A house full of stuff
Stuff stuff everywhere - it's amazing how much stuff one accumulates over the years, even for someone like me who detests shopping.
After being a bit of a shut-in for a few weeks just doing nothing or poking away at the back yard i've been trundling about on the deadly treadly trying to procure a few more items.
First I was after a West Indian Lime (although I have since discovered that the 'Sublime' my sister in law gave me is basically the same). Unfortunately the closest nursery had none. Neither did the next closest (it was stupidly expensive anyway). So a bit of a hike to the next one - Bunnings at Mile End. Gigantic shop. Gigantic nursery. Not a single fruiting lime tree in their stock. Plenty of grapefruit. I mean who buys grapefruit any more? And fucking greeters and grumpy old ladies as checkout chicks. At least the greeters are hidden behind a 'desk' now, and not assaulting you as you enter the shop. I try to avoid Bunnings but I thought with their super-sized-shop they might at least have some. But once again they've demonstrated they have quantity of quality or range - I found another local hardware store anyway so hopefully that's the last time I ever have to go there. So the last place I could think of was in Beulah Park on the other side of the city across the road from where I used to live. Fortunately they had plenty of lime trees - and hot checkout chicks too. And their prices were even a fair bit cheaper. I bought a couple of tall ones (one for my sister) and rode home with two tree-flags flapping in the draft. Pannier bags are awesome. Now I have to work out where to put it.
That, and making some tomato sauce pretty much did the whole day in.
So the next day I set out to get another PlayTV (for a mythtv instance - only because I know for certain it works well with the computer, the TinyTwin TV tuner I am using currently is a bit crappy) and a chest freezer. I first went to Radio Rentals because it's close. But my patience was already tried somewhat - I got pissed off with the lack of freezers (they had 2 on display), the lack of staff in the giant shop - and the bizarre one-way doors. You go in the front and have exit out the back. I jogged through the isles to get out just to make the point how silly it was.
Next stop was Hardly Normals, or so I thought. I don't like shopping there (or shopping in general) but it was worth a comparison since it wasn't too far away. Unfortunately I had forgotten they closed the one I was headed to and moved it another 5km up the road to a disgustingly giant strip mall. Well to put it bluntly - fuck that, how do they expect people to shop there if you have to travel 10km each way just to get looked at funny and treated poorly? On the way i'd dropped by tricky dickies to see the price on the PlayTV but didn't get one thinking I could try to 'deal' with Hardly Normals to get both, but the lack of shop put a dent in that idea and then I was so pissed off I forgot about it.
I decided to head to the other side of town instead since I know of a few shops that way - but since I was going past home I stopped to look up other shops on the internets and to cut a long story short decided to really 'fuck that', and just bought it online. Last time I bought something just up the road they wanted $50 or more for delivery anyway, with no indication of when it might arrive other than the day (i'm often home but i don't like being tied home unnecessarily). I ordered this from Sydney, $130 below retail, $40 delivery and within 5 hours someone had called to say it would arrive between 11 and 2 the next day (obviously it isn't coming from Sydney). Assuming it arrives that was a much easier experience.
On the plus side I discovered an independent hardware store on the way home - and one somewhat closer too. That'll give me another option when I want to avoid Bunnings. Although the manager warned me not to leave my bike outside for the thieves which frequent the area - unfortunately I missed the opportunity to suggest a bike rail which are sorely lacking in almost all of Prospect (so much for their 'sustainable vision') - there isn't even any parking control signs to lock your bike to ...
So on Sunday I also made up a batch of Tomato sauce. I'm fairly happy the way it turned out although I probably should've reduced it a little more as it is a touch runny. But in the end I simply lost patience after cooking and simmering for more than 6 hours, and it should do. I couldn't find the recipe I used last time and since I had a bottle of Ezy-Sauce I'd bought more than 5 years ago I thought it was about time I used that. There's a recipe on taste.com.au as 'Grandma's Tomato Sauce' but it's really just the same as the one on the bottle so I followed that instead. Unfortunately I forgot to shake the bottle before opening it so I stuffed it up a bit, but I made it up with a few more crushed cloves, black pepper and a huge pile of chillies. It's got a nice little kick to it although perhaps a bit sweet for my taste. I don't even use it much myself but it is absolutely scrumptious on a bit of burnt snag in a fresh slice of bread and perfect for hot dogs - so the 4.5L I made should do me for a while.
I'm also a couple of weeks into making some fermented 'tobasco' sauce. I have some 'Cayesan' chillies which have gone ballistic and the chillies were so heavy one of the branches broke off. I didn't even pick all of them off (I managed to save the branch by tying it up) and ended up with about 750g of green chillies. Ideally i'd use red ones but since I had a whole lot of fresh chillies at once I thought i'd see how a green version of the fermented sauce works out. Still a few weeks left on that. Now the Cayesan's are starting to ripen I'm getting a few red ones each day and waiting till I get enough to make something with.
My habanero plants are starting to produce fruit at last too. They taste fantastic as always - I put a couple of green ones in the tomato sauce, I love the almost apple-like sweetness followed by the searing heat. I only just finished the last of the big crop I had 2 years ago and I finally have some in the ground rather than just in pots so I'm hoping for a crap-load again. Although i've had the occasional problems with pests on the ones in pots in general the pests have been under control better this year, and that's perhaps because i'm growing a bigger variety of stuff and it's all a bit healthier with all the rain we've had.
I've finally levelled off the lawn at the back and well on the way to having it full of lush grass. After 3 odd years of having piles of crap, dirt, and general mess it's a relief to have it almost done. It's a pity I don't have a bit more room for horticulture but I think I have the balance about right given the layout of the yard. There's always pots I guess - but I have heaps of those already and they take a lot more work and the plants usually don't grow as well.
Oh, I got my BeagleBoard polo shirt and Beagleboard-XM yesterday evening, at long last - a bonus from working on GSOC 2010. That took a while to arrive. I haven't got it working yet because it uses a different gender for serial cable and I don't have the right PSU and all my cables are in a box behind other boxes, but hopefully i'll get it working soon. It looks like a tidy little unit anyway. I've barely been touching the computer for the last few weeks other than to read a few blogs and keep up with the news (there's been a lot of it lately), but hey, it's summer so that stuff can wait for the long rainy days of winter.