Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed in. Tomato pickles. Farmcar. Oyster mushrooms. Sewing.

A view from the living room window

We're home, in the middle of Snowpocalypse 2011. The city is pretty much shut down, and the city’s 10 salt/snow trucks aren't able to keep up. The roads are treacherous and I am so glad to be in our warm, comfortable home with our animals. We are some of the lucky ones.

So while we've been snowed in, I've had the opportunity to catch up on some of the projects that have been "needin' done".

Tomato pickles.

The first week of December I had set up a batch of green, unripe cherry tomatoes to ferment. It was purely an experiment after successfully fermenting sauerkraut (YUM!).

Here’s the before, with green tomatoes, several whole cloves of garlic, lots of dill seed, five whole cayenne peppers, and a brine of 4 cups water with 3 tablespoons kosher salt. I covered it with a brine-filled ziplock bag to hold the vegetables under the brine and let it sit.

After two weeks, it looked like this:

tomato pickles

The tomatoes started turning to a duller green, but the peppers were still beautiful. It smelled strongly of garlic and dill. I tasted one tomato and thought a pepper had exploded in my mouth. It was HOT!

I was a little afraid at this point – they smelled great but were much too hot.

This past weekend, I checked them again and they were absolutely amazing. The heat had mellowed, and they now have a slightly garlic-dill tang with a bit of heat. The are luscious.

Processing fermented foods kills the wonderful microbes that are so healthy for you, as well as mushifies everything. It will keep for many months refrigerated, unprocessed, so I packed them into glass jars that’s where they went. 


Farmcar finally died. I can’t complain – she had almost 220k miles on her and had treated me exceptionally well.

It was still sad when the tow truck hauled her away for donation.

We are now a one-car household…with a little two-door Honda Civic. Another great car, but will definitely be putting a crimp on my projects. I can’t fit two full size bookcases in her like I could in Farmcar. We’ll find a way to make-do.

Goodbye, Farmcar.

Goodbye, Farmcar.

Oyster mushrooms.

On December 18th, I mixed some oyster mushroom sawdust spawn (from Fungi Perfecti) into used coffee grounds. I have four buckets of the stuff down in the basement as well as two small containers in the kitchen. Aside from a slight bloom of mycelium on the surface, they weren’ t appearing do much…

…until yesterday.

oyster mushrooms

See all that white-ish stuff? That’s oyster mushroom mycelium. That is Good Stuff.

This has been yet another of my experiments, and so far it looks like its going to work. I’m hoping to see some actual fruiting take place soon – no idea how soon, anywhere from days to another two weeks. Keep your fingers crossed!

Shower curtain.

It doesn’t take much to make a big improvement, especially in a small room.

I’d found a duvet cover at a Goodwill that I frequent and absolutely fell in love with the print. From it, I made a shower curtain for both the master and hall bathrooms. The hall bath is in sore need of repair – its going to be a massive project. But in the meantime, a pretty shower curtain made a huge difference.


 bathroom before


bathroom after

There have been some other things going on, a new crocheted hat and scarf for example, but I’ll save you from those.

Are you working on any projects? How are you spending your winter?

Love to you all!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, your tomatoes look yummy yummy yummy! I wish I had some right now (though I do have some excellent daikon fridge pickles we made). I have pickle envy, though.

    Be sure to keep the fruit flies away from your oyster mushrooms! They are easy unless those little buggers are around to eat them first.