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August 14, 2011

I am hard at work in transferring hosts, and getting onto my own host…or at least sharing one.  Please be patient with me at this time, I never realized how little I knew about websites until I started trying to figure this out!! But stay tuned for a new CrunchyChelle.com very soon!

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The Scoop on Poop

July 21, 2011

Sometimes it is so difficult to be “green.”

Pippa says, "I can haz cheezburger?"

Ever since Pompeii (now renamed Pippa, for those who were wondering :) ) came, we’ve been struggling to find plastic bags to clean up her poop.  Since we live in a condo, we don’t have a yard where we can let things…dry out…before getting rid of it.  We had very few plastic bags in the house, as we use canvas and homemade bags for our shopping.  We actually found ourselves asking for our groceries in bags just to collect a few for home.

The dog poops. A lot.  And thinking of her poop being preserved for thousands of years in a plastic bag in a landfill really irked me.  So I decided to search on the internet for biodegradable dog waste bags.

The problem with all of this is that it’s really difficult to know what’s green and what’s not.  Biodegradable?  Lots of companies make that claim, but they don’t all work quite the way they say they do.  Last year (or was it the year before) we bought biodegradable garbage bags, and as a test, I left one in the garden out in the garden to see if it really did disintegrate over time.

Guess what? It didn’t.

I did some searching first and found both biodegradable and flushable bags online.  Reviews stated the bags even started disintegrating in the rain! Probably not a great thing in the wet, but I thought it would be fine for most of the time.

But in the meantime, we needed something fast, so we headed out to Petsmart, who didn’t have any biodegradable bags.  Target was next, and we found these:

The bags are made of cornstarch and allegedly 100% biodegradable.  I say allegedly, because I didn’t have the time to check to see if that was true in practice. FWIW, I did stick a bag in a bowl of water to see what it would do and 4 days later it hadn’t changed composition one bit. Still, I figured cornstarch had to be better for the earth than plastic.

Finally though, the bags I ordered came in the mail!

They’re a little tacky, but I actually appreciate that because I know it’ll break down easily. It starts to break down in the toilet bowl right away, and the dog poop gets treated along with the human waste.  Best of all, no plastic clogging up the landfill.

Now Pippa can be as green as her parents!

Garden Update

July 16, 2011

K has been taking care of the garden much more than I have this year. I finally went back to help him for the first time in a few weeks today. Things are looking pretty good!

After working alternately with flimsy bamboo sticks and twisted tomato cages the last few years, the hubby and I were on the hunt for something cost effective (since we needed more than 20) and sturdy to stake our tomatoes, tomatillos, and cucumbers. We finally settled on PVC pipes, buying 10 foot lengths at $1.79 each and sawing them in half to make two stakes for every one length we bought.  The finished product looks pretty good! I use old garbage bag ties to strap each tomato “branch” to the PVC pipe to keep it off the ground.

We have about 20 tomato plants again this year.  Fox Cherry, Pineapple, Roma, and Matt’s Wild Cherry are all ones we’ve grown before, but we decided to try a new one, the Sugarlump. We think it’ll be similar to Matt’s Wild Cherry.

We’ve never grown sunflowers before in our plot, but many other gardeners grow them in theirs. It appears some birds must have dropped a few errant seeds last year as we have several growing in our plot this year. Beautiful! And the bees love them too.

We are far behind in our plantings.  Last year we probably would have had green beans already by this time, but we only planted these a few weeks ago.  Weeks and weeks of rain kept us out of the garden. These are Bush Blue Green Beans.

We are growing these cukes for our friend Angie this year. We still have plenty of pickles left over from last year!

A little hidden from view, but these are red cherry hot peppers. A little too hot for me, but K loves them.  As you can see, we are still in the midst of laying down newspaper and mulch to keep out the weeds. A never ending process!

Thai basil.  Very pretty with its purpley/brown flowers. It has a licorice sort of taste to it.

Considering our late start this year I think we will be doing more of a fall planting this year since we completely missed pea season. And I love my peas!

Dinner Tonight

July 13, 2011

The garden is in full swing, but I’ve been bad with pictures because K has been taking care of the garden the majority of the time. But tonight I was craving tomato caprese, so he stopped by the garden to pick up some basil and tomatoes for caprese pizza.

We bought local mozzarella from the farmer’s market (R&G Cheese) this past week to round out this summer fresh meal.  Yum!

Meet Pompeii

July 7, 2011

Last week, K and I went to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society to look for a dog.  Or a puppy, as I affectionately call any dog, of any age.  I really wanted a pit bull (a nice one), but the one we had our heart set on was adopted before we could!

But when we went back to look again we saw a gorgeous “puppy” lying quietly on the floor of her “cage”, ignoring the raucous barking of nearly every other dog in the place.

Meet Pompeii!!

We checked her papers: she was a Whippet mix, 1 1/2 years old who was surrendered to the Humane Society with another dog (Hank-the-Tank, a Saint Bernard mix [who looks for all the world as big and Saint Bernard-y as they come!]) because her owner was allegedly going into assisted living.

Call me crazy, but I’m thinking that someone going into assisted living isn’t likely to have that young a dog AND a St. Bernard living with them. So I’m calling BS on the owner.

Nevertheless, we took her out to play and loved her, so we put a hold on her until it could be determined whether she got along with cats.  Because, as you know, we have three of them (three since our beloved Merlin died back in February). So they are our number one priority.

This is Zoe –

And Miss Daisy –

And my kitty who thinks he’s a puppy, Bailey.

Pompeii was getting spayed the next day anyway, so we couldn’t pick her up right away.  But the following day they did their “cat testing” and proclaimed her “great” with cats.  She’s been with us ever since, and every day gets a little more comfortable with us. No more the quiet, calm puppy we saw that day! I’m beginning to think the next time we get a dog, we need to find one practically dead in their “cage.” If they are more calm because they’re at a shelter and not comfortable, can you imagine how energetic the barking ones are at home?

The shelter was also dead wrong about her getting along with cats.  I’ve since learned their “cat testing” is walking a dog through the cat room (where the cats are safely hidden in their own cages) to see if they do anything. Much more different when there’s a cat walking outside of its cage.  We’re not sure she’s ever come into contact with a cat in her life!  Pompeii has growled and lunged at the cats several times (she’s been on leash) and we’ve already called in a trainer to break her of this.  If she can’t, we’re going to have to return her, because I don’t want my cats killed :(

But away from the cats, she is wonderful! We just wish we could rename her, since Pompeii doesn’t really seem to fit her, and it’s hard to come up with a nickname (Pompy???).  This was her name in her old home though, so she knows it really well. We’re thinking of a similar sounding name instead.  Poppyseed?  Nah…does anyone have any ideas?

 

Maraschino Cherries – Pt. 3

July 4, 2011

Happy 235th birthday, America!

I’ve got some cherry sorbet being mixed in my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment here but am otherwise having a pretty lazy Fourth of July.  How about you?

To finish up the last part of the maraschino cherry recipe, just drain the cherries from their sugar syrup mixture, putting the mixture aside.  Bring the juice to a boil again, the remove from heat and stir in 1 oz. of almond extract.

Pour the juice over the cherries.  Pack into hot, sterilized jars, and seal with lid and band.  Process in a boiling water canner – 20 minutes for pint jars or 25 minutes for quarts. We only did 1/2 pint jars but still processed for 20 minutes to be safe.

Enjoy in your favorite cocktail, or use to make candied cherries.

Maraschino Cherries – Pt. 2

July 2, 2011

I ended up brining the cherries the morning before I left for work so that they didn’t stay in for too long.  At around 9pm that night, about 13 hours after I left them to soak (12 hours is ideal), I drained the brine and rinsed the cherries thoroughly.

To make the syrup I mixed together:

  • 4-1/2 pounds sugar (!!!)
  • 3 cups water
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp of red food coloring

Holy cow, that’s really red.  I was going for the fake redness you see in the commercial maraschino cherries but I couldn’t stand it.  I wanted to follow the recipe exactly for my first time, but I don’t really see the need for it. I’d rather the natural dark red of the cherry juice any time.

I brought the mixture to a boil then poured it over the cherries.  They were still pretty buoyant, so I weighted them down, then covered the container for the 24 hour soak.

 

Almost there!