Garden update!

I got a melon!!! I didn’t even see it until the other day.

Really tiny melon, maybe because the plant is dying (unknown cause). I’m not sure if it’s ripe — we will see!
The sweet potatoes are super vigorous. The bushiness is convenient for keeping wind-blown trash out. Unclear if I’ll be able to leave them in the ground over the winter. The mint, broccoli, and carrots are hanging on. The remaining kajari melon (care info) is doing well, but I’m not sure if it’s set fruit yet. The tatume squash is just starting to send out vines. I hope there’s enough warm weather left for it to make some squash.

I started the garden pretty late this year, so the plants didn’t have a super long growing season and had to deal with hot weather early on in their lives.

The late start might have also made bug threats worse. The radishes mostly succumbed to some small gray bugs. I was able to harvest three bottoms but the leaves had been sucked dry.

The fence needs some shoring up, especially at the curb. Cars aren’t very careful with their doors and the fence isn’t incredibly sturdy…

Disposing of old drugs

I’ve been struggling to “properly” throw away some old medications recently. You’re not supposed to put them down the drain because they aren’t removed in the water treatment process and can end up contaminating your or downstream areas’ water supply. The landfill seems fine to me (they are pretty good at keeping things contained), but drug disposal programs apparently incinerate everything, which is better.

I figured that most pharmacies would have take-back programs, but I guess not! I visited a handful of places, chosen for their convenient location or because an (out-of-date) city website listed them. Some of the pharmacies I tried to go to didn’t even exist at that location any more!

I finally had luck with a DEA drop-off finder tool (thanks for finding it, J!). The drop-off I went to only took pills, though, no liquids.

Another ‘nother rag rug

I just finished another requested rag rug from sibling C. The first request was finished around this time last year, and a non-requested rug + instructions a few years ago.

This rug is meant to replace a solid-color rug that shows hair and dirt too easily 🙂 The rug uses a new-to-me construction method.

You lay out strips side to side as a warp — I initially had this on a makeshift cardboard loom. The length should be the length you want your rug. Then you take strips of fabric and twine them around each other while doing plain weave. The warp ends up completely hidden.
Used part of a sheet, several pairs of underwear (the elastic was worn out), 3+ tshirts (including one I pulled out of the trash when I realized I was running out of white), and one button-up (stained).

The final rug looks nice but it was sloooow to make and pretty difficult to keep the tension even.

Compost pickup options

If you’re not able to go to your normal compost drop-off location, you may be able to get compost picked up! A lot of the services are bicycle-powered and pick up every 1 or 2 weeks. Cost seems to be around $20/5 gallon bucket or $30-50/month.

Here’s a map of US and Canadian compost pickup services.

Another rag rug

I made a custom-request rag rug for Sibling C! This is going to go beside a bed, so you don’t step on the cold floor in the winter.

Made from 1 sheet, 8 shirts, 3 of those cloth bags sheet sets come in, and about 10 pairs of underwear (the elastic was all stretched out).

This one is also braided, but in a zig-zag instead of a circle.

White wine mushroom cream sauce

Another way to use up lingering wine. Eat with pasta, omelette, crepes, toast, etc.

Recipe

  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Parsley to taste
  1. Cook onion and garlic in butter until translucent.
  2. Add mushrooms and cook until they release liquid. Add salt and spices.
  3. Add white wine and cream, and reduce by half.

We didn’t have cream on hand, so we substituted macadamia nut butter mixed with water, which worked quite well! Macadamia nuts are super oily, so the richness was a good replacement for the cream.

Fondue

I’ve been trying to use up some white wine (originally found on the sidewalk when walking back from the train station). Thanks to Reddit, I made a couple of really good and quite novel (for us) dishes in the last few days. The first was Swiss fondue, recipe courtesy of half-Swiss friend S! Thanks~

Fondue

  • 40% by weight Gruyère
  • 40% by weight Emmental (can substitute with Jarlsberg or similar American “Swiss” cheese)
  • 20% by weight Appenzeller (can substitute with havarti)
  • 50% of the total weight of the cheese of dry white wine (e.g. Sauvignon blanc) (1 cup ≈ 0.5 lb)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup kirsch or water
  1. Rub pot with cut side of garlic clove.
  2. Add grated cheese and wine to pot on low heat.
  3. When melted and bubbling, add cornstarch dissolved in kirsch, lemon juice, and spices to taste.
  4. Simmer for 2 minutes to thicken.

Exact measurements for garlic, cornstarch, and lemon juice are meant to serve 4 people. Adjust to taste/number of people/amount of cheese. The experts tell me Trader Joe’s has most of the requisite cheeses for cheap.

I can’t say the presentation is great, but it was good! We ate the fondue with homemade ciabatta (in background) and kimchi.

Decluttering art supplies!

Here are some old projects I found. I think I made them in middle school – I was really into beading and jewelry then.

Collection of pendants made out of polymer clay!
This is a waterfall jungle scene, complete with vines and reptiles. You’re supposed to hang dangly things from the bottom holes.
Some abstract thing I actually turned into a necklace. It looks kinda like corn…
My mom’s grade-school watercolor kit (we did not get rid of it), and her scientific drawing dip pen! Vintage~

Both of my siblings are strangely attached to crayons. Although they allowed many of our crayons to be given away, the compromise was that we had to keep the 96-color set. As sibling C said, “Who knows when the world will end and we realize we need crayons”.

Estate sale find: safety razors!

Sibling C and I went to a cool estate sale in Austin a few weeks ago! It was particularly well-organized, and much of the normal junk that clutters estate sales (old food, low-quality mismatched silverware, low-quality pans, etc) had either been hidden or sold.

I was excited to find a small collection of old shaving accoutrements. I have a straight razor (that I need to get sharpened), but I’ve also been interested in trying out safety razors, with the particular goal of being able to recommend them to friends in good faith.

I bought 2 of the razors from the sale for $3.75 each, which seemed like a good price 👍

On the left is a Gillette “Tech” made in the ’40s. It is stainless steel and essentially the same design as modern razors. On the right is a Gillette “Old Type” made in 1914 (105 years old!!). It is silver-plated brass.

Free food!

I discovered a neighbor was moving out when I discovered trash bags full of dry goods (gasp!) outside their door. I couldn’t keep myself from asking if it was fine for me to take what I wanted (the answer was “yes” and I was even offered my pick of furniture), so I ended up with this haul:

Let’s see, from left to right, there’s cereal, spaghetti, butter, cornmeal, cashews and almonds, water chestnut flour (used as an alternative to cornstarch, I think?), a “string” of fig “buttons”, various Indian spice mixes, salsa, jaggery (unrefined sugar), olives, chickpeas, cooking oil.

I love getting stuff I wouldn’t normally buy. It’s a treat 🙂 I especially enjoyed the salsa.

The day the neighbors moved out, I dug through the apartment dumpster, and additionally got a chair (for putting my “in use” clothes on), an apparently never-used yoga mat, laundry detergent (never get Gain original scent… On the plus side, I hear Gain is super strong), and a single handkerchief.