Food stuff

Aug. 30th, 2017 05:20 am
kengr: (Default)
Various interesting things involving food in the last week or so.

To start with, I had trouble with a large jar of green olives with pimentos I got cheap off the clearance Rack. Even with rubber gloves I couldn't the lid to move. I sat there glaring at it and decided to try something weird.

I took a small screwdriver ( about 4.5"/11 cm) and stabbed it through the middle of the lid. Jar opened with no problem after that. This is now on my list of ways to deal with stubborn jar lids. :-)

Oh yeah, I slapped a hunk of duct tape over the hole. If that sounds icky to you, you can always transfer the contents to another container.

I've also been clearing out the freezer some. I've been getting frozen meats from the food boxes faster than I've been using them up. I'm working on thinning the herd.
Read more... )
kengr: (Default)
Earlier in the week I had managed to weed all of the plot but where the strawberries are *and* transplant the "stray" strawberry plants into gaps in that section. I wasn't too worried if they'd survive, we've got too [censored] many of them anyway.

Thursday I hoped to plant the rest of the starts Fay'd picked up but it was raining a bit more than I wanted to deal with. I did go ahead and set them out in roughly the spots I'd plant them, but left it at that.

Today, it's obviously been raining off and on, but it wasn't raining when I went out a bit ago. so I managed to get them all planted.
Read more... )

Garden pics

Jun. 8th, 2017 10:33 pm
kengr: (Default)
Went out today and got some pics of the garden

Here's looking at the raised bed (a watering trough that a garden center probably charged a lot more than a farm supply store would have)
end view of raised bed
More pics )
kengr: (Default)
Late this morning it was still somewhat tolerable outside. So I took a wicker basket, a pair of gardening scissors and a sprinkler out to the backyard.

The "raised bed" (read re-purposed watering trough) was a riot of greens. The tomatoes in the plot looked mostly ok, but the basil was still kinda wilty.

So I set the sprinkler on our plot and went to work on the tub (fay and I call it that for shorthand). Some web research had shown that the big brown patches on the chard were infestations of a sort of beetle larva that lives *inside* the leaves.

So I spent some time carefully trimming out the infested parts, and sometimes just cutting off whole leaves. The chard plants were greatly reduced, but should survive.

I also trimmed some of the adjacent spinach leaves that looked like they'd gotten hit. No need to worry about *those* plants surviving!

This had taken a while because it was awkward to work around the plants, and I had trouble with my back. I finally dragged up one of the plastic chairs and sat down to work on things.
Read more... )

slug fest?

Apr. 26th, 2017 09:28 am
kengr: (Default)
Came across a link to an interesting article while re-reading some old posts in other folks LJs (I'm cleaning up the old comment notifications, and read the original posts to get context)

Seems banana slugs are edible.

http://rickshawunschooling.blogspot.com/2007/10/wild-food-killing-our-own-meat.html

Another comment after the one with the link notes that you should keep them for several days and feed them on "safe" stuff to make sure they are purged of any toxins from eating things they can eat but humans can't.

even with that caution, it is tempting to go out to Forest Park to harvest some.. :-)

Oh yeah, several sorts of garden snails are edible as well. Though you have to isolate them for even longer because they may have picked up pestocides from other peoples gardens.

gardening

Apr. 9th, 2017 02:55 am
kengr: (antenna girl)
Our gardening last year was an utter failure, mainly because for various reasons we didn't really *do* much.

Didn't help that they didn't get the plots assigned until late May. Or that neither of us had much spare cash to buy plants with.

This year Fay and I had some miscommunication. I thought we weren't going to do it, she thought we were.

So I had to go and ask the (new) manager to add me to Fay's plot request.

We got the plot assignments Thursday and I got Fay's signature on the "we agree to the rules" form and turned it in Friday morning.

Saturday, we hit Portland Nursery. Apparently it's too early for tomatoes, but we got some tools (so we won't be borrowing from other folks in the apartments.

We also got some plant starts. I got this "Mesclune mix" which it a bunch of different salad greens. Also got a multicolored carrot assortment, just to try them out. If I like them, I'll get seed next year. Fay got some Swiss Chard, and some red lettuce ("Merlot")

I also got some seeds, scarlet globe radishes (I've had good luck with them in the past, but the seeds I had left were too old), and when Fay was pointing things out, there were these "ground cherries". They were interesting, but I passed them up. Put on a second pass thru that area I decided to grab them after taking a more careful look at the info on the packet.

We're going to go back again next month for other starts. And we both are likely to make another trip for other things this month. Fay needs a bigger pot for the spider plant she bought, and some potting soil. I'm thinking about getting stuff so I can start some seeds indoors and then just move them outside in the "plantable pots" (I forget what the real names is).

Also gotta talk to one of the other folks who gardens here and ask if he's going to make a run to pick up compost for folks. If so, I want to buy in so we don't have to try hauling bags of it on the bus. :-)

In other news, the 1/2 mile(?) walk to the nursery, and the quarter mile walk from it (we walk downhill from the 71 to get there, but walk over to the 20 when we leave and transfer to the 71 a few blocks later) showed that I was more out of shape than I thought. Gonna have to try walking around the block (it's a *big* block) to start.

Also gotta get a bike working. I need to check with Social Security about the overpayment (they switched me over from SSI to SS retirement benefits and managed to pay me *both* this month). If they'll let me pay it back by withholding 10% of my benefits for the next few months, I may have enough to replace the Electra Townie now instead of months from now.

If not, I'll get the one I got given working (needs a seat, and a tuneup).

Either way, I need a lock, lights, GPS mount and panniers. At least on the new benefits I have a couple hundred more a month than I did with SSI. Also, no more of the "can't have more than $2000 in resources" bit.
kengr: (antenna girl)
Between keeping weird hours and rain, this is only the second time I've been out to our garden plot this year.

[livejournal.com profile] fayanora's strawberries are trying to take over. and this time there are lots of ripe ones. I texted here so if she has time before she takes off for her usual Sunday stuff, she may harvest some. If not I'm going to grab them later today, weather permitting.

What I did grab were some of the "unplanned harvest". That is, edible "weeds".

I got the huge dandelion I was after but also grabbed a fair sized plantain (the herb, not the fruit).

Cooking up some of those now as part of breakfast. May try making a salad later today. I've got lettuce, and with the dandelion leaves and some cheese it'd do.

Gotta see about removing the leftover stalks and stuff from last year, and the non-edible weeds. Also need to find out what Fay wants to do with the excess strawberry plants. My vote is to offer them to other folks for their plots.

I also need to find out what the neal is with the raised planters (basicly stock tanks full of dirt). They're intended for the folks who don't bend over so well, and I definitely qualify. If we can get assigned one, I'll plant the carrot and radish seeds in there, and then we'll see what we can get at the nursery to but in the plot.

Also need to find out who is taking over Marty's plot since she moved out. I'd like to transplant some of her rhubarb.
kengr: (Default)
The other day, Fay noticed a post that mentioned a plant we'd seen in our garden plot. And pulled as a weed.

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/placom43.html
http://wellnessmama.com/4638/plantain-herb-profile/

Turns out that plantain (no relation to the banana-like fruit of the same name) is a useful herb and an edible plant.

I went ouyt and did some gardening tyhis morning and mentioned it to Marty. After looking it over, I found a couple in a section of her plot she hadn't gotten around to weeding yet.

She let me have them and will keep an eye out for more.

I'm gonna try some in a salad tonight. Since Fay will bee over, she can try some too.

And I''ll have to get back to Marty, because she may want some for the herbal properties, from what she was saying.

Folks, it really dooes pay to check out the plants growing in your garden *before* you pull them as weeds.

I've been grabbing dandelion greens since last year, but now I'll be adding plantain to my "list".

Also, unlike dandelion, they are rooted fairly shallow, so I'll be able to transplant them to their own corner of the plot.
kengr: (Default)
Been able to harvest the radishes for the last week or so. Doing it for the leaves as much as the actual root.

I have tried some raw in a sandwhich (sort of like lettuce or spinach), but the odd texture is a factor. Steamed or bioled (as part of my daily batch of ramen works better. Heck, the last time I got store bought radishes, the leaves weren't the typical slimy mess so I washed them off and used them in stuff. But fresh from my own garden is better.

Someone got a bunch of plants from the food bank and Marty oversaw the split between the folks who have garden plots. Our share was three red lettuce, and three of some sort of Italian "dandelion thing (Fay looked at the tag, I didn't).

We got those planted in the garden last night. They went in the area where I'd planted some old radish & carrot seeds. All of two carrots coming up, and a handful of radishes. On the other hand, the section where I switch to new radish seeds has had top be thinned twice (no usable root, but some nice leaves).

Also did some weeding as part of picking spots for the new plants. In the process I got around to doing something I'd been intending to do for a while. There were a bunch of wild dandelions sprouting, and I harvested them. Had the leaves in the batch of ramen I'm eating now. Hey, they're edible and they made the mistake of growing in my plot. :-)

Also harvested the red garlic that was a leftover from when my plot was Marty's. Some of one stalk got chopped up (like a skinny scallion) and went it the ramen too.

What I'd originally thought was grass in the section of the plot turned out to be volunteer garlic. It seems to have seeded itself *way* too well last year. I'm just letting those grow this year. They're pretty thick on the ground, but from previous experience, they likely won't be harvestable this year. Next year (or late this year, I'll thin them out some and use the tops in food. Then next year I'll have a bunch that are usable, I hope. Then ones I harvested this year were leftover from last year).

Oh yeah, a few years back I got some broccoli starts. They went to seed because I waied too long (the heads were *tiny* and I'd been hoping they'd get bigger, A couple years ago, I'd planted some of the gazillion seed pods I'd gotten from those. Seems like a few of the seeds sprouted this year. I'got six or eight volunteer broccoli too. They were one of the reasons the lettuce and Italian dandelion are planted with odd spacing.

I don't expect big heads, given last year. But I'll get a fair amount of usable *leaves* from them. Ptretty typical given that they were probably some sort of hybrid and didn't breed true.

Also scored some goodies at the store yesterday. I was handing in my monthly set of prescriptions, and I wandered through the meat department. They had some marked down packages of "pub burgers". Normally $5 for two patties, but the two packages I spotted (the large "shreds" of cheddar in the patties had caught my attention) had $2 off stickers on them. I decided that while it was a bit spendy even then, I'd grab them.

Wasn't until I opened a package to fry one up that I realized it wasn't just cheddar mixed in but *bacon* as well. Oh my. Delicious. And quite worth the $1.50 each.

Heck, I may keep an eye out for them because they're worth it as an occasional luxury even at full price!
kengr: (Default)
Don't know if I mentioned it, but I was mildly sick a lot in April. Then in May I got hit with a bad asthma attack. Last for a bit over three weeks only improving the last week.

So, I have not been out doing much of anything, and most especially not gardening or riding the bike.

Today I made a start on clearing the weeds and junk out of my plot. Only did 20 min or so because my back started complaining.

After dinner I used the compressor to get the bik tires back up to pressure (they were almost flat it'd been so long.

Then I geared up and headed out on a bike ride. Did a bit under 4 miles in a bit under 40 minutes. That includes looking for a couple of geocaches (found one, didn't find the other) and walking about six block on the way back because the slope was more than the (really gentle) uphill slopes I'm in shape for right now.

Didn't realize until after I'd started that I'd forgotten the heart rate monitor gizmo. Gotta remember that for future rides.

Also gotta remember to take one of my canes if I'm doing any geocaching. The one I found was hidden under a (slightly) camoflaged boardover a hole in the ground. I got down on one knee to get it out and couldn't get up. I finally managed it, but until I've done a lot more exercising, I'll need a cane to get up unless there's something sturdy to grab onto. *sigh*

Gonna really have to work at this, because I found out that the Portland Naked Bike Ride is on the 8th. Given the sorts of routes they've used in the past, right now I might have to walk parts of it, but hoipefully I['ll be able to ride most of it by then. I just won't *enjoy* it as much as I might otherwise.
kengr: (Pinky)
Well, the roma tomatoes are pretty much done. A few more green ones hanging on the plant, but it's dying, so I may wind up harvesting them green and letting them ripen on bits of vine.

The Cherokee Purple finally started ripening (they are all yellow now and a few have gone red. Alas, they grew a bit too well, and most of them split some before they get ripe. I'm just cutting those sections out and chopping up the rest for use in various things. There are a couple dozen of so still on the plant. And *large*. Oy.

And the cherry tomato is not on;y still producing (though much slower than the peak) but the silly thing has actually put out more blossoms!

Next year I'll get that kind again, but I'll need to give it more space. It's covering a 3 foot square area. Darn near smothered the Romas!

On the tech side, I'd asked Doug to keep an eye out for an old box that'd run Win98 or so and have a serial port and a USB port. I'd planned on using something small and low powered to run the weather station stuff I've had for ages, and maybe a webcam looking outside.

He offered me an IBM ThinkCentre. Seems he'd bought half a dozen cheap a while back for various projects and had three left over. One had already been offered on eBay. But the specs on them were better than what I'm using as my *main* computer currently.

After some negotiation, I wound up with the last two for a price I can afford (and paying off a bit at a time doesn't hurt).
much tech specs )

Timing was fortuitous, as my media server gizmo decided to die. Turns out that there actually *is* a fan in the case, but it wasn't running (I deduce this from the lack of dust). Of course, it's *way* out of warranty. And they don't sell them anymore. I may save up and get a replacement off eBay. But in the meantime, the S50 has more than enough "oomph" to play the videos that Fay and I watch. Good thing the TV has a VGA connector and a PC audio connector. :-)

The drive from inside the server is apparently ok, but had a fair number of file system error. Those are being fixed and I'm getting it synched back up with the drive I'd been backing it up to.

In other news, I seem to have come down with something. I'll probably spend extra time in bed today.
kengr: (Default)
This is the second harvest from the garden. The first was a bunch of radishes (one bigger than a golf balll) a couple days ago that I rogot to take a pic of.

Pic of the goodies )

The thing on the right is some red garlic that the person who had my plot last year planted. I figured it was getting *way* too big. The stalk is a good 18 inches long. I'll be chopping that up to add to dishes for flavoring.

The radishes will get washed off and eaten as snacks. The radish greens will get chopped up and added to some ramen to give me those good "leafy greens" vitamins.

A few carrots have sprouted (didn't help that something tried to dig a hole in the middle of that part of the garden.

The three tomato plants (cherry. roma, and cherokee purple) are growing well. The eggplant is struggling along.

I think the zuccinni and cucumber are finally starting to come up. No trace of the lemon cuciumber or the wildflowers in the two pots. :-(

The broccoli seeds sprouted and I have a few plants. Since the seeds are the result of a previous years plants going straight to sed without producing any useful heads, I've got no idea how well they'll do.

And I got given three "volunteer" miniature cauliflower plants that had sprouted in another tenant's plot. They are survivoing. Again, no idea how they'll do.
kengr: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] fayanora and I finsally got out to Portland Nursery today. We got a few plants, a couple of pots and a *big* bag of compost. I decided it was worth spending money on a cab to get the bag of compost home.

After that we went to my garden plot which we'd gotten ready for planting almost 2 weeks back and finished the prep work (mostly digging a "trench" to add extra compost where the carrots & radishes were going to go in)

Then it was adding the compost from the huge bag, and mixing soil & compost and evening stuff out.

That took a while with several rests. It's not a huge plot, but neither Fay nor I are in great shape. Especially for hands & knees type work.

Final step was planting seeds (carrots, radishes, cucumber, lemon cucumber, zuccini and some broccoli that I don't really expect much oof) and moving the few starter plants (3 kinds of tomato and an eggplant) to good spots.

Fortunately there are several leftover tomato cages from previous years. I used one each for the three tomato plants and one for the lemon cucumbers (they train well to climb).

From now on it'll be watering, weeding and (eventually) harvesting.
kengr: (Default)
Thursday was "fun".

Started out with a trip to a local nursery to pick out stuff for garden plots (the organization that owns the building was fronting some money for the plants even for our individual plots)

Getcher plants here! )

Then last night a bit before 11, the power went. A call to the power company line (thank god for the glow-in-the dark fridge magnet they sent out ages ago) got that they knew about the outage.

Fortunately, I have flashlights and a *big* electric lantern, so Fay and I settled down to read books. I also used the "emergency" radio so we could listen to music (it's the only thing I have that uses C cells, and I have a *lot* of them thanks to a friend unloading her excess on me)

I do seem to have once again managed to not have the monitor on the UPS, so I had to shut down the computers blind. They seem to have come thru ok.

After an hour or so the power company had updated the info (apparently 20 minutes after my first call) and had that the outage was due to an unidentified problem at a substation and they expected power to be back by 3:30 am.

At some later point (I didn't check the time) there were gunshots outside. At least six, rapid fire. I called 911. And a while later we had six or seven police cars out there.

I went down so they could ask me questions if they needed to (with the power off, the doorbell wouldn't work. Besides, I was curious. I propped the door open because with the power off the electric door locks will let you out, but not back in.

Eventually got talked to and went back in. Called the power company again. The outage had been caused by "animal interference with a substation" (the local news is going to say something about it, but hasn't gotten there yet). And the power restoration had been moved back to 8:30 am.

That was very much not good because without power, I can't use my CPAP. I finally gave up and and went to bed and tried to read some more. Gave that up and was really uncomfortable because I didn't have the CPAP.

Finally, at 7:30. the power came back on. I made sure the computers were ok, and so on. And got a call from [livejournal.com profile] mistresscayenne. I'd asked her about getting a lift to Powell's (by way of my storage) because I have a big load of books to go there, and since a lot are hardbacks, if I went by bus, there's a good chance it'd cost me more than I'd get.

I had to tell her that I was half dead and could we reschedule.

ETA: Seems it was a racoon that crawled into a substation...

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