What should I do with my half packets of basil, broccoli and beets? Those tiny and potentially mighty promises from years gone by that I won’t let go of but don’t trust either…. from my seed box to the compost heap might be the way to set me and my seeds free.
When everything is grey and cold
and the world seems old and weary
is when everything changes.
Today I moved my tender tomato starters into pots and put them under a grow light in my kitchen window. I’ve done all that I can do for them. Now I’ll have to see if it was enough to get back some love.
I also put my lettuce starters in one of my “salad bowls” in the mini-greenhouse on our south facing deck. I covered them with, appropriately, a salad bowl inside the greenhouse, because it’s supposed to freeze tonight.
So far my winter tomato romance has all been in my head. I would probably tell someone else to eat seasonally; enjoy tomatoes in summer. But I am infatuated with the idea of fresh, tasty tomato with our dinner salad. Despite the negative feedback, I have not given up. I am still doing what I can to cultivate a relationship between me and my heirloom tomatoes that’s more than a summer romance.Continue reading
A few years ago our chicken coop was assaulted by falling trees. It held up well considering that it was unable to defend itself. My remarkably capable husband managed to dispose of those trees single handedly. Well, he used both of his hands, and some homespun engineering. We didn’t notice at the time that one of the floor joists had been damaged by the weight of the fall. The roof was also leaking in places. I’m planning on incubating some chicks for the Spring but the coop had holes in the floor. So, after a few years of patches and workarounds, the time had arrived for a chicken coop update.
My husband was the one in charge of that project, of course. The first thing he did was to cover the roof with metal panels to prevent leaks. The next step was to tear out the rotted flooring. He decided to use what we had around. So, he covered the new plywood floor with some leftover roofing material, to protect it from moisture.
We have an overflow of dirt that we’ve been spreading on the floor, so we’re switching to dry leaves. We have plenty of those piled up along a perimeter fence that need to get raked up anyway….
We’ve been using some old coffee bean sacks for curtains for the nesting boxes. But the loose weave hasn’t worked out very well. They fall down and we reattach them way too often. If a box doesn’t have a curtain, the ladies don’t use it to lay eggs in. I figured I could handle this part of the project. I picked up an old curtain from the Goodwill Clearance Center. I tore it in half and nailed it up on the reinforced side, and then cut slits for each box. Time will tell if this works better.
I couldn’t just let those avocado trees die in the compost heap in winter time. It’s bad luck to let a bamboo plant die. Amaryllis keep multiplying and I have to keep dividing them. That’s how I get windows full of plants.
Our family schedule has changed in a way that has made it difficult for me to bake bread during the week. So now, Sunday is the day that I make sure to indulge my love of fresh sourdough bread. Most of what I know about baking sourdough bread comes from Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook. I have baked a few duds along the way. Patience is definitely the main ingredient. Yesterday, however, I came close to achieving perfection!
I keep my biga, (a drier, thriftier form of sourdough starter,) alive in my refrigerator. Since I didn’t remember to start some dough on Saturday night, I chose a recipe that doesn’t take as long to rise that I could still start on Sunday morning. Mr. Lahey offers two ways to make the ciabatta dough, the slow, no mix method, or the fast, use your mixer method. I used my mixer. After three hours I had a glass bowl full of bubbly bread dough that I turned out onto a board, folded in half, and cut into two loaves. I left them to rise for three hours in my bottom oven.Continue reading
The first part of every garden plan is to sprout some seeds. These sprouts are heirloom dwarf tomatoes. It’s a little late to expect winter tomatoes at this point, but I am learning for next year…
I think I made a good choice putting my experimental winter garden against the brick wall of the house. I checked on my lettuce after a few consecutive nights of freezing weather.
The lettuce isn’t the only thing that appreciates warm bricks. A resident lizard passed through to inspect my work.