Sunday, May 20, 2007
That's where I found this public garden; a gated but unlocked community garden where people grow a few vegetables and flowers.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Spring finally arrived here in Toronto.
We celebrated by installing a new fence in our yard in April. Hum. I'm ambivalent about the new fence. The old fence had character; it sagged crazily from side to side. It was intertwined with trees growing in the fence, and it was unabashedly rusty. The new fence has the charm of an East German passport control zone. Perhaps we will install a guard tower and patrol the bare earth strip with guard dogs and AK 47s.
Removing the old fence was extremely challenging since a number of small to medium Manitoba maples had grown along the fence line. The old timers recommend the following method of stump removal:
1. Drill holes in stump
2. Pour gasoline into stump and let liquid seep into the stump
3. Light stump on fire
Or not. I don't want my lettuce to taste like an Esso station. So I dug around the roots and hacked away with a hatchet and a pruning saw. It took about a day per 6-inch tree trunk. Hard work, indeed.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Located downtown, the Kansas City - City Center Hotel is close to a variety
of major attractions and adjacent to Bartle Hall KC Convention Center.
Shoppers can catch the MAX (Metro Area Express) transient [sic] system across the street from the hotel for transportation to Country Club Plaza and Crown Center
Shopping. Worlds of Fun & Oceans of Fun located 10 miles from the hotel.
Gamblers will appreciate the quick 10 minute drive to 4 world class casinos.
Friday, April 06, 2007
I dug up a horse chestnut tree from our front yard because
(a) my wife doesn't like horse chestnuts and;
(b) it was growing out from under the porch and would eventually damage our house
The horse chestnut is actually native to Europe and was a popular tree in the 19th century in Toronto. The horsechestnut was for sale at Dundas and York as early as 1827. Due to a supply glut, George Leslie a local nursery owner, sold many horse chestnuts to the city at a reduced rate, and this accounts for the high number of horse chestnuts on downtown streets. I wonder if the friendly tree on my lawn was a descendant of those early trees...
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Artichokes are in season and arrived in our food box. My wife consulted her colleague on how to cook them since we've never cooked this particular veggie before. Eating them is fun; a little extra work, sort of like eating a crab or lobster.
The leaves are quite tasty and once boiled the artichoke, the leaves can be peeled off. Dip the leaf in a dipping sauce (mayo or vinegar and oil). Squeeze each leaf with your teeth - the meat of the leaf will slide out. Once all of the leaves are gone, the artichoke heart is edible too.
James MacKinnon and Alison Smith have published their account of a 100-mile diet. For one year they only ate food produced within 100 miles of their home, a staggering feat of will power and innovation. Their first meal was spring salmon with sage, organic egg fritters, and grated potatoes and turnips. The cost of that food was a whopping $128.87. MacKinnon describes a visit to the grocery store, where he came to a realization that it was all unavailable:
There was nothing there for us. Nothing. All of that plenty vanished in an
instant of cockneyed imaginatino. it would be a year without ice cream. A year
without salad dressing. A year without all-purpose flour, olives, olive oill.
Without Cheerios, Peek Freans, Fruit Cremes, Rip-L-Chips, High Liner Multigrain
In Toronto, Sarah McGaughey and Kyle Glover are trying to generate zero trash. In 2005 they generated one garbage bag of trash over the entire year(!) and have vowed to beat that target. Their blog documents their struggles.
The other day, I took my family, including my Mom, who is visiting from Edmonton, to a dance performance at the Textile museum. Afterward, we looked for somewhere to have dinner (with two babies) and decided upon Tim Hortons. They are the worst for anything other than the status quo. They don’t know what is in anything so if you have allergies or are vegetarian, you are SOL. Also, they can’t seem to grasp the idea of not giving any packaging. Once, at the Tim Hortons in Lawrence Square I managed to get a bagel straight on a plate, and it was a victory! I also got a smile. There were no smiles for us this time though and the bagels came wrapped,on the plate and Kyle’s coffee came in a disposable cup,even after we asked for a mug. I hate roll up the rim to win.
So true. I am struggling just to get coffee in a travel mug, mainly because of my own forgetfulness and propensity to lose the refillable mugs. Also the local coffee shop in my neighborhood has stupid coffee machines that can't accomodate tall coffee mugs. So if I visit with my travel mug, they get out a paper cup, fill up the paper cup, POUR the paper cup into my travel mug, and then THROW AWAY THE PAPER CUP. Aaah! Also I remember visiting a Wal Mart where I was informed that I HAD to have my purchased socks in a shopping bag, it was "store policy". So I took the bag, and stuck it on the nearest mannequin and walked out with just the socks.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
2. Eat meat-free meals once a week
3. Buy a fuel efficient, low-polluting car
4. Choose an energy efficient home and appliances.
5. Stop using pesticides
6. Walk, bike or take transit to regular destinations
Transit yes. Bike, mm not so much currently. We still end up using our car too much. I would like to get rid of it and switch to Zipcar.
8. Choose a home close to regular destinations
9. Support alternatives to the car
10. Get involved, stay informed
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
"...If your list reads like the most recent NY Times Bestseller list, reads like
your high school summer reading list, reads like the front table at
Borders/B&N, or includes anything by John Grisham, you're deluding yourself
that you're qualified to be here. Make like a tree and branch out."
Saturday, February 17, 2007
At my sister-in-law's behest we went to Live, the new raw vegan restaurant on Dupont Ave. And when I say raw vegan, I don't just mean 'animal products bad'. I don't mean just the 'milk is evil' vegan type. I mean mouth foaming, Fire-is-a-misguided technology-baking-is-bad-we-don't-serve-bread here (infidel) raw vegan.
Now I was a little skeptical, because while I sympathize with vegetarians and other mildly subversive types, I am of the conviction that that you know, 'fire' and 'cooking' technology were basically good inventions.
It turns out they have one or two cooked items. I had an excellent hot (cooked) soup and a (not cooked) salad. The cafe is beautiful and cheerful. Food was a little pricey, and there was an awkward moment when I tried to order a steak, medium rare. Steak is not funny. Not. funny.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Politicians looked up this week and saw the storm over climate change brewing. Conservatives and conservative pundits, who until recently spent much of their efforts denying the problem existed, now shifted their efforts to painting the issue as hopeless. As in: there's nothing we can do about this, so might as well get really, really rich.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
I spent an enjoyable hour browsing the antique shops of West-west-Queen West near Roncesvalles. We're looking for a piano bench to replace the crappy factory piece that came with our Yamaha and is now disintegrating.
The antique stores in this area are basically capitalism in its purest form. The marketplace matching goods and services with demand. I need something; I go out to a number of shops, compare prices and service, and then find what I need. It's too bad we can't distill more of our economic activity down to the antique store model. Cut out all that corporate bullshit - overmarketed, overfranchised, centrally controlled, coercive, monopolistic rapaciousness.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Income trust investors are taking their case for special tax breaks to Parliament Hill this week. Expect to hear about lots of sob stories about the poor little energy trusts that could no longer meet ends meet when their favored tax status was eliminated. All those impoverished international investors who are pulling their money out of Canadian income trusts and putting them into Australia and the United S- oops those countries eliminated their income trusts a long time ago. Never mind.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
If the president chooses to escalate the war, in his budget request we want to
see a distinction between what is there to support the troops who are there now.
The American people and the Congress support those troops. We will not abandon
But if the president wants to add to this mission, he is going to have
to justify it. And this is new for him because up until now the Republican
Congress has given him a blank check with no oversight, no standards, no
conditions. And we’ve gone into this situation, which is a war without end,
which the American people have rejected.