Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Great Tomato Experiment, preliminaries

Well, I've never grown tomatoes before. I never really had a reason. I don't especially like tomatoes, especially raw. But, the thought of fresh tomatoes in my spaghetti sauce, to go along with the fresh oregano and fresh garlic, was a bit much in the tempation department. So, I ordered a plant.

Yep, that's right one plant. No seeds, no monsterous garden, just one plant. And if it dies, it dies. I still figure there's a fifty-fifty chance that one plant will not make it outside into its pot around May 1st, even after cutting out my seedling apathy.

I picked up a paste tomato not known for being sweet. Sweet tomatoes just mean I have to add vinegar to the sauce recipe. This is meant to be a deep meaty sauce. I got a 'Martino's Roma' from White Flower Farm. I'll probably find someplace cheaper for next year, but I'm spoiled with automated check out carts.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bread Results

After a frustrating weekend of disagreements with my computer, I can report back on the beer bread. It was good, but needed some work. I think I messed up the beer/flour ratio. I had gotten a good consitancy, but hadn't added all of the beer. I should have left well enough alone and drank the excess beer. But, instead I decided to add it and more flour after adding the cheese and chives. Ah, well, next week.

It is good when I add the family recipe spaghetti sause and italian cheese mix on top. Speaking of the spaghetti sauce, I'm starting to think maybe I should grow a tomato plant for some fresh tomatoes. Some sort of paste tomato in a container.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bread Baking

I don't remember who precisely on my blogroll is to blame, but I am baking bread at the moment. Someone put up a picture of freshly baked bread and it started the wheels turning in my brain. Then I found Farmgirl Susan over at Farmgirl Fare with all of her wonderful breads and cooking and adventures and other things. I got hooked. So, I took her Beer Bread Recipe and added some cheddar and some volunteer chives fresh from my garden. Now for the waiting.

Oh, and that snake plant in bloom picture, it didn't turn out and by the time I went back, the blooms were spent. But the kalanchoe is lovely.

Supermarket double yellow kalanchoe

And here's my holiday chrysanthemum that had decided to rebloom.

Supermarket deep red chrysanthemum

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Snow, Three Days After

Well, miracle of miracles, the snow from Thursday is still on the ground on Sunday afternoon. Granted, this was aided by sub arctic temperatures that arrived yesterday. A second snow event whimped out due to the cold. And tonight, when it dips below 0 degrees F, I will indulge in serious contemplation of racial inequality and how we have finally made it to the point where a man of color can make a serious bid for the White House. Long live government holidays that keep me from having to drive to work in that.

Anyway, the snow was about three inches thick in my backyard, but that is approximate. See, the sleet and a little bit of rain kicked in after the snow, so the measurement was not accurate. But still, a nice snow storm.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blooms! & Flurries

So, there were snow flurries yesterday at lunch. Not fun, especially since these were organized, militant flurries that bore a surprising resemblance to actual snow. But the weathermen reassure us that they were just flurries.

I actually have flowers blooming. Of course, there are the much abused pansies. I think the squirrels are finally leaving them in the dirt. My kalanchoe has bounced back from overwatering and has blooms up. And my snake plant is blooming for the second time in six months. I guess trimming it back hard was a good thing.

Now, unfortunately, there are no pictures. This was occasioned by the fact that I packed up all my files on the computer to back them up. Why was I backing them up? Because it was time to install a new OS, and you don't take chances with that. Not that it was that horrid Vista, but rather Leopard. Mac OS installations usually go smoothly, but no need to take risks. Thankfully nothing went wrong, but still, it took a lot of time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Mud-slicked Leaves

Well, Monday I played instead of working. Tuesday I did manage to work before I played. And my lawn suffered for it. I got the leaves up, but unfortunately, after I started my efforts, I discovered that the ground was still wet under those leaves. And since it's slick, yellow clay mud, it slid under my bagging mower. Not that my lawn and moss can't recover, but it's a mess. Oh, well. Makes me glad I didn't resolve to get more exercise. I think I would have fullfilled it already.

The other neighbor teased me as I was doing it. He just never rakes. Although, his Christmas tree was a good prop about his self-directed joke about mowing.

On the list of things still to be accomplished, I need to sweep the leaves off of the deck. They can blanket the gardens underneath. I know the back yard is even wetter then the front. It squelches.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Well, the bitter cold of last week has been replaced with the January thaw. The only reason we set new record highs yesterday is because those airports didn't exsist during the last extreme heat wave in 1907. But today's high temperature records were set in 1998, so we'll flirt with breaking those.

January really is a weird month. Artic air reaches down to Florida, then the tropical air surges back to New England. Still, I get nervous since my leave year rolls over on the 19th and I start from zero for the last part of the year. The sad fact is the year I started with this company, that last week was filled with a terrible ice and snow storm. Eek! Definitely don't change companies in January if you can help it. Unless of course, they give you leave up front instead of making you earn it.

Still, it is nice to be able to open up the windows and air out the place in January. It gets so stagnant in winter. And I'm stuck doing clean up chores outside in this nice weather. There isn't enough daylight (and warm temperatures) to relax. *sigh*

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Freezy Cold

Well, the temperature has turned for the worse. It's only getting up to around the freezing mark during the day and there's significant windchill on top of that. I've broken out the heavy gloves and pined over my missing hat. The replacement is nowhere near warm enough. But the hood of my new coat is awesome.

Yesterday, for the first work day of the new year, there were a few dry, powdery snow flakes flying around. A couple even piled up on my car before I braved the weather. Brrr. Even seed catalogs don't help when I have to go out in that.