Mini Greenhouses for Seed Starting

I am starting some seeds for my mother’s garden. I decided to use mini greenhouses made from clear plastic bins.

I started with making pots from newspaper and small drinking glasses.

I cut the newspaper pages in half, then half again, and wrapped each piece around the base of a glass while tucking the ends under.

Since the pots are not super sturdy they need to be packed in close to each other. I used the bottoms of 1-gallon water bottles from Costco that I was keeping but didn’t know why.

Bottom of 1-gallon water bottles

I placed 4 pots in each container. I also used the container from my Trader Joe’s mini chocolate peanut butter cups, a strawberry container, and 1 large 2.5-gallon water container. I tucked a few pots in the empty spaces inbetween the containers.
I filled the pots with Jiffy Seed Starting mix.

Jiffy Seed Starting Mix.

I dumped the entire bag into an unused large container and mixed with warm water until it was saturated. I placed this mixture into each cup.

 

Pots full of Jiffy Seed Starting mix and seeds.

Pot holders made from a 2.5-gallon water container cut in half.

My 2 new mini greenhouses.

My greenhouses.

I will put these containers outside everyday and bring them back inside while the nights are still chilly. Right now the nights are in the upper 30’s to low 40’s and the days are in the high 60’s to high 70’s.  This week’s forecast for Riveside Califoria:

The forecast for Feb 19-25 for Riveside, CA

On Feb19th I planted:

  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Italian Parsley
  • Sweet Basil
  • Butternut Squash
  • Yellow Crookneck Squash
  • Dark Star Zucchini
  • Sierra Gold Cantaloupe
  • Jack O’Lantern Pumpkins
  • Catskill Brussels Sprouts
  • Brandywine Tomatoes
  • Early Roma Tomatoes
  • Fox Cherry Tomatoes
  • Yellow Pear Tomatoes

I will post updates.

Germination Table
[table “1” not found /]

Zinnias

3 days after planting

4 days

Brussel sprouts, Cantaloupe, Yellow Squash & Basil
click on the photo to see a larger image so that you can seed the cute little seedlings 🙂

I started to notice that some of the small plants had massive amounts of roots that were growing out of the newspaper cups. I decided to put the newspaper cups into small peat pots and supplement with potting soil. I moved the newspaper cups to the peat pots yesterday 03/02/2012. They are looking really nice today.

Handmade Christmas Gifts 2011

Front
Front of flower bag
front
Front of tree bag

I like to make gifts for people. This year for Christmas I decided I would knit a computer bag for each of my sisters. I found a pattern online and worked with it. This wasn’t just an ordinary knitting project but my very first FELTING project. I finished each bag off with NEEDLE FELTING.

It didn’t take very long once i got the hang of felting. For each bag, it took me 2 evenings of knitting, 1 evening to felt and set it up to dry appropriately (blocking) and a full day or 2 to completely dry.

It was actually very difficult to knit the bag to the appropriate size so that when felted (washed and agitated in hot water in the washing machine) it would shrink to the correct size for the computer. I read this webpage to get info about felting.

I found lots of You-tube videos about needle felting, this one was the first and and funniest that I watched. Needle Felting 101.

The first project was the green bag. I knitted the bag and realized I shrunk it too much. The second attempt was too big, but I was able to cut it down and sew it to the correct size after felting. The second bag, the purple one, also turned out a bit too big, but I used buttons and ribbon to cinch up the sides. It is now expandable to accommodate more stuff 🙂

Note: Mike’s washing machine should be renamed to The Felting Machine. These bags felted in 10min or less!!

Front
Front of flower bag

inside under flap
Inside under open flap

back
Back of flower bag

open bag
Flower bag opened

front
Front of tree bag

back
Back of tree bag

Open
Tree bag opened

Instructions:

  1. Use wool yarn.
  2. Knit in the round with 2 strands of yarn, so this means double up your strand, use two balls of yarn at once. I used US#10.5 24inch circular needles.
    • Cast on 100 stitches (13inch laptop) or 120 for (17inch laptop)
    • Join the edges, place a stitch marker, and knit in the round.
    • place stitch markers to keep track of the edges of the bag. This is very important if you do not want a super wonky flap. So in the 100 stitch tube, i placed a marker at stitch one, where I joined the edges and at stitch 50.
    • Knit until the tube is ~15inches tall for the 13″ and ~18″tall for the 17″
    • For the flap: I then transfered half the stitches onto straight single point needles and knitted in garter stitch (knit on the front, purl on the back) until the flap was at least as long as the tube. I knitted a few inches more.
  3. Felted as in this webpage
  4. Needle felt. Find lots of helpful info on you-tube or other websites.

Curried Winter Soup

Modified from Curried Winter Soup from allrecipes.com

My first bowl of the Curried Winter Soup

This turned out really good. I added salt and Cholula to my bowl, and it tasted GREAT!!

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 cups vegetable stock (I used Chicken Stock)
1/4 cup dry lentils (I used a 15-bean mix)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup uncooked white rice
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup elbow macaroni
1 small spaghetti squash

Directions:

  • Place cut side of the squash down in a lightly oiled baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled. Shred squash with a fork.
  • In a large soup pot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add curry powder, cumin, and turmeric. When onions are transparent, add stock and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add chopped tomatoes and juice.
  • If using brown rice, add the rice 10 minutes after adding the lentils, if using white rice, add rice after 25 minutes along with the can of corn. (Add the corn at the same time you add rice, white or brown).
  • After 35 minutes, add the macaroni and spaghetti squash. Simmer until rice and pasta are cooked.

Nutritional Information:
Yields about 7 servings.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 166 | Total Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 0mg

Lost and Found Plants :)

Since I have lived in California, I have found plants twice that people were throwing out. The first time was in August. In Southern California people grow house plants outside!! It is quite amazing to see. On late August I was walking the dogs and someone had trimmed their Jade hedges, (Yes!!, I did say Jade hedges) and had tossed out the cuttings. I brought home a cast away and potted it. Here it is 4 months later. It is beautiful with lots of new growth.

Lost and Found

Lost and found Jade

Last week, it happened again!! I found more plants. I am not sure what they are, and I am not sure if they all will survive but I hope that they do.


Jan 2012

Here is a picture of my little garden taken earlier in January. In the middle is a fig tree that I bought from Lowes. It may look like it is dead, but its not. I think it lost its leaves when the night time temps started to drop. It does have new shoots coming up 🙂

Halloween 2011

The Mystery Team

The Mystery Team, CSHL Programming for Biology 2011

This year at the Programming for Biology Course at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories the gang dressed up as the Scooby Doo Mystery Team. I was Daphnie, Eric was Shaggy, Dave was Freddy, Shawn was Scooby and Sarah was Velma (though the costume was meant for Ashley she could not make the party so Sarah took her place). We had a great time and I think all the costumes turned out awesome and that we looked GREAT together!!

Accessing Android Market from the Kindle Fire

[Outdated: see these newer posts for more up to date information]
Rooting the Kindle Fire (1st Gen) v.6.3.1
Installing Jelly Bean on my Kindle Fire

I got an early Christmas gift, an awesome Kindle Fire!!  I was playing with it and realized that not many apps are available in the Kindle Fire App Store, so I started looking around and found out that I could hack my Fire and to access the Android Market. There are tons of apps there.

While reading the posts for how to enable the Android Market  and attempting to follow along, I encountered almost every problem anyone had listed. But I tried and tried again and I got it to work!!

My problems:

  1. The Vending.apk would not install
  2. I could not copy the downloaded apk files to /system/app
  3. I could not change the permission on files in /system/app
  4. I could open Android Market and search for apps, but the apps would not download, they just said, “Starting Download”

Here is what i did to make it all work:

  1. I had to start with restoring my Kindle Fire to factory default settings.
  2. From my computer (Mac) with my kindle fire attached:
    1. I had to root my kindle fire with instructions from: HERE
    2. I downloaded the .rar to get GoogleServicesFramework.apk and com.amarket.apk from HERE
      1. you might need to download a program to uncompress your rar file
    3. I downloaded MarketOpener.apk (45kb) from HERE
    4. I copied just 3 apps from my computer to my kindle into the documents folder
      1. GoogleServicesFramework.apk
      2. com.amarket.apk
      3. MarketOpener.apk
  3. On my kindle:
    1. In the settings I allow for other apps to be installed
    2. I downloaded Better Terminal Emulator Pro from the kindle app store (~$4)
      1. I went to the settings in this app and allowed for root access
    3. I downloaded File Expert from the kindle app store
      1. I also allowed for root access in the settings
    4. I opened File Expert:
      1. I Navigated to (SD Card) /sdcard/Documents and clicked on GoogleServicesFramework.apk to install it.
    5. I open Better Terminal Emulator and typed
      1. mount -o remount,rw /dev/null /system
        1. (!!! everytime you reboot you will have to retype the above mount step to write to /system folder)
      2. cp /sdcard/Documents/com.amarket.apk /system/app
      3. chmod 777 /system/app/com.amarket.apk
    6. I opened File Expert:
      1. Navigated to (SD Card) /sdcard/Documents and clicked on GoogleServicesFramework.apk to install it (for some reason Replace Application meas install).
      2. might have to reboot after installing GoogleServicesFramework.apk — but don’t forget to remount step if you do reboot, if the following step fail to install
      3. Navigated to (Phone Internal Storage) /system/app and clicked on com.amarket.ak to install it.
      4. Navigated to (SD Card) /sdcard/Documents and clicked on MarketOpener.apk to install it.

Now the market will show up in your launcher. Just log in and have fun!!

 

Accessing Android Market from the Kindle Fire

[Outdated: see these newer posts for more up to date information]
Rooting the Kindle Fire (1st Gen) v.6.3.1
Installing Jelly Bean on my Kindle Fire

I got an early Christmas gift, an awesome Kindle Fire!!  I was playing with it and realized that not many apps are available in the Kindle Fire App Store, so I started looking around and found out that I could hack my Fire and to access the Android Market. There are tons of apps there.

While reading the posts for how to enable the Android Market  and attempting to follow along, I encountered almost every problem anyone had listed. But I tried and tried again and I got it to work!!

My problems:

  1. The Vending.apk would not install
  2. I could not copy the downloaded apk files to /system/app
  3. I could not change the permission on files in /system/app
  4. I could open Android Market and search for apps, but the apps would not download, they just said, “Starting Download”

Here is what i did to make it all work:

  1. I had to start with restoring my Kindle Fire to factory default settings.
  2. From my computer (Mac) with my kindle fire attached:
    1. I had to root my kindle fire with instructions from: HERE
    2. I downloaded the .rar to get GoogleServicesFramework.apk and com.amarket.apk from HERE
      1. you might need to download a program to uncompress your rar file
    3. I downloaded MarketOpener.apk (45kb) from HERE
    4. I copied just 3 apps from my computer to my kindle into the documents folder
      1. GoogleServicesFramework.apk
      2. com.amarket.apk
      3. MarketOpener.apk
  3. On my kindle:
    1. In the settings I allow for other apps to be installed
    2. I downloaded Better Terminal Emulator Pro from the kindle app store (~$4)
      1. I went to the settings in this app and allowed for root access
    3. I downloaded File Expert from the kindle app store
      1. I also allowed for root access in the settings
    4. I opened File Expert:
      1. I Navigated to (SD Card) /sdcard/Documents and clicked on GoogleServicesFramework.apk to install it.
    5. I open Better Terminal Emulator and typed
      1. mount -o remount,rw /dev/null /system
        1. (!!! everytime you reboot you will have to retype the above mount step to write to /system folder)
      2. cp /sdcard/Documents/com.amarket.apk /system/app
      3. chmod 777 /system/app/com.amarket.apk
    6. I opened File Expert:
      1. Navigated to (SD Card) /sdcard/Documents and clicked on GoogleServicesFramework.apk to install it (for some reason Replace Application meas install).
      2. might have to reboot after installing GoogleServicesFramework.apk — but don’t forget to remount step if you do reboot, if the following step fail to install
      3. Navigated to (Phone Internal Storage) /system/app and clicked on com.amarket.ak to install it.
      4. Navigated to (SD Card) /sdcard/Documents and clicked on MarketOpener.apk to install it.

Now the market will show up in your launcher. Just log in and have fun!!

 

Wonderful Short Ribs

from AllRecipes.com

Ingredients

1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, cut into rings
3 pounds beef short ribs
1 tablespoon butter

Directions

In a large pan over medium-high heat, sautee onions with butter, add add ribs and brown. Then stir in tomato sauce, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in parsley, thyme, bay leaves, brown sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Sstir together until the mixture comes to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer; stirring occasionally and skimming fat from surface, until meat is tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves before serving. Or, 3-4 hours on low in the crock pot

sofiarobb.com

I am very excited.  Thanksgiving Day I purchased a domain name, sofiarobb.com and that weekend I set up my own web-server and a new email address, sofia@sofiarobb.com!!  Then, this week, I set up this wordpress site. I also created a e-lab notebook for keeping track of my work.  It was fun 🙂

fia