The Weekend Garden Project

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Hello everyone! I know I haven't posted a lot lately, but I have been preparing for my Search Engine Optimization class which has taken a lot of time. But, I wanted to let you know that the garden project has not been sacrificed, and I had some time to work on it this weekend.

Cleaning the Remains of the Snowball Bush
I started by cutting down the majority of the snowball bush, and then spent the rest of the time on Saturday disposing of the branches. The branches were all still very dry, as I cut them before the sap began to rise from the roots. Because of that, they burned quite easily. They also made a lot of ash, very hot coals, and a perfect opportunity to do some good old fashioned Dutch-oven cooking. The recipe that I used will be posted, so that you can try it as well.

I also talked the family into a barbecue, cooking bacon wrapped turkey bits. Add some mashed potatoes, veggies and greens, and it was a great celebration of St. Patrick's Day, even without the corned beef and cabbage.

The Meal
So, since there wasn't much else done other than cleaning up the back and burning the branches, let's look at the meal.

For Dutch-oven cooking, my parents brought up some frozen chicken. I placed these in the oven with some olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, and some fresh lemon thyme. I then buried the oven in the coals from all the branches that were burned. After 40 minutes, the chicken was tender, moist, and amazingly tasty.

Now, the bacon-wrapped turkey was a little different matter. I didn't use the snowball bush limbs for this, because they were not the cleanest of branches. Sure, they are OK as coals surrounding a dutch oven, but I wouldn't want the filth left by flocks of birds on the bush. So, we used other wood available from previous cuttings that were clean and mostly dry.

The recipe is really simple. We took turkey breasts, cut them up into bite-sized pieces, and then wrapped each of the pieces in bacon. Then we pinned each with wooden tooth-picks, and placed them into a wire frame. Then placing the wire frame on the grill, they cooked up really quickly. Within 15 minutes, they were done (some a little more than done with really hot coals and very flammable bacon fat in the equation).

Together, it was perhaps the best meal I ever had for St. Patty's Day, and made me proud of my distant Irish ancestors. Perhaps I will cover that connection to the Fitzgeralds of Ulster in future postings.

Now, all that I need to do to finish my preparatory work on the garden is to move the current layout for the chessboard, and then dig the foundation for the cob project.

Changes to the Cob Project
Speaking of the cob project, I had intended to make a very solid, practically livable little house out of cob. Simple windows, a door, a small heater in the corner, and a wonderfully well-built cedar shingle roof. Well, as I have been going over the project again, I realized that there is a part of the project that I have overlooked, and that I definitely need to complete.

Namely, I need a greenhouse. I have thought about this for a while, and I just haven't been able to find another way around it. The greenhouse would allow me to grow vegetables all year round, as well as tropical fruits. It also would let me build the fish tank that I have been wanting to continue with. So, with water plants, vegetables, fruits, and a small aquarium for growing edible fish, I think it would be worth the change.

Of course, it's necessary to also allow for the change of materials. I can now use the bricks that I have in the back yard as the foundation (there should be enough), and use some redwood or cedar two by fours to frame in the rest, including the roof. Of course, One wall will remain fully cobbed in (the one facing the garage), which is where the heater (probably a rocket heater) will be going.

Well, that is where everything stands now. There will be some work done again this week, and I hope to have some pictures posted rather soon. Stay tuned!