Archive for May, 2009

Who needs a ramp when you have wings?

The Fonz may  have thought he perfected the art of Jumping the Shark, but Director of Operations for local digital rag Minnpost takes it to a new level and gets rid of the ramp.

There is no spoon.

Get the full story
 

jumptheshark

Its in the Bag

Find yourself with little space but wanting to grow some veggies?  How about this nifty idea from Whole Foods? Take your reusable grocery bag, preferably the ones with Tyvek or some kind of plastic, not canvas kind as those will go moldy, and poke holes in the bottom, fill with loamy soil, and BAM!  a movable pot to grow some lettuce or herbs.  You could also grow a small tomato plant this way as well, or pepper plant, or even some carrots or beets if the bag is tall.

Gardeners.com sells something similar called a Salad Planting Bag for almost $20 but I like the Whole Foods idea since right now I seem to find myself awash in reusable grocery totes that everyone and their mother is giving away for free (including me!).

The idea is similar to this year’s hot garden product the Potato Bag which I am actually giving a go myself.

Potato Bag

Potato Bag

The idea with a potato bag is that instead of digging the potatoes in the ground they are protected from pests and it is more convenient to harvest.  With the bag it can also be stored flat at the end of the season unlike a trash can or barrel, which also work well.  With the bag, you just place four or five seed potatoes cut into pieces at the bottom of the bag, cover with compost, wait for them to sprout, and when the plants are a few inches high, fill with more compost.  As the plants keep growing you keep filling with compost until the bag is completely filled.

Then you just need to keep the bag watered and fertilized (organically of course) and monitored for the pesky potato beetle.  I have had great success with K+Neem spray but one of my favorite sites for organic garden remedies, GardensAlive, recommends Pyola Spray so that is also a good solution.

At the end of the season you can simply tip over the bag to harvest all the potatoes.  I’m growing fingerlings, Yukons and red potatoes.  I’ve never had trouble growing potatoes before, but this seemed like a good way to do so in less space, with less effort and digging, which for me and my aching back, is a huge bonus!  Plus, these bags will fit between my raised beds or anywhere they can get good sun and drainage.

Looking forward to seeing how my potato bag experiment works.   Though if I was in the UK, I may think about these fancy plastic potato barrels which look like you can harvest while they are growing.  All the best gardening tools come from Britain but it usually takes a few years for them to make it stateside.

If you are looking for a local source for Potato Bags instead of mail order, my local garden store, Mother Earth Gardens, in the Longfellow neighborhood, had some left the last time I stopped by.  They are also selling some of the natural canvas grocery totes that I have made (like those pictured below).

Natural canvas grocery totes

Natural canvas grocery totes

So if you want to use some of your boring reusable bags for your lettuce, stop by Mother Earth and pick up one of these lovely ones to use for your groceries instead. And if you’re making the trip, you can also drop off your supply of plastic pots for recycling and check out Mother Earth’s fantastic selection of sustainably, native and locally grown plants and flowers.  There is a reason Mother Earth has been chosen the Twin Cities Best Garden Center several years running.

And don’t forget your reusable bags to transport your purchases, or (another shameless plug) you could always buy one of mine while you are there!

On Religious Rights and State Rulings

This weekend I had the family over for my child’s Baptism and Baptism After Party. At one point there was a large group gathered under a gazebo in my back yard dodging the sun and sharing stories when my dad opened up the can of worms as he is know to do.

He brought up the story of The Hausers. In case you have been out of the loop, off the grid, or under a rock The Hausers have made national headlines for refusing chemotherapy for their 13 year old that has been diagnosed with cancer.

The lines were pretty quickly and clearly drawn with almost everyone siding with the State and their ability to force the parents to put the child into proper medical care. Almost everyone. There was one recently married and very religious couple that felt the State was outside their rights and things became uncomfortable very quickly.

I did my best to moderate and keep things civil by steering the conversation to an end, but my statement that “there is plenty of precident for the State interfering in the welfare of a child”  struck an unfortunate nerve.

“Sure. Maybe they can, but should they? What about religious rights?”

A touchy topic, to be sure, and then the conversation turned to vaccinations and a few more people (without children I might add) sided with the religious arguement of rights and interference.

Thankfully the conversation stayed civil, I was able to change the topic, and didn’t have to release the peacemaker.

Today the Strib has an article that once again stokes the fires Editorial: New perspective for vaccine ‘refusers’.

 All in all it certainly raises a lot of questions: Is this the state over reaching their authority Nanny State style? Is this really a freedom of religion issue? Can there ever be agreement between the two sides on the issue of vaccinations,forced medical treatment, etc?

What do you think?

 

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Totally Doin’ It with Art and Emily: Rock for Pussy

On Friday, First Avenue hosted “Rebel Rebel: Rock for Pussy VI,” an annual David Bowie tribute concert/fundraiser for the kitties at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society, put together by The Current’s Mary Lucia.

Art’s Part

Well, at least the money went to help cats. That’s something, right?

Ok, maybe I shouldn’t be quite that harsh. When you sell something as a David Bowie tribute, those are some pretty big, androgynous, fascist-curious shoes to fill. Plus, Emily had seen it last year and wouldn’t shut up about had mentioned how much she liked it for the past four months. Let’s just say there was a lot of hype to live up to.

And, while maybe it didn’t toss the baby that is my brain in the air and indifferently walk away with awesomeness, I was not unentertained. But I can’t bring myself to say the music was anything but passable—which was just fine by me. The one criticism of the music I will make—and this is totally unwarranted and I know I could never in a million years do better—is regarding the first song: Golden Years. There’s this background part that goes “wah wah wah,” and in the original it is cool, smooth, and groovy. HOWEVER, the backup singers at this event sounded more like a sad trombone. It was ok though; I found it amusing.

But what really shrink-wrapped my wang in spandex was everything ancillary to the music. Most notably, the textbook case study in Stuff White People Like #67: standing still at concerts. Seriously, this is David Bowie you guys. It’s hard not to get down to David Bowie, no matter how simply adequate the cover. I realize it’s $7.75 plus tip for a Red Stripe, but it’s a big Red Stripe. Get drunk and have fun, damnit.

I was also amused by the two The Current DJs who participated in the actual music. Mark Wheat and his Amazing Larry King Jumping Shoulders came on and did the two spoken lines in the beginning of Modern Love, which was wonderful—they got an actual British man to do a British accent. We wouldn’t have been fooled! And then David Campbell came out and sang a whole song—a song I can’t for the life of me remember, probably because I couldn’t stop thinking how much he looked like Dick Tremayne from Twin Peaks:

Dick Tremayne and The Current's David Campbell

Dick Tremayne from Twin Peaks and The Current's David Campbell

Emily’s Part

I happened upon Rock for Pussy last year when poking around First Avenue’s website. I’d never heard of it (or most of the featured performers for that matter), but David Bowie AND helping cats? That sounded like a recipe for success to me.

Plus, at six dollars a ticket, I figured the worst-case scenario would be watching a mediocre show and donating a few dollars to kitties (and I LOVE kitties!), so I grabbed my friend Stephanie and heading off I went to rock. For pussy.

And it was fantastic. Drag queens, androgyny, and all my Bowie favorites (with the notable exception of “Under Pressure,” but I suppose it would be hard to find someone able to pull off Freddie Mercury) plus a Minnesota Valley Humane Society info table staffed by a really dreamy guy all the women at the concert were blatantly ogling with pictures of adorable cats available for adoption.

And by my standards, that’s a great night. So this year, I snapped up tickets right away and rounded up some friends to go with me.

And then . . . I got a little overserved. Or didn’t eat enough that day. Or drank too fast. Or whatever excuse I’m using at the moment.

Point is, I got a little ridiculous, and I’m not sure I really soaked in enough of the concert to give it a proper review. (Very professional of me for our debut column, right?)

What I can say is that while the performances weren’t nearly as good as last year (there was this sassy redhead who did a lot of the singing last year who seemed to be missing), but I did do a LOT of very joyful dancing, particularly to “Modern Love,” and I helped some cats, both of which are good things.

Also, I distinctly remember that Labyrinth was playing in the background. You don’t forget spandex-encased Bowie crotch no matter how much you drink.

So I think I can definitely say, based on what I saw/what I can remember, Rock for Pussy is a solid night of good cat-helping fun, and I plan on being back next year. Except sober.

You can email Art and Emily at art and emily at gmail dot com or you can follow us on the popular social networking website Twitter at @artandemily.

Urban Guerrilla: Stealth Gardening to beautify public spaces

Are you like me when you pass by a public space that has been left to become overgrown or is need of desperate TLC from a green thumb and wish you could do something?  Well then you too can become an Urban Guerilla.  Guerilla Gardening is a movement that began over three decades ago by noble community-driven green thumbs who wanted to green their public spaces in an undercover way.

The Green Guerrillas were the first to coin the term guerrilla gardening.   But it was thanks to Richard Reynolds whose diligent Guerrilla Gardening efforts in England and  book “On Guerrilla Gardening” which has sold thousands of copies worldwide has popularized the movement.

On Guerrilla Gardening

On Guerrilla Gardening

Reynolds has a website which documents his stealth efforts and how he has enlisted thousands of people throughout the world to help beautify public areas of their neighborhoods including several videos documenting stealth Guerrilla Gardening efforts. Like this one showing efforts to green a corner London Guerrilla Gardening Elephant & Castle, London, Richard Reynolds

Reynolds and his efforts can also be followed on Twitter now where he regularly Tweets about his worldwide exploits about making the world a prettier place through adding gardens.

I have tried join in doing my small part; scattering several seed packets at the LRT stations and in abandoned flower boxes in Downtown Minneapolis.  Unfortunately we haven’t had much in the way of rain to help them germinate so this year they may not have been as successful.  But if all of a sudden you see a burst of color you know why, unless the hungry pigeons got them first.

A Minnesota Community for Guerrilla Gardeners on Reynolds’ website has been started.  Posted on the forum is an upcoming seminar on how to make seed bombs which can be tossed easily in an attempt to cultivate an area.  On June 7th the free Seed Bomb Workshop will be hosted at ARISE! begginning at 7pm.

Does the Guerrilla Gardening movement inspire you?  Perhaps you have left over plants from seed starting, or perennials that need to be split and can be shared with your community.   When you pass by the 38th Street LRT station or the corners of Nicollet or Hennepin in Downtown Minneapolis and start seeing flowers (those are areas I have been able to seed bomb)  maybe you will be moved to take action.

I always keep a packet of Sunflower, Cosmos, Columbine or Allysum seeds (the latter three from my own garden) in my purse to scatter in a place that could use a little colour, knowing those are easily direct-sown seeds and also, the flowers will re-seed themselves each season if given a chance to thrive.   It is a small start but there is always a chance to do more.

Are you ready to join the ranks of the Urban Guerrillas or even Suburban Guerrilla Gardeners?


But Now I’m Back!

Ah, summer. The sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and no more school. I realize that I have been a bit, shall we say, totally not posting as of late. I am sorry for this-finals were a bit of a killer. But, thats behind us.

Believe it or not, this summer is my first summer where I will be spending most of my time in the cities. What are the can’t-miss summer events? I know about the concerts at Lake Harriet. What is your favorite MSP event over the summer?

Local iPhone Rattles the World

A while back Taulpaul asked what he should get an infant for her birthday and I kiddingly replied an iPhone.

I guess (as usual) my humor was lost as little Elle makes the big time on the Washing Post story “Parents turn to cell phones as high-tech rattles”

Those Saarinens are so cool.

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Come on people

You really said nothing about the possible closing of the Metro Gang Strike Force?

It’s strange to me that the subject of law enforcement has become too taboo for discourse.

Gangs are a serious and dangerous problem and I think we need a Gang investigative unit. I’m a little shocked no one pointed that out.

Let me guess, you think I’m sort sort of anti-police ranting zealot?

If only life were so simple. I’m actually pro police, good police. It’s the corrupt and illegal policies I’m against and apparently so is Strike Force commander Chris Omodt whom shut the place down.

According to the Strib’s story “Gang Strike Force cops shredded documents” and

A written account by the Strike Force’s commander said a dumpster behind the Strike Force’s offices in New Brighton and two garbage cans contained many shredded documents. Paper residue from shredding was found in the office and garage

Not bad enough?

Omodt also said someone apparently shut off a computer that records when someone enters the building with a security card. “My prior understanding is that this computer is not intended to be powered off,” Omodt wrote

Kudos to you Mr.Omodt for doing the right thing. I’m not sure how things got to this point, but at least you had the presense of mind to shut things down before they got worse.

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Welcome New Authors!

Welcome new MB authorships & writers extraordinaire @emilysaysso @punsultant aka (artallen) @quick13 aka (Fiona)@artandemily @kingbozo  aka (SeanH)

Fiona will be heading up a gardening column, Seanh will be covering local biking, and Art and Emily will be writing on entertainment in a column titled Totally Doin’ It with Art and Emily.

Next up, recruit the amazing @kellybarnhill!

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What’s in a name?

When it comes to plants names can be complicated botanical Latin names (Semiarundinaria) or common names (Bamboo).   For this blog, I am hoping for something in between.

Being the daughter of Welsh parents, I grew up in the garden, picking carrots from my grandfather’s allotment in Laleston, Bridgend, Wales and eating them right out of the ground, not bothering to wash them off.  I didn’t have to worry about any pesticides or herbicides; he was organic before anyone knew what that meant.

“Become green” in Welsh is “Glasu.”  Naming this blog Glasu would be a tribute to my heritage and would be a good representation of what it will discuss, gardening, environmentalism, “green” things.

But my last name is also Quick, so something funny, or pun-ny combining Quick, and Green/Gardening does seem appropriate as well. Because although I am passionate about organic gardening, environmentalism, green topics, I do like to keep things lighthearted.

So I will open the naming to creative minds of Minneapolis. If you can combine “Quick” and Green/Gardening in a pun-erific way or perhaps, with a Welsh spin, you get to name the blog, and even better, will win one of my handmade full-size natural cotton grocery totes like this:

eggplant-tote

Submit your suggestions in the comments below and if there is something that takes root, you will not only win the tote, but also bragging rights and my thanks!

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