Bread without kneading 2 December 2010 Bread without kneading

Usually bread is made by kneading the dough, which takes a bit of effort, so people tend to buy commercial bread. The method shown makes a nice tasting bread, quickly and effortlessly.

Procedure: Three cups of flower, with a table spoon of quick yeast and about two cups of water. Mix together, and let rise in a pot for about four hours. Place in an oiled oven cooking pot and let rise again for about two hours. Cook at 450 F for 30 minutes with lid on, then another 20 minute with lid off. let cool before cutting, and enjoy.

Modification possible are: Add a teaspoon of sugar, add teaspoon of salt if desired, add a cup of whole wheat flower, add a tablespoon of some gluten.

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Luffa Soap Cakes. Rectangular Mold 22 November 2010 Luffa Soap Cakes. Rectangular Mold
The mold is a drawer organizer from the Dollar Store. It appears to be excellent for forming rectangular shaped luffa soap cakes, and is very easy to work with. Slicing is relatively easy, since the flat surface doesn’t roll when cutting to size.

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Luffa Soap 21 November 2010 Making Luffa Soap Cakes.

Experimental luffa soap cakes were made today. Pictures depict the process.
Ingredients are glycerin soap, isopropyl alcohol, dye, luffa, and various molds. Spraying the luffa with alcohol assists in binding the soap to the luffa. The ingredients are usually available in a craft store. I got mine at Michaels Crafts. Molds can be anything suitable. The process is simple, and only takes a short time.

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Making Luffa Sponges 16 November 2010 Luffa Sponges

Luffa require a long growing season about six months, and warm weather. The bottom of the hanging fruit were cut off to facilitate draining of liquid, hoping they will dry prior to freeze up.

About half my luffa’s are dry and sponges were made. Pictures depict the process. The skin is scaled off, and the ends are cut and the seeds shaken out. Some seeds remain and are removed when washing. The cut to the required length luffa are warm washed in soap and water in the washing machine, removed and more seeds removed. Then some bleach is added and the luffa are washed again. The luffa are dried in the electric dryer on low heat. They can also be Sun dried if the weather co-operates. The quality is excellent. Any seeds remaining will discolor the luffa in use to some degree. Seeds were saved for the 2011 planting. There area a great number of seeds in one pod.

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Roofing Garden Shed 15 November 2010 Roofing Garden Shed

The shingles were much deteriorated on the small 6 by 8 foot garden shed. It was decided to replace with Suntuf panels to improved the lighting. The hardware store only had two clear panels so two colored panels were selected in lieu. There are two sheds in the garden area, and this shed was inherited, when the property was purchased. It is small but structurally sound, and is used for the hand garden tools. Suntuf panels last as long as shingles, and improve the lighting inside the shed. The top surface of the small attached fuel box was also replaced, with rough pine boards (1 X 12 x 6 feet). Pictures depict the process.

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Indoor Seed Planting. 10 November 2010 Indoor Seed Planting.

It is too early to get serious about planting seeds for 2011, but I decided to test my new greenhouse as to heat and Sun. Twelve pots, three for each variety, were prepared with bak choy, lettuce, bunching onions, and spinach.

The pots are made from strong plastic cups, with holes made by heat from a typical soldering iron along the sides of the pots to make a reservoir for water. A simple coffee filter to keep soil from falling out of the drain holes was used. This filter also tends to keep roots contained when transplanting. Soil was added, which was made during the Summer and stored. Soil consists of sand, coconut fiber, compost, garden soil, and small wood chips. After the seeds were planted,watered,and labeled; the pot was placed in a folded at the bottom (gusseted) plastic bag and sealed with a pipe cleaner ( used for crafts) from a Dollar Store. The plastic bag tends to keep the humidity high, which experience indicates is one of the most important attributes for germination along with heat. The gusseted plastic bag insures the pots sit upright. Using the described method means very high germination rates.

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Yogurt How to Make Yogurt. Details for a more controlled method of making yogurt.

Here is how I make my simple plain yogurt. 10 November 2010 Yogurt.

Buy a small container of plain yogurt to use as starter bacteria. Gently bring to a boil a liter of milk. Pour into a glass bowl. Let cool to to just being slightly warm. Mix in about two large tablespoons of the starter yogurt.

Heat your oven to about 300 degrees, turn off and let cool a bit, then put the covered bowl in the oven and leave for 12 to 24 hours. At the end of the period presto, there is a large bowl of yogurt. Save a covered container of this yogurt for the next batch. Store in the refrigerator. I make a batch usually daily.

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Building a Greenhouse. 5 November 2010 Greenhouse on Deck.

I decided to build a large greenhouse on the deck, which doesn’t get much use. The enclosure will be a sun room if appropriate, instead of the canvas structure that use to be there. I have a small 5000 BTU heater that connects to the barbecue natural gas outlet, so will have some warmth, and will get some use during the Winter months. It took nine days to build by myself, about 72 hours of labor, from 28 of October to 5 November, and cost $1798.63.

Description of the construction. Six, 6 by 6 pillars support the structure. The auxiliary supports are all 2 by 6 spruce planks. Two doors were installed plus a window to ensure reasonably good ventilation. I got the doors free of charge. The slope of the roof is from 8 feet to 7 feet, with a pitch of 1 in 12. Sun is available for about two third of the structure all day. Wood was used to cover the walls where no Sun penetrates. Corrugated SUNTUF UV protected panels was used. It is relatively low cost compared to other coverings, and is almost indestructible. Pictures depict highlights of the method used. Plans were in my head.

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Making Juice 27 October 2010 Making Juice

Pictures depict making juice from produce that is readily available. The produce used varies with the Season, but melon and pineapple are available in my area all year around, and is always used. The end product, stored in the refrigerator, is about a seven to ten day quantity for one person. It does not oxidize or change much over ten days, stored in the sealed containers. The consistency is such that drinking is possible. This can be modified by adding water as required. The mixture is blended twice after mixing in a large pot to keep the mixture homogeneous.

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Nasturtium 25 October 2010 Nasturtium.

This is the last of my flowers for the 2010 season. Nasturtiums thrive when the weather turns cool. The plant self seeds most years, and it at the base of a clematis plant. The raised structure is for drainage, since the ground was a swamp when I took over the property six years ago. It is not needed, since drainage tiles have been installed, but is probably too much effort to remove.

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Applying Compost to the Garden 24 October 2010 Applying Compost to Garden Bed

This compost is supplied by the city. It was picked up in May 2010, one half yard per day. It was too late to apply in the Spring, so I stored it until Fall and am applying a layer to the garden bed. It is vegetative compost from tree cuttings, and is superb quality. The quantity is about four cubic yards or about 28 wheelbarrows full. This is the only fertilizer that I use. The compost layer will be rototilled into the underlying soil in the Spring.

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Processing Dried Beans. 23 October 2010 Processing Dried Beans.

A variety of dried beans purchased in bulk is very low in cost. This variety is a possible replacement for meat.

Two cups (500 ml) enlarges to about four after cooking. The process is: Wash thoroughly. Boil for 20 minutes, rinse, place in pressure cooker and cook for 90 minutes. Place in open pot, add sauce, and boil for about 15 minutes to mix. Store in containers and freeze the excess. Pictures depict processing.

The sauce consists of molasses, horseradish, honey, mustard, tomato paste, and paprika. Generally it can be anything to suit one’s taste.

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Winterizing the Garden area 20 October 2010 Winterizing the Garden area.

The garden area has been winterized over the last few weeks. Wood chip mulch was applied to the area around many plants. Some pruning was done. All spent vegetation has been removed and put through the chipper/shredder and added to the compost heap. Leaves will be shredded with the lawnmower and left on the grass.

All the growing beds have been rototilled, and all weeds have been removed. Usually a cover crop of red annual clover is grown, but not this year for various reasons.

A layer of compost will be added to the beds, weather permitting. If not possible, the compost will be added in the Spring.

I am a great advocate of wood chip mulch, and have been using it extensively only the last three years. It is relatively low in cost, and certainly reduces watering requirements during the Summer.

Power tools that don’t fit into the shed, are covered with tarps, and fuel conditioner is added to the fuel tanks.

A bit of Fall care, makes planting in the Spring relatively easy, and bugs and weeds are reduced.

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First Fall Frost 13 October 2010 First Fall Frost

Here are pictures of the first Fall frost. The garden is essentially finished until next Spring. My area will be in hibernation until about the 15 of April 2011, and will not be completely free of periodic Frosts until the end of May.

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Sweet Peppers. 13 October 2010 Peppers

The last of the peppers (Seven Plants) were picked today, due to expected Frost coming. These are sweet, and two different varieties. They do turn bright red if the season is long enough. There were four plants of hot peppers, which were picked a few days ago. Peppers grow well in my garden.

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Planting Garlic 9 October 2010 Planting Garlic. Hardneck Garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon) rocambole or serpent garlic. This type of garlic produces a curved scape and at the top bulblets form, which are not seed but clones of the main clove. Bulblets take about three years to attain full size, by successive plantings.

The bed is 64 square feet, and 196 cloves were planted, bulblets, garlic from my crop in 2010, garlic purchased from a Farmers Market in the Summer, and some of the smaller cloves to determine if they produce as well as the larger cloves. The spacing is essentially six inches between cloves, and depth is about two inches between the top of the clove and the soil surface.

After planting a layer of compost was added, and after the next heavy rainfall, he bed will be covered with about 3 to 4 inches of wood chip mulch. A raised bed was made, since that area of the garden can get wet if rainfall is excessive. Usually the planting date is about the 25 of October, but it was so beautiful today that I considered a few days early wont be a problem.

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Wood Chip Mulch 8 October 2010 Wood Chip Mulch

Nine cubic yards of slightly composted wood chip was delivered to my driveway. Cost was 15 dollars per yard. It took a day and a half to dispense in various locations in the yard by wheelbarrow. About five yards was retained for use on the vegetable garden in 2011. The mulch is primarily used to limit loss of moisture due to evaporation, and to inhibit mostly grass growth, also it tends to maintain a constant temperature for various plants in the vegetable garden, and tends to stop rivulets of water from forming during heavy rainfall.

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Crosne (Stachys affinis) Harvest 8 October 2010 Crosne (Stachys affinis)
About 25 tubers were planted in the Spring about May of 2010. Crosne tubers require a long growing season to fully mature. The harvest of four pounds is below average of previous years. I expected about 25 pounds. This is contributed to short season, and possibility lack of water at certain periods. For 2011 the tubers were planted now to see if the tubers will overwinter and start growing in the very early Spring.

I have tried storing in the refrigerator, they turn color and become uneatable, storing under water they change flavor and spoil quickly, and pickling in vinegar which is less than satisfactory. This year they are bring stored in garden soil in a container in a cool place. If the climate permits they are best used when dug. My area has snow and access is limited during the Winter.

I eat them as a snack raw. Simply wash the dirt off. They have a crisp texture and a slight taste of pristine bean sprouts. They keep about four days without loss of flavor on the counter top.

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Seedling Potting Mix 7 October 2010 Seedling Potting Mix

Seedling potting mix is made using sand, coconut fiber, bedding wood chips, bone meal, garden soil to add some microbes), and the ingredients are mixed thoroughly using the Honda FG110 small high speed rototiller. The amount of any ingredients is subjective and based on experience and appearance. Total quantity made was 250 liters, which should meet my requirements. This mixture will be used for starting seeds indoors beginning about March 2011.

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Brussels Sprouts 1 October 201 Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts grow well in my area, Zone 5. This is the remainder of 12 plants (Jade Cross). The small cabbages are picked as required throughout the season. There is a persistent view that they are tastier after a severe frost. I find this to be an old wives tale. Taste is the same at the beginning of the year as around December, when I have left them to be exposed to frost. The insect damage seen is only on the outer shell of the sprout. Spraying with one of the “cides can eliminate disfigurement, but I prefer the damage. People either love them or hate them.

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Watermelon Juice 30 September 2010 Watermelon

The watermelon patch produced eleven fruit. Some were eaten raw and others given to neighbors. Juice was made from two. The melon was cut into small pieces and boiled for about ten minutes to make a mash, then strained with a new type of press that I recently purchased. It functions effortlessly and is easy to clean. The juice in one liter jars was pressure canned for long term storage at room temperature.The pictures depict the process. Apparently the seeds have a high nutritional content.

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Russian Blue Potatoes Fall Planting 29 September 2010 Russian Blue Potatoes Fall Planting

Noticing over the last few years that potatoes missed when digging in the Fall are in perfect condition, and start growing early in the Spring, I decided to determine if a Fall planting will produce a good crop. Twenty three potatoes were place in a row and marked with stakes. The are will be covered with wood chip mulch, after the first frost. At this time it is an experiment. Harvest will be about the end of July in 2011.

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Preparing Garlic Bed 28 September 2010 Preparing garlic bed.

A garlic bed was prepared for planting about the 20 of October to allow the garlic to overwinter. It is a raised bed 8 feet by 8 feet, which will contain over 200 cloves. The area can be a wet, so the raised bed is prudent. Fertilizer was compost, a bit of peat moss all worked into the underlying soil. The bed will settle for about three weeks then the cloves will be planted.

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Boca Noir Grapes 21 September 2010 Boca Noir Grapes
There is one vine in my garden. It produced 11 pounds of cleaned grapes, which I consider an excellent yield. The grapes were perfectly ripe. The cluster harbors earwigs, and some other small insects, and the fiber in the cluster is very dense, hence the grapes were removed from the cluster prior to making juice. The grape is small, about the size of a large blueberry.

Method of removing was swiping over a piece of chicken wire to remove the grapes, then a second culling was done by hand removing unwanted grapes and insects from the colander. This completes my grape harvest for the year.

Grape juice was made by boiling for about 15 minutes after adding two liters of water, mashing with a portable blender, and straining through a screen, storing in one liter jars, and pressure canning to sterilize for long term storage at room temperature.

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Long Gourd (Cee Gwa) 20 September 2010 Long Gourds

These were grown by accident. I thought they were sponge gourd, but they are pretty anyway. The longest is about 45 inches long, far from any record.
Other names: Luffah, Chinese okra, Dishcloth Gourd, Sponge Gourd, Vegetable Gourd, Cee Gwa, Running Okra, California Okra, Chinese Okra, Strainer Vine, Tsee Gwa, Si Gua, Ssu-Kuo, Shui Gwa, Man Gua, Hechima, Muop Huong, Loofah, Loofa, Belustra, Loang, Oyong, Petola manis, Silk Melon, Sing-kwa.

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