Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Saturday, April 12, 2014
|She's two, it's time to put her to work|
|Clean, you bastards!|
|Three types of tomatoes|
Meanwhile, I did already start planting. We're trying tomatoes from seed this year. Paul Robeson, Amish Paste and Bonny Best were the varieties. I ordered them from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they came with a gift of flower seeds as well!
|Two containers, 6 pots of 6 plants each|
|I think I planted this|
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Monday, February 03, 2014
I managed to score some beautiful llama/alpaca yarn at the winter farmers market a few weeks ago. I only bought two skeins and that seemed enough for a sweater for the sprog. I'm making it a bit long do she should be able to wear it next autumn and winter as well, provided she stays tall and skinny (clearly she didn't get that from me).
I'll post when I finish and she's wearing it.
Thursday, January 09, 2014
|slightly crappy webcam photo|
Enter: The Dickie. I admit, I got the idea of knitting dickies from watching Big Bang Theory with Howard's ever-present neck accessory, but it seemed like it might be quite practical. I whipped out one on some random circular needles with some yarn I had in my office (what, you don't have yarn in your office?) and after wearing it once I was sold.
Dickie #2 (pictured) I made for Spouse. I used two stash yarns at the neck, switching just to the blue for the tails. This one has a particularly long front so that it can be tucked in to a wide variety of necklines. The double bulk at the top is exceptionally warm too.
Now I just need to get him to wear it.
Saturday, November 09, 2013
Yes, Christmas beer! Last year I made dozens of mince pies - homemade mincemeat in shortbread crusts - some of which Spouse brought around to the neighbors. It was his way of introducing ourselves (well, himself. I shyly stayed home) and sharing a bit of British Culture. This year I suggested that in addition to mince pies we give a bottle of homebrew, hence the Christmas beer.
I've only recently gotten back into home brewing, thanks to Northern Brewer's one gallon kits. They make just enough for a one-beer-drinker household. For a holiday brew though, I needed to not only make more, but to work without a
Candied PeelSliced peel of:
2 cups ginger wine or water
2 1/2 cups sugar
Boil for one hour. Drain, reserving liquid. Store peel in refrigerator until needed
Christmas Beer3.5 gallons water
9 oz black patent malt
9 oz Cara Aroma
5 handfulls whole oats
2 whole nutmegs, quartered,
1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
liquid from candied peel
6 lbs light malt syrup
1 oz Glacier hop pellets
1 oz Willamet hop pellets
Edinburgh ale yeast
Pour water into large pot. Place grains in a mesh bag and submerge in pot of water. Add 1 nutmeg and the vanilla pod. Bring water up to 150 degrees farenheit and hold there for 20 minutes. Remove grain bag and squeeze out. Sparge if you're so inclined.
Add malt syrup and liquid from candied peel to water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the Glacier hops. After 45 minutes, add the Willamet hops. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and put the pot in an ice bath to cool. Once room temp, strain into carboy and add the yeast, second nutmeg and he vanilla pod from the boil (of it looks striped of all vanilla goodness, get half a fresh bean). Set down to ferment for a week.
Place into secondary fermenter for a second week or bottle with priming sugar. Age for at least four weeks.
Plum pudding1/2 cup each raisins, dried apricots, dried apples, chopped
1/2 cup random booze - wine, bourbon, rum, absinth was the combination I had at hand
1 medium apple, grated
3 small carrots, grated
1/4 cup candied peel, chopped
1.5 cups bread crumbs - I used homemade Anadama bread for this
1 cup coconut oil
1 heaping teaspoon mixed spice - nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, mace, clove, allspice
1 cup Whole wheat flour
1 cup Christmas beer (snuck from the carboy)
Soak dried fruit overnight in random booze.
Add everything but the beer and mix until it all seems to be fairly uniformly spread about the bowl.
Add the beer, stirring, until well mixed. Place in greased pudding basin, cover with foil or parchment and tie tight. Steam 4 hours. Cool. If in a metal container, as my pudding mold is, remove and wrap in plastic wrap and foil. Sprinkle on rum, bourbon, or whiskey every couple of weeks, wrapping it up tightly again after. Store in a cool place until Christmas.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
The most recent item to appear was a cucumber plant. I didn't even know I'd grown one! This plant was doing well but I really didn't know what it was (a good reason to label your seeds when you plant them) until the blossoms started to turn into fruit.
Next up, the tomatoes! We do have a couple "larger" tomatoes, but the cherry tomatoes (did not know we had those, but I got the plants second hand) have turned into a bumper crop. The red ones aren't lasting long as we tend to munch them pretty quickly.
The potatoes, which I really though would go well, are a bit, um, small. These are the Marris Pipers that we grew in the container. I had anticipated at least 10 pounds but we only got enough for a small colander. They're tasty though!
The other potatoes are even fewer (and many still in the ground), but given the hills weren't particularly big, that's not surprising. The plan for next year is one long, deep bin that we will build up with covering over the growing cycle like with the planter. Hopefully we can get a few pounds out of that.
But I'm not ready to give up this year yet! I've started some seedlings inside for late planting. Here we can see some cabbage (left) and cauliflower (right) beginning to sprout! The far left has carrot seeds too. Since the container potatoes have been all dug up I plan to use that bin of dirt for the carrots. Not sure about the cabbage and cauliflower yet though as I'm not sure just how much sun they'll need. They may end up in pots that can be moved around the garden.
While we didn't get everything we planted, we still did much better than last year. I'm sure next year will be even better, and I've already marked my calendar for when to order seeds and when to start sprouting inside. We're hardly at a level of self-sufficiency, but at least it's a start.