Monthly Archives: August 2009

How does my garden grow part 2

So, it has been at least two weeks since my seeds arrived and I planted them. I’m finally seeing sprouts!

I mainly bought various types of squash (spaghetti, zucchini, delicata), egg plant and tomatoes. Oh and spinach, green onions and basil and cilantro.


See? Seed packets (which were special envelopes run through a printer with plastic baggies of seeds inside. Yay local).

Here are my planting/starting setups.

Newspaper pots. I made and filled around 40 of them and filled up all but 3 with seeds.


Sitting on top of Toby’s crate on several potting soil bags (empty). I water them with a mister bottle.

I picked these shoe holders up at the store for 99c each. Score, now I don’t have to sew any. They are plastic, but hold moisture ok without over draining.


I bought 3 of these. One is nearly full of spinach, another mostly herbs and the last just has green onions in the top row.

So, after 2 weeks I have this going on


Mostly what is visible there is the squashies and some tomatoes. The eggplants are doing nothing (I dug around and seeds visible, totally unsprouted) unfortunately, so I may need to figure something out for them.

And those that have been outside (though wrapped in some plastic thing I found to help with the occasional frostiness)


Those are serrano peppers and spinach.

Hopefully I can do some outside planting before the end of September!

Soap and washing products

Unfortunately I’m not set up to make my own soap yet, though that is something I will someday try.

Current project is making hand soap (liquid) from cheapo bars. I have a few dispensers that are now empty (or close to) and hand soap is easier to use than the bar stuff.

So grate, either by hand or in the food processor, 1 small bar of soap. Mine says it was 93-100g, which is about 3.5-4oz.


I used 6 cups of water, but you may need to add more depending. Bring this to a steam and add your soap flakes.


Bring to a boil, removing from heat as necessary to keep the froth that will form from boiling over. Stir while simmering.

Once boiled remove from heat and allow to sit until cool. It will seem almost solid, but when you start to mix it will become more liquid. Mix up. Add more water if gloopy. What you get here is a suspension of gloop in water.


Works pretty good for hand soap!

There was more than this, but this is all I had containers for.

If it gets too thick you can use the hand soap stem to mix it  up and it should work again. Add more water as necessary.

Another recent project is making my own laundry detergent (no pics, sorry, maybe later. Not very interesting regardless!) Borax+baking soda 1:1 ratio, works great and no phosphate/detergenty run off for your groundwater. There are lots of recipes floating around on the internets that involve the grating of soap, washing soda, mixing with water for a liquidy type washing mix, but I’ve managed just fine with just borax and baking soda. Most of the other ones work just fine too and there are even comparisons showing how well they clean next to brand name products (comparably). Things come out clean, nice smelling without perfume and it’s easy to use. My current mix is 2.5kg borax, whatever was left in my detergent box, half a bottle of Napisan (like Oxiclean I think), probably about 500g or so, and some baking soda. I use a regular landry scooper to add it to the wash. I also had good results using a similar mix (though I can’t recall the exact recipe or ingredients) for dishwashing powder.

Too dry for a marinade, too wet for a rub

I’m not entirely sure what to call this. Possibly a wet rub? Sounds a bit naughty…

Anyhow, I bought a lot of chicken because it’s on sale. I decided to go for whole legs rather than just drumsticks or just thighs. Rather than get bored with chickenchickenchicken (on the bone no less) I thought about how I could make it a bit more variable. I could marinade some of it…I could do a rub on some of it…I’ve been experimenting with stuffing chicken thighs, so I kind of combined all those ideas (I’m sure this gloopy stuff has a proper technical term).

This is a food processor thing so you will  need:

Onion-1 whole

Hot chilli peppers, to taste. I used 2-3 skinny ones about 2-3 inches long each.

Garlic- 6 cloves

Lemon- 1 whole, including the peel

Peppercorns- around 1 tsp

Salt- between 1/2 tsp and 1 tsp

(No pictures of the cast of characters as I had already started adding them when I thought about pictures.)

So here is what you do:

Loosely chop your onion and start it going in the food processor (use the regular chopping blade), take the stems off your peppers and chuck those in. The peppers, not the stems. Slice your lemon up and remove the seeds and throw that in (your food processor should be merrily spinning away), peel and all. Add your garlic cloves (whole) and peppercorns and salt. Blend until the peppercorns are mostly broken up.

This is what mine looked like.


I scraped it out and put it in a container for the fridge. Here is a detail shot:


I took a spoonful (tablespoon heaping, more or less) for each chicken leg and used my fingers to first loosen the skin from the meat and then spread the mix on the chicken under the skin. I dabbed some on to the top of the skin as well. Yeah, note to self don’t eat this stuff raw because I’ve been dipping spoons into it that have raw chicken cooties.


After baking for 45ish minutes (I just cook chickens until the juice runs clear and the skin isn’t burnt. Aaaaah.):


Isn’t that pretty? Or as pretty as chicken can really be (on a bowl of black beans, brown rice and broccoli, which is staple food here). This was actually Glenn’s as I started nomming on mine before I got around to taking a picture.

I think for the future I wont be putting the mix on top of the skin, as that was a bit too intense to bite into, but just saving it for the skin-meat space. Mmm

Really could have used more chilli peppers too. I can’t taste them. All lemony-oniony-garlicky with a hint of cracked pepper flavor.