Wednesday Link Waterfall

no kneadAnother link update, because, well, I have just so many great links.

But I haven’t been idle. Canada Post announced it will be ending door-to-door mail delivery, and I announced The Howl of a Fiscally Conservative Radical Leftist: First they came for the Posties, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Postie…

And Part Three of my vision for One Planet Vancouver hit the innertubes today.

And with that—did I mention I continue to experiment with 100% whole wheat sourdough bread? I am scratching my head. For years I have said the internet is great, but if you actually want to learn how to do something you need a book. As far as bread is concerned, it may be even worse. Every forum has a dozen opinions, often contradictory, and there are dozens of forums. I find myself baking blind.

And with that—more links…

Speaking of bread, I mentioned in My Best Loaf Yet that sourdough may be good for people with gluten sensitivity, and…here is a study.

That’s something Byron Fry sees in his bakery every day. He says the vast majority of his customers are people who were previously gluten-free.

Just a feel-good video, a David and Goliath kind of think, flipping the bird to gravity; Mouse Successfully Steals Enormous Cookie in a Most Epic Triumph.

Root Simple continues to deliver the awesome. I have long admired the many versions of beer can stoves or penny stoves. This one is epically simple, requiring only a pocket knife. Really, next time you are in the woods, be sure to throw your beer cans into the bush as a cache for lost hikers. Lost hikers who happen to be carrying 90% alcohol but no stove.

The Onion continues to prove it is more valuable than a Master’s in Philosophy. Kidnapped Teen Freed, Though Freedom Is Its Own Kind Of Prison, Is It Not?

David Simon, the creator of The Wire, says, ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’.

Just flat-out interesting; Between Pigs And Anchovies: Where Humans Rank On The Food Chain.



Wednesday Link Waterfall

marmaladeOur move is mostly done, though the 80-20 rule suggests we still have 80% of the work to go. But, most of the boxes are empty and have been resold on Craigslist, we keep donating things to the Women In Need Thrift Shop, and we can see ever larger patches of floor.

Sadly, a casualty of the move was our Blood Orange crop. The tree is a small standard, about four feet high, and at some point it blew over and dropped its load of four small and unripe oranges. I gathered them up and brought them inside, where the skin slowly turned more orange. Both B and I accidentally started peeling one thinking it was a Mandarin orange, so that tells you how small they were.

But Blood Oranges are Blood Oranges, and there is probably nothing better to do with a tiny, bitter and sour orange than make marmalade. I followed the super easy recipe for Blood Orange Marmalade from Food in Jars, and didn’t bother sealing the jar—it just went straight into the fridge. Yesterday I also baked a loaf of bread—I continue to push My Best Loaf, this time by prefermenting a poolish. I was inspired by this link and conversation on Root Simple showing Craig Ponsford’s whole wheat ciabatta that develops enviable holey-ness. The poolish definitely gives the bread more sourdough flavour and lots of rising power. Ponsford also uses lots of flour as the dough goes into the oven, which keeps the crust from burning during the long, hot bake and looks very sexy. I am still experimenting with hydration, so I am not ready to update my bread recipe yet.

So this morning I had a slice of fresh whole wheat sourdough bread with homemade butter and Blood Orange marmalade made with oranges we grew ourselves. As breakfasts go, I enjoyed it a great deal.


New on deck this week; Being a treatise on Significant Innovations in Egg Pickling, in which I drop two major bombs on the debate about how to hard-boil eggs. Answer: Don’t.

As always links abound:

Ecovative builds a proof-of-concept (tiny) house with mycelium grown inside the wall; structure and insulation in one.

Siberian percussionsists play Baikal ice.

The threat of Buddhist extremism is spreading.

Beyond organic—raising Instinctual Pigs.

Remember How We Forgot? Shane Koyczan spoken word with violin accompaniment.

Want to hook your solar panels to the grid? Read this first.

And James Howard Kunstler speaks truth to…well, probably to the choir.

My basic wish is that we would quit all our wishing in America and get on with the job of transforming our economic arrangements to a scale and mode that are consistent with the resource and capital realities of these times .


Wednesday Link Waterfall.

IMG_0001We have had a couple of months of turmoil, and the fun isn’t over yet. Our landlord is moving into our house, so we have been evicted from our little urban farmette. Needless to say, it isn’t totally easy to find a house in a great, bikable neighbourhood, with a good school, storage for all our provender, sunny garden space and room for bees and rabbits. After two months of truly gut-twisting stress, we think we have a spot—now we just need to pack and move. And I must dismantle our greenhouse for the third time…

Depression Paralysis, which I am sure has a real name, is what I called my lack of desire to do anything at all because of the stress of not knowing where we were going. But, I did write a couple of posts. And my cocktails were accompanied with much good reading.

My Best Loaf Yet tells the tale of my 100% whole wheat, 100% wild sourdough bread, made with grain from British Columbia. Be sure to follow the links if you have a gluten sensitivity, you may find it very interesting. I updated the post today with new pictures and a digression into Dutch thatched roofs and commentary on my friend James’ new book, The Once and Future World. Three words—Buy A Case. He is on book tour, so you can get them signed. A favourite interview quote: “Nature may not be what it was,” he writes, “but it isn’t simply gone. It’s waiting.”

I Don’t Want Salvation riffs on hunting for deer, the Civil Religion of Progress being explored by John Michael Greer, and befriending death à la Stephen Jenkinson.

There are so many interesting links in the world, and most of them I send individually to people I think will be interested in them. Relating to I Don’t Want Salvation, a few links about slaughter:

These aerial shots of factory farming look like bloody zombie wounds

I went on a bit of a Wendell Berry kick this week. Here is A Conversation with Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson. Scroll down to the sidebar of his poem, For the Hog Killing.

Shooting Slaughter: A Q&A with Photographer Sheri Giblin

And a few generally interesting things:

Gail Tverberg, who is widely known for her writing on The Oil Drum as Gail the Actuary, gives her thoughts on Two Views of our Current Economic and Energy Crisis. I thought this was very worth reading.

The letters editor of the L.A. Times signals an important phase-shift in On letters from climate-change deniers. “Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying “there’s no sign humans have caused climate change” is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

And lastly, I was reminded of a book James sicced me on years ago, and which I greatly enjoyed. Richard Preston’s The Wild Trees  is a thrilling story of biologists and giant tree hunters who develop crazy new rope techniques that allow them to fly around in the forest canopy. Spoiler alert: Craziness.



Wednesday Link Waterfall

2013-08-20 16.12.29While we were away, all of our lettuce bolted—so I collected the seed. I have enough lettuce seed for approximately 20 years now, though the seed life of lettuce is often said to be around three years. Maybe I can give some away…

I was curious if freshly collected seed would germinate for our fall and winter greens, so I did a test with moist toilet paper. Germination was excellent, but has been more erratic once I planted the soil blocks. In the blocks I have excellent germination from the romaine, so-so from the Brune d’Hiver and bad germination with the Oak Leaf. On the bright side, kale is sprouting like crazy.

black and white threshold edited

There is a lot to think about from our trip this summer, but I started to get some things out in We could suck a lot less.

And, an old irritant got inflamed by a recent article, so I scratched the itch—Why Green is not Sustainable.

My email is packed with interesting links from summer reading; it is going to take a while to work through them. But first, the canning report. We have put up a couple of dozen pints of apricots; diced, roasted and canned 35 pounds of tomatoes; tried a new salsa recipe and made a couple of batches of jam. The latest is Cardomom Rum Plum (with blackberry). And next up on the list will be coping with all the fennel in the garden—perhaps with Pickled Fennel and Fennel Relish (the relish is from my favourite canning blog, Food in Jars). I’ll keep you posted.

I spend quite a bit of time thinking about food and animal husbandry these days, but when I was a design student/Industrial Designer, I thought a lot about work, and about how design could provide rich and interesting work. La Surconsommation tied the two together. Farming may be boring and hard labour at any scale, but when it is done at the small scale, there is a lot of variety. As my mother says, “A change is as good as a rest.” I am going to have to write about factory work soon.

Speaking of animal husbandry, here is an article on raising rabbits in Modern Farmer. I must say, I don’t like seeing rabbits in cages like this. We try to follow Joel Salatin’s guideline: “Let the plants and animals fill their natural niche with full distinctive expression. The starting point for animal husbandry is to let the animal express its uniqueness.” So, I built rabbit tractors—long runs we can trundle around to fresh clover. Unfortunately, when rabbits express their uniquness they are real diggers, so I had to put wire on the bottom of the pen.

One of the best Google Maps mashups I have seen in a while—Flattest Route. Caveats abound: it doesn’t seem to find the most, totally, overall, completely flattest route. And the graphs can be quite deceptive; one sawtooth chart seemed like a section of the Tour de France but was showing an elevation change of ten feet. Still. I think this will be very useful, and I hope they keep developing it.

In other urban blogging, Chuck at Strong Towns continues to blow minds. The A-Rod City.

Last time I was in North Carolina, Joe Minicozzi and I traveled the Piedmont region evangalizing on the financial benefits of the traditional development pattern. In city after city Joe would show how the dumpy little pizza joint in the downtown was twenty times more financially productive than the huge shopping complex on the edge of town. It was just stunning. Here was this dive — every town has one — that everyone discounts, yet it pays a higher rate of taxation than that shiny and new place out on the edge that the city moved heaven and earth to get.

And lastly, a perspective shift from Russell Brand.

After my Hitler tweet I got involved in a bit of back and forth with a few people who said stuff like “the murderer said himself he did it for Islam”. Although I wouldn’t dismiss what he’s saying entirely I think he forfeited the right to have his views received unthinkingly when he murdered a stranger in the street.




Wednesday Link Waterfall

queen beeI was going to put a photo of my crazy-vigorous tomato seedlings here – but then, while inspecting the hive, I saw the queen strolling around. She is huge! By length, a little over twice as long as a worker. By weight, I bet she is four times heavier. I actually saw her laying eggs, which was a first for me.

I also found a dozen or so queen cups, which is what the bees use to raise new queens. They do this when they are overcrorwded and want to swarm, or when the queen is weak and they want a new one. So, this could be a little worrisome. But, before she can fly, they slim her down – she is so huge I am guessing they don’t want her to fly right now. And, she is laying like a rivet gun, so I can’t see why they would want to supersede her.

Sigh. If only I could understand what they were saying. Click on the picture to biggify. She is about one-third of the way up, and near the centreline of the photo, facing to about eleven o’clock. You can see how many bees are circled around her, sort of facing her.

Two tomato seedling have been planted out in the greenhouse. This the first time I have used the 4″ soil blocks and the tomatoes are thriving. One of them had such vigorous roots the soil block looked like it had a thick white beard.

We also bought two Paw Paw plants and a Blood Orange from Fruit Trees and More; the orange came with several little fruits on it, which is super exciting. Our little greenhouse is growing a nice crop of exotic fruit trees.

I had a little flurry of writing this week; a combination of bad days on my bicycle and a provincial election.

Driving gives only responsibilities—no rights.

Three Cheers for the Idaho Stop!! (or, The Insanity of Over-regulating Parakeets.)

On Democracy, Meaning, & Feeling Insane. (or, When in doubt, plant beans.) Because you feel a little less crazy if you are not the only one.

But enough about me…what have I loved this week? What have I loved…?

Since I wrote not one, but two posts about cycling this week, here is a very interesting article about bike helmets. I have my eyes open for MIPS-equipped helmets.

Trending on my Facebook is a conversation fomented by You Absolutely Should Not Get Backyard Chickens. Also schemes for cooking the many free roosters available on Craigslist.

The always-wonderful Root Simple posted about Buffalo, New York’s Urban Homestead Program. Get this amazing brick house for $1 ($1.01 Canadian at current exchange rates). If I am understanding this correctly, there are 139 pages of homesteadable properties in Buffalo. When I emailed this around I said, “I want to die. And then come back to life so I can die again.”

I have spent many happy hours lost in both Low Tech Magazine and No Tech Magazine. Here are some links:

Robin Wood uses a foot-powered pole lathe to turn nested bowls from green wood. This actually seems like a good career move.

Inexpensive but accurate machine tools were made from concrete to produce artillery shells for WWI. Here is how to make a lathe at home for $150.

And, in case of emergency, Toilet in a Bucket.