Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for March 21st, 2023

Spring awakens

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A map of Victoria BC Canada, showing the blooming sequnce by street. "Spring blossoms in the City of Victoria Dark pink usually bloom Feb-Mar, Light pink usually bloom Apr-May"
Trees along a city street just barely starting to bloom.

Back for a walk, still at 2 miles (36 minutes today). The effort required is clearly dropping. It’s a mild and sunny day, and some streets have trees really into blooming. My street — see photo at right — is one that comes into its own in April and some of May.

Very nice to see the back of winter.

Written by Leisureguy

21 March 2023 at 4:32 pm

Christmas ferment reprised

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Vegetables for ferment, prior to preparation: 2 red apples, 5 Medjool dates, large ginger root, 1 red cabbage, 1 red onion, a pile of garlic cloves, a bunch of green kale, and 2 large jalapeños
Not in photo due to oversight: 3 small beets

My previous Christmas ferment was so tasty I had to have another go. I’m following my usual method, which now includes more carefully rinsing and scrubbing the vegetables — the three small beets, for example, had been scrubbed with a vegetable brush under cold running water and put on the dish rack to dry, so they didn’t make the photoshoot — but they are in the ferment.

• 1 large piece of ginger root, sliced thinly by hand
• 5 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
• 3 smallish red beets, coarsely grated
• 3/4 head of red cabbage, slice 1mm thick on mandoline
• 1 bunch curly-leaf green kale, stems removed and minced, leaves sliced thinly by hand
• 2 medium Pazazz apples, coarsely grated
• 1 red onion – halved, then pole-to-pole to make 3 sections of each half, then sliced thick
• a handful of garlic cloves, sliced thick
• 2 large jalapeno peppers, cap removed, then sliced thick by hand

I mixed the veggies as I went, ending with the three beets grated and mixed in. Total weight of ingredients was 2410g (5.28 lbs), so I added 60g fine sea salt and massaged and mixed the mass by hand for some time.

After I had the vegetables softened and some liquid developed, I poured in 1/2 cup spring water in which the starter culture had been hydrating, and mixed and massaged some more.

I packed my two 1.5L Weck jars, tamping the vegetables down well. This time I covered the veggies in each jar with a leaf of cabbage, a suggestion I’ve seen in a few videos. I added a fermentation weight to each jar and enough 2.5% brine made with spring water to cover the weight. Then I put the gasket and lid on each jar, took the photo, transferred to jars to a rimmed baking sheet, and put a large (19-oz) can of beans on each jar. (You could, of course, substitute cans of tomatoes or soup.) I don’t have a fermentation lock for these jars, but the weight on the lid seems to work, and any pressure build-up can lift the lid and burp the CO2.

I’m going to let these ferment for 3 weeks instead of my usual 2 weeks, so the batch will go into the fridge on April 11. I just yesterday had my first serving from the second jar of the fermented potatoes, so I won’t need this batch for a while. The three-jar method seems to work well if you start a new batch as soon as you have two empty jars. 

Update: I always start thinking about the next batch right after I make a new batch. Here are my thoughts now, for a change of pace in color:

• Green cabbage
• Lacinato kale
• 6 Cambray onions (including leaves)
• 1 large red apple
• 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
• Thin asparagus
• 4 jalapeños 
• Ginger
• Garlic

Ferment complete, 13 April

A bowl of fermented vegetables. Visible are red cabbage, green kale, and a small slice of ginger.

I meant to ferment this batch 21 days (3 weeks), but misremembered the date and went for 23 days. This morning I removed the fermentation weights and the top cabbage leaf and put the two jars in the refrigerator, and I just now took out enough for a bowl of it, shown at the right.

It’s very tasty — slightly sweet, with good flavor. Because I was careful with hygiene — rinsing the cutting board with vinegar, scrubbing the beets, apples, and ginger with a vegetable brush, and so on — I had no problems at all with any kahm yeast or mold. Possible using a cabbage leaf on top to seal off the vegetables in each jar also helped.

At any rate, it’s a great success, and I like this ferment so much I’m sure I’ll make it again.

Written by Leisureguy

21 March 2023 at 2:38 pm

Aperiodic tiling with a single shape

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A tiling of the plane with tiles of the same shape in four colors: dark blue, light blue, white, and grey.

Periodic tilings of the plane — a pattern repeated indefinitely that covers the plane — are common: the checkerboard pattern using squares, the public-restroom-floor tiling of black and white hexagons, various tilings of equilateral triangles, and so on. And you can force aperiodicity — nonrepeating — on those by using colors at varying intervals. But what about a tiling that is necessarily aperiodic (nonrepeating)?

Craig S. Kaplan in a Mastodon thread writes:

How small can a set of aperiodic tiles be? The first aperiodic set had over 20000 tiles. Subsequent research lowered that number, to sets of size 92, then 6, and then 2 in the form of the famous Penrose tiles.

I have blogged that video before, and it’s fascinating — I just watched it again.

Kaplan continues:

Penrose’s work dates back to 1974. Since then, others have constructed sets of size 2, but nobody could find an “einstein”: a single shape that tiles the plane aperiodically. Could such a shape even exist? 

The whole thread is worth reviewing, and he includes some interesting links.

Alo definitely read this post by Jason Kottke, which goes further into it — and includes this fascinating video:


Written by Leisureguy

21 March 2023 at 10:04 am

Posted in Daily life, Math

Solstice for the first shave following the vernal equinox

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A black-handled shaving brush with a cream-colored knot with gray tips stands next to a tub of shaving soap whose label depicts a desert sunrise over a silhouette of three buttes, the sun's rays shown as wide stripes, alternately yellow and gold. "SOLSTICE" is printed in large white letters against the dark foreground. Next is a transparent glass bottle with a black cap that has the same label and holds a clear liquid. In front is an aluminum double-open-comb safety razor.

Yesterday’s shave occurred well before the vernal equinox, which came at 2:24pm local time (PDT). So today’s shave is the first chance to celebrate that event, and my only shaving soap with a solar-cycle connection is Phoenix Artisan’s Solstice, one of my favorites: “Sage, Sweetgrass, Cedar, Rose Absolute, and Benzoin Resin,” a lovely fragrance.

The link above is to the CK-6 formula, but my tub, which antedates the advent of the new formula, is the (still excellent) Kokum Butter formula. If I were buying it today, though, I would get the CK-6 version because that soap is so remarkably good — the palpable benefit to the skin lasts beyond the shave.

Three passes with Phoenix Artisan’s excellent double-open-comb Ascension did a pretty good job, far short of its usual excellence. So I change the blade and did a quick fourth pass, ATG, using the PA Filament slant I used yesterday, since a good slant is unexcelled for smoothness of finish.

I finished the ritual with a splash of Solstice aftershave/cologne to carry the fragrance with me through the day.

The caffeine this morning is Murchie’s Library Blend: “Ceylon, Jasmine, Keemun, and Gunpowder tea.”

Written by Leisureguy

21 March 2023 at 9:23 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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