Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sun Tea

I like using old-fashioned tricks in the kitchen and occasionally coming up with a few of my own.  One of the old ones I rediscovered from my childhood is sun tea.  It's tea brewed using the heat of the sun so it's perfect here in Arizona.  The recipe is super simple, too.


For equipment, I use a translucent one gallon pitcher, but an opaque pitcher should still work if it's dark enough to absorb sunlight.  The only other piece of equipment is a patch of ground that stays sunny all day.  Moving the pitcher around to keep it in the sun through the day is also an option.  A spoon can help stir in sugar.


I use eight teabags and one cup of sugar for a one gallon pitcher.  Select an inexpensive generic black tea due to needing so many.  While I prefer eight teabags per gallon, the strength of the tea can easily be adjusted.  I also add one cup of sugar after the tea has brewed but that can also be adjusted for taste.
Oh yeah, making sun tea also needs a gallon of water.  Tap, filtered, or bottled is all fine.  Obviously, if your tap water is undrinkable you'll need a gallon of bottled water.


Fill the pitcher with water and hang the teabags in the water.  Place the filled pitcher in direct sunlight.  If needed, move the pitcher throughout the day to keep it in the sun.  
In strong sunlight like summer in Arizona, the tea can brew in an hour.  In weaker sunlight, the tea may need to brew all day.  
After the tea has brewed, stir in sugar and put the tea away in a refrigerator.  Take it out and enjoy at regular intervals.  

Please drink responsibly.

Monday, November 10, 2014

(Mis) Adventures in Backyard Farming

I may not have a green thumb but I'm not the garden's grim reaper, either.  Last spring, I planted corn, beans, and squash together using "three sisters gardening."  It's the classic set-up of companion planting, using each plant's strengths to make a better yield.  The corn provides support for the pole beans which fix nutrients in the soil for the gourds which in turn provide ground cover.
All the seed packages said to plant right after the last chance of frost.  I'm in Arizona.  We almost never get frost here.  The problem for that time of year is that there's no water.  Because I'm in Arizona, I waited until the monsoon started in an attempt to reduce the irrigation needs.
It basically didn't work.

Waiting, I thought, left too little time for the crops to mature.  The corn never developed and there were no gourds.  As it turns out the pole beans did come in so I'll have fresh beans through the holidays and seed for next year.
Most of them are already dried, too.  Saves me that step.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Halloween 2014

Well, all the Halloween parties are over and it's time for my annual costuming article.  This year I went simple and formal, pairing a hooded cape and mask with my tuxedo.  Because of course I already had a tuxedo.  Like you do, you know.
The photo is blurry, not because it's a bad camera, but because it's a drunk photographer.

However, this year was a standout for great costumes.  Like this group of Disney villains.
Yes, Elsa.  We know which side she's on.
There's also this great Game of Thrones group.
George's next book is titled A Night of Booze and Vomit.
Books and movies with a large supporting cast make great group costumes.  Hunger Games is still a popular franchise with the next movie due out soon.
Again, it's not the camera, it's the photographer. 
But dressing as the main character can work if you do a good job of it like this maverick.
Nailed it.
There's also these folks.  I can't place where I know their costumes from.  Some old science fiction movie or something, I think.
Come to the Dark Side.  No reason.  Just, you know, if you want to hang out.
One last picture that wasn't too blurry to use.  I think Marvel needs to call him up.
Yes, that's Doctor Strange and Cleo.  Consider that movie advertised. 
Well, that's it for this holiday.  Next year's costume will either require a morphsuit or gundam armor; haven't decided yet.  Stay tuned to find out.