Lets see….

Christmas at work was typical big box Christmas.  I really don’t understand the fascination with glitter and fake snow on everything.  It gets EVERYWHERE.  I sure as hell don’t want to ever have to vacuum the house that has that sort of holiday decor.

Apparently the cold temps back in the fall were a warning.  We’ve been running at not quite record breaking cold temps since the day after Christmas.  The same day I woke up and discovered that our furnace wasn’t running.  The furnace problems turned out to be the result of water in the line (it was POURING rain the last time we got fuel), and was an easy fix.  The cold temps not so much.

The big storm that ran up the East Coast didn’t do much to us, a couple inches of snow.  But it sucked weather across the Great Lakes in its wake.  Areas not to far from me got upwards of a foot of snow and temperatures dipped too damn close to record breaking cold.  Yesterday, Saturday, it was -1(F) as the official temperature when I left the house for work, with a “feels like” temperature of -23(F) thanks to windchill.  For you Celcius folks that’s -17.7 and -30.5.  Its supposed to warm up this week, cross fingers!

I did take advantage of the cold temps to smoke some cheese.  Cheese has to be smoked at temperatures below 90(F) or you risk melting the cheese.  Temps below 80(F) are preferred.  This normally requires special equipment, but by propping the door of my electric smoker open a couple inches I was able to maintain ~40(F) and still get decent smoke in the body of the smoker.  The cheese has been vacuum packed and we’re slowly working our way through it.

I’ve been working on my garden planning for this year, and putting together an inside grow tent with proper lighting to get seedlings going in.  The garden is going to be mostly tomatoes and peppers this year.  Carrots, lettuce, and a couple tires of melons and cucumbers, and that’s pretty much going to be it.  Course, just as I got the garden plan set and seeds ordered BOTH seed companies I ordered from included a packet of free seeds in the orders.  Which is normal.  What’s not normal is that both free seed packets are for varieties of black tomatoes (our prefered type) listed as “great for sauce”.  Since sauce is the main point of me growing tomatoes I promptly had to re-work the garden plan to fit at least one tire’s space worth of each in the garden to try.

6 Comments

  1. Comment by Rain Frances:

    Hi Ruth 🙂 I’ve been dreaming about the garden too. I’ve been looking up those grow lights and trying to figure out an inexpensive way to grow lettuces, herbs and tomatoes all winter long. NOT inexpensive…but it’s something I want in my future that’s definite.

    • Comment by Ruth:

      I’ve had some cheap little grow lights for years. They do ok for growing “greens” for salad and for seed starting, but not so much for heads of lettuce or anything else. This year I splurged on a 300w LED grow light (~$80), and the white colored mylar to make a grow tent to hold in the light. If it works well then I’ll try lettuce again for the winter!

  2. Comment by bogie:

    There were definitely too many negative numbers at night and single digit days those couple of weeks! The short thwaw we got was wonderful; 60* woot-woot. Of course that was on a work day 🙁

    I’ve never thought about how cheese is smoked, nor at what temperatures. It makes sense (once one actually thinks about it) that the temp needs to be low – a real challenge when smoke is produced by fire. Sound like at least the cold weather was good for soemthing that you will enjoy for a while.

  3. Comment by NotClauswitz:

    My older sister puts glitter into packages she wraps, and I hate it because suddenly I have to vacuum again! Glitter is for 3-year olds, not adults.
    The cold out here on the Western Slope of the Sierras isn’t too bad at only 1600 feet. Rainfall has been light (so far) and allowed me to formulate a plan for a dry-creek that will help drain the field. Another area where I also don’t have to mow!

    • Comment by Ruth:

      Christmas season I come home wearing glitter most days. I don’t get the attraction!

      And woot! Not having to mow a spot is always sweet.