Mystery House

Two Recipes! Two!

And you can’t eat either one of them!

But they’re useful.

First up, anti-deer goo.  We have lots of deer traipsing through our yard since we live right on the edge of the woods.  They love to jump the fence, trot on up to the front yard, and eat my hostas down to sad little green nubs.  In the past, I’ve bought some expensive stinky spray to combat them, but the bottle is almost empty and I realized that it’s mostly just peppers.  And thus, a do-it-yourself idea is born.  Why pay the hardware store $18 for what amounts to a handful of peppers?

I wasn’t the only one who had this idea, and found advice online.  (What isn’t there advice for online?  Don’t answer that.)  I can’t link it for you, because I can’t seem to find it now, but it goes something like this:

Habanero peppers.  I hope you know how hot these are.  Wear gloves and don’t touch your eyes.  Even you are not tough enough to withstand the heat of these peppers.

Habaneros 1

Split them open so their itty bitty fiery seeds are exposed, and dump them in a jar.  Pour vinegar over them.  No, you don’t have to go through any fancy canning procedures here.  Nobody’s eating this, you’re just going to gross out some deer with it.

Habaneros 2

Label the jar so that your pepper-loving husband doesn’t unwittingly get into trouble, and store it in the fridge.

Habaneros 3

After that concoction sits around for a few days, mix some of the vinegar with water and put it in a sprayer.  You can keep reusing the peppers, just pour in more vinegar when it gets low.  Don’t spray this on anything you’re going to eat.  And wear gloves when you handle anything you’ve sprayed.

I’ll let you know how it works.  Worth the experiment, I figure, for less than a buck.  (Yeah, pun intended.)

Next, sourdough starter.  I suddenly decided I needed to make sourdough bread.  I remember my mom keeping starter when I was growing up, but the funny thing is, I’ve never gotten around to starting starter myself.  No time like a moment when I’m procrastinating because I’m stuck with my work, right?

I found instructions and a nice explanation of how it works here.

You’ve probably got the ingredients for this.  And if you don’t, well, I don’t want to hear about it.

Flour, just a wee bit.  (Click on that link for exact amounts.)

Starter 1

Add a little water.

Starter 2

Mush it around until it forms a paste.  Add more water if necessary to make it properly pastelike.

Starter 3

Knead it until it’s nice and springy.  I’ve been working with clay lately, and I must say it felt a bit odd to knead something without slamming it on the table several times to get the air bubbles out.

The Springyness Tester 2000 will let you know when it’s ready.

Starter 4

In the bowl it goes.

Starter 5

Cover it with a nice tea towel.  The Helpful Bread Alien will keep watch for the next two or three days, while the yeast (from the air — yes, you’re breathing in yeast right this moment) and bacteria do their work and the starter gets all bubbly and gooey.

Starter 6

There.  Making both those things took a whopping fifteen minutes, total, and I feel incredibly virtuous for someone who isn’t getting any real work done.  Back with more starter tales when it’s time to bake!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Carrie K says:

    San Francisco sourdough comes from the air. (yes, I just learned that).
    Habeneros? To repel deer? Those poor things! Try eating one of them. Yowza.

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  2. * Guinifer says:

    Those peppers and vinegar look awfully pretty in their jar.

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  3. * deb says:

    I’ll be very interested to hear about the deer proofing!

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  4. * Annie says:

    Does it still work if you don’t have a Helpful Bread Alien?

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  5. * Cathy R says:

    Both interesting recipes. Hope no one gets confused and tries to combine them. 🙂

    Posted 8 years, 10 months ago

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