Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The last few days...

This entry started on the 23rd...
Ok, so it was pretty nice when I got up this morning, overcast and warm, already in the 50's. So I took a glass run to Meijer. While wandering around after picking up spinach I had a coupon for, I spied some spring spatulas on clearance. They are minis, and I love them! Need to rub the wooden handles with wax a few times though. If they are still there next time I go in, I'm picking up another set for sure. And perhaps a mini spatula or two for scraping dehydrator bits with.

Got back from Meijer, and felt really uninspired to do anything. So I went into town instead. Hit the hardware store and picked up a new bulb for the kitchen nightlight. Then to Hardings to use some coupons that were about to expire, and a bunch of other stuff, sigh. And then to Rite Aid- they had 6.99 a can mixed nuts on sale for under three bucks each, and yep, I snagged a handful of them. Figured they would be nice to put out on Polterabend.

By the time I was done with all that, it had started raining. So I spent the day in the kitchen instead. Dehydrated up a batch of veggie soup mix. Had celery, carrots, cabbage, and some onion that it was time to clean it out of the fridge, so it all got dried up. Had a tray each of celery and carrot, two of onion, and two of cabbage. Added in about a cup of dried squash, a half cup of dried sweet potato, about a cup and a half of dried mixed veggies, about a cup of dried kale. Whole bunch of herbs and spices.
All the mushrooms got done and are stored away.
Potatoes have been on sale, so now I got a pile of them to dry up. Haven't tried it before, so I'm trying a couple of different things.
I have red potatoes. I took a few and shredded them raw into water I added a bit of citric acid to. Let them soak overnight in the fridge. Then a couple hours before I was gonna tray them, I drained and rinsed them real well in a colander. Then back into it's original tub with fresh cold water and a cup of lemon juice. An hour later, I drained them again, this time lining the colander with a floursack napkin. Squeezed out all the water I could, and spread them onto a couple jelly sheets to air dry a bit before stacking into the dehydrator. The other sheets got filled with shredded onion- I ran out while making up a bunch of spice mixes. They both dried up rather well. I got another tub of shredded red in the fridge right now to dehydrate tomorrow. This time I did up the rest of the bag, so we shall see how much it totals out to, but it's about 5 pounds going in raw.
Russets were on sale too. Took a five pound bag and baked them up with the skins on. Cooled them down then tossed them into the fridge to cool overnight. The onions took forever to finish drying, but the baked potatoes made it onto trays for the overnight. One bag filled all six trays. I didn't peel them, I think I undercooked them just a touch because the skins didn't come off nicely. The other bag I'm going to boil and chill then peel, see how I like doing it that way.

Soaked three cups of bean mix last night. This morning I added water to top off, a bag of herb and garlic soup mix, and a couple of Golden G's. Burbled it off all day. Tomorrow I'm going to experiment with making bean dip and perhaps a backed bean loaf or patty or something like that.
And the experiment used up four cups of mix, with a ton still left over. Made two different kinds of baked bean loaf, one with cheese, one without. 

Made some spice mixes and cleaned up my herb shelf a bit. I got the magic dust squared away. Made a couple cups of hot pepper powder- a blend made up of all the dried chilis that were laying around. Made a big jar of chili spice mix. Jared up the Italian seasoning, the herbs de provance, and had a couple of jars of lemon pepper mix that got put together into a big jar with some topping off of more dried lemon zest, white pepper, true lemon powder, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Hardings had corn on the cob 6 for two bucks. Not awesome, but not too bad either for this time of year. Just enough to dry up some fresh, and make a small batch of corn stock for the freezer. I figure when it's time to make the dried veggie soup, I'm gonna do it with the corn stock and it will be 100% veggie :). I have one bag left in the freezer, so plus what I made, will be a really good liquid base.
The corn is drying in the oven right now. I like to dry fresh corn in the oven for roasted goodness.

The two pots of White Emperor tulip are blooming. The Darwin mix and Banja Luka are showing signs of color and popping soon. And I may just be hopeful, but I think I might be seeing signs of the plum cracking- I need to get that thing outside.

Pulled a bunch of stuff out of the freezer for thawing to make up over the next couple days. I really needed to free up some freezer space, the thing is packed right now. Mostly of sale meats and stocks, with a goodly handful of soups- need to start eating those up.

Hopefully the forecast for next week is right.. Tomorrow is supposed to be bleak, but a string of some sun and no rain for several days. If things dry out well and keep getting in as lush as it's looking right now I may need to and be able to do a mow in a few days, neaten everything up.

So it's Thursday now, hehehe. It was a gloomy start, but goodly sunshine now, still really chilly though.
Cleaned up and swept up the solarium today, it seriously needed it. Moved the Green Gauge Plum outside in it's bucket, figured it was time.
Sorted out all my tuna fish cans and made ashtray labels for them out of leftover construction paper, now we have a bunch of disposable ashtrays out of recycling and scrap :) Folded open all of the big paper stars- those were kind of a pita, but I figured they needed a spread.
Pulled the baked potato slices out of the dehydrator, they look good and snap easily. I currently have the fresh shredded red potatoes on 4 trays (making 5 lbs filling 6 trays total) and two trays of shredded zucchini.  One medium zucchini fills one tray pretty evenly.
I read up today on if/how I could possibly dehydrate that huge tub of bean mix. I baked up little loaves to try, but still had a frigging mess left over to deal with. So I looked up dehydrating cooked beans, and yep, it can be done. Now, I added in a bunch of dried veggie and herbs to the mix, but that isn't a problem. I think I'm going to split what's left, and try out whole form and ground up form, see if it works out well for dried soup mix and/or bean dip action.
I waaaaay overtoasted the fresh corn last night. But didn't quite wreck it, it really tastes like it got grilled up good. A handful of that in with other dried corn should add a nice bit of mmmm.

Getting work done on the signs for the house. Bathroom, our room... labels for all the beverages... I picked up a little box of plastic colored cocktail forks, 75 for $1.35. I'm going to attach some more of the leftover construction paper to the tops, and set up a basket so people can write down what their dish is. I separated off the red ones- red is going to be used for any dishes with alcohol or vinegar in them.

Saturday already?
I cleaned up the garage yesterday. Almost all of what needs to be done out there is, cept for some sweeping. Got the dog runs raked out for the most part.
Got the beans dehydrated- I whirred half of it up in the mini processor, left the other half as is. Each jelly tray took about 2 cups of mix. Both dried up right fine. I took the time to flip around the mash half way through drying, and that sure did help a lot! After I spilled it all out onto the counter, and ran a rolling pin over it a bit to break it all down into crumbles before jarring up. The regular mix just got broken up a bit, and jarred up. I love Milwaukee pickles, their jars are great for reusing on the pantry shelf.
Since I only took up two trays, I filled the other two with more minced onion. Now I have over half a jar full again, I think I can hold off till onions are on sale.
And I sat down and planned out the planting for the dog run. How much of what, and where? Luffas are the main consideration of course. But I also decided to plant in beans around the pole bases to grow across the mesh, and a bush variety. Two fresh, two drying. I have enough kitty litter buckets and five gallon buckets I think to start trying out some container growing- if I'm really lucky, two kinds of cukes, a regular pea and a sugar pea, two kinds of melons, and three kinds of summer squash.
So... Luffas are one family, and the squashes are all of another, and the cukes are something else, and the melons are something else again. Even though they shouldn't cross pollinate, I checked maturation dates to help keep in the safe zone. I did the same thing for the beans too, picked what to grow by maturity date. I figure if I really bust it after the wedding, I might have at least a few of the containers set up- I know where there's a huge heap of years old composted manure ready to go.

So today... I'm absurdly pleased with myself for fearlessly using the power drill today. I was smart enough to really braid my hair back well before I started, hehehe. I drilled in pilot holes, set in eye screws, and strung cording across the tops of the dog run. Spacing is 18 inches apart, 10 ropes across. I still I still need to set in a bit of vertical climbing action along the cap end. Luffas like something to climb up rather than just rope I think. Meh, I got three sections to play with, I can try out different stuff. I might have to put up crawl mesh across the top too. I did a double knot on one side with a little leway tail, and did a loopy around kind of knot for the open side. In all, 21 feet of crawl space.
If all goes really really well, I should have some homegrown sponges/scrubbers and a ton of seed for future :)
Got the wood and plastic moved around down in the corner. The whole living fence area is now exposed, and a newly sectioned over area of plastic is established. The whole area is now good for mowing.
Scrubbed out all the coolers and rinsed out all the buckets and let those dry in the sun.
Got the rest of the basic south roughing in done, leveled out the boards a bit, much more walkable now.

Still didn't get the back of the yard and keyhole cleanup done.. But all the rest of it it looking fine in it's basic shapes. Tomorrow is supposed to be overcast but warm, so we shall see if that ends up being a yard cleanup or upstairs work kind of day. I still need to get my belt done and drape detailing for my dress, do some adjusting on my love's clothes..


So it was chilly and wet and just kind of crappy enough that upstairs I went. Got the beadwork done on my dress, and got the belt done. Made earrings for the ensemble, think it's all done now.  Did the adjustments I needed to on my loves clothes, those will be dropped off at the dry cleaners tomorrow.
Got my bouquet done.
Made a whole bunch of food tags so people can write down what it is and stick it into their dish. Embellished the baskets for various table stuff. Made labels for the basil and catgrass.
Made a couple dozen wine charms to attach to stems.

Forecast is looking icky enough for the weekend that I think I might just do basic cleanup on the back, and just mow the front. The back isn't growing too well yet, but the keyhole for sure needs some action. Even though rain is in the forecast, I'm betting there will be some sort of fire action going on still.

Guess I should post before time gets away from me again..

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