Thursday, June 19, 2008


After my Soggy Garlic post, I've been watching the garlic, and good thing too. The garlic scapes were out yesterday evening. With hardneck varieties of garlic, the bulb tries first to reproduce by seed. So it sends up what is called a scape, it's a long, skinny, slightly curly flower stalk. If not removed in time it can retard the bulb development. So, now I've got 303 grams of garlic scapes in my fridge. (About 2 dozen scapes) I'm planning on making a garlic scape soup tonight. It's a lot like potato and leek soup, but instead of leeks I'm using scapes. It should be delicious. You can also mince them up into scape pesto, or course chop them and use in place of green beens. They get sold up here in the farmers market for about 5$ a dozen or so. Fairly popular. Not a bad bit of money for something you have to remove in order to get garlic bulbs. :-)
Other harvests last night:
111 grams of lettuce
129 grams of snow peas

The peas immediately got blanched and frozen in two servings. I invested in a large box of freezer quart sized bags for just such things. I had been using large tupperware tubs and that worked ok for the rhubarb, but I didn't see it working as well for things like corn and peas and green beans. This freezer bag method will work well for thawing single servings of things, plus they store flat like sheets in the freezer. I plan to reuse them. Hee hee... I used to laugh at my Grandma Buckley for washing and reusing ziplocks, but I'm definitely going to do it.

I've been paying attention to my water use this week. I've noticed in particular my urge to reuse gray water. Rarely do I have something I can immediately reuse it on though. For instance, last night I had a couple of liters of gray water that had been used to wash lettuce and then boiled to blanch the peas. It was cloudy with pea nutrients and dirt, but not bad water. If I had a large enough barrel or bucket or something I could save similar batches of gray water and use it to water my container plants. The bucket would need to be easily filled by bowls and pots, so a large opening is key. Probably air circulation would be good, to keep it from going all icky. Every few months I can imagine it'll need a light cleaning with some bleach solution. I wonder if I have a bucket like that around the house.

If you are confused about this talk of gray water, let me explain. When talking about water conservation in residential applications, there are three different types of water. White water, gray water and black water. White water is either properly stored rain water or municipal/well water. Safe for human consumption, sometimes containing trace amounts of chemicals like fluoride/chlorine. Gray water is water that has been used for things like rinsing dishes, washing produce, boiling food. Gray water can also refer to water that has been used to clean things, like laundry water, shower water, dish cleaning water, but the cleansers and soaps used have to be biodegradable and non-toxic. If toxic cleansers are used or petro-based cleansers, the water usually gets classified as black water. Black water is water that isn't fit for human or plant consumption. Toilet water or water with toxic chemicals in it. If you can keep toxic chemicals out of the water, black water can be sent through a digester or a clarifier, (think septic tank or marsh) and be nicely turned into gray water.

My goal through Riot 4 Austerity is to get my personal water use to 10 gallons per day. Right now my shower uses all of that in the morning. I still need water for cooking and water for drinking and water for laundry and water for bodily functions. :-D I have a plan though.
Our new house doesn't have a shower in the main bathroom. You have to go down to the unfinished basement if you want a shower. Needless to say, I think I will not be showering much. I think my time spent in India will be put to good use here. While I was in India, water was something that was trucked in to our village. I learned to shower and wash my clothes in a 5 gallon bucket every morning. If I go back to that method, that still leaves me 5 gallons for eating, drinking, plants and bodily functions. I'll probably still go over most days, but some days it will be achievable.

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