Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Guess It's Finally Spring


    I guess it's finally spring here. Or at least I hope so because we've got a lot of veggies in the garden and I would hate to lose them to a late frost. All we need is some crookneck and pan-patty squash, cucumbers, and for the tai peppers seeds to finally sprout. I still have some herbs and flowers to plant and a couple of plants that need to be transplanted. but for the most part we're on track.

  So far this has been a very strange year, most of the country is still frozen, normally this far south we've had plants in the ground for at least a month, but not this year. It was too cold for seeds to sprout in the green house.

   After two years some of my Dutch Irises finally bloomed! And they bloomed double! They are so pretty, no idea if the white ones died or are late bloomers but so far six of them are blue with yellow spots. Here is a picture of the first four to bloom. They are in pots on the porch so I have a very good view of them. The Hummingbirds love them.
 The Grapefruit is covered in blooms, but that last late frost killed the apple's blossoms. It was covered. We're horrified, but at least a couple stayed. And my Gladiolas are reluctantly pushing above the surface. 

                        Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's offical blog. Have a bat-tastic day!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Make Your Own Sourdough Pizza

  Sourdough makes for a fantastic pizza crust; crisp enough for my thin crust loving mother yet bread like enough for me, who personally thinks thin crust tastes like a cardboard cracker. Plus if you make the full recipe you get enough dough for a pizza and a loaf of bread. All you have to do is follow the recipe for bread I shared last week until after you knead the dough then you roll it flat and put it on a cookie sheet covered with cornmeal. Then put on your tomato sauce and toppings on and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Find the recipe for bread here:

A good tomato sauce isn't very hard either. Simply combine about 3/4 of a can of tomato paste with about a half a cup of water -basicly enough to make it spradable- a sprinkling of oregano, basil, garlic powder, sugar, salt, and pepper, or whatever seasonings you prefer in a sauce pan over low heat for a few minutes so the flavors mesh. -We don't measuer much here, you just have to taste the sauce and make sure the seasonings are right.-

The topings are up to you. We like an everything kind of pizza. Anchoves, onions, spinach, peppers, olives, sausage, even kale. If we have any freash, we like to add exrta basil and sliced tomatos. You have to fry the breakfast sausage seperately before adding it and the onions and bell peppers taste better if you caramelize them first, but everything else can go on as is. Then cover everything with cheese, mom and I use Monterey Jack and a little Romano, but any readly melting cheese is good. Try putting some kale on top of the cheese too. It's crunchy and good!

                     Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's offical blog. Have a bat-tastic day!



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Inscriblio Cordless Engraving Tool

  When I found an Incriblio cordless engraving tool on sale at the craft store the other day I knew I had to buy it. I have been wanting to get into engraving and/or metal stamping for a while now, and for six dollars how could I say no? It engraves on glass, metal, stone, ceramic, plastic, acrylic, wood, leather, and more. (no idea what the and more covers, I mean what wasn't mentioned on that list?)  

   It takes 4 AAA batterers. Which I forgot to buy that day, and , of course, it turned out I only had one at home. (Most of my stuff uses AAs.) So, I had to wait a couple days to try it out. But I have been working with it on and off for about six days now and I think it's really cool. It has a nice weight, not too heavy to work with, not so light feels it cheap. It's not balanced; most of the weight is in back, but if you hold it like a pencil the heavy end rest securely and comfortably on your hand.  

   When working with it you should prop your arm on something stable, like the edge of the table you're working on. Because you need a steady hand for this. The inscriblio tends to try to wiggle when I work with it.
    I find it's easier to work with if you don't press too hard and just score the surface lightly at first then go over the lines a few more times to deepen your engravings.

    Wolfram finds it very interesting. Every time I start it he runs up and sticks his little grey tabby head as close to the device as he can; staring at it and smelling it. My mom has suggested it sounds like a dying animal to him. (He is very bird crazy. Just this morning he tried to take a swing at a Blue Jay through the window.)  

   I've practiced on an old soda can, a piece of glass I found in the chicken house, and have engraved a small 'J' on my Anchor clasp choker prototype. When I did that it exposed the copper under the sliver coating so I'm not sure I will be signing all my metal work. But I have been writing 'Wood' on all of our metal tools. Like the ladder.

    I can't wait to get my hands on some of those metal disks they sell for engraving. I have some plans for jewelry using those and/or beads. Hopefully I will be unveiling them soon.

            Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's offical blog. Have a bat-tastic day!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Make your own Sourdough Bread

   This is the recipe I use to make Sourdough Bread. Last time I forgot to slash the tops of the loafs and it fell in the oven. Not that it's been raising that well lately, I hope that the warm weather will help with that.
  When the bread gets to the half way point during the second raise you'll need to prop the towel up to keep it from sticking to the bread. I had that happen to me; it was terrible.

   It freezes well. Pop the bread into a freezer bag and you're good to go. I had the cut the heel off to fit it in the bag.
   Click here for the printer ready version:

                                                Sourdough Bread

   1 package active dry yeast                         1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
  1cup warm water                                       5 cups flour (more or less)    
   2 Tablespoons                                           2 teaspoons salt

     In a large mixing bowl sprinkle yeast over warm water. Leave it to dissolve for five minutes.
Stir in sugar, sourdough starter, four cups flour, and salt. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave to raise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and mix in about one cup flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead until satiny, about five minutes. Shape the dough into two loaves and place in a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or on a cookie sheet covered in corn meal for a flatter, round loaf. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let raise again for 1 1/2 hours. Slash the tops of the bread with a sharp knife so the loaf doesn't fall. Brush the tops with melted butter for a shiny finish. Bake at 400 for 40 to 50 minutes. Set on a rack to cool.

                       Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's offical blog. Have a bat-tastic day!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What I'm Working on Between Projects

   Last December I started working on my first knitted blanket. Originally it was going to be a receiving blanket but over the freezing winter I've had I decided to make something I could use.

  I'm pretty far along right now, almost half way, and am compulsively measuring my work.

  I hate casting on a lot of stitches so I designed it as a corner up piece. Since this is my first blanket and I knew I would be working it on and off between other projects I decided to keep the blanket simple with a stockinet stich (one purl row then a knit row.) and a row of crochet edging to fancy it up and keep the blanket from rolling up. I went with a crochet edging for three reasons: I don't practice my crochet enough, most of the really cool edgings are done with crochet, and I stink at picking up stitches using knitting needles.       

  I knew I was going to use one of my Sensations Rainbow Boucle skeins; but that still left the question of which color to choose. I was torn between either of my greens, or my purple. It was a tough decision, but I eventually picked color#1019 or Berry Print, in honor of the color of 2014 Radiant Orchid. (I.e.: I couldn't pick which one of the greens I liked better.) Plus I can always make versions of it in both of the greens later if the pattern works out.

  Don't be surprised if you don't see this blanket for sale in my shop anytime soon.  I'm not sure if I'll sell it at all. It takes a while to knit. I am looking into selling the pattern, but I'm not sure how many people want a pattern for knitting and crochet.

  P.S. I'm using the new interchangeable knitting needles I won along with some yarn from Storey Publishing's September Giveaway.

       Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's offical blog. Have a bat-tastic day! 

P. P.S This is the yarn I use to make my Colorful Boucle Cowls. I call the purple cowl Berry Purple. See the listing here:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

   I really like Sourdough Bread. But unlike most breads you're going to need a starter if you're going to make it at home. Sourdough starter is strange it's more of a liquid then I pictured when I first thought of making Sourdough and taking care of it is more like taking care of a living organism than anything else. Which is a little creepy when you think about it. Try not to think about it.

  Starter is basically yeast, water, and flour. Dissolve one package of dry yeast in 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water. (It should feel comfortable on your wrist. If it's too hot it will kill the yeast.) Stir in 1 cup of flour put the mixture in a plastic or glass crock, never store it in a metal container, cover the opening with cheese cloth, and store in a warm place. Every day for five days add a 1/2 cup of flour and a 1/2 of water. When it smells sour it's ready to use. You'll need to replenish it by adding the same amount of water and flour you used back to the starter every time you use it.
   If you store it on the counter you'll need to feed it or use it every two weeks or so, depending on the temperature. When the starter turns grey you should use it soon-ish. If you store it in the fridge you'll have at least a month.
  If you don't feel like using it you can feed it a 1/2 cup of flour and a 1/2 cup of water or a tablespoon or two of sugar. You can feed it lukewarm potato water, but when I did my starter turned pink. I had to throw it out. It might have been because I forget to use or feed it, but I'm superstition about potato water now.
      Somethings to remember about Sourdough starter: 
    - Throw it out if it turns pink. It's poison.

    -It needs to be feed or it will starve to death.

    -It needs to breathe.

    -Always use lukewarm water

    -Keep the container clean. Any bits of flour around the side will grow mold and may contaminate your starter. Plus it's gross. 

   It sounds like a bad science experiment, I know, but the bread tastes really good and it makes a great pizza dough, more on that later.
               Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's offical blog. Have a bat-tastic day!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Seven Eggs from the New Coop

100% production from the new coop, yesterday! Seven eggs from the seven new girls, and it's not even spring.

  We also got 12 eggs from the big house which has 13 hens, so 99% production in total yesterday.
We're going to be leaving a notice about eggs for sale when we go the library today. Wish us luck!

--Side note I am still working on getting more inventory made. I just finished knitting the wings for the second black and yellow rooster. He needs a face, tail, and a signature.   

                 Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's offical blog. Have a bat-tastic day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello Spring?-- Not so much.

  While we were at the feed store yesterday Mom picked up two tomato plants and a packet of seeds.

  It isn't going to get out of the thirties today. It's raining on and off. I heard thunder last night. When I woke up today everything was covered in ice. A few weeks ago the newspaper's weatherman told  people to go ahead and plant their gardens. Chanel 13 tried to say what temperatures it would be at what time last night. They were off by 11 degrees the night before that, predicting 37 degrees. There was ice in all the outside animal's water that morning. I don't know if the local forecasters should be commended for their never give-up attitude or checked into a padded room.
   Speaking of never giving up: Mom is planting some of the seeds.

   I'm making sourdough for a pizza. Happy Fat Tuesday!

              Thank you for reading Bats Bizarre's offical blog. Have a bat-tastic day!