Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

4 days ago I salted oranges.  Today, as instructed, I tried them.  I used two with some Mikes Hard Lemonade and they were delicious.  Best way to cure scurvy.

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Salted oranges

Posted: March 1, 2011 in backyard, food, garden
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I got about 30 oranges on my tree in the backyard this year. It is my understanding that it is about the 6th or 7th year that one actually starts to get fruit from a citrus tree. I think I am now at that point. Last year I got three oranges, and they were sweet and delicious.  The years before I had none.

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Like, I said I got 30 this year, but they are not very sweet. The have a hint of sweetness, but a bitter after taste. According to  internet research I can (hopefully) get a better crop next year by doing the following:

  • Fertilize the tree.  Fertilize this summer and again in November or October when the tree first starts producing the fruit. Fish can be used as a fertilizer. You bury the fish by the tree. Maybe I can catch a fish in the canal for this purpose?
  • Prune the tree.  The tree has never been pruned, it is best to not prune the first five or six years, so now is the time.  This will lead to less energy being spread out too thin.   When pruning remember, the best compost below a tree is debris  from that tree.  

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So the fruit is not super sweet, but I don’t want the oranges to go straight to the compost, (on a side note the internet gives mixed opinions if oranges are good in a compost pile) so I tried too experiments. 

The first is salted oranges, which is a twist from the salted lemon recipe over at stitchandboots.

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Salted oranges

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I used kosher salt. 
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The process is to cram the oranges with salt, squish them into a jar, and then let them sit for four weeks.  So I will let you know a month from know how they turned out.

The second experiment was to make Orange Jam, using this video for instructions, but the marmalade was not so good.  I think it is more my fault than the recipes, because I did not really measure anything and think I put way too little sugar in and way too much of the orange peels in.  However, my thinking was after the apocalypse one might not have access to a lot of sugar, and also the etiquette would be to waste nothing, so I used a ton of the peels.   I also just added some spices that I randomly had in my spice cabinet that I thought would make sense, which was cloves and all spice.

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Jam ingredients

Using the “jam” tonight to marinate some chicken.

Scurvy

Posted: February 26, 2011 in food, garden, Health
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Anybody know anything about canning oranges?

Got a lot of oranges and want to can them for the end times.

Below:  My orange tree in the backyard gave out 20 oranges this year.  Last year three.  All the years before, none.

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Update:  My friends over at facebook made a couple of good suggestions for links to check out.

First is stitchandboots for recipes on how to preserve citrus fruit in various ways.   Salted is recommended.

Second is how to make some good old-fashioned moonshine.  And lord knows I would love to get back to my roots.

So I planted winter squash, bush beans, and seedlings of tomatillos. It might be a little early to do so but wanted to use some of this wonderful rain. Seeds made it into the earth not 15 minutes before the skys opened.

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Above: The tomatillo seedlings, there is also a habanero in there but I forgot which pot.

I was a little worried because I was not so gentle getting the seedlings into the earth. Got to be an easier way than flipping the plant over.

Last weekend, I built a solar over and tried to make sun-dried tomatoes in them.

Needed:

  • Two cardboard boxes, one slightly smaller than the other.
  • Aluminium foil.
  • A piece of glass or clear plastic. I used clear plastic because I figured for first attempt best to learn on something that does not break easy.
  • Glue.
  • A knife.
  • Old issues of the New Times, specifically the ads for the strip joints in the back, because this is going to get hot!
  • Some other stuff that will be obvious.

Step 1: Figure out the angle you want, generally 30% in summer and 70% in winter.

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Step 2: Cut larger box at that angle desired.  Fold flaps back and cover with tin-foil, the flatter the better.  Be generous with the glue at the edges.

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Step 3: Cut smaller box at same angle. Smaller box is to fit into larger box eventually.

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Step 4: Line inner box with tin-foil.

Step 5:  Place smaller box in larger box, use old New Times to insulate the oven by placeing crumbled snewspaper sheets between the boxes.

Step 6: Place box at angle to get sun, best if box is portable.  Cover box with clear plastic.

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Step 6: Watching a pot boil in the sun takes forever.

Lessons Learned

First time around I hit about 150″, it was about 70″ degrees outside. I cooked tomatoes and tried to boil water. Water never even came close to boiling, but would have made a nice tea.

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In four hours the tomatoes were slightly dried out but not dried out for preservation.

Temperature wise it did not seem to matter if I use glass or a sheet of clear plastic.  Some videos I had watched said they had gotten the temp. to 250 degrees, so I have a lot of room for improvement.   The glass was not flush with the box, so that is where I would begin working on improvements.

Despite the fact I have yet to even coming close to catching a gopher, much less killing, skinning, cooking and eating one, at some point I am going to have to think about cooking.

If I lived in the Appalachian’ foothills of my youth then wood would not be a problem.  But here in Phoenix it might be, the desert wants for lack of enough wood for multiple fires.  The wood is good for starting fires, but not good for keeping one burning for hours on end days in a row.

There would be wood to burn from abandoned buildings, but it might take a while for people to abandoned buildings wholesale, and even if they did, a constant pillage of smoke would advertise you to the roaming pillagers, gangs and exiles.

So next experiment will be building a solar oven, goal is to boil water, that would be two birds one stone.  And one stone for two birds is a good rule of thumb to follow after Armageddon.

I am not sure if one can actually boil water in a solar heater, I hear tales of Ray Reeve’s doing experiments with a TV screen, but I plan to try.   From what I read, I need 5 walls of tinfoil, a glass wall, a door to go in and  out, and some way to hold the pot.

In the meantime, anybody got some black sheets of metal I can have for the stove?

Gopher Trap!

Posted: January 17, 2011 in food, garden, gopher, meat
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The gopher traps have been out for 48 hours.  I can’t tell if I have had any close encounters.  None of the traps have sprung on their own accord.
gopher trap

gopher trap

2nd gopher trap