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Food & Drink

Preparing for Rain and Drought

IBC Tote & Pallet Wood Rain Cistern

Rain barrels might just be a gateway drug. I started with two converted 55 gallon olive barrels. Then I converted two more soda barrels for 220 gallons of capacity. But, I discovered that I could use all of that water in about a week and a half watering our garden. So, I've gone the next step in my addiction to rainwater catchment.

There, I Fixed It!

Repaired Coffee Grinder and Tools

Less than two years ago I replaced a broken coffee grinder. The old coffee grinder was unrepairable, yet it had worked for over 25 years. I just fixed the 'new' grinder which had a frayed power cord due to a design / manufacturing flaw (the sliding cord cover cut the wire insulation). Somehow this doesn't feel like progress.

Resolutions and Resolve

Pints of Homebrewed Hard Apple Cider and Scotch Ale

Late 2015 and early 2016 have been an interesting time in the eco/enviro world. An international agreement was reached in Paris at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) to reduce CO2 emissions. Yay! Following COP21 it was announced that 2015 was the warmest year and January 2016 was the warmest month (measured globally) on record. Boo! What to do when bad news effectively cancels out the good news of a month earlier? I think it calls for both resolutions and resolve.

La Historia de Una Abeja

Empty Throne

Readers, let me tell you of my bee woes. One of my hives has been a regular telenovela.

Round about this time last year, we noticed one of our two hives was quiet … too quiet. It turned out as we feared. The whole colony had departed for greener pastures after a wet, cold winter. It was tragic inside the hive. I found several bars of bees frozen in place with a comb full of honey not that far away. I wasn't in the market for a new colony so it just sat there empty.

Really Making The Apples Last

Apples 2014

As we settled down for some PBS Christmas special last night, I reflected on the winter. A sneak snow storm was dusting the roads outside and it appears that winter has finally arrived, technically and meteorologically. While the apples in Santa Fe are well past their peak, once again we have put some up.

30 minutes Or 75 minutes, whatevs...

Kitchen Timer

Mark Bittman, you're killing me. I made your Spaghetti and Meatballs with hope in my heart and I made it in 30 minutes! (times 2.5)

I completely understand your argument that mise-en-place is an overly fussy step for home cooks. The only time a home chef needs to have everything ready is for stir-fries where everything comes together rapidly. The preparation of the mise-en-place works well in a restaurant where a cook is moving all the time and has several different dishes going. If a restaurant chef has a moment after something has started, they better get going on the next order. If I prep everything ahead of time that means I'll have small six to ten minute breaks between recipe steps which sounds terribly annoying. I could either do a few six minutes chores and forget to stir the onions or I could prep along the way.

How to Make it Rain

Kitchen Garden & Coop Tour 2014 - Waiting Out the Hail Storm

Have you ever wondered how to make it rain? The folks at Home Grown New Mexico may have figured it out. For the second year in a row the Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour has concluded with a downpour. I can't think of a more fitting end to a tour of permaculture gardens, water catchment systems and chicken coops than a powerful rainstorm.

More Than Just a Bunch of Wineries

Lagunitas Brewing Co. - The Writing is on the Wall

When you think of Sonoma, CA what comes to mind? Maybe green vineyards or rolling golden hills, but probably not craft beer and hard cider. On a recent vacation in Northern California I tasted quite a few beverages made with barley and apples instead of grapes. Sonoma County has built a reputation on wine, but a revival of hand-crafted beer and cider has grown from historic hop vines and apple orchards.

Banking on the Harvest

Petaluma Seed Bank interior 2

Why do banks give up these incredible buildings? The answer is probably very boring and financially sensible, but LOOK at this building and tell me do you prefer an ATM?

Anyway ... on our recent (and too short) northern CA vacation we made a trip to the Petaluma Seed Bank. If you enjoy seed catalogs, you will love this place. We browsed for quite a while and made small withdrawal (i.e. we bought some seeds).

More Info:

The Four Day Cocktail

This past week, I spent four days making a cocktail.

If you saw the picture in Bon Appetit, you might drop everything and make it too. Its marbled beauty reminiscent of an Italian cathedral.... Oh sorry! Back to the cocktail.

This craziness started on Sunday with a special trip to our local 'Swapper Jacks' for a stout beer. I did not want a whole six pack because, for lord's sake, it's 90 degrees outside ... who drinks stout when it's that hot? Beer acquired.

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