Friday, October 30, 2009

A new look...

   In a continuing effort to simplify things, I've gone to a default theme for the blog, which I think does look much cleaner for the reader.  I also ditched many of the google ads.  It doesn't look like anyone is clicking on them anyway, and I'm wanting people to feel like I'm providing real content rather than just stuff tucked in around the ads.
   I also did the same over at and cleaned up a number of its' links and layout as well.
   Let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Update on Rules for Computing Happiness

   Just a quick update on my post about achieving computing happiness.  I've revised it a bit and posted it permanently on my Garstin website.  Check it out and let me know if you think anything needs to be clarified or modified.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Closing down the garden.

   Well, yesterday Kenny convinced me to head outside and make use of the longest period without rain we've had in weeks (about 12 hours).
   I took the opportunity to clean up the garden.  Dismantle the stakes, bring in the lines, throw the dead and dying plants into the yard waste bin, and then dig up the bounty beneath our soil.

   As you can see from the pictures, our rock harvest came in in spades this year!  Two of those monsters visible between the beds bent my poor pitchfork tines severely, and it will require some TLC to be returned to it's past, parallel glory.
   I'll just briefly annotate each of the last remaining three beds.

   As you can see in this picture, we got good carrot production.  A few peppers were hanging around that I moved indoors to finish up in the next few days.
   Both sides of the bed are covered in rocks.  We'll be eating stone soup all winter!
   There were also a few potatoes I lined up along the near side of this bed...

   In this photo, you can see that we had still more carrots, which is nice.  And another healthy group of rocks down the left side, the right side was reserved for potatoes that I had speared while harvesting.  And the near side is for pristine taters ready for storage!

   Finally, you can see that we got a very healthy number of rocks here, enough to cover three sides of the bed!  There were a few potatoes interspersed with them, and they are lined up again on the near row.
   If anyone has further suggestions for how I can use up my stones, I'd love to hear them...  Bread?  Muffins?  Casseroles?  Maybe I'll bag some up and give them out to neighbours...
   Happy Thanksgiving everyone :).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pulla sans cardamom.

   Well, on Wednesday Kenny started demanding mummu's pulla.  After a little looking around, now I think what he really meant was korvapuusti - I'm sure my mother-in-law can set us straight as to what we wanted.  I was down with that, except we didn't have eggs in the house, and we didn't have cardamom (I wasn't going to buy this anyway - I can't imagine what it could be used for EXCEPT for pulla).
   He promptly pooped his pants, then threw a huge tantrum at the store, and then peed all over his car seat, being sure to include the back seat of the car as well.  We had the ingredients, but not the will to actually make our treat.  That had to wait until Thursday.
   True confession - I barely looked for a pulla recipe - what I found didn't sound like what I was thinking of, and I figured it was mostly like a cinnamon roll anyway, something I figured I was more culturally capable of making.

   So this is really a slightly modified recipe for cinnamon rolls, with the addition of a little local flair (maple syrup).
   Ingredients include :

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1 cup of scalded milk (I just put it in the toaster oven at 250 for 15 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 tbsp of quick rise yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • more butter
   Mix (proof) the yeast and water and set it aside for a few minutes.  Then blend the melted butter, milk, egg, and half the flour together.  Add the yeast mixture, and then gradually mix in the remaining flour.

   Grease your hands generously with the extra butter, as well as greasing a bowl.  Shape the dough into a nice, well kneaded ball.  Toss in the bowl and allow it to rise until about double in volume - an hour or two, depending on temperatures.  I always put stuff I need to keep warm in my oven with just the oven light on, that works famously.
   Pound it down again, and set it aside for about 10 minutes while you grease up two 9x12" pans.  Divide the dough between the two pans, spread it out on them, and then apply the maple syrup on top of both.

   Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar, and sprinkle it liberally over both trays.  Carefully roll it lengthwise into two logs, being careful to press them together firmly so that they don't unwind.

   With a greased knife, cut the logs into segments, traditionally on angles for the visual effect you see in the photograph.
   Allow them to rise another ten minutes on their own, then bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

   It looks like everyone was happy with how they were appearing...  
  The final product certainly looked accurate, although mine were pretty large compared to the real ones mummu makes.

   Ahhh, but they still got the review I was looking for.
   I now have a bath towel placed strategically between the seat cover and the bottom of the car seat.