Ursula Domesticus

Jul. 14th, 2017 07:40 pm
ursulas_alcove: Pink petal hat (Peeking flower faery)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
As part of a community food program, I am given unique food challenges each month. Last month I ended up with four bags of turnips. No one really wanted them. So many people gave me theirs. They didn't have a clue what to do with them. Turnips have always been peasant food, long before potatoes were a thing. Personally, I still think of them as pig food. I don't have a pig nor the space to get one, even a tiny pig.

June was Turnip month

I found a period recipe for turnip wine. That's one way to preserve them. I already did a post on this. It's coming along. I think it'll be good for cooking. Another is to make slaw or pickle them. Since we have an abundant supply of dill, we have now had a month of daily coleslaw. I am really done with eating this but its still good on those hot days when you don't really want to cook. One turnip started growing in the fridge despite all the anti-growth chemicals they spray on supermarket food. Yup. Planted it for seed.

More turnips from June

July's food challenge is Mangoes. Most people have no clue what to do with them. When they found out we knew what to make with them, they gave us more. First, these are not ripe yet. Second, unripe mangoes contain natural turpentine. A bit of poking on youtube gave us some good recipes. Here's one for Kulfi (an ice cream pop) Condensed milk works too. https://youtu.be/VUQ5yG_NFrI
Chutney is another thing to do. We'll probably make both. There are 13 mangoes.

July is Mango month

Then on to granola. 91 batches of granola are made each year for our 3 person household. That's a lot of granola! Here's the basic recipe. Ingredients can be changed up for a different flavor. Substitions are recommended. If you are traveling and want to turn your granola into bars, I've also included a recipe but with 91 batches, very few go the extra bit of work to become bars.

This is for a 9x13" baking dish:

Mix dry ingredients:
3 cups quick oats
1 cup rice crisps (unless you want a very dense granola)
1 cup (ish) chopped nuts
1/4 cup flour
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or other spice

Mix liquid ingredients:
1/2 cup maple syrup and/or honey and/or agave and/or corn syrup
generous 1/3 cup canola oil OR substitute part/all with nut butter
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Spread dry ingredients evenly in your baking dish and pour the liquid ingredients over all. You will end up having to mush in the liquids to make sure everything is more-or less coated. Bake at 325 degrees for an hour, stirring and turning-over every fifteen minutes.

Adding chopped fruit:
Since the high sugar content and lack of liquid in dried fruit leads to easy burning, I recommend chopping it to size just after putting the granola in the oven, and putting it in the mixing cup used for the liquid ingredients with a little bit more sugar syrup over it. Place that on top of/near the oven to gently heat. Add the sticky chopped fruit for the last fifteen minutes of cook time.

Granola is made 91 times a year

Once complete the baking dish can also now be reused for:

Granola Bars Syrup

1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine
1/3 c honey
5 c. granola
1/2 c whole flour

Stir together granola and flour. In a saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour brown sugar mixture over granola mix. Stir until well-coated. Press into a greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Cool; cut into bars.

The cupboard is woefully empty for this time of year

Food pantry needs a lot more work before winter. So far only black raspberry jelly and marmalade. The applesauce came from the food program. I've not read the ingredients yet. I am allergic to cinnamon so we'll see.

Dye Plant List

Jul. 12th, 2017 11:07 pm
ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
Who knew I had so many? I need more wool. I've got:

onion skins
lemon balm
blood root
black raspberry
yellow dock
russian tarragon
carrot tops
tomato vines
and even the forsythia will give a color. India Flint uses rose leaves but I've not tried that yet. Come fall, I may try the neighbor's oak leaves. I'm sure there is more. Many of these plants give a different shade in spring than they do in fall. The joy is in experimenting. Some are more colorfast than others. I wonder about the horseradish . . .

And this link turned up http://pioneerthinking.com/natural-dyes


Jul. 11th, 2017 12:52 am
donutsweeper: (Default)
[personal profile] donutsweeper
Title: Transmogrifying
Sherlock (BBC), rated G
Word Count: 455 words (this chapter, entire work 1077
Summary: Final adventures of John, Sherlock, and a transmogrification device. Or, the time John and Sherlock are accidentally turned into cats, the time Sherlock turns John, and then himself, into cats as an experiment, and the time Sherlock couldn't leave well enough alone.
Author's Note: All three chapters written for different [community profile] watsons_woes challenges. Chapter one originally posted 21 Jul 2012 (for the prompt "Look directly to your right. The first object you see is your prompt, to use as you see fit.") which happened to be two sleeping cats, chapter two was originally posted 1 Jul 2013 (for the picture prompt of two cats under an umbrella) and chapter three was written for the 10 Jul 2017 prompt "Close your eyes. Turn to your left and open them. Now incorporate the third item you looked at into today's work." which happened to be one the same cats from the first prompt so.....

Story begins in chapter one, Transmogrified, (or just link to the new addition, Transmogrifying)

It's been a busy week

Jul. 9th, 2017 12:13 am
ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
First no rain, then lotsa rain. Gardening, food preparation, cleaning, shopping for missing ingredients, and dyeing filled my week. Since the pipes need repair, no hose for us to use. We lugged water every evening to water the five upper tiers of garden, herb spiral, potted plants, four beds in the mandela, and porch plants. The front yard garden has a swale system and was well worth the effort of digging. It did not require any water as you can see.

Growth Explosion

The last week in June, we pulled in a couple of pounds of garlic. I found two more stragglers today. For us, that was a pretty good haul. Currently they are in a brown paper bag because the fruit flies were after them. Normally, they need to dry out a bit before being used or stored. Chronographia made hummus with some in the solar oven as well as roasting some with olive oil.

German Hardneck Garlic

It looks like the peas are almost done. Rhubarb continues to look good and produce. I made waffles this week with a rhubarb compote. Delicious! The Purple Queen beans are coming along nicely in front of the mandela. Skirret reseeded in that patch. I was rather surprised. I had a hard time growing it from seed. Now that we have plants, they seem to have acclimatized. The skirret wants to be a bushy border along a fence or maybe part of an Elizabethan knotwork garden. Pollinators love it. It is as tall as our baby peach tree.

Radishes joined the cabbage, turnips, and carrots from the food bank to make a tasty coleslaw. Tonight we had nettles with lamb's quarters and sauted onions in a ricotta cheese sauce over baked potatoes. Our potatoes are not ready to harvest yet. The Austrian Crescent were the early potatoes. Unfortunately, they were in the Martian deathray section of the garden. I have hopes we can recover something for next year's seed.

The basil and parsley seed from The Seed Guy sprouted and is doing well in the herb spiral. The hyssop is blooming purple but it tastes like French tarragon. It started branching as soon as it was trimmed. It grows bigger and bushier with each cutting. And more skirret that needs to be moved to a better location. We finally found rosemary at the food co-op. The quest was worth it. White yarrow is hiding in the back and doing well. Lettuce is hiding in the shade of the iris. Chives are still growing but not abundantly. Thai basil reseeded from last year. Here is this year's herb spiral.


The window box is a weird assortment this year. The catnip lives there year round but we managed a volunteer tomato and pumpkins as well. This is still the yellow finch's favorite place to perch. He has given up fighting his reflection and sits on top the open window. The second story box has a sunflower in it, making it hard to open the window.


Trimming and weeding are daily chores, giving me an excuse to get out and stretch. Today I pulled a lot of creeping charley, violets, and grass from the front. The butternut is taking over.

Squash takes over blueberry patch

The bees have been in the clover in the grass as well as the borage. The bunny loves the white clover too. He lets us get pretty close. He is itchy and stopped to scratch. No fear.

My new lawnmower

Meanwhile, I have been winding hemp yarn into balls and labelling it. Also skeining wool for dyebathes. Indigo is finished. Hoping the yarn will dry. It turned rainy this weekend. Cooler too. Nothing wants to dry out. Thread weight yarn has been mordanted. Now for the next round, madder. Getting ready for that on Monday. Bookkeeping is up next. Sales tax to file in several states.



Dyeing fiber: all types, all kinds

June 2014

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