Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring rolling.. or not?

It's the 17th, and it feels like a nice spring day today- after it being chilly as hell the last couple days, and more chill to come... It's that indecisive time of year, lol.

Decided to move some of the nasturtiums out to the mini greenhouse today while it was warm. 3 Milkmaids and 2 Papaya Creams. Leaves me a couple backups in the solarium just in case this was a really bad idea. But the kale sprouts have been pleased as punch in there.
I took out a half dozen of the milk jug greenhouses from the mini greenhouse to make room for all those nasts- and a couple gallon jugs of water. Filled them up warm and they should be better heat traps in there than the milk jug greenhouses. And full jugs are heavier. All the milk jugs have little flower sprouts in them, hooray!
Let's all keep our fingers crossed now and hope that the wee nasts do well in that little greenhouse!

I experimented with making bird suet yesterday. It made a crapload of mix- filled up my biggest mixing bowl almost to the top. Half batch next time, fill just the pan below. Took a couple pans to use it all. I think I would do some different experimenting next time with molds- loaf pan is right out for the mix I used. It was way too chunky to slice nice after. Cake pan and thin layer worked much better.
This is the cake pan. 6 good cakes, lots of extra trim I think could mash together into 2 more full cakes sort of. Chock full of seed, grains, dried fruits, and peanutty goodness. This time I put those scraps out pressed into a hanging pan up in the feeding tree to see what happens. If the birds like it or not and if the cayenne pepper makes a difference or not. Birds are supposed to not notice, but squirrels and other critters hate it.

Decided to do an experiment in lacto-fermenting today. What is lacto-fermenting? It's how you make kraut and great deli pickles, kimchee and a whole mess of other tasty fermented things. It's full of all sorts of good stuff for you too healthwise... Things pickled foods do not have.
 And believe me, if I had stumbled onto how to do it in mason jars before St. Paddys, I would have picked up an extra head or two to try this with. Ah well, another time when the cabbage is good. Still have a lot of carrots left over after several pounds of dehydrating and a couple 32 oz jars of spicy fridge pickles. About half the leftover pile was mostly skinny carrots with tops less than an inch wide, most skinnier. A pile that was enough to loosely fill 2 narrow mouthed mason jars. I'm using these jars because I plan on being able to do this in bigger batches for canning if this turns out well. Instead of cutting sticks, I picked those out and set them up whole :) Rest went back into the fridge.
I peeled and trimmed them, only a few had to be cut in half to fit in the jar right. I tried 2 different recipes that used some different method setup and flavorings. Ended up using my own capping method because the brine bag over thing just was not working for me, heh.
See what I mean about them being skinny little things? They just begged for some sort of pretty preservation like this.
On the left is garlic on the bottom. These got rubbed well with salt and left to stand, covered with a clean cloth, for a couple hours till most of the crystals had disappeared and there was some goodly carrot weeping in the bottom of the jar. The bonnet is a clean coffee filter held on with a couple rubber bands. As it ferments, the carrots need to burp. I had read about using fine cloth of various sorts, and someone using a reusable coffee filter. I figured why not? I can toss them as needed for this little experiment, and should let the carrots burp just fine. This pickle also is a fridge pickle only. Once the burping is done I get to toss them in the fridge.
The carrots on the right were fresh pack in the carrots with a couple sprigs of fresh thyme (which is one of the only fresh bits really springing in the garden) and a cooked brine of water, salt, bay leaf, peppercorn, and a dried pepper. The black cap on top is really the cap to a smaller jar just fitting down into the neck of the big jar. I could clean the snot out of those like I do the big jars, it holds the carrots under perfectly, and is just loose enough to allow plenty of burping space and proper head gap :) The jar on the right is also written up to be able to go directly into the fridge or water bath canned once done percolating. The bowls are under the jars because they will burp and spill potentially. Now they get to sit in a nice corner and percolate for a few days.

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