Saturday, August 28, 2010

I've been watching my radishes grow and it's a lot of fun. I've noticed that they have a really pretty sheen to them in the light, almost like they're sparkling! It kind of reminded me of something else that glitters in the sunlight..

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back in Austin

I finally got back into my apartment on Friday. I still need to tidy it up before it's picture ready, but here's what the patio looks like so far.

I just planted some lettuce, radishes, and beans from seed and I dug up and potted the jalapenos, bell peppers, eggplant and Russian heirloom tomato. I'm going to sew a little cushion for the seat and put up bunting or lights or something outside to make it cute.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

grapefruit marmalade

I went on a canning spree yesterday. I made four pounds of grapefruit marmalade, two pounds of blueberry lime jam, and one pint jar of earl grey infused figs to send to my cousin. I'll update about the blueberry jam later (it was DELICIOUS!), but right now here's the grapefruit marmalade recipe. I followed the recipe from Preserves by Catherine Atkinson, but below is what I changed and did differently.

grapefruit marmalade

2 lbs red grapefruit
1 lemon
5 cups of water
6 1/2 cups sugar
granulated pectin (the recipe doesn't call for it, but my marmalade was liquid

1. Remove grapefruit and lemon peels with a vegetable peeler and set aside. Juice both grapefruits and lemon into a large pan.
2. Cut up citrus peels into thin strips or however desired and add to pan with juice.
3. Add water and allow juice, peels, and water to simmer until the peels are very tender, about two hours.
4. Add sugar (and I added 3/4 of a packet of pectin) and bring to a hard boil for 10 minutes.
5. Turn off the heat and skim off the foam. Pour into pre-sterilized warm jars. Be careful.. it is REALLY hot!
6. Lid and process jars (if desired)

To process jars, bring a large pot of water (enough for 2" above the can) to boil and using a special jar lifter lower your cans into the water. The screw top should be tight, but fully tightened. The glass will expand during heating and may crack if the screw top is too tight. Process the jars for 5 minutes, then use the jar lifter to remove them and set them on towels and leave them alone for 12-24 hours. Any unsealed jars can be put in the fridge.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hello, Pickle

Also... I made pickles!!

APPARENTLY, you're SUPPOSED to harvest cucumbers with the spines still on them. I didn't know this and I was waiting for all of them to fall off. They were starting to turn yellow so I googled it and it meant that they were over ripe! They taste fine and aren't soft, but the seeds in some of them had started to harden so I had to pick all of them out. I don't like cucumbers, and I absolutely hate pickles, so I don't know what I'm going with 3 half pint jars of them.

Artoo Detoo!

My cat is the love of my life, he is the only thing that never fails to cheer me up. He's such a mama's boy and a little piggy. I found him outside of a bookstore almost two years ago and chased him around the parking lot for half an hour. A couple people came and joined me, but one by one they started to lose interest and go into the store or back to their car. Just as I was about to lose all hope, I went to my car and took one look back and saw that he was right in front of my car distracted by a bug. One foot was already inside the car, but I swooped in and scooped him up and tossed him in the car before he had a chance to comprehend what just happened to him. I brought him home and immediately washed him, because he was absolutely filthy. He ended up curling up in my lap and purring as I was drying him off, and I fell in love right then and there. I narrowed names down to Vinz Clortho and Artoo Detoo and ultimately decided on Artoo Detoo. It's absolutely perfect for him. He makes tons of weird noises and is a butt head, but in an endearing way. On Christmas day (08) I gave him his name tag and collar and it was official! Now he's fully a part of the family and my dad and stepmom always want me to bring him home when I visit.

I took a million pictures of him this afternoon and this is the only one where he wasn't blurry and/or giving me a mean face.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

That's a deal breaker, ladies!

Why did it take me so long to watch 30 Rock? I've been watching a couple episodes a day on Netflix for the past week and it is so good. This weekend will be dedicated to discovering more awesome tv shows, studying for my millions of chemistry exams next week (Chem II in the summer is not a good idea) and finishing up projects for the craftster swaps I am in.Unfortunately I ruined a bag for the swap by burning it with an iron and have to start over again. Here are a couple bags that I DIDN'T ruin.

The striped one was originally for a swap, but after I finished it I realized that it probably wasn't their style at all so I started over. I have two more weeks to get it right though, which should be plenty of time.
In other news, the bean and lettuce seeds that I planted last week just to see what would happen have started to sprout! They're not photo ready yet, but in the next couple days they should be big enough. Hopefully the thunder storm that is rolling through NW Houston right now won't ruin them.

Lemon OUT!

Friday, August 6, 2010

They may take our squash, but they can never take our cucumbers!!

Something has been eating the cucumber leaves. I've already lost my squash to pests, but I refuse to let my cucumbers succumb to critters! I am going to try diluted soap as a pesticide first. If that doesn't work, I guess I can sick Artoo on them.

He's a pro bug hunter. Last week he caught and ate a cockroach and puked it up all over the kitchen. Yum!

In the mean time I've been trying to see what happens with this avocado pit.

I've also been making kitty purses.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


It's kind of funny that the ONLY thing growing right now is the one thing I don't like to eat.. cucumbers! Unfortunately the summer squash had to be pulled out because of what looked like damage from squash borers, which was really sad for me because it was growing so well and I was starting to get excited about eating some.
BUT! The cucumbers have finally started to grow, and it looks like they'll actually stick around. My plan with these was to pickle them and give them away to anyone who will take them, because as much as I don't like cucumbers, I hate pickles even more.

The Russian heirloom tomatoes are really coming back. When I first planted it, there was a small tomato already growing, but it eventually fell off and the whole plant looked like it was about to go belly up. Today there is a new baby tomato on the plant! It will most likely fall off as well, but I can always dream. They're supposed to be really dark red/purple tomatoes, so I'd love it if I could at least get ONE good tomato from it just to see the colors.