Rejuvenative Pruning: Gold Mop False Cypress x2

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Last year's personal landscaping project was pruning the euonymus hedge to let air and light in, by cutting back each stem to the first growth on the stem. And then there was the forsythia "pruning" which was done by hacking the shrub all the way to the ground. I'm happy to say that both of these projects were a huge success. The hedge is shorter and bushier than it was before, and the forsythia is nearly fully recovered and better than ever.

Which means...more pruning of landscaping we haven't trimmed in 4 years!

Gold Mop False Cypress 1 Pruning - before Gold Mop False Cypress 1 Pruning - after
May 14, 2022

In order to properly prune, you first need to identify what the plant is. I find reddit/whatsThisPlant invaluable for this step. This time we're working with our two Gold Mop False Cypress shrubs in the front yard. We're doing a pruning a la the euonymus, so we're trimming each branch back to the first "V"-branching, or first off shoot, and occasionally cutting all the way back to the trunk, particularly in the top to let more light in. Also, being particularly aggressive on the side that faces the house. Don't need it scraping the paint off!

Gold Mop False Cypress 2 Pruning - before Gold Mop False Cypress 2 Pruning - after
May 11, 2022

Do the shrubs look bad? Yes. Terrible, even? Of course. But by the end of summer, they'll fill out and be a denser, trimmer version of their earlier selves.
With a shaping trimming they'd look better in the short term, but that would just result in lots of dead branches in the middle, and only growth on the very outside (which is how they've been treated since before we bought the house). I'm trying to get these folks as small and dense as they'll go.

Recipe: Chia Seed Pudding

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Chia Seed Pudding and Matcha Chia Seed Pudding

A simple, make-ahead, no cooking mid-morning snack or dessert. Chia seed pudding!

Chia Seed Pudding

1/2 cup almond milk + 2 Tbsp chia seed + a small amount of (optional) honey + a tiny bit of vanilla extract + 1 tsp of matcha (if desired). Mix until no clumps remain, then refridgerate for 2+ hours.
Fruit is defrosted frozen berries, mixed with a bit of honey. Added right before serving.
Chia Seed Pudding Matcha Chia Seed Pudding

Bear-Watching from the Dining Room

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Bear Spotting
May 7, 2022

At twilight you can often spot deer and other critters from the house. And every once in awhile, very rarely, we see a bear! Having grown up in the suburbs, I know this would be a thing, but when you live right in the middle of the mountains, next to uninhabited forest and fields...it doesn't go anywhere near making the local news. But! It is fun to observe (from a distance).

Success: Violet Flower Jelly

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Homemade Violet Flower Jelly

Continuing on with our Violet Foraging theme from early May this year, I turned 1/3 of those 6 cups of loose violet flowers into this very pink Homemade Violet Jelly from TheNerdyFarmwife. It tastes...florally grape-y? It's an interesting flavor, and a nice addition to sparking water and cocktails.

Homemade Violet Flower Jelly

The recipe made about 1.25 pints of jelly, although I think I spilled a good 0.25-0.5 cups, so maybe if you're more careful you'll have more! I also didn't add the lemon juice until after boiling, so maybe that explains the pink rather than purple color? No matter, tastes fine!

Recipe: Violet Simple Syrup

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Making Violet Flower Simple Syrup

Back in May I foraged a bunch of wild blue violets, soaked them in boiling water overnight and made a multitude of things. Here, it's just the Violet Simple Syrup.

Making Violet Flower Simple Syrup

Instructions are pretty simple. I followed the recipe from SeekingJoyfulSimplicity, but basically you coullect a couple cups of violet flowers (no stems! minimal/no leaves), pour boiling water over just to cover.

Making Violet Flower Simple Syrup

Let steep overnight.

Making Violet Flower Simple Syrup

The next day, strain out the flowers and mix 2 parts sugar to 1 part violet tea. Heat in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves (do not boil). Add a couple drops of lemon juice to turn it from cyan to purple! Let cool, bottle, and serve! Will keep in the fridge for ~6 months.

Making Violet Flower Simple Syrup

Recipe: Homemade Mayo & Ranch Dressing

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Who knew, it's pretty simple to make your own mayonnaise, in a pinch?!

Homemade Mayonnaise

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard (could probably swap in Dijon mustard spread)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2c neutral-tasting oil (avocado!)
  • Equipment:: 1 wide-mouth 16-oz mason jar, Immersion blender, Measuring cup & spoons
  1. Combine egg, lemon juice, mustard, and salt in the jar.
  2. Add the oil on top. Let sit for a minute (this avoids the mayo splitting)
  3. Push immersion blender into bottom of jar and turn on.
  4. Add additional oil 1 Tbsp at a time to get the consistency you like (I never seem to need any extra)

Homemade Ranch Dressing

I'm trying to save you from photos of mayonnaise, as mayo is a trigger for some. So, you're getting photos of mayo-based salad dressing instead! I like this homemade ranch dressing overtop of a homegrown lettuce mix with air fried chicken breasts, a slice of chopped up bacon, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, a hardboiled egg, and an avocado if I got 'em.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

This makes enough for 3-4 salads, I go pretty light on dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4c mayonnaise (or olive oil or sour cream)
  • 0.5-1 Tbsp Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle or DIY ranch mix
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or rice vinegar, or lemon juice, or sald-dressing-ish liquid of choice)
  • Optional: 1-1.5 tsp [Dijon] mustard
  1. Mix the ranch mix with 1 Tbsp water - press out any clumps.
  2. Combine with mayonnaise, vinegar, and optional mustard

Homemade Mayonnaise & Ranch Dressing

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