After years of smoking weed in the shadows like a criminal, it seems cannabis is on the way to becoming legal. As this legalization phenomenon grows, so too will the opportunities for new industries, entertainment and careers.
Adventures during my teenage years were often energized with a healthy inhale of Cannabis. The summer of 1977 featured some memorable shenanigans and a cool cannabis pipe I have not seen since.
My 17th year was a typical for a teenager of the 70s with the required amount of rebellion and angst. I was fortunate to spend the end of my summer hanging around in Vermont far away from my parents and in the company of locals Kevin and Rob. It was a magical time with strong memories of a carefree farewell to the last summer of my high school years.
One particular evening, Kevin, Rob and I hunkered around a backyard fire pit. Blue Oyster Cult was blasting from Rob’s car in concert with a choir of nocturnal insects. The fireside discussion settled upon a rumored pot patch. Apparently, there was a small garden growing against a farm house on a lonely section of road just outside of town. Before long, the three us packed into the getaway vehicle and were on our way to stealing some weed. We loudly sang “Don’t Steal My Reefer” as BOC’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” raged on the car’s tortured speakers.
Since I was the youngest of the group, I was selected as the designated thief. I would cut the weed, run to the road where the getaway car would pull up for the pickup and we would flee into the night with our green booty.
With Bowie knife in hand, I jumped from the vehicle and slipped into the pasture beside the target. I watched as Kevin and Rob drove out of sight then proceeded toward the house. I crept through the tall grass and up to the small garden. Sure enough there were Cannabis plants growing amongst the tomatoes and squash. I went to work chopping the stems and gathering up the 6 foot plants one by one. With my arms straining to contain the giant harvest and the crime fully engaged, my heightened senses detected what may have been a screen door squeal… Panic time.
In a flash of fear, I dropped the knife and sprinted toward the open pasture clutching my ill gotten gain. With such a bail of Cannabis in my arms combined with the darkness of night it was impossible to see where I was running. At full teen speed, I ran blindly through the field fueled by fear. The first fall was a spectacular cartwheel into a large ditch that appeared without warning. I never let go of the precious cargo, landing atop the bundle. With an athletic snap to my feet, I was running again before I even knew I was upright.
The adrenalin surge was real and my romp through the pasture was nearing its end. I could see headlights on the road ahead. Then my feet made contact with an extremely large and still moist cow pie. Anyone familiar with farm life will tell you a cow’s poop has the coefficient of friction similar to the banana peel. Upon entering the “pie”, my feet were propelled forward at 10 times the rate of the rest of my body. With cartoon-like choreography, I was launched into the air, hovering above the ground just long enough to realize the next instant was going to be unpleasant.
With a an extremely squishy splat, I landed on my back into the enormous pile of dung. But the weed was safe. Back on my feet and quickly toward the approaching lights, I ignored the pain and odor as I saw salvation ahead. I reached the edge of the field and jumped out into the road.
The vehicle drew closer and I was looking directly into the lights, impairing my vision. I did not care… I got the weed and I was home free. I stood in the road so my getaway vehicle could pick me up as planned. The car pulled up slowly. Peering around the bundle of contraband, I focused on my ride.
It was not Kevin and Rob.
As the mysterious car pulled up, I saw the driver window go down and the unknown occupant staring disbelievingly at the walking bush before them. There was nothing I could do but stare back. And the car pulled away quickly with a chirp and a leap into the darkness. I believe my mouth was still open when Kevin and Rob drove up a minute later, their hysterical laughing echoing across the valley.
Standing on a dark and lonely back road in Vermont covered with cow shit and desperately grasping an enormous bundle of stolen weed, I planned my next move as my laughing transport came to a stop. I was not amused. Neither was Rob when I fumbled the door open, flopped across his back seat and commanded him to drive.
Before Rob’s foot hit the gas pedal, the stench from my cow shit covered self hit his nose. It must have struck Kevin’s nose as well as suddenly the laughing stopped and the gagging began. I ignored their over-animated retching and continued to scream for a hasty get away. I was still clutching the cannabis lying across the back seat, unable to move. With a squeal, Rob took off toward the only destination the made sense.
When Rob pulled into the parking lot of the 24 hour laundry mat I was sure I was in the company of a genius.
It was 2AM. Not a soul in sight. I was covered in cow shit. There was weed that needed to be dried. We had quarters. There really was no other place we could go. Rob dug out a pillow case and some gnarly gym shorts out from his trunk. I stumbled from the car, still clutching the precious bundle and headed into the all night laundry with my two chuckling accomplices.
The plan was simple… we would dry all the weed by stuffing the pillow case and throwing it into the dryer. I would be able to wash my cow shit clothes at the same time. Again, genius.
We went to work stripping off the foliage and stuffing the pillowcase. The weed was clearly not ready as there were but tiny flowers. We didn’t care. Some of the leaves were huge and we stuck them on the windows and walls like cling-on decals. I remember the amazement I experienced at the adhesive quality of wet pot leaves as we decorated the laundry room.
We had been in that laundry mat drying our stash for a while. The entire space reeked of cannabis. Stems littered the floor and the windows and walls were decorated like a Rastafarian day care. We were just wrapping up our stay at the washeteria when Kevin called out for our attention. It appears there was a vehicle on its way down the long access road to the laundry. Somehow Kevin could tell it was a “Statie” from that distance. We did not question his vision and sprung into action.
I grabbed my moist clothes, Kevin grabbed the weed. Rob was already headed to the car for the second get away of the evening. We quickly piled into the vehicle leaving the laundry covered in pot leaves and smelling like a hippie hoedown. It was eerily quiet as Rob drove down that long dirt access road toward the approaching police cruiser.
We passed the Vermont State Police officer without incident. Maybe he was headed in to do his laundry? We didn’t care… When Rob reached the end of the dirt road, he squealed onto the main road and sped toward Kevin’s house. He parked out back and we hunkered down in the getaway car. We waited there for some sort of police action but none happened. We had gotten away with it and now have a big ole pillowcase of weed.
There was only one thing left to do…
We sat in the car, with Blue Oyster Cult breaking the silence once again. Kevin was in the back with his hands in the sack of weed. Rob leaned across the front seat and gave his glovebox a healthy “thwam”. The door swung down and a funky shape fell out into Rob’s waiting hand.
What is THAT?
Rob was grasping the oddly shaped piece of wood as he motioned to Kevin for the sack of weed. When Kevin held the pillowcase open, Rob stuck his hand in and pinched a generous plug of pot. He filled the hole in the wood and finished with a tap of the thumb. Rob held up the wooden bowl and flicked open his Zippo light with a satisfying “snick”.
I watched the glow of the Zippo flame illuminate Rob as he brought the mystery to his lips. The way he cradled the pipe was unlike any smoker I’ve seen. As if he was about to blow on a trumpet, Rob “kissed” the odd mouth piece and puffed a few clouds from the smokestack in his hand.
As Rob handed the smoking wooden shape to me, he explained that this was his “no wetness” pipe. I “kissed” the bowl and inhaled deeply. A satisfying yet somewhat ambitious lungful had me coughing like a newbie. Rob laughed and urged me to “go easy”. Kevin joined in and said with authority “If you don’t cough, you don’t get off.”
We passed that hunk of wood around for hours, filling the car with smoke in true hotbox perfection. I really liked that bowl and pressed Rob for the details on its origin. As it turns out, Rob worked in a furniture shop and used the lathe and a scrap chunk of cherry wood on his lunch break to craft his little smoker. Kevin and I urged Rob to make more, assuring him he could sell hundreds.
I never saw Rob or Kevin since then but those memories remain. I always hoped to see that bowl again but it was never to be. Which is why I have decided to resurrect that pipe from my memory. It seemed only natural to name the pipe the Yankee Inhaler as it has Yankee origins and kinda looks like an inhaler used by asthmatics.
Look for a new, hand crafted Yankee Inhaler smoker coming soon.
As a Cannabis grower, there are many challenges on the way to harvest. From selecting the seed, germination, nurturing through pests and blights, even the actual destruction of the plant is a process. Let me add another issue the Cannabis farmer needs to look out for.
Hermaphroditism is a phenomenon where a plant can present both male and female flowers. This is a bad thing for Cannabis growers as the creation of pollen can turn an entire garden into seed laden flowers.
While some Cannabis strains may be more prone hermaphroditism, any female can “hermie” while in flower. A farmer must keep a close eye on the development of their Cannabis plants’ sex organs.
The Cannabis hermaphrodite needs only a few of the females’ flowers to develop male “parts” to completely overwhelm a garden with the pollen that creates seeds. The seeds from a hermaphrodite will be prone to hermaphrodite as well, making them worthless for a future crop. Each one of those male yellow “bananas” (stamens) produce an obscene amount of pollen. Check out the video below of me “jacking off” a male stamen:
Hermaphrodites are most commonly caused by stress on the Cannabis plant. Overheating and interruptions in the light cycle are the most common reasons for a plant to “go hermie”. The Cannabis farmer can reduce the risk of a hermaphrodite by simply removing any stress on their plants. Light leaks, spikes in temperature, inadequate ventilation even the shock of over fertilization can cause your green babies to become hermaphrodites.
If a hermaphrodite does develop in your garden, get it out of there. Take a close look… you may be able to pluck all the male parts off. But remember, if any of those male “nanners” survive, there WILL be seeds in your harvest.
I noticed little black flyers in my grow tent during the vegetative stage. At first I assumed them to be fruit flies but a quick look on the web identified them as the fungus gnat. All indoor Cannabis growers will deal with an infestation of fungus gnats at some point.
Fungus Gnats usually come from the soil medium, especially if the soil spent anytime outside in a moist environment. These little buggers like moisture, light and carbon dioxide; all found in every garden. These tiny black gnats begin life as fungus eating larvae actually aiding in decomposition but too many may have them munching the plant roots as well. Letting the soil dry out between watering, adequate ventilation and removing any dead leaves around the plant will help to control their activity.
Cannabis is a crop I would expect most people would want pesticide free. Luckily there are multiple, low impact solutions for just about any pest you would have in the garden. Fungus gnats are no exception. I was seeking the fastest and cheapest method that would have the least impact on my Cannabis’ growth. Some web research revealed a product that provides two methods of control in one package.
Nematodes are the most numerous multi cellular animals on Planet Earth. There are more than 20,000 species of nematodes, also called round worms, that live on every part of the world. Nematodes live in the oceans, the soil, even in our bodies! Nematodes can be harmful as well as beneficial. Of course, as Cannabis growers, all we care about are the beneficial nematodes.
This kit comes with millions of live nematodes as well as a pack of yellow tinted sticky strips. One simply places the Nematode covered sponge in a couple gallons of water (not tap water, the chlorine will kill the ‘todes). Wait five minutes before watering the Cannabis plants with the nematode soup. Within a few days those nematodes will grow into fungus gnat larvae killers.
While the nematodes make themselves at home, the yellow sticky strips can be deployed in the garden. Even though these weak flying pests are more at home running all over the leaves, they do take flight and land permanently on the yellow stickum. It is very satisfying to see the little bastids on the strips yet at the same time it is kind of disturbing. You will notice less flies as the nematodes do their job and kill the future of the fungus gnat infestation.
There are other low impact, non chemical treatments I haven’t tried to control fungus gnats. Diatomaceous earth is essentially microscopic shells that, when spread around the Cannabis plants, will cut up the pests when they come into contact with it, killing them eventually. Steel wool will have the same effect on any little flyers that land on it. If I have fungus gnats in the future, I will give these methods a try and report back.
Amazon sells the Fungus Gnat eradication kits for about $15.00.
Here’s the link: Nema Globe Fungus Gnat Pest Control.
Another month, another awesome Reliable Bud BYOC event at Spencer fairgrounds. The spirit of “70s Flower Power” was in the air along with a whole lot of Cannabis smoke. If you haven’t been to one of these monthly celebration of all things Cannabis, you’re definitely missing out.
The flawless weather was perfect for hanging out with hundreds of my fellow Cannabis lovers. I knew this was going to be a big one when I saw the impressive number of cars in the parking lot. Just take a look at this 360 video that allows viewing of anywhere you would like to see of the event.
As usual, there was plenty of Cannabis products from local businesses. Each event brings more new vendors. There are some incredible growers out there as well as new and interesting products you’ll find at these Reliable Bud BYOC events first.
The next Reliable Bud “Bring Your Own Cannabis” party is on Saturday, October 13th at the Spencer Fairgrounds. Of course, its Halloween season so I expect there will be plenty of Tricks and Treats.
Sometimes its the little things…
I am currently working on a new pipe called the Yankee Inhaler. (to see why, read How I Met The Yankee Inhaler)
I made sample pipes for testing and proceeded to smoke lots of weed through those prototypes. These wood pipes required a screen in the bowl so I purchased a sack of those headshop standards, unchanged since their inception in the 70s… the brass pipe screen.
The brass screen worked but there were issues. The primary issue was a clogged screen. I was forced to pry out the screen often to clear the built up resin (i.e. burn, flick, reinsert screen). That process revealed the next issue… getting the fucking screen outa the bowl so I could clean it. It didn’t take long for that brass screen to develop a large hole that released a bowlful of ash onto my tongue.
If I was going to make an easy to use, no nonsense wooden pipe, I would need to address the screen problem. An exhaustive internet search did reveal some interesting possibilities but I was able to dismiss them for my application as they were way too expensive. The “glass” screens were no good as well, falling out of the bowl when ash was tapped out.
Then I stumbled on Smokin’ Screws.
Basically a stainless steel wire twisted into a funnel funnel shape, the Smokin’ Screw takes the common pipe screen to the next level. The wire is pretty thick resulting in a long lasting, easy to handle insert for many pipes. With a handy handle extending out of the bowl, this “screen” is easy to grab for quick cleaning.
The inventor is definitely a smoker. The design of the Smokin’ Screen is simple yet extremely effective. The website claims “…its vortex design creates a swirling column of air and fire that releases the oils of every last bit of leaf.” I don’t know about any of that but I do know weed burns better with one of these screens. Just yank out the screen after a few bowls and take a look. If there is any build-up, a lighter will burn it off lickety-split. Flick the Smokin’ Screen to free to ash and reinsert into your bowl.
I urge you to check out the Smokin’ Screws website [https://www.smokinscrews.com/]. You can purchase the screws directly from the website and they will be shipped very quickly. The Smokin’ Screw will make the Yankee Inhaler a better product and I plan to include one with every pipe.
If you haven’t been to one of these Reliable Bud events, you are missing out. As a cannabis enthusiast for over 40 years, the road to legalization has been a long one. Even though weed is legal, it is still somewhat hard to find resources or product. Reliable Bud events strip away all of the stigma and brings the Cannabis Lifestyle to the people. A Reliable Bud event offers education, entertainment and, of course, lots and lots of cannabis. Check out this video to see some of the fun:
Reliable Bud has done an incredible job bringing the Cannabis industry to Massachusetts. When at a Reliable Bud event, the freedom to enjoy cannabis in all its many forms is the primary goal, however, there is so much more.
Reliable Bud will be bringing more events to the Spencer Fairgrounds including the Maui Wowie Luau on August 18th. I’ll see you there.
It had been so long since I’ve seen a soapstone bowl I forgot how awesome they are. During the Reliable Bud Fiesta de Mayo BYOC on Saturday May 26th, I was reacquainted with the classic soapstone pipe. Just the sight of all those hand carved pipes brought back a flood of memories. I carried a soapstone pipe for years, usually reserving its use for hash or as a one-hitter. I remember that perennial pocket lump comforting me with the knowledge that I could get high at anytime. Alas, my beloved bowl ended up at the bottom of a lake, sinking like the stone it was. I was thinking it was high time for a replacement.
A perfect material for pipes, soapstone leaves no taste and it is very durable. It has the bonus property of being an easy material to carve with hand tools. The soapstone comes from quarries all across North American. Craftsman Terry Harlow of Paleolithic Pipes displayed his stone children with pride. There were so many pipes to choose from with a wide variety of cool shapes and interesting colors.
Terry offers Stone Pipe Making Workshops for aspiring soapstone carvers. He will supply all the tools and materials needed to learn the process and you’ll get to keep your creations from the course. You’re advised to contact Terry directly through the website for the details.
It took a while but I found the perfect pipe for the Yankee Stoner. This little pipe is a joy to hold. The finish on these pipes is a simple buffed beeswax that feels great in your hand. The rectangular shape prevents the bowl from tipping over or rolling onto the floor. The pipe has a perfect bowl size for two. Our new soapstone pipe carved by Terry Harlow from Paleolithic Pipes is an awesome addition to our collection of smoking accessories.
There is no real way to sugar coat it… smoking is bad for you.
For anyone who is a chronic smoker (such as myself) you are probably very attached to your smoking habit. At some point, the lungs of the consistent cannabis toker will begin to protest and breathing will eventually become difficult. That being said, there are many non combustible cannabis “dosing” methods out there to try that reduce the negative effects of inhaling smoke. Dry herb vaporizing is one lighterless method and the Focusvape is a dry herb vaporizer couch-tested by the Yankee Stoner.
There are two basic types of vape systems – dry herb vaporizrs and liquid/oil/wax vaporizers. There are systems that do both I choose to keep the systems separate to get the maximum effect from the substance used. The dry herb vaporizer appealed to me because dry herb is easier to get and less expensive. Additionally, vaping cannabis flower is closest, for me, to smoking – something I still enjoy.
In a nut shell, vaporizing “boils” the active ingredients into a breathable vapor by using a carefully regulated heat source. Since all chemicals have their own specific boiling temperarture as a property, the vaporizer can be dialed into a temperature range that will vaporize the cannabinods and terpenes, keeping any combustible poisons unburned and out of your lungs.
The Focusvape is a typical vaporizer with components necessary for effective dosing. The most important feature of any vape is the precise control of the temperature. This requires the ability to set the thermostat and know when the desired temperature is reached. The Focusvape uses a digital indicator that will that is easy to set and big enough for this old man to read it. When the target temp is reached, the Focusvape will even vibrate in your hand to let you know.
The ceramic “oven” is deep and easy to access. I like the glass mouthpiece on the screw-off chamber cover with no O-rings or tiny bits that fall on the floor when apart. The herb goes in easy, cleans out even easier. The unit is turned on with 3 presses of the side buttons. The display will show the current temperature which should be counting towards the preset temp. This is a no-nonsense tool that will get the job done without needing an engineering degree to figure it out.
The recommendation for the Focusvape came from our local dispensary and we weren’t disappointed. At $130, it was a considerable investment. but it will last. The battery, while rechargable (using an included USB cord), is still replacable unlike many models out there. Additionally, the Focusvape has a rubbery “skin” and graspable shape designed for portability.
What would make the Focusvape better is a simple flat edge. On the slightest inclined surface, the Focusvape will quickly roll off. Since this vape has considerable heft, hitting the floor from a few feet could be disastrous. If the glass mouthpiece breaks, however, there is a replacement along with a nifty cleaning tool, some replacement “screens” and a bunch of alcohol wipes included with the unit.
The Focusvape is a solid unit that produces a substantial cloud when used correctly. Each “bowl pack” will provide 6 good hits of vapor before you’ll want to reload. So far we are pleased with this vaporizer and we would recommend it to anyone wanting to switch from combustion to vaping for the first time.
Ghost Train Haze is a Sativa cross between Ghost OG and Neville’s Wreck developed by the Colorado breeders Rare Dankness.
Active Ingredient Stats from package:
- TAC (Total Active Cannabinoids): 26.6%
- CBG-A (Cannabigerol): 0.1%
- THC-A (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid): 24.8
- THC: (Tetrahydrocannabinol): 0.8%
- CBD-A (Cannabidiolic Acid ): 0.1%
You can learn what these ingredients are by reading the post: What Are the Active Ingredients in Cannabis?
This sample is from 14 gram purchase from a Massachusetts dispensary. Here is a microscopic view of Ghost Train Haze.
The Yankee Stoner is still new to the weed growing scene with only two successful harvests so far. I germinated a batch of Blueberry seeds I purchased from a popular seed company on New Years Day. Imagine my surprise when I noticed one of the seedlings had sprouted into an interesting mutation… three cotyledon leaves.
Like any other inquisitive Cannabis farmer, I went to the web to seek out an explanation for this phenomenon. There seems to be some confusion with some calling the phenomenon tri-lateral branching and others claim it is a whorled phytolaxy. From what I can decipher, they may be the same thing. Whorled phytolaxy is an organism having three or more times the haploid chromosome number. Tri-lateral branching is a manifestation of the phytolaxy, where the plant has “extra features”, in this case, three cotyledons and branches instead of the normal two.
The Cannabis “forums” couldn’t agree on the future of this plant. Some post were positive, predicting greater growth and bigger buds. The naysayers said to expect a male plant with smaller flowers. The inferior genetics may result in a possible hermaphrodite and advise no cloning. Whatever the future holds for this plant, I am excited to watch it grow and see what develops
As the proud father of a mutant cannabis plant, I fawned over the seedling as it began to veg out. I patiently waited for the sex of this plant to reveal itself. If it is a male, should I let it flower and make some seeds? Should I clone her if she’s a female? After 8 weeks I switched the light cycle over to 12/12.
On the 51st day of growth I have confirmed it’s a Girl!
…to be continued.