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Some very overdue carrot thinning means baby carrot snacking!


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Container garden planted and starting to sprout

I feel like a kid again when the garden is about to sprout. I love coming out in the morning to see if the first leaves have raised their heads out of the soil. Yesterday I saw the first and today there are a few more.

This year the garden is simple. I’m using up older seeds, and there were a lot of bush beans saved from last year. Everyone loves beans, so we are doing several containers of those. I’ve also planted some carrots and spinach. Along the yard I also threw in some snap peas to grow up the lilacs, cukes along the fence, and ran some squash and pumpkins here and there.

The mint and strawberry pots wintered over just fine, but I had to replace the oregano and sage from my herb pot. Some of Jen’s cilantro seed also went into the middle of the herb pot this year as an experiment. 

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Bone Broth Attempt #1


There’s been a lot of talk about bone broth lately, so I decided to make some. I’ve been making chicken broth forever, so this is just basically chicken broth cooked for a really long time, so that the bones give up their goods.

For this experiment I bought the cheapest chicken cuts with bones that I could find, which were chicken thighs. They cost $0.99/lb at my very convenient nearby grocery store, so my total investment was about $3.50 for 2 packs of thighs. I added veggies that I had around the house – celery, parsley, carrots, some garlic, plus some seasoning – sage, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary. I also added juice from half a lemon, salt, and pepper. Then I covered it all with filtered water and cooked it for many many hours. IMG_0226

Here is the delicious result. The house smelled so good! After about 6 hours my son came in and immediately wanted to make chicken soup, so we did. I strained out some broth, we just simply shredded up some of the chicken from the thighs in the broth and put the bones back in, then added some carrots and noodles.

Now, I know that kids like the food that they cook better than if the mom had cooked it, but this is what my 11yo said, “This soup is so good that I want to cry.” I’d say it was worth breaking from the experiment for that quote.

After the soup break, to imbue that new water with the essence of the bones, I added more water and kept cooking for 2 hours on high and overnight on low. In the morning I strained out the solids and put the “liquid gold” into glass containers. It is good, but a little watery. I don’t think the bones had the strength to power two batches, so I’ll just make it for 8-10 hours next time without the soup-making hiatus in the middle.

Still, absolutely delicious and pretty much my favorite breakfast drink! I will put it in the fridge and then heat up a glass at a time to drink.


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Every once in a while our Golden Comets give us a yolk-less egg; the equivalent of the navel orange. I found an adorable one this morning.  


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Kombucha Brew

In my current obsession with fermented foods, I decided to try making kombucha.

I gotta say, the scoby, or slime puck, is totally gross.

A while ago I brought back some Aqua Vitea kombucha from Concord Provisions and started making the mother. You can buy mother from lots of places to get started. My mother-maker sat for a couple weeks and it developed the weird-ass scoby. Today I started brewing about two gallons of the actual drinkable beverage. Apparently it will take about a week to be ready, then I will bottle it for another week or so because I like it carbonated. I’ve made beer before, so this isn’t too unfamiliar of a process.

The original kombuchas were flavored, because that’s what they had at the store. One is cranberry and the other is elderberry. This may it to fail terribly, but so far things look right on target. Gross photos below!


The mother we made from the original kombucha. LG separating pomegranate in the background.


Supplies: big jar with wide mouth, vinegar to wash out the jar, tea, cheesecloth.

photo 1

Moving the mother to the brewed tea after the tea/sugar mix cooled.


Add the old kombucha, too.


Cover and store the brew in a dark place for a week.

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Broken blade stuck in Dewalt jigsaw for like, ever.

IMG_0584Oh the small successes in life are so rewarding.

I recently removed the broken and jammed butt end of a jigsaw blade from my Dewalt DW933. I thought I’d find a fix online, because there is so much out there — and online info helped me fix my dryer and my dishwasher last year. Unfortunately, all I could find was pretty much “stick a metal nail file in and pull it out” or “use needlenose pliers to pull it out.” Come on! Don’t you think I already tried that and at least 20 other things?

Soon after receiving this lovely power tool as a housewarming present two years ago I got the blade jammed and broke it off. By accident. I see that Dewalt has changed their keyless blade assembly design several times, so I guess this isn’t a very robust mechanism. Since it jammed, I have tried with earnest to fix it several times to unjam it, and last week I decided that I would throw it out otherwise, so I might as well attempt major surgery.IMG_0579

I was surprised at how easy it was. AFTER REMOVING THE BATTERY so I didn’t inadvertently kill myself, I took all the screws out with a star driver. There were only three sizes so they were easy to keep straight. Once the plastic side was off I removed the motor and some weird metal chunk fell out. I figured out how to put that back in, then continued disassembly. Once I  pulled the motor out and shook, the blade fell out effortlessly. If you try this at home, some tricks for putting the parts back together are 1) take your time to trace the electric cords back through their holders so they don’t get pinched upon reassembly, 2) the weird metal chunk slides gracefully into the bottom center, with the rounded concave part nestled against the matching cylinder shaped part (oh, so technical), 3) make sure the black lock button sets perfectly into its slot, 4) most importantly, make sure the “easy blade insert” screw is at the right level so that it can turn fully in both lock and unlock positions. I had to undo and redo to make both 3 & 4 work.

Oh, and next time buy one that uses an allan wrench for blade insertion/removal or one that gets great keyless blade reviews!

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Noam Chomsky: a legend, but such a rambler!

IMG_0362As part of the Concord Festival of Authors Noam Chomsky spoke at the Fenn School last Thursday night.

As we neared the entrance, a little late, my friend said “Is he just reading?” In almost complete monotone, Dr. Chomsky discussed his new book On Western Terrorism, where he  covered some of the same ground as Stephen Kinzer’s 2006 book Overthrow, which I recommend.

We stayed until we were on the edge of falling asleep (like someone sitting in the center balcony who could possibly  have been Mrs. Chomsky and the Fenn School boys who were forced to attend). While it was pretty amazing to see an aging legend in the flesh, we don’t regret leaving early.

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