Thursday, April 26, 2007


This weekend I'm headed to one of the least green places in the countery: Vegas. Taking a class. Look at some sites. Then back to puttering in the yard, as work schedule allows.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rhubarb pie: the proof is in the pie!

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rhubarb pie: putting it together

Step 7. This is a variation of an old Betty Crocker recipe, from Pearl Elliots old cookbook. I used 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup flour, a squeeze of lemon juice. I didnt have any butter, so I used 2 tbsp of canola oil and added a squirt of butter flavoring, which might not be needed but it was in the cabinet.

Step 8. Chopped rhubarb goes into the pie crust. Then some mixed sugar and flour as outinled above. Then some more rhubarb, then some sugar/flour mix. Pour the canola over the top.

Step 9. Seal with the top crust, cover the edge with foil (or, for a true pie fanatic, there will be a reusable crust protector in the cabinet).

Step 10. Into the preheated, 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then temperature is reduced to 325. It took 50 minutes until the crust was brown and juices bubbled up through the fork slits in the top.

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steps to rhubarb pie: canola crust

Step 4. This is Lawrence's canola crust (my Dad). No trans fatty acids, no saturated fats. FOr true 'slow food', you have to make your own crust. Also, it's better and better for you.

It's made from:
3 1/4 cups sifted flour (410 grams of flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use 'lo salt')
3/4 cup canola oil (for savory pie such as a vegetable pie, I use olive oil)
3/8 cup skim milk.

Step 5. I like to use chopsticks to mix it up. Today the consistency was perfect.

Step 6. Roll it out between 2 sheets of wax paper. This is best done using a very old rolling pin (no new stuff here), such as Iva May Alcorn's birds-eye maple rolling pin here. It's also best to use an estate sale pie pan, not the disposable aluminum type.
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Steps to a rhubarb pie

Step 1. Find a nice big rhubarb plant. Oh - here's one. Victoria, a mostly green variety, so the pie will be green too, like a 'grasshopper pie'. Green, the color of Spring! (I'm protesting attempts to make it red by adding red fruits like strawberries, although there might be a strawberry-rhubarb pie in June).

Step 2. Pull off a bunch of leaves with stems. Cut off the leaf part, just leaving the celery-like stalks. The leaves go to the compost bin.

Step 3. Chop up the rhubarb stems, about 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. One big stalk gives about 1 cup, a smaller stalk about 1/2 cup. This pie requires 4 cups. I froze the other 4 cups for some future treat.
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Monday, April 16, 2007

All Dressed Up.

Undated, unlabeled.Posted by Picasa

Back home.

Returned last night.
Tulips are in full bloom. Many have been multiplying, more than I realized. Amazing, extravagant color.
Apples are in full bloom.
First irises (miniature) in bloom.
Weeds are becoming more plentiful.
Ning moved seedling zucchinis into his garden plot. The roots were growing through the paper cups.
We had the first of the Chinese Chives in dumplings last night.
The straberries and raspberries are blooming.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Travel Plans

Heading for Quincy Illinois for 4 days. I hope to have some photos to download on return.

Flight is at 6am.

Probably won't post from there. Return late Sunday.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Gardening Challenges: Anigozanthos ink leaf disease, peach leaf curl, frost damage, weeds.

Again the title says it all.
This Anigozanthos (Kanga red-green) looks like it's about to bite the dust. The dreaded "ink disease" would be the culprit. After taking the photo, I gave this plant a 'butch haircut" even though I just sprayed it with neem. It is moved to a dry location under the eages, but I have strong doubts about it's prognosis. The other anigozanthos, a yellow one and a burgandy one, are doing well (the burgandy plant is indoors at the office).
Frost damage: a few roses, a magnolia seiboldei that has only had one flower in 5 years, and the petite negri fig.
Weeds may be getting ahead of me. Some coming up in the leaf compost - not surprising, and probably not much of a problem. Dandelions are bloming. Should I spray the dandelions with vinegar? Maybe next week.Posted by Picasa

In Bloom: Tulips. Lilacs. Violets.

The title says it all. These tulips are in about their 4th year, and are not only persisting but actually multiplying. That's unusual for tulips in this yard. The main challenge seems to be a leaf blight, which I suspect saps their energy after blooming. Maybe these are resistant? OR maybe they are just in a tulip-friendly location.
The lilacs are about 4 years old. Last year there were a couple of flowers, but this year they are making many more. So it appears that lilacs take about 4 years to start blooming significantly.
The violet is from my parents' yard in Quincy Illinois. There, the leaves are bigger and greener, and the flowers are darker blue. So climate, or local conditions, make a difference. That has also been true for sempervivum - the plants in Illinois are bigger and greener; here they have a reddish tinge.Posted by Picasa

Ning' photos. Baigo the Poodle. Pink Cherry.

Note to self: time to get rid of that stress weight. It's one thing to acknowledge the maladaptive behavior of stress eating. But time is time. I DID bike to work friday, and will do so monday. At least then, I'm too tired to feel some of the stress.
Baigo is handsome, if not too bright.
This cherry is one of my favorite trees. I've been trying to do some corrective pruning, to repair the "butch haircut" that previous owners bestowed upon it. It's finally starting to look a bit more natural. Once the flowers stop, I'll do a little more thining of the 'witches broom' look that resulted from that haircut, and take out some dead branches. That's about all. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Seed Germination. Garden Log.

Most of the tomato seeds have sprouted.
Once cucumber has germinated.
Still a few squash and a small number of tomato seedlings to go.

Tulips are in bloom. Daffodils are declining. Grapes are beginning to bloom. Lilacs are beginning to bloom.

Ginkgo trees have tiny clusters of leaves.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Seed germination

From the recently planted seeds, so far:

Cilantro (2 days ago)
Tiny Tim tomato (today)
Lemon Boy tomato (today)
Cherokee Black Tomato (barely, today)

Germination time for these, then, is 9 days. For cilantro, 8 days.