Friday, November 21, 2014

I Think I Kind of Grew Some Brussels Sprouts

I wished to grow brussels sprouts. I failed to find any definitive answers about growing brussels sprouts. Even my go-to book by Damrosch was like "Yeah you'll just have to figure out what works in your area by trial and error."

So this was Trial 1. 

Trial 1 did not involve any record keeping.

That was, of course, Error 1.

Digging through photographical evidence, it seems we put the sprout starts out in early July. I probably started them in early/mid June. They were planted in a part of the garden that turned out very Wild West. It was a crowded mishmash of unlabeled gods know what, so they didn't really get caught well by my camera sweeps that are a lazy substitute for actual garden records. 

But here's what they looked like the start of fall when most of the other plants had been torn out:

This one kinda looks like the stalks I see in the stores!
The other two were runty and sproutsless.

The sprouts are not nice little cabbage heads though.
They're all open and fluffy.

But they did up fine in the pan.

And they ate.
They were a million times more appetizing than the rest of this meal.
Did you know that Pamela's gluten-free mix is like 99% sugar? Gross.

Stay tuned like two or three years from now for Trial 2...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Sourdough

So one has to feed lots of new wheat flour to one's sourdough to get it going and keep it going, and though it was really cool watching the flour ferment, in the end we decided we didn't want to be dumping cups and cups of flour into a starter from which we wanted to not eat too many loaves, as we reduce the amount of wheat we eat, and well, we made one premature loaf and fed the rest of the starter to the chickens. The end. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Don't Fall in Love


Not before you've done at least a cursory title search, that is.

There's a lot more to finding a suitable place to rest your head than falling in love.

I wish there wasn't. Truly I do. But there is.

We found a fantastic lot about 20 minutes from Joe's workplace via a good route. Almost 14 acres. Level, gently-sloping south-facing squat-ratio'ed acres, with no roads visible from the land and only one or two houses, relatively unobtrusively. Some background highway noise but nothing like what's where we are now. We had a few reservations about its location but the land itself was magnificent.

So of course there would be issues.

Like a 2200-sq-ft minimum building size. For starters.


So don't mentally sketch the earth-sheltered house that the northern hill is perfect for. Don't visualize the goats' pasture and estimate how many ducks could enjoy the little pond. Don't eyeball where you'd put the pumpkin patch for the local kids on Halloween and get giddy at the number of shiitake-friendly oak trees you see. Don't. Don't. Don't.

Don't fall in love.

Monday, November 17, 2014


A month or two ago (or some other amount of time... time has no meaning lately), Apple has taken to chattering about numbers. It might have started when Joe and I were playing Sumoku, but I'm not sure. Watching people play Bazaar launched his interest in colors, so why not.

Anyway, last week when I was counting out potatoes, Apple continued counting after I had stopped (and did so correctly, to my surprise). Whenever Joe and I are talking, if Apple hears a number in the conversation, he'll start offering up numbers too. (For some reason I find his stream-of-consciousness number offerings hilarious.) He's started dropping numbers into his sentences as best he can, and refers to groups of things as "three," "ten," or "too many." (Which is also funny, since he means "many" but "too many" makes for some fun sentences.)

After a bit, I thought it was time to put something numbers-y in his hands.

Very professional text document of numbers.

Very professional materials swiped from Apple's art supplies shelves.

Laminator again.

Some stuff from his closet.

I set it on his shelf in his room. Two minutes later he brought it into the bedroom. I took out a couple and did this:

Glass pebbles.

And he took over immediately. And requested more.








Friday, November 14, 2014

Puzzles! Puzzles are Back!

Apple had been in a puzzle hole: baby puzzles were too easy and jigsaw puzzles were too hard. While there exist types of puzzles that probably would have filled the gap, they, y'know, cost money.

Several weeks ago, Apple was watching Joe put together an electronic puzzle on the computer, to wile away the last bit of the day before turning in. I overheard their chatter about puzzles while I was getting ready for bed and spirited a stash of thrift store jigsaw puzzles out of Apple's closet onto the desk in front of my family.

It was of course a bad move, since it was bedtime. Oops. But, Joe promised Apple they'd do puzzles together the next day after work. When Apple woke up that day he immediately went to the puzzles. Puzzles puzzles, just like Papa.

Within a week he was doing them himself.


Now, the puzzles I'd offered him last year as the next step up from baby puzzles were "recommended for 1.5+ year olds." They didn't have interlocking pieces, just five or six big smooth-edged chunks that nestled into the cardboard back. They enraged Apple at every turn, back when. I didn't even consider taking out the wooden jigsaw "recommended for 4+ year olds" puzzles.

I'm thinking now that I should have.

It's been a couple weeks and he probably does a puzzle or two every day. It's a fairly reliable bit of time I can count on for peace and freedom. He only has three (farm! train! diggers!) but the get done over and over. I'd gotten them out that other day for Joe to do alongside Apple; I'd have never guessed they were something he could do independently. Shows what I know, I suppose.

Puzzle puzzle puzzle puzzle.

Puzzle puzzle puzzle!

Puzzles on challenge mode: two puzzles all mixed up

Also keeping the pieces pile a short stroll from the actual puzzle- bonus exercise challenge mode.

This is why young children are given so much energy: they're terribly inefficient.

Yeah, I'm not lazy; I'm just efficient. That's it. Yep.
Also: puzzles puzzles puzzles.

He's doing one right now. ^^ Blog ya later, I got laundry to do.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Broken, Breaking, and Pre-Broken

Our previous computer monitor worked perfectly except the power button wore out rather quickly. It drove us crazy that the perfectly functional monitor was worthless because of a tiny (intentionally?) poorly-designed bit. So with our next monitor we tested and investigated power buttons carefully and made our purchase. And guess what failed on our new monitor within a year?


My previous point and shoot camera eventually acquired a build-up of grit in the extendable lens mechanism, making it unable to zoom in and out. The culprit was widely agreed to be my use of a case to hold the camera. So with my next camera I eschewed a case. And within a year my lens got scratched several times badly enough there there are visible smears in my photos.


Our previous netbook computer eventually wore out its charging port so that we could no longer power it up. The thing saw a lot of being plugged and unplugged as it got lugged all around for near-constant use. So with our next netbook I did try not to plug and unplug it more than necessary to avoid wearing out the (probably unintentionally) fragile pin in the charging port. And yesterday when I stood up to walk away with my two-year-old machine, I forgot that it was plugged in; the charger held tight to the computer and ripped it out of my hands, dashing it onto the ground and destroying it.