Saturday, 30 January 2010

En Otra Lengua

I have decided to try to make a few more of my entries in Spanish, since it is also a language I can manage (plus the odd word or two in Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, German, French and Russian. And by 'odd word or two', I mean EXACTLY that. Except for Italian, where I know the odd four or five).

Problem is, I am writing the first such entry from Almapaprika's laptop, which doesn't have the '~' on the 'n' we Spanish speakers use. My little cheap laptop does have it, but I'm being lazy, so this will be a '~'-less entry:

Buenos Dias a todos.

Si han estado leyendo este blog en ingles, sabran ya la historia de su existencia.

Hace un par de...hace muchos, muchos meses atras (;-P) empeze a plantar chiles, ajies y otras plantas del genero capsicum, ya que me encontre fascinado por estas plantas y sus frutos. Esta es la segunda temporada 'formal' en la cual planto capsicums.

Una de las novedades de esta temporada (siempre planto algo fuera de chiles y ajies para ver si tengo el 'pulgar verde' como dicen los anglosajones, o si soy mas como el jardinero que ayuda a una de mis abuelas, el Sr. Mencho, quien aparentemente fue picado por una culebra, y segun va la historia, a estas personas no les crece nada de lo que siembran), son el Maiz Morado (varidad peruana utilizada para elaborar la 'chicha morada'. Disculpas a las hermanas Mexicanas que haya indirectamente insultado), el Saril (mejor conocido como 'Flor de Jamaica' en Mexico), el Culantro (utilizado mucho en mi pais, y conocido por los afroantillanos como el ingrediente principal en el 'Recao' verde) y la Guava Chilena (Guayaba Chilena para los de Centro America y el Caribe). Esta ultima se que demorara un par de....varias decenas de meses en llegar a una edad apta para dar fruto. Pero esta clase de arbol/planta ideal para el clima de Liverpool, asi que no estoy apurado.

El Maiz Morado lo crezco como una curiosidad, y para ver si puedo hacer algo interesante y crear el primer 'Chicheme Morado'. El chicheme, si alguno de ustedes es un lector de mi patria, es una bebida refrescante elaborada de maiz, leche, un poquito de azucar y quizas canela. Origina, segun la leyenda, en La Chorrera, donde el 'Chicheme Chorrerano' es la reina de las bebidas.

El Saril, claro esta, sera utilizado para 'Chica de Saril' (nuevamente disculpas a los Mexicanos. 'Agua de Jamaica'). Ya le he comentado esto a 'pacieros' de el Delicatessen local, quienes estan interesados en saber mas (aca en las latitudes del norte venden la flor del Saril, bueno, en realidad el fruto, pues la flor se asemeja mas a la de un Papo, en sirope, para que uno las ponga como ecoracion dentro de copas de...[CARAMBA!] Prosecco, Cava y otras clases de vinos efervesentes.)

Pero en fin.

Hablo y obviamente escribo por los codos.

Un mal que tengo desde chiquillo.

Lo interesante de esta temporada es que ninguna de las semillas de ajies han germinado todavia.

Sin embargo, tras tan solo dos dias, todas las de Maiz Morado y de Saril ya estaban germinando.

Hoy sabado, tras tan solo una semana, me encuentro con el dilema de que hacer, ya que las raizes de las plantitas de Maiz Morado han invadido el teritorio de las de aji. Movi a dos de las semillas (todas las semillas feron depositadas inicialmente en unos bloques de material de 'compost', los cuales van en espacios individuales en una incubadora) a unos potes separados de 5 pulgadas, pero todavia tengo que encontrar espacio para las otras dos.

Pronto espero poder tomar fotos de los avances.

Pero por el momento, creo que he hablado suficiente.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Purple Rain...


All four Maize Morado seeds have germinated!

This is, of course, fantastic news...

Except that the roots are already starting to dig into the coir pellets immediately next to them!

Also, both Roselle seeds have germinated as well.


At least I can now safely say that the bathroom floor is a great place to keep seeds in our flat (it may have a lot of things I'm not thrilled about, but bless under-floor heating. It has been the equivalent of having heating mats for the seed trays). Now I just need to get the light situation fixed.

Work will be a problem this year. The radiators in the offices where I kept all the plants last season have broken down, and people don't know how long it will take Facilities Management to fix the problem (if it's like fixing the heating in my work area, it's been 26 months and COUNTING), so this might mean no plants in the offices for a while...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Talk about FAST!

One of the Roselle seeds has just germinated...barely 48 hours after sowing! Wow... that is just really fast!

I also started out my first hydroponic kit...really excited, although I have to admit, the design isn't exactly plant friendly (rough and sharp plastic edges on the slit where the tender little stems emerge from makes for a dangerous combination), and for a little thing it is really loud! But I will rate it in more detail later...

...All you need to know is it's called the Prepara Power Plant.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Let the feast of 1,000 hams BEGIN!

I sowed 44 seedlings yesterday evening to signal the start of the 2010 growing season!


The hopefuls for this season are (by seedling incubator):

Incubator One
2X Red Strawberry Guava (Supposed to be a frost hardy type of Guava)
2X Barrackpore 7Pot (a Chinense courtesy of Trinycoolieboy, one of the forum members from The Hot Pepper...from Trinidad)
2X Peppermo Pepper (an unknown Chinense from another forum member, Peppermo)
2X Antillais Hot (a Chinense courtesy of Vincent, another forum member)
2X Royal Gold (another Chinense from Vincent)
2X Aji Limo Rojo (Chinense)
2X Brazilian Starfish (Baccatum)
2X Hot Apple (Annuum...otherwise known as Almapaprika!)
2X Red Squash (Chinense)
2X Ring of Fire (Annuum...technically three, but I only used two coir pots for the three seeds)
2X Maize Morado (Purple Corn!)

Incubator Two
2X Safi (Chinense. Really looking forward to this one)
2X Peach Habanero (Chinense)
2X Mustard Habanero (Chinense)
2X Scotch Bonnet Mixed (Chinense)
2X Jamaican Hot (Chinense)
2X Maize Morado (More Purple Corn!)
2X Fatalii (Chinense. Because last year two gorgeous looking plants only produced ONE pod!!!)
2X Cayenne (Annuum. Not Ring of Fire. Just for kicks)
2X Thai dragon (Annuum. Again, just for kicks)
2X Barrackpore 7Pot (might as well plant some more super hots)
2X Roselle (Hibiscus Sabdarifa. Flor de Jamaica for you Mexicans, Saril if you're from Aji Chombo Land)

This is, of course, not counting the Datil at home, the one Naga Morich still remaining at work, as well as the Chocolate Habanero, Orange Habanero, Rocoto Rojo, and Caribbean Red Habanero.

There is one Cuban Black that is still alive. I gave it to one of my co-workers, and it looks FANTASTIC. She's kept it alive through winter, and it looks so lush and exotic in her office.

Greener thumbs than I, definitely.

I will hopefully set up the hydroponics tonight with the Culantro (Eryngium foetidum) to see how that little kit works!

Ah, the joys of the start of the growing season...

And in good, consummate, Chilli Head Fashion, I've decided to post my growing list on The Chile Man's website. I also decided to enter their Rocoto Challenge, although I'm not hopeful of much, since I only managed to get two pods out of the Rocoto Rojo...and they only happened AFTER the growing season... But who knows. I might get a surprise or two this season (like TWO Fatalii pods).

With any luck, I might have some pods for the 'union of the pods' between myself and OUCH! sorry about that. Just got a static shock from the electric radiator, so a shock AND a burn...anywho, as I was saying before, I might have some pods ready for Almapaprika and I's big 'joining in the fields of capsicum.'

Blinkin' emergency door alarm at work just went off (the bell is right next to me), and the usual security override code isn't registering. AAAAAARGH!!!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Have a Thought to Spare?

Debating whether or not to go ahead with this year's planting, or to merely keep the plants that are still alive (a Naga Morich. The blasted thing is flowering in JANUARY!, plus a Chocolate Habanero, an Orange Habanero, and a Rocoto Rojo...oh, and the Datil Chilli at home), and forgo the planting altogether.

Flat offers me no chance of getting anything going (we now get possibly four hour MAX of direct sunlight during the high summer thanks to the construction of another block of flats in front of us), but I have so many seeds. I really wanted to try the 7Pot seeds one of the forum members sent me from Trinidad, as well as the other seeds forum members sent and some I bought at the close of last growing season...but we shall just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I did want to spare a thought for the earthquake in Haiti. I know this is already a week old, and therefore I say nothing that is not already known, felt, or experienced by some.

Just spare a though for them, and keep them close to mind.

Within weeks most of the world had forgotten that nearly a quarter of a million people died in December 2004 because of the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Let us not forget the ones who perished here, for it means we once again fail to learn from history.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Humanity: a Generation of Incompetent Techno-dependants

Yep. You heard it.

The last 10 days have proven we've actually managed to go back in the evolutionary ladder (sort of. Darwin didn't specify that evolution was a forward moving process, merely one of adaptation to challenged presented by the environment).

In this modern, eco-ultra-aware, litigation-enshrouded, health & safety fearing, environmental-apocalyptic world run by people who would have been Smilodon chow a few thousand years ago, we have forgotten basic instinctive responses to dealing with precisely said 'challenges presented by the environment'.

I'm talking about the snow.

Yes, I know I'm not from a country where snow falls profusely, but still.

Three inches of snow effectively crippled the UK last week. These are the sort of numbers people in other parts of the world deal with in late autumn.

In fact, these are the figures which used to be the norm in the UK not that long ago, and are still the norm in parts of the UK, every winter.

And yet...

Health and Safety ran amok as the snow fell. Buses stopped. People panic shopped as if a Hurricane was set to destroy most of England.

If we can't handle a little bit extra snow, I fear Global 'tepidness' will be just enough to finish us all.

A fine bunch of 'evolutionary masterpieces' we are.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

New years Rant

The blog has been inactive for a few months, and some of my friends have been asking me why.

Truth be told, the chilli season gave way to the chilly season (pun sadly intended), and I had to finish my dissertation.

I lost a fair bit of my harvest to the stupidity of realizing that while capsicums keep well in the fridge, if a little moisture gets to them they rot really fast.

Still, I have a healthy supply in the freezer and some drying.

To my surprise, the Nagas, Chocolate Habaneros, Rocotos and Orange Habaneros were still alive until the Christmas Break, when the office was closed :-(

Heck! The Rocoto Rojo even had two DECEMBER! Took it blinking long enough...

The Naga is also still producing, which is really scary.

I have to thank the peeps from one of the offices where I keep the pods, who had looked after them while I was off being insane with 'academic stuff'.

I am looking forward to the new year, because the lone Datil I planted last year is still alive and well, so it should provide fruit for this summer.

And Almapaprika's Mum and Dad gave me a mini hydroponics system for X-mas! I shall be planting Culantro on the mini hydroponic so that I can cook Sancocho (an Aji-Chombo Land chicken soup cure for hangovers, and apparently death) for Almapaprika.

I've also been dabbling in the dark arts of jam and pickle making, having thus far made:

-Apple, Mint and White Habanero Jelly: a bit of a letdown, really. Needed more pectin. But good flavour and the heat is mild but noticeable.
-Mango, Peach and Naga Chutney: it was so good a friend of ours who shall remain nameless stole a pot of it from another's house. It was really nice and hot. I only used one Naga for this, since more than one would have been not consumable for most friends.
-Blueberry and Pomegranate Jam. So good, I could only make one and a quarter jars (I underestimated the amount of fruit needed). Lovely and full of flavour.
-Cranberry, Plum, and Cherry jam. Another good one. A bit more tart and runny than the Blueberry & Pomegranate one, but still oh, so tasty.
-Pickled Pears. Yup, you heard. The recipe from the Hairy Bikers. Still to taste them as they are 'pickling'.

One final thing, which is why the title is New Years Rant:

Copenhagen: Waste of time. The solution is simple. Technology transfer. It is also the most unlikely, because no one wants to give anything for free (and please do not be fooled into thinking that the 'aid' is free. Who do you think will sell the 'green technology' to the countries in need of it? I'm betting it won't be at discount prices...). Though you couldn't tell it was Global Warming in the coldest winter the UK has seen for a decade...

Also: Apocalyptic films and their recent resurgence. You know, the end of the world through our own making or through some unforeseen circumstance which could be traced back to mankind in some way or another. We are far to obsessed with that sort of film...

Finally. Rude and obnoxious people. There are far too many here where I work. Not co-workers, mind you (well...). They all know more about my work than I do, all want to get away with murder, all want to bend the rules, if not break them and grind them into dust. Why? Why are people afraid of following rules? Yes, AFRAID! 'Rules are unfair.' well, life is F-ING UNFAIR, YOU DOLTS!, if you could do anything you wanted at any time outside of the bonds of society (let's call it nature), you'd be dead before you hit puberty, because the rest of LIFE doesn't give two rabbit sized poo pellets about 'your need for all things to be equal'. Rules can help you if you use and respect them accordingly. Today's society (specially here) are too caught up in this 'Big Brother is out to get you because it wants to control you' paranoia.


Rant over...