Small Streams


The Beet Beat
July 11, 2010, 7:46 am
Filed under: food, gardening, health, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

At the end of the summer, our farm subscription contains bunches of beets. We have occasionally consigned the beets to the compost. A shame, I know. We now have identified beet-eating friends. But I know there are ways to prepare them that even I may like. The New York Times must be trying to make me eat more beets.

For instance, in a story about Copenhagen a restaurant that serves beet-flavored ice cream is mentioned. I can’t find beet-flavored ice cream in the markets, nor would I be willing to try making it myself, but if someone made it for me . . .

Today’s paper also has a recipe for beet salad.

Very pretty. It would, however, only deal with about an eighth of a bunch of beets. So I’d still need learn how to make borscht or find out how to tie-dye. Ooh, that would be cool: a t-shirt with radiating circles around the phrase “Beet Power.”



Low-Hanging Fruit
June 13, 2010, 8:18 am
Filed under: awareness, community, ecology, food, gardening, networking, walking | Tags:

I haven’t written anything here in four months and have felt bad about not dedicating myself to long form writing, that is, anything longer than a sentence. Why feel bad, though? Why not just write?

One thing I’d like to write about is free food, not freegan food, like you find in a dumpster, but all the nuts and berries you can find all over.

Anyway, I’m going to start documenting this with a Twitter tag: #lhfpgh.

Gotta go. so much for long form.



Food Miles Myths
November 15, 2008, 1:53 pm
Filed under: ecology, eutechnics, food, gardening, technology | Tags: , , ,

Via Andrew Sullivan:

An article in ReasonOnline by Ronald Bailey about food miles.

As one who rec’d a free “Eat fresh. Eat Western Pennsylvanian” t-shirt and wears it proudly, I look skeptically at Bailey’s attempt to debunk the beliefs of some foodies’ fondest myths that eating locally saves energy and is food for the planet.

Transporting food, Bailey reports, accounts for little of the energy use and for fewer greenhouse emissions. In some ways the article is an unblinkered look at food economics: Reality doesn’t favor us stocking the corner market with local goods; hothouse plants emit five times the amount of greenhouse gases than transported tropical plants do.

On the other hand, I have a feeling that a society conscious of the origins of its foods, that devoted more time and attention to the cultivation and preparation of its food, is a society that will be paid off.

Bailey says that such time is better spent in leisure or in doing something more productive (I’m guessing he means something more productive for the GDP.). But in the Amish/Wendell Berry sense, such work, agricultural work, is good for the soul, and for the community, and is an asset that trumps the others.

Sorry to be short on specifics. Perhaps I should just plant something.



This Is How It Spreads
February 17, 2007, 12:04 pm
Filed under: gardening, Pittsburgh

Though I do not believe
that a plant will spring up
where no seed has been,
I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there,
and I am prepared to expect wonders.
–Henry David Thoreau

Spring training and seed catalogs. We are beginning to break winter’s back.

Doug Oster, the P-G’s Backyard Gardener, lets us know the joy of seed catalogs.

He mentions a local heirloom seed company, Heirloom Seeds, located in West Elizabeth. Funny how hybrid seeds have become the standard and seeds that grow true have to have a modifier appended.

Heirloom seeds, though, looks like a fine place to buy seeds and I’ve seen some good comments about the establishment. Gardeners tend to be thorough commenters. What would you call them? Garden geeks? Garden aficianados? Some of us garden. Make a little compost. Plant a little seed. Get down tonight. But some of us go beyond gardening.

I don’t think “garden geek” is a good phrase because geek has unhealthy or technological connotations. The garden geek might be a person who might hook up a solar powered irrigation system. But most double-plus good gardeners are more intent on building good soil. Making tilth.

Aficianado doesn’t satisfy because it’s got six syllables and that “c” has to slide between the “s” and the “sh” sound, so it comes off as a lisp.

So maybe we just don’t name these people, these readers of Rodale press offerings. We don’t name them. We don’t classify them. Because this gardeningness could spread. More of us letting compost happen, promoting good tilth, and understanding the connection between the land and our food.

Commentary on seeds and fertility grows forever. Folks like Kent Whealy and Stephani Flom remind us that seeds have stories. Don’t try to stop it either. Remember that sheriff that Bob Marley was talking about? He wouldn’t have got shot if he’d have let those plants grow.

I gotta run and test the viability of some old seeds.