Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Random Happenings

With the weather being what it is, I've been away from the garden lately but keeping busy nonetheless. Here are a few random things I've been getting into lately. In no particular order:

home canning kit
A few weeks ago, my Ball canning kit arrived. I got my first chance to use it this past weekend after harvesting the remainder of my Meyer lemons.

meyer lemon marmalade
It worked like a charm and made canning this batch of marmalade a breeze. From four large lemons, I ended up with more than 8 half pint jars of the good stuff. I've accumulated a stockpile of marmalade at this point and will be slowly unloading a few during the holidays.

Kitazawa Seed Catalog
Another seed catalog has arrived in the mail. For those of you who enjoy growing Asian vegetables, Kitazawa Seed Company has an amazing selection of both popular and rare varieties. Is it odd that I enjoy reading seed catalogs from cover to cover?

one straw revolution
I finally got around to finishing Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter, which I would have to give 3 out of 5 stars purely based on its entertainment value. I would recommend it if you enjoy reading memoirs and have an interest in urban sustainable living or farming. Then earlier this week, I decided to pick up a classic - One Straw Revolution, by Masanobu Fukuoka. Feeling the desire to be inspired lately, I thought this book would be just what I needed.

Bamboo Utensil Set
Finally, I decided to enter Brighter Planet's Mastering the Art of Sustainable Cooking Contest a couple of weeks ago and submitted two entries, which you can read here and here. One of them garnered this weekly prize - a sustainable bamboo utensil set, which I received in the mail last week. Entries with the most "likes" will move on to the next round to be judged by Alice Waters and other notable food advocates. Hopefully one of my entries will make it!


  1. It’s amazing how much of marmalade you can get from 6 lemons...

    I wanted to click on "I like this" for both of your posts, but then it asked me to open an account... don’t feel like it (sorry)... good luck with winning the top prize! What is it?

  2. Oh wow I just looked at that seed catalog online. I so want the misome. Somehow I think to get just that it isn't going to happen. And congrats on your win.

  3. I love Kitazawa! I haven't got my new catalog yet, but it is eagerly awaited. Your marmalade looks lovely.

  4. Oh how exciting Thomas, I wish you luck in moving on and congratulations on your weekly prize! I do have to admit your cooking makes me want to give those asian greens another try!

  5. Congrats on your canning goodies! And it's not odd to your followers that read your blog that you read your catalogs so thoroughly, have to realize you are asking a group of "oddies".... they are like porn for gardeners in the dreary winter months LOL

  6. Welllll....if it's odd to read seed catalogs cover to cover...then, um, let's just say, you're not alone. ahem.

    My aunt just gave me a huge bag of Meyer lemons from her beautiful tree (that she has lit with Christmas lights this year!) and I immediately thouhgt of you and your marmalade. I will be following your lead this weekend as I make a huge batch! I'm so excited!

    That is a fabulous prize you won! How cool is that?!

  7. OMG, I bet that marmalade is good! I'll have to try some one of these days. Good luck with the contest!

  8. I'm not so fond of marmalade (ok ....I don't like it!) but I do a very nice Lemon Curd!

    Congratulations of getting through the first part of the competition and good luck! I love that cutlery :)

  9. Ummm... I read seed and garden supply catalogs from cover to cover... and even go back and read sections AGAIN later! LOL!

    You certainly have been keeping yourself productively engaged. The marmalade looks like it was a very successful first canning effort for you. I must warn you, canning can become addictive. :D Before you know it, you will be lusting after pressure canners.

  10. Thomas, every time I read your blog, I just about burst my buttons....I'm so proud of you!

    Since I seem to be connected for more than a minute tonight, I tried to favor your contributions to the contest but they seem to be having some problems, and I couldn't access them. I'll sure try again tomorrow.

  11. Thomas, each and every time this non gardeners mouth waters when reading about your exploits! It's such a pleasure to see all of your much deserved successes. I'm sure your family loves all the benefits too.

    You are after all, quite amazing.

    take care, Steve