Welcome to the Greenpets Natural Living pages

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Dragons are from Australia, in particular the bushveld type areas. By that we mean it is not desert, not forest, not grassland, but rocks and bushes and grasses and tough flowers and even tougher prey. We have tried to emulate this, and we built the Critter Garden habitat for them. We originally received two Dragons as a gift from some colleague. They lived in their -admittedly roomy- glass-fronted prisons for a year, when I decided to take interest. Frankly, who the hell keeps a cold-blooded lizard as a pet? It's not even like the thing can learn even basic tricks. Seeing them sulk behind their windows really got to me though, so I built them a place in the garden, where they now live and seemingly love. See the photos.

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Put the dragon on the palm of your hand, tail pointing at your nose.

Lift the tail straight up so you can see the underside where it joins to the body.

You will see not an organ, but one or two bumps under the skin. If you see two parallel bumps, forming the shape of a vertical slot, you have a male. One bump horizontally is a female. Weird, but here's why:

You are looking at either the one set of ovaries, horizontally installed, or TWO penises, left and right, vertical and parallel. Go figure. Now remember, breeding is not heavenly magic, you need at least one of each of these to breed. It's how life works, until Monsanto gets to patent all the genes on earth.

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Well, your main concern would be to have at least two, and they being of opposite gender. Sex. Somehow the dirty word has now become the politely correct one, for "gender" has been corrupted to mean "publically presented personality". We digress. you need a boy and a girl who know they are a boy and a girl respectively and mutually. In jail conditions, they tend to wrestle a lot, and some blood flows, but more on that in the behaviour section. When breeding, we have seen BiBi get all excited, storm half a country mile to get to Slick, whereupon BiBi will jump on Slick's back, and there they lie for a minute or two. This does not tell the whole story:

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On the photos of our Dragon Garden, you may notice some familiar plants; Daisies, Dandelion, Burnett, ox grass, strawberries, purslaine, hemp. Not seen is grated pumpkin, carrot, salad, apple, all things Dragons love. It is quite satisfying to watch your Dragon lay into a clump of English violets like there's no tomorrow. They also like worms and bugs, of course, and I suspect they will snap at anything smaller than their own head.

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Actual bearded dragons have large flaps of skin that screams "beard" at you. Jacky dragons have pointy scales in the beard region that change colour often, making their relatively tiny beards (compared to real Bearded Dragons) of some importance to the observer. There are various theories regarding the reasons and rhymes of the visual display of Jackies. Most of them are suspect, as I have observed exactly the same displays in quite opposite circumstances. Look, I am not some kind of expert, but look at the photos, see how my dragons live, and then I will tell you the little I have been able to surmise so far.

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1. Get yourself some sugar concentrate going.
2. Sterilise it. Keep it sterile from here on.
3. Add hops to taste. Other flavours maybe.
4. Cool raw beer down to 20
°C as quick as possible
5. Add yeast and close fermenter against infection
6. Wait a few days until all signs of life cease
7. Prepare for drinking by bottling or casking
8. Drink and enjoy a job well done
 

You want it to be more complex? Don't ask for trouble trying to make it complex, spend your energy and money on HYGIENE. Hygiene is your friend. Infections are your arch enemy. There are horrible things in the air we breathe, you certainly find out about them when you learn brewing! KEEP EVERYTHING CLEAN. This includes your equipment, your workspace, your tools and yourself. 

Of course there is some details to fill in above, for which I will provide cheap-to-load detailed articles. For now, here are the same steps in BREWERS' TERMINOLOGY:

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I tell you now about a reviled weed, infesting the lawns of the respectable garden-proud gardener who deserves respect for his lawn in his garden. Phooie, I tell you! I am here to extoll the virtues of a flower so wonderful, so magical, so magnificent and glorious, it survives despite the best efforts of the murderous chemical-strewing lawn-slavers of the garden elite. I tell you about Taraxacum Officionale. I tell you about the weed of the Lion's Teeth, I present to your mind's eye, (oh, sorry, there's a picture over there), the mighty, the great, the uncontested medicinal weed...

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Sparging is an art. For all the hype about imported grains, your sparging technique is what will extract the needed maltose solution from your grains. This is probably the second-hardest part of brewing, extracting the maximum sugars from the grain, without ending up with barley soup. Every brewer does it differently, with different equipment. The cheapest sparger you can build yourself, is a cooler box at least three times as big as the volume of grain after grinding. A sieve arrangement of some sort at the bottom, and of course some sort of valve. This can be a stainless-steel dairy-type ball valve with complete dismantling capabilities, or a hosepipe fitting (sterile) and a meter of hosepipe (STERILE) that you can lift above the liquid level inside the sparger…simple tap, costs almost nothing, easy to STERILISE. 

 

Your duty is now to warm water to 64 degrees Celsius. This is very important, and will seriously influence your ability to extract sugars. It will be necessary to measure the temperature of the mash constantly and keep circulating and heating your sparging water to obtain 64degrees in the mash. This is best done in a cooler box as it keeps the mash at temperature. Once you are certain your mash has reached 64°C, close the lid and leave for an hour. Rinse out the sparge liquor into a stainless steel pot.  You should now have a large pot of very sweet liquor. Take a long narrow glass or beaker, and cool some wort down to 20 degrees, check it with the hygrometer. It should bob high, much higher than the section marked as BEER START on the hygrometer scale. This first sparge is the best, but a lot more sugar can be rinsed from your mash Heat back up, without burning or boiling over, to 68 degrees, pour back onto mash. From here on it is your choice how hot you will take the sparge, but NEVER BEYOND 74 DEGREES. We do a leisurely three to four hours to complete our sparge. The entire sparging process revolves around ENZYMES. They are activated at 64 degrees, and die at 74 degrees. At every temperature in-between they act and react a bit differently, and by heating the mash in steps, a greater variety of sugars may be extracted.

 

 

 

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You have gone through the entire process now, and finally, after just about an entire week, you have beer. Actual beer, it will make you drunk just like Charley’s Palace brew, and if you worked cleanly and hygienically, it will actually taste cleaner, cause less hangover, and should not cause any health problems associated with infected beer such as Charley’s. It is, however, not exactly classy. If you were lucky and diligent, it should be more or less clear with minimal sediment. It will, however, be almost totally flat. Fear not, we fix that chop-chop.

 

First, we line up enough empty, clean and sterilised bottles for our beer. How many bottles? That depends on how much beer you have, divided by the LITRE capacity of your bottles. Eighteen litres and 330ml bottles means 18/0,33 = 55 dumpies. Because of sedimentation, we’d rather use 36 bottles of 500ml, or our favourite, 660ml bottles, and we usually fill around two crates and four spares. Two for the museum, and two for sampling when we lose patience waiting. That leaves one case for each of us two brewing buddies. As a final precaution, we use a small steam cleaner with a longer nozzle that fits right to the bottom of our bottles. This is how it goes:

 

Line up six empty bottles. Get the steamer (and everything else) lined up.

 

Put enough new crowns, plus a few spares for fumbling loss, into a bowl of boiling water.

 

Sterilise some honey. We gladly endorse Goldcrest, they are clean, pure, not irradiated. Mix 10ml per liter of beer, with equal amount boiling water in a sterilised cup. Prepare a clean, sterile syringe, the bigger the better. Mark it in 6ml steps for 660ml bottles, more or less, and just to confuse the issue, 10ml honey + 10ml water is not 20ml syrup. It’s a lot less! Stick to six mil, it is safe. Exploded beer tastes like failure and dust. Keep the marked syringe by the honey.

 

Put your fermenter where it is easy to work cleanly, like the kitchen table top. On the one side of the fermenter, must be space to work with the honey and six bottles. On the other side, place to work with one bottle, the bowl of crown caps, and the bottle capper. You want a sturdy table, that you can work on with some force in your arms. Capping the bottles can be difficult if you are too short, tall or uneven in your arrangements for this. Expect to waste some caps and bottles (with their contents) before you master this particular job. Save some money, and cap some water first. NOT ALL BOTTLES ARE REUSABLE. Not all bottles can be sealed using the normally available crimpers.

 

Right, now the dance starts:

Grab bottle, turn upside down, blast out with steam. Hand over.

Pump syringe 6ml honey syrup into bottle. Hand over

Open fermenter tap when drain pipe is at bottom of bottle to prevent splashing. Fill, hand over.

Take cap from hot tub, set on bottle, crimp. Put into crate.

 

Repeat above until the fermenter starts running yeast instead of beer.If it was a good brew, this yeast may be IMMEDIATELY REUSED. Look out for infections!

 

Honey dissolves water, so no stirring is needed for the beer once bottled. Age appropriately.

 

This is how to do the secondary fermentation and ageing and presentation al in one step. You end up with a clean, frothy, bubbly beer in a bottle, best enjoyed from a glass. Different beers actually taste different in differently shaped glasses. See this link for info on PROPER BEER GLASSES. The traditional German mug with the flare at the bottom is a very good compromise, especially if your beer is still a bit murky.

 

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Once you have extracted enough malt sugars, you need to boil it off. This is important for two reasons: STERILISATION is foremost. The second reason is to achieve PROTIEN BREAK. This is what makes beer different from, say, fermented barley soup. The two most basic tricks to make your boil successful, is NEVER LET IT BOIL OVER, and if you put a lid on it, IT WILL BOIL OVER.

 

 

 

 You will know when your liquor has finished boiling, by the fluffy algae-looking stuff floating in your precious beer. There are many ways to rid yourself of this gunk, but the most efficient seems to be the CYCLONE. I did not know about the CYCLONE until my bro’ Dirk showed me. Technology is a marvellous thing, especially when it is free. Once the liquor has stopped bubbling, you stir the pot, hard, like a cup of tea with too much sugar, you get that wort whirling, creating a fast circulating cyclone, and then you slip the spoon out. Put back the lid, and start getting your cooling stuff ready. Once you have yourself organised for cooling the wort, open the lid, and amaze yourself with the sight of all those oogly googlies that floated in your beer, all lying clumped up and easy to avoid, or to remove first, a heap of fluff in the centre of the pot’s bottom.

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The yeast does all the work, and boy, do they work! One of the fun things about your first brew is the gurgling and snorting from your air trap. If your beer does not gurgle, you probably have a problem. DO NOT OPEN TO LOOK. If you open the fermenter, it will surely attract germs. The only way to check on the progress of your beer, is to tap some and measure the SPECIFIC GRAVITY. Be sure to watch your air trap, you don’t want to suck that water into your beer! Once you can reliably pitch successfully, tapping a sample becomes optional. Just wait two days after the bubbling stops. Bubbling means fermentation, no bubbling is a fair indication that fermentation has slowed down enough not to matter anymore. This does not mena your beer has fermented completely. The yeast could have been stopped by many factors. Temperature shock, infection, too high an alcohol content for the yeast to operate…

Yes, you read right, if the alcohol level rises too high, the yeast die. Remember, alcohol is nothing but yeast pee. Imagine living in your own pee! This only really happens when your SPECIFIC GRAVITY was too high at the start. Or rather, too high for the strain of yeast you use. There are Belgian strains, for example, world famous for their ability to produce beer of 10 percent and stronger. Most yeast will stop breeding around 5 to 7 percent. If you dream of brewing forty percent beer, maybe this is the time to come back to earth. But maybe, just maybe, you will stick with brewing long enough to apply yourself to ten or twelve percent beer, which tastes almost like whiskey, so strong it is. Go buy a Duvel for example.

 

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At GREENPETS we have many success stories to tell about our experiences around animal health and well-being. For that we particularly thank Doctor Culpeper and the Gypsy Herbalist Juliette de Baiiracly-Levy. Both irreverent, witty and utterly dedicated to the first two principles of medicine:

FIRST, DO NO HARM

and

LET YOUR FOOD BE YOUR MEDICINE AND LET YOUR MEDICINE BE YOUR FOOD.

Let these be the thoughts foremost in your mind when judging our presentation of the facts as we understand them. We claim no infallibility, and we will try not to be nasty to other people's thoughts...

...BUT WE HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH THE TOXINS BEING PUT INTO THE FOOD CHAIN...

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In olden days, people thought beer happened because of many strange beliefs. It was only recently some clever guy with a microscope realised that those lively little microbes there are eating sugar, farting carbon dioxide gas and peeing alcohol. Not angels, demons or spirits, just plain microscopic little creatures eating and breeding and living their life, and then we enjoy their excrement. Nice, eh? Granted, it is the excrement of a very particular species of microbug. This is very important: The excrement of whatsisname cervensis tastes like beer, whereas just about every other form of yeast, fungus or microbe gives of waste that does not taste like beer. As a matter of fact, the excrement of just about every single organism other than C.Cervensis tastes like…poop?

 

This is why it is utterly, unforgivingly, important to be sterile in your dealings with your beer. Very many commercial brewers have difficulty getting this right, that’s why their beers give you hangovers and headaches before you even go to sleep. How many beer drinkers won’t swear high and low that Charley’s Palace Lager tastes better in cans than dumpies, whereas Red Sticker Beer is best enjoyed in quart bottles? Usually, the cans and the bottles are from different locations, each with its own set of infections, and therefor even a multibillion-dollar company cannot make the same brand taste the same every time. Imagine how difficult it is going to be for you in your kitchen. TAKE CARE.

 

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GREENPETS Natural Living Resource Pages is an organic, categorised collection of observations and experimentations regarding a rather old and boring theory on life, health and happiness:

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.

This seems to hold true whether you are man, dog, wheat, weed, or just a seed crystal attracting trace minerals. The entire commercial food chain has been polluted by a cocktail of vicious poisons, many of which cannot legally be proven toxic, because no-one has spent the money developing the tests. GMO's are causing numerous symptoms hinting that the body does not recognise the seeds as food. Fight as we might for honest labelling, the best we can hope for is some generic term, usually prefaced with the word 'approved', such as 'approved' artificial flavourants. It can hide much corporate iniquity, the package label laws. Here's one:

Not even the baddest dog out there deserves bloodsoaked cardboard as a regular part of their diet, labelled as "Filler".
We get a bit nasty about this sort of thing around here.

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Now you have to cool that wort down! Quickly. This is what the gurus call hot-side working. Every action you take here has some detrimental effect on your beer. You must get oxygen in there, without allowing germs. You have to cool it to 20 degrees as soon as possible, because anything warmer, and your yeast will not survive. The most dangerous time for your wort is between 48 and 24 degrees, the growth temperature range preferred by our enemy: faulty hygiene.

Once the hops has been infused to tatse, it is time to take off the heat. Here starts the most difficult part of brewing. It is not impossible, but you will want to spend your first non-essential funds here. You need to construct yourself a cooler. There are many, many ways, including sterilised ice cubes. Tried it, it worked, sort of. Swozzling the wort in a steel pot inside a basin filled with icewater does work, takes half a night for ten litres, and will almost assuredly end up in an infected, sour beer. Once you have your sterile, cool wort in your fermenter tank, you are ready to PITCH THE YEAST.

Our logo, the crazy chicken, has forefathers in our history of wort cooling. Happily, that was all before we built THE COOLER. Follow this link to see an instructable. Once we had a cooler, brewing became a pastime of leisure. It was always a pleasure, but once we had a cooler, there was time on brewing day for other pleasures as well, free time for the brewery labourers, you might say. The trick is to get that wort from 70-something degrees to twenty degrees as soon as possible. Remember this one thing: Get the wort cooled down to twenty degrees as soon as possible. WITHOUT INFECTING IT. Then PITCH. You know about pitching? That’s what brewers call the seriously ritualistic act of adding yeast to the wort. Now we are making beer! Read on to see about yeast and other lively little critters.

 

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“The object in creating optimal health and nutirition is to study each animal’s habitat and food sources, then custom make diets that most closely resemble their own natural original diet”Jeff Brisco, Senior Animal Nutritionist, Los Angeles Zoo

  

A tasty, nutritious, all natural raw meat based diet for dogs, using quality ingredients, blended with natural “functional” foods. a generous portion of meat and a balance of carbohydrate and vegetable matter, fortified with the addition of herbs, that will provide your dog with the complete array of nutritional building blocks, vitamins, minerals and trace elements required for health and a full, happy and active life.

  All Naturally Raw! meals come in convenient Meal-size packets, ranging from 50 grams to 1 kg 

If this is the first time you are considering feeding a raw meat based diet to your companion animal, 

please be sure to read the Introduction to a naturally Raw! diet and the handling-, storage- and feeding instructions to get full knowledge of what is involved in feeding a raw meat diet. 

 

Greenpets Naturally Raw! is made fresh 2 times a week and sold directly to you to guarantee a food that is always fresh and never sits on a shelf. 

 

Naturally Raw! is delivered directly to your door, or can be collected at our company premises.

 

Disclaimer for the litigous World we are living in

  

Greenpets

 

for LIFE and LONGEVITY

 

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If you are brewing in the kitchen using many pots, add HOPS only to the main pot. Simmer the hops for a few minutes, usually less than thirty minutes, sometimes as little as five. Your own preferences will prevail over time, but initially be warned; hops is a rather pungent, bitter and calming herb. Do not be too brave, regret is not a desirable additive to real beer. Here is what you do:

 

After you have achieved protein break, bring the wort down to a fast simmer. The liquid should stay moving, stirring itself slowly. The rough first guide to hopping is about one gram per litre, dried compressed pellets. That said, the previous statement is utter bull. It depends on the flavour you are aiming at, the bitterness, the shelf life. Another spanner in the works is the exact type of hops you use. Once again, you can spend ten bucks a gram on some famously imported variety that is secretly used by the best-selling American brand. Riiight. In the end, you can get started with dead normal hops your supplier breaks into small 25g packets. Worry about speciality ingredients once you manage to brew three normal beers in a row. Simmer the hops for five to twenty minutes. It depends on sugar content, temperature, quality of hops. You will learn. Start with twenty minutes, it will allow maximum hops influence, to learn what hops does to beer. Later you can adjust to taste.

 

The Greenpets Triad of Hope:

NATURAL REARING

NATURAL LIVING

NATURALLY RAW!

If all seeds are patented, what will you grow without permission? Education has been declared to be Unsustainable. GMO food products are not suitable for any terrestrial diet. If you can sill afford it, it will give you cancer. We try to find solutions.

A licensed health practitioner would sell advice and nostrums on a page like this. We can't, but here are the things we use. If you find some reason to grow your own, or learn to make something, you may find a few useful bits of information here. Not well populated yet, we do more on our knees in the mud than we talk about it sitting down.

Dani and her Nikon looking at the world.

Purpose-built and innovative helpful structures

Emergency fault finding and repair for small motors, such as generators, lawnmowers and pumps.

Design and manufacture of plastic objects up to 250x250x270 volume.

Sometimes, the truth is just too absurd for words. Stories have many words one can borrow, new eyes, new ways of listening.

Every living thing is in an environment it shares with other organisms. Every living thing is an environment shared by other organisms. Every environment is a living organism.

The principles of conforming the diet to the digestive characteristics of man, animal and plant alike.

Our animals, your animals and all the things that makes life better for animals.

Everything we know about Dragons that might be useful to someone else.

Not those weird feathered flu-taxis that grow to slaughter weight in four weeks. Real chickens, free chickens that came dear.

The ultimate bug-out vehicle. Off-road, in water, and it can love you back. Also, they fart less than any SUV.

What life tortoise about snailosauruses

Keeping, Feeding and Breeding Budgies in Gauteng

Keeping, training, Feeding, Breeding cats in Gauteng

Gardening without modern poisons is a challenge, and understanding the lifecycle of your enemies takes some observation. This blog will eventually catalogue our attempts at poison-free farming for Naturally RAW! food.

the GREENPETS attempt at avoiding, voiding and overcoming the poisoned food chain.

The list of herbs at Greenpets. Identification and Propagation or at least how to keep it alive in Gauteng.

Right or wrong, good or bad, we have to eat. Everyone has to eat, and we are what we eat. Commentary and suggestions on important nutritional news.

The art of brewing, distilling and hydration of the body with the products thereof.