Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sausage making, First attempt......Cumberland style sausage

I have decided to have a go at making shop bought are just plain nasty!

Last month I bought a meat grinder/mincer from eBay with a 2000W motor so it was more likely to work than the 1200W ones available in supermarkets here in Bulgaria

Vegetarian sausage skins.....( vegetarian ones as they store at room temperature unlike stinky disgusting standard ones )

Assorted herbs and spices, nutmeg, ginger, white pepper, black pepper, marjoram,  mace ( delivered as all no good! I missed it out )

Meat from Kaufland, leg of pork, only used a bit so it would not be wasted if it all ended up inedible!

First step was to cut the meat up a bit, I left it in bits about 3 inch by 2 inch and 1.5 inch thick.....never used a mincer before but it looked like it would go in!

I minced it easily, added a half bread roll to push the meat out....decided to stir it in to add some bead to the meat....

Next was to add the spices, and salt to the mince, give it a quick mix round....and put it back in the hopper, Quantities....I sprinkled them measure at all

Then add the filling home made with a piece of funnel inside to make it small enough for the only sausage skins they had in stock, I have now bought one from a DIY shop in StaraZagora....but used my modified one to see if it worked!

Add the skins to the nozzle and then extrude and fill the sausage.....

Discovered I need to hold the bit the sausage fills into to prevent a under filled sausage, then it was working fine.....added half of the bread roll to push out the last of the meat

Into the fridge with it....apart from a 6 inch piece that I had to cook to see it it was edible!

Into the pan with it.....

Coooooooking time........, cooked it slowly for 20 minutes

Looked like sausage....could have been a bit more cooked!

It tasted like Cumberland sausage as well......unlike any I have had from supermarkets in the UK.....I managed without even measuring the spices....

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Garden Update July 2015 - Garden starting to supply lots of food this year, looks like a year of a bumper crop

Things seem to be growing well this year, most things that is.......

The panache fig with its stripy fruit, is still only about a foot tall, but now has 2 fruit on it....I will now pot it up again to make it grow some more, it is only in a 5 liter pot as I didn't want to jump up too much in size from its 3 inch pot that it had when delivered as a rooted cutting.

I have been pulling weeds out, scything some of them like the grass to get mulch, I am using the mulch like in the Ruth Stout method of gardening to cover the floor s much as possible to hold back the weeds, it is working.....sort of....I don't have enough mulch, places with a deep mulch layer are working fine for weed control.  I will plant something in some areas to grow some mulch I think as straw seems unavailable here.....(even though I have seen 3 giant trailers drive past today.....I cant find how to get some! )

Fruit on the trees is good, but small amount of fruit from some of the early flowering trees compared to other years due to frosts just at the right ( or wrong! ) time.

Peaches are good, Cherry plums are good, Apples on 2 trees are good, Sour cherries and sweet cherries were very large crop as well.

Normal plums from 2 trees have low numbers and one tree has about 3 plums , usually it has a couple of hundred kilo at least

The Dryan tree, ( Cornelian cherry, Cornus Mas / Dogwood ) has loads of fruit just starting to ripen, this was the first tree to flower in the snow, ice and frost and it is still fine.

The rhubarb plants planted early spring last year are massive now, we ate it for weeks and it never looked any smaller!

Potatoes, all growing fine some are ready now....just, no sign of Colorado beetles this year but I did spray early on with neem oil.

I got this lot yesterday from one plant, I think it is Swift, a first early

The tomatoes, growing well, we have had one or two off the plants every day till now, but yesterday they started to speed up production, this was yesterdays haul....and back again ripe more again today!

Raspberries, the long cane Aldi ones I bought, died....I have had them before and they have been fine, this year every one died, so wont bother again, most of the other raspberry canes are growing fine, and last years are massive clumps of canes full of fruit.

Soft fruit harvest from new plants this year, some black currents, gooseberries, red currents, raspberries, strawberries have almost finished but we are getting a few a day as well

Time for Raspberries and yogurt

Last year the squash seemed to like it here, as did cucumbers so we have planted 50 or more mixed plants....Frankie the dog mixed them throwing them everywhere out of the trays, We have no idea what is what apart from a few I planted before his fun......

These are quite big, I think ( presume ) Atlantic giant pumpkin, being this big after only 2 weeks old fruit

I also have 10 Waltham and 10 wrinkled butternut squash, 10 courgette/marrow plants and 10 Marketmore cucumbers growing out from in between the sweetcorn plants, squash nowhere near ripe yet, but getting bigger

The Sweetcorn, looks much better this year, 4 types planted.....( never a good idea! ) and all between 5 foot and 8 foot tall, Bloody Butcher, Blue Hopie and a couple of standard ones from seeds I bought here one had golden in the name....but that is all I could translate!

Carrots....again a complete failure....not one!...I am planning on making a raised carrot growing bed for them next year.

Onions and shallots, onions are still growing, shallots I harvested some yesterday as the tops had died down and still lots more growing

Marrows, or big courgettes....

Marrow, chopped up to be roast like a squash 

Rose bushes and lilies are also growing well

Hazel nuts are nearly ready as well

 So much better this year than last year as the weeds are starting to get under control.....a bit!

Frankie.....The rescued dog with terrible neck happy, healthy and looking like a dog.....

Banana Shallot flowers in a vase I found 12 inch deep in the garden

Some sort of insect.....eating or laying eggs...not sure, in the underneath insect....

Ladybird with no spots...????

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The DIY Geodesic dome greenhouse build

Geodesic dome greenhouse
Cacti, Succulents and Citrus in the dome

It was one of those days......looking at the garden and seeing the giant metal frame I put up last year....a frame I never covered......
So all in all it was pretty much useless...actually...pretty much useless is a bad description as it was also downright it was more..... downright ugly useless........

Anyway...for years I had been looking at geodesic domes, so I decided the time to build one was here!

Having run a model aircraft kit manufacturing and wood processing company at one time, I find processing wood into strange and complex shapes easy and I have any tool needed to cut the angles on the various sides of each piece of wood.

Off to the shops.....

Wood....not as easy as it sounded as all wood in diy stores here was the wrong size....and not very good!

Wood problem

Glue.....well I make glue so , not a problem

Polyethylene sheet......easy to find here, UV stable no problem, but should have bought a heavier gauge plastic as was to be held on with staple gun.

I spent a few hours digging out plans I had worked out a few years before when I planned making one....then changed the plans a bit, then changed back to the earlier version....and then decided just to start building!

A 1 frequency Geodesic dome is a strange thing as it looks so strange due to large sides and not that many of them, 15 sides including the roof,
I needed a 1 frequency dome as it was easier to create a very high space for a smaller diameter, I needed about 4.5 meters high and 5.5 meters hold large size lemon tree in the center and small ones around, while leaving space to walk round the center tree.

After 2 days finding wood, then a day cutting the wood to the correct size I had loads of strip wood with angled sides to allow the curve of the dome

Next step was to cut the angles on the ends of the bars to the correct angle and the correct length all identical.

Next, on a flat surface, to form the equilateral triangles, 15 of them, again all identical....I glued the joints using 15 minute set StarLoc Adhesives epoxy ( obviously my own brand!....I make it! ) epoxy in the centre of each joint and a drip cyanoacrylate glue to tack them in place while it set as it was a job to clamp them all
After the glue had set, I drilled through the joints to add a 3 inch countersunk head wood screw to toughen up the joint some more.
Ready to screw together

After some time making the 15 triangles it was time to screw them all together......

Not as easy as it sounded....Enough to drive you crazy!
Add a bit...another bit falls off...needed more hands
And I got this.....
Bare frame

Half covered
Then I used the staple gun to cover it and got this

Empty dome greenhouse
Some plants in the dome
It now needs shrinking with heat gun to get a better finish and when tighter it will not be caught by the wind....although this does not seem a problem , this one now needs recovering as I needed to use heavier polyethylene things keep putting holes in etc......

Seeds germinating in the dome
Mini citrus trees in the dome