So, today I moved into my winter residence. Time for a summer summary:
What grew particularly well:
- Cucumber. Besides pickle cucumbers, I tried a bitter-free F1 hybrid greenhouse cucumber, and while that is in some ways evil (not least because you can’t save the seeds!), they tasted really awesomepants and were extremely productive. They very much enjoyed the watering system I set up with unglazed terracotta pots buried in their pots.
I really need to organise my time better, somehow, so I can spend more time in the countryside. This is driving me crazy.
Today I couldn’t take it anymore and went there for a short time, anyway.
The fava beans near the fence have a bit of an aphid problem. (Maybe the ant colony in the ground nearby is farming them?) Maybe they’ll be okay nevertheless. If I see any ladybirds I put them there to eat the aphids …
I was going to use the totally overgrown bed to the right as a pumpkin bed this year, but maybe that plan is going to hell.
I built a rocket stove, sewed a blouse and adjusted an old skirt for which my ass had gotten too big, and (finally) seeded the potatoes. Then I biked 22 km back to the city. After that maybe I can endure another week of computer work again …
The silvery tape is of course special fireproof aluminium tape, not duct tape … The pot and the “skirt” are from my storm cooker. The grass between the tiles there (that I don’t have the heart to exterminate) is perhaps a bit of a fire hazard, but it’s pretty moist there and I was watching the stove constantly.
It turned out to be quite easy to regulate the heat. For more heat, add more sticks and push them further in, and for lower heat, use less sticks and let them burn closer to the entrance.
It was very easy to make (I got my instructions and design ideas from this post at Milkwood Permaculture), and it’s very efficient. I overdosed fuel at first, not expecting that so little was needed. One stick like the one visible in the photo at a time is enough to cook pasta quite fast. In the summer it’s nice to cook outdoors.
I bought new stove pipes for this project, but all the other materials I had already. I found the big can of vegetable oil in the street last year.
There is no photo of the resulting pasta salad with fresh champignons as well as leafy greens and herbs from my garden, because I eated it before I had a chance to document it.
My brand new piggy blouse – made after this pattern, only slightly modified.
Japanese cotton fabric with the three little pigs and the naughty little wolf … :3
I forgot to take photos of my freshly dug potato patch. I dug out trenches for the potatoes, so I can easily cover them with some more earth as they grow, for higher yields.
Let’s see if the slugs will eat the potato plants completely this year, if I can’t be there every day to feed them kitty food …
Here are some other photos from my garden instead:
Two of the tigernuts have sprouted! V*(oo)*V
Some of the other seeds have sprouted as well. It’s not completely clear in all cases what is intentional and what’s a weed. At least the accidental nettles are easy to recognise … I made the silly mistake of putting flowering nettles in the compost last year. V`(oo)´;V
This oak decided that it’s going to grow in my potential sesame/onion bed! Who am I to tell it otherwise? If it survives, that would be a quite nice place for an oak tree. It wouldn’t shade the garden plots, but it would shade the north part of the trailer a bit from the afternoon sun.
Meanwhile, the piggy bean plot is full of food already. There is of course goutweed, and now the nasturtiums are big enough so I can pick their leaves for my salads. Young fava bean leaves are edible, too.
In the center of the photo you can barely see one of the borages that are also sprouting now.
Not much is happening here art-wise. These days, most of the time I’m slaving away at dayjobs. :(
Still, once or twice a week I do have time to visit my lovely garden …
Everything is so pretty and in bloom. :3
Piggy beans are growing eagerly. :3
Since I just came back from Stockholm International Comics Festival, I thought I could use some solitude before working my ass off again.
So here’s a bunch of photos from my little May 1st holiday …
Dandelions and this annoying weed that spreads everywhere have taken over the future potato patch. Dandelions are of course edible, but I don’t really like their taste, so they will probably have to make room later on.
I sowed corn and sunflowers along the empty spot next to the fence. Unless the slugs munch them all up, maybe they can provide some shade from my neighbours’ curious eyes this year … The bushes I’ve planted there are still too small to make a diference.
Evening light, not enough to illuminate my Andy Kehoe print.
Maybe I missed all the croci. But I saw this strange bright red bug.
So today Ilan helped me build a new fence in place of the old (mostly) wooden one that was totally falling apart.
We forgot to take a “before” picture, but anyway, the old fence is in a pile under the plum tree here:
Surveying the scene …
I wish to announce to the world that I have lost my non-fuzzy wool mix zipper cardigan that has been an extension of my body in the colder parts of the year since 2003 or so. I was wearing it in Freehold, New Jersey, above, and I also wear it in all my hourly comics.
It fell off my bike somewhere between Treptow and Alexanderplatz, and it was nowhere when I went back to look for it. ;_;
Luckily I had not yet washed it or mended all the holes in it as I was planning to do soon. I.e. it was pretty nasty and full of holes. :o/ Maybe someone threw it in the trash. Or maybe some hipster picked it up and is going to use it for some stupid art project, because it’s just so … authentic. Most of all I hope it was adopted by somebody who really needs it. :3
I got it from the Christian thrift store in Lund, Sweden, in my early university years. At first I thought it was kind of strange and I wasn’t sure how to wear it. But gradually I realised how extremely practical it was, and it became my perhaps most used item of clothing ever.
Now I will have to fill this void with another cardigan that will be equally or even more practical and versatile, because how else am I supposed to wear summer jackets in the winter like I usually do.
It was pretty unhappy most of the summer. In the fall it perked up a bit, but then I couldn’t be around much and tend to it. I’m kind of surprised that it survived at all. Maybe if I’d have watered and fertilized it more during October-December, it would have grown nice big heads.
Now it grew cute little heads instead. :3
I don’t like napa cabbage in anything but kimchi, but then again, I like kimchi very much … People claim it’s one of the healthiest things you could possibly eat, you can eat it with almost anything, and it’s really easy to make at home.
Here is my recipe:
Cut the cabbage in smaller pieces and soak in water (just enough to cover it) and sea salt (or “kosher salt”).
Cover and soak overnight. That will start the fermentation process.
Pour out the water and wash the cabbage. It’s good if it’s still wet and there’s water in the bowl, as that will make brine, the watery stuff in the kimchi. I like to use kimchi brine in salty pancakes. :3
You can pretty much chop up any vegetables you like and put them in the kimchi.
Here is what I added now:
* Fresh ginger
* Garlic (lots)
* Chili pepper flakes
Then mix them all gently with your hand(s). Taste to see if you would like more of something (maybe salt?).
When it’s good, take clean glass jars and wash them again with boiling hot water.
Then put the kimchi in the jars. You will have to press it down in order to fit as much as possible in the jar. Then distribute the remaining liquid evenly among the jars, and close the lids tightly.
Store in the fridge and let them sit and ferment a bit for a couple of days before eating. (Of course you can also eat part of the kimchi fresh … I do. In fact, right now I’m having some in the vegetable soup I just made.)
Normally I make a much bigger batch of kimchi, but this was my extra special weird home grown napa cabbage. It all fit in one jar. :3
Aww, poor tomatoes. I didn’t give you the chance to maybe fully ripen before I picked you. Because temperatures are going to get a bit too close to freezing in the next week, so I didn’t want to risk losing all these tomatoes.
The orange and yellow ones might still ripen by themselves, and with the green ones I’ll make lots of little fried green tomatoes! Whee!