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With each passage of human growth we must shed a protective structure [like a hardy crustacean]. We are left exposed and vulnerable – but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn’t known before.

Gail Sheehy

Oh gosh. I’ve gone out and splurged on a home brew kit (Coopers). Sometime later today, S and I will be kitting up and getting a brew on. Over the last couple of days I’ve monitered the temperature in a couple of places in our apartment, and I think I’ve determined the optimal spot for the fermentation tank. (This is highly scientific stuff!) I’m a bit nervous about it really, because we’ll have to put in all this effort and the wait several weeks before even finding out if our brew is at all drinkable. But nothing ventured, etc.

I’ve been a little neglectful of posting the sourdough experiment over the last week.

Since my last post the regimen has been to discard most of the starter each day and add 100g water, 70g whole wheat flour and 30g rye flour to the remaining couple of tablespoons. Due to my terminal inability to obey instructions to the letter, I varied from the recipe on a couple of occasions (mainly due to laziness than actual rebellion). I didn’t add or discard anything one day, and the next I just added the new ingredients without discarding anything. That day the whole thing bubbled up almost to the top of the jar. Twas very exciting! Since then I’ve tried to be a little more disciplined. While the starter hasn’t been as vigorous since then, it’s still been increasing  and bubbling away. It has a nice, yeasty smell that makes me want to cosy up with some nice apple cider (Mmmmm.)

I have started reading a book by Michael Pollan called Second Nature: A Gardener’s Perspective. It’s making me long for more than just 3m sq. of balcony space on which to perch some pots. I first encountered Pollan’s writing in his In Defense of Food, I picked up without knowing anything more about him than what was written in the blurb. I find his writing clear, insightful and interesting. And it makes me want to start a compost heap.

With this yen for gardening, I thought I’d put up some photos of growing things today. Our little balcony is home to several planting projects – some successful, others not so much, and others we’re still waiting to see about.

We picked up an ex-plant hire pot a while back, and planted some silver beet and broccoli in it. One of the broccolis is beginning to produce a flower head. It’s very exciting. The silverbeet is starting to look like proper silverbeet, with it’s leaves going crinkly. I saw someone else’s broccoli plants the other day, and am now a little concerned that we packed so many plants into the one (large) pot (so concerned it’s interfering with my subconscious – I dreamt about giant broccoli plants last night). I guess we’ll just wait and see what happens. Might have to make do with baby silverbeet to let the broccoli have more room.

I planted some ranunculus bulbs a few weeks ago, and they’ve been living in our mini-greenhouse. This seems to have done the trick because they’re pushing up cute little shoots and leaves. I can’t wait to see what they look like when they’re flowering.

This flowerpot was chosen by S on a trip out to a garden nursery:

The problem with starting to grow stuff is that it’s hard to stop – the various failures we’ve had (like killing a dwarf lime tree in record time, or leaving our chillis out in the frost) don’t come close to dampening the excitement of nursing a selection of frequently used herbs, or picking a handful of our own strawberries, or the discovery of that little head of broccoli. I’m looking forward to when we’ve got a bit of land to build up with our own compost, and to plant plant some tomatoes in.