Archive for July, 2010

Oca harvest time

July 18, 2010

I’ve been growing Oca for 3 or 4 years now and have written about it here.

Some of the plants are dying back and it’s time to bandicoot a few tubers. The first batch looks like being much better than last year, probably because I made sure to keep the water up to them in summer and we’ve had lots of autumn and early winter rain to swell the tubers.

This lot will sit in the sun for a few days to sweeten them up, as they’re inclined to be a bit on the tart side when fresh, although they’re not at all unpleasant to eat like that. I cooked them one year and wasn’t impressed, so now they just do as crunchy, savoury nibbles or grated in salads (not that it’s exactly salad weather at the moment). I’m wondering about pickling them a la gherkins, so might have a go at that, in the same spiced vinegar I use for cucumbers.

Later edit: I picked the remainder of the oca and there were some nice big ones amongst them, so I’ve put up a jar of sliced oca in spiced vinegar. This will be interesting!

Bubblewrap’s not just for packaging!

July 2, 2010

Some time ago, I found this site which details an easy and inexpensive way of covering windows with bubblewrap to improve insulation.

Our front door had two clear glass panels which I’d never been happy with from a privacy point of view, so I fossicked round in the cupboard and found some bubblewrap. Half an hour’s work and this is how it looked:

It’s been there now for about 9 months and has never once fallen off. The only thing that’s happened is that sometimes it peels away from the top corners a bit and all it takes is a fine spray of water on the glass and it’s back in place. It looks for all the world like ornamental frosted glass and most people are surprised to find it’s just plain old bubblewrap.

At the moment, we’re in the midst of a super-cold snap and I began to think more about bubblewrap for its insulation benefits. I bought a 25 metre roll at Officeworks for $16 and got to work.

All our windows are large and in two sections; one side is fixed and the other side opens out, with a flywire screen on the inside. I’m covering all the fixed sides with bubblewrap. I was halfway through doing the kitchen window when I got sidetracked and didn’t get back to it for some hours. Just out of interest, I put my hand on the bubblewrapped section and then on the still-unprotected glass. The temperature difference was amazing! There should now be a 50% reduction in heat loss over each window.

It lets  enough light through and visibility, while impaired on the bubblewrapped side, is still possible through the untreated side. I don’t even need to close the drapes for privacy. It’s easy to put up and just as easy to take down and store away if needed. I’m really pleased with it.

One tip: I found the easiest way to get it perfectly attached to the glass is to gently roll it on with a paint roller.

Here’s the kitchen window: