Friday, March 21, 2014

DIY Bamboo (PVC) Flute (Bansuri)

I know this is at an odd angle, but it's a scan from 1998 and it was my instructor in Nepal. Manoj Singh. He is (was?) an amazing player of the classical bamboo flute, which is called the bansuri in Nepali.  

My older son recently went on a field trip to the local middle school and was treated to a band concert.  His takeaway?  It was loud.  And the Tuba was awesome.

So I, of course, had to pull out my bansuri, which I studied with Manoj nearly 20 years ago (yikes).   The boys loved it! And I could still make music on it.

They wanted to touch it.  They wanted to play it.  They wanted to fondle it.  

I had to say no.  Where do you buy a genuine bansuri, after all?

So we made them PVC flutes.  And we made them for two of the neighbor girls, too.

I chose lengths of 1/2" PVC from our scrap pile.  The we took a drill bit and screwed a hole for blowing, then left a big gap, then made 3 holes, then a small gap, then made 3 more holes.  Then we took a cork and narrowed it with a utility knife until it fit into the hole on the mouthpiece end, and stuffed it in, then cut it flat with a kitchen knife.  The the boys took them outside to paint and decorate them.

They work!  For troubleshooting, we made a wider mouth hole. 

They make music!

So cooL!

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

20 pounds of Cabbage in my 2 Gallon Crock... mmm... Sauerkraut

Last year, we got our 20 lb box of sauerkraut from our farm box CSA and made different types of sauerkraut in jars.

This year, our process was different.  

Delicious as the flavors were, we streamlined a little.  Everyone loves plain sauerkraut.

So we made plain sauerkraut.  

We all took turns slicing (ok, the older one sliced and the younger one fed scraps to the chickens-- but it's good to have a job and be useful), then I sprinkled the kosher salt (approximately 1 T per head of cabbage).  We all took turns pounding, then we took a break.  Then we pounded.  Then they got bored and I pounded some more.  I left it in the 2 gal crock and 1 gal crock overnight, then consolidated into the 2 gallon crock the next morning and weighted it down.

Now it is waiting to ferment...

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Monthly Garden To-Do List: March

Have you ever tried green garlic? It is garlic, picked early- before the bulb starts to differentiate into cloves.  You cook with it like you do with green onions or leeks, and it is so fresh and mild and delicious, that it is worth scouring the Farmer's Markets for bunches of it in February, March, and April.

Speaking of March, it's SPRING!  Finally!  Hey, time to get naked and plant the veggie boxes.

Don't forget your rain boots.  Just in case.

But really, grab your unpaid labor force, and it's time to add compost to that veggie box, turn it, and plant those seedlings (or seeds- depends on which you prefer).  Personally, we go back and forth depending on the year.  I usually end up not "thinning" enough when I use seeds, so my boxes look better when I use starts.  But gardening is much more expensive that way.  Don't forget to leave the seedlings outside for a day near where they will be planted before transplanting them.  This will reduce shock.

What else is going on in March in the Garden?

  • The magnolias are in bloom.  These bright pink blooms adorn the trees before their leaves, and are striking against the skies this time of year.  They are short-lived, so enjoy.
  • The spring bulbs are flowering- enjoy those as well.  Your blueberries will also be putting their flowers out, and the figs will sprout leaves, as will the other deciduous trees.
  • Sprinkle some wildflower seeds before the last rains.  How about some California Poppies?  They are deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, and beautiful.  They also naturalize.
  • You could also plant poppies.  I knew a woman who threw a bunch of poppy seeds into her yard before the last rains, and had a glorious spring garden.

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