Tag Archives: plants

The Great Project of 2013

Later this year we will move into a different apartment. A bigger one. One with a garden. I am looking forward to this garden for a host of reasons. One of them is the price of berries at the grocer’s. Another is the time I can spend outside without having to pack all kinds of stuff before heading outside. On the other hand I am worried that the garden will be too big and take up too much time. I worry that we’ll spend lots of money and time on it, only to have things turn to mush, shrivel, or turn out to be too difficult for us.

My plant list inlcudes:

  • strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants
  • a chamomile lawn
  • lavender, thyme, rosemary
  • some fruit trees (cherries, pears, plums, apples — preference in that order)
  • maybe a hardy kiwi
  • different kinds of mint
  • beans and peas
  • zucchini and eggplant
  • dahlia yams, now that I know they are edible

I’ve borrowed several books from the local library. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve been a Bad Poster

Not posting for several months: bad!

Baking rhubarb meringue cake and banana bread and not taking a picture to post it: bad!

Reading Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman and not having anything to say about it: not so good.

Going to see Porgy and Bess on Broadway, liking it (a lot) but not writing anything about it: also not good.

Going to see Being Shakespeare at BAM, enjoying it immensely but not telling anybody about it: pathetic.

Visiting the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden and not even mentioning it in a facebook post: sad.

So what have I been wasting my time on now? Well, I’ve been planning a garden I don’t yet have and going through garden catalogs dreaming of an impossible garden with all kinds of climate zones; I’ve been hanging out with friends and family; I’ve been moving from Darmstadt to Mainz to back home, only to go traveling for 3 weeks; I’ve been reading about the health care debate in the US and I’m not quite sure I understand it; I’ve been following the movement of academics boycotting certain publishers with great interest and have encouraged my sister to publish her doctoral thesis in an open access journal.

Books I’ve read since my last post:

  • Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett (re-read to get into the Christmas spirit)
  • Pigeon English, by Stephen Kelman (good for a train-ride to Berlin)
  • The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (while fighting jet-lag)
  • Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman (re-read when I had to ride the subway a lot)
  • Utopia, by Thomas More (as an e-book on an iPad)

In conclusion: I am a bad poster for actually doing, seeing, and thinking about stuff but not posting about it.

Splendid Sunday

Today I’ve got two things to show you.

1) A few weeks back I planted some black beans (I let them sprout first) and they came up nicely.

Of the three plants that I have, one is already done with flowering and is now letting its pods dry, so I picked four pods off and shelled the beans. This yielded 16 beans! Hooray!

All my gardening happens inside the flat and there are no pollinating insects in said flat thanks to the bug screens we put in the windows. So, I chose beans because they are self-pollinating and required no tending besides a little watering and removal of old leaves.
I know that I won’t harvest enough beans for more than one meal (if that) but I like the idea of harvesting at least something.

2) After dinner I made churros. I got the recipe from the 50th issue of Donna Hay, so it’s not necessarily like any traditional recipes. But they were delicious anyway.


This is my version of the recipe (I winged it a little):

  • melt 50g of butter in a saucepan (but don’t let it brown)
  • add 1cup of water and let this boil
  • once it boils turn down the heat to low
  • add a mixture of 1cup flour, 1teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 cup sugar to the butter-water
  • stir until you’ve got a ball of goop
  • with an electric mixer beat two eggs into the goop until you’ve got a smooth dough
  • heat some oil in a wok or saucepan (it needs to be deep enough for the dough to swim on)… turn it to medium heat
  • using a bag with a nozzle (I’ve got something that looks like a childrens’ syringe) squirt strings of dough into the hot oil
  • fry the strings of dough until they are golden brown, take them out and let them sit on some kitchen paper
  • serve warm

I made skinny twisty churros… you can make them fatter and less twisty. I also melted some chocolate to dip them in. I’m sure they’d be great with maple syrup or honey.