Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Some pickles and the Repair Cafe

 Dill Pickles
 Dill Pickles
 Dill pickles with Pink Peppercorns
 Pink Peppercorns

My garden is beginning to come alive. I did plant the cucumbers a little late but they are coming in really nicely, or at least at a pace that I can keep up with. The tomatoes are a little slow, I got some type to tomato that does not grow very tall. They are only about 24" tall but do have a lot of fruit on the plant. I think I messed up a little as I let a couple of sunflowers live in the beds and they grew really tall blocking out some of the sun on the tomatoes. Oh well live and learn. I also have a couple of potato plants and a couple of green pepper plants. As you can see my potatoes went from about 1/2" in size all the way up to about 6" in size, not sure if I just didn't water enough or if I pulled the potatoes out too early. I have tried potatoes several times and they always seem to fail for me. I think this is the last year I try potatoes. I will stick with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. I also made pickles for the first time. Last year I pickled some beans and they tasted great. So this year I decided to try to make some dill pickles. I used the recipe from Marisa McClellan first book "Food in Jars", it's simple and I have yet to have one of her recipes taste bad. I made a batch of the pickles yesterday staying true to her recipe, today I made another batch but instead of using black peppercorn I used some pink peppercorn that my brother gave me. The pink looks really nice in the jar with the cucumbers. I understand that the pink peppercorn is a little hotter and has a more spicy taste the regular black peppercorn. We shall see how it taste in a couple of weeks. I also used a lot of my tomatoes for a batch of lasagna, nothing tastes better than fresh tomato sauce in a dish. This week I will have to get busy preserving as I have a lot of tomatoes that will be ready very soon. 

Have you ever been to a repair cafe? Well neither have I till last week. I was very impressed and will be trying to set up a repair cafe in kenton next spring. It's quite simple, a bunch of people that know hoe to fix things come together for a few hours and help people that have broken items. It's all free, they ask for donations but it's not required. There are people that can help you with mending, or sewing on buttons to sharpening your knives...helping with your computer or fixing small electronics. I took in a 100 year old fan that we thought had shorted out. Well it had, but all it needed was new wires. Stan took the thing apart and rewired the fan, now it works like a charm. It will still cut off a finger if you get too close, back in the day they did not worry about such things as kids putting their finger in a fan. I mean look at the metal fan it could really do some harm when it gets moving. It's always better to get something repaired instead of throwing it away, at least in my opinion. One woman brought in a hair dryer, another person brought in an electronic keyboard, there were 4 other people with fans at this repair cafe. It's been hot in Portland so fans have had a lot of use here this year. There was even a person doing simple bike maintenance and repair. I think this is such a cool thing for Portland. RepairPDX.org does repair cafes all over the city. Another cool thing about this SE repair cafe was there were a couple of young kids about 15 or 16 that came with adults, they were put to work on simple items that needed repair. They were great, if they ran into a problem there were adults to help walk them through the process of figuring out what was wrong and how to fix it. I think this is a great way to get kids volunteering to help the community. And the fan works great now, i do have to fix the front as the GE logo is not straight and that will drive me crazy.  

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