April 23, 2011

Update--with links, but no pictures

Last week it was like summer came overnight to Juneau, at least at my house in the valley.  I hear that town has been ice-free for much longer.  Which is not to say that it is ice-free here, but I no longer park my car in a snowbank, and there is enough open water on the pond for the ducks to swim pathetically along the edges.
The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and things were starting to grow.  I rode my bike downtown to meet Ernie after work, and it was warm and beautiful.
Also, last week was Folk Fest, which I have been looking forward to for about ten years or so.  The music is good (mostly), and the people watching can't be beat, at least not in Juneau (unless you prefer the Eurotrash from the cruise ships).  I went for three nights, and I loved it.  The atmosphere there is so much different than it is at music festivals in Oregon (there were less hippies, actually), and there is an interesting mix of really good musicians, and 6 year olds that are on stage for the first time ever.

This weekend it feels a little less like summer, but it is above freezing, and it hasn't snowed in about three days.  The bears are awake, and the leaves on the blueberries are budding.  And there is already an obscene amount of daylight, even if it is diffuse.

I have spent most of this day making a mess.  Not because I like to make messes, but because that's what I do.  Besides, I cleaned the whole house last week, and this will be a nice surprise (or not) for Ernie when he comes home from studying.

First of all, the planting:
Two weeks ago I started my first seeds.  I used a heat mat, and everything germinated in just a few days.  I also learned a valuable lesson about starting broccoli seeds using a heat mat (leggy seedlings).  Along with broccoli I planted kale, cabbage, swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, basil, peppers, mexican sour gherkins, oregano, thyme, and pak choi.  I'm gonna wait on the zucchini.
Many of these things had to be thinned and repotted today, which is done on the kitchen counter since we have nowhere else to work.  And I planted more broccoli and some onions.  And I planted radishes, spinach, lettuce, arugula, and mustard greens in my cold frame.
All of this gardening is very exciting, except that I don't have a place to put most of the plants.  To further complicate things, when I went over to my friend's house last night (to celebrate Good Friday by watching Jesus Christ Superstar--wow), her mom had a ton of seeds started in the windowsill (cause she has, you know, a yard) and started telling me which ones I could have when they were ready.  Some of you may know that even though I don't eat tomatoes, I have trouble passing up free tomato plants.  Or any other plants, really.
So now I have to find a place to put everything, and we don't know where we will live this summer, or even if we will have a yard.  I guess I had better call the community garden on Monday, and see if there are any plots available.  Cause I have more seeds...

Then, the cooking:
I also tried to make tofu for the first time.  I realize that the idea of making your own tofu doesn't thrill most of you, but these days it is the closest thing to cheesemaking that I can do.  And I needed a fix.  (There was actually a posting on the local craigslist a couple of days ago for a milk goat.  I really, really wanted it, but moving is hard enough with two cats.  Especially if we move onto a boat.  Ernie is not sure we need a boat goat.)  Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the tofu failed, but mostly because plain soymilk still has sugar and vanilla in it.  While that could make a good dessert tofu, I'm not sure it is the flavor profile that I want with my broccoli.  Oh well.
The next thing on my agenda, as soon as I get done typing to you, is to make some habanero hot sauce.  There are two reasons for this.  Reason the first, I am down to my last tablespoon of Aardvark sauce, and there is no one on the schedule to come visit us from Portland and bring me more.  This is fine, for now, because again our lease is up at the end of June, and we don't know where we will be living or what the guest accommodations will be like.  I'm not saying I need a hot sauce care package, or anything like that, just the ability to create a replacement.  The second reason is, I find it impossible to get a decent burrito in this town.  Yes, it has been almost 10 months since I have been to ChaChaCha, or anywhere similar.  Since I can make my own rice, and beans, and even tortillas if I want, I have decided that what I really miss about burritos is the red and green sauce in little squeeze bottles.  So I shall make my own, starting with this http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/condiments/habanero-hot-sauce/.
There might be additional mess involved in the process.  Just hopefully not pepper juice in my eye.

After that, I want to start a new knitting project.  http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer08/PATTseascape.html.  I have wanted to start it for weeks though, and haven't yet, so I may not have built up the activation energy.  We'll see.

Also, I bought a new coffee mug today at the UAS pottery sale.  I accidentally dropped my favorite owl mug down the stairs a few weeks ago (sorry Meagan!) and although it appeared to have survived, I found that coffee was slowly seeping out the sides, which was a problem.  I found myself browsing the squid mugs on etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/skybirdarts?ref=pr_shop_more), which are far too expensive to put coffee in, so I decided to get a mug that was handmade locally (and not $45).  Maybe next time there will be a picture of this mug.  Maybe next time there will be a picture of something at least.  Congratulations if you made it this far with no images to distract you.

So that's what has been going on, at least recently.  Ice skating is over, but the good hiking season hasn't started yet, so it's all about the home life.  Tomorrow we are going over to have Easter dinner with friends, and between now and then there is lots of candy to eat.

Happy Easter and Happy Spring everyone!

UPDATE:  I have finished making the habanero hot sauce, and it is incredible!  So spicy!  So delicious!  And yes Matt, I am sweating.