New Crop Cilantro

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Looks like a great year for Cilantro.  It seems to be quickly growing and forming a nice bunch.

2013 Garden is planned and in process!

News Flash!  I doubled my space in the community garden this year!  last year I had a 20’x30′ space and this year; with two spaces, I have 40’x30″.  This extra space allowed me to layout the planting beds using straight runs for the soaker hose which I hope will work as well or better than last year.  News Flash 2!  I have added a second “rain” (water storage) barrel.  I hooked it all up with “parts” and some garden hose from the curbside boutique (other peoples trash)

I’ll update with a picture soon.

My 2012 Garden

Take a visual tour of our 2012 Garden

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From thinking to doing

Last night I drove the truck to a friends house, loaded a few nice things and drove off. Might seem like a simple operation but it sure took awhile to get there.

Awhile back a sermon at church challenged me to let go of stuff and grab onto people. During the weeks after, our community group and friends discussed ways to deal with the “stuff” congesting our homes and lives and an opportunity to deliver stuff to a new family in town presented itself. Somehow all the things that were needed plus two trucks and a moving crew appeared and completed the task. While unloading, two strangers approached me and asked if we had an extra bed? I said ” no” but promised to see if I could locate one. I realized that I was standing in the parking lot of a very large apartment complex filled with families and many kids that had real needs. I have lots of “wants” but few if any real “needs”

So last night I quit talking and started doing. We had no plan for what to do with our “truck of stuff” and after praying for guidance we headed out and gave a nice chair to one family and the rest of the stuff to another. As we left in the now empty truck the conversation turned to what if anything we had accomplished. Here is our list:
1) My friends got some extra space in their garage that they needed.
2) I got to spend time with my friend and had great conversation while we drove around.
3) We allowed God to direct our actions and were rewarded with an adventure.
4) We learned from the residents where items could be left in the future
5) We were reminded that we are blessed by God and that all we have is from him.
6) I got a special gift in the form of a chair that is much nicer than I would have bought myself.

I would like to make this “rearrangement of stuff” a weekly event and look forward to seeing God work in this way.

Local vegetables

It’s the time of year when fresh veggie lovers have options.  In fact we have so many options that we rule the market.  My 1st option is to wander through my small garden and see if anythings is ready for the table.  Next I can visit our local Farmer’s market held each Wednesday here P.M. in Westerville.  This option presents me with several vendors offering their home grown veggies and food products.  My next option and the one we use both reluctantly but frequently is to visit the shiny perfect vegetable crypt at our local grocery store.  Here I can pick up a beautiful cucumber grown and somehow transferred half way around the world and offered to me for a stupidly low price.  My last and favorite option is to hop in the car and drive through the country an Amish farm in Licking County.  Arriving with my head clear and thoughts pure I wait near the car until someone emerges from the house.  It is usually the farmer but he usually is accompanied buy a kid or too.  I ask what is new and we discuss the bad state of this years onion crop or the forecast for big sweet tomatoes.  I fill a bag from the porch with squash, cucumbers, corn, beans and anything else available. I review the price board and inquire about cabbage.  Instantly a nine year old boy bolts off to the garden and emerges a few minutes later with a nice green head of cabbage.  I guiltily pass a few buck to the farmer and wonder if he cares that I would have gladly paid twice the amount he asked. I say goodbye and steer my car down the long rutted dirt driveway admiring the animals, gardens, saw mill and lifestyle.  I am  an Amish wannabe.   So while the Summer lasts I will embrace the local harvest and savor each green treasure until the frost forces me back to the my grocery store’s veggie wax museum.

Litter Landing – Findlay

We raised our family in Findlay, Ohio.  Not really a small town, Findlay bills itself as a “Micropoliton” area with the unofficial motto “A great place to raise kids”.  When it comes to recycling, Findlay has something unique and special.  Litter Landing is basically a metal pole barn with garage doors on one side and shipping doors on the other side.  Inside are wooden bins for virtually any type of recyclable material.  People drive up in their cars and walk around the bins dropping off what they brought and sometimes choosing a few things to take home.  Its very common to see someone you know and spend a few minutes talking about local news.  Its really common to see parents rooting through bins finding materials needed for school projects.  Magazines, colored glass bottles, cardboard boxes and many other items can be picked up free at the 24 hour facility.

Litter landing was started by the Hancock County Commissioners who needed a way to expand the life of the costly local landfill.  If landfill usage goals were not met then the state would require the county to implement mandatory curbside recycling.  In response the land and building for litter landing were obtained and the community welcomed the chance to recycle.  In time numerous additions and improvements have been made to the facility.

We currently live in a suburb where curbside recycling is mandatory.  We also have a local law prohibiting going through other people’s trash and recyclables.  Every now and then a rumor spreads that  the private firm that picks up the curbside recyclables ends up driving to the dump and trashing everything we have dutifully saved, cleaned and set at the curb.

I really miss litter landing!

Mt pet Kefir

I am not allowed to have a dog.  I could get a dog, present it to my wife and say “it followed me home… can I keep it?”  So far I have just been patient.   We do have a cat whom I enjoy very much but I still have an aching need for my future boxer puppy named Princess.  To partially fill this need I have adopted a Kefir grain.  Each day I fish the growing grain out of its cultured milky home and plop it in a fresh milk filled jar.  The old home is a fizzy creamy beverage called Kefir.  If you like yogurt then you are gonna like kefir.

The history of Kefir is very interesting and should be googled. kefir is an ancient milk fermentation from Eastern Europe. It is supposed to be very healthful with anti bacterial and anti fungal properties as well as a “live culture” probiotic source of  “good stuff”.

I found my kefir grain on the internet and traveled across town to meet a nice lady who shared both her grains and her knowledge with me.  I took my new friend home and have been enjoying homemade kefir ever since.  A “grain” is not like a grain of wheat.  Instead a kefir grain is a little colony of friendly bacteria and yeast beasts that looks like a tiny head of cauliflower.  The grain is edible but chewy.

As my kefir grain has grown I have treated it with the same respect that I would any living pet.  I have eaten all the kefir that my grain has produced and either given my excess grain away or put it to use as food.  I haven’t thrown any away.

One advantage that making kefir has over making yogurt is that yogurt requires the milk to be heated up and the yogurt culture incubated until ready.  Kefir has no such requirements.  Cold milk from the fridge (non fat, .5% – 2% or even whole) and the kefir (1 tablespoon or more) is added to a clean glass mason jar with a plastic lid and set at room temperature on the counter for 1/2 day (fizzy drink) to 1 full day (kefir curds floating above the watery whey)

You can buy commercial kefir in the whole foods section of your grocer or health food store.  See if you like it and if you do then track down a nice kefir host to give you a grain.

Chris Jordan – Pictures of excess

 

An amazing representation of excess within our culture presented as incredible artistic images. A powerful message and beautiful art. The video is 11 minutes long so plan some time to watch it completely. You will be glad that you did.

From ww.ted.com Ideas worth speaking

Hen & Chicks – A Favorite Plant!

My lifelong love of plants and gardens has childhood roots with a few plants including sunflowers, pumpkins and “hen & chicks”.

When we would go for a drive in the country and end up at a family or friends rural home, there would usually be an old boot, pot or other container on the front porch overflowing with small green plants.  A bigger plant would be surrounded by smaller ones like chicks surrounding a mother hen.

The coolest thing about these plant was that no matter how many holes there were in the planter, in time the chicks would find there way to the opening and grow.

Hen and Chicks the way I remember them as a kid.

Hen and Chicks the way I remember them as a kid.

Picture from http://crackthesky17.blogspot.com

As an adult I have started this plant in all the gardens of our various houses.  This is truly an easy plant to get started.  All you have to do is ask anybody with a mature plant for a start of a few chicks.  Fill a container with dirt and stick the chicks in it.  Keep it outside in a cooler not-super-sunny spot and forget about it.  Not much will happen the 1st season but the following spring look for the  hen to settle in and start a family.  This plant isn’t a fast grower but in time you will have chicks popping out of every possible hole in the container and crowding each other for sun.

My allusion that there was only one kind of hen and chicks plant was shattered last Summer when I met a collector.  We were enjoying the rose festival at the Columbus Park of Roses when I noticed that one local vendor had hen and chick plants for sale.  I was amazed at how many different varities were displayed and learned that as a hobby the vendor had collected and cultivated dozens of different types.

I am happy to report that the hen I bought at the rose festival is alive and well in the garden of our current home and should soon have many chicks to share with others.

From Wikipedia

Hen and chicks (also known as Hen-and-chickens) is a common name for a group of small succulents belonging to the flowering plant family Crassulaceae, native to Europe and northern Africa. They grow close to the ground with leaves formed around each other in a rosette, and propagating by offsets. The ‘hen’ is the main plant, and the ‘chicks’ are the offspring, which start as tiny buds on the main plant and soon sprout their own roots, taking up residence close to the mother plant.

Plants commonly referred to as “Hens and chicks” include ground hugging species of Sempervivum (Houseleeks) such as Sempervivum Pekinese, Sempervivum arachnoideum(Cobweb Houseleek), and Sempervivum tectorum(Common Houseleek); the related genus Jovibarba. The name is also used for some species of Echeveria, Sedum and Bergenia although these plants differ significantly from, and should not be confused with, Sempervivum and Jovibarba.

Fuel the Film – Fall in love with Biodiesel!

  Playing soon in Columbus! 

   http://thefuelfilm.com//theater/studio-35-columbus-ohio   
The Fuel Film

The Fuel Film

Very limited engagement for an award winning film.

04/17/2009 (All day)04/23/2009 (All day)

I can’t wait to see it.

SYNOPSIS  (from the website)

FUEL is an insightful portrait of America’s addiction to oil and an uplifting testament to the immediacy of new energy solutions. Director, Josh Tickell, a young activist, shuttles us on a whirlwind journey to track the rising domination of the petrochemical industry — from Rockefeller’s strategy to halt Ford’s first ethanol cars to Vice President Cheney’s petrochemical company sponsored energy legislation — and reveals a gamut of available solutions to “repower America” — from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel. Tickell and a surprising array of environmentalists, policy makers, and entertainment notables take us through America’s complicated, often ignominious energy past and illuminate a hopeful, achievable future, where decentralized, sustainable living is not only possible, it’s imperative.

Review

Los Angeles Times Review Friday, February 13

“Fuel is a vital, superbly assembled documentary…doesn’t dwell on muckraking, however; it’s more focused on broadly inspiring viewers than preaching to the converted….Smartly animated interstitials, memorable archival material and a lively soundtrack round out the fast-paced proceedings.”

Studio 35 is located at        

3055 Indianola Avenue in Columbus, Ohio

(614) 261-1581

info@studio35.com