But first, my garden report. I'm really excited about the runner bean trellis in my front yard. The flowers are pretty, they're drawing plenty of bees, and they're producing a lovely crop. The tomatoes in the back yard are nearly as tall as I am, and they're showing a good quantity of young fruit. I have ten different varieties, of all different colors. The most unusual is Indigo Rose, which was bred to turn a dark purple wherever it is touched by sunlight. I was able to harvest my first yellow raspberry and a few ground cherries.
I had intended to spend my weekend working out in the garden. However, Saturday morning started out rather gray and chilly, so I decided to begin by going out shopping instead. I started by visiting a Wolf appliance showroom to get information about their integrated electric steamer. It's expensive ($2300, including tax), but it looks really convenient.
Next I took the bus to the nearest SAS shoe store. My current shoes are nearly four years old, and I use them hard, so it's about time I bought a new pair. I tried out about five different styles and settled on one that's similar to the kind I have now, except specifically made for lots of walking. Unfortunately, that was the one type that they didn't have in my size, so I had to order it. They said it will be ready by next weekend, but I'll be out of town, so I won't be able to pick the shoes up for at least two weeks.
After I got home, I harvested my three surviving summer cabbages. I immediately cooked one of them according to a recipe in one of my library books. (Essentially, one shredded cabbage and one sliced onion simmered in 12T butter for two hours, then seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper.) It tastes quite good, and it practically melts in your mouth, but it's not exactly main dish material. I divided the remainder up into small portions and tossed it in the freezer; I should have enough to serve as the occasional side dish for weeks. Now I have to figure out how to use the other two cabbages.
One of the things I've been struggling with is that I've pretty much reached the memory capacity on my DVR, but I don't want to delete everything. Hoping to save the programs onto my computer, I bought a video capture card. However, when I opened up the case on my computer to install it, I discovered that my graphics card had a huge fan attached to it that blocked the expansion port, so there was no more room. I then went out and bought a cheap external capture device. The limitation is that it only has a certain number of capture settings. It can record a high quality uncompressed file, but a one hour program ends up being absurdly huge (17GB). If I capture a compressed format, the file size is more reasonable (235MB), but the video quality is distressingly pixelated. I downloaded VirtualDub in an attempt to obtain a better balance between file size and quality, but so far the xvid compression only gets the file down to 640MB, which is nearly twice as large as I would like (though certainly an improvement). If anyone is familiar with the program and has a better idea of what settings I should use to reduce the size further, I'd love to hear any advice you might have.
After struggling with that all morning, I decided to get some fresh air and return a bunch of books to the library in the afternoon, since their Sunday hours are 1-5pm. I filled up a totebag and lugged it on foot 35 minutes to the library, looking forward to spending some time browsing for a couple new volumes. Imagine my surprise to be greeted by a sign stating that they were closed for the day due to budget restrictions. Not only that, they closed the book return. So I couldn't check out any new books as I had expected, which was disappointing enough, but I can't really blame them for budget problems. However, I also had to carry all my old books back home again, another 35 minutes on foot. I can't even begin to say how pissed off this made me. Grrrr.
Another thing I worked on today was baking chayote bread to take with me to a potluck in Seattle next weekend. I mixed all the dry and liquid ingredients together and poured it into the loaf pans. It struck me that the volume of the batter seemed less than I remembered, but I dismissed it as my imagination. Besides, my mind was on my video capture problem. I put the pans in the oven and began planning what I should work on in the yard while they baked, when suddenly I noticed that the jar of shredded chayote was still sitting on the counter. Gah! I hurriedly pulled the pans back out of the oven, poured the batter back in the mixing bowl, and stirred in the chayote. Then I quickly washed the loaf pans and re-greased and floured them. I managed to get the batter back into the pans and then the oven, and they appeared to bake normally, so at least I caught it in time.
Still, I think I've had enough unexpected problems for a while.