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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Yesterday I was looking out the window, watching the breeze ruffle the clumps of chives growing above the grass. Then I figured it would be nice to go pick some of that stuff.

I ended up picking about a pound and a half over the course of 10 minutes, heh. I used a kitchen shears and snipped them off about 2 inches or so from the ground- right where they were growing plush and above the grass. Filled my large basket about 3/4 full. There is more growing out there, but I figured I better figure out what to do with what I picked already before anything else.
They were growing in thick clumps, so I was cutting hanks about an inch or two thick at a pass. 

I rinsed them and layed them out nice on a towel to dry a bit.
Then I made a simple oil using a big bunch of chives and olive oil. Used a pint and a half wide mouth jar. Poured in a cup of oil, filled with chives, muddled the chives a bit with my pestle, then another cupish more oil to fill the jar up a bit. Cap and sit, shake every day for a few days.
What was left over still stuffed a gallon ziplock. 
Today, the 28th,,,
I made a pound of chive butter using 3/4 cup chives in 1 pound butter. Lined a 6 inch square pan with plastic wrap, filled it, plastic wrap on top to help smooth it down, and into the freezer for a couple hours. Then I pulled it out, cut into eighths, wrapped up and into a freezer bag with the air sucked out.  Dried 3 trays of chopped, wasn't positive if I would like them dried or not. If I do, I can make more. And made a pint and a half wide mouth jar of chive vinegar. I large chopped about a cupish of chives, filled jar with white vinegar. Shake and sit just like the oil.
Using a bunch tonight in dinner- chicken and mushroom risotto.
And I still have a half pound of the stuff sitting in the fridge to use! Gonna make some boursin-style spread tomorrow :).

Some pics :)
The gallon bag after I had taken out the top chunk to make chive butter. The jar there is the chive oil I set up yesterday.

Chive oil on the left, the chives left long and muddled in oil. Chive vinegar on the right, using rough chopped chives and white vinegar.

Chive butter, right out of the freezer.

Chive butter after it's been pulled out. Line the pan with plastic wrap, fill it, then another layer on top. Makes pulling out the whole thing this neat practically goof proof.

The butter after being cut into eighths. I thought a whole stick of the stuff might be too much, so make them half sticks. Made sure to note this on the bag when I labeled it.

I'm thinking about trying out just freezing the stuff too. It wraps up pretty nice and tight to tuck into the freezer, and a few bundles might be pretty nice to have handy. 

In some tippy and friends... The wad of foil in the chippy pipe seems to have worked. That thing hasn't been touched. We had another chippy warning in the solarium, so I let the cats loose... and nothing. I think I have isolated an entrance thanks to a couple of cat pounces, and today I stuffed that crack with foil. I figure it might be a good enough seal off stuffing for now.
All the local birds love my suet mix. Grackles and red-wing blackbirds are still being bully piggies.
Squirrels have been really non-show so far this spring, which is unusual. I'm not complaining since they are usually more pests than welcome.. but still, the lack of them is sort of odd.
The one swan on the pond this spring has been floating around, chasing off geese. Seen more herons early on this spring.

The 29... Picked more chives today. Not quite as much as the other day, lol. Set up a full dehydrator, made a small jar of chive and peppercorn infused vodka to try with bloody marys, and a big container of boursin style spread. Yum! And I have a bunch of chives leftover for a few days of cooking additives. Or perhaps a small batch of garlic and chive jelly :)

 This is what a clump of wild chives looks like. See how nice of a tuft it is sticking up above the grass? Makes it really easy to ID :)

This is the second picking, about half of what I picked the first time. Weighed in at 9 ounces. So maybe I picked about 20 ounces the other day instead of 24. Still, think about how many of those little plastic boxes or wee bundles of chives you would have to buy to make a heap this big. I think it would be 40 .75oz boxes to make 30 ounces, at 2-4 bucks a box? `And it grows in my lawn, 100% chemical free, for zero dollars.

Pulled the heap out of the basket to better see what a big ole heap of chives that is! On the dehydrator sheet is the tail end of what I picked on Sunday. For small chopped stuff, I like to load the jelly sheets, then put the sheets onto trays. Otherwise I always drop stuff onto the tray below, lol. A full dehydrator will yield 2 ounces of dried chives.

Decided to make a small jar of rosemary oil today too- the plant is rather healthy and just coming into bloom, and I want to start encouraging more branching. 

And today I think I saw an oriole! It was more of a pale orange instead of the bright orange, but it for sure wasn't robin colored. It was pecking at the watermelon rind. So I promptly tossed a handful of dried watermelon into the rind along with a dollop of apple jelly, filled a couple small jelly jar feeders, and set up a bigger jar feeder filled with dried watermelon and cantaloupe puree.
I have a dirth of easy orange in my home, lol. I just needed a little orange for the opening of the jar to signal to the orioles, and just had squat. I think I will need to keep my eye open for some cheapie orange placemats or something to set up some more feeders.

While wandering around today picking that second basket of chives, I noticed the garlic is looking absolutely splendid! The potato bags tops were blown over, so I put the tomato towers in upside down in the middle of them to help keep the bags open so they can get water and sun to grow. The Alaska peas are looking healthy- no wilting back or looking mashed. The nasturtiums were looking pretty good too. Noticed a couple patches of spring bulbs in random places I don't really think I've seen them before. I think the daffs in the sanctuary are starting to naturalize a bit :) We have three kinds of tulips blooming in the fence border. Small and kind of weak, but there. And the parsley is growing in just great!

I still need to get off my butt and make the seed tape demo. But right now it's time to go figure out what to make for dinner :)

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