Thursday, November 29, 2012

Appropriate For Me Tech

(inspired by watching a Japanese office worker buy a 70,000 yen rototiller for a 10'x10' garden plot)
(and by my new bicycle)

I used to buy expensive fancy cheeses with hard to pronounce French names... but I craved colby.
I used to buy imported Belgian beers... but I craved a pilsner.
I used to use an air conditioner in the summer... now I sit in breezy shade.
I used to heat my house with kerosene/electric fan heater... now I burn wood.
I used to crave a rototiller.. now I have a nice digging fork.
I used to drive a RAV4 SUV with all the latest gadgets... now I have a micro-truck with an AM radio.

I used to buy expensive alloy bicycles with thin 28 inch tires, 18 speeds, and suspensions... but I realized I only use three gears. Ultra low for hills, medium for town, and high for flat countryside.
I couldn't find a three speed bike, but last week we got a nice, 6 speed, steel frame, and sturdy brakes. My times have not changed.

Buy tools appropriate to your needs.
If you are a carpenter, buy a very nice hammer. If you need to pound a nail to hang a picture, you can get by with something less.
If you are a lumberjack, buy a top shelf professional model chainsaw. If you want to trim a branch off a tree, use a pruning saw.
If you are a bicycle racer or serious recreational cyclist, buy the top of the line. If you want to ride to work and back again wearing dockers and a polo shirt, buy this bike.

Ok, done ranting for now.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Peck of Peppers

 One peck is 8 dry quarts, or 1/4 of a bushel.
Yeah, I don't know what to make of that either....
Well, I am not Peter Piper, and the peppers are not pickled, but I probably picked a peck of them this evening with the help of the oldest boy and his flashlight. The cold wind and clear skies spell killing frost to me, so I thought I should get them done ASAP.

Then, I get them into the house, and the wife says- "Where did these come from? It's mid-November!"
So, anyway, since we cannot possibly use them all fresh, I diced up a kilo of them, wrapped them in 100g packets, and put them in the ziplock. The only problem is that if I did all of them except for the 10-15 we might get through fresh, we would have a freezer of nothing but peppers...

Hellooooo neighbors and students!!!! Or if you live in Japan and want to share the bounty, drop me an e-mail.

But at any rate, if you find yourself with a peck of peppers and some freezer space, just dice them up and put them in sandwich bags or plastic wrap, then into a big ziplock and freeze them. You don't need to blanch them, making peppers the easiest garden veggie to freeze for the winter.

This winter's spaghetti sauce will be twice as good due to these beauties.

Now what to do with 2 Kg of green paste tomatoes.... Suggestions?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

First Patchy Frost

Woke up this morning, made breakfast for the kids, and took the goats and dog out for their walk. And there, on the windshield of the car, was a thin film of ice. Although it was only the front windshield, which sometimes freezes due to radiating heat into the clear night sky. The grass and vegetation near the house had no frost on it I could see. However, as I took the goats down the valley to their pasture I saw some small patches of frost here and there. We might get a few more days of frost free weather, but I think that this is about the end. Looks like I'm only growing broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, spinach, beets, onions, garlic, and carrots till spring. Of course, the boars will probably eat that though.