How to Memorize Numbers

...ng with a ball that you can put into a room in your memory palace. For a longer strings of numbers it’s best to “chunk” them into groups of four to make them more manageable. This is beyond the amount of time I’m willing to put into this, but you can also commit to memory 100 images to represent double digit numbers between 00 and 99 to be able to memorize longer numbers faster....

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Dave Wilson’s Top 21 Fruit Trees for the Southwest US

...ance. We sourced almost all of our trees by mail through the Bay Laurel Nursery, which carries Dave Wilson’s trees (Dave Wilson is wholesale only). Get your orders in now as Bay Laurel sells out of many varieties by the time they ship in February. You can read the complete list of Tom Spellman’s low chill fruit suggestions with his  comments here. If you have mature versions of any of these trees please leave a comment and let us kn...

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The Holiday Gift Truce

...ays, “People value the items they receive as gifts 20 percent less per dollar spent than the items they purchase for themselves. These are items that are not well-suited for their tastes.” Particularly in challenging economic times it’s hard to justify this orgy of value destruction, not to mention the stress and time spent in mall parking lots. I’m interested in how readers of this blog navigate the holiday season. Do you make your o...

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Today is American Censorship Day

...implications, downright scary. It has has the power to censor the Internet. It can blacklist or bankrupt sites on whisper-thin grounds, it will impede small businesses and new start-ups, and even punish individuals with jail time for infringing copyright in smalls ways, like, for instance, posting a family video in which copyrighted music is playing in the background. This bill is likely to pass, and it will happen soon. It’s hard to summ...

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The Sun Comes

photo credit: Henry Mühlpfordt Happy Winter Solstice! It is the darkest day of the year, and the shortest day of the year.  But from now on, every day will be a little longer and a little brighter, until the year turns once more. This is a rough time to be a gardener, even in Southern California. Everything seems to be sleeping. You, perhaps, wish you were tucked in a warm bed, sleeping, instead of frantically rushing getting ready for...

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Kelly’s 2012 To-Do List

...year, as opposed to “staples.” -No internet surfing until after supper. No email in the morning. Email at noon and in the evening. -Repaint the living room, hall, two bedrooms and the breakfast nook. -Spend more time outside loving the garden–just being with it, regarding it with joy instead of judgement. -Learn to identify trees. -Take up archery again. This means starting with practice in the back yard once or twice a week,...

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How To Design a Garden Step II: Using Google Earth to Draw Up a Plan

...maculture zones For a more accurate and sizable plan you can also use Google’s free 3D modeling program SketchUp. The drawback with SketchUp is that it requires a couple of evenings to learn. If only we had taken the time to draw up a plan to scale when we first moved into our house back in 1998! Better late than never, and at least it’s easier now thanks to Google. Special thanks to Darren Butler and Scott Kleinrock for inspiring...

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Is This Egg Good?

..., because fresh eggs are impossible to peel. What you don’t want to see is a floating egg. A floating egg is a bad egg. (Like a witch!) Old eggs float because the mass inside the egg decreases–dries out–over time, making it lighter. I personally don’t trust any floating egg, but I do know that other people draw a distinction between eggs that float low and eggs that float high, and only discard the high floaters. And I hon...

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The CDFA’s Pesticide Theater

...by a big infusion of cash from our tax dollars and the citrus industry. During their backyard spraying campaign in our neighborhood in the fall of 2010, the CDFA and TruGreen showed up at a neighbor’s house who, at the time, had over 50 citrus trees in pots (she was operating a mini-nursery and selling the trees).  CDFA and TruGreen were overwhelmed by the amount of trees and ran out of imidacloprid. They promised to return but never did,...

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2011 in Review: The Garden

...For 2012, I’m putting in raised beds to deal with the heavy metal issue and we’ve already planted more native plants. But most importantly one of my New Years resolutions is to plan the vegetable garden ahead of time. And I’m going to take better notes (though I’ve been saying this for ten years now). Those notes simply being, the date a veggie is planted and the first and last harvests of said plant. That info will make...

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