Self-Righteousness Fail: We Bought a Car

...Paleofuture. Back in March, a video producer who was texting-while-driving slammed into me and totaled the early 90′s hatchback that Kelly and I shared. We went from a one car household to a car-free household overnight. A combination of environmental guilt and distaste for car shopping led us to a six month car free living experiment in Los Angeles. That period ended in late September when we purchased a car from a friend. It’s well...

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?

...ier 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 proofing basket. The one on the right is the economy option: a nine inch bowl from the 99¢ store with a piece of canvas or l...

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

EDITED  8/6/2014 It appears we have been taken in by a popular Internet myth.  A reader comment  (Thanks, Laura!) brought alerted me to an excellent post on tea myths and includes findings from (apparently) the only two studies to every test this methodology of reducing caffeine levels in tea.  These show that the reduction from a short steeping would be more in the 9-20% range, as opposed to 80%. To achieve 80% the steep wo...

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

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...

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…