What I’ve been doing while I Haven’t Been Posting

As at least two of you have noticed, (you two are the only reason I’m resurrecting this right now,) I have not posted anything here for a while. I’ll explain what’s up with the costume project in my next post. For today I want to show you all that I have indeed been doing Making and DIY things despite not broadcasting it to the world. I did have pictures of several of the things here, but somehow they’ve disappeared, so you unfortunately don’t get to look at much.

Interesting meals have been making a regular appearance at my home. Most of them have been vegan, or close to it. (I don’t like meat, and dairy doesn’t agree with me.) Even better, all of them have been edible — yes, that is my minimum baseline for success — and all but a couple of them have been quite tasty. The blended celery soup wasn’t cooked right, and the shepherd’s pie came out rather dry, but it’s otherwise been a series of decent dinners, with a couple desserts thrown in for good measure. I would share more information on the dinners here, but 1) I’m usually working from a recipe from someone else’s blog, and I don’t want to steal; 2) It’s tough to get a dinner I’ve never made ready in time for my husband to eat during the hour he’s home between work and musical practice (he’s currently in The Rocky Horror Show); and 3) I decided when I revived this blog that I would not discuss dinners or desserts here, since so many other blogs have presented that far better than I could, and I have nothing particularly valuable to add to the subject. You might get a peek at a couple other, more crafty-type food projects here in a bit.

I’ve been gardening and spending time harvesting from my little pots. My garden came out pretty well this year, considering I had a bug infestation and am still working in pots on my north-facing patio. I harvested a grand total of three zucchini, two of which were only partially fertilized and gave a strange-looking, half-deflated balloon animal look. How people always say they have mountains of zucchini baffles me, as this year is my largest harvest. The zukes were pretty hard by the time I harvested them, but they shredded well for a zucchini bread.

Two of my three kohlrabi plants actually formed into kohlrabi. The third looked like some sort of kohlrabi-kale hybrid and never got a thickened stem. That said, the kohlrabi were small even for organically-grown veggies in pots. They were all of about three inches tall and maybe two inches across. They were adorable in an almost-useless way. They went into a pressure-cooked elk tenderloin dinner and almost constituted a few small bites.

My cucamelon, a.k.a. mouse melon plant produced pretty well this year, considering it never grew more than a couple inches tall last year. These aren’t my favorite for eating straight off the vine, sadly; they live up to the nickname of Mexican Sour Gherkin, being sour little bundles of seeds in a skin. They’re just so freaking cute, though! They look like tiny little watermelons. They’re at least a cute ornamental plant, so I’ll keep growing them. Hopefully I’ll have space for more plants next year so I can get more fruits. Probably they’d be pretty tasty as pickles. That’s next year’s plan; this year, I’ve been harvesting each fruit as it matures, fermenting the seeds in a bit of water for a few days, and then squeezing each seed free of the slimy seed coat. It’s a rather labor-intensive method, but workable at the small scale. If anyone wants some seeds for a cucamelon plant, I can hook you up.

Cucamelon
A full-grown cucamelon fruit on a U.S. quarter. So cute!

My “pumpkin on a stick eggplant” plants, a.k.a. Hmong Eggplant, Red China Eggplant, or Scarlet Chinese Eggplant also grew pretty well. They’re so adorable! The fruit looks like tiny bright orange pumpkins. The fruit is supposedly edible as a green fruit, when they’re less bitter. I just wanted adorable squishy pumpkins, though.

Pumpkin Tree
Two of the many fruits on the pumpkin tree. They’re all smaller than the ones you might find at the store (in the floral section) but that just makes them cuter!

The sunchoke plant, a.k.a.Jerusalem artichoke, a.k.a. fartichoke (don’t eat many if you don’t want to feel like a giant bubbly balloon), came back much smaller this year. A similar-looking plant with skinnier leaves was growing instead, so I waited to see what it would be. Eventually, I figured out that it was horseweed. Yes, I accidentally watered and nurtured a weed. However, it’s an edible weed! Not one to resist something edible that volunteered in my garden, I plucked all the green leaves and dried them for seasoning. So I can now add, “harvested an edible weed,” to my list of horticultural accomplishments.

I am in the process of creating a good place to set up my indoor grow area to have culinary herbs all year round. Yes, culinary herbs. Not other herbs. Yes, I live in Colorado. Growing those plants is too much effort.

Additionally, I’ve been papercrafting some, trying to sort some of my many boxes of stuff, and trying to exercise consistently. Lots of little things that aren’t blog fodder, but that take time and energy nevertheless.

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