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...

Continue reading…

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

...t it in the Heirloom Seed Store’s booth. He liked it a lot but complained that his customers would not buy it because of its unusual appearance. I do think there’s an opportunity for an enterprising young farmer to raid the Franchi catalog and grow a farmers market booth full of Italian (and in this case Galacian) vegetables. If you know anything more about this kale/collard, including the sorts of dishes it’s used for, please l...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

What Epuipment Do You Need to Bake Bread?

...tice of baking boules in a Dutch oven. The technique simulates the humid environment of a commercial bread oven. It works great. For years I used a regular Dutch oven. Just recently, however, I purchased a Lodge Combo cooker, essentially a Dutch oven with a skillet instead of a lid. To bake bread in it you use it upside down. It’s easier to slide a loaf of bread into the pan than it is to plop a loaf down into a Dutch oven. These few items,...

Continue reading…

The Mystery of the Zero-Irrigation Squash

...y) and siphoned off some of the water. Certainly if I’d planted a seedling that far from the bed, and told it “Okay, you’re on your own. Just get what you need from that bed over yonder” that plant would never have made it. But volunteers are canny. And it may come down to timing. The squash might have used what little rain we had as a jump start, and got its roots over into the wet zone before the real heat set in. Have y...

Continue reading…

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&#...

Continue reading…

Quick Tip: DIY Decaf Tea

...ort steeping 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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

We Vote With Our Gas Pedals

...in order to use radar or laser enforcement. In other words, as one LA Department of Transportation engineer put it, “we vote with our gas pedals.” So we engineer cars for speed, engineer the streets for speed, and then raise the speed limits to match. If the 85th percentile is 50 mph on a residential street, the city raises the speed limit. If they don’t the cops can’t use radar. Or so they say. One LADOT official said th...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…