Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Starving Urban Homesteaders

At one point, I think I said I'd like to grow 50% of our vegetables. At this point, it's safe to say that the percentage is closer to 1%.  The list of forces working against me are, in no particular order, as follows: deer, hungry caterpillars, slugs, wind, fog, neighbor's unleashed dog, under watering, overwatering, and human error.
My beautiful plant starts, before they were consumed by the wild
With any luck, I will be able to have at least 1 purple jalapeño, some ground cherries, and purple and green tomatillos. It would take a miracle for us to get any sunflower seeds since the deer took a liking to the sunflower leaves. And, thus far, I've harvested 3 round squash, some tree collards, maybe a pound of yellow snow peas, and a few cups of cilantro all over the course of 6 weeks.

At first, the boy and I thought a great way to make us up our gardening game would be to not buy vegetables so we'd be forced to grow more and better vegetables. This has resulted in us both going a little crazy due to lack of vegetables and fruit, save for the occasional sungold tomato that we cut in half and share. We are breaking our store-bought vegetable and fruit fast today because we believe being malnourished is detrimental to our work and to our health.

The one time we came really close to having a substantial amount of nourishment, this time in the form of fava beans I planted in March, the boy ripped up the garden to add terraces. We find that we don't work so much together as in parallel, and this results in other similar instances of things happening in orders that are not ideal. The proper order would have been to build the terracing, amend the soil, plant the beans, water beans, and then enjoy the harvest. Instead, what happened was plant the beans, amend the soil, install a rain water catchment system, water the beans, and then rip them out right as they are producing beans to build retaining walls.

How are your gardens growing this year? Got any tips on growing in the fog, deer proofing a yard that won't make it look like a prison compound? You do? I'd love it if you leave a comment!

Zoolander Sesame and the boy's homemade chair
In other news, since the boy has had a few weeks off, he's a restless force around the yard and house (see previous paragraph with fava bean incident). After another one of my 12-hour work days, I came home not to the side yard terraced but to a homemade chair made with coastal redwood branches from our yard and our neighbor's yard. You see, our neighbor hates the 80-year-old tree in our yard, the one that was there 65 years before he decided to buy his house next door, and he gives us crap about that tree's existence pretty much every time we talk. For the past 10 years, our neighbor has thrown branches of our tree that fall into his yard back into our yard. Is it an asshole move? Yes, especially when we are in the yard or our dog is in the yard. So, in the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, the boy made a bench with some of tossed branches and gave that to his brother as a wedding gift, and he made me this throne last week. We joke about selling these artisanal chairs for thousands of dollars because it seems like something that would piss our neighbor off more than our tree.

Awesome Korean bar in LA's K-town
Over the 4th of July holiday, I spent a few days in SoCal. Although I would never move there unless under extreme duress, LA has some good things going for it. Take Koreatown, for example. There is no equivalent in California, I'm sure. The Korean bar food at Dan Sung Sa in LA made my mouth sing even as my old ears were ringing from all the noise. Did you know that there is such a thing as corn cheese? Neither did I, and now it's my mission to seek out all version of it in the Bay Area. There is another Korean bar in Oakland, also called Dan Sung Sa but commonly known as Porno Palace, that I want to visit soon so I can eat more corn cheese.

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