11 posts categorized "Television"


The Year in Food: 2011-2012 Photojournal

This winter has alternated between sudden snows and surprisingly warm, wet conditions.

Digging these Jerusalem artichokes was easy as late as November, though the ground stayed soft through December.

Getting out for some sun and exercise in the winter, and working up an appetite for hearty root vegetables.

Fall greens and mature lettuces thrived as a long, mild autumn did not succumb to any sudden fall frosts.


Welcome visitors to the garden were 'spotted' on these lemongrass transplants brought inside for the winter.

All photos (c) 2012 Gabriel Biber


Coop Scoop for Hot Chicks

My neighbor has a well-deserved reputation for quality construction projects.  So when he said he and his son were "throwing together" a chicken coop a few months ago, I already knew that his thrown together shelter would end up looking better than any I might build, no matter how carefully.  I was right.

The south-facing window on most chicken coops which lets in that precious winter sun also turns the coop into a greenhouse if you're not careful.  Make sure to vent as necessary, but there's no substitute for a patch of ground for the birds to roam.  Pecking out grain and bugs from the ground give the animals a workout while keeping their food supply diverse.  Chickens will eat most anything from the compost bucket (or most anything, period).  A healthy diet will result in healthier chickens, which means better eggs and/or meat according to your tastes.

Another friendly household with chickens I know used some nice found branches for accents like door handles for their coop.  With local laws lenient on fowl, many city-dwellers in Lansing are finding that with a simple shelter and a little consistent care, keeping chickens is a productive delight.

Don't forget that a little shade goes a long way to make animals comfortable on a hot day.  No need for AC in the coop.



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:


Yes, you can ride it.


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





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


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).




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..." »


Permanent Veg: Sick tattoo from Fish Ladder

Talk about a perennial crop.


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


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. 



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.


Protest or not, carrots a common ground for real wealth

Carrots.  While chekcing in with a fellow gardener, she reminded me that these mid-March thaws are great for harvesting super sweet carrots left from last year's garden.  So I tromped out to the carrot patch, recycling-bin-in-hand, and here's what came of it:



When I got home, Nikii was off to help fellow educators make signs for Wednesday's gathering at Michigan's state capitol.  That's the building with the big crowd in front of it.  So if you're a politician, or a person, you know something is up.  All rights are human rights, and together we can wrest them from greedy leaders who are further concentrating our gross inequalities of wealth.  

In the last twenty-five years, the richest one-tenth of one percent have gone from controlling a fifth of national wealth to nearly a third.  That means everybody else, including you, me and all the richest people we personally know are splitting the rest. Grow your own carrots, yo.


Ted X Events coming to Michigan

Perhaps you're familiar with TED, the site with all sorts of inspiring and thought-provoking presentations.



TEDx is like TED, but independently organized in various localities.  And Lansing is not the only Michigan city set to host a local Ignite-like extravaganza.  

TEDx  Grand Rapids is set for May 12 of this year, and TEDx U of M is coming right up on April 8th (just over a month!)

Get more info and background at TEDx Lansing or visit their Facebook page.

For even more connections, check out the Tedx Lansing organizers' blogs, featuring Payal Ravani.


See you there.



Eastside Friday Night

It's Friday night and we're heading out to see Mr. Denton on Doomsday with some other bands at a venue we've never been to: The Blackened Moon.  On some random impulse, I check one of the band's webpages--the venue's been changed to Gone Wired!  Gone Wired?  Even my high-heeled lady friend can--and volunteered to!--walk that short hoof.  On the way past The Green Door we lamented the half-hearted singing wafting boozily through the front window, "Suhweet, uh-Caroliine..." shrugging into the cool night.  

When we arrived at Gone Wired we sort of realized why this had all seemed too easy--you don't necessarily feel like you're 'out' when you're trying to party at the coffee shop where you wipe bananna off your baby's face while checking email.  Not to say the dozens of other teens and twenty somethings weren't enjoying themselves.  They looked like they lived in East Lansing.

So, where to?  We gamely slipped over to The Green Door, but by the time our neighbor had finished checking our i.d.s, I knew it was over--The Green Door never misses, but they never split the arrow, either (think Robin Hood's first round of competition in the archery contest scene--the old school Robin Hood, not that last-year trash).  Nikii has the brainstorm "Emils!"

Of course!  Emils!  The perfect spot for a stiff drink or a meatball.  After crossing Michigan at the light on Clemens (always responds quickly to the Walk summons), we were greeted warmly upon our entrance into the red door (for the record, Gone Wired's door is pretty much a non-remarkable color.  But the olive-burgers are fresh-ground at the halal market on the same block!)

Where were we?  Emils.  Met who might be called a costumed reveler were this a holiday article (and who still could be if not for just that confusion), local grassroots public relations icon E-Hosk incognito in a huge fur hat and fake nose with glasses.  He looked much like Humpty trying to blend in on the set of Wizard of Oz, which of course got us all talking about synchronicity vis a vis Dark Side of Oz, which E-Hosk put into the context of a zombie ice-capades routine.

Somehow we did not end up breaking into a beatbox rendition of The Humpty Dance, but rather our new friend told us about Lauriepalooza going down at Mac's Bar.  (We always say Mac's Bar, not just Mac's, cause like most locals, we find it weird implying that Chuck's name is Mac.)  Lauriepalooza was this girl named Laurie having a birthday party for $1+ at the door, donated to cancer research.  Dope.

So we finally found the all-out dance party Nikkii (and I) had been craving--or at least some embers to fan.  And fire sprang to life.

Let's think about Michigan for a moment like it's the whole nation: Detroit is New York, there's the west/north Third Coast, and even spry Ann Arbor like a little Austin, TX all balanced by plenty of irresponsible farming and out-dated roads.  This oil and coal whore (viewing from a celestial perspective, say) might make a rough case for Lansing as a place to settle unless one is on a quest for the belly of the beast.  Yet here we are in rich interactions with one another on an Eastside Friday Night.  Next time you fly over or cruise through a town that feels like just another prick on the map, remember what we have here in Lansing, and how most outsiders can't see the trees for the rest-stop.

Moral?  Go out in your neighborhood--you can't predict the best love it can throw at you.  Even if you miss the band you went out to see, that will just make a better story to tell them later... Holler.

Gabriel Biber

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