Monday, May 25, 2015

Milkweed Success

I planted milkweed last year as was very disappointed. I actually though it had died. This spring it came back with a vengeance and I have a very nice stand. The variety is Virginia Silk if my memory serves me and it is just now blooming. The bees are having a go at it. Still haven't seen a Monarch but I have my fingers crossed.

Garden Progress

As you can see from the photo we are making progress. Things are growing and we are beginning to get some produce....peas, arugula, lettuce, radishes and baby carrots. Finally, the crunch is over and I can just maintain. Still want to build three more beds so I won't be constrained as I am now. I have to wait until the peas finish before I can put in the butternut squash and I would like to plant another bed or two of corn. So far so good.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sourdough Whole Wheat

Having a down day today. Its overcast and there are occasional sprinkles so it is good day to take a break from the garden. Everything is planted and growing for now and I finished mulching all the tomatoes, peppers and squash yesterday. Today I am experimenting with making whole wheat sourdough bread and grinding my own wheat. It already smells different during fermentation than dough made with my usual King Arthur whole wheat so it will interesting to taste the difference. It is going to be a little coarser for sure since the grain mill for the Kitchen Aid doesn't grind as fine as commercial flour. I bought 5 pounds each of hard read whole wheat berries, hard white and soft white. The hard red is the first trial.

This is my standard recipe for sourdough whole wheat I'm just using self ground whole wheat instead of storebought.

My standard recipe is as follows:

500 grams whole wheat flour 
100 grams bread flour
400 grams sourdough starter refreshed (I use a 100% hydration starter)
350 grams water
3 tblsp honey
18 Grams kosher salt 1.5 tsp yeast 

I usually make two boules and bake at 425F for 25 minutes in a steamed oven.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Just Not Right

Everyone one on the Boston jury was pro-capital punishment so it is not surprising that Tsarnaev got the death penalty.  It was not going to come out any other way.

I guess I never will understand how any rational person can think that killing someone you have in custody makes any moral  or logical sense. Put in its simplest form it is just revenge and not much beyond cold blooded murder. We make a big deal about our legal rituals and all that claptrap but when you get down to the nitty gritty we are still pretty primitive.

As I have said many times here, I don't believe in capitol punishment under any circumstances. Not for this young man or for anyone else. There is not a valid argument for why more death is the right thing to do.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Missed Spring

Struggling here with the early summer weather. We here in the Atlanta area basically went from Winter to Summer overnight. We got no Spring. It's been running into the upper 80's with no real sign it's go to let up. We are supposed to get some much needed rain later in the week which will cause the high to only reach 80 or so which is something I guess.

Working hard in the garden in spite of the heat. Ran out of raised beds with more needing to be planted so I built and filled another yesterday and will do another today. I have room to do three or four more before I start getting into areas that get too much shade for most of the year. I'll have twenty 4'x12' beds when I finish today and that is getting to the point of being too much for an old man to handle all by himself. We'll see.

Not much else going on around here other than gardening right now. Walk Miss Zoey in the mornings and then garden until 4 or so. I've got one more treatment tomorrow for my leg veins and then all the "very close" veins will be collapsed and not so visible and painful.  The doctor will only do one small section at a time so I've been going once a week for what seems like forever. Not too bad except for the fact that you have to wear support stockings for a period after each treatment which means I've been wearing them for a couple of months and boy are they a PITA. They don't make working in the garden in the heat anymore fun either.

Time to get Zoey up and on the walk and then tackle the cinder blocks for another bed. Need someplace to plant butternut squash. I'll probably wait until I harvest the green peas, fava beans and other early stuff before I plant anymore. More beans, pickling cukes and corn need somewhere to go. I have one bed of corn planted (Hopi Blue) but I also have some Bloody Butcher heirloom corn that I would like to try.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Simple Enough Reason to Support Hillary

No I am not going to unreservedly support Hillary but if she turns out to be the nominee then I will support her. I won't agree with her on everything but when you consider the current GOP alternatives she is the Goddess of all that is good.

Jonathan Chait offers five reasons why Hillary Clinton will win the presidency in 2016. But in the end, his sixth reason may be the only one that matters:
The argument for Clinton in 2016 is that she is the candidate of the only major American political party not run by lunatics.
via Digby

Monday, April 06, 2015

Simple Tomato Sauce from Marcella Hazan

While she is known for a lot of great Italian recipes, Marcella Hazan may be best known
for the simplest tomato sauce in the world. Don't be frightened by its simplicity, it is
very, very good and all a really good plate of pasta needs.

2 cups tomatoes, with their juices (I use home canned but  a 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole
peeled tomatoes is great as well.)
5 tablespoons butter (don't skimp here, use the best butter you can find. I use Kerry Gold.)
1 onion, peeled and cut in half ( I prefer a sweet onion like Vidalia or Walla Walla but a red onion does just fine.)
Salt (Kosher or sea salt)

PREPARATION
Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a
pinch or two of salt.

Don't be tempted to add anything else until you try it just like this. No pepper, basil, garlic or oregano. Nothing.

Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes.
Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Taste and add salt as needed.
Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce
for a pound of pasta.

Note: I've made this sauce with a couple peeled and halved shallots as well.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter and Passover

I know you have probably stopped checking for anything new here. I don't blame you but I do promise to try and do better. This time of year is for getting the garden in and little else. I've been working hard and it is starting to pay off. Spinach and carrots went in yesterday and radishes and beets the day before. I'm trying to get two beds ready a day but I have failed in that goal so far. The excuse yesterday was that I had to mow the yard.

With everything else I am having some work done on my legs which eats a day a week and sometimes more for recovery. The "very close veins" as my grandmother used to call them were beginning to bother me so I am having all of the surface veins in both legs eliminated. I thought it was going to be with laser but there is a new treatment that uses a chemical and is less painful with faster recovery. So any way, the doctor only does one area a week so it took a month to do the right leg and we started on the left this week. Not too painful but there is some tenderness for a few weeks. The worst is having to wear support stockings for 30 days after the work. What a pain.

So if you celebrate the day then happy, happy. If you don't just enjoy the spring. It will be another gorgeous day here in the Atlanta burbs and after Miss Zoey has her walk we will be back in the garden.