Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fig protection

I found the chipmunks were able to jump up into the pot with the fig. Not anymore! Now I'm enjoying a fig or two each day! Not the most attractive protection, but it seems to work!.

Friday, July 24, 2015





I pruned the butterfly bush and, rather than just dump the cuttings in the compost, put them in a bucket of water on the deck, which they made smell amazing for a couple days.  And a short while after I put them on the deck, this butterfly showed up.  For more than an hour it was going back and forth between feeding on the flowers, and fluttering in circles around the deck, always returning for more nectar...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Picking berries and cucumbers

I had scheduled today off because it was supposed to be great weather and I wanted to hit the local pick-your-own farm on a weekday to avoid the crowds. George was going to join but when this mornings forecast called for 55% chance of rain and the radar had a big blob headed this way, he backed out.

Thankfully it barely misted for a brief period and then was done. The blueberries had been picked heavy the other day, and need more warm, sunny days for the loads still on the plants to ripen. I picked a small amount just to have a few snacks at home - not enough to process.

Got a bunch of black raspberries, but only after I moved to the farthest corner of the raspberry rows where they were getting breeze and sunshine. The bigger, healthier, more established plants near where people park get little airflow with all the wet weather we've had - the were full of mummified berries and hungry mosquitoes.

I was surprised at how loaded the picking cucumbers were... For different sizes, avoiding any that were too big, figuring I'll do slices and spears, or maybe even some whole ones? Nabbed a handful of jumbo onions as well, since pickles often call for them.

After getting frustrated with trying to get juice from the black raspberries in a dangling jelly bag, I remembered that one of my xmas gifts from Brett's family this year was the Kitchenaid attachments for straining and grinding stuff. Voila! However, I'm still getting used to how it works, and had a couple times where the raspberry seeds clogged on their way out and it was like a gunshot in the kitchen. A loud bang, pieces disassembling and flying everywhere, and dark red splatters. Messy learning experience! Once I went through that (twice) and finally figured out how to do it efficiently, I got a quart of juice from the black raspberries.

The cucumbers are all washed, sorted by size, and in the basement fridge - I'll deal with cucumbers this weekend.

And I still need to turn the currant juice I extracted last night into jelly...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


A big thank you to my friend George who picked up a pint each of red currants, white currants, and black currants at a farmers market. I've never had a fresh currant before, but know I love red currant and black currant jelly, and planted 10 currant bushes this I better love them, right?

Having said that, I don't think I've ever read anything where someone says "yum, I love these fresh currants I'm snacking on!"   And there's a reason for that!


That's my  "I just ate fresh currant" face.  It's also the face of several friends at work I got to try the fresh currants. The overall opinion seems to be that red and white currants are tolerable, and black currants get spit in the trash by three out of four people who tried them.

Since the weight of each pint of currants seems to be between a half pound and three quarters pound, there's definitely not enough to make a decent batch of any one color. I've found at least one site with a recipe for a mixed currant jelly, so I might try that. My first job in the next few days will be to pick through and remove any bad berries and then make juice from the currants and see just how much I get. Currants are loaded with pectin, so it'll probably just be a matter of measuring the juice and adding sugar and...not much else? Water,  if I remember right...

Check back to see how my adventures in currants go!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Leaves of Grass

Making progress on the Brooklyn Tweed Leaves of Grass pi shawl in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light Thyme colorway. First pi shawl - going well, but might have the second section off by 1 stitch? If so, hopefully it won't show too bad considering there's 144 stitches around one pass at this point.