2 winters ago, rookie baker here starts and maintains a starter, easily. Threw it out after the winter just b/c I wasn't using it enough in the summer. Silly me!!
Last fall, tried twice and couldn't get one going - kept turning black and STINKY. Didn't mind - too much...
Now, I'm really eager to start and KEEP one. Started yesterday with 100% freshly ground (by me) ww flour and bottled spring water. Developed hooch within 8 hours! This morning, more hooch. Smells like sprouted wheat. Is this unusual? Does a layer of hooch stop the oxygen/wild yeast from getting to the flour? I have it in one of those glass jars with a rubber ring, though not clamped shut. Should I remove the ring? Add a grain of yeast? Stir frequently?
Also, what are the concerns about home ground flour for making starters? After reading the thread about wheat weevil eggs and an old one about mouse droppings, I'm kind of freaked out. Maybe that had something to do with my starters turning black last year?