Grow and Make DIY Maker Blog

Owner’s Corner: DIY Vintners Getting Started with Wine Making

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

If you’ve ever thought about making your own wine, our FAQ for the Aspiring Vintner could be helpful for deciding if you want to take on this endeavor and what considerations exist for success.

DIY Artisan Juice Wine Making Kit                                   $39.95

What I’m reading/watching/listening: Scott Carrier’s: Home of the Brave Spring Time Stories

Owner’s Corner: DIY Garden Starter

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

It’s that time of year when many of us start thinking about planting our garden. I have a side yard, where I will typically put in some herbs, tomatoes and lettuce. For those with very limited space or poor soil conditions, consider a Straw Bale Garden to get started. Read our article on Starting Your Own Straw Bale Garden here.

What I’m reading/watching: This article by David Brooks published today in the New York Times: Five Lies Our Culture Tells

Owner’s Corner: Inflammation in the body and cholesterol

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

I’ve recently been trying to change my diet in an effort to reduce inflammation in the body. The science reporting that I’ve been reading indicates that this is one of the best ways to reduce the potential for disease and to promote wellness. Basically the idea is to eat whole foods and minimize simple carbohydrate. It certainly has helped me to feel better and sleep well. A surprising discovery was that it did not reduce my cholesterol levels. I have a history of elevated bad cholesterol and had hoped to see a change. This lead to my reading up and listening to podcast on the current science of cholesterol and its impact on our health. Apparently the science is not terribly clear about how to link cholesterol reading to risk of disease. My doctor advised that I not be concerned since I’m not over weight, don’t smoke and have a healthy heart rate. Given that I’ve eliminated fried foods from my diet and greatly reduced my sugar, simple carbs and unhealthy fats, I’m going to not be too concerned about my cholesterol.

What I’m reading/watching: This animated version of Ray Dalio’s Principles is a great resource

Owner’s Corner: Zen and the Art of Golf

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

I recently took up golf again, after a 20 year hiatus. Having kids and being married, there just wasn’t the time. Now that I’m playing again, I have a fresh and renewed perspective of one of the most mentally challenging of sports. It’s truly a zen like discipline to play golf well. You have to find an inner calm and stay vigilant to be successful. I find that it’s a great place to practice mindfulness as you walk the 8 miles of a typical golf course.

While some people associate the sport with stuffy golf clubs and old white guys smoking cigars, for me it is an invitation to fresh air and a long walk with a friend. It seldom costs more than $20 to play and I cherish the beauty and serenity of being in the beautiful settings.

What I’m reading: Love this article about Steph Curry and his popcorn fetish

Owner’s Corner: DIY Meditation and how to go from guided meditation to a reminder to be mindful.

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

I’ve had a twice daily meditation practice for some time. I found that after using guided meditation apps, that I got to a point where I wanted to try not using a guided meditation, but instead practice mindfulness with a simple occasional reminder to return to the meditation. I found a great free app called Pocket Meditation Timer. It can be configured to set a mindfulness tone ever so often (I do every three minutes with a gong sound). It also has a beginning chime that I set for intention and a closing chime for the ending length of time (I do 30 minutes). I’ve found having this to be a great way to move from guided meditation to non-guided.

Daily Recommended Reading: Stephen King ‘The Outsider’ is an audio book I’m really enjoying listening to.Stephen King is the best of his genre and I am continuously impressed with how well written this book is as I listen.

Owner’s Corner: My Kombucha just exploded!

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

Today I opened a kombucha and it sprayed all over me. After I released all the pressure and wiped off, I went to drink it only to discover that it was like drinking pure bubbles. I guess that when kombucha is not refrigerated the yeast become very active and it produces a lot of CO2, At a certain point it’s pretty much more gas than liquid in the bottle. Apparently if I had refrigerated it might have converted the CO2 back to liquid and been more drinkable. Lesson learned, remember to keep your kombucha cold.

Owner’s Corner: Why do drinks like La Croix seem addictive?

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

My family and I drink a lot of LaCroix sparkling water with flavor essence. It’s odd because my kids eat as much sugar as any other kids, yet they are constantly drinking these sugar free drinks and loving them. While placing water in a can and transporting it to my home has a negative environmental consequence, the fact that my whole family drinks a lot more water makes me feel it has a net benefit. We also recycle all the cans. What I can’t figure out is why they are so addictive? When we run out it is almost a crisis with cries coming from everyone in the family except the family dog Scotch.

Great Read: This Atlantic Aritcle ‘Trump Made Golf Gross Again‘ is a fun read. As a golfer, I can’t understand why anyone would cheat at golf. It’s a sport where you are only really playing against yourself and it’s also the kind of sport where there is a character and civility are an inherent part of the game. If what is described in this article is true, then it betrays a kind of foulness that is almost unimaginable to anyone who plays the game.

Owner’s Corner: Sunday Cycling in the City of Bogota

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

Portland is a town which has a big cycling community and very progressive bike infrastructure for commuters. It;s exciting to see that in Bogota, Columbia they have designated Sunday as a bike only day in parts of the city (Read the National Geographic Story). Hopefully we’ll see this in some cities in the US as well.

Great Read: From the Atlantic on What the College Admission Scandal Reveals



Owner’s Corner: Why I’m drinking kombucha in place of beer

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

Living in Portland, it’s hard to not be a big fan of beer. Apparently there are more micro breweries here per capita than in any other US city. Recently I decided that I’m making the switch to kombucha in place of beer when I have a choice. The reason I’m doing this is that I find beer makes me sleepy and if I’m not drinking more than one, less social after about 30 minutes. Also, there is not much of a health benefit to drinking beer and in fact it’s loaded with carbs. I’ve found that a good quality kombucha actually is similar to beer on the pallet and the natural probiotics are a great contribution to microbial gut health, which is being linked to many health benefits. While it does have some carbohydrate, it’s typically not as much as beer and it won’t put you to sleep.

If you’re inspired to make your own Kombucha, be sure to check out our DIY Kombucha Making Kits.

Great Read: Ray Dalio on Rethinking Capitalism

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