Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Quelle surprise

It's raining.  Again.  Can only hope that Friday is sunny and cool for my brother's wedding.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend doings

I've got sore and sunburnt shoulders, but I managed to weed and mulch the big bed alongside the driveway (the one pictured in "Hell no, I ain't gonna mow") on Saturday.  Broccoli Boy mowed the lawn and we took bags of weedy clippings over to the Public Works grass recycling.  Should be good to mulch the clippings at the next mow.

The mornings are a bit chilly, which is nice when I have to go out and work my tail off.  It's also been quite wet lately, and I found dog stinkhorns hiding with the weeds amongst the herbs and irises.  They look like orange Nerf darts with muddy tops.  Once I got rid of the sun-occluding weeds, the stinkhorns started drying up in the August sun... and I didn't get a photo of the funky looking things in full "bloom".  Here's one I got from the web:

Dog stinkhorn
 

I did try to start a new bed behind the shed (it's a northen exposure, mostly shade) on Sunday before my mom and aunt stopped by for lunch, but I was deterred by a great amount of trap rock buried under the soil.  I'd have to spend more time on amending the soil and screening out that rock than I care to, so I think that I'll make raised beds or a container garden back there instead.  I can't even see that spot from my house - it'll be more for the neighbors' viewing pleasure than mine.  I suppose just having repaired the shingles and painting it a few years back was an improvement, but I like to make pretty things for people to look at.  In any case, the shipment of plants I got in from Royal Dutch went into the shady bed on the east side of the house instead.  I have to call them because 4 of the poker primroses that I received were just mush, and I doubt that anything is going to come up.

Next weekend, I think I'll try to dig the black-eyed Susans out of the sloped wildflower bed and start trying to tame that area a bit.  I like the wildflowers in June, but by August they look like a weedy mess.  The Chinese forget-me-nots (while beautiful & blue in June) are now gnarled grey things with the stickiest Velcro-like seeds ever.  I had an unhappy incident a few weeks ago when I got them stuck in my hair.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Teach a woman to cook...

...and you get some wild experimental dishes, especially when there's stuff in the fridge that needs to be used up.

I had a half dozen Thai eggplants in the fridge that I peeled and chopped into bite size pieces, tossed with kosher salt, and let sit in a colander for an hour or so to get the bitterness out.  I rinsed them and set aside.  I cut up a bell pepper, onion, some canned straw mushrooms (not enoki), pickled lotus rootlets, and minced up some dried shrimp.  Stir fried it all together in coconut oil with some fish sauce, lime juice, Thai basil, and hot sesame oil.  Added some chunks of seitan near the end.  Yielded 4 pint containers.   I threw a cup of black rice into the rice cooker to go along with it, which yielded 4 cup containers of cooked rice.  I also made a quart of cucumber & daikon kim chi pickles, so I packed up a cup of that to go with my lunch today as well.

Tomatillos and some of the peppers ended up in a green chicken chili, and I'll be making chicken paprikasz again soon with the Hungarian peppers I've been growing.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Since I'm going to have a sewing area in the basement...

...maybe I'll pick up a few things at IKEA to make it fun.  How about some buttons for the wall and the floor?  Should snag them before they're gone - I don't know how long these button themed items will stay around. 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013



Love this wallpaper, hate the price.

http://www.walnutwallpaper.com/store/store_results.asp?Section=Black&Brand=0&Color=3&estore_itemid=1007
I am now registered for the two ADF festivals I will be attending this year:  Festival of the Midnight Flame and Harvest Nights Gathering.  Missed Wellspring this year, and have been in a bit of a slump spiritually as a result - I usually get recharged there.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It is just so wet in Central NJ right now.  The mosquitoes are happy, I am not.

I think that the only thing that's saving our Ramapo tomatoes from the dreaded "Cracks of Doom" is the layer of 6 mil black plastic we laid down in spring (moments before the neighbor's maple tree dumped polynoses all over our yard - no kidding!).  My belief is that it's preventing too much water to the tomatoes.  Cracks are generally caused by uneven watering: too much water too fast = split skins.

I just gave away about 5 lbs. of ripe tomatoes today at work (suck up to the boss, yeah!).  There's at least that quantity still sitting in bowls on the on the counter, and more than that waiting to ripen in brown paper bags.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Something to do in the off-season

I am now the proud owner of two sewing machines and a serger, inherited from my Aunt who unfortunately can no longer see well enough to use the machines.  I think I may make my own dish towels and maybe some muslin sacks for storage of tender gladiolus and calla lily bulbs over the winter.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'll be 39 in a week.  I have no idea what I want for my birthday or what I want to do for my birthday.   Blah.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I just got an idea for a way to rearrange some of my outdoor potted succulents from this picture.

If you want to buy the kit that gave me the idea, visit this Etsy link

Monday, August 5, 2013

Broccoli Boy saw this at Ikea last week:


http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00195757/

If that's him, I guess this'd be me



http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40195760/
What would you do with a shopping bag full of small white eggplants that your friend gave you? 
I'm thinking of making pickles out of them (and perhaps foisting a jar or two off on her).  My Google-Fu found four recipes that sound pretty good.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/pickled-grilled-eggplant-recipe/index.html

http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/11/how-to-pickle-eggplant-with-mint-and-garlic.html

http://www.cookbookarchaeology.com/?p=1657

http://italianfood.about.com/od/veggieantipasti/r/blr0730.htm

I've also got 5 green Thai eggplants in the fridge, harvested out of our own garden (many more to come if this produces like my Ichiban Japanese eggplant did last year).  I'm thinking of giving them a somewhat Thai treatment.  We're growing peppers and Thai basil that would go well with them, and fish sauce is a pantry staple.  A bit of lemongrass and lime juice (I admit, I cheat.  I have a tube of lemongrass paste and one of those green plastic limes in the fridge), maybe chop up the leftover white button mushrooms... mmmm, this is sounding good already.