Sunday, October 12, 2008

Backyard Buried Treasure

One of the fun things about working on an old house is that you never know what you're going to find. This is some glass and pottery we've found while digging around in the yard. The cut glass and colored glass is really beautiful. And the old transfer ware, like the blue and white piece in the upper right corner, is particularly nice. I don't know why, but there is a lot of this old stuff about a foot or so underground. I keep waiting to find a whole plate or cup, but all we seem to get are pieces.

I've found lots of bones. These bones and teeth are the most interesting and were found lodged together. When I dug these up, there was a small fang that hooked down from the right edge of the top bone. The fang dropped out though and is now lost. I dug around for other bones, but didn't see much. Have no idea what animal this was. Any thoughts?

These are old square cut nails we've found when working on the house. These predate the mass produced wire nails that we use today. Large scale production of today's wire nails started around the turn of the century. These are square cut nails, made by shearing slabs of metal at a bias, and were often used in construction prior to 1900.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Picking and Curing Olives

We were walking down our street and we noticed a neighbor's olive trees. The trees still had some fruit on them, but the ground was littered with loads of black and green olives. We talked about what it would be like to cure olives. The next thing I knew, Marcia was sending out a message to our neighborhood email list asking whether anyone with an olive tree would mind if we picked the fruit. Several neighbors responded and here is the result of her effort.
We are generally following the curing process described at the Milkwood site -- an Australian olive grower. There is also some great olive information available at this Caltech website . Caltech has an olive harvest coming up on November 7.

I don't know how the olives are going to turn out, but they sure look nice. Oh, if you taste a raw and uncured olive be prepared for a shock. They are incredibly bitter.