Friday, February 29, 2008

Bulb Watch 2008

The daffodils in my front garden are doing great. A few have the beginnings of buds forming. There are at least two crocus that appear to be ready to bloom this weekend. And the tulips out front that have never bloomed for me are starting to poke through.

The back yard is a different story. The established daffodils are right on schedule, a little behind the ones in the front. No tulips are to be seen, although one of the new peonies is starting to poke through. The new daffodils are barely poking through. But somewhere along the line, the mulch covering the bird bath garden disappeared. And that garden has a lot of frost heaves. I took a few minutes to dig some leaves out of the compost pile and spread them around. Hopefully that will help.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Great Garlic Caper, part 3

I did put the happy little cloves outside on Monday. It had dropped into the 50s, from the 70s. Which was fine. Then the poor little garlics got exposed to a dusting of snow that the Clipper System dropped on Tuesday. Still all well and good. The the overnight lows in the city dropped into the teens. I got a little afraid for my garlics.

I finally took action to protect them, because today's forecast is pretty much 24 hours of yuck. Yuck starting out as snow and then mostly being sleet/freezing rain/rain. Granted, action was just to move them under shelter.

Although, it seems the only thing to negatively affect the cloves were squirrels. One clove was practically dug up, and another is missing its stalk. Boo.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Great Garlic Caper, part 2

When next we join our intrepid cloves, we find six of the seven have sent up little pale green shoots that are visible above the dirt line. Wow, they move fast. I might have to move them outside on Monday. I'm certain the roots could use more time to get established, but I fear the amount of growth they're putting on in the chilly, but better than outside basement.

Speaking of warmth, it got into the 50s this afternoon. I cheated and opened the windows and turned down the thermostat. I really like the fresh air.

On the cooking front. Definitely need to add garlic cloves to the bread. Yesterday's wasn't as good without it. And definitely not more than a tablespoon of Italian herbs. I actually tried to measure the herbs so I could standardize this process a little better. I've also got a pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove. I'm almost out with all my little bread pizzas. Yum!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Little Things

Some times, just a little is too much. That's especially true of ice. It coated all the roadways around here last night. Not much, not even an 1/8th of an inch. But just enough to make everything slick and everyone slide. I left work at 3:45; spared a couple minutes to scrape my windshield, which immediately was coated again with the freezing rain; endured stop and go traffic until 5:30ish, when I decided to actually do my afterwork stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond; then sat in more stop and go traffic on a supposedly back way; arrived home past the starving point at 6:15.

Fortunately, the trip in was a lot smoother, since it was just shy of the freezing mark. Who knows what the trip home in the supposed rain will bring. They're talking refreeze tonight and the rain will change over to something more white in nature after the evening rush hour. Supposedly.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Blustery Bread

It is one of those cold, blustery days outside. Excellent timing for another loaf of bread. Never fear garden blog reader, this isn't about to become Flour Under My Nails. Just every garden blogger needs a winter hobby. And this year, mine happens to be baking bread.

This time, it was Samuel Adams Double Bock. I've had Double Bocks before and liked them. This beer didn't match them. Which just means it goes into the oven on the way to my tummy. This variation included a half a cup of Beatty Crocker Four Cheese Instant Potatoes, and a healthy mix of oregano, parsley, basil, italian seasonings, chili powder and two Scililiano garlic cloves. A sprinkling of four Italian cheeses was placed on top before going into the oven.

Mixed up well, but despite extra flower, it still did not use up all the beer. And it was very thick and heavy. Must be from the potatoes. Cooked well, was done in 40 minutes. Good right off the bat with herb flavoring, and begs to be dipped in olive oil.

Next time, some Italian cheeses inside and more herbs. Like this variety.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Great Garlic Caper

My parents have assured that it will snow next weekend. They've tentatively made plans to drive down and visit me. That should make it a wicked nor'easter.

The great garlic experiment, brought on by the great garlic procrastination, has begun. I brought in one of my large container pots and put seven cloves of Siciliano garlic in it. I'll give it till the end of February to allow those little cloves to send out roots and establish themselves. Then, I'll plop the whole thing back outside so it gets exposed to freezing temperatures.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Warm Interlude

Well, we've had our February thaw now. Beautiful days soaring into the 70s. Warm nights not dipping below 50. I had the window open all night, and for the most part, just one flannel blanket on. I am so ready for spring. But then again, I don't like all that water laying on my gardens. I'm wondering if I need to admit defeat and make them raised. It's too dry in summer to turn them into a moisture enriched garden.

I still can't believe it's going to turn frigid this weekend. Boo.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Banana Bread Oatmeal Beer Bread

Another beautiful day, but the air has a damp cold undertone to it that does not promote being outside.

I tried another beer bread today. I had picked up some more oatmeal from the supermarket, because I do try and eat healthy from time to time. And once again, I was reminded of why there were still many packets of flavored oatmeal in my pantry. I don't really like the concept of oatmeal mush. I like to chew my food.

However, there are oatmeal breads. Which would be a great way to use up all those flavored packets. Especially if Quaker Oatmeal's web page recipes can be believed that instant oatmeal can replace an equal measure of old fashioned oatmeal. Since I just couldn't bring myself to buy blueberries from Chile, that meant using the banana bread flavored oatmeal.

The bananas weren't really ripe enough for bread, but the one I used mashed well. The packets looked to be about a third of a cup, so I replaced a third of a cup of flour for Quaker's Weight Loss Banana Bread Instant Oatmeal. The beer was Samuel Adams Octoberfest. (At least now I know what to do with all the beer my brother doesn't finish after his visits.) About 2/3 inch of beer left in the bottle. A shake more granulated sugar, and some powered sugar on top. A shake or two more flour to make up for the moisture in the banana.

End result: edible. Should have used two or more bananas, since I was going for banana. Maybe more sugar to keep the sweet going. Also leave it wet instead of adding more flour. I think the oats (or instant part of the oats) dried it out some. Although, without the overwhelming banana flavor I was looking for, I can probably eat this with cheese.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Who to Believe?

Well, the groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter. However, my daffodils underneath the holly bush are already popping up. In the backyard gardens, the ground is thawed. And completely soaked. Cold water, at that. Yesterday's deluge certainly brought plenty of water.

How do I know how cold the water in the ground is? I had to push back a few pansies and the new day lily that had been heaved up out of of the ground. Brrr. At least there were a few roots holding them into the ground.