Monday, May 31, 2010

It's a beautiful weekend in the neighborhood. Sun is shining. Humidity is (mostly) down. Projects are getting done. Strawberries are ripening. Kids are in a (mostly) good mood. 

And then the oregano attacked. It's woody contours scratching my legs as I checked garlic and cleared weeds. This week, I will wreak my revenge. We will do battle which will end in lots of dried oregano and a few plants for a friend. There is only room for one Queen in this yard.

Peas are just as bad. They've massed. Entwined together to such a degree that when I brought over the dishwasher racks there seemed to be no hope of disentangling and forcing them to climb up into the sun before blossoming. 

And some sad losses. Some squash were not strong and hydrated enough for planting in mounds by the asparagus. When I asked L. with his water lightsaber (no, I'm not making that up they do exist) if he could water a few, he trampled the weakest and managed to avoid the strongest. It's a tough darwinian world out there. 

Lots of memories this weekend. Thinking about Grampa Vern, Grampa Sonny, and Grampa Palm. Lots of cleaning. Lots of resting with family and getting in a few games of Factory Manager and Tikal. 

Maybe a few friends will come over and I can practice the art of frangipane.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Never Plant Asparagus in your Sandals

Finally got around to planting the asparagus tonight. 

I did the easy stuff; laying, filling compost and covering. Dean did the trenches (and moved a hosta for me). L. helped by trading shovels with anyone when it looked like they were successfully at work.

Jersey Giant, Martha Washington, Purple

 30 roots.

I also planted a Hollyhock my mother sent up with me Sunday night. 

I gave her a perennial for Mother's day too. 

Tomatoes, squash, cucumber, corn, and basil are hardening off on the deck. Our 85% frost date is this week. More on that soon. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Moving Forward

I need to move on.

I admit...I never did figure out how to set up my electrical timer. It had a set up booklet of more than 10 pages. I recently recycled my articles for school this semester. The pile was larger than my unabridged dictionary.

I admit...I planted out my broccoli in mid-May, not mid-April.

I admit...I did not get around to wintersowing this year and I have 3 boxes worth of plastic recycling for that in the basement.

I's smack in the middle of my planting week and I only just brought up my small tomatoes and over-sized squash to get used to the sun.

I admit...I still haven't planted my asparagus, and my mother gave me a hollyhock this weekend which is looking sad and dry in its pot.

I am doing my best to catch up on these things, and make up for a neglectful Spring. In order to move forward I thought a bit of organization might help.

And stop hiding from everything.

To start I'm going to make some Summer Goals. These may or may not involve gardening.

Summer Goals:
Relearn Trigonometry (I'm 1/3 through Life of Fred)
Learn how to use HTML (its a career thing, Dean and I will do it together)
Grow lots of tomatoes and basil
Can lots of tomatoes and basil
Try to get squash to grow in my yard 
Trim the maple tree so something will grow in my yard
Eat strawberries
Do the opposite of tan
Look for a krumkake iron at garage sales
Do bicycle training and cooking club with boys
Find a library who will teach me something in return for volunteer work

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aebleskiver, or connecting with a heritage that is only mine through marriage

Aebleskiver~(Danish) apple slices/pieces aka Danish doughnuts or round pancakes

I'm not sure of when I first ran into the concept. It's not a common one in Dean's family. Traditions run more Norwegian lefse, herring, and the very occasional lutefisk. (Dean bought me a lefse roller from the Sons of Norway sale a few weeks stay tuned for that adventure.)

Anyway, I ran across aebleskiver on the Internet, and fell in love with the idea of round pancakes.
I annoyed a fellow blogger I follow with details of her pan.
I placed the pan on my Garage Sale list.
I scoured the Sons of Norway sale and the All-City Garage Sale.
I followed the term on Ebay.

Finally I just made a jump and bid on a pan. I paid more in shipping (6lb!) then for the pan itself.

Here I'm buttering the pan. That's strawberry jam with the spoon sticking out of it.

There are many recipes on the Internet, but they're fairly similar. Very close to a buttermilk pancake recipe. A few of the boys felt the first one we tried was too eggy, so I dropped the eggs down from 4 to 2 the next time and it was perfect.

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1-2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Whip the egg whites until stiff. Mix the rest and then carefully fold in whites at the end. 

It actually didn't take as long to make them as I thought. And don't expect perfectly round. Mine never were (more football or egg shaped). Once the pan is properly heated they cook fairly quickly. I would butter, pour, add filling and then check for turning. Usually they were ready. I would do a 1/3 or 1/2 turn then wait for the full turn. Every time it started to brown I would flip it over a little more. Usually 2-3 turns were all it needed to come around full circle. I used a wooden chopstick.

And they were good! We tried many different fillings;

dipped in butter with rolled in cinnamon/sugar
strawberry jam
frozen blueberries
cheddar cheese
chocolate chips
apple pieces
applesauce with cinnamon/sugar 
dried cranberries

I think the jam and blueberries were the best. The dried cranberries weren't very good and the applesauce made it hard to see if they were done inside (although when they were it was good). 

A definite hit. Dean was most impressed and even called his Danish grandmother about it. 

Of course, now I'm on the hook for lefse. 

Up to the Minute

My corona. 

I can't remember what these are. They were bulbs and came with a huge lot of bulbs. The word 'grape' came to mind so I called them my grapes. 

Dean got *more* rhubarb. I'm not sure I like rhubarb. Remember our experiment last year? The one in complete shade died. The other two survived but are having a hard time beating out the fast-growing bishop's weed. *More* rhubarb. And he paid for it. I hope he likes rhubarb. 

The strawberry are crazy with blossoms. This is one of the smaller ones in the back. The ones in the front have dozens of blossoms. Yumyumyumyum. We're definitely eating them this year

The lettuce are so cute. Some are ready to have leaves broken off. They seem slow this year though. I expected bigger by many of the plants actually. Strawberry and peas are very happy. Lettuce and tomatoes (inside) are not.

This may be one of the reasons. It snowed a few weeks ago. Kind of magical. A friend has the loveliest pictures of fiery tulips (orange with red tips) covered picturesquely in snow. 

I've also planted some garlic behind the oregano (crazy as always). A Master Gardener neighbor had his $1 perennial sale (no more hardy cactus). I decided to put a garden in the front where I usually just have wood chips. I'll document what survives. The asparagus finally arrived by mail (it seems so late). I did the big Spring compost transfer to my main garden bed. 

And I know its summer because I sunburned my knees and forearms sitting outside at a friend's house. 
Happy Coming-Summer!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gaming Hoopla

Finished my last exam and only have to shine up a paper before I turn it in. Time to take a few moments and do an update.

Dean and I went to 2010 Spring Gaming Hoopla last month. It's a board game event which earns money for Relay for Life. This article from Wired explains it well. A set fee to enter, free games, food and raffle money go to the American Cancer Society. It's a very friendly group and there were hundreds of board games there. We learned quite a few new games and joked around with some strangers. They do this twice a year in Southern Wisconsin. It was a nice Anniversary getaway for us.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Happy Anniversary to us. 

With teaching myself statistics, research, final projects, interviews, final papers, and exams it's been a busy month. 

I am thinking about this site. A lot. I even took pictures for you all. 

However, its just not happening right now. Even the seedlings are suffering a little (2 reseedings) and desperately need to be transplanted. 

Up ahead: 
*strawberry preview
*pea, lettuce, and radish growth (outside)
*more free rhubarb
*more lunch muffins
*tomato, basil, and squash seedlings (inside)
*my inability to read and set the automatic timer
*$1 plant sale 
*planting asparagus and garlic
*attending Gaming Hoopla, a board game event for the American Cancer Society

Many of these are done (and being ignored as this blog is) and a few are coming up soon.