May Update: Summer And Stuff

Posted: 19. May 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

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It’s been a while since my last entry. I have been occupied with a variety of high priority chores, most of them of the outdoor, horticultural sort.

For newcomers, I suggest you click on the “home improvement”-tag under the header where you will find previous posts covering the ongoing story of my country cottage adventure. Just in case you want to be actually updated.

For those of you who have been following this story, perhaps you remember that last summer I installed a herb garden in our courtyard with herbs like Thyme, Basil, Parsley, Oregano, etc. It looked like this:

 

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This Summer, I decided to improve and expand this installation, and I got this idea that in stead of just having a bunch of herbs growing out of the ground I might as well make it look good too. Also, my excavations in the area further back, the wilderness I call The Outback, has literally unearthed a number of rather big rocks and some debris of old structures, like pieces of concrete pipes, hundreds of bricks and such. So, I improved the space a bit, and now it looks like this:

 

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As the keen eye might reveal I also added a few more plants, like three sorts of Sage, some Rosemaries and some ornamental plants like Marigold and Myosotis. Marigolds are good with herbs, because they have this particular scent that will scare off most pests. The pebble cover keeps the soil moist and gives shade to the roots. These Mediterranean herbs like a “rocky” environment.

And now, cake…

Last year my step-son turned 25, and my wife got him a nice big Star Wars theme birthday cake. I told everybody that I could make a cake like that with no problem and even better looking than that one.

Unfortunately people did not forget, so this year they held me up on my promise.

I’d never baked one of those theme cakes before but I’m a creative fellow, so I did not imagine it would be any problem. Usually, if I can visualize it, I can build/draw/play/cook/bake it. However, it turned out to be a little harder than I participated, and the result became slightly more “rustic” than I’d visualized.

 

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On the other hand, it was homemade from the bottom (as we say in Denmark), quite literally.

Three layers, one flavoured with lemon zest. Two types of custard, Abricot jam and chocolate crisps. The glazing is genuine marzipan, not that powder sugar nauseating super sweet stuff most people use. And the chest emblem is, of course, pure chocolate.

Oh, and for those who do not get the theme, it is the Batsuit, nicely folded up with the utility belt put across. A proper cake for a little boy’s birthday (he turned 26).

A massive cake, though. It took a week (Yeah, A. Week.) to eat it up.

So, now I am officially this family’s Party Cake Specialist, which means that people expect me to bake theme cakes every time there’s an occasion. I should have seen that one coming, but I was in my competative mood and just wanted to show off, so I did not think about the consequenses…

 

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Have a nice summer everybody!

 

 

Comments
  1. Congratulations on your new position, Martin! I’m sure you will enjoy your theme-cake business.
    Oh, yeah!
    The herb garden looks very good, and I’m sure the marigolds will help you protect it … bunnies really hate ’em. I even planted a “fence” of marigolds, three plants deep, around my tomatoes. All for naught, though … there was a virus in the soil that destroyed the tomato roots.

    • killjoke says:

      I put the seeds in little pots in late April, and left them in the tool shed (where the heater, a big monster of an oil burner is installed). It’s a nice, warm and semi-dark place. Good for germination. So, when my Basils started sprouting I thought, I might as well get them out. I have this small green house, polystyle. So, I did that. The same night temperatures dropped wildly, and there was a couple of hours of frost in the early morning. Enough to kill my Basil sprouts.

      It always makes me feel sad when plants die. Not because of the lack of success, but because they are actually living creatures that die, because I make a mistake.

      • I think the plants are psychologically more at peace about that sort of thing than we are …

      • killjoke says:

        I’m sure they are. On the other hand, I have no problems cutting down hundreds of bindweeds, the erternal nettles or ten square meters of ground elder. The Aegopodium podagraria is probably the most endurable plant in the universe. A challenge to any garden owner in my part of the World.

  2. Forgot: a very handsome photo at the top!

    • killjoke says:

      Thanks! That is the blossoms of our Mirabelle plum, down in the far back. They’re probably the most beautiful blossoms imaginable. Tiny, fragile and simply beautiful.

  3. Furie says:

    The herb garden’s coming along beautifully. Can’t wait to have a garden of my own again. The way Kim’s getting into cooking recently it’d be nice to do some of our own veg and herbs.

    • killjoke says:

      Most of the herbs in my spot are first and second generation of plants we bought in a store. You can easily grow them as house plants in the sill of a kitchen window, as long as you make sure to cut off blossoms before they bloom. Else they might go dormant or just die. Preventing them from blooming keeps them fresh and alive.

      • Furie says:

        I kind of remember that. It’s been ages since I’ve grown anything. Weird to think that. I sort of still see myself as knowing this stuff, but it’s been replaced over the years.

  4. sprytely50 says:

    Great job !!
    Lucky you, as we have been up at the farm. There was snow there until last week (it rained a lot and cleared it). Now that we’re home I it’s time for yard work of our own.

    • killjoke says:

      Good luck with that!

      Around here the 15th of May defines the borderline of night frost.

      Historically we’ve had frost and even snowfall as late as in the last week of May, but that has only happened two times in 150 years. The soil is completely unbound by now, wich means it can receive and hold water, so even fragile plants can live in it. We still have chilly nights, and in the early morning hours there’s a massive mist almost wereever you go, especially around our place, at the foothills of the Fionian highland. It’s actually quite fascinating. I get up early, and the mist lies dense and heavy over our back yard. Some mornings you can’t even strike a match, that’s how humid it is.

      Denmark is an archipelago in an inland sea (the Baltic), and we’re sort of the Caribbean of Scandinavia. It gets really hot in the Summer and really cold in the Winter, with 18 hours of daylight around Midsummer, and 18 hours of darkness around New Year’s Eve.

  5. gdare says:

    To say the truth, that cake would be a nice birthday cake for a 45 years old boy, too :whistle:

    Nice herb garden! I remember when I was young, my father used to “force” my brother and me to help him in our garden. The reason why I didn’t like it is that my job was to do the hardest and dirtiest part of job – shoveling and taking the weeds out. And our garden was big, about 30 by 20 meters, there was a lot of job to do every spring and every autumn. But now I remember those days as one of the best part of my life. It was nice and calm and after a hard day of work you could see something changed there 🙂

    • killjoke says:

      That’s what I like about gardening. You can see the result of your work. On the other hand, you can also see the result if you neglect. Nature knows no mercy. You can do your part, cutting down, digging up, sowing, mowing, shovelling, fixing, but eventually, when you are not there any more, nature will tale over, and the complex structures of eternal chaos will prevail again. I like the poetry in that. It defies the illusion of human superiority.

  6. kimmzifoo says:

    That’s a cool cake. And your garden is looking ever so lovely. You can tell you’ve put a lot of effort into it.

    • killjoke says:

      Thanks. My next cake will be smaller. I could have fed a small country with the one up there. Half the size would have been enough. That’s what happens when you prefer the Learning By Doing method. Anyway, it got eated!

      • kimmzifoo says:

        I like learning by doing.

      • killjoke says:

        Between you and me, it’s the only way I know. Even when I was a lad I understood the vast gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills. You can read seventeen books on a subject, and you think you know it all, but when eventually you need to use your knowledge in the real world, it’s like another dimension. I like to get things done. Period. Tell me what end of the spade that goes into the ground, and I’ll figure the rest out on my own. Don’t waste everybody’s time on tiresome explanations. I got that from my dad.

      • kimmzifoo says:

        We’re much the same in that respect.

  7. d4rkn1ght says:

    Wow! Fantastic cake! 😎 You can’t never go wrong with a Batman theme cake. 😆 😉

    • killjoke says:

      I had a few considerations about the emblem. About what exact logo-style to pick. There have been quite a few styles over the years, and Ben is from the generation where Burton’s Batman and The Ánimated Series was the thing, and I was going for the blue suit look. However when it comes to cakes lkke this you can’t just make another one if it doesn’t turn oit as expected, so I just made my own version.

      • d4rkn1ght says:

        I think it looks pretty cool! 😎 It reminds me a little to 60s Batman

      • killjoke says:

        Yeah, the classic colours. By the way, colouring marzipan blue is quite an effort. Raw marzipan has a yellowish hue, and adding blue tint just makes it greenish (blue+yellow=green). It takes quite an amount of blue tint to get a proper blue colour, and an aficionado like Ben (and Simon too, by the way) is not easily impressed.

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