May. 30th, 2013 03:33 pm
ceelove: (Default)
How's gardening going this year? I think I've leveled up, though I've scaled down. For starters, the backyard is now a community garden plot, given that I've allotted raised bed space for my zombie-apocalypse friend to hone her skills alongside mine. That's about as permaculturey as you can get, right? (Admittedly, it's [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly's quail-coop-building project that's really going to sew up our status as bohemians of the block forevermore.) I've also been called in to consult on three other gardens getting underway this year, which is awesome: other people taking advantage of my ten years worth of mistakes! And I have, with help, successfully created the foundation for the greenhouse. Next up, framing.

I've pulled all the overwintered leeks, kale, scallions, carrots, and salsify from the garden, and most recently the winter lettuces to make way for other stuff. Just before the heat wave began, I gathered a little bowl of strawberries and the first handful of peas, from plants five feet tall and resplendent with purple blossoms. This year, the asparagus performed sufficiently that I ate a few - so tender that cooking was extraneous. I've had flowers brightening my eyes for the last three months solid. The raspberry patch is truly coming into its own, the blueberries are just starting to, the comfrey is a shower of bell-shaped blossoms, and the goumi berry plant smelled heavenly as it bloomed. I loooooove spring.
ceelove: (Default)
I could say, you know it's verging on summer when we're getting multiple things from the garden, but, um, no. Now that's true all the way through the winter.

A few data points on the garden thus far: )

And here's the tally of what I've harvested already this year:
- winter lettuces, mache, claytonia, minutina
- old-world root crops of scorzonera (liked from last year) and salsify (don't like)
- pea blossoms and tendrils
- kale, chard, cilantro, chives (all returned from their roots)
- spring lettuces and mustard greens
- peas
- straaaaaaawberries
- bok choi, tatsoi, baby kale from the polyculture
- endless smiles
ceelove: (Default)
With food, anyway. (From our Kale Fountain (tm), naturally.) And other items from the wishlist of Occupy Boston. Let me know if you have items that wish to tag along with my items. I hope to deliver on Sunday.
ceelove: (Default)
The experiments with food continue! When [livejournal.com profile] redheadedmuse started making raw milk easily accessible, [livejournal.com profile] starphire and I first made some verygood yogurt with it. Now we can make verygood yogurt out of our ongoing culture, so we needn't involve commercial yogurt at all!

Next up, mozzarella. A gallon of raw milk, in stark opposition to a gallon of ultra-pasteurized milk, made about 12 oz of amazing mozzarella. As per the interstructionets, I heated what remained in the pot to 200F and thus got ricotta out of it. Takes a while to drain out the whey, but it's there - maybe half a cup? What to do with the whey? A lot, apparently (soup stocks, replacement for water in bread, other drinks...), so I froze most of it to play with later. Ask me if you want some to play with: it's liquid gold for a vegetarian. :P

Meanwhile, after the whey drained from the mozzarella, the next thing to come from it resembled cream, about a third of a cup. I put it aside and forgot about it in the fridge. When I rediscovered it several days later, it had a very very thick skin on it. It resembled nothing so much as cream cheese. This seems rather to make sense, what with the name and all. (Wikipedia doesn't mention this as a way to make cream cheese, among the possible routes, and that's as much research as I'm going to do right now, so feel free to correct me if this truly isn't cream cheese.)

It's reassuring to know, when I retire to an agrarian lifestyle, that I can heat some milk and rennet and citric acid (or just lemon juice) and get all that out of it.
ceelove: (Default)
I'm pleased by my experiments with kombucha, and (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lady_anemone) am reading Wild Fermentation. Some of this stuff seems eminently doable, like sauerkraut, and some basically demands that I try it again, like yogurt.

I'm contemplating a little canning session on Wednesday - with the Small Girl present, so that'll complicate things a bit. Join me! There will be some participants here 12-4; I have no idea if I'll go longer than that, but I have no evening plans yet, so it could. Is it a pickling bee? Sure, if enough of you show up. I'm hoping to can a bunch of crookneck squash (pickled with onions and Indian spices) that I gleaned from my grandfather's garden yesterday. If I'm really ambitious, beets too, but I doubt I'm that ambitious.

Today, I made pesto from garlic and basil harvested from my backyard. It was awesome. I'm disproportionately proud of the garlic, because I planted ten cloves, expected nothing, and got ten bulbs! an unparalleled first-year success for me.

Completely unrelatedly, my cell phone has lately been deluged by telemarketers, primarily warning me that my warranty is about to expire. I'm sure my number got into someone's database. Isn't this illegal, to telemarket to my cellphone? How can I get this stopped?


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