Thursday, December 15, 2011

Catnip Garden Expansion

It was about 16 months ago I suppose that I bought a packet of catnip seeds. I got them at a run of the mill place for cheap, tossed some into whatever soil/potting mix I had at the time and hoped for the best.

The best turned out to be a great plant. It appears to be very tall with large leaves...and in the past it has produced viable seed. I think I've covered this before but the news is that I now have 3 established Catnip plants as well as a sprouted seed emerging in another pot. Wow, I'm really liking this :)

I harvested some leaves about 2 or 3 weeks back, froze some and dried it's all combined and the resident feline seems to really enjoy the stuff...although not to the same extent of some videos of cats under the influence (lulz) of catnip.

I decided to share all this because I got a really nice picture of a close up of a catnip 'bud' I suppose it is, which is just starting to flower now :P With a ladybird on it :)

I also have an older picture of the plant itself which can be found at an earlier entry here

The collected seeds with coin for size reference

Some loose leaves being weighed (not very accurately!)

Frozen and crushed Catnip

3 different types of Catnip...Clockwise from top right - Fresh, Dried, Frozen

Close up of a flowering head on a Catnip plant with a Ladybird on it :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thoughts on Christmas Shopping

Christmas is drawing close - coming up next week to be precise. I recently went Christmas shopping and thought about the annual ritual.

Year after year, I get more possessions thanks to family and friends which makes the list of potential gifts for me decreases - Not a good thing for those that want to show me how much I mean to them with a gift :P

Anyhow I get reading about things - How the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut its rates to help out retailers, how millions of dollars ($400 million at least according to a recent Sydney Morning Herald Article "Millions of gift cards not redeemed" goes unused and that online shopping is killing traditional stores.

Addressing these; Firstly, going off general observation, the number of shoppers in the physical stores does not seem to have decreased, the numbers I believe have either stayed the same as previous years or increased. I dare say stores projected growth and perhaps didn't get it, or got the growth but everyone is spending less than was planned.

In saying this there also seems to be a lot of competition, as I said in a previous blog entry talking about the 'Bridesmaids' movie - If one gift someone was going to get someone else was that film, there are a lot of different ways of obtaining it.

The RBA lowered the interest rate, with the "Big 4" banks passing cuts (eventually). This resulted in news reporters to talk about how those cuts would provide for a better Christmas. Again, I'm not convinced this is the case, sure they save the money...but blowing the savings on Christmas, unlikely if you ask me - A portion of them? Likely. All of the savings? Very doubtful.

And finally the gift cards - Perhaps I've said it on this blog before, perhaps not. I share many a comedians criticism's of gift cards - Essentially money given to retailers in advance (before anything is actually redeemed) so they have credit up their sleeves. And it is like a currency in it's own right...that is only accepted at one particular place. In saying that, most stores offering gift cards have good variety to choose from...and a gift card ensures the recipient buys something 'appropriate' - Perfect for those inclined to buy 'inappropriate' items.

Some readers of my blog were surprised to see my incomplete listing of appliances that make for 'perfect gifts - The things like popcorn and milkshake makers. When a store sells these items for ~$30, are Australians really scrimping for a good Christmas? Those with larger families and kids might feel a squeeze but come on, Christmas only comes around once a year. It couldn't be planned for?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The new-age kitchen

Hello all,

Recently I have been busy (sorry regulars) and haven't created an entry so I made an effort to publish one now. As I'm sure you all know the Christmas season is well upon us, people out shopping, school presentations and performances, the music, movies...the buzz is certainly in the air.

Anyhow I've done well over the years and have pretty much accumulated just about every appliance I could ever want...and a few other bits and pieces too. I must be so hard to buy for :P

So I got talking to someone about how in High School the textbooks in Food Technology talked about how the family kitchen had changed between say the 1960's and say the 90's.

The kitchen is home (or can be) to all sorts of weird, wacky and wonderful pieces of equipment.

Think about it...a 'modern' kitchen can bake fresh bread, make cupcakes/muffins or pancakes or crepes...there are popcorn makers, juice extractors of all sorts and sizes...kettles, toasters, sandwich presses, food 'processors', deep fryers, electric knives, Microwave ovens, convection ovens, pressure cookers, slow cookers, snow cone makers, ice cream makers, pie makers pizza ovens, snack ovens, food dehydrators, electric can openers, coffee makers, milk shake makers, electric beaters...the list goes on.

I dunno about you but when I go out shopping for Christmas and see the shelves lined with all the appliances I think of how much electricity is consumed by all the contraptions....let alone the cache of television sets every electrical appliance store have in stock.