Friday, April 17, 2015

Can't get enough of that butterfly weed

I didn't manage to snap as many garden shots as I had hoped this week, partially due to a cold. Partially due to the constraint of shooting pics with a wiggly 16-pounder strapped on to my chest. While enjoying the sun this week I have also been fighting off a cold.

I did like this shot of butterfly weed reaching for the light.

A photo posted by edud5 (@edud5) on

I had no shortage of seedlings posing for the job, but the photogenic butterfly weed stole the show again. After weeks of cool weather, this is a delicate time for seedlings, even indoors, as they can quickly get dehydrated. I almost lost some bloody dock this week to dehyrdration, their stems so spindly that their tired leaves lay on the soil in defeat. Yikes. Gotta be a better seedling mama.

Seed starting

Since moving to this house three years ago, I have very enthusiastically been starting my own seeds in our sunroom.  Growing from seed is satisfying, gives you many more varieties to chose from than are typically available locally, and is theoretically cheaper than buying seedlings.

Theoretically because I tend to go bananas at the seed store.

Currently I have 6 flats and a few miscellaneous containers of seed started,  and I will likely start 2 more flats. I am not in any particular rush to get things started, as the increased daylight further into spring helps seedlings grow in a less spindly fashion.

While most of my seeds are started in the pots you see pictured, I am also trying some tomatoes sewn in a larger container (a pre-washed lettuce container from the grocery store). I babysat my mother-in-law's seedlings last year and they performed beautifully in that kind of setting, I think because of the larger amount of medium they could draw nutrients from, and the added moisture that medium retained.

Although I enjoy watching all my veggie seeds grow, and I like trying out new annual blooms, I love growing tomatoes. Love. Love. Love. In addition to the lettuce container, I seeded a flat of tomatoes on the weekend, including some Sicilian Saucer tomatoes from William Dam. Last year I tried to encourage my friends and family to compete with me for the title of the biggest Sicilian Saucer tomato, but no one adhered to my astringent reporting regulations, despite good reporting yields. I look forward to seeing whether someone takes my title.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Baltic un-Birthday Bread

One of my favorite treats to make for a party is a Baltic Birthday Bread, from this super duper Canadian-flour bread machine book. It looks very impressive, and I consider myself somewhat Baltic in origin, as my father's family comes from the former Konigsberg. While that particular region of the Baltic has, and had, little cultural similarity to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, I still am drawn to Baltic culture. I am not sure how authentically Baltic this is, but I did find another recipe for it citing Estonian origins.

I simply couldn't get a picture of it whole. It is that good.

While I technically made this to clean out the cupboards (it uses sliced almonds, candied fruit, and saffron), the only reason those ingredients were in the cupboard were my aborted attempts to make it over the last few months. The texture and flavor is reminiscent of hot cross buns, soft and doughy with hints of fruit.