Today is Pi Day

That means it's time for some abject nerditry.  I will start knitting a Pi scarf today, because if you write the day and time the right way, the digits are the same as the ones for Pi (3.141592653....)

The scarf will have three colors, because that is the closest integer to Pi.  I will knit 3 rows of the 1st color, one of the second color, four of the next color, etc, etc - until I have an irrationally long scarf, or I run out of yarn, whichever comes first.

I wanted to make this post today at exactly 9:26:53, but Blogger won't let you be that specific.  Oh, it lets you set the time to show the seconds, but you can't actually use them.

Over on Ravelry, I have my Pi Scarf project all Queued up, and plan to start that project at the right time, with the help of time.gov and command-shift-3.

Update:  Ravelry Project Link

Update #2:  Had some false starts, so not as far along as I hoped.


Sparkly Reindeer

Reindeer like books about snowflakes.

 Hello out there.  I haven't posted for a while, but thought it was time for some sparkly reindeer.  If you're having a bad day, you're stuck in traffic, or you stubbed your toe, a sparkly reindeer will make it all better.  Sometimes they can hang from an evergreen tree, but this one is reading a nice book and sits on a shelf.

 I may post way more about sparkly reindeer.  It's sort of my thing.


To Ride a Dragonfly's Wing

Many, many moons ago, I was a field tech for an Entomology professor.  I was asked to go take photos of the trees at the field sites.  I got to play with the Canon with a macro lens!  And of course I abused the privilege, and took some pictures for me.  Some cool bugs were flying around the swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and I snapped a few.  Here's the dragonfly, and it seems he's giving his friend a lift.

You can tell this is a homemade image by the really poor focusing and the questionable composition.  But, hey, it's all I got at the moment.  It a big image, but you have to click to see that.

Click here or the caption to better see the picture.


Make Yogurt- A Better Way

Do you like yogurt, but not all of the sugar in the commercial varieties?  Would you rather not eat the kosher gelatin they put in the sugar-free ones?  Do you want to re-create the breakfast yogurts they had in the '80s? (I will get to this in a later post.)  Have you tried making it, but it comes out all runny and you might as well drink it?  If so, try the recipe posted below.

I used to use the standard four-cups-of-milk recipe, and except for the time I added some agar flakes to the milk, it was really too runny to call yogurt, especially after mixing anything into it.  I still ate it, but was ashamed of the abject failure.

But this recipe really works.  I swear.

Thick Homemade Yogurt
From Vegetarian Cooking, from the folks at Sunset (ISBN 0-376-02911-0), p. 47.



2 Cups low-fat milk (or, go crazy and use something with more fat in it. Someday I will make yogurt with cream.)
1 1/3 Cups dry milk powder (That's 111g for metric users.  I didn't think to weigh the other stuff.)
1 1/4 Cups water
1/4 Cups commercial yogurt (or home grown, or cultures)

Heat the milk to 185° F. You can do this on the stove, or in the microwave.  My old-fashioned microwave oven has a temperature probe (see Figure 1).  I set the temp. and press go.  Just in case your microwave oven is a tad newer, I timed how long it took - 5:43 minutes (I assume on HIGH).  Remove from heat/oven; discard skin. 

Figure 1

Meanwhile, combine milk powder and water, stir to dissolve.

Combine the hot and cold milk into one container.  I don't think it matters whether hot goes into cold, or cold into hot.  I use the container for the yogurt maker, but if you've got a multi-pot maker, a four-cup measuring cup or any bowl should work for mixing everything together before you divide it up.

Hook the thermometer to the side of your container, and position it so it's in the milk but not touching the bottom (see figure 2).  And wait for the temperature to get to 115° F.  This can take awhile (~15 min.).  Just don't forget about it.

Figure 2

Once it hits the magic temperature, add the yogurt cultures.  Stir this around so it is homogeneous.
Put container in the maker and incubate for 8-10 hours (the book says 3.5-5 hours, but I've had good luck with 8.)

Chill it in the refrigerator before using.

    Sometimes the yogurt comes out a little stringy.  I don't really know why this happens, and it is a little disconcerting.  As long as it tastes ok, I just mix this not-quite-right stuff with some of the store-bought stuff to use it up.

    For flavorings and mix-ins, you can do whatever you want.  I might deal with some specifics in a later post.

    N.B.:  The book provides the nutritional breakdown, so I will too:  Per 1/2-cup serving of the low-fat style:  7g protein, 10g carbs, 8mg chol., 81 calories. 

    Edited by me so it didn't look so stupid and was easier to read. -TB



        Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am TigerBeatle, although that is not my real name. It is a combo of those voracious little predators, tiger beetles (Cicindela) and a really great band from the ‘60s.

        I am a total noob at this blogging thing, so if I make any egregious errors, please let me know. The main one I anticipate making is taking too long between posts. I suppose that won’t matter much if nobody’s reading this. But, fair warning.

        I like to grow things and make things and learn new skills, but mostly I just think about all that (and buy supplies) letting all kinds of time pass without getting anything done. This blog is my latest attempt to spur myself into action. I wish I was more artistic, but I guess I will have to accept being craftistic instead.

        The name comes from my sister, when she was very young (five, maybe). She was trying to say some cookies or something were made from scratch- but she got mixed up and said itch instead. Well, we all thought that was cute and funny, so it became part of the family vernacular for a while. I thought it was a good name for a cooking/craft blog.

        My intention is that this blog will cover some recipes and other kitchen experiments, craft projects of many different kinds, and some gardening stuff, and whatever else I can think of. I am not an expert in anything (unless you consider procrastination and inertia valuable skills) but maybe if a doofus like me can figure out how to make stuff, everyone will realize they can do it to.


        I can't seem to comment on this post, so I'll answer Mr.P here:

        They looked more psychodelic than rainbow, to me.  I had a hard time getting the layers even-the one I photographed didn't get enough purple or blue.  Apparently the profanities I expressed had no effect on them at all.

        But I think the party atmosphere was achieved.

        Looking innocent

        Colors revealed