Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Soooooo over winter

Started Thursday the 24th. 
Been spring cleaning and seeding... busting my butt. So much so my butt is busted today. Or more rather, my left hip. The weather change rolled in and yipes! A lesson to the kiddies, be nice to your joints while they are still growing or you will feel it forever.
Making a lot of seed tapes. What are those? Paper with seeds stuck to them at the proper places so planting is easier for small or row seed like carrots or beets. Last time I made them, I did sqft style using paper towels. Good idea, but bad year for gardening that season. This year I've decided to revisit it with toilet paper to make shorter tapes to lay out in the herb garden.
It's super easy- make a thin "glue" out of flower and water, write the name of the seed on your paper, then lay out the seed with the glue, and another layer of paper on top. So far I've done a few kinds of carrots, radishes, beets, lettuce, and spinach. The tapes dry up fine with no sprouting, and can store real easy for a whole seasons worth of succession planting.

Tuesday, April First! Woohoo for fools!!!!!
 Over the weekend was pretty much just getting stuff sorted out, cleaned up.. sigh, busting ass in the same ole spring way. The local farm store had their 4 tier mini greenhouses on sale, so I finally broke down and purchased one. Price was good- 28 bucks for several years (hopefully) of use. Still pretty sure that once we start setting up hoop houses outside it will be cheaper to go PVC and plastic sheeting.
Yesterday it was in the 60's... And WOOT!!!! was able to open up some windows for the first time this spring! Left the solarium open too- the cats have figured out right from wrong enough out there that I feel ok leaving them unattended. Seriously need to add some locks onto the outside door for extra security and extra preventing any accidental kitty escapes.
Honestly, the whole solarium is really shaping up seriously in a short time. Workspaces filling in all over :) The moss overwintered pretty well considering we haven't run the pond all winter and I wasn't exactly diligent about watering it.... So I'm thinking I will be pulling and working patches into the narrow side of the pond. Been wanting to put in some sort of path something since we use that area as a path, moss would be a badass fill in. 
Today was more moving stuff around, tending to things... Moved the workbench and the counters, whew, that was a bitch. Ok, well, more of a PITA for my hubby since I really asked him do all the heavy stuff with little assistance from me :).
We have realized that the birdfeeders hanging off the outside stairs isn't really a great thing. There is a sparrows nest right there and so they are the only ones using all those feeders. So we moved the large cake feeder to the north side of the solarium where there was already a hook. It's a prime view on the patio door stairs- I fear we might need to have a more reinforced screen on that door soon depending on how the cats behave.
And some lovely in the yard news... Looks like the entire bed of garlic overwintered well and is shooting up little green tips, as are the daffs, irises, and hyacinths around the solarium :) 

The second of April was kind of busy. Had a couple chores to do then it was planting, planting, and some more planting. The first 24 German Chamomile are starting to pop, so I started another 24. After that it was mammoth sunflowers, Alaska peas, onion greens, cup and saucer vine, moss rose, asters, snapdragons, siberian iris, larkspur, cleome, a couple kinds of hibiscus, lemon queen and large red sunflowers, and a few kinds of columbine, and I did another set of the basils and horehound and lemon mints just in case the last batch I set up was a dud. Planning on putting in lots of blooms around the solarium for when the spring bulbs die back, and some brightening down by the pole barn. By the time I was done with all of that, it was off to a birthday dinner :)

Thursday the third. It's amazing how days just skip right on by on this blog. Today was raw- very chilly, windy, and wet... but no snow!! Our first of the male finches are coming into warm plumage as of today. Finches change their plumage from that brilliant yellow we all know and love to a much draber and olive hue of plumage for winter months, then molt back to yellow in the spring. I've seen up to 10 finches at the feeders at once, though usually it's more like 6-8 of them. The red-belly woodpecker has discovered the second suet feeder under the eaves, yay! That one seems just right to allow up to his size at it, but the grackles and blackbirds don't try it. Of course dark eyed juncos and black capped chickadees are in abundance along with sparrows. Got a few cardinals and the blue jays are looking particularly healthy :)
Today was mostly puttering around, cleaning up, checking pots of stuff. Decided to make up a lovely dinner- heh, had the stuff yesterday, but when my love asked to go out, I said yeppers. So tonight it's a dinner of pollock baked in butter with garlic, onion, and herbs, roasted asparagus, and quinoa with mushrooms.

I like to make my own tartar sauce on demand instead of buying tartar sauce.
1/2-2/3 ish of a cup of mayo. I scoop out three big blobs, I don't measure it.
teaspoon+ of dill pickle relish to taste
teaspoon+ of capers to taste
tablespoonish of lemon juice to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
tablespoon fresh minced onion-use a super small onion and divide this with the onion needed for the fish butter. 
It's best to whisk this up at least a couple hours before use. It can store for several days, but we just don't use that much tartar sauce that regularly.

The pollock
Use the littlest pan for this, you want small surface space. 
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons sliced onions- use a super small onion and divide this with the onion needed for the tartar sauce. 
2-3 cloves garlic, rough mince
1 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 oz lemon juice
Melt butter under low heat- you want very warm steeping, not sizzling cooking. Once the butter is melted, stir in the onion. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, stirring occasionaly. Stir in garlic, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper. Allow to steep for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and allow to cool down to room temp to allow a final steeping of flavors.
Layer in your fish single layer and tight, drizzle butter over, and bake at 400 for 15-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

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