Tuesday, August 23, 2022

future me will thank present me for making this herb salt

all the herbs in the garden are at their peak. i wanted to preserve some of their goodness for the long, dark winter ahead. usually, i make herb salt by just whizzing all the herbs together in the food processor, then pouring heated sea salt onto them and then spreading them on a baking sheet on low heat to dry out. this makes for a rather green herb salt and you can't see any traces of the original herbs. 

i wanted to try something different, to preserve a bit of color and the variety of the herbs. so this time, i picked a bit of everything - thyme, basil, tarragon, oregano, marjoram, sorrel, sage, nasturtium flowers and leaves, cornflower, oregano flowers, bay leaves, a single sprig of rosemary, chives and a bit of mint, including the flowers. i layered them all in my dehydrator and dried them out for a few hours. 

then it was into the mortar and pestle to bash them without obliterating them since i wanted to be able to see the colors and bits and pieces of each of the herbs and flowers. 

then i mixed in fine atlantic sea salt until i liked how it looked. i never measure anything, but it was maybe about a cup and a half of salt. 

it filled up this old mustard jar. there was some left and that went into the salt jar i keep by the stovetop for daily use. it has a beautiful, green, herby flavor and it still looks beautiful with the flecks of bright color from the nasturtium and cornflowers. i think i'll make another batch for gifts before the season is over. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

denmark isn't entirely immune to rackets

denmark is largely a country of very little corruption and few signs of racketeering, but (you knew there was a but) the odd thing pops up now and again. years ago, i realized the whole setup around the .dk domains was one big mafia. i also suspect the way you get a driver's license in denmark is similar - with a whole apparatus built up around "driving schools" (some dude with a "school vehicle" sign that he mounts on the top of his skoda sedan and charges 20,000kr to "teach" you to drive). and this week, i encountered a third example.

there's a scheme by which employers are forced to pay for you to have "screen glasses" if you do a lot work in front of a computer. i recently realized that i am having trouble properly reading the fine print on my screen(s) (getting old, you say?) and since my solution to not being able to see things to read them is to get about 2cm from said screen, i decided it was getting rather embarrassing and i broke down, filled out the form and made an appointment to get "screen glasses." (i'm putting that in quotation marks because i've been outside my native language for so long now that i'm no longer sure whether that's just a direct translation from danish or a real thing.)

i filled out the form, got it signed and stamped at work (oddly, that's apparently still a thing, though it felt like i had to teleport to 1990 to do it). i even got permission to use an old pair of my own frames for it, which felt quite sustainable of me. why get new frames when i had some that i knew i liked, just languishing here at home, unused since they were an old prescription. i went to the optician we are mandated to use (not my regular one). 

they immediately started asking me questions about where the glasses i was wearing came from. i found that a little weird. i said they were from another optician, but didn't specify where. it felt like none of his business. i handed him the form and reminded him that i was there for screen glasses. 

we did the eye test and then he started trying to up-sell me. i think the deal they have with companies has probably been pushed to the bare minimum by cynical purchasing people with some kind of bonus riding on how much they save. so he gave me the hard sell on premium glass. 

i asked what the company pays for and he said that the premium glass hadn't been ticked off on my form. i had filled out the form myself, so i knew that, and since i didn't know what any of those boxes had really meant (they were written in rather insider-y language), i hadn't ticked anything, thinking we'd be able to discuss. he really tried to push me to get the fancy glass, without telling me what it would cost. in the end, we agreed they would call my work and ask whether we could include the fancy lenses.

i was thinking that for glasses i'll wear only when i'm looking at my screen, i don't really need anything fancy. i chose my own old frames to be a bit more sustainable and to save a bit on new frames (i had admittedly heard that the choices were limited). naturally, my company didn't fall for the up-sell from our friends at louis nielsen (yes, i'm going to name names), so i'm getting normal glass. the guy called me and really tried the hard sell on the phone, telling me that the fanciest glass would cost more than 4,000kr. (that's over $500 these days). and i'm like, wait, what? thank you, no. 

clearly louis nielsen isn't too happy about the deal they've made to provide screen glasses for companies, so they try to push people into spending more than the company will allow, in order to try to recoup some of the costs. it seems rather like a racket to me. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

what you plant has a way of growing

we had a bit of rain of late and now the weather is warm, so the garden is going crazy. the zucchini is abundant, as are cucumbers in the greenhouse and the tomatoes are loving this warm weather and starting to come on. my broad beans are finished and i only had a few purple (green) beans. my spinach has bolted. the indigo is ready to play with (maybe this weekend) and i'm picking the first real bouquets of dahlias this weekend. i've decided i love zinnias (they're now in my top five with lilacs, peonies, ranunculus and dahlias). i have one huge white pumpkin (and a few small ones). i'm going to have a good supply of hokkaido squash, which i have to find a way to store and keep into the autumn. i'm drying herbs and freezing them down to cubes (with olive oil, i'm looking at you, basil) so that next winter future me will thank present me. but most of all, i'm enjoying hanging out there at the end of my days, watching my lovely indian running ducks, who are so quirky and sweet and shy but curious and rather talkative and social despite their shyness. 

all of this contentment in the garden coincides with contentment at work. i've recently had an enthusiastic go-ahead on two things that i proposed and i'm feeling very positive about being given time and space to just make cool shit. that's all i really want to do. i don't want to be anyone's boss, or get a big promotion. i just want to work with great people and make things i can be proud of, while having a bit of fun. and i'm in the position to do that now, due to the seeds i've planted. what a great feeling! maybe we really do reap what we sow. how did it take me so long to learn that?

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

no boring chairs

when the light falls like this, you don't need anything more than a lovely designer chair. summer is fading fast, but we are soaking it up, when it's not soaking us with torrential rain showers. i'm back to work after a couple of weeks of vacation and it's a slow start. most everyone will be back next week and then things will pick back up. it's nice to have a bit of a lull. i hope you're getting one too.