April 30, 2012

Kenny Be's Seed Packet Designs

Check out these cool Seed Packet Designs based on Denver Neighborhoods, designed by comic artist Kenny Be!
Kenny Be - Denver Neighborhoods Seed Packets
There's 35 more of them!

new plant goodies

We picked up some new, exciting plants from Harlequin's!

Rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, yarrow, german chamomile:
2012.04_new plants

Jump-up (edible flowers), kentucky peppermint, chives (existing):
2012.04_new plants

Pansy, roman chamomile, jump-up:
2012.04_chamomile and pansies 

Stinging nettle!
2012.04_stinging nettle

April 24, 2012

bike pump repair

Our bike pump, a $26 planet bike "st" model, stopped working recently. It would take four pumps to accomplish one normal pump's worth of pumping. I figured I would try greasing the gasket:

2012.04_bike pump repair 2

No change. Then I listened to where air was coming out during a pump and discovered this threaded plastic gasket near the base had come loose. All I had to do was tighten it and the bike pump was working good as new again.

2012.04_bike pump repair 1

April 23, 2012

white bean spread with young radicchio

2012.04_white bean spread with young radicchio
I was all ready to mark this down as another entry in the Dark Days Challenge, but then realized that we are no longer living in the dark days! The farmers' market has been going for several weeks and we recently picked up some large white beans and some young radicchio, among other things.

Loosely following this recipe, I blended the cooked beans, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, dried basil, salt, and pepper in a food processor and spread it on some homemade chive bread and topped it with chopped up young radicchio leaves in a balsamic vinaigrette.

Pretty tasty, but I think next time I'll leave the beans chunkier for a texture more like bruschetta.

April 17, 2012

corn fritters with aged cheddar and arugula

2012.04_corn fritters
Eric and I rearranged furniture this weekend!  It was a completely impromtu adventure that resulted in our kitchen table moving next to a window.  As you can see, we can now readily soak in vitamin D while we ingest all kinds of good stuff from our homemade meals.

I made this dish using a recipe in Local Flavors by Deborah Madison.  The fritters are made of corn kernals mixed with eggs, cheddar cheese, flour, chives, basil, salt, and black pepper and topped with a fresh salad tossed in lemon vinagrette.  I was happy to pair the corn that I canned last summer with the greens that are just starting to show up at the farmers' market!

April 16, 2012

diy bikes

2012.04_building up a bike frame
Months ago Eric found this Raleigh mixte frame in a free pile. I had been talking about wanting a mixte for months so its incredible that it just appeared. It was missing some parts and other parts I chose to replace so I could have more of an upright bike like a cruiser or Dutch bike. So far, I've put on fresh tubes, tires, stem, handle bars, cork grips, shifters, shifter cables, brakes, and brake cables.

April 9, 2012

cheddar chive bread

2012.04_cheddar chive bread
Local Kitchen's "Savory Cheddar and Chive Bread" post inspired me to make this bread.  I am looking for ways to keep our garden's chives in check so it certainly was good timing. Which also explains why I doubled the amount of chives the recipe called for.  Next time I am adding garlic as well!


April 7, 2012

drought and water transportation #thirdworldproblems

2012.04_driest march on record in colorado

This past March was the driest on record for Boulder county. The water doesn't get turned on at our garden plot for another week, so for the past month, we've been hauling water there (2 blocks) every day or so, to try to get our seeds to germinate.

Last year we lugged water with arms and backpacks; this year we discovered the wheel—we've been using our bike trailer as a wagon to carry the water. It isn't perfect. We use a ski pole stick to steer. It would be really nice to add a third wheel. Maybe next year. Maybe we could hitch it up to the dog and make him a working dog.
2012.04_water transportation

variegated marinated olives

2012.04_marinated spanish olives
More than a year ago, I started curing olives that I picked while in Tempe, AZ. After water-curing, then brine-curing, they sat in the fridge. You could eat them, but they were pretty bland. I finally got around to marinating them. I did five varieties: Greek, Italian, Spanish, Curry, and Hot, based on these recipes.
Greek: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano, thyme
Italian: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns
Spanish: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, paprika, cumin, peppercorns
Curry: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, curry powder
Hot: olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes
2012.04_variegated marinated olives

garden plot update

2012.04_early spring garden

I've been negligent about posting about our garden plot this spring. Here it is as of today. In mid March we double-dug and added 3 bags of compost/manure plus worm castings. At that time, there were some survivors from fall plantings of arugula and lettuce, including enough arugula for one delicious arugula wrap.

2012.04_arugula survivors

We switched from a path to two stone spots, which I think will give us more maneuverability while taking up less space.

Here is our master plan:

2012.04_garden plan

Note the coordinate system... A3... you sunk my radicchio!

So far we have planted: arugula, radicchio, dill, lettuce, leeks, beets, radishes, carrots, red onion, kohlrabi, chard, kale, echinacea, chamomile, spinach, and parsley.

And are enjoying our perennials, some of which were gifted to us last fall: hyssop, chocolate mint, echinacea, thyme, oregano, sage, chives.

The exploding chives bring joy to the early spring—their strength is admirable.

coffee can chimney grill starter

2012.04_coffee can chimney starter for grilling
It's grilling weather! I've struggled getting good coals for grilling, but not anymore. Most of the time when I grill, I only need a small amount of coals for grilling veggie sausages on our mini-grill (it doesn't take much). A chimney grill starter is a great way to heat up a small amount of charcoal. I made one out of a coffee can, just by opening both sides. I have not yet tried making holes in the bottom to improve air flow, though I hear that helps.

This time I actually just cooked the sausages on a grill on top of the can. After they cooked in a minute or two, I threw some potatoes in foil in the can and covered and a few hours later I had some nice baked potatoes.

Tip: look for a can that isn't painted, otherwise you'll get noxious fumes until it all burns away.

April 5, 2012

alternative transportation of gardening supplies

2012.04_transporting gardening supplies
We acquired a hops transplant!  We are going to put it on our sunny back porch.  Clearly we had to pick up some necessities - 2 bags of potting soil and half of an old whiskey barrel. You know how it's trendy these days for mirco-breweries to have a beer that was aged in some sort of other alcohol vessel?  Well, with our next homebrew, we can include in its paragraph long description that the hops were grown in a whiskey barrel, adding delightfuly nuanced characteristics!!  And yes, we are most definitely oddballs for hauling this stuff around on our homemade bike trailer, but I enjoyed the adventure and I really can't complain about my first world problems.