While 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.
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 recipe1 and made a couple of batches of jam. The latest is Cardomom Rum Plum (with blackberry).2 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.