May 29, 2012

garden pest spray

2012.05_garden pest spray
Tiny little black buggers have been eating up our tomato leaves!  Blasphemy!  I first tried to oust them by spraying the tomato leaves with dish soapy water. That knocked off about 75% of the bugs.

Next I tried a concoction of ground cayenne pepper soaked in boiling water and squirt of dish soap. Unfortunately, the ground cayenne clogged my spray bottle! I had to pour the liquid on the leaves which was clumsy and wasteful, but at least it seems to have worked pretty well.

Since you have to reapply after it rains, I most recently made a mixture of 2 T. crushed red pepper flakes with 1 1/2 c. boiling water and a squirt of dish soap.  I filtered out the crushed red pepper flakes as I poured the liquid into the spray bottle.  This mixture did not clog the spray bottle.  We shall see how it does with those tomato leaf eaters!

May 28, 2012

backpacking in lost creek wilderness

2012.05_backpacking lost creek wilderness (1)

2012.05_backpacking lost creek wilderness (2)

We just went on a 2.5 day backpacking trip in Lost Creek Wilderness.  It was the most physically challenging trip I've personally done because of the vertical gains and losses especially on our longest 10 mile day.  The whole loop was about 24 miles and one source says it is about 7000ft gross elevation gain and loss.  Despite all of that effort, the hike was well worth the views of monumental rock formations and varied ecosystems.

And don't worry, we ate really well.  We divided the meals amongst friends who love good food.  Eric and I were in charge of lunch the first day (arugula and radish on buttered baguettes with grapes and nuts), breakfast the second day (home fries with tofu veggie scramble), and breakfast the third day (granola with powdered goat milk, dried fruits and nuts).  In retrospect, we could have gone with more dehydrated foods to lighten our loads on all of those switchbacks but, hey, it was a short enough trip.

May 23, 2012

spent grain dog biscuits

As homebrewers, we like to experiment with ways to make use of spent grain. This time, I made dog biscuits with some of it. As you can see, Francois likes them:
2012.05_spent grains dog biscuits
This recipe is ubiquitous online, but the original source appears to be homebrewtalk. I used egg replacer instead of egg since it is cheaper and we don't have hens.

4 c. spent grain
2 c. flour
1 c. peanut butter
1 egg or egg replacer

Mix all ingredients in mixer or bowl. Roll out on a cookie sheet and score into small squares with pizza cutter and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or so. Then turn off the oven but leave the biscuits in it and let it coast until they're done.

May 18, 2012

off with their heads!

2012.05_salad flowers
Nom nom nom... I tromp through the garden tearing off leaves of lettuce and biting off heads of flowers!!  You thought that being a vegetarian was a peaceful way to be in relationship with the world!

May 14, 2012

hoping for hops

Earlier this spring we inherited two hop plants from a friend who didn't want them any more. They were established root balls a few years old. One is already quite tall as you can see above. The other root ball was smaller. We planted it in a large container and, sadly, has not sprouted (yet?). Unfortunately, we don't know what variety they are, but since they were purchased from a garden store and not a beer store, we were informed that they might be the ornamental Golden Hop (Humulus lupulus 'Aurea'). The vote is out on whether that variety is any good for brewing. One source said it tastes like Fuggles. I guess we'll just have to wait and find out.

To replace the second plant that hasn't sprouted, we picked up a new rhizome from Hop To It, the local homebrew shop.
2012.04_hops rhizomes
It's a Chinook variety. In hindsight I would have selected Hallertau since I hear it is better for this dry sunny climate.

May 12, 2012

curb your sprouts

2012.05_curb sprouts
I was awed to see a 15 foot long strip of sprouts growing in the gunk along the curb. I don't know what type of tree they're from, but it looks just like growing sprouts to eat. Don't worry I won't be eating these.

May 4, 2012

homebrew #7: sleepytime wit

2012.05_Sleepytime Wit
We started a batch of wit beer that features honey and chamomile!!  I'm pretty excited about its potential!  Check out our recipe over on Hopville.

For my own purposes of record keeping, here's what kinds of beers we've made thus far:
#7 Sleepytime Wit
#6 Barn Owl Saison
#5 Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Stout
#4 Ginger Snap Brown Ale
#3 Walter Cronkite IPA
#2 Christmas Dinner Cranberry Porter
#1 Lost Wisdom Pale Ale

May 3, 2012

hjónabands​sæla (wedded bliss cake)

2012.05_Hjónabands​sæla Wedded Bliss
Friends and their random knowledge are awesome!  It's how I learned about this Icelandic treat, hjónabands​sæla, that is basically a double crumble (crumble on bottom + crumble on top) with rhurbab jam in the middle.  As you might suppose, it is ridiculously sweet and rich!  I would say that coffee is a necessary compliment.

And, for the record, I veganized this recipe.