Saturday, November 23, 2013

Flower Pot Heater

After seeing a Youtube video of a radiant heater made from some clay flower pots and a couple of candles, I had to give it a try. Naturally the comments were full of hand wringing hysterics wailing about how unsafe it was and how we'd all set ourselves on fire. One particularly shrill nannypants, who apparently stalked down everyone who had made a similar video in order to voice his objections, insisted a child would see the video, create the heater, and subsequently burn to death, and he of course would be there to offer his "common sense testimony" to the lawsuit that the video maker would earn from it.

I really hate the nannypants crowd.

Pumpkins!

I've had a dozen pumpkins cluttering up my kitchen counters since the end of October, and would have been content to leave them there until next spring, except I needed an excuse to avoid cleaning the kitchen. Gutting, roasting, pureeing and freezing pumpkins looked like a good one.

I usually just grow the little New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins but this year I planted a few Musquee De Provence, Howdens, and the Jack Be Littles that took over the place. The Howdens were a complete bust, and I only got one and a half Musquee (the half got pecked to death by a wily hen before it was half grown).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chicken stock 'n Gravy

I'm always on the lookout for chicken to go on sale, or for a pack to reach it's "OMG SELL IT NOW" date and get marked down to nothing. My favorite are the thigh packs. I skin and debone them, chop them up into bite sized pieces, and toss them into whatever stir fry marinade I'm hooked on at the moment. Using my $4 garage sale Food Saver sealer, I divy it all up into 1 cup portions and freeze for some night when I'm in the mood for a stir fry but not the prep work.

Once that's done I'm staring at a pile of chicken bones and skin. I toss the skins all into the deep fryer until crispy, then salt them and toss them into a bag. The bones go into another bag, and it all goes into the freezer, where it waits until a day like today rolls around.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Aquaponics - PVC Cold Frame

Aside from a few hiccups the aquaponics system is coming along brilliantly, which means by this time next year I'll have torn it down and rebuilt it at least four times. The old "don't fix what ain't broke" adage never seemed to take hold with me.

However with winter just a month away, I couldn't put off building some sort of protection for it any longer. The priority for the build was cheap. Having blown the bulk of my book royalties on a used Camry, extra cash is a bit spotty right now. Fortunately for me, someone is always giving away something cool on Craigslist and as I was wasting time avoiding work taking a second to check out the ads I came across a listing I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Joining a group

Over the weekend I decided to pull out of the retreat group I'd joined back in the spring. Some of the reasons involved a serious personality conflict I had with another member of the group, but most of it was due to the group's lack of direction and overabundance of grasshoppers. Ultimately I did not feel it benefited us to remain in the group. It's a shame too because I really liked a couple of the members.