40 posts categorized "Religion"

07/17/2011

Yummy hot fun (some mess required).

Berries and garlic were the order of the day Sunday morning, snacking and harvesting.

The berries this time of year are on swagger mode.  Red and black raspberries, blackberries, mulberries and more are ripe now.  All of these are widely found in Michigan, in both dense cities and sparse countryside.  If you've furtively snatched all you can from neighboring patches, consider planting some!

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The garlic came up today.  Once the moist soil dries on the root, I'll gently brush them clean, then cure them in the (warm, dry) attic for a week or so before storing.

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My garlic is  a little smaller this year than last it seems (please, no rain dance jokes).  If your intuition is that climate change, food and energy use have some overlapping areas of urgent importance, be sure to check back this week for a special feature on the local-global continuum.

 

06/26/2011

Scrapfest Exceeds Expectations

This weekend the third annual Scrapfest in Old Town allowed nealry 20 teams to grab a pile of scrap from Friedland Industries and fashion it into any thing they fancied.  One of the most popular pieces was the guitar-playing skeleton, but each work of art was a show-stopper.  Some highlights:

Scrapdude

Scrapbike
Yes, you can ride it.

Scraptree

The tree (above) featured exquisite detail (below).

Scrapflower

Scrapdragon

Scrapfrog

Scraptable

The table above is completely functional, complete with shelf storage and accessories.

Scrapdudereaction

The attention to detail on the pieces prompted many comments.  Some were interactive, allowing the observer to play music or otherwise use the piece.  The skeleton (above) and bird (below) received some of the highest bids (all pieces are auctioned off via silent auction during Scrapfest).

Scrapbird

 

06/20/2011

Local Lansing Lady Goes to Haiti: Building houses...

I first met Kelly working together on a community gardening project, but soon found out she was coach to some friends raised around here.  Just a few weeks ago I was starting to get used to seeing Kelly at her regular volunteer session at The Garden Project Resource Center.  Then comes the sudden news: Kelly's moving to Haiti to help construct prototype housing!  But wait, it gets better...she's blogging about it!  Check it out!!! 

Her posts are already sparkling, you can read her blog here.   As she notes in her background info, "I am ready for a new adventure. I still haven't figured out if I am running from or running to something. Maybe a little of both. I have been offered a job to help build prototype housing in the wake of the quake in Haiti. I am going to be part of a small work crew problem solving, sweating and building two homes...."  Oh, and she has multiple degrees and has raised three kids.  Go on, girl!

Kelly says other than the blog, she will be "incommunicado;" here's wishing all the best for her.

Kelly's deft but welcoming humor is obvious to anyone who's met her, her skill working with others is enhanced by this natural friendliness.  Despite the incredible challenges faced by the people and land of Haiti that have been exponentially exacerbated since the earthquake, we trust Kelly will find a niche

Continue reading "Local Lansing Lady Goes to Haiti: Building houses..." »

06/15/2011

Keep Your Green(s) from Bolting: DIY lettuce.

Lettuce is lovin' the rain, and I'm lovin' the lettuce.

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A bin full of lettuce, picked about an hour go.  Triple rinsed and ready to eat, sell, share...

My garden is mostly lettuce right now, but with all the recent rain and touches of sun, it's been a perfect year for lettuce, so I'm not complaining.  Whether snipping outer leaves or cutting a whole plant a few inches above the ground, there are several techniques to harvest your lettuce that encourage more growth and production.  Couple that with several sequential, 'staggered' plantings between April and September and you can have fresh (free) salad greens six months out of the year.  Just let a few plants flower and go to seed at the end of each planting and either save the seed or let it self-sow.

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If plants are flowering before you get a chance to harvest much, try pinching off the flowering stem as low as possible.  If your greens are bolting, they're probably either too hot or stressed in some other way.  Try placing an object or planting something to give them a few hours of shade each day--6 hours of sun is sufficient for most lettuce.  Mulching the soil to help keep it cool is a good idea too, and it will protect your leaves from dirt splashes.

By the way, this romaine from my garden is naturally grown, no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

I think being planted among several other families of plants helped provide a diverse habitat that precluded any particular pest from bothering the greens too much.  Oh, and I got lucky.

06/11/2011

Permanent Veg: Sick tattoo from Fish Ladder

Talk about a perennial crop.

Ink

Continue reading "Permanent Veg: Sick tattoo from Fish Ladder" »

05/31/2011

FLESH TONES: Hottest art show with a heart opens this Sunday

Suellen Hozman's hot new art show Flesh Tones will open this Sunday, June 5th at Absolute Gallery in Old Town, coinciding with the First Sunday Gallery Walk from noon-5p.m.

Flesh Tones is a photographic and narrative celebration of flesh colors and flesh decorations.  According to a description of the show Hozman provided, "The art and educational show Flesh Tones will not differentiate between someone with freckles and someone with alopecia or someone with tattoos and someone with Ichthyosis. Everyone will be next to everyone else.  A variety of flesh colors are in the show.  Flesh decorations include freckles, tattoos, eczema, birth marks, Neurofibromatosis, Ichthyosis, decorations of time of old age, Nevi and Giant Nevi, Lichen planopilaris, Alopecia, moles, extreme facial hair, extreme body hair, burn and surgical scars, wrinkles, Vitiligo, acne and piercings."

New Picture


Hozman is a Lansing-based artist with a sensitivity for direct human connection.  Flesh Tones uses traditional black-and-white, non-digital photography to celebrate and educate about the diversity of flesh colors and flesh decorations.  The artist uses silver gelatin prints and the individual stories of the twenty-nine people in the show to bare our superficial differences and ultimate commonality.  (I say 'our' because, yes, I am included as a subject).  Most of the people photographed are from the Greater Lansing area.  Next to each photograph will be a personal story.  Hozman notes that "knowledge has the potential to liberate," and a key goal of the show is to help us be free of fear or stigma associated with differences of the skin.


Sh Another key goal is for a broader, ongoing dialogue to be catalyzed by taking the show 'on the road.'  So, if you know of a venue that would like to host a dramatically beautiful art show with an agenda for social humanity, drop a line to Suellen Hozman, suellenyh at yahoo.com.

 

 

 

Local artist Suellen Hozman is

excited for her new show.

05/30/2011

Homegrown Popcorn and Potato Chips: How-To

Growing your own popcorn or potatoes is actually pretty easy.  Popcorn grows just like regular corn, although the stalks are sometimes shorter and sturdier.  Choose a variety specifically for popping from a seed catalog or your favorite local seed spot.  You can plant corn anytime now--frost danger should be past, and the next week should heat up enough to help dry soil a bit.  One of the big benefits of NOT planting with a huge machine is that you can plant when the soil would still be too wet to host a tractor.  You can guess how much sympathy the 'conventional' farmers get from me... especially those who use mono-crop techniques supported by petro-fertilizers.  Yucksters.

Potatoes take a bit more care throughout the season than corn, but they are quite easy to grow.  Start with seed potatoes or organic potatoes.  They should be plentiful with 'eyes,' the sprouting bits.

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On a dry day (windy is even better, but not necessary) cut the 'taters into smaller sections, making sure to leave at least on eye on each section.  Opinion on this varies:  some people leave 2-3 eyes per chunk, some just one.  Either way, don't just bury a whole potato covered in eyes--the plant will be too crowded and won't produce nearly as much as if you section it out.  Once you've cut your chunks, leave them cut-side-up in a shady, well ventilated spot until they dry on the surface.  This will avoid risk of rotting when you plant.

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Once the cut surfaces are dry, place each chunk about 8 inches apart in the bottom of a trench and cover with soil.  As sprouts appear, continually mound soil up around the growing stalks--this increases the depth at which the plant will produce potatoes, and keeps mature 'taters dark so they won't turn green (toxic).  So when you see six inches of sprout, cover five and let an inch peek out until the next time.  You'll probably end up repeating this process between six and a dozen times over the season, depending on the growth habit of the potato (and your own habits).  (For info on harvesting, check back in a few weeks!)

Continue reading "Homegrown Popcorn and Potato Chips: How-To" »

05/15/2011

Is it safe to plant tomatoes..YET!?!

The prevailing wisdom on when "safe-to-plant" dates are for sensitive garden veggies like tomatoes falls into two camps:  One tends to be based on relative factors:  Sure, plant your tomatoes now, if you don't mind coddling them through any last cold blasts, potentially losing them to a frost, or seeing later plantings in warmer soil shoot past the fruits of your spring-fever labors.  The other school of thought is summed up well by many life-long Michigan gardeners:  It's not safe until memorial day--sometimes not till June.  The full story is a little more nuanced.  Basically, the probability of temperatures reaching a given low on any date are measured by percentage.  

SA400816

Continue reading "Is it safe to plant tomatoes..YET!?!" »

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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