Potato bombs

Plugging the bottom
Ready to pop in the oven.

Here’s how you make potato bombs.

Because I don’t have an apple corer, Wadly made me a potato coring tool out of a length of copper pipe.  This method requires an additional tool for pushing the core out of the pipe.

Core the potatoes.  Mine were really big russets so I cut them in half lengthwise before coring.  

Set the potato on its flat end and stuff it with your favorite potato partner (I used diced onions and bacon).  I used my push rod to pack down the diced onion, then added the bacon and packed it as well.  Plug the top with the other short section of core, skin side out.

Place the potato halves cut side down in a buttered baking dish.  Wrap the halves in bacon.  Mine took 1½ slices for complete coverage.  Toss the two remaining core pieces in the pan.   Waste not . . .

Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

If you’re barbequing and have good control of the temp in you grill, you can wrap these in heavy duty foil and cook them on the grill.  For full sized potatoes, turn them over at the half-way mark to distribute the bacon flavor.

You can’t beat this dish for awesome flavor.

Begonia invasion

Begonia as far as the eye can see . . .

Here’s what the wall looks like today. The begonias are taking over . . . and still no new gutter.

There’s a philodendron crawling across the floor . . . and the palm at the top is doing okay.  The spider plans are barely holding their own, the dieffenbachia is also doing well as are all the various dumb cane varieties.

The hoya is doing nothing . . . still.  It does occasionally get sneaky and route water off the wall onto the floor so I’m keeping an eye on it.

Short casting to last

The plaster wrap from ball to ankle.
Cover with plastic bag and wrap with 4″ wide elastic wrap.
Cut the leather-hard plaster with a serrated butter knife.
Tie a strip of plastic bag around the casting to hold it close while it sets.

Here’s the sequence of producing the short casting. If I don’t have to deal with the toes I can do this by myself pretty easily.  Note that I have coated my foot and ankle with olive oil just after installing the tape (see below).

The only photo I didn’t get was of my foot set with forefoot on the ground and heel off and my leg correctly aligned.

Note the blue painters tape showing above the wrap.  It runs down almost all the way to the bottom edge of the plaster wrap and protects my skin from the butter knife used to cut the plaster wrap.

Positive for last mold

Initial last shape, part plaster cast, part modeling clay.

I’ve used my modeling clay (has oil in it so it doesn’t dry out) and I’ve added to the casting I made for my heel seat press.  There’s no reason I can’t use that casting for both my initial last casting AND as the template for a press for the cork for my heel seat.

Once I get the initial mold made I can clean it up and do any final fussy shaping.  The modeling clay fleshes out the toe and the top of the last at the ankle.

Sequencing

I’ve been toying with making a pair of stitch-down sandal shoes ala Alan James Raddon but I could never figure out how to get the toe strap adjusted so it would be comfortably snug but not too tight.  When I need a solution to a problem, I’ve learned to just let things ferment.  Today I think I’ve found the answer.

Sewing sequence for the toe strap at SixSmith.org

I was researching shoe making stuff and in a search on lasts shoes DIY I ran into a forum that led me to a website that had this picture.  The site is SixSmith.org, a company that makes custom lasts and hold workshops on shoe making.

For making my own pair of sandal shoes, my brain was firmly fastened on sewing the outside first and I couldn’t figure out now to get the strap length right.  Duh.  This is just a little too obvious.  <rolls eyes at self>.  Sew the inside first!

In my weekly conversation with our son, I talked about what I’ve been doing to get lasts that would help me produce a better fitting shoe.  We’ve thrown a lot of ideas back and forth and it’s gelling.  We’ll see how it goes.

Bog filter 2012

Upper tank in August sunshine
Penny royal in small tank.
Hyacinth, bean and fairy moss.
Blooming reed

The larger of the upper biofilter tanks is doing really well, though the water hyacinth has not bloomed this year and I’m holding no hope that it will.  The triangular water reed has nearly tripled in size even after removing half the original plant last spring to give to Mindy.  Jill?  Can I restock you when I cut this back in the fall?

This year this larger filter tank is loaded with hydroton which provides shelter for the roots.  The water bean, hyacinths and reeds are mega happy, sans blooming.

The smaller tank is also filled with hydroton and has last year’s penny royal which amazingly enough, wintered over due in part to the tank being made of closed cell foam (insulative), containing hydroton (insulative) and filled with standing water (insulative).

Because the maple tree and the triangular reed are sheltering the smaller biofilter tank from the sun the penny royal is growing much more slowly, which is a plus.  Last year it was horribly root bound it grew so fast.  I cut out most of it and thew it away, then took the remaining bit and cut it in half to give to Mindy.

I like the fairy moss as a fill-in between the larger plants.  It helps keep the mosquito population down.  Having marigolds growing in a pot on the back frame helps as well.  I don’t worry about mosquitoes in the big tank – fish food!

The reed is blooming, though it hasn’t yet peaked to produce the mass of feathery tendrils that will be the end product.