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society donor
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    San Francisco Bay Area

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  1. I am warned. I recently bought a small plant of Moroccan Mint, and I was thinking of planting it in the ground. Guess not. It goes into a pot.
  2. Or the Bay Area. This plot of land in the Bay Area would cost over $1 million and it would be built over. Beautiful fields, Shelby. What kind of wheat are you growing? Do you grind your own wheatberries for flour?
  3. The lavender is blooming, my front deck garden is shaping up for summer. Since the last time I posted, I've added a pot of chervil to the mix.
  4. This year's herb patch on my front deck (with some ornamentals too). French and English thyme, tarragon, Italian oregano, marjoram, Genovese basil, Italian parsley, Berggarten sage, creeping winter savory, alpine strawberry, lavender, chives. I bought six-cell packs of the basil and parsley this year, not all shown. I predict a lot of pesto and tabbouleh on the table this summer.
  5. Shain, what is this? Is it something edible? ETA: Liked the pic of your two gardening assistants, also!
  6. Oh, this is amazing. I'm gone for a few weeks (project deadlines and some kind of flu, eww) and I come back to a new installation. Love the Gorilla tent. The other day I was thinking of reading The Martian again, you know the part where Mark Watney starts farming inside his habitat so he doesn't starve to death, and he creates soil from his own waste. I don't expect you to do that kind of extreme farming of course. Your wife and your neighbors... We've had a great deal of blessed rain this past month, and our state is recovering well from the Great Drought. Because of the cloudy gray weather, none of my plants have grown much in the past weeks. Their growth stalled without sunshine. They are, however, well-hydrated.
  7. Have you seen this? Info about plumeria, incl propagation from seeds, in this article from the Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service. http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/OF-24.pdf
  8. How hot is too hot? Some parts of my back deck get blasted with afternoon sun (I live on a ridge). Rosemary and Greek oregano do well there. Think harsh, hot Greek hills.   I saw this rosemary at the nursery and thought it could do well in a pot. http://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=3934 This rosemary also sounds pot-friendly. I don't remember seeing it at the nursery, though. http://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=3825   I tried this Greek oregano at the nursery (yes, I ate a bit of leaf), and it was so peppery I hesitated to buy it. But it intrigues me. I may grow it this year to satisfy my curiosity. Also, any deer that tries to eat this plant will be sorry. http://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=4518   Do you grow mint? It has to be grown in a pot because of its invasiveness, and it thrives in heat and sun. It does grow fast, though, so it has to be repotted regularly. I love the flavor of Moroccan mint. http://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=4729
  9. My berries were sweet and delicious in the summer. They became tart in the fall and winter because they didn't ripen as much in the weaker sunlight. Since you control light in your spaceship garden, you could have sweet berries for as long as the plant bears fruit.
  10. Very early spring on my front deck. Parma violets (in the blue pot) are always the first flowers to bloom in my garden. Also in the pic, thyme, parsley, creeping winter savory, chives. Lavender in the big pot on the right side. These plants stayed green and grew slowly over the winter. The plant in the foreground is alpine strawberry. I waited for it to freeze over, but in my protected front deck area it never did. It kept blooming and fruiting thru the winter, even though the fruit was tart. I'll grow this one again. It's an alpine strawberry cultivar named 'Mignonette' (Fragaria vesca 'Mignonette').   Everything else in my garden is coming up 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. My roses started sprouting two weeks ago, and my salvia is showing signs of life. It does worry me a bit. Global warming? What global warming? Well, I'm not in denial about it.
  11. I use a spatula scraper for bowls. It works Ok. There are curved bowl scrapers, held in your hand, that work faster. For a bench scraper, I use a straight-edge dough scraper. Works fine.
  12. A good digital thermometer with a probe you can hang off the side of the bowl. Chocolate mold of some kind if you're going to experiment with tempering. (Unless you're only planning on hand-dipping chocolates?) I always used the clear plastic chocolate molds, not the colored plastic ones. After filling the molds with tempered chocolate, I could see thru the plastic molds to check how the chocolate was doing. The chocolate pulls away from the mold as it cools and sets. That gives you a clue when you can unmold. Homemade chocolate peanut butter cups are better than anything store-bought, but more challenging than making simple chocolate shapes from a mold. There are molds that are a tray of little cups for making peanut butter cups or other filled chocolates. Oh, and make sure you have a good scraper to get the chocolate sludge off your bowls and the kitchen counter. You don't want to waste any of this stuff--chocolate's expensive. The scraped up sludge could be another batch of tempered chocolate on another day.
  13. I've done little confectionery in my time. Not my thing. But back in the day when I was playing with chocolate, I used Trader Joe's Pound Plus, which was a good quality chocolate for the price. I think it's only dark chocolate, not milk chocolate. I haven't tried it in years, so if anybody else has had more recent experience with this chocolate, pls say if it's still good.   I've done tempering with the microwave method and the classic mush method (groan). Microwave was easier for me, but the classic method gives a better temper.   I assume you have a good digital thermometer. It's important for tempering chocolate.   King Arthur Flour sells chocolate pastilles. I like Vahlrona and Guittard (though I haven't used them recently). Vahlrona chocolate was exceptional the last time I used it, both dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Stay away from Scharffen Berger chocolate. Since SB was taken over by Hershey's, SB chocolate has acquired that weird waxy filler you find in Hershey's chocolate bars. http://search.kingarthurflour.com/search?p=Q&asug=&deftab=products&w=chocolate   good luck. Pls let us know how it goes.
  14. This one's a toughie. How much is your housemate's son willing to spend? If I were in the same situation, I would find a local confectioner or culinary student willing to make the chocolates for me. If you want a high-quality chocolate product here, I think you're looking at a custom job. I would guess that local cooking schools or cooking programs would have job-posting boards. A small chocolate shop where the owner makes the chocolates is another possibility. The specialty chocolate molds and the high-quality chocolate itself will add to the cost of the job.
  15. djyee100

    An Overload of Eggs

    Agree. I've only eaten century eggs a few times, but I have pleasant memories. No way I'd eat something that reminded me of spoiled eggs.
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