly includes things that may well have already been done.

Bread - Knot roll

I made this, and quite like the look of it.

It's a small, knot, slightly sweet(ish) dinner roll.

It's my first knot roll.

120 Things in 20 years - I eat a lot of bread these days

Aquaponics - New strawberry plants

They don't look like much after spending the week in a shopping bag on my kitchen floor, but fifty or so of the new strawberry plants have been crowded into a single grow bed.

Lucky for them (and us) they are at least in the strawberry equivalent of incentive care. If there is one place they might get over their rough treatment, it's an aquaponics system.

They look a bit like this at the moment, and I've just noticed that a few of them are sporting fruit.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, and I'm also not sure when they are meant to fruit.

One of the problems with found stuff, is that you never know it's history.

Any way, aside form their leaves not really knowing which way is up, they look like they might be ok.

They are way too crowded where they are (I think) so I'm going to have to create something a bit better.

But that's going to have to wait until I don't feel quite as ill as I do at the moment.

120 Things in 20 years see's me needing the vitamin C from my new strawberry plant's fruit, before I can gather the energy to start building a decent home for them to grow in.

Aquaponics - Ripping up perfectly good things to make room for other things

I'm not sure if it's good growing practice to nurture plants until they start feeding you, then suddenly rip them out of the ground to make room for strawberries.

But I did it anyway.

I seem to remember doing this kind of thing before.

It seems my garden beds need to be a lot bigger.

My celery plants were actually doing quite well, and we had started harvesting stalks as we needed them.

These are from the original celery stubs that were left over from store bought bundles from the supermarket a year or two ago. 

I planted the empty, used up white base and they grew again and again. When they looked like there were trying to go to seed, I just cut it all back, and left it to grow again, but the second time around there was an established root system, so they grew much better.

But I've decided that I need the real estate for strawberries, so it all had to come up, as did the basil, and the silver beat (or perhaps it's spinach).

I have a lot of strawberry plants.

Someone was giving them away, and I couldn't resist. Thanks nice man who's name I don't even know.

Thanks universe.

I find myself with sixty strawberry plants, planted in dirt (and rubbish and rubble) along the side of my house, I think fifty or sixty will get crowded into a single blue barrel in the grow house, and another fifty or so might just live out their life in a shopping bag on my kitchen floor covered in weeds.

I'm still sick and it's raining, so I think I might just throw them behind the shed and come back in a year and see what happened.

120 Things in 20 years - Sees making room for new plants makes more sense than waiting a few weeks and harvesting the existing plants.

Popular Posts