Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ups and Downs

Life is full of them.

On the downside, I'm having my doubts about the willows I've been trying to propagate.  A lot of them have leaves that are turning yellow and many of them have been in there for less than a week.  Further research on the web suggests my method is less than optimal.  I am cutting small shoots and leaving some leaves attached.  The cut end has rooting compound applied.  Then I put the shoots into a small bit of potting soil and either keep misting them or keep a plastic sheet over top to keep the humidity up.  Other people seem to have a great deal of luck by cutting one foot branches and simply sticking them in the dirt.  Apparently willows have some property, much like poplars, that they will readily propagate this way.  Argh.  I'll stick with my current approach for now and use that as a Plan B.  Interestingly enough, the blue honeysuckle looks to be doing well so far.

On the upside, I've stumbled across the Franken-Weber.  The Franken-Weber uses a Weber charcoal BBQ bottom plus a custom lid that allows internal temperatures to get up to 800 - 900F.  This is what you need to make great pizza.  Unfortunately, the video is short on details (probably deliberately so) on how he made this thing.  The key is in the lid, which he mentions is a mixture of cement and perlite (yup, the stuff in potting soil).  A bit of digging around and it is apparent that the cement is really refractory cement, used for high temperature stuff like fireplaces and the like.  More digging and you find that this stuff is also called Furnace Cement.  And it just so happens that you can get Furnace Cement at your friendly local Canadian Tire.  Oh, and it also seems like you can get fire brick there too.  These are the bricks that the pizza is sitting on in the video linked above.  Oh yeah.

So right now I'm seriously considering making my own Franken-Weber.  It would be a fun project for my upcoming two week holiday break.  And I miss the awesome thin crust pizza that I had during the many months I spent in Italy years ago.  Hmmmm.......

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