Making the Shed Great Yet Again

Here’s a picture from May of 1999 showing our late doberman Spike guarding me while I worked on our then 90 now 100 year old shed.

Guess what I’m doing over 20 years later? Working on the same shed.

Me in 1999. In 2020 I need glasses.

The shed has gone through two previous improvement battles starting with shoving a foundation under it, electrification and strengthening the floor followed by a somewhat misguided attempt at insulation and ceiling covering.

Over the past few years the shed went from being Kelly’s work space to a place to shove junk we didn’t want to deal with. With this latest improvement effort we’re turning it back into a pleasant space for Kelly to work in. I’m undoing some of my previous shoddy work and installing an oak floor and a nicer ceiling.

I have a hard time sitting at a computer when lured by the demands of carpentry which explains the sparse posting over the past two weeks. At least I’m thinking about writing while I work. I’ve been meditating on something Corey Pein said in the Twitters: “The more I learned to have confidence in myself and write from my own honest perspective, the more of an audience I have found, and the better I feel about my work.” The writing work I plan to do later this year would benefit from more honesty, from not shying away from controversy and a humor based more on experience than snark. Or the siren song of carpentry and woodworking might just lure me for the rest of my days. We shall see.

Talk and Vermicomposting Workshop With Nance Klehm Sunday March 8th!

Heal the soil. Heal our communities. Heal the world.

What: A talk by ecological wizard Nance Klehm PLUS an optional vermicomposting workshop
Where: St. John’s Cathedral,  Los Angeles –514 W. Adams Blvd
When: Sunday March 8, 2020 12:30 PM

Nance Klehm (socialecologies.net, spontaneousvegetation.net) is a an ecological systems designer who has worked to heal degraded soil around the world, from her home neighborhood of Little Village, Chicago to the rain forests of Ecuador. Join her at St. John’s Cathedral, where she will talk about the deep connection between soil health and social justice, and the importance of healthy soil in troubled times.

“Soil is both decomposition engine and support network for all living things. It is the living sponge that filters our water and air, thereby cleaning them both. It stabilizes our constructions, prevents flooding, protects our landscapes against drought, and ensures the health of our food, water and air. Soil is not a thing. It is a web of relationships that stands in a certain state of a certain time.”   — Nance Klehm

Bonus option! Stay after the talk for a short workshop taught by Nance on vermicomposting, that is, home composting using a worm bin. This is a fun and easy way to transform your kitchen scraps and waste paper into gold, even if you live in an apartment. Worm castings are a fantastic food for house plants as well as garden plants.You don’t need a strong back or much space to compost with a worm bin. Worm-shop participants will go home with a functioning bin complete with worms!

The general lecture is free and open to all, and no reservations are required for the talk alone, but the worm-shop materials fee: $30 (Financial aid is available) and you must reserve your space by emailing [email protected].  Registration is mandatory so that we can supply your bin and worms.

Saturday Linkages on Sunday: With Cat Hugs

What We Lose by Hiring Someone to Pick Up Our Avocados for Us

Guy Causes Google Maps “Traffic Jams” By Carrying 99 Cell Phones

Why Amazon’s Ring and facial recognition technology are a clear and present danger to society

Vienna’s Cultural Approach to Going Car-Free

The Rat of the Land

I finally got around to setting up my Critter Cam again and, unsurprisingly, it revealed the presence of rats in and around our chicken coop. I lock up the chicken food at night but the coop still seems to be a hot spot for rats. I’ve long had a suspicion that Los Angeles probably has more rats than Chicago and New York but there’s no hard evidence to prove this thoughtstyling of mine.

Unfortunately, it turns out that scientists have a hard time researching urban rodents for a number of reasons. Matt Frye, an IPM Extension Educator based in New York explains in a blog post,

As people who have conducted rodent research, we can tell you that rats are hard to study. They’re secretive, they nest underground, they’re nocturnal, accessing them is difficult — and they’re likely to croak before we can study them. Radio telemetry and Global Positioning System (GPS) rarely work because of interference from buildings and hard surfaces.

At the end of his blog post Frye has a nice collection of research papers on urban wildlife. I highly recommend one of those articles, which was published in Science a few years ago, Evolution of life in urban environments.

Saturday Linkages: Bad Ideas and a Few Good Ones

EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

Hollyhock House Archive

What happened to that $100 laptop idea?

Goodbye Mars One, The Fake Mission To Mars That Fooled The World

The 10,000-Year Clock Is a Waste of Time

The World’s Most Annoying Man

Car ads are bad for our cities

No Rational System Would Value Tesla at $100 Billion

‘Mindless growth’: Robust scientific case for degrowth is stronger every day

A dry (and warm, in most places) January in California

How Sustainable is a Solar Powered Website?