Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It is that easy

In looking for a YouTube link to Mark Bittman's TED presentation, I stumbled upon this recipe for making bread the easy way.

It really is that easy. Next time I'll try with more interesting ingredients.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hot, flat, and crowded

I just listened to an interview with Tom Friedman, author of Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

He makes the case that we need systemic change in the way we live to face the coming challenges. The primary challenges are global warming (hot), a globally growing consumer class (flat--yeah, I don't get it either), and overpopulation (crowded). It doesn't sound revolutionary in its content, but he makes very strong arguments in the interview and seems to avoid the moral imperative that seems to get many green proponents pegged as emotional extremists. Although, he does get pretty emotional about it all. Who can blame him?

I also recommend the TED presentation by Mark Bittman on the problems with the western diet. He explicitly avoids the emotional reasons to reduce meat consumption, and makes a strong argument for going (mostly) vegetarian.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


As part of our push to have more control over our food, we decided to preserve our own food. We started with all the apples from our recent apple picking trips and the one we get from our farm share. We made a couple batches of applesauce; and it was soon clear that our freezer wasn't big enough to hold it all. So we went out and got some mason jars.

We sealed our first jars yesterday, but not of applesauce. We stopped on the way home from the store at one of our local farm stands, the one we affectionately call, "the old guy." As in: "Lets go see if the old guy has any tomatoes we could save for winter." He did. We figured we'd preserve some tomatoes and some apple sauce. We decided to start with just a few jars and it turns out that our bag of tomatoes took 11 of our 12 jars.

It took some work and a fair bit of time, but it wasn't nearly as hard as we had expected. I had this image in my mind of it being very difficult, the sort of thing that only the most hard-core home chefs would tackle. We'll see if we did it correctly, but, in the mean time, it was simple enough that we'll probably go get some more jars and do the apples next weekend.


We went shopping on Saturday and at both the baby store and the food store, there were big displays of g-diapers. If you don't know about these, they could be described as somewhere between cloth and disposable.

The idea is that there is a cloth wrap (with built-in velcro...yay!) and a snap-in waterproof liner that holds absorbent inserts. The inserts are the only part you don't re-use, but they are compostable and flushable. The impact is clearly less than disposable, since, even if you toss the inserts, they are smaller and decompose quickly.

Of course, with the three parts, they are more complicated than disposables. Fortunately, though, they are not nearly as difficult as cloth diapers. With those, you have to attach the cloth diaper then fasten the cover over it. The g-diapers can be pre-assembled, so changing a g-diaper is just like a disposable. You just have to do some prep work.

I'm not sure of the best way to get rid of the liners, though. You should only really compost wet diapers, and I'd want a good tumbler before I do that. I'm not going to toss used diapers into a pile in my yard. Maybe if we had more privacy, but all the yards in our little group of houses just run together. Flushing is nice because you don't have to have a smelly diaper pail. But then you're using a gallon and a half of water with every diaper. That can't be good. Maybe the wet ones can just wait in the toilet 'til someone else comes along. We'll see what works.