Self-Righteousness Fail: We Bought a Car

...ly during rush hour. The subway and light rail system works especially well if you ride a bike. This was a hitch for Kelly. Understandably, she’s nervous about riding a bike in traffic here. While the bike network is getting better, it’s got a long way to go. Bike lanes have been squeezed in where it’s been convenient for engineers and politicians to do so. To make the bike network really work we’re going to need to begin...

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Have We Reached Peak Kale? Franchi’s Cavolo Laciniato “Galega De Folhas Lisas”

...isas survived into the dry LA summer, including a long spell where the drip irrigation failed without me knowing it. It’s still growing. Think about that. This is one tough veggie. It’s a beautiful plant with thick leaves that taste like, well, collards.  It does need space and did not seem to like root competition—1 1/2 to 2 feet apart is my guess for spacing. This variety caught my eye when I overheard a farmer talking about i...

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Adopt an Indigo Plant in Los Angeles

...his plant, Persecaria Tinctoria, also know as Polygonum Tinctorum, has been a staple source of blue in East Asia for millennia. It is known for being relatively easy to grow. All it needs is lots of sunshine, plenty of water, and some food. As an experiment, I’ve germinated a bunch of indigo seeds and want to get the seedlings into as many people’s hands as possible! I hope to spread the wonder about the fact that...

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What Epuipment Do You Need to Bake Bread?

...I have works just fine, but the OXO Good Grips Scale has a really great feature: a pull out display. This makes it easier to read the scale when you’ve got a big bowl on top of it. It’s inexpensive, and I’ve seen it for sale at my local Whole Foods. It’s also the scale we use when I teach classes at the Institute of Domestic Technology. 2. A proofing basket If you want to make a boule, you need a proof...

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The Mystery of the Zero-Irrigation Squash

...rong. We humans schedule planting by when we finally buy our seeds and find time to trundle out into the garden. It’s not good enough. Masanobu Fukuoka had a good thought when he went out and just tossed seed all over the place and waited to see what grew. I really need to figure out how to work that man’s ideas into our garden. In times of stress and hard conditions, it seems best to turn to Nature as a teacher. 2) Mulch/compost basi...

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Toilet paper in the woods: a rant and some advice

...that is less often seen in recreation areas. Backpackers know how to Leave No Trace and daytrippers mostly hold it.) This means 95% of nasty clumps of toilet paper I find festooning our precious wild spaces were left there by women. So I’m talking to you, Ladies Who Litter. It is s a form of litter, you know. Just as bad as throwing your Starbuck’s cup on the ground and walking away. People might say it’s “biodegradable&#...

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Quick Tip: DIY Decaf Tea

...g would be more in the 9-20% range, as opposed to 80%. To achieve 80% the steep would have to be over 5 minutes. It’s an interesting article, worth a read–it also addresses the complex subject of how much caffeine black and green teas actually have. I’m not sure if this is common knowledge or not– my acupuncturist told me about it years ago–but you can decaffeinate your own tea. As someone who loves (loves loves) hot...

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Real Estate Bubble Bananas

There’s a house in our neighborhood that’s been for sale for over a year. Two months ago the for sale signs disappeared, junk mail littered the front porch and the mow and blow guys stopped showing up, leaving the lawn to go wild. A busted sprinkler head creates a nightly fountain as the houses’ infrastructure lapses into a timer operated zombification. We knew the nice young family that used to live here and I hope that they w...

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We Vote With Our Gas Pedals

Photo by sanbeiji It’s been my good luck to travel on business to many great cities in Northern Europe. And these cities–Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brugge, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg–have one thing in common: people come first, cars come second. It’s a hassle to drive but a pleasure to walk, bike and take public transit. As a direct result they are desirable places to live and be a tourist. While we could throw many American...

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Fruitacular!

Noel Ramos, writing to correct an inaccuracy in my guava post (“Guayabas” is the word used all over Latin America for guava not “guyabas”) was nice enough to include this amazing photograph of some of the many kinds of fruit that you can grow in Florida: red bananas, sugar-apple, canistel, pink guayaba, dragon fruit and orange-flesh lemon. Noel is the director of communications for Slow Food Miami, “an eco-gastronom...

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