Saturday, 12 November 2011

Sowing the seeds of doom.

I have ground my teeth down to tiny little sharp points. Every year I stay silent for Armistice Day and try to stay offline but today I made the mistake of browsing a few blogs in an idle hour.

But first, a pretty picture.

I popped three dry seed pods and all those little dots are seeds. There are many more still in the pods. That's just three. I have more. Every plant had dozens of flowers and okay, I did smoke most of them but with my small garden that's more seed than I can use next year, especially since I now have Bulgarian seed to add to my Greek seed for half my next attempt.

Just three pods. I have no idea where the pods I missed sent their little packets of compact cancer off to. It's been very windy here and seeds that size can travel a long way on the wind. Maybe an antismoker inhaled one and is even now sprouting lumps. Maybe there'll be a Tobacco Triffid in your wndow box next year, who knows? It'll be slightly larger than a petunia.

There is no way to stop this. No way to ban it. No way to police such a ban. These plants are not distinctive like cannabis. They don't need fancy UV lighting. If it gets banned put a white or frosted perspex roof on your shed and you're in business.

To the average gardening eye they are tall things with lots of flowers, the sort of things most ornamental gardeners grow. If I can get chatting to an antismoker next year and resist the urge to apply a well-deserved retrospective abortion, I'll offer them some nice flowering plants for their garden. Then offer to clear them away when the leaves turn brown. They get pretty plants and I get more growing space. It's a good deal.

Every plant can produce literally thousands of seeds. Tiny seeds that can blow on the wind for miles. These can spread like dandelions and in a few years they'll be popping up on bowling greens and cricket pitches everywhere. Will I feel a slight pang of regret when Wembley is out of use because of huge weeds? Um... no. I'll just offer to take them away. No charge.

News on the drying and curing can wait. It's still going on. The greenhouse was ideal for humidity but far too prone to fungus. I think I'll get enough to break even this year and next year I'll start earlier. That will let me use the greenhouse when it's still safe to have the vents open. But that's for later. If it all fails, what the hell, the flowers were well worth the experiment.

And so back to the teeth-grinding. Dick Puddlecote has noticed Nanny Aussie's latest wheeze.One that has already been suggested here. Smoking licences.

Yes, in order to be a smoker you have to buy a licence but it's not that simple. You have to pass the smokibugger test too. If you pass, you pay loadsamoney every year for a licence to buy your baccy ration. Which is also taxed to buggery. That way, only Cameron and Clegg can afford to smoke.

It is a nonsense. Pat Nurse sees it as the Final Solution but as I see it, there isn't one. There is no way to stop us. None at all.

The dodgy baccy that Pat refers to as Man with a Cheap Bag already exists but it's a small problem now. Man with a Van asks for no ID, and sells legit tobacco bought overseas and he can make enough profit on that. He has no need to sell some backstreet brown stuff that's half lawn clippings and half carpet brushings. Man with a Van does not touch the crap stuff. He has a business to run and we smokers know if we're smoking rubbish.

When the Puritans brought in Prohibition in the USA, they created a generation who didn't know what properly produced booze tasted like.Bathtub gin and flavoured industrial ethanol was all they knew. The antismokers are trying to create a generation who don't know what real tobacco tastes like and who will accept the rubbish thrown at them by Man with a Cheap Bag. He will charge less than Man with a Van because his stuff isn't in any way legit. Children will smoke the rooves of derelict buildings and the clippings from traffic-fume-infused roadside verges.

They will smoke all the more because it is banned. Because it is naughty. Because it is one in the eye for Da Man. No tobacco company could ever afford this level of advertising and the antismokers do it all for free.

As for me, sod it. This year I won't be self-sufficient on baccy, I'll still buy from Man with a Van and while that doesn't help the Cleggeron Coagulation it still gets money into the EU in some other country. Next year I hope to do better and year on year, I will build this until it reaches the point where all I smoke is mine.

In the future, the effects of prohibition will force Man with a Van to compete with, and therefore sell, the cheap crap, which will gradually become expensive crap. By then I need to be well out of the loop.

So follow the words of the Skinner. Get those seeds in early next year. No space? Pound-shop plastic buckets and some supermarket compost is all you need.

And seeds. If you can't find any, I have loads.

It'll be difficult to make it lillegal to grow when it pops up on every riverbank and every railway embankment.

Next spring I'll be sprinkiling the Seeds of Death everywhere. The slugs will get most of them but it doesn't need many to survive to get this game started.

When anyone can pick it off plants at the side of the road, what then for your duty collection, Cameron? Oh, and consider this -

I would never even have thought of this if it wasn't for your war on smokers. You just wouldn't let it lie, would you?


Angry Exile said...

The smoking licence won't happen, or at least not while the government still thinks it can keep its $10bn a year income. It's just some smokophobic academic's wank fantasy. The government is happy to do things like plain packs because it recognises that it won't deter existing smokers and so won't change the revenue stream all that much, and at the same time it keeps the support of the bansturbators. It won't want people to really cut down until it's lost a significant amount of that revenue stream to the illegal trade, and by then they might as well go all 18th Amendment and done with it. And then everyone gets to see what happens in an industrialised nation where the only supply of tobacco is illegal.

Personally I think the tobacco industry should bring that particular hell about early and on purpose. Declare an embargo to Australia over the plain packs and announce that all tobacco for the Aussie market will henceforth be sold at knockdown prices in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and so on. Most of it will go from there to Australia, where it will be traded illegally at the cost to the government of both lost tax revenue and increased policing expenses, but the tobacco companies can't be responsible for what their customers do after they buy the stuff. And of course everybody's taxes go up by $1000 per year, minimum. I wonder how long the government would even last once it people realise the full ramifications. I wonder if the tobacco companies have the balls to do it.

Interestingly although I'm betting that smoking licences won't ever happen it seems you do need a licence to grow tobacco, apparently in any quantity. This stems from it being a cash crop here until a couple of decades ago. I keep meaning to find out how to get one and blog about it but it looks like it'll involve writing letters since I can't find the info online. Not that anyone will be remotely interested when the government seems determined to make illegal cultivation and trade more attractive, but if they think they can police what's growing in nearly two billion acres, mostly outback, then good luck to 'em.

Angry Exile said...

PS - They can't stop people growing Mary-Jane and they've been trying and failing to get rid of blackberry bushes for nearly 150 years, and every bugger knows what those look like. What hope have they of stopping people growing baccy?

SBC said...

". What hope have they of stopping people growing baccy?"

"It'll be difficult to make it lillegal to grow when it pops up on every riverbank and every railway embankment."

But you can be sure that ASH will be demanding that the government 'take it's responsibilities towards Children seriously' and funds a multi million pounds eradication of hedge row tobacco. People-and i use the term in its loosest biological sense- like Gauleiterin Arnott would rather the banks and ditches of this Green and Pleasant Land should be toxin salted brown for the next two generations than suffer a tobacco plant to survive.

Bio Ethnic Cleansing, anyone?

SBC said...

"Next spring I'll be sprinkiling the Seeds of Death everywhere. The slugs will get most of them but it doesn't need many to survive to get this game started."

The more i think on this the more I like the idea. Like the 'handled by a smoker' campaign it has the potential to go viral and actually achieve something.

If every smoker 'Johnny Appleseeded' a handful of seeds out of his car window a day....

Like you say, it only takes a few to fall on " on good ground, did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, some an hundred. He said unto them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear."

Angry Exile said...

SBC, I don't doubt that bio-ethnic cleansing (what a happy phrase - if Leg-iron weaves it into one of his nightmare stories we'll all know who to blame :-) ) would appeal to the Arnotts and Chapmans but like I said, I very much doubt the ability exists. Certainly not here and probably not in Blighty either.

Neal Asher said...

Righto, I get masses of seeds. I'll start spreading them all over the place, including handing them over to every smoker I know.

SBC said...

Neal, could you mail me a load please? At my expense of course.

Neal Asher said...

Sorry SBC, I should have been clearer: when I bring a load back from Crete next November.

Hey Leg Iron, why don't you activate your 'share' button for Twitter and Facebook etc? Click 'edit' on the blog post section of 'page elements'.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that next year's growing season is going to be a lot of fun.


Pat Nurse MA said...

When my plants grow then I'll happily spread some seeds but remember Govt does what it likes and it matters not if it's stupid.

Once they cotton on, like they did with magic mushrooms - although that took 40 years - they will simply make the picking of tobacco illegal but we are a way off that yet.

Sorry if my post depressed you LI. It's just how I see it. I hope I'm wrong.

I doubt that man with a bag will physically stand outside of school gates with his crap (too risky) but that's the fear that's the antis will promote.

SBC said...

"Sorry SBC, I should have been clearer"

No probs, thanks anyways.

Neal Asher said...

Next move, when the alcohol gets too expensive:

Brian L said...

What a great suggestion, LI! One in the eye for the greedy grabbers. I don't smoke myself, but can't help feeling smokers are being unfairly hammered by these scumbags in power. So I'll be doing my bit to bring your dream of the stuff growing all over the place in the wild to fruition early next year. With the greatest of pleasure, too. Way to go!

SBC said...

I went and ebayed; tobacco seeds are really cheap so I'll get some and then in spring start 'Operation Little Johnny ApplesTeed' in and around Norfuck.

Maybe others could too? I'm thinking maybe Rustica tobacco might be the best bet?

Like it sayeth in the Good Book-sow and ye shall reap.

pc pickweed said...


you're a fucking plant, son. you're nicked.

jizzela stewfart said...

oh scheiße, i'm getting highly irregular and unauthorized hot-flushes just reading this degenerate blog.

miss gertie growbag said...


twitter? get real now - i'd gauge that a thimble is weeny bit too small for rooting leg-iron's rampant riot of ranting foliage.

high-grade humus said...

hey man, i's sort of like making a cake and eating all the mix first - i never seem to get anything germinated, largely because i always seem to end up smoking the compost...i hope it's not illegal or anything...

Leg-iron said...

Don't drop seeds on grass that gets mown, remember ;)

Neal - stills are already springing up. You only get to hear about the ones that explode.

Anonymous said...

you can buy a still on e bay for £150,its legal to sell embut not to use em hahahaha

Macheath said...

LI, what's your opinion of the method I read of recently - condensing on the underside of a dish placed on top of the heating vessel?

It sounds a bit fiddly, but what I liked about the book was the way the writer explained that, if the revenue came calling, the apparatus could be converted to ostensibly innocent use in seconds.

BTW, I'm a non-smoker but I would be happy to see the weed spring up next year between the cider-apple trees and the vines - as scripture would have it if the New World had been discovered, to every man his own vine, fig tree and tobacco plant.

SBC said...

Macheath That was the method described in the bible of 'Self Sufficiency' back in the 80's....if I recall aright...something about 'doesn't take a second to have baby bathing in the tub and porridge cooking in the pan' right?

Yes it works, I've done it, but not very well and it's easy enough to make a proper still with just a trip to Homebase and a borrowed pipe bender.

The problem with making poteen isn't the distilling its the getting rid of the methbenzofuselwhateverthefuckitscalled. Mate of mine , a scientist, used to run his through a fuck-off-and-die industrial strength filter tower and it still didn't get it all out. Chucking away the first litre or so of distillate is the traditional way but it isn't particularly safe.

Remember those old Smirnoff Ads about 'we filter it every drop through tons of activated charcoal'? There is a reason of that.

I'm not saying one can't make a good safe spirit at home- one can, but the risks are immense and it's nto something anyone should just 'try out'.

/end rant (sorry)

Angry Exile said...

Activated charcoal isn't hard to come by so the question seems to be how much of it you'd need. Smirnoff no doubt use tons because they're making an awful lot of grog but DIYers won't need so much. Would a large external aquarium filter with all the other sponges and other filter media being replaced by additional charcoal do the job? Or would alcohol bring nasties out of the plastic? Assuming no to that it seems like a goer to me. Probably not perfect but I don't know all that much about it but I'm guessing it would be a matter of finding/working out what kind of flow rate is needed and using a filter with a pump size and a tap to get that flow rate right, and then finding/working out how many litres will go through that much carbon before it's no good. Reactivating it at home isn't practical if I recall?

Really it won't all be everyone who drinks having their own still. During Prohibition there was illegal manufacture for sale rather than personal use going on, and of course a lot of industrial alcohol was being stolen and treated to make it fit, or at least less unfit, for human consumption. A home still will probably be for the people who want to control what's in their booze as much as they can. Everyone else can buy that extra thick vodka that's made from alcohol based hospital sanitising gel that's been watered down, or not watered down as the case may be.

SBC said...

AE, I'm not saying it isn't possible. I know for a fact that a lot of continental farmers still distill their own-especially in the 'alpine' regions where it is legal...although apparently they distill from fruit not grain base and supposedly that makes a difference (sounds a bit 'junk science' to me though) and that they rely on the 'chuck away the first bucket' method.

I'm saying it is a skill that needs to be taught not just tried out of a book. Unlike growing your own baccy which can be trial and error, there are some very real dangers to home distilling.

Neal Asher said...

Check back on that post I linked. That's raki-making in Crete and there's no filtering involved. It's excellent stuff as I can attest. The island has two or three such stills in just about every village.

Angry Exile said...

SBC, sorry, didn't mean it to sound like I was disagreeing with you. No argument from me because I simply don't know much about distilling, but I know a little about filtration and activated charcoal having used it in fish tank filtration, and it sounded like you might be able to expand on how much you'd need, whether an aquarium filter would be suitable, and so on. Wasn't trying to imply it could be made at home just as safely as proper distilleries producing on a large scale do because they'll have invested in the right gear and that's just not practical for DIYers - and that's before we start talking explosions and fires. I was just saying that activated charcoal and filter canisters are really easy to come by and doing a bit of wondering aloud.

SBC said...

"SBC, sorry, didn't mean it to sound like I was disagreeing with you"

Someone needs to! I'm not that knowledgeable on the subject or the science although I've distilled a fair bit in the past. I was just pointing out the dangers for the uninitiated....and of doing stuff outta books.

I'll give you an example: Almost every book on home distilling I have ever read tells you a *different* amount of first run to chuck away. Some will say the first pint and a half, others talk in litres.

It's a very inaccurate and dangerous method. Neal, I assume your raki-burners use a similar method instead of filtering. From decades of experience they'll know exactly how much to discard.

Oh and going back to Macheath's original question, the other major bugbear with the pan method is temperature control. Its almost impossible to keep it a the right burn and also to keep the condenser (ie a plate or lid) cold.

I seem to remember badly burning my fingers doing that way...literally.

Macheath said...

SBC, thanks for the explanation - like AE, I was 'wondering aloud' rather than intending to put it into practice (so no need to send the paramedics round), as LI had mentioned freeze-distilling in comments on another post.

I later heard that methanol was a problem with this method - in New England, they used to make applejack by putting cider outside the back door in winter, with occasionally disastrous results - so I wondered whether that would apply in this case too.

You're right about the source, BTW - I salute your encylopedic and accurate memory.

SBC said...

You're right about the source, BTW - I salute your encylopedic and accurate memory."

I'll be interested to hear what Leggy's take on it is as he actually seems to know something about this science bollocks. Me personally, I can damn well see that the sun god's chariot moves round this flat Earth.

David Davis said...

I'm a non-smoker. Not out of Nazi ideology, I merely don't like the stuff and can't stand the smell. At Oxford in the 1960s, I really did, at first, try very very hard to smoke, for you had to or you would have been killed. I apologised after about 6 weeks, feeling really sick, even with soft cakey pipe tobacco, and my freinds and colleagues let me off. One of one's requisites as a 60s student in one's college rooms, was an ash tray. It was impolite not to provide one.

How about this, Legiron? I'll send you seeds of the following: woad, flat-leaf-parsley, broccoli, kohl-rabi, chili peppers, runner-beans, dill and others - stuff which we grow perennially in our garden and harvest the ripe seeds of, continually, if you would send me a goodish bag of your "weed" seed.

I will scatter quite a lot of this, carefully targetted for survival, in the wind-free/sunny/sheltered pockets of the "Sefton Sands" SSSI dunes area. I have already impregnated this place with large amounts of woad seeds (once an indigenous weed here and elsewhere.) We could do it with yours too. Then there's a very very very large public space (about 12,000 acres) with free access 24/7 where "weed" will be growing also.

David Davis said...

As to alchol distillation:-

I think people were referrinf to the problem of methanol which is toxic.

You have to distil your filtrate fractionally. that means you mush have a fractionating column (scientific glassware is still legal to buy and own in the UK) with fitments for a good accurate thermometer at the top. YOU MUST ONLY collect the distillate that arrives ABOVE 75 deg centigrade, at normal atmosphere pressure. This will contain no methanol. Ethanol, which is what you want, boils at about 77 C. The vast majority of your alcohol will come over when the thermometer reads between 75 and 79 degrees. The distillate you then have is about 71%-72% pure ethanol, with water and flavourings that you want. You can dilute it to taste for drinking (I don't suggest you drink stuff over about 51% WHICH IS 103 DEG-PROOF) OR leave it in wooden watertight casks of your size-choice for a time, to mature and lose ethanol by evaporation through the wood, down to about 40%.

acas - the apocalyptic catastrophe avoidance service (a registered member of relate) said...

very interesting grog-chat going on here - one imagines that it probably reflects current conversations between iranian nuclear scientists, although those are being held on a considerably higher level. really, it would be rather nice if someone like david davis could pop over to tehran and put their guys straight on the basic principles of designing a nuke - such a simple selfless act of humanity would:

a) save everyone (including nuclear negotiators, watchdogs etc) a lot of time, bother, stress and critical conference nosh-ups held in first-class hotels.

b) help avoid unfortunate explosions, such as occurred in the iranian revolutionary guard missile bunker just the other day (notwithstanding the heated question of whether it blew or was it blown?)

c) allow the israelis and iranians the unmissable experience of looking down the nuclear-gun-barrel at each other for the next couple of decades, before getting bored shitless of spending billions on ultimately unused obsolete ordonance and finally entering historic negotiations aimed at sawing all the arsenals of apocalypse safely in half.

d) provide endless entertainment for all the family - building nuclear fall-out shelters and so forth (i've already got my tins of lidl baked-beans safely stashed in my home-made inner-sanctum).

d) endear us to the iranians in a manner which might deter them from firing someting nasty at us.

accidental war said...


(notwithstanding the heated question of whether it blew or was it blown?)

look mate, if the iranians think it was an accident then let sleeping fissile material lie - i don't think we need some nosey speculating fuck like you floating unnecesarily upsetting sabotage theorums at a politically 'delicate' point like this. let's just say that, if something big detonates in israel and a couple of million people claim the next day that they all walked simultaneously into a door, we can draw our own conclusions.

pres ahmustavanicbm said...


very interesting grog-chat going on here - one imagines that it probably reflects current conversations between iranian nuclear scientists, although those are being held on a considerably higher level.

yes, spot-on, comrade - except in one crucially important detail...

...unlike under your repressive democratic régimes in the imperial west, who discourage and prohibit traditional domestic pastimes such as smoking and nuclear fusion activities for all the family, we revolutionaries here in iran positively encourage the kitchen industry of micro-atomic-energy production coupled with the spin-off development of a feasible and low-cost ballistic nuclear warhead to sling at the big goy-gobbling giant... fact there's an all-in luxury package holiday to eilat up for grabs for the first family to bust out a convincing prototype bomb.


...and they're free to smoke as many as they want whilst working on the job. so stick that in your bloody english pipes and puff on it, prime minister.

georgette and the chiffons said...


yeah man, we want peace not war...the eye-ranians were probably just moving their extra-highly-spiced candy-sticks out of range of an imminent methane-hydrate-induced 'earthquake' arranged courtesy of the cia... for the middle-eastern arms race, i don't really understand all this nuclear rocket science there a copyright infringement suit going on or something...?

SBC said...

"accurate thermometer at the top. YOU MUST ONLY collect the distillate that arrives ABOVE 75 deg centigrade 77 C."

And there's the problem, right there (especially with open tub method); temperature control. Trained specialists or scientist in a lab can work within those tolerances and with the proper equipment. Joe Blogs with his print out of the nerdy net can't.

Rustic poteen burners or Neal's Raki-isten do it by ear...and that takes a lot of experience.

Leg-iron said...

David D - It's a deal. Email is in the sidebar.

Macheath said...

SBS 'Rustic poteen burners or Neal's Raki-isten do it by ear...and that takes a lot of experience'...

...and presumably a certain amount of natural selection over the years.

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