Wednesday, June 10, 2015


If I ever become a queen, I want to be addressed as Your Succulence.
This is where I went on Saturday morning.

All the spiky, prickly, weird, moisture-retaining crazy plants you could hope for. I performed some retail therapy but I don't have any pictures of those yet.

This Haworthia seems pretty happy. This one was in the show. I was especially looking for houseplants so it was kind of a haworthia year.


Not a lot of agaves, but I did see this awesome one, also in the show. It's like that Far Side cartoon: How nature says "do not touch"

There was a whole table of blooming cactus for sale. ORANGE!

I have this theory that desert plants haven't been crossed and cultivated and groomed for thousands of years, like roses and hydrangeas and lilacs have, so they often still have these weird, misshapen forms that I am growing to enjoy.

Another fabulous Haworthia. This one reminds me of the castle in the Dark Crystal, while it was still eeeeeevil. (I, ahem, might have bought a much smaller version of this.) I'll take pictures of the medusoid euphorbia this weekend. It looks like a nest of baby snakes.

Saturday, June 06, 2015


I got all domestic today and did some canning.

Pickled Rainer cherries, ready for their closeup (the brine is pink! PINK!)

Actually, it was more of a case of finishing what I started, which apparently is not a natural talent of mine. And a case of the cherry season in Northern California being so very short this year and maybe me going a little nuts at the farmer's market?

I am so not accustomed to the fruit seasons here. So many years in the Pacific Northwest firmly imprinted the idea into my brain that July is cherry time . June for strawberries, July for cherries and raspberries, August for blackberries and peaches, September-October apple EXTRAVAGANZA. That's a simplification, of course, as many of those run for more than a month. But cherry season has always been a bit short, and out of season cherries are just… no.

Also, I might have bought a few more strawberries than I could handle this week. I pick them up from a market stall that's (very nicely) right on my way to work, Tuesday mornings. (Northern California strawberry season: February through November. Really, it's official . But I still kind of miss hoods). And then I gobble fresh strawberries at my desk most of the day because, duh, fresh strawberries. But I went for the double batch this time, and even I can't consume that many strawberries.

The top pan is Strawberry preserves, although I skipped the vanilla beans because I didn't have any, and used a Meyer lemon, because I did. And on the bottom and in the right picture is strawberry-balsamic vinegar jam from the same source. I haven't cracked open that one yet, but preliminary signs point to YUM.

(I have no idea what is up with all the foaming on the preserves. I've never had a jam recipe do that to me. I did do the maceration, and I did it for almost the 72 hours. (Ha, because that was planned, sure. More like I should know better than to think I'm going to cook jam on a weeknight.) So maybe it was the maceration + the extra sugar? Oh well, we'll see how it tastes).

I was googling about for something to do with the strawberries, and found those two recipes. And then the pickled cherries on the same site, which could be weird or maybe really good, so this is a test. Her site appeals to me because honestly, we don't really consume that much jam, and don't have a lot of extra space. I maybe get through two half-pint jars a year, and regular batch sizes are way more than I need. I still have Meyer lemon marmalade from last July. You want some marmalade? Email me. Should still be pretty tasty, but it won't be as good in a few months (it won't be bad, just not as good.) I do stick to jam and pickles because they're acidic enough that they won't grow botulinium. If you open a jar up and it smells bad, it means it IS bad. It's not just going to silently kill us all).

2 half pints of the balsamic-strawberry, 3 half pints of the preserves, and 3 pints of the pickled cherries. That should hold me for a few days.