Sourdough Baking Class July 9th

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Just dig that beautiful loaf. Want to learn how to bake it yourself? The very talented Dana Morgan is teaching a basic Tartine style baking class on July 9th in Westchester. There’s also a pizza bake taking place the same day at the new community oven.

For more info sign up for the Los Angeles Bread Bakers if you haven’t already, and head to the event listing for this class. Space is limited so sign up soon.

Download a Genuine 1920s Ringtone

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Image: Wikipedia, Genevieve Clark using a candlestick phone.

The most common service call for telephone technicians back in the 1920s was to muffle the obnoxious sound of the ringer. Why were those bells so loud? The phone company didn’t make money until you lifted the receiver. It was in their interest for you to answer the phone.

Now you can have the genuine, ear splitting sound of a 1920s era telephone ringer box on your shiny new iPhone or Android device. I recorded the sound of my Western Electric 534A ringer box and turned it into a ringtone that you can download here for $1.29 in the iTunes store. I also uploaded a free version that you can download here as an mp3. If you download the free version you can turn that audio file into a ringtone using these directions.

If the ringtone proves popular I’ll make a Western Electric 500 version and, perhaps, turn the sound of hungry cats into a ringtone that is sure to disrupt your next meeting.

Saturday Tweets: Long Hot Summer

Help Plant a Garden — and Help a Local Eagle Scout

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If you’re a local and have idle hands tomorrow, our friends at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity could use your help:

On Friday June 24, Eagle scout candidate Taylor Martin will hold a workday for his Eagle project. And Taylor needs a bit of help. Taylor’s project extends the Community Garden at Holy Nativity. His team has already removed a large area of lawn, and on Friday they’ll be planting six fruit trees. It will transform the entrance to the church.

Friday is supposed to be Taylor’s completion date, and there’s still a lot to do:

  • installing headerboard (9am)
  • composting the planting areas (morning)
  • planting trees, flowers, vegetables (afternoon)
  • assembling benches (all day)

It’s a fun chance to work with an (exuberant) team of young scouts and to help get another section of food gardens built.

Start time is 9am, and we’ll continue all day until it’s done. Bring your own garden gloves. If you’d like to help with assembling benches, bring your own toolbox. Although much of the project site is in the shade, we recommend sun hats / sun protection.

The Garden is at 6700 West 83rd in Westchester – Los Angeles 90045. Please RSVP if you can come.

If you can’t make it on Friday, the Environmental Change-Makers will hold a separate workday later this summer to install a meditative labyrinth that will be open to the general public. Taylor’s project creates an embracing space for this special addition to the garden.

The Root Simple Workshop

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In honor of the national Week of Making, and Adam Savage’s call to share our maker-spaces, I’m giving you a virtual tour of the Root Simple workshop. Take note new homeowners: if I could go back in time I’d have set up the workshop and organized my tools before we began the extensive remodeling we had to do when we moved in back in 1998.

Our house is on a small hill and the garage/workshop is at street level. The garage is a partially buried concrete bunker built in 1920 and sized for two Model-Ts. We had to install a steel girder to stabilize the structure and a pitched roof and siding to waterproof our bunker. You can see the garage at the very beginning of the drone flyover that Steve Rowell shot for us. Our chariot, a Honda Fit, lives in one half of the garage. It’s hard to believe that this tiny subcompact car is 30 inches longer than a Model-T.

In the other half of the garage is my workshop. Being somewhat of an extrovert, the main thing I like about the workshop is that it sits right on the sidewalk so I get to interact with the neighbors while I work.

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For my workbench, I picked up a set of really cheap used cabinets at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and painted them with a homemade chalkboard paint. I topped the cabinets with some cheap pine butcher board from the Home Despot. The recipe I used for the chalkboard paint is:

1 cup latex paint
1 tablespoon cool water
2 tablespoons unsanded grout

You can use any color of latex paint that you like. The chalkboard paint allows me to label all the drawers and cabinets in the garage. Naturally, there is pegboard on every spare wall to hang all the random tools I need regular access to. Kelly came up with the striking bright orange/white/black color scheme.

Our friend Lee Conger noticed the labeling on these cabinets that point to our overly eclectic interests:

IMG_1187It’s like our heads need to be KonMaried! And fencing purists will note that the label should be “epee parts” not “swords.”

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Our three bikes and cycling accoutrements are kept locked to a pole. Always lock your bikes, kids, even when they are in the garage!

The one last touch I want to add to the workshop is a small and comfortable “thoughtstyling” chair along with a rolling whiskey cart. Half of “making” is philosophizing, after all.