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Rainy day runoff...

March 31, 2009 11:17 AM 3/31/09

So after going to my daughter’s IEP yesterday (no hammering of people needed - more on that later) I came back and I noticed that the damn gutter on the corner of the garage where the rain barrel sits is bent downward. So much so that it’s leaking out the corner a bit instead of running down. That likely means it’s clogged with something so since it’s raining steadily out today I’m going to have to look at it when I get home.

My jaw is down to a dull roar pain-wise so that’s a good thing. I’ve been taking far too much ibuprofen in my opinion. And the hole is closed but not grown together so I’m less likely to get any food stuck in there. I still have to kind of eat out of the left side of my mouth a bit but at least I’m not wincing as I eat any more.

Fries _and_ pie today just because I can.

The snow is almost gone due to the rain today. It was a pain driving into work on Sunday because nobody plowed really well first thing that morning.

Didn’t do Wii Fit yesterday. I really need to get on it and work out today when I get home. I didn’t make my previous weight loss goal but it really was too high. I’ve lowered the goal a bit and we’ll see how that goes. The average weight loss (according to the Wii Fit board) is three pounds every two weeks. I’ve set mine at 5 pounds in two weeks. I think I can manage that. The big thing is to be consistent and not yo-yo on it.

My wife’s herbs are doing well. Still nothing on the parsley or the other herb that I looked at last night and _still_ can not seem to remember the name of. *rolls eyes* They say the memory is the second thing to go...I’ve forgotten what the first is...

Been watching A/C units to see what kind of deals are out there. I really don’t want to run one due to cost but there are times it’s just too hot and humid and fans don’t cut it. I did figure out that I could use one or two of the rolling floor units and park their output into the _single_ cold air return in the house and use the furnace fan to deliver the cold air. I think that would be a highly efficient use of A/C stuff instead of buying a bunch of window units. And yes I know that having them in the living room would make the room a bit warmer than the other areas of the house but that room is easily vented if it gets too hot and the central ceiling fan would help circulate the heat away regardless. And there are two heating vents in that room anyway which would be outputting cool air via the furnace. (Yes, yes, I intend to obey the laws of thermodynamics. ;-P No perpetual cooling machine for me.)

I’m really really behind in some stuff. I remembered yesterday that I need to make copies of our lot survey so I can draw the new fence plan on it and get a permit to re-do the garden fence. I should get that done today so I don’t forget again. Then there’s the clean out of certain stuff in the garage including the chemicals and the ginourmous Color LaserJet 5 laser printer and a bunch of toner bottles. Most of the spare toner I can ship back to HP or take to Staples/Office Despot/Office Gax but there is still colored toner in the internal bottles of that printer that I can’t get rid of easily. I wonder if there’s a printer place that will charge me a minimal disposal fee...

The IEP yesterday went better than expected. I didn’t have to bring anybody into line with us and they all seemed to respect our choices. I think they figured out that they’ve crossed the line somewhere but I won’t hold my breath. The one lady I wanted to thwap wasn’t there but that didn’t surprise me too much. No biggie as I’ll thwap her if she becomes a problem.

Got my first canning experience this last week as my mother was down from upper Wisconsin and taught me how to use the 22 qt pressure canner she gave me earlier. My wife made some excellent chicken soup and we canned five quarts of that. It all came out perfectly and I learned the basic process so now when the garden produces this year we can can a bunch of stuff like the endless beans we’re going to end up with. ;-)

Bah. Already time to go back to work...

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
I discovered that I already had a bucket that was about the right size. I bought some sphagnum moss and some limestone ("marble") chips - because apparently watercress likes the water to be slightly alkaline - and assembled everything. Stone chips in bottom of bucket, sphagnum moss in colander, colander on top of bucket, water up to the top of the moss... and then I planted the seeds, with a brief incantation. The whole contraption is now in a place where it will get partial sun for a good part of the day, while staying relatively cool. I just have to keep it good and wet until they sprout, and then continue to keep it wet. As soon as there are a few leaves, my husband and I are going to ritually pick and eat some. But I'm going to try to have the patience to let most of it grow to a decent size before I pick it.

Canning is really easy, especially if you have an actual pressure canner - I've only ever been able to manage boiling-water canning, for jams and such. But it's not rocket surgery. And it makes one feel industrious and thrifty and virtuous ;-)
Mar. 31st, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you have the watercress germination right in hand then. I'm up to 5 tomato seedlings as we speak but no bell pepper ones yet. I suspect they won't happen until it gets significantly warmer.

As for jams/jellies we don't usually eat those but if I get enough raspberries this year I'll happily make some and send it to relatives. A nice use of the canner and some experience with wax. :-)

This is a true "jiggle canner" and a big one at that so I'm pretty happy to have it. I owe my mother a smaller replacement for it despite her protestations to the contrary. (Alas 22 qts is not quite big enough to make a standard batch of wort so I still need to get my 30 qt turkey cooker.)

Edited at 2009-03-31 06:15 pm (UTC)
Mar. 31st, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Wax?? I believe the current standards on home canning say that wax is not a good idea. I'm not sure... Here's a really nice canning site. It's PDFs with very clear and thorough instructions, copiously illustrated.

Mar. 31st, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
***DO NOT*** use wax! Can jams and jellies with regular jar lids, in a boiling-water bath. (Until this last move, I always had raspberries growing wild in or near my yard. I made lots of jam!)

So far, I think I did everything more or less right with the watercress. But I won't know for sure until it actually comes up, or doesn't.
Mar. 31st, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
I have to ask why not here. Both you and entropy_house seem quite adamant about it but I've seen it used for years.

As long as it's edible paraffin I've never questioned the process. What am I missing here?
Mar. 31st, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Wax doesn't seal completely airtight, or at least it's not reliable. It's not uncommon to find mold on the underside of the wax. And you can't process a wax-sealed canning jar. Using a regular canning lid, you can process the jam for ten minutes in boiling water, which creates an airtight seal while it kills off just about anything that might still be in or on the jam.

In the old days, they used to tell you to just scrape the mold off and eat the "good" parts of things like jam or cheese. Now, though, the received wisdom is that mold gives off potentially harmful chemicals that permeate the food, and it's best to just not eat anything that's gotten moldy. Better to just expend a few jar lids and a half-hour of your time.
Mar. 31st, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
Ahh! Understood.

I was under the impression that you use the wax in conjunction with the canner.

Is jam too delicate to use a standard canning procedure then?
Mar. 31st, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
The "old-fashioned" way involved pouring the boiling hot, just-cooked jam or jelly mixture into scalded glass jars, then immediately pouring melted paraffin wax on top. Sometimes there were air bubbles in the jam, or in the wax. Sometimes the wax didn't seal completely to the glass around the edges. Sometimes there were pinpoint holes in the wax that allowed mold to develop.

Processing jam or jelly in a boiling-water bath will do it no harm at all, although you probably want to let it sit at room temperature (or cooler) for at least a few days to a week or more before you open it and use it, to allow it to cool completely and "set" firm again.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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