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Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 223
Old Thoughts rehashed. * 1
    #640598 - 05/22/02 01:47 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)

I was reading some of my older posts and thought I'd cut and paste together some of my old stuff for good times sake, enjoy, I'm rather busy lately so I may not have time to reply to PM's about this thread but I will check on it occasionally

*** When it comes to straw ***

Now lets get to the tek! First of all its gonna cost you about $115 to do this. PLEASE NOTE: Recurring cost after initial batch is like $6-$7 for a 100 lbs of shredded hay. The secret is in using a "Blower/Mulcher" I picked one up at a local home depot for $99..It was a Ryobi gas model. I urge you not to buy an electric model. The gas model gets a nice load as it is and as with all lawn equiptment, electric just plain sucks. Now pick yourself up a bail of Hay. You can use whatever type you'd like. Stamets recommends using wheat straw...This costs ~$5 a 100 lb bail here. The Blower/Mulcher has a catcher bag which keeps the dust WAY down. Now all you do is cut the straps from the bail, and begin spreading it out, use your hands or use a pitch fork(who has one of these things anyways). Now you just walk around and suck up the hay into the bag, once the bag is full(it will be quiet swollen), you empty it into waiting garbage bags. I've found that one 100 lb bail fills 6-35 Gallon trash bags.

Hey Rip and all,
Agree that proper pasturization should knock out most, if not all contams. Also agree that most infections are introduced via human interaction. My suggestion is to first shower and use freshly laundered clothes. Additional hand scrub definately a plus before handling. Thoroughly clean/disinfect room before anything. Disinfect cooling sheet and whatever sheet you are going to use as cover. Lysol a wonder tool, just use with caution concerning breathing vapour. If able, run a HEPA filter in room prior to anything.
One thing I found out, I was still running into occasional contaminations, regardless of precautions taken. Then it hit me! The damn air outlet for the furnace! Folks, you can be as sterile as could be, but if your furnace is still pumping air into your room you have a potentially large problem. This goes for AC, too. Man, there are all kinds of critters that reside in you air handling system and filters. The only way I can thing off to handle this would be to cover the outlet with a well sealed filter along the lines of the HEPA's. Shutting off that vent will help, but will not necessarily contain possible contaminants because of leakage. Thought of specialized filters for the furnace, but just wouldn't work, as air is still able to leak into the system from too many places.
Ripers mulcher/blower idea is it for straw folks, so like to see it come back up.Thanks Rip!


Well... Let me first start off by saying that the reason I developed this tek is because the whole 55 gallon drum and a propane burner was rather scarry to me. And Also cooking manure and casings in the oven not only dried them out, but stunk up the house pretty bad. So here goes
Materials Required:

Whatever material you wish to pastuerize

An Old pillow case(wash first!)

An Ice Chest(I use a 120 Quart Igloo that I picked up for $40 NEW at Sams Club)

A Little bit of some twine(small rope, I use synthetic)

Plastic Drop Cloth for painting

The process:
I'm gonna cover straw, because it varies a little bit from the others. At the end I'll clarify things with the others a little bit...

Day 1
First take your straw and stuff it into the pillow case pack it down as much as possible. You need to leave enough room at the top that you can twirl the pillow case at the top and tie it off with the twine. Now I put this in the ice chest and fill with room temperature water and let soak for 24 hours to germinate endospores.

Day 2
Take the ice chest outside and pull the plug to empty out the water from yesterday, now bring the ice chest in the kitchen, begin boiling water on the stove with as many big pots as you have, add the water to the ice chest until its about full, Then I hold down the pillow case with a 40lb dumbell(since straw likes to float) close the ice chest and leave it alone for about 3 hours, at this point I carry the ice chest into the bathroom(usually takes 2 people) and pull the plug to drain off the water. I then remove the VERY hot bag and put it in the bath tub, and then (with an old pair of shoes on) step on the bag allover until no more water comes out, this is the perfect amount of moisture for straw. I've tested it 8 times with the same results everytime. Now you want to cut the twine off the pillow case and spread the straw out on a drop cloth for rapid cooling, after about 15 minutes or so it should be pretty cool, stick your hand in to make sure theres no hot spots. Then spawn with cakes or rye..your choice...Also another tip is if you have two people you pick up the drop cloth (one on each side) and shake it to distribute the spawn.

Other pastuerizations

Manure: its not neccesary to "pack it" into the pillow case. Also its not neccesary to presoak for 24 hours. I do however let my manure sit in the ice chest for 4 hours cuz I'm paranoid about the shit(no pun intended) you may want to step on the pillow case a little harder with the manure because it needs to be "fluffy" not a brick so you want to get excess moisture out

Casings: Once again, no need to pack it or pre-soak for 24 hours. As with manure I recommend stepping on this alot more to get excess moisture out. Another tip I learned is when you spread it out on the drop cloth you can place a fan blowing on it to dry it out a little bit.

Well I just rinse my ice chest out with a hose to clean it up, as far as the pillow cases go, I first remove any excess shit inside and then hand wash them in the sink. After removing most shit from the inside I put them in the washing machine with a cup of bleach to sanitize them for further use. As far as the drop cloths go, I just toss em cuz their only $.50 a piece and well its not worth the trouble to re-use them


Ain't lettin' a good thing die! I have always been a big straw fan, even though Ryche not much of a fan of straw, but really thinking there is something to the dung, or straw dung mixtures. As stated in previous posts, have seen terrific results with dung growers in the past. To bad I wasn't more interested in this stuff at the time. Could have learned a lot fron them folks.
Keep keeping folks informed here. Regardless of whether they post or not, I am sure there will be some greatfull people out there!
Peace Always!

***When it comes to humidity***

Well let me say first off the person who though of using perlite for humidification was VERY creative. Not only does it do a great job on humidification, its CHEAP! Now the only problem I see with it is this. Perlite humidification requires some time to build up to the proper humidity(2-3 hours ?) and most of the time people aren't running pumps because they don't want to introduce non-humid air into the chamber. Also traditional methods of using perlite require using a layer of perlite along the bottom and yackidy smack.


Pitcher(SP?) (used for ice tea and kool-aid)

Water(tap water or distilled)

H2O2-Hydrogen Peroxide(optional but recommended)

So heres what I did. I took a pitcher(SP?) that was 5" in diameter, I filled it about 1/2 way full with dry perlite, then I added water(making sure to get all the perlite on top wet to weigh it down) until about 3" of water was at the bottom, now I added about 50 mL of H2O2(Hydrogen Peroxide 3% solution) spread over the top of this, I placed this into the chamber, now I took a air pump for a fish tank(I used the one with dual outputs) ran the hose into the chamber and down into the water under the perlite. I leave this running 24/7.

Now the benefits of this vs. the traditional method:
#1 it takes up less space...
#2 it introduces fresh air
#3 the hydrogen peroxide added to the top seems to evaporate into the air preventing things like cobweb mold and trichoderma(not completely but it made a significant difference, BTW- I ran it both ways to see if it was just placebo and it showed up to have a positive impact)
#4 since theres fresh air being introduced along with humidity the only time the chamber needs to be opened is for picking!
#5 this seems to bring the chamber to 90-95% humidity in about 60 minutes vs. the other method
#6 cleaning it up is a snap, just removing a container, rather then scooping perlite off the bottom(pain in the ASS!)

And this isn't just for small chambers.. this method was used on an aquarium that was 13"x48"x20"... only about 6 cups of perlite in the container and around 1/3 of a gallon of water were used...

***When using rye, from the early days(things have changed since then)***
Well first and foremost I'd like to say that I'm VERY eager to share knowledge. As far as rye cultivation goes here's my two cents. I don't use a flow hood or for that matter a HEPA filter at all throughout the entire proccess and have had 0% contams since getting my method down good. Lets start out with the basics..
Materials Required

Rye Grain (Preferably from Fungi Perfecti since their grain is of known quality and is grown organicly)

1 Quart Regular Mouth Canning Jars(I use the Ball brand... Kerr would prolly work fine also)

Synthetic Filter Discs (Obtained from Fungi Perfecti... PLEASE BE WARNED! I have used filter discs from other suppliers and they aren't the SAME! Fungi Perfecti's filter discs are thicker and can withstand much more abuse, re-using the others isn't really feasible.. And as far as making your own filter discs from vacuum cleaner bags or this that or the other.. Well I just see it was $.45 a disc isn't alot to pay for piece of mind and a perfect fit)

Distilled Water (this is important not for its sterility but rather because it doesn't leave nasty mineral deposits in jars/pressure cooker)

Pressure Cooker (I use a Mirro 8 Quart, it holds 4 quart jars at once)

The Process(Please note: There is a 24 hour waiting period between preparing the jars at pressure cooking them, so please be prepared)

Day 1
Get your jars outta the box, you don't need the lids, just the retaining rings.. now take your jars and set them out on your counter.. Being sterile isn't really important at this point... Fill each jar with 1 cup of rye, just take a 1 cup measuring cup and dip it in the bag, level it off, this is approximately 180 grams from my repeated tests. Now you need to add water to the jars, I recommend using 200mL. Make sure to take a spoon and press down on the kernels floating so that they also soak. Now place a filter disc in the retaining ring of the jar, screw it on, just snugg...not loose, but not so tight that you can't loosen it with possibly wet hands(Note: only use a filter disc, no lid is neccesary). Now take all your jars and put them in a cabinet or something incubating at room temperatures for about 24 hours(please don't go less then 20 hours-Thats when I've always ran into problems) The reason for this "pre-soaking" is to germinate any endospores which may be lurking in the rye, particullary the bacteria Bacillus.

Day 2
Prepare your pressure cooker to be used, now take how ever many jars your cooker will hold(Please not that Rye CANNOT be cooked on its side like cakes can, all jars must be upright) and place them in the pressure cooker, place lid on, and begin steaming, once steam is coming out of the valve for five minutes, place the pressure regulator on at a setting of 15 PSI. Once it begins to jitter cooker for 1 full hour. Now remove from heat. At this point I use a rapid cool method to get the next batch of jars in. I've heard this and that and the other about how this is dangerous, I've NEVER had any problem whatsoever with it except burning my hands from stupidity =P So what I do is first of all remove the pressure regulator, using an oven mit because its damn hot! Steam will begin pouring out of the cooker. Next I take a knife(one for cutting bread I think.. I'm not to handy around the house) and shove in the handle between the pressure lock and the pot, this causing the pressure lock to release pressure too. After steam stops pouring out I then tap the pressure cooker around with the knife until it releases. Now I remove the jars using an oven mit. Place the new jars on, add water if neccesary and repeat the proccess. While the jars are still REALLY FREAKING HOT, take a towel and fold it over a few times, and begin shaking the jars, you want to make sure the wetter kernels at the bottom mix with the drier kernels on the top.

Next I wait about 6-8 hours until the jars are cool to touch to innoculate. When innoculating I spray myself with lysol(Head Fingers Eyes Toes!) and then wash my hands with a waterless generic hand sanitizer picked up from my local grocery store. I DO NOT flame sterilize the needle I just rub it down with rubbing alcohol, then I loosen the lids to however many jars I'm gonna use on this one syringe(usually about 10-12 jars) and then I shake the syringe, wipe it with rubbing alcohol once more, and lift up the rings(the filter discs will stay in the rings) and squirt just about 1 cc of solution in the jar, and quickly screw the lid back on. after completing all these jars, I shake them vigorously, making sure to pound the kernels off the bottom (you want the spores to get mixed in with as many kernels as possible) Then incubate at 86F for Cubensis for about 5 days, then I go in, check for contams(yet to find one) and shake the jars vigorously breaking up all the kernels invidually(very difficult). You will notice it looks like all the mycelium dissapeared...this is not so. The kernels are still infected with that fungus you love, its just that the fluffy mycellia was broken up(actually innoculating more grain). Then I leave the jars alone until completely colonized(about 10 days for B+ and 8 days for Ecuadors...my experience)

Wheew... Well I hope that was of help to you guys.. Let me know what you think..any corrections possibly. I know this method has worked great for me and I've given detailed instructions to follow so that others can get it to work too

NOTE: I now recommend the use of 3 1/4 inch holes in teh lid that comes with the jar, or 1 3/8 hole... keeps the filter disc a bit cleaner

*** ON the subject of vermiculite ****
Well.. After much thought I decided to write this. I know that I will receive much flame about how I'm wrong. BUT, I want to get something across to everyone.
A few months back a friend of myne wanted to eat a cake to get high. I told him if he really wanted to OK. Well after a couple bites he couldn't stand the taste and puked. Now he said that it tasted like the shrooms he had before and that it was just ALOT stronger. This got me thinking. Well.. The majority of shrooms that are sold, are probably grown using vermiculite in the process. Most of the time in both the substrate and the casing layer. Here is the kicker to the whole thing. Stamets, in TMC, suggests that an *OPTIONAL* 1 part vermiculate can be added to 4 parts peat, 1 part lime flour, and 1/2 part lime grit. Now, where the hell does the 50/50 make any sense there. Also, in the 50/50 standard(not plus) it doesn't suggest using a lime to balance out the soil. The Vermiculate isn't going to buffer out that peat moss any, vermiculate ranges in PH from 6-9. Meaning, yeah, its gonna get it close to 7, but not balanced properly. Now the 50/50+ does use oyster shell to balance the PH, this is good, but once again they use Vermiculite.

OK, so heres my findings that caused me to write this, I grew a batch of B+ on wheat straw that was spawned with rye. The casing was straight peat without the PH being balanced(didn't have chlorophast strips then) and I found that the mushrooms tasted like actually mushrooms you'd buy in a store, they didn't have this horrid taste! To confirm this, I had a friend try them also, he said that they tasted VERY good to him also. No nausia either.

Now sometimes when the local dealer has shrooms, they have "gold flakes" that "get you higher" HAH! It's fucking vermiculite. But the gold flakes is the reason I'm mentioning this. Psilocybe Cubensis in particular seems to draw up things out of the substrate and casing layers. So in theory, whatever you put in there to an extent, they're going to draw up. Not vermiculite stuck on them, but actually embedded in the stems. I've seen this on a few occasions.

Another interesting fact regarding vermiculite, you know how we all seem to get cobweb mold... Well call me crazy, I live in a place where molds and bacterias are extremely low, and the likelyhood of cobweb mold being present is slim to none. So it crawled in on something. And a friend of myne has tested straight verm with water added and got cobweb mold to generate. On the other hand, Stamets suggests that peat is fairly clean to begin with, yet our casings are constantly being infected with cobweb. Also, I noticed the first signs of cobweb usually show up within 24 hours of putting a casing on(very very hard to see). Now I prepared a casing last night, and let it sit in the middle of my living room, with no lid on it for 60 minutes, then covered it, and let it sit 24 hours. No signs of cobweb. Which furthers my conclusion that cobweb travels on vermiculite.

So whats the solution to this in my head, well I think that we need to look at possibly elimating vermiculite in substrates and casings layers. Eliminating it from the casing layer is simple. Just use peat moss, and balance the PH to 7 using limeflour/grit.. Use approximately 2 times as much flour as grit. A substitution for grit is oyster shell. I am also working on developing a substrate with different types of grain that provides aeration similiar to vermiculite.

I know this isn't a solution to a problem. Or maybe the problem is just in my head, But I'll tell you what. Either I'm going nutz, or vermiculite is a demon sent from hell to make my shrooms taste bad

Glad to see you still hanging here! Remember, I'm a big straw fan, too! One of the minority, here.
On the vermiculite situation, I have also been concerned with ingestion aspects. Don't know what's gonna be in those little flakes, nor have I been able to get much info. Would guess it probably wouldn't be good, but who knows.
Also, have not had much problem with cobweb using verm containing cakes as spawners. At least not any more so than other methods and mediums. Cannot say that it hasn't appeared at times, though. Have definately run into the ogre with straw medium using liquid mycelial methods, and other times. Go figure. I guess I'm the oddball out here after reading previous posts, but my results just the same. Sounds like others fairly unanimous, so far. Believe me, the cobweb has pissed me off to no ends with several different mediums, at one time or another. But have not noticed any more prevalence with vermiculite containing substrates.
Vermiculite has been used for two reasons, and two reasons only. First, as an additive, it is a moisture retentive medium. Second, it helps as a dry layer barrier to contaminants (assuming it is contaminant free), if using as a top barrier layer. This will always be a good method to those new to mycology, especially when not as attentive to sterility. It has worked for many going back a long ways, and will for many others. However, I am one to always seek better and more effective methods. And, I know we have better methods. Just got to learn a little! After a long time of experience and trial, I found that the buffer layer is not necessarily needed if you use good sterile technique, and a good medium. Also, have been familiar with using rye. Usually as a primary spawnmaster, after sterile culture is already developed. As a multiplying medium for bulk substrate, there is no substitute!
Can't help to say it, but don't jump the gun too soon on the vermiculite being the cause of the cobweb. I find it very hard to believe that the vermiculite could escape sterilization under the proper controls. I would think certain grains would have more inherent poblems than poreous vermiculite. Unless, of course, it has some undiscovered properties I am unaware of. Always open to new research, though.
Thanks for your thinking, and thanks for sticking around. You have much to offer all here. Anytime we can pin anyone down that spends as much time and enthusiasm in this field as you helps us all. Rock on, and multiply greatly!
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day!"

Well. In my oppinion vermiculite DOES affect flavour. Reason being, I've grown rice cakes and I've grown bird seed cakes using vermiculite in both substrates, and the mushrooms tasted almost identical. They both had a VERY NASTY taste to them. I do admit the birdseed ones didn't taste AS bad, but they were still nasty. As far as vermiculite not tasting bad, why don't you do this, and I just did for knock on woods sake, go get some vermiculite, say 1/4 of a cup, put it in a glass of water, and let it sit for about 45 minutes, now taste the water. Tell me that doesn't have that same wretched flavour that seems to be present in cake grown shrooms.
As far as Vermiculite supposed "superior water retaining capabilities" you quoted. Stamets says "One half to one part coarse vermiculite can be added to improve the water retaining capacity of thse casing mixtures and can be an aid if fruiting on thinly laid substrates" also on the same page he says that Vermiculite contains 84% water at saturation, and that peat contains 79% water at saturation. This being said, YES vermiculite does hold more water, but its not that much more. He suggests that on thinly laid substrates it should be used. If it was neccesary with a properly applied casing layer then he would state that in the formula, not list it as optional.

As far as the shrooms sucking things up... Well Psilocybe Cubensis in particular has been known to draw things up out of its substrate. Remember when all the MAO inhibitor in substrate experiments were going on. Now these weren't nutrients, and if they were, it would have broke then down. It was just something that was present in the casing layer.

As far as cobweb mold goes, if you guys would read my posts they're pretty self-explanatory, Cobweb mold has spontaneously generated on vermiculite with sterile water added to it, while peat hasn't. Also, cobweb mold has yet to be seen since the elimination of vermiculite. I'm not saying set in stone, vermiculite is where everyone gets their cobweb mold. Just that I know that its not present where I live, and the likelyhood of it being spread throughout the united states so much is VERY unlikely. Its more likely that a common cause of it is its tracked in on something.

As far as your Trichoderma AKA Forest Green mold grows. If you would read TMC you would have noticed that Trichoderma prefers a PH of 4-5.5, meaning that if your casing layer's PH was properly balanced, the likely hood of it showing up is slim to none. And if it did show up its easy to control, simply pouring baking soda on it to raise the pH does the trick.

Stamets also refers to peat casings as being "fairly clean", and not requiring pastuerizations typically. Well the test in progress right now, we'll see if my bed with straight peat moss and limeflour that wasn't pastuerized contaminates

That being said about Vermiculite, I feel as though the original hypothesis in my thread has been validated. Not only has vermiculite been agreed upon by individuals to harbor cobweb mold, it may also contain other things deeply embedded.
The general use of vermiculite in gardening is not in large quantities like those used in substrates typically. Vermiculite has been found to contain all sorts of unknowns. When working in a laboratory style environment it just doesn't make sense to use something that can harbor so much!

As far as people bad mouthing peat, I've checked my casings again, its been almost one week since application, with no pastuerization, and I have got no contamination yet. I used the following formula in my casing, I know that the lime that I used is not a very great idea, but the concentration was miniscule.
10 Quarts Peat
20 Grams Chemical Lime(used for curing concrete)
1 Gallon Water
1/4 Cup Hydrogen Peroxide
I sifted the peat in a spaghetti collander first, this took out dirt and sticks, so I was left with a fluffy peat. I used one of the large bags you can get at Home Depot for like $10(Much more economical then Schultz). I mixed the water and hydrogen peroxide in a pesticide sprayer I obtained at Home Depot, it was $10. I then sprayed and turned the peat over and over again, until the gallon of water was in it, it was fluffy, but had a good amount of water in it...

As far as substrates are concerned, we should have some results using straight rye grain in 1/2 pint jars pretty soon. I'll keep you guys informed.

Now that we've determined that vermiculite is a bad idea, we need to start a new thread about ways to avoid using it. I will be compiling information regarding the pros and cons of vermiculite in substrates and casings. What I need from you people is some ideas in this thread, I'll try to post the new thread sometime this week =) Thanks for all of your support regarding this matter, its nice to see you guys thought for yourself and got the facts straight =)


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Post deleted by Moe Howard [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #640617 - 05/22/02 02:11 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)

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Head Banana

Registered: 10/27/99
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Re: Old Thoughts rehashed. [Re: ] * 1
    #640618 - 05/22/02 02:13 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)

Wow, I acutally have this saved on my machine, Ripper you are rehashing

Very good, no matter how old it gets


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Registered: 06/17/99
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Re: Old Thoughts rehashed. [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #641033 - 05/22/02 09:07 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)

Yes, a nice sumup, but one thing still bothers me (I think I pointed this out in the original thread or somewherer else already):
At this point I use a rapid cool method to get the next batch of jars in. I've heard this and that and the other about how this is dangerous, I've NEVER had any problem whatsoever with it except burning my hands from stupidity =P So what I do is first of all remove the pressure regulator, using an oven mit because its damn hot! Steam will begin pouring out of the cooker. Next I take a knife(one for cutting bread I think.. I'm not to handy around the house) and shove in the handle between the pressure lock and the pot, this causing the pressure lock to release pressure too.

This isn?t good.
Firstly you bring your water content off balance, since the water in the jar evaporates during this fast cooling process, secondly you risk to burn yourself (as you pointed out already) and thirdly you risk to ruin your pressure cooker by handling it with the knive.
IMO better wait for 10-30 minutes (the bigger the pressure cooker the longer it takes) and let the cooker cool down on its own.

But otherwise very good information all in all.

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Re: Old Thoughts rehashed. [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #641857 - 05/23/02 12:28 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)

yeah nice info thanks man,

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Re: Old Thoughts rehashed. [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #641946 - 05/23/02 01:46 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)

Indeed, this is a very impressive thread, ripper.

Thanks for the heads up. If anything this will help me with some problems that i am having myself..


Love is the highest achievement to which any human may aspire. It is an emotion that encompasses the full depth of heart, mind, and soul..

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Re: Old Thoughts rehashed. [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #696368 - 06/23/02 01:18 PM (21 years, 8 months ago)

Excellent idea with the perlite pitcher. I will definately be using this on my next setup! Opening up a terarrium to fan really kills the humidity.


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Re: Old Thoughts rehashed. [Re: Ripper] * 1
    #707573 - 06/28/02 09:16 AM (21 years, 8 months ago)

Yup, lotsa good stuff in there. Just want to comment on your straw tek. I've done similar, and written about it (in detail in the bulk neglect thread). Basically, instead of boiling enough water to cover the straw, you can use hot tap water and then bring it up with a little boiling water. You have to have HOT tap water though, which you can get by adjusting the temp on your hotwater heater. Many go up to 160 degrees, some up to 175 degrees. The temp will drop when you add it to cold straw, but a single large pot of boiling water is usually enough to bring the temp back up to 160-170 needed for pasteurization.

Just be very careful!!!! Warn everybody in your house. Don't assume that nobody will be home, sooner or later you will forget to turn the hotwater heater down, or to purge the rest of the scolding water from it when your done. 170 will poach a baby in a matter of minutes.....

"From a certain point of view"
-Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi

PM me with any cultivation questions.

I just looked at my profile and realized I had a website at one point in time on geocities, it's not there anymore and I have no idea what I had on it. Anybody remember my website from several years aga? PM if so please.

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