Thursday, January 7, 2010

Epiphany and Socks

George's socks are coming along with the first sock completed and the second one about halfway through the arch expansion.  I'm using the Philosopher's House Socks pattern from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways sock book. I have her newest sock book, and it looks interesting, but I can tell I'll need to sit with it and concentrate quite a bit. The New Pathways socks clicked (finally!) and I can now knit more or less without referring to the pattern all the time.  I even have great hopes of abandoning patterns altogether and just doing my own.

Yesterday was the first day I felt like anything after my cold.  Of course, I overdid it and am now back to feeling rotten. But yesterday was Epiphany and I got the urge to make my traditional prime rib dinner. Since I didn't start until late, and George got me an almost 5-pound roast, we ate late, but there it was. I didn't make Yorkshire Pudding, but did make a brown gravy from the drippings. I didn't feel up to making the King Cake, so it's in the oven now. When the children were little, I made a pound cake every Epiphany with an almond glaze on it. The first time, I planned to put a coin in the cake for them to find, but then thought the better of it. They might bite down on it and break those precious teeth! So I decided to hide an almond instead. But when I invited a friend with her two boys to have the dinner with us, I thought that I'd never explain to four very young children why one got the lucky almond, and the others didn't, so I laced that cake with almonds! Pound cake isn't a traditional King Cake in any culture, but it is in our house, and that's the only time I'll put the almond glaze on it.This year's King Cake is in the oven now and I'll make the almond glaze when it cools.

George is getting ready to bottle his first batch of double IPA, which ought to be exciting. Actually, it probably won't be, but he's using his new bottle washer for the first time and that might be exciting.

In gardening news, the pop-up greenhouse arrived today, a day late, but we probably won't put it up. With winds gusting up to 40 mph out there, the poor thing might blow away just as we're trying to get it anchored down. We'll set it up this weekend, perhaps, and try to get it going. I sometimes wish I had a few acres of land and no restrictions. I'd like to have a workshop for George, a permanent greenhouse, a small garden, and a little room for a few chickens. However, that's incompatible with life on a boat, so we'll see.

The hydroponics herbs are coming along nicely, except the parsley, which still stubbornly refuses to sprout. If it doesn't sprout by tomorrow, or if I don't see roots underneath, I'll probably try dropping another seed or two in the pod. The basils are sending out their second set of true leaves, the mint, thyme and dill are sending out their first set of true leaves, and the chives look very much like small chives. I'm looking forward to harvesting my own fresh herbs.

I had to give up on the idea of starting my seeds hydroponically this year. AeroGrow is out of units, having sold out for Christmas, and I'd need a second unit promptly. It will be time to start peppers soon and then tomatoes a couple of weeks afterwards. We are trying one of Burpee's seed starting kits that looks interesting and we set up florescent desk lamps in our "grow" corner. We've been trying them out with our microgreens and they obviously work. Probably next week will be the beginning of starting our few veggie plants for the spring. We're planning on several types of tomatoes, growing over the arbor where we had mandevillas last year, bell peppers, cucumbers and herbs.

The weather has been much colder than usual this year - or rather, much colder than it's been lately. I'll have to check NOAA and see what the records are for this time of year. A bad cold front is coming through now, with the temps due to get down into the 20's tonight and for the next few nights. This is very unusual for us and I'm worried about my new, young olive tree. Established olives can make it down into the teens, although they don't enjoy it much, but young trees usually need at least five years to mature before they're hardy enough to take temperature extremes. I think the pomegranate in the front yard will make it. George just suggested getting the greenhouse set up before the hard freeze tonight and setting a lamp in it to keep the temps up a bit. Since we won't hve a chance for solar heating to start working - no sun today - we'll be dependent on the power grid tonight.

Stay warm, everybody!

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