Archive for November, 2010

Greenhouse Update (Ooh Baby It’s Cold Outside) – Late November 2010

Temperatures were forecast (at one point) to be in the teens overnight this week. They have since been revised upwards a bit, but I got my greenhouse heater in place. In this case I am using a string of 100 red, green and white incandescent christmas tree lights. The lights should add a few degrees of warmth inside the dome. Everything seems to be growing pretty well in there, but it was too dark for pictures without a tripod. I took this one with an 8 second exposure zoomed in from my picnic table on the patio.

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Happy Wedding Anniversary

19 years and 3 weeks ago we began dating exclusively when you accepted my high school class ring. You were in your first year of high school and I was in my 3rd year at a different school.

18 years ago my high school class ring turned up missing, possibly lost, possibly pilfered by an ex! Oh, the drama! I really don’t miss it or wish I still had it.

17 years ago we lived many months apart when I had my first year of college. We made it!

16 years ago we lived many months apart when I went off to Basic Training and AIT for the Army National Guard. We made it!

15 years ago we got engaged after you graduated from high school. We made it a long engagement so that we would both, hopefully, graduate from college before we got hitched.

14 years ago I began an adventure in collecting the Atari 2600 game system from my youth.

13 years ago we bought the couch and love-seat that we still use in our living room. We lived on 1/5th of our 2010 income and felt fairly comfortable.

12 years ago we were married on this day. You were a beautiful bride and you are even more beautiful now. Our honeymoon trip to Florida was amazing and unforgettable. Working a second job at a local grocery store, I decided that one day I would drive my dream car.

11 years ago tomorrow I started my first big job after college. I ended up working there for 9 years.

10 years ago we were making plans for where to spend New Year’s Eve, Y2K. We had been trying for some time, with a bit of difficulty, to have a child…no such luck.

9 years ago we had our first child at home, 3 month old H.

8 years ago we knew that we were going to wait until H. was 5 years old or older before we had another child. I bought the car I had drooled over for the last 4 years, with 92,000 miles on it.

7 years ago we were caring for two little guys, the first 2 years old, the other 3 months.

6 years ago we had a plan for paying off our debt and it was well under way.

5 years ago we were living at our old address in town, still raking oak leaves on this date.

4 years ago we were settled into our new house and S’s stitches had healed nicely. We had had a few potted plants as a garden, but it didn’t produce much. Moving to a new place was an important move, because our first house was not structurally sound, but it pushed us back several months on our debt repayment plan.

3 years ago the writing was on the wall that my first job wouldn’t take me through to retirement. H. had his first day of Kindergarten.

2 years ago we met a family that helped further inspire us to be more conscious of our food and consumer choices. They have become very good friends. In the spring we had a nice vegetable garden in the back yard. In the fall we had built a little plastic greenhouse on the stairs that lead from outside to our basement and had salad in the winter. I started a new job in town that allowed me to drive about 25,000 fewer miles each year. I traded my worn out dream car (at 235,000 miles) for a mini-van.

1 year ago we celebrated paying off our debts by saving for a big family vacation, which we paid for in cash. I finally sold off the last bit of that huge Atari 2600 collection that we had moved four times. S. had his first day of Kindergarten.

Today is our 12th wedding anniversary! I love you L!

The future holds untold adventures. They are waiting there for us: family time together, birthdays, anniversaries, new schools, graduations, vacations, teaching moments, learning opportunities, chances to talk, chances to listen, for better or for worse.

P.S. My father sent us this:

Bottling the Homemade Vanilla Extract

I started making some vodka-based Vanilla Extract a few months ago. It was now time to bottle it.

The vanilla bean pieces and their seeds were free-floating in the quart jars that I had been shaking from time to time and then putting back into a paper sack in the back of my closet. The chunks all needed to be strained out.

After straining two quart jars of extract (that had evaporated to about 3.5 cups each), I was able to fill ten 4-ounce bottles and three 3-tablespoon bottles with what I had made.

The best part is that the vanilla beans and seeds still have some life in them. I put them all back into one quart jar and filled it up a bit over half way with rum. In a few more months I’ll know which of the two spirits I prefer for making vanilla extract.

As an aside: Why can underage persons purchase vanilla extract? When I was 15 and working at a local ice cream shop, I often wondered as I made chocolate malts for kids younger than myself why it was OK to put a shot of 70-proof alcohol in the drink. Crazy world.

Inside the little hoop house – November 2010

Things are growing very well in the little hoop house I built over a 4 x 8 foot garden bed.  Here’ s a peek inside.

Unfortunately my arch-nemesii the moles have found there way up under and inside here.  There will be blood.

Drying ’em over here, Boss.

I cut bunches of Oregano, Thyme, Parsley and Lavender before the frost ruined them. This seemed as good a place as any to hang them, right near my computer. They smell GREAT!

Bonus internet-points to the first commenter who recognizes the movie reference.

Making soy sauce at home – future plans

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/103707-making-soy-sauce-at-home/

According to this article, the process of making soy sauce at home requires a lengthy sunny period – several months, optimally.  I need to remember to try this beginning in May or June.

Applesauce Canning for 2010

Just a quick note to say that we had a successful round of Applesauce canning again this year.  The photo represents half of what we put up.  We made 26 wide-mouth pints of chunky cinnamon apple sauce this year, which is a bit less than last year.

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