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Monday, February 7, 2011

Homestead Update, 07 February 2011

I've been busy!

This week I rewired the raspberries, after taking a hint from the commercial berry farms that line Interstate 5 south of Wilsonville.  We were on the way home last weekend when I saw them and realized that I needed to fix mine.  While working on them, I noticed that one (only one) of the raspberries looked and behaved very differently from the other raspberries, such that I suspect that it's actually a Boysenberry and was stuffed in with the raspberry order.  We're supposed to get some good weather this week so I'll cut it back, dig it up, and replant it with the rest of the Boysenberries.

I weeded the flower bed.  A lot of the daffodils and tulips are poking up already, and there are growth buds on the roses and the lilac. Spring is still only a promise at this juncture, but I'll take a promise right now.

I set up the new composter and moved the compost into it. There was a lovely bunch of compost on the very bottom of the pile which I left in situ and covered with a tarp.  I think I'm going to use it for starting the potatoes which should be here mid-March.  A couple of days after filling the new composter I went to go check on it.  It still isn't heating up, which I think means that it needs more carbon.  Which means that I have to pull the composter off the pile, set it aside, and move the compost into it again while incorporating more straw, which I have, fortunately.  I am so asking for a compost thermometer for my birthday, although I did hint to Steve that it would be good for Mother's Day as well.  That is the closest holiday I can think of for getting a gift, even though I'm not a mother.  I already requested chocolates for Valentine's Day, which we never celebrate, actually.  I'm just jonesin' for some good chocolate.

Then this last week I also had my contractor in to measure for the new closet doors for the guest room.  I've ordered solid core doors so that I can hang stuff on them.  We're switching the closet doors in the guest room from sliding doors to doors that open out, so that I can use that closet as a 'craft closet', not that I'm a crafter.  It will be a great place to stuff all my knitting, sewing, and embroidery supplies, which are all things I enjoy but rarely do.  I'll create a desk/table situation in there so that I can set up my sewing machine when I need it and use it for doing up the bills.  I also plan to stuff the household books and the contents of my desk in there so that I can get rid of my desk.  This is all in order to make enough room for a daybed and trundle for the guest room, so that we'll have proper accommodations for visitors.  As it is, the guest room is impossibly tiny, so utilizing the closet better will go a long way to making the room work better.  In case you're wondering, this is one of the things I have on my list.  It's number seven.

Top bars
In other news, I've been working on the bee hive and I've got the great majority of the top bars done.

What they look like inside the hive
What they look like on the hive

Yesterday while slaving away on the lid, I managed to lock up my regular chuck, so I can't remove the one and a half inch bit from it.  I'm not sure what I did wrong or what I need to do; I've never locked up a chuck before.  Fortunately, it's not part of the impact driver that I use- it's a separate chuck that holds regular drill bits and fits in the driver which doesn't hold regular drill bits.  If worse comes to worse, I'll throw the whole thing out and get a new one.  In any case, I can't drill entrance holes for the hive until I figure out this conundrum because all my spade bits fit a regular chuck.  Unless the hardware home improvement store has spade bits for an impact driver….nah- I better replace the chuck.

Then for dinner last night, I made something I've never made before. When Steve and I were last in Germany, after a morning out and about, we'd gotten back to our hotel at around two in the afternoon.  We'd missed lunch, it was too early for dinner, and there was no place else to eat in this tiny hilltop village where we were staying.  So of course we were famished.  The proprietress said that they had some liver dumplings they could serve us, if that would do?  They did fine- they were delicious, and I remember the sauerkraut on which they were served was the best I'd ever eaten. (I still don't know what it was that made it so good.)  Last spring when I ordered my quarter steer, I asked for the liver, too, and got it.  Last night I finally got around to making us liver dumplings.

Uncooked dumplings. See? not so bad....
I was freaked out about the whole  grinding-up-the-liver idea, but the texture of the beef liver was more like regular meat than the texture of calf's liver or chicken liver, so it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Leberknoedel cooking
We had it with homemade sauerkraut that I put up late last summer from homegrown cabbages.  Dinner was very good, and I'll definitely do it again!


Which is a good thing because I still have a bunch of beef liver in the freezer.


Jennifer Montero said...

Oh you've got a stronger stomach than I have. I don't waste the offal, but I have to feed it to the dogs. I can't tolerate the iron-y taste. How did the dumplings turn out?

I hear on Gardener's Question Time that next year is going to be exceptional for raspberries because of the cold winter. You'll have to let us know if that turns out to be the case.

And...PHEW! You have been a busy bee!

Paula said...

It really wasn't that bad when I ground it up in the food processor. I was expecting to want to toss my cookies, but the liver was much more like meat than liver. Actually, it reminded me of some venison I once had.

The dumplings turned out great! They were really good. I had four German cookbooks out and worked up an amalgamation of all of the recipes because I had more liver than any of them called for. So don't ask for a recipe because I can't give it to you. But they were delicious- better than I expected!

Miriam said...

You HAVE been busy! I am really looking forward to hearing about the bees as that project moves along. When do your bees arrive?

Maria said...

The dumplings do look great! I made meatballs tonight with a 50/50 mix of beef and pork.... tasty also.

phishlady said...

LOL, and here I was just coming to the comments to ask for a recipe... I've got two packs of liver in the freezer (from the butchered half-cow I bought from a nearby farmer) and haven't figured out what to do with them!

And... I'm jealous, tulips and daffodils? Ok, and excited because hopefully next fall I'll be living near Grants Pass instead of here in Minnesota... but at the moment I expect we've got 6 weeks or more before I can even SEE the ground again under the snow... wow. You can see growing things.

Paula said...

Miriam- I think they're supposed to be here in April.

Maria- I love meatballs!

Phishlady - can I assume that because you have phish in your name that there's a reason you're relocating to the Rogue River Valley?

By the way, it's called Grass Pants.....

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Whew! A whirlwind of activity over there at your house! You make me feel like a slug, holed up for winter.

Although, even though we don't have daffodils coming up, there are just a few signs that there will be a spring in our future. This is the time of year that I have acute climate envy.

Rae said...

Well, crud. I was popping down to the comments to get a recipe as well. Those look tasty! We looove liver. Mmmm. I lucked out, finding a man that likes it too. We have liver and onions feast nights at LJ's mom's. Mmmmm...

Jealous of the bulbs coming up. I just haven't gotten that far at the new place yet. Next year, next year. :)

Paula said...

Tamar- I would actually like a little snow. But just a little. You might be in better shape than we because our blossoms might get frost bitten, which would be bad. Look at it that way.

Rae- Are you in Clackamas county? Because the library has The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton, which has a recipe for them. My copy was given me by my German MIL, and it's one of the best I have. CC library system has several hard copies, but they also have a downloadable e-book. You could take a look, and if you decide you need your own copy, then you have a good excuse for going to Powell's! And if it makes you feel any better, this is the first year for bulb flowers for me. You gotta prioritize- food for the body was first.