lotsofplants: (Default)
Livejournal refugee. I was Plantae there.
lotsofplants: (dendrobium)
You may have seen this "stumper" before: if the area of a pond covered by lily pads doubles ever day, and it takes 48 days to cover the entire pond, how long does it take to cover half the pond? It's a popular example in books on the science of thought, to demonstrate how people tend to take mental shortcuts that lead us to incorrect results; the shortcut answer is: half the area must be half the time = 24 days. But clearly the answer is 47; if it doubles each day, to cover half the pond you go back one day from full coverage.

However, something about this question has been bothering me--it clearly does not consider the real-world scale of this exponential growth, and none of these authors have ever asked, while editing their clever examples "just how big is this pond, anyway?" Let us assume, for the sake of argument, some radiation-addled lily pads capable of supernatural growth rates. If we assume a normal-to-small 4-inch diameter lily pad, and begin on day 1 with a single lily pad (area pi*r^2 = a bit over 12 square inches), by day 48 we have lily pads covering an area of 1.76766E+15 square inches or 440,321 square miles (sq mi). To put this number in perspective, Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world, is not quite 38,000 sq mi. If our super lilies can thrive in salt water, we could put them in the Caspian Sea, the world's largest land-locked body of water, but at 143,200 sq mi we'd need more than three of them for all the vegetation. Really, we're talking a pond nearly the size of Hudson Bay (475,800 sq mi), but without any ice cover. If tempted to say that's a Texas-sized pond, you'd mean it would swallow Texas (268,580 sq mi) whole. It could be contained by Alaska, at 663,267 sq mi, but the lily pads would probably prefer the climate in the Mediterranean Sea; they'd cover about 2/5 of it on day 48; if not stopped, by day 57 they'd overflow the 71% of the earth covered in water (including the area occupied by polar ice.)

What I'm saying is that "pond" may be a poor choice of terms here. And my professional recommendation is to avoid creating super-fast growing, salt-resistant lily pads capable of surviving in extreme climates.
lotsofplants: (Default)
Anyone have a licensed copy of Win XP they'd like to donate to free my sister from the tyranny of Windows Vista?
lotsofplants: (Default)
Buh ha ha!

One of my coworkers got a P-patch. A large P-patch. And has very generously offered to share it with me and another coworker.

I have dirt!

Now, I need to decide what to plant. Hmmmmm.
lotsofplants: (Default)
I am intrigued.

I may do a little driving next weekend when shopping.
lotsofplants: (Default)
While 1/3 whole wheat flour is too much and causes the waffles to brown too fast, 1/4 wheat flour is almost unnoticeable.

Mmmmm, waffles for breakfast.
lotsofplants: (Default)
The 30th of January, I somehow tweaked my back while sleeping. Rather badly, and such that standing was painful. Heat helped, and drugs helped (I've taken more Ibuprofen in the last two weeks than the previous two years), and it's slowly getting better, but is still subject to sudden intense pain if I move wrong.

The fall on a set of icy steps on Tuesday didn't help, bruising both my pride and my posterior. For a vestigial bit, a battered tailbone certainly complains a lot. (Also, now sitting hurts too. I have better things to do than spend my spare time lying down so my back doesn't hurt!)

And the last two days, I've finally had the energy to do something other than collapse in a chair and try to get someone else to make dinner for me after work (although it turns out my roommate makes a fine brie and jam open face sandwich). On the one hand, it's so nice that my brain is working again. On the other, it's frustrating that one trip to the post office and grocery store, and then making lunch while waiting for a freecycler pickup, have completely exhausted me for the day.

Maybe I'll take a nap before [livejournal.com profile] stolen_tea's not-Valentine's-Day-related event. I hate to miss the sun, but I'm not even up for walking to a park bench and sitting in the cold.
lotsofplants: (Default)
I seem to have gotten a mild sunburn today.

Don't wanna go back to the giant box tomorrow!
lotsofplants: (Default)
So, it turns out that the Joy of Cooking is right, and you can assemble a covered fruit pie, freeze it, and then bake it at a later date without a really noticeable change in quality or taste.

On the other hand, I have discovered that I don't really care for peach pie. Peaches are apparently only meant to be eaten in the following ways: perfectly ripe out of hand, with cream, on waffles/crepes/oven pancake with whipped cream, canned, or in cobbler (ideally a mixed-fruit cobbler). Not in peach pie, which magically combines two tasty things into a non-tasty thing.

Fortunately, my co-workers were able to help. And complemented me on my baking skills. Apparently my crusts are improving, even if they are not yet as good as Mom's.

I think the second frozen peach pie is going to go to Christmas Dinner. Or the lace meeting potluck.
lotsofplants: (Default)
I own, at last count, approximately 45 bajillion tatting shuttles. I want to know:

1. Where they all are.
2. Why I can't find any loaded with white thread. This is particularly puzzling since most of my tatting is snowflakes done in white thread, and I know I should have at least three different partly-finished projects in white thread around here somewhere.

Perhaps I need to clean my room.
lotsofplants: (Default)
Because chronology is for people not suffering from massive nasal congestion...

+ I have a new nephew! He is so cute! I got to go see him when he was 5 days old!
- He is located in Montana.
+ I need to find a good book about the geology of Montana. Driving back along I-90, the rock formations in the continental divide are amazing.
- I brought back a cold. 2 year old nephews are not so good at not coughing in your face when playing trucks.
- I have been sick enough not to go to work for the last three days.
- My apartment is freezing, because all the windows are open to try to remove drying polyurethane fumes. Neither the fumes or the cold is helping me get better.
+ The carpet guy comes to replace the cat-urine-damaged carpet on Monday! (Thus the polyurethane sealing of the subfloor.)
+ The carpet cleaners come on Wednesday for the areas of carpet that aren't being replaced.
+ Turns out that clouds bump up against Mt Rainer and then flow past in ripples with an eddy, exactly as water behaves when encountering a large rock in a stream.
+/- Dawn is beautiful breaking over the clouds when viewed from an airplane.
+ I have three potential roommates, all of which sound like they are not crazy. Interviews in person will begin tomorrow.
- Haven't gotten a lot of cleaning done after previous roommate moved out, between being sick and out of town.
+/- I have a facebook account, because my sister is trying to set me up with my brother-in-law's cousin.
+ Being sick, playing with facebook is just about my speed.
- I really don't like not having my kitchen handy. Cooking in someone else's kitchen is hard. (E.g. What do you mean you don't have Italian seasoning, or the component herbs to compound my own?!?)
- I miss my bed when traveling, too.
+ My previous work documenting tasks and training backup for important issues at work means it takes less than 3 hours to arrange to be gone for over a week.
+/- It probably helped that I not only covered for my boss for her two week honeymoon in Europe, but also covered for her boss (Departmental Manger!) for the entirety of those same too weeks. My turn to be out of the office now.
- Did I mention that something is trying very hard to stay living in my sinuses? Die, viri/bacteria/whatever you are, die!
+ I got my voice back after coughing it away.
+ Toes stay warmer with two pairs of socks.
+ My freezer contains steak. My pantry contains potatoes. I am going to have a very easy and tasty dinner shortly.
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I think I'm going to officially call an end to jam making for the year.

(I do not consider quince paste to be jam.)

Today: 1 batch peach jam, 1 batch grape jelly.
Earlier this summer:
1 batch blackberry jelly, 10 batches plum jam (some didn't jell -> plum syrup).

Total: ~seventy bazillion little jars of jam/jelly/syrup.

I foresee many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my future. Turns out plum syrup makes a very tasty sauce on chicken.
lotsofplants: (Default)
I was talking to my mom about canning berries, which doesn't normally work well because they get diluted if canned in sugar syrup like most fruit. And she mentioned that she'd seen instructions for canning berries with (essentially) a syrup made of smooshed berries.

It works for blackberries! It results in three cups of berries going into a 2-cup jar. And in a cobbler, you can't tell the difference (I tested).


I need more blackberry bushes. I will have blackberry cobbler ALL WINTER LONG!
lotsofplants: (Default)
2 days. 60 lbs of peaches. 45 quart jars in 5 batches through the canner. 11 hours of peeling, washing, boiling, cleaning. 1 peach clafouti.

Turns out one of my fingernails rubs against the middle of my thumb when I use a paring knife. I have a raw patch.

Tomorrow: baking, maybe a little canning of the last 10 lbs or so.

Peaches with cream for breakfast: mmmmmmmmmm.
lotsofplants: (Default)
So, for the last...five or six years, right around this time of year my hunter-gather instincts go into overdrive. All this food! Must collect and store! Need warm cave! Unintelligible grunt!

Among other things, it seems to make the pigeons nervous.

But, I now have my very own canning kettle! No more will I need to drive up to my Mom's to borrow hers! Woot! On the down side, the cheap or free canning jars on craigslist are all way out in the boonies. :(

And I realized the other day, which was a lovely weekend day and I was out for a nice walk, that I was in fact scoping out the neighborhood food production. There's the escaped kiwi vine here, and the flowering quince that fruited last year there, and I wonder if anyone will harvest that fig in the landscaping, and those yards look pretty abandoned--I wonder if they're planning to harvest the apples or if they'd let me?

I need a tall, sturdy, lightweight, easily transportable ladder. Stealth harvester arrives, picks, packs up, and is gone...zoom! Maybe a little cart.

And I am scheduled to teach two people at work how to can peaches week after next (when our order from the grower shows up--25lbs for $14!) Should be fun.

Already making plans for blackberry and peach cobbler. :)
lotsofplants: (Default)
Dried fruit normally tastes sort of like the original fruit, but less juicy.

Dried watermelon tastes mostly like fructose held together with a little fiber, pink dye, and hint of watermelon flavor.

This message brought to you by the department of: this much watermelon will never fit in my fridge...hey, I have a dehydrator! I wonder....
lotsofplants: (Default)
You know how turnip greens have a sort of distinctive turnip-green scent and flavor?

Did you also know that your body will excrete that same scent via sweat the following day?

I don't think I'm ever going to eat a turnip green salad again, even if my frugal side is telling me that I paid a whole lot for a bunch of organic baby turnips and I really should eat the leaves as well as the roots. Do not want to smell like turnip!

In other news, I'm trying to see if I can learn to identify plants by floral scent. Harder than expected. I'm wondering if the problem is lack of appropriate vocabulary. I can smell *that* and know that it's linden, and *this* and know that it's climbing rose, but can't describe it so that I can categorize it in memory.
lotsofplants: (Default)
By the way, I hope to do some serious jam making this summer/fall, if I can luck into plums and quince and maybe raspberries.

I wish to let the universe know that I am accepting donations of jam/jelly canning jars (pints, half pints) (greater Seattle area only). I could give quart and 1/2 gallon jars a good home too. Especially if I manage to can pears again.

That is all.
lotsofplants: (Default)
I have no idea why I find this pilaf so satisfying.

Boil 1/2 cup lentils (picked over & rinsed) for 10 minutes. Drain.
In a saucepan, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1 clove garlic, minced. Saute for a minute or two until fragrant. Add 1 cup basmati rice, the lentils, 2 cups of broth/liquid and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to medium low and cook for 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. (Thank you, Joy of Cooking.) Makes enough for 4-6 servings, depending on what else is involved in dinner.

Goes great with oven-roasted balsamic vinegar vegies. The baked herbed salmon wasn't bad either.

I think tomorrow I'll thaw some of the large batch of beans (of red beans and rice fame) and have them over leftover pilaf.
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