Coincidentally, if I would have been born a boy, my parents were going to name me Scoby.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I'm very happy to report that a friend gave me a kombucha mushroom (known as a scoby) over the weekend and yesterday I started my first homemade batch. I'm really a junkie for this stuff. I often buy GT's (have you seen the picture of him and his mom, who was saved from breast cancer by kombucha, up at Whole Foods? His mom looks like Dolly Parton!) but it's pricey and sometimes not that fresh tasting. The process of making kombucha seems simple and every batch gives birth to a new scoby. The mother mushroom just keeps on growing though so you can divide her in two and pass her along to a friend. Which leads me to say, give me a little time and hopefully I will be able to provide someone else with a mushroom soon, just like my friend did for me.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Hairy armpits are considered one of the tell tale signs of a women's hippiedom. I found a picture of Julia Roberts on the web, where the caption said something like, "from elegant to earthy just by raising her arm." I think this is a silly but powerful cliche. Julia just knows what I happened to learn from a good friend my freshman year of college: it's dumb to shave. Sometimes I do feel weird about people seeing my pit hair, especially in professional situations. Part of this is the fear that I will judged as a dirty hippie but also because people peeping my armpit hair seems personal, almost like they were checking out my pubes. This thought, according to one of my favorite entries in "The Joy of Sex," is perhaps not that far off. Under the term Cassolette Alex Comfort writes, "The natural perfume of a clean woman: her greatest physical asset after her beauty (some would say greater than that). It comes from the whole of her--hair, skin, breasts, armpits, genitals and the clothing she has worn: its note depends on her hair color but no two women are the same." In a related article on armpits (where he also describes their use for axillary intercourse) Comforts writes, " Classical site for kisses. Should on no account be shaved." Exactly. I will acknowledge the Joy Of Sex itself has a hippie aura for sure but it also covers bondage, leather and g strings so it's not all kama sutra. It is one of my favorite books and I think it makes a good point. Shaving armpits actually takes away from sex appeal, not adds to it.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The summer came and went. Almost a month into fall and a few regrets still linger: why didn't I travel more? get more done? spend more time in the country and with the ones I love? This subtle sadness is also giving way to the sweet (sometimes not so sweet) melancholy of autumn, where with the chill in the air I can finally sense the passing of time. Things are ending, new things must begin. I have to replant the garden soon and make some new goals and plans for my life.
Perhaps the biggest regret I have about the summer that's fit for public consumption is that I got a major infestation of the hornworm in my garden. The tomato hornworm ate it's way through most of my tomatoes, either munching straight through the fruit or lopping of the bottom with their sick wormy teeth. The hornworm, pictured above, will go on to become a moth that will then lay eggs in the soil and start the production of baby pupae that will hatch and mess up my tomatoes next year too. Talk about lingering regrets! How will I do away with the hornworms next year? I've read that I can pick them off by hand and that a large wasp population helps as do mockingbirds and bats.
I have to say I didn't expect the hornworm at all (I didn't even know what was ruining my tomats until last week; the groundskeeper at the 29 Palms Inn just tipped me off) and it was pretty disappointing all summer long, to spy what looked like a healthy tomato from afar, only to find it had been partially devoured by worms. This begs the question, should I even try to plant tomatoes next year, knowing as I do now that I have tainted hornworm infested soil? Can I till my soil well enough I disrupt the larvae? Having felt such heartache and loss is it possible, not foolish, to try again? I have to believe the answer is yes. Time will march on. The hornworm will either come back to haunt me or die out eventually. Or I will find a way to handle him. Until then, I like growing tomatoes too much to lose hope.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
On Thursday evening, watering my little vegetable plot, I noticed the cucumbers had started to form. This was very exciting for me for a number of reasons. First, I didn't know for a while that my cucumber seeds had taken. After I returned home from a trip in June, it looked like everything else (excluding the radishes and okra I planted) seemed to have sprouted but not the cukes. I heard the cucumbers are hard to grow and tend to get moldy so I thought, oh well, I'll try again another time. But then this plant that I'd mistaken for something else-maybe even a weed--started to grow pretty yellow flowers. What could it have been? Had I planted squash? No, I hadn't! It had to be the cucumber. It grew slowly at first and then quite rapidly, it's little tendrils embracing (closer to strangling, actually) the shiso, the basil, the pepper and tomatoes. I waited. When would the flowers give way to crunchy pickle sized cucumbers? More waiting. Thursday night is when I first noticed them. They were miniature and dark green. I went out with friends after watering but those little guys were still on my mind. Sitting at the bar I kept thinking about them and how they would grow soon and what they would taste like. (I often have veggies on the mind.) Then last night I had a dream wherein, amongst other things, I was eating my cucumbers. This morning it was time to water again. And to my astonishment, my dream was real, a portend! A few cucumbers had grown-as if overnight- to full size. They were spiny and had little bumps on their skin but I smoothed them off, washed them in the hose, and ate one. Delicious! Crunchy! Perfectly tender! The first cucumbers I've ever grown and they tasted delicious. Oh happy dream. You are real.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Ever played this game? Which are you? Horse, bird, muffin? All horse? Horse, horse, bird? All muffin?
According to my friends, I am bird, muffin, muffin. I think this is pretty accurate. Maybe there's some horse in me somewhere. God, I hope so.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
It easy! And tastes good so far. It's still fermenting on my counter. Want to know how?
-Cabbage (1 pound)
-Hot peppers (3-4) they can be dried or fresh
- Chopped Garlic (3-4 cloves)
-Grated Ginger (3 tablespoons)
Chopped Leek or green onion
-Chop and then salt the carrot, radish and cabbage in a bowl for a few hours or over night. 4 cups of water mixed with 4 tablespoons salt. Have something to push the vegetables down to make sure they're submerged (like a plate or bowl)
-Taste the veggies to make sure they're salty, if they're too salty you can rinse them. Save the brine.
-Mix together ginger, garlic, onion and hot pepper. Pound into a paste (I did not get it that pasty, seems fine)
-Mix this with veggies.
-Get a clean glass jar, pack in veggie mixture so tight, the liquid left in the vegetables comes out. Add more brine if needed, until the veggies are totally covered. You can either then cover with another jar to keep the veggies submerged or check the kimchi each day, pushing it down with clean fingers and cover, but not seal, with a lid. Leave out for a week or so. Check it once and a while. When it's ripe put it in the fridge.
Hope you have more restraint than me and don't end up eating a lot of your kimchi before it's done fermenting.
Monday, May 4, 2009
I got this book in the mail the other day. Wow! It is very revelatory even upon a brief browsing. S E Katz supplies recipes for every fermented thing under the sun, from injera to Nepalese rice wine (chang), kombucha, yogurt, tempeh, miso and krauts of all kinds. He also believe in spirit vegetables. Radish for him, I think cabbage or celery for me.
I will write a full report once I've read more. For now I am vowing to at least try making a batch of kimchi soon.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Guess what? Last night something really weird and messed up happened to me.
Driving around downtown, alone, on my way to meet W, S, and N, looking for parking and finding none except in desolate creepy places (everything was sectioned off because of a marathon) I decided to go home. Then after talking to S who was just getting to the party, I decided to head back towards 4th and Los Angeles. I was waiting at a stop light, it turned green, I started to drive and Yikes there were two people, a man and woman, in front of my car who I hadn't seen before. They must have walked out right as the light changed. I really almost hit them, they had their hands on the hood, their little eyes squinting in the headlights, constricted no doubt, by the fear of imminent death upon them. I pushed on the brake. They were not dead. Thank god. Nor were they apparently insured but I'm sure, still quite afraid. Suddenly before I knew what was happening the guy came to my window and began to scream and punch. I didn't try to drive off; I was too stunned. He was punching really hard and after the third time he succeeded in shattering the glass on my window. Then he walked away with this woman. It must have all taken place in the time it took for the light to change to green again.
This guy, I don't know what he looked like but as much as one can register someone under the circumstances, he was white, my age, kind of a stupid downtown hipster, dressed like someone in a Coca Cola commercial. I don't remember the woman at all. Today though I've wondered a lot about what her reaction to her companion's outbreak was. Was she disgusted and afraid of him? Or flattered that he was willing to punch through a window to punish the person who had almost hurt her?
Right after this happened a bunch of guys who had been watching from outside a bar down the street came and helped me. Car glass is weird and doesn't really shatter as much as break into small pebbly segments or wider toffee size bits. Some of it had flown onto my face and I was bleeding. When I saw the blood and the guys reaction I finally realized what had happened and started to cry like a banshee. These guys from the bar were very nice and brought me water. Thanks.
W called and was there in a second. She drove my car home without the window, heat on full blast. S and N comforted me as we walked to meet J who happened to be at the party. I was freaked but relatively safe and sound.
Who is this man? If you meet anyone if the next few days with scabbed, bloody knuckles, ask if they've punched out the driver's side window of any silver Toyota Tacomas recently. Well I hope I never meet him. You either, especially if you've done something to make him angry.
Force and raw aggression are not things that are normally associated with hippie ideals but what happened last night actually reminds me of a time when my friend in college, Pete, was standing drunk on the porch outside Cafe Pongo in Tivoli, watching a fight progress inside. He kept on tapping peace signs onto the window and screaming "Peace...Peace." But he ended up applying to much force to his tapping, leaning his body into "Peace" too much and finally the whole front window shattered and the class cut up all the people who were sitting close to door. I guess Peace is not usually attained by brute force no matter how good the intention.
I got the window replaced today and my lip is going to have a thin scar underneath it. Things could have been much worse. I'm just happy to be alive and not to have killed anybody.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Last weekend I attended at gardening workshop at the LA Eco Village off Bimini Place and First St. I'd been wondering about this community since meeting a lovely herbalist named Michelle who lives there last year on a Fallen Fruit Walk. I also met a guy named Joe a couple of years ago who lived there and worked with the FOLAR. I thought I heard from him that people at the Eco Village don't own cars. I pictured the place differently then it was. I thought the LAEV would be a series of newly constructed buildings with solar panels, organized, literally, like a village with a circle of "green" huts around a huge patch of land designated for growing vegetables and fruit, a space for making bio fuel and in general that my mind would be blown at the efficiency and conviction of the people I encountered there. I was picturing it like the old Dome Village downtown but full of environmentalists. From what I saw though, the LEV is more like a vintage co-op in Berkeley. It's two old apartment buildings that share a courtyard. Each apartment is a single and the Village has community meals twice a week and host workshops. Not as experimental as I had imagined but I don't know everything about it yet. http://www.laecovillage.org/
There was some tea and oranges from VONs waiting for us. Brad our teacher talked about the importance of the soil for organic gardening, most of all the importance of worm castings (worm shit). He was emotional about gardening. Plants are like children according to Brad. First we walked around the small garden in the courtyard and Brad pointed out edible weeds--nettles, amaranth and lambs quarters. Then we checked out the proper way to start seedlings and Brad pulled out some rock dust which I never saw before. We contemplated a fig tree and broke for lunch. I thought things were moving pretty slow and I wasn't sure if Brad had really planned out the lesson but the workshop still was helpful in making me feel confident about starting a garden. If I follow Brad's advice all that matters is worm castings anyway, how bad could I mess up?
Gaby got a migraine so we had to leave before the second half. Though I'm a bit disappointed that the LAEV is not as radical as I thought (at least I still have Arco Santi left on list) I'm glad I saw it and spent Saturday morning outside with Gaby.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
A weed is anything growing somewhere it hasn't been planted. Even the most desirable flower or plant can be classified as a weed. During my volunteer gardening sessions, maybe because of my lack of skills and offer of free labor, I have been spending a lot of time weeding undesirables. Mostly giant dandelion stocks, grass, oodles of nasturtiums and the weed pictured above, yellow suckling, which is tough to pull and tangles into the plants your trying to weed it out of and often pulls out their innocent roots along with the job. Fuckers! It's really tricky trying to rid a patch of this weed. The other day while dealing with these, I zeroed in on all the symbolic relevance of weeding and the way one could interpret it as a lesson for life: not letting things get out of control, mitigating problems while they are still small, being thorough while doing so, keeping things neat and tidy, not letting the past fester, etc...
In this vein it made it even more rewarding when I pulled out a weed deep from its roots and got it the far away from the tea trees and salvias as I was tending to. Pull those fuckers out from their roots! I kept thinking. Or they'll just come back and all my work will have been for nothing.
Friday, April 10, 2009
People accuse me of being a hippie. I know for many of my friends the word has bad connotations. It's true I have a large collection of grains and legumes stored in mason jars in my kitchen. I gravitate towards colorful muumuu style dresses and like to be go without shoes. I love hiking, sex without condoms, mate tea sipped from a gourd, yoga, folk music, acoustic guitar and foraging for edible plants. On most days I have strong body odor. I dream of living on a farm, perhaps a commune, and owning donkeys and goats. So maybe I am, I hope not completely. On this blog though, I will explore the hippie side of myself, from macrobiotic cooking and herbal remedies to any pyschedelic drug use and my recent venture into community gardening. Here is the hippie in me, judge as you will.