Friday, April 18, 2014

Skep


Photo courtesy Flickr

A recent visit to Oakland brought a gentle surprise amid its gritty external realities. My host’s apartment harbors successive colonies of Italian honey bees, said to be the best-natured strain of all. The little bees are prized and local keepers eager to acquire them.

I hadn’t spent time on Telegraph since the late Sixties. The street vibes were as sweet as ever, too.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fresh Greens


Photo courtesy Flickr

Chickweed is romping around the margins of the lawn. One of the medieval pot herbs, it’s delicious dressed simply with lemon and a light oil. Choose the smooth-leafed variety and pick it from an area with clean soil, at least four feet away from a painted wall. The size of the leaf tells how rich the soil is. 

Native violets are blooming, and the flowers are edible. Corn salad, aka Good King Henry, is getting up and it, too. All three grow themselves.

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Big Furry Friend


Photo courtesy Flickr

This time of year marks a tricky transition from central heat to solar comfort. Neighborhood construction revised the pattern of sunlight I’d counted on to shave mega-dollars off the heat bill. Fortunately, I stumbled across a combination of heat sources that has made it unnecessary to crank up the thermostat. A 75 watt plant seedling heat mat under the kitchen table keeps feet warm. An Oregon Roundup lap robe holds BTUs around the legs. A fake fur hat from the old school gentlemen’s hat purveyor on Union adds R value on top. In between, an interesting wool coat from the Northern European Boutique just south of the Market serves as a mega-bathrobe that allows me to forget about the inherent chill of a northeast ground floor room.

The coat is a new generation of wooly fabric that’s quite elastic. It’s both thick and light, and its rich colors adds visual warmth as well as real coziness. Feeling momentarily prosperous, I wandered into the boutique and carried The Coat home. Like nearly all such buying decisions, the new threads have paid off well. I didn’t plan to use it as lounge wear, but it’s the AM go to. Paired with the heat mat, hat, and tin of canned heat in the warming stove, I can knock out a morning’s paperwork without thinking for a moment about the deadly (no exaggeration) risk of hypothermia that comes with doing sedentary work in a chilly room.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

APBA


Photo courtesy Flickr

Cold rain, mud, loud boats: Seattle has not lost its heart.

Last week brought news of the restoration of a sacred local tradition: the Sammamish Slough Race. I missed the live feed, but my calendar is cocked for next year.

Nostalgia, as David Pye said, is always lying in wait for us. When nostalgia morphs into classicism the ideas stay viable. In 1970, I wandered back to Seattle after accidentally participating in Haight Ashbury’s Summer of Love. Seattle seemed to be the city where the long hairs wore saddle shoes and went water skiing. Something wasn’t quite right with the picture. 

No matter, the race is everything that says home town. Perhaps the APBA will add an unlimited human powered category to take advantage of local canoe crews. I dream of paddlers raising enough chop during the Seafair Trophy Race to inconvenience those jet-powered entries.


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