Catching Up: 3D printer, Snow, Kimchi and Stuff. Oh, and a Cat

When they packed this thing they didn’t fool around. Layers of ultra dense, shock absorbing foam inside and out, everything that could possibly move taped down, all shoved into a box the size of a small chest freezer. One of the best packing jobs I’ve ever seen.
you can tell from the wear on the build plate that I’ve been using this thing a lot since I got it

ES (Eldest Son) has had my old 3D printer for some time now using it to print parts for, believe it or not, a replacement power supply for IBM PC Junior computers. Seriously. The PC Jr, what has to be one of the worst computers ever made, is now something that people are looking back at with affection. IMO this is sort of like looking at, oh, toe fungus with affection, but some people are like that, I suppose. People his age and a bit older are experiencing a wave of nostalgia for old computers and are repairing them, running them and playing with them, and the power supply of the PCJr seems to be one of the more fragile parts of the system. So he came up with a design for a circuit board, has a company make them for him, then adds the components, prints various brackets using the 3D printer and makes a tidy profit off it.

I now have the thing unpacked and up and running and I am pretty impressed with it so far. I’ll be talking about it in depth in about a week. I would have covered it before now but I ran into some issues that that turned out to not be a problem with the printer but with the filament I was using. That delayed things until I figured out what was going on.

Yes, we got snow! Well, not now. All of that stuff up there melted away rather quickly, alas, but still it was, for a brief time, winter here in north eastern Wisconsin. It has been cold here, though, with night time temperatures down as low as 18F, or about -7C for those of you outside the US who are reading this. (When in heaven’s name are we ever going to get in synch with the rest of the world when it comes to measurement systems?)

Let’s talk kimchi. How the hell did an aging, grouchy old ex-farmer get hooked on kimchi of all things? Well, I did and no, I am not suffering from dementia.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, kimchi is basically, well, sauerkraut. Fermented cabbage. Only sauerkraut kicked up a few notches. Well, kicked up a lot of notches, I suppose. It’s loaded with garlic and massive amounts of red pepper and some onions, with a bit of fish sauce and soy sauce thrown in. I love the stuff. The rest of the family looks at me very odd when I bring it out, but then the rest of the family looks at me very oddly most of the time anyway so I don’t care. I love hot, spicy food to begin with. And thanks to the popularity of K-dramas on Netflix and other streaming services, kimchi, which is a staple of every Korean household, has started to become more popular and even our local Walmart carries it. Well, not for long because I buy it up as soon as they restock it. That’s the only reason I go to Walmart. Seriously. I scarf up all their kimchi and don’t come back until they get a new delivery.

It’s not cheap though, which makes sense since they import the stuff from Korea. So could I make the stuff myself? Basically it’s just fermented cabbage, right? So I found a recipe in, of all places, Ball jar company’s canning cookbook and I decided to try it, and it’s now bubbling away down in the basement and we’ll see what happens.

It’s easy to make. About 2 pounds of napa cabbage, sliced, lots of garlic, a couple of tablespoons of fish sauce and soy sauce, about a quarter cup of salt, and lots and lots and lots of Korean red pepper. There’s about a cup and a quarter of ground Korean red pepper in that mess up there. Then you shove it into jars, put a weight on top of it to keep the cabbage submerged in the liquid, and stick it in a cool, dark place and let it bubble and churn and do stuff for a while and keep your fingers crossed

That’s been sitting down in the basement for about 2 days now and apparently I’m supposed to taste it after 4 days.

MrsGF tells me that what it’s going to actually taste like is going to be different for just about everyone who makes the stuff because wild yeasts or bacteria or something like that in the environment that actually cause the fermentation process are going to be different in every home, so the actual flavor could be quite a bit different from what I’m used to. And even the exact same recipe fermented in a different location could have a much different flavor. So we’ll see.

I have to admit that this kind of thing goes against my basic instincts. I grew up in a household where the only spices in general use were salt and pepper, and not much of that, where vegetables were cooked until they turned gray and meat was not treated very gently. I loved my mother dearly but lord, her pork chops… you could have re-soled shoes with her porkchops. Her idea of food safety, well, I’m not sure where she got it from but she had the idea that if there was any kind of pink in even the thickest cut of meat, it was going to kill you.

So I wonder sometimes where my love of highly spiced foods comes from, along with my enthusiastic embracing of some foods that would have made my mother turn white with horror. She’d have had a heart attack if she’d ever heard of sashimi, which I absolutely love and she’d have probably wondered about my mental health if she’d seen me eating jalapenos right off the plants out in the garden.

But even so, letting jars full of cabbage just sit there in the basement at room temperature for days, even weeks at a time frankly makes me nervous.

I just took a peek at it. It’s been sitting over there in the dark for two and a half days now and it doesn’t look like anything is actually happening. No bubbling or anything, it hasn’t tried to crawl out of the jars to escape. And I have to admit that it smells absolutely amazing right now, so that’s hopeful? Maybe?

And to wrap this up, how about a cat?

Yes, lowly human, you may worship at my feet.

That’s Martin up there, one of son’s and his fiance’s cats. He’s a rescue kitty and he is amazingly beautiful, incredibly smart, breathtakingly stupid, adorable and annoying all at the same time. So pretty much a typical cat.

Author: grouchyfarmer

Yes, I'm a former farmer. Sort of. I'm also an amateur radio operator, amateur astronomer, gardener, maker of furniture, photographer.

4 thoughts on “Catching Up: 3D printer, Snow, Kimchi and Stuff. Oh, and a Cat”

  1. My other-half is familiar with kimchi … he served in Viet Nam and said occasionally Korean soldiers would whip up a batch. He said the smell as it fermented was quite similar to SH__! So if yours smells “absolutely amazing,” one can’t help but wonder about your sense of smell.๐Ÿคจ (As for me eating any? No amount of money would suffice. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ)

    BTW, I’m not sure why I haven’t been following you … but that mishap has been corrected. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    1. Thanks for stopping in Nan. Very good to see you ๐Ÿ™‚

      I suppose kimchi is an acquired taste but to be honest if it smells bad there’s something wrong with it. It’s basically the same thing as sauerkraut and made much the same way. Biggest difference is where sauerkraut is just cabbage and salt, kimchi throws in lots of garlic, onions, sometimes daikon radishes and carrots and even fruit sometimes and lots and lots and lots of Korean red pepper (which, I’m told, is actually mostly grown in China). And a bit of fish sauce which is sort of the Asian version of Worcestershire sauce. It could be it was the fish sauce that turned him off. Some people do find that a bit much. But there’s only a tablespoon full in the stuff I make.

      It will make your eyes water though because there’s a good half cup of ground Korean chili flakes in a quart of finished kimchi the way I make it. The Korean chili isn’t as hot as something like habanero or Szechuan peppers, but it’s still a bit much for some people.

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      1. I read your response to him and after a bit of discussion, he said he thinks they may have been using a SUPER STINKY fish oil that’s popular among the Vietnamese. But he can’t say for sure because it was the soldiers who were making it. Made the way you do, he’d probably gobble it up as he definitely likes super spicy foods.

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        1. I bet that’s what it was. some of those fish sauces smell like something that has been dead for a long time and left to rot in the sun (shudder). I remember seeing a video some time ago of Westerners in Japan being taken to a restaurant that specialized in fermented fish products of some sort. Half of them were out the door and gone just from the smell. I don’t think any of them made it past the first dish.

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