The Brellis House

 
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A Lovely Christmas

Posted on January 24th, 2012 by Dan

I wanted to title this post, A Loafly Christmas, but I thought it was too lame.

It’s a bit late, but I wanted to share a few presents from my lovely wife. First, one that she out a lot of effort into and handmade all by herself: a bread board.  She made it from walnut boards her dad had from a walnut tree that fell on their property years ago. It’s perfect for slicing bread and displaying breads at the table.

My latest ciabatta, thanks to another Christmas gift from Susanna, turned out light and porous. I had heard that you could use unglazed quarry tile instead of an expensive pizza stone and she set off on a wild goose chase to find me some. These are 6×6 inches and fairly inexpensive; I line the middle rack with 6 of them placing free-loaf breads and pizzas right on the super hot tiles.

And while we’re on the subject of Christmas, we made pumpkin butter from our Halloween pumpkins and preserved them for Christmas gifts for pretty much everyone. Susanna made some labels for the top and we put together a label with some suggestions for use.

It was a good Christmas.

mushroom

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Vegetable Garden Update

Posted on August 10th, 2011 by Dan

It is a beautiful day today, bright sun, cool breeze, and not too humid. It’s the perfect day to be outside or sit by an open window. And in fact, it’s very distracting as I try to write this post. Maybe even more distracting is the occasional need for me to carry Michi away from stalking birds.

The bright sun today made it especially nice for photography. First up, our Herb Pot, which always has something exciting going on in it. The catnip we planted in there at the beginning of the summer has practically quadrupled, taking over the whole pot. But we still have healthy parsley and bay leaf plants in there (I know it’s not much of an herb garden, but it came with a nice sign). Well, the parsley attracted a few friendly caterpillars. I am almost %100 these are Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars. We tested it by poking them and they shot up their defensive osmeterium (orange slingshot looking thing).

Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillars

Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar Osmeterium

Unfortunately, we didn’t get any good pictures of the osmeterium because they shot it out so fast and it was scary.

So other than these awesome native caterpillars that we had in the Spring, we recently got some fun fungi along with our herbs.

Mushrooms popping up in the herb pot

I have no idea what kind of mushrooms these are, but they’re crazy cool looking. Bright yellow with little pimples all over them.

In another side of the yard (the front), we have our vegetable garden in full growth. This year we decided to implement a ‘Square Foot’ gardening method. This is where you divide the garden in square feet and allocate each square foot with a certain crop. For instance, you can plant one corn plant in a square foot or 4 lettuces or 16 beets. Here’s a photo from early spring when I first started planting. You can still see the dividers.

Vegetable Garden in Spring

It looks nice, right? Not sure how well it worked though. Everything grew very nicely, but I feel like the yields weren’t as good as when I wasn’t using a method. Below are a few shots from the garden, fast forwarding to today. Something that really caught us by surprise are these cucumbers. They transformed from blossom to fruit in about 3 days and they’re super long and beautiful. Each one is easily over 2 feet, and the plant is covered in flowers!

Cucumber

Cucumber

I’m also proud of the corn, cabbage and pumpkin vines!

Corn & Cabbage

Pumpkin flowers

 

Lastly, we’ll go over to the side of the house and take a look at the ‘Man Garden’, which is my own little special section of the flower garden world, well, mine and my fellow male cats :). For the past month or so, the black-eyed susan has been in full bloom.

Black-Eyed Susan

And, our newest addition, which happens to be right next to the Man Garden, coincidentally and appropriately, is the grill! Susanna’s mom dropped it off over the weekend (they had two?) and I couldn’t be more excited to use it. I’m thinking corn, pizza, bread, stuffed peppers, pretty much everything. Oh, pardon the cracked backdrop, it’s on the waiting list to be fixed replaced.

red grill

Michi in Fish Tank

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a picture of Michi in the fish tank. We have plans to make a sweet terrarium with this, but that’s for another post. It seems like if she’s not in the sink, she’s in the tub or fish tank.

I hope your vegetable garden is doing excellent.  What are your favorite things to grill? Give me your best ideas in a comment below.