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5 posts from April 2011

04/28/2011

Soul Rock

 While at Gone Wired Café to take advantage of their kids-eat-free Monday deal this week, I ran into DeShaun Snead and Larry Neuhardt from local band Mighty Medicine.  The duo is psyched for a number of upcoming shows, but Mighty Medicine sees themselves as more than just performers trying to scratch out an existence in a competitive music landscape: they emphasize the warm sense of community among Lansing-area musicians.  “We’re a bridge to other bands,” says vocalist/percussionist Snead.  Her and guitarist Neuhardt take pride and pleasure in hearing other bands credit Mighty Medicine as their catalyst.  Here's the video for their song Today, produced by Lansing Public Media and shot at the Wild Goose Inn...

 

MM’s own inspirations range from Stevie Wonder and The Beatles to the fringes of the soul, rock, jazz and blues genres to the likes of the Grateful Dead.  The band is all about fresh, subtle takes on a wide variety of covers that appeal to all ages.  In addition, they explore their own material, most recently with such simple, song-writerly tracks as "Michigan Rock and Roll" and other tunes from their new album now in pre-release, a follow up to the 2009 release Bloom.

The local music scene veterans—MM has played over 300 shows—are eager to shout out some of their favorite bands on the scene: Burton’s Garden, Elden Kelly, The Love Brothers, Cloudmagic…the list goes on.  Neuhardt, an MSU grad and former Lansing School District high-school teacher, credits Snead’s voice for much of their popularity:  “DeShaun has the voice of an angel, and I’ve been playing finger-style guitar for 30 years," he says.  When the two take the stage, the musicianship is the focus:  “One thing we’re not, is loud.  We don’t scream—we sing.”

 Mighty Medicine is also playing this year’s Old Town Blues Fest in September.  For more info check their site, they’re also on Facebook. 

 

04/24/2011

Picking and Choosing

Not all yards are created equal.  Neither are all community gardens nor farms.  But considering your soil type, topography, micro-climate and cultivation habits doesn't help much without first answering a more basic question: what do you like to eat?

Continue reading "Picking and Choosing" »

04/17/2011

REALLY Raised Beds

Really

Volunteers and AmeriCorp members help construct REALLY raised beds at the Hunter Park GardenHouse Saturday (above).

Below:  This traditional design was executed with all cedar lumber thanks to a grant and exhaustive comparison shopping on hardware and wood.

Bed

Above: Carrots grow next to the REALLY raised beds.  At center is one design.  To the right is an alternative that allows for wheelchair users to get their legs under the bed like a desk!

Many people helped with constructing and installing the beds.  It took a lot of leveling, both of the beds and the pavers... (below).

Bed2 Chris and john

Construction close up

Above:  Lag bolts were all partially set before the final tightening to ensure a consistent fit.

Below:  Lots more was happening at the GardenHouse (as always), including maintaining beds for their CSA and other uses.  The Garden House hosts an open drop-in for garden discussion every Sunday at 12:30 pm.

Gardenhouse

Jared Patrick

Below, bed designer Jared Talaga (seated) thanks all who helped with the installation.

Ready

The GardenHouse is a great place to nurture seedlings and friendships.  Check it out in Hunter Park on Lansing's East side.

Transplants

 

04/11/2011

Mid-April Gardening

This is the kind of weather that gets you itching to plant seeds out in the garden.  Some can be planted as soon as soil is 'workable' in spring.  But when is soil workable?

Soil moisture or wetness is a big determining factor.  Garden soil or compost that forms clumps when handled is usually still too wet from early spring thaw and rain.  Standing water near a garden is also a good sign that it may be too early for heavy cultivation.

Wet

On the other hand, soil that crumbles when handled is usually more ready.  

Dry

To get your soil workable and ready to plant sooner, there are a few things you can do:

  • Let wind and sun work for you.  To get drier soil sooner, fork or rake your garden to expose more surface area.  However, don't roto-till if soil is still clumping.
  • Mound it up.  Mounds or simple raised beds allow soil to drain more quickly.  These areas of your garden will also warm earlier in the season, which means better germination for not only the first seeds of spring, but also later summer crops.
  • Mix it up.  Working in compost, leaves, pine needles, or other organic materials according to the needs of your soil can help create more air space and encourage the beneficial action of worms.

04/05/2011

Wind and Rain

April showers brings May flowers.  And what do May flowers bring?  Pilgrims.  And what do Pilgrims bring?

Well, among other things they brought the 'scientific' (oy-vey) mind to North America's native planting habits--thus a jug of fish emulsion at best or a tanker of petroleum-derived nitrogen as worst has supplanted the healthy fish planted beneath hills of companionable, heterogenous native food crops like corn, beans and squash.  Crops planted together, and in changing locations so as never to overtax one facet of nature's vast unity.

What could alleviate the burdensome implications of a mid-month tax deadline quite like the sweet prospects born of pea-planting?  In a time when people of all religions and histories are bound ever closer together in a mad spiral of insidious self-destruction, where are the reflections of hope but in our living cultivations, our understandings of mutual reliance?

The TV mocks and hypnotizes, computers and their hand-held dopplegangers mock and synthesize our understanding in a dancing weft of untraceable, tangled infinity.

Pitted are we against one another, neighbor and sister and brother, for a lesser cheese than we could mouse together.

Lets enjoy a bowl of cherries together.

Gabriel Biber

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