Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm hunting wabbits

I don't really like this blog to be a gardening blog; there are plenty of gardening blogs around, plus I like the web to be a friendly place, and man those gardeners get into it on line. Latest dust-up seems to be over whether accepting advertising and giving endorsements is equivalent to selling your soul to the devil. Do these people understand how the entire magazine publishing industry works?

I can't be pure anyway, as long as I'm harboring murderous thoughts regarding the local wildlife. Last year, they decimated my bean crop-- 200 baby plants down the gullet of rabbits. Part of the problem is that I love the way my garden looks-- it's all swoopy and artsy, and putting up chicken wire just destroys the aesthetic.

But this year I bit the bullet and put it up around the most vulnerable crops. Of course, you can't make it pretty very easily (because of the curves), and you don't want it too sturdy, because then the OTHER evil furfaces, namely the squirrels, climb over it. I think they view it as a challenge.

In the meantime, we're working our way down the 70 foot long cyclone fence on one side of the yard, and cinching hardware cloth to it-- 1/2" grid. Not even mice are getting through that puppy. We've got the bottom buried and garden-stapled into the ground so that they can't dig under it. Right now 3 of the 12 sections are done, and the rest of the fencing is tied temporarily the rest of the way, with some bricks and logs blocking the bottom. I have a temporary barrier at the sideyard that seems to be working. Daddy Wabbit can't get into the yard anymore, although I'm still seeing the baby.

Well, it isn't pretty, but I do seem to have peas this year.

In the meantime, the raccoons are unstoppable. For one thing, they're the size of small cows and they travel in packs. I'm not getting between them and their desire. One of the things they desire is our fish. We cover the lower pond, where the fish are, at night with corrugated plastic sheets, so they've taken to displaying their wrath by flinging the plants out of the upper pond, and last night also actually got INTO the pond and dug up a lotus-- took it right out of the pot. Then for good measure, they knocked over a bird bath, the malicious little bastards.

Maybe these guys can stop them:
Walnut-wheat crackers
1 1/3 cup wheat flour
3 T corn meal
1/3 cup finely ground walnuts
1 teaspoon sea salt (ground or whole, depending on personal preference)
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons softened butter

1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup honey

walnut oil as needed

Combine the dry ingredients, cutting in the butter until it's completely mixed. Because of the butter and the walnut meal, this will be slightly damp and crumbly. Whisk the milk, sour cream, and honey together to form a little more than a cup of thick liquid. Slowly mix in the liquid to form a soft, but not sticky, dough.

Divide the dough into three to four portions and roll out one at a time, until paper thin. Some people recommend a pasta press, but I did it fine with a rolling pin. Keep turning the dough over, and lightly coating it with flour so it doesn't stick to the pin or the board.

Lightly brush the sheet with oil, then grind sea salt onto it. Using a sharp knife or pizza roller, cut the dough into 1" square crackers. You can do this directly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or on a cutting board, and transfer the crackers to the sheet.

Bake at 300 for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp. Allow to cool on the tray and then store in an air tight container for up to a week. This recipe made about 200 1" square crackers.

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