The boonie is inside and it’s fecund. Heavy with peppers, I’m wanting to ensure it could survive our stepping away for a few days. Last year I was a lot more cavalier about it all. This time I’m experimenting. I’ve mentioned plant water spikes already, now its time to worry about lighting.

Lighting is provided with these bulbs, day and night timing with these inexpensive timers, and the final element is a light fixture stolen from the computer room. I was (and am) looking for small portable light fixtures with a nice parabolic back stop so I can direct a beam of light at my large plant. Anyone know of someone selling office fixtures that can handle 60 watt bulbs anymore? A check of Office Depot showed fixtures that could only handle 13 watts.

The plant light bulbs are huge, with a ballast that puts a 100 watt “equivalent” bulb to shame. In the picture below, the smaller bulb is the standard 60 watt replacement bulb.

Small and locatable. That’s what I need, and will be looking for.

Update: Target has desk lamps that work well.

It’s the first day this year that you can put plants out for at least a week and there is no forecast of freezing. So I put out my boonie peppers and will let them live in sunlight for a while. They have no leaves and appear dreadfully dry in parts, but the root trunks of these bushes are a bright green and the stems have what look like little buds on them. I’m crossing my fingers. I need to fertilize them, I think, until I see leaves perhaps, but after that I have to stop feeding them for 6 weeks in order to get flowers and fruit. We’ll see. This is the first season I have fully grown plants at the start.

Bare of leaves, but stems are green.

Some quiet conversations at work dredged up a coworker who is a type 1 diabetic. He was recommending a sweetener called agave nectar. I’ve seen this in honey-like bottles at Alons in Dunwoody. I’m told it has a lower glycemic index than most sweeteners and he uses it to cook with. I’d be curious about recipes with agave.

After what seemed like way too long, we purchased bikes. I now have a bike for every member of the family. With my foot issues, I need a way to do aerobics without putting too much weight on my feet, and biking seemed reasonable. Just, most of my life I was biking with single speeds and these have gears and all. Any general advice for the care and feeding of bicycles from readers would be appreciated. I’d like to have a small toolkit just for the bikes, because the brakes ended up a little messed up when I got them off the bike rack. (My cars are too small to carry bicycles inside. I had to buy the bike rack first.)

Otherwise, my foot problems have flared up again as I prepare to go to the alumni bash. Hopefully it will turn out well, even on one and a half feet. Wish me luck!

Getting as many of these Guam boonie peppers as I can has been a many months campaign. Right now I have one. Other plants aren’t mature enough yet. I may have to winter all of them inside and cross fingers they survive until next year.

img_0531

What I don’t know is whether these structures on my plants are flowers or tiny compacted leaves.

img_0532

img_0533

Boonies:

I had long moved my heating strip to the row of coke bottle greenhouses, and yet a couple weeks later, another boonie pepper seed from floralys sprouted. This makes a germination rate of 6/12 from floralys and 5/12 from pepper pilot.  I don’t know how statistically significant these germination rates are. I was a raw beginner when I started this boonie pepper project, and I’d say sheer inexperience was a bigger factor than vendor.

Blog focus:

The focus of this blog, from the beginning, has been food *near* Snellville. The range of the restaurants has been creeping outward, usually to spots reasonably close by, such as Zapatas or Mojitos in downtown Norcross, or Quoc Huong on Buford Highway, or to the wonderful French restaurant in Suwanee, Cafe Gourmandises (really, just a slight detour on the way to Mall of Georgia). What I’m discovering is that to be taken seriously by certain rating systems, I’m going to occasionally go out and rate restaurants these particular ratings agencies think are hot, because the ratings of my blog are affected by this. It is disappointing to some extent, but I don’t intend the main focus of the blog to change. Just, I’m wanting readers of this blog to understand that when I review that 4.5 star restaurant south of the airport, two hours from Snellville, I’m doing it to prevent this blog from being treated as a backwater.

For those who wonder about my Snellville commitment, it comes from trying to give Snellville Eats, the original Snellville food blog, their due when they post reviews. It comes from making sure I have Snellville reviews on a regular basis.  I have three reviews already written of restaurants in or very near Snellville. I’m waiting for Urban Spoon to post one of the restaurants on their Snellville page before putting them up on my web page.

Urban Spoon:

To talk a little about Urban Spo0n: the reason I added their links to my reviews is that they are a portal to iPhone and Android users (evidently, the app can be hosted on blogs as well). Urban Spoon is a startup that launched without venture capital, was recently purchased by IAC, and is an ad-driven enterprise (i.e. they make their money by people placing ads with them). Their iPhone app, is, as they describe:

Urbanspoon on the iPhone is part Magic 8 Ball, part slot machine. You shake your phone and it finds a good nearby restaurant for you. Keep shaking it until it comes back with something you want to try. We use the iPhone’s accelerometers to pick up the “shake”, find restaurants near you through GPS, and then skew the results towards restaurants that are highly regarded on Urbanspoon.

To note, there are over 2 million copies of this application downloaded currently. And 2 million potential viewers is too much to ignore.

Best of Snellville

It has been close to four months since I started this blog, and I thought I would speak about the most interesting and best things I’ve found so far in and around Snellville.

Best restaurant in Snellville is Benny’s Bar and Grill, and it’s not close. Benny’s is one of a kind, and the next best sets of restaurants are chains. And though I haven’t reviewed City Slickers (chain) and Provinos (chain), yes, I have eaten at both places. Benny’s is far and above better than the others I’ve been to.

The best four restaurants I’ve eaten at while blogging are covered in the Exceptional category on this blog. To name them, they are Haru Ichiban, Lady and Sons in Savannah, Benny’s and Cafe Gourmandises.

Best casual dining in Snellville, with an emphasis on beer and wine is probably Urban Flats. My family went there recently on a busy Saturday afternoon, and the food was good, and the service was notably good.

Best new shopping has to be Mother Nature’s Market in Snellville. Best place nearby to buy inexpensive meats is probably Lilburn International Farmer’s Market. Best place for fine wines and beers is Niko’s.

This is a period of coupons and bargains, and the best buys in prepared food are probably in the various fast food restaurants around town. For the time being concentrating on restaurants I’ve reviewed, then I’d suggest the best buy in food near Snellville are the tacos at Tacqueria Los Hermanos in Lilburn, and the patties at Tastees and Golden Krust. Otherwise, notable is the inexpensive single at Carvel Ice Cream, perhaps a dollar cheaper than other premium ice cream vendors. Outside the general Snellville area, the various shops that serve banh mi (such as Quoc Huong) on Buford Highway are a good prepared food buy. For $2.50 a sandwich, and discounts starting when you buy three of them,  and a six for 5 price special everywhere, you can feed a family of 6 for $12.50. You might also check out the small shops that abound in the various International Farmer’s Markets in town.

The best food buy, period, are peas, beans, and whole grains. These are inexpensive and available many places. You can get a pound of pearled barley (not really whole, but easy to cook) at Publix for less than a dollar, and steel cut oatmeal many places. The best general purpose source of whole grains in Snellville is Mother Nature’s Market. Other resources are noted in my “Shopping” tab, which focuses on whole grains.

As far as opinions go, I’ll state mine, but I’m not wedded to them. If you wish to add your choices below, feel free.