Sunday, May 31, 2009


Rogue pumpkin!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rogue Vegetables

Composting has its ups and downs. On the one hand you get free, really good soil amendment; the good feeling of adding less to the landfill not to mention a less smelly trash can - and in the desert BA-LEEVE ME this is a big deal - a trash can go from zero to sixty on the stinky scale in less than a day in our heat. But you get addition flies and insects that love the compost. I suppose this is the reason many have objections - compost heap: smelly and flies. But frankly I'd rather have those outside than in my garage. Nuf said.

There is another little issue that can come up - if your compost heap does not heat up as it should. I have never been able to get mine in the right balance to make it heat up - don't ask me why a compost heap won't get to 120 degrees when it IS 120 degrees outside. The issue I am finding: rogue vegetables.

That little monster coming up out of the planter box is some sort of gourd taking over my peas, purslane and butter lettuce (I'm really pissed about the butter lettuce! It stunted the growth of my second planting and shortly it will be too damn hot here for it to grow.... rrrrrrr). When they popped up at first I was stunned. I had not yet planted anything except peas in that spot yet there they were. This picture was even taken after I yanked out a good half a dozen. And the possibility of this being some previous gardener's? Nil. This yard was a sandbox - we are the first to ever own a home on this land. Long ago trash dump? Remotely possible. The big culprit though - uncomposted seeds. Now technically seeds when cooked die. So though I have had zucchini and other small squash that have ended up in the compost probably not this many seeds. Pumpkin perhaps and very likely. Butternut squash also highly likely - though it didn't grow when I planted it back in Oct, maybe not hot enough yet. A mystery.

So I thought "Oh, I'll just leave them there and see what they are" when they were just a couple here and there. But now they are taking over. Also in that heap of vine is a rogue tomato plant. I have another pictured here that spouted up near my tarragon and we've actually gotten tomatos from it. But aside from just seeing 'what' I wanted to know why. What vegetables grow so well here that they defy my interest in them and thrive whilst I baby everything else along? It is all a big experiment in the end isn't it? And if I end up with a bushel of zucchini that neither my husband or children will eat, well then I guess all the neighbors get zucchini bread! And I a big healthy plate of them slathered in butter and freshly grated romano cheese - alone probably, so I don't have to deal with the "eeeeeeewe!" from them!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

From the Enjoy More Files

Consume Less, Enjoy More. That is the point of this blog (get it, CLEM?) and is my miniscule response to consummerism. Now it is easy to bat consummerism around as the evil that did us in as a society, with its evil twin greed, but that is a symptom of an underlying problem. The problem didn't just pop up over night so its hard to say when it started. It's sort of like when the doctor asks you when you first noticed that rash, or what was the first day of your last period (sorry guys, didn't mean for the gross out but... well, grow a pair, we've had to listen to your fart jokes for years). There is a dissatisfaction creep that we collectively have tried to fill up with bigger fancier cars, bigger fancier houses, bigger fancier vacations the result of which is mostly just bigger fancier stress.

But what is that dissatisfaction that sends folks wandering aimlessly around the mall? I believe it is that we have lost a sense of connection to our communities. With suburbanization came all sorts of suspicion and fear - isn't it fear that sent many fleeing cities? And with the fear came interaction between humans only when it was profitable. Now there are exceptions, of course, New Orleans famously for example. But if you could be a giant with a magnifying glass over us and look down at our movements (like a kids with ants - don't burn us! Eeeek!), you would see that we go out to work, to school, to shop and then we rapidly all retreat to our homes.

We have forgotten how to do civic life.

Obviously this phenomenom begs a larger discussion, which I hope people are having all sorts of places in all sorts of ways, and hopefully trying to figure out ways to fix.

Well here is my own little tiny participation in an attempt at a fix. Entertain Locally. Yes, eat locally, buy locally, now whats about y'all get out from in front of the TV set and entertain each other? In June some local actors and some LA folks will be putting up a couple of one acts at a local art gallery where we have been reading plays for small audiences who got to vote on which they liked the best. The votes are in and so we'll now put on a show! Hope you all can make it, or make one of your own.

More details later. Watch this space!