Saturday Linkages: Quitting Email, Muskiness and the RRR

We Grew a Cocktail Avocado!

This morning Kelly alerted me to the latest avocado news making its way around the internet tubes. Apparently a chain of grocery stores in Great Britain, worried about the lack of knife skills in our young folks (ugh), is marketing a seedless “cocktail” avocado.

What is a cocktail avocado? Some deep Googling revealed that they aren’t some new variety, just un- or under pollinated Fuerte avocado. Since we have a Fuerte tree in our backyard, I decided to do a deeper form of Googling, which involved prying myself away from the internet tubes and going outside for some first hand investigation. Ka-ching! I found a cocktail avocado that I plan on selling to a knife challenged Brit for a high and undisclosed price.

So how do cocktail avocados happen? Avocado pollination is one of the more complicated mysteries of nature for which I will turn to UC Davis for an explanation,

The first or female stage remains open for only 2 or 3 hours. The flower then closes and remains closed the rest of the day and that night. The following day it opens again. But now the stigma will no longer receive pollen. Instead, the flower is now shedding pollen. That is, each flower is female at its first opening, male at its second. After being open several hours the second day, the flower closes again, this time for good. If it had been successfully pollinated at the first opening, and if other conditions are right, it will develop into a delicious fruit.

People mistakenly think that avocados trees are either male or female. In fact, they are all both. The differences between trees are about when the timing of this alternate gendered flowering occurs. UC Davis goes on to explain,

Nature has provided for avocado cross-pollination by creating varieties of two kinds. The “A” type is female in the morning of the first day and male in the afternoon of the second day (when the weather is warm). The “B” type is just the reverse: its flowers are female in the afternoon and male the following morning.

The fact that we have two hives of honeybees in our backyard and lots of other avocado trees in the neighborhood means that we don’t get a lot of cocktail avocados. I could not find any information about the methods of cocktail avocado growers (located in Spain). I suspect they are either using nets to exclude bees or they are just selectively harvesting the cocktail avocados that naturally occur on every tree.

114 Will of The Weekend Homestead on Fire Safety

On the podcast this week I talk to Will of the The Weekend Homestead about fire safety and life on his rural Wisconsin getaway. Will is a former firefighter and avid YouTuber and reached out to me to respond to a post I did on open floor plans and fires. During the podcast we talk about:

  • Christmas fire safety–keep that tree watered!
  • Smoke detectors
  • Fire extinguishers and how to use them
  • Common causes of residential fires
  • What it’s like to be a firefighter
  • Will’s career in fireworks
  • Upcoming and ongoing projects: outhouse, solar power, Instapot, apple orchard, and Will’s SKYBOX

You can find The Weekend Homestead on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook.

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

The Wondrous 1-2-3 Block

In my attempts to raise the level of craftsmanship around the Root Simple compound I’ve come to appreciate a few simple and inexpensive tools associated with the cloistered world of machinists. One such tool is the 1-2-3 block that I’ve found many uses for in woodworking.

These blocks of metal, sold in pairs, are named after their dimensions, one inch by two inches by three inches (they also come in larger sizes such as 2-4-6). Mine have both threaded and un-threaded holes allowing you to attach and pass through bolts. You can bolt them together square or at an angle. They have a million applications:

To see if a tool is square.

To clamp pieces of wood together to guarantee squareness when gluing.

To attach a machinist’s dial (a another inexpensive tool that will get its own post).

For woodworking, a cheap set from Amazon will work fine. I assume machinists will want to seek out higher quality 1-2-3 blocks. They make a great, if heavy, stocking stuffer for the precision impaired members of your household . . .

Saturday Tweets: Crab Apples, Climate Change and a Bear Parade