Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Crockpot (Updated, Finally!)

Decided yesterday evening that some feijoada was in order, but in a sort of "similar but different" mode.  It is originally a slave dish from Brazil.  At the end of the day, the workers in the butchering sheds would sort of sweep up the floor and put in the pot, along with black beans, onions and whatever else was handy.  I first heard about it on one of the cable food channels about ten years ago.  When I Googled it later, I discovered that no two recipes were alike, and some wildly different.

That said, here's today's take:

 First off, I used Great Northern white beans instead of black.  The meats are two large chunks leftover Easter ham, excavated from the freezer, two monster chicken thighs, and most of a pound of Jimmy Dean sausage.  I sauteed a largish onion with the sausage, then added that to the mix.  I was going to go with my standby pepper sauce, Tapatio, but then remembered the Thai Hot peppers from last year's garden, so three of those bad boys went in, along with a light handful of Thai Basil leaves.  There's about a pint of runoff from what might be a chicken stew in the pot, and a bit of water.

I will update as the story develops.  More, later!

Update:  I left the raw ingredients covered in the pot on high for about 6 hours, thinking that I'd take some out for dinner, and let the rest simmer on low for a couple more hours.  Turns out, it was done!  I was right in not adding any salt, as the ham contained enough to season the whole stew.  The Thai Basil, which has a more anise flavor than Sweet Basil, complimented the flavor of the Jimmy Dean sausage, and the three Thai Hot peppers gave it just enough kick to be interesting but not painful.

I will definitely make this again.  My daughter said she might try it too.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Garden 2.1 (Updated - Now with bigger landscape photos!)

Progress is progressing slowly, as am I.  I can stand for a bit unsupported, and walk a bit as well.  I really, really want to get the garden going, so I'm pushing myself some.  Good for the body.  Good for the soul.

First, what has over-wintered:

The quince tree, and some garlic and red onion

The Tiger Lillies


The Juniper, after some serious hackage.  I plan on taking that sagging left side off, as soon as I can get my hands on a reciprocating saw.

Finally, the Blackberry stick.

 One or two things that didn't make it:

The rosemary in the kitchen bed died.  The nectarine stick (not shown) never came to life, so I declared it dead and uprooted it.  I pulled down the compost stack, so I could move it back to where the late, lamented nectarine stick was planted.

New and Improved, Phase One:

I moved the old bed that was at top/center, and doubled the height of the bed on the left.  Double height beds do MUCH better because of the clay soil.  I moved it rather than adding a new one, because Ace had new ones for $10.00 less that Home Depot, but they put together with screws, rather than the slide-in dovetail tongue and grove assembly  The low bed will be for onions and garlic, after I do some leveling and add some more dirt.

Next, get stuff stuck in the dirt!  (Technical farming term, that!)  Early Girl tomatoes in front corners, "Big Momma" Roma hybrid in the back corners. Two different watermelon on the right and closest between the tomatoes, cantaloupe between tomatoes on the left, and yellow and green bell peppers in the center.

More items, awaiting planting.  It was in the 90s yesterday, didn't crack 60 today, with chill wind and heavy cloud cover.  Sun predicted for the weekend, so manana.  There are more Early Girl tomatoes, white onions, and Poblano and Adobo peppers.  The tomatoes and peppers will go in the older double height bed, after I get in and weed it.  The red and white onions will go in this bed, and I'll be hitting the grocery store for a couple of garlic bulbs to plant here, too.

Phase Two - Caging the Wild Tomato!
New tomato cages this year - enamel coated/painted, in a variety of colors.  When I'm done, I'll have eight tomato plants - six Early Girl and two Big Momma.

Two caged Big Mommas!

 Two caged early Girls.

The newest double height bed in its final configuration.

 Lest we forget the kitchen bed:

The oregano not only made it thru the winter, but it had an offspring!  The original is just out of frame to the left, the new one is upper left.  One Early Girl at the upper right, two Sweet Basil headed this way, and the new Rosemary at bottom center.  One other Basil behind the new Oregano, and Sage in the middle.

I've used compost from both the outdoor pile, as well as from last year's worm bin, so a small science experiment to see if it helps with the shallow bed and kitchen bed.

None but one of my seeds sprouted, and it died, so that was a science fail.  Foo!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Best Baseball Game Ever

I found this article over at Breitbart:

Dodgers Pitcher Plays Catch with Kid in Outfield Stands Before Game

(RTWT at Breitbart)

This story reminded me of the short-lived Long Beach Breakers.   It was an AA team that played that the Cal State University Long Beach baseball field from 2001 thru 2002.  They only lasted two years (as did their league) but I got to see them two or three times.

My daughter and I decided to go see a game one Sunday.  It was pre-season, so we were able to get box seats, looking directly down the first base line.  In the box next to us was a woman with a small child.  My guess was that she was Grandma.  During the pre-game warm-up, the first baseman came over to talk with her.  As he came by, he shook our hands.  I felt like a kid when he did that.  It was the first time in all my years that I actually got to interact in any way with one of the players.  To make it even better, late in the game, he hit a grand-slam home run.

Best game I ever saw.


My cousin asked me how I was doing.  Here's my response...

Thanks for asking!!

Short answer - "better".  The "it hurts when I do that" pain has diminished considerably, so I have much more range of motion.  Still have foot drop and weakness in the left leg, tho.  One of my students from the library got me a walker (!), so I can motor about much more easily and comfortably.  Getting a bit better at stairs, trying to use my left leg so it doesn't atrophy.

I have an appointment in a month with a neurologist, and we'll see what happens after that.  I consulted w/ Dr. Internet (Web MD).  Says surgery is The Last Resort (duh), and that this kind of thing tends to clear up over time.  But, the foot drop is still a major concern.

Make too much money (ha!) for Medicaid, but the county has it's own help program called "Healthy York Network".  The intake lady at the local hospital seemed confident that I would qualify, and maybe even not have to pay.

I really miss walking the dogs...