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Workin’ On My House

I’ll be moving into my own house soon (maybe not soon, I don’t know), but before I can move in it needs some work. My current project is to refinish the hardwood floors, but to refinish the floors first the staples from the floor that was on top of the hardwood need to be removed. I got a tool today that makes pulling the staples really easy (still not easy on your hands though, I’ve got blisters now), and spent a few hours pulling staples today, got almost all of them pulled.

After the staples have been removed and the floor sanded, stained, and varnished (I think that’s what the stuff is called), I’ll scrape the “popcorn” texture off of the ceiling, then finally patch the holes in the walls, sand the walls and repaint. All that’ll be left to do after that is install the bathroom cabinet, counter top, and faucet, install a bathtub faucet handle, and a few other little odds and ends. I’m pretty excited, I can’t wait to get it finished.

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I’ve been thinking about my life lately, and realized that there were some things that I was doing that were taking a lot of my time yet I was getting no “return on my investment,” so I’ve reevaluated and decided to replace those things with more worthwhile activities. So here I am! I am going to try to start blogging more regularly and taking photos of my projects again. It was mentioned to me in the comments that discussing my plans for future projects was something I could do on my blog, so that’s what I want to talk about today.

First, I want to talk about my plans for the greenhouse. I think it is important to mention that the greenhouse does work, it just needs a little “help,” I plan on getting a propane furnace with a thermostat to keep the temperature up on those cold, overcast days. On nicer, sunnier days the furnace won’t have to kick in much, if at all. The other thing I plan on doing is better insulating the East, West, and North walls of the greenhouse. I think it is especially important on the North wall, the North wall has the largest surface area of all of the walls, and it doesn’t get any direct sun. Once those two things are done I think the greenhouse will be ready to go.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is my indoor aquarium. I have a lot of plans for it, the biggest of which is turning it into an aquatic garden. A while back I saw a post on AquaticPlantCentral that talked about growing aquatic plants emersed, by doing so you could keep extras of almost all of the plants you buy (not all plants can grow emersed) in a relatively small space. I want to have both an emersed setup and a aquatic setup out in the greenhouse to keep extras of my plants, so I can change plant arrangements in my display tank without having to buy the plants again.

Wow! I think this is the longest post I’ve written yet. That’s another one of my plans, to start writing longer posts. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

I’m not currently working, so I’ve not had money to put into my hobbies for a while, so I’ve decided to wait until I do have a job and can get all of my hobbies back on track. I do have big plans for my aquarium though, you’ll just have to wait and see, but if it turns out anything like it is in my mind, it’ll be awesome.

Sourdough Success!

The sourdough starter was a success, I’ve been feeding it every 12 hours or so and it is very bubbly and active. I will continue feeding it everyday for at least a week to allow the starter to mature, as it matures the flavor profile with improve and it will develop some antibacterial properties that will help it to fend off foreign micro organisms.

I’ve already used the starter once, to make pancakes, and other than the fact that I screwed up and didn’t cook them long enough (they were practically still dough in the middle) they were delicious. In fact I think I may post a few sourdough recipes if anyone is interested.

Oh, and as far as plants and such go, everything is doing alright. I probably won’t blog as much about them until Spring when I can get everything outside and organized and such.

Soudough Starter Log Day 4

Today when I checked the starter it was slightly bubbly and smelled of alcohol. This is a good thing, when yeast metabolize sugars in a anaerobic environment (like my closed jar) they produce alcohol. So it means that I have definitely managed to get a culture of yeast going. I fed it some more flour and water and covered it this time with a paper towel. Fairly soon it should get colonized by lactic acid bacteria, which is what gives sourdough its characteristic sour taste.

Sourdough Starter Log Day 3

I almost forgot about this project today. When I finally remembered, and took a look at it, it was slightly bubbly, and smelled somewhat of alcohol. So far so good! Yeast metabolize sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol, so the fact that it is bubbly and smells of alcohol means that it has been colonized by wild yeast. I’ll continue stirring periodically and report back tomorrow of any changes.

Soudough Starter Log Day 2

The mixture is slightly runny, and has seperated somewhat since yesterday. Today I will just be stirring it vigourously a few times. Hopefully tomorrow it will start bubbling.

Sourdough Starter Log Day 1

I’m starting a new sourdough starter (I accidentally killed the last one), and decided to log the process this time.

Day 1:
I mixed 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice into 3.5 tbsp of all-purpose wheat flour. I then closed the jar and put it on top of the fridge. I’ll be stirring the mixture 2-3 times a day, and if all goes well, in a few days it should start bubbling from yeast activity.

Update on Greenhouse Issues

I’ve brought all of my plants indoors for now. I’ve been having issues with temperature and humidity control in the greenhouse. The plants were starting to turn black and mushy, so I figured it was time to bring them in until I can figure out what to do. I’m thinking about insulating some more (once I’ve got some money to spend), and then getting a little thermostatically controlled heater to maintain the temperature at night. What do you think, have any ideas or insights on the matter? Whatever ideas you can offer would be much appreciated, I’m still a newbie in greenhouse matters.

I’m Back!

Wow! It has seriously been quite a while since I last posted. I wanted to bring everybody up to speed on the greenhouse project. So far most of my plants are doing really well, a few have got frost damage from being too close to the south side of greenhouse near the plastic, but overall everything is going really well. The only problem right now is that I don’t have the money to finish it. It leaks heat something terrible, so the temperature drops like a rock at night. I know exactly what needs to be done to fix it, it needs a real door (not a plywood board), and insulation. But until I get some work I can’t finish it, but I can tell you when it is finally done this greenhouse is going to be nice.

Also, my 55 gallon aquarium is doing rather well, it has two goldfish residents, and a bunch of plants. The coolest part of this setup is the emergent plants, I have Umbrella Papyrus (Cyperus alternifolius) growing from the substrate straight out of the aquarium, and Horsetail Reeds (Equisetum hyemale), two varietys of purple Wandering Jews (Tradescantia pallida, and T. zebrina), and at least a half a dozen other plants I can’t think of off of the top of my head. I’ll definitely try to take some photos soon so you can see what it looks like.