Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thank You, UC Davis!

Last fall, I ordered some fig cuttings from UC Davis Germplasm Repository. *free* Well, mostly. I had to set up a FedEx account so I could pay for shipping. But it was so worth it!

Today, I was surprised by a FedEx truck in my driveway. =)

I'm pretty excited! So, I've put them in a jug of water, and in a week or two I'll stick them in some soil mixed with perlite and hope they take root.

Wish me luck! And watch for updates. =)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I had the chance to check my hives today. Sadly, both hives have died, =(

I do already have 2 nucs on order for spring. So they have a place to go, once I clean out the old hives.

And, I won't have to rush to get the new hives ready. =( I wish I had to rush.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Maple Sugaring

We went to a class on Maple sugaring at New Pond Farm today.

Here's Erin in front of the evaporator.

This is Pete, our instructor.

He explained how syruping works, how the extractor works, and how to tell a maple tree in the winter.
                                                                      Not a maple.

Thank goodness for that!
He introduced us to a maple tree that he planted next to the sugar house 25 years ago.

It's still not big enough to tap!
Then, we took a walk to a tree he was ready to tap. He showed us how to drill at an angle so the sap would pour out,

and how to put in the spile. (Let me know if this video works, it's the first time I'm trying one.)

He hung the bucket and the lid. Then we went back inside and tasted some syrup on cornbread, some maple cream and maple candy.

I have *got* to try to make maple cream!

I have a few spiles that I'd bought last year, and I've been saving some empty milk jugs for the sap. I guess it's time to get started. 0_0 Wish me luck?

Monday, February 11, 2013

For my Birthday...

I made my own yogurt!

I picked up a EuroCusine Yogurt Maker at a Goodwill for $20. Yay! =D The box was a bit beat up, but the maker was brand new inside, still wrapped in it's plastic.

Heating the milk:

Cooling the boiled milk:

Mixing starter yogurt into the warm milk:

Measuring it into the cups:

Then, put it in the yogurt maker, without lids:

Try to do something with the leftover milk:

And, finally, clean up:

I've had a couple of guinea pigs, uh, I mean, friends! Yeah, friends try it. And I had some myself. Not bad at all! I had some strawberry jam that didn't gel properly, that I mixed in. (We've been using it on ice cream too!) Yum!

I'm counting this as "fermenting something" and taking it off my list. =D (#3 check!)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

One More Off the List~


I found a few recipes, but I went with simple...

I bought a few extra flavorful olives, mixed them with a can of ordinary black olives, a little olive oil...

And filled a jar with some lovely tapenade!

Well, maybe that doesn't look so lovely, but I assure you it tastes divine! (#20.2 Whoo-hoo!)

Well, this was a surprise!

 Recently, I was at the library with my girlfriend. She had seen an advertisement for a felting class, and really wanted to go! We inquired, and were told that there was a waiting list. She became #9, and I was #10 on the waiting list.

 Imagine my surprise at getting a phone call Monday night at 5:30 asking if I wanted to attend the class in half an hour!

 I called my girlfriend, and jumped in the car.

 Sorry about the quality of the pictures, these were taken with my cell phone. It's not very smart. =(
 These are better. Home with the camera now. =)

  I'm not entirely done, I have to finish the bee, and they gave me a pinback to put on it.
 It was so much fun, that I bought a starter kit for later. =)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spring is on the way!

The catalogs are rolling in...

That means it's time to put up the seed-starting shelves:

Right there.

I just can't wait!

Daily Bread

On a fairly regular basis, I bake bread for my daughters lunch.
I use the basic recipe from "Artsian Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" with a slight alteration at the end..
It looks like this:

The big bucket is regular flour, I mix it with the Better for Bread flour. In this picture, I've already started. You can see the yeast and water in my bowl. =) After that, add salt and flour(s). Mix it up.

 Yeah, so "5 Minutes a Day" isn't exactly true... Now that it's mixed you need to wait for it to rise.

For two hours.

In the book, you divide this into three parts, and make three loaves, called "boules". I don't do that. I split it into two parts, oil some baking dishes.

And put 'em in there. =) And wait some more... About 40 minutes. (I just don't get the "5 minutes" part!)

Looking good! You need to sprinkle a little flour on top, and cut them down the center.

Then I bake them for an hour. In a half hour, if I remember, I turn them around because they have a tendancy of baking together.

Just like they did today, because I forgot. Funny-looking, but yummy.