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Food preparation around here

My own food chores came to a head last night. I was making up a brine for smoking this salmon, and toasting nori seaweed (200 degrees in oven, which didn't make it taste any better -- got to figure this out, it's such nutritious (and free) stuff), when we discovered that our rooster, which had killed one of his own baby chicks the day before, had wounded 2 of the remaining 3. This is the loudest, most aggressive rooster we've ever had, and this was over the line. He is now headless, cleaned and plucked and headed for stew thus weekend. And boy is it quiet around here.

I made sourdough oat flour and cattail pollen pancakes last week. Ground the oat groats into flour just before mixing it up. The pollen is a deep yellow. Buttermilk, a little baking soda (interacts with acidity of b'milk), eggs, a little sugar, no oil.

Just made my first batch of sauerkraut. Simple, just salt and cabbage in a glazed crock with a waterseal; the lactic acid in sauerkraut is supposed to do wonders for health.

Salmon is now smoking in my Little Chief electric smoker with alder and hickory chips. Will vacuum seal and freeze when done.

Make bench out of pallets

Small sustainable community in UK

Email from Richard Jones:

Hi Lloyd hope all is well and tiny homes is shaping up.

Thought you might enjoy this article in the Observer newspaper at the weekend.
I had never heard of this legendary bus trip. The magic bus going overland to India was the only legend to reach my consciousness.

My reality changes this summer. I was supposed to be taking a group of delinquent kids for a canoe expedition in Sweden. But it all fell through a few days before. So we did the annual pilgrimage to Avebury - Stone Henge's older sister (less police, a pub in the middle and an old drove track to camp in) We do this pilgrimage by bicycle as its far easier to dodge the police road blocks and get around the vast site.
Every year more and more…camping areas get shut down. My faith was restored when we headed up to the Sanctuary - the end of the Ridgeway - the oldest road in Europe. There was the remains of the convoy - the free radicals. the horsedrawn, bus and van dwellers - Hooray they still existed! My heart was warmed there was still life on the roads. still hope and freedom.

Slash and Burn as the New Normal: Feral Capitalism Hits the Streets/Counterpunch

Excerpts from article by David Harvey on Counterpunch, responding to media reports of the riots in London:

"...But the problem is that we live in a society where capitalism itself has become rampantly feral. Feral politicians cheat on their expenses, feral bankers plunder the public purse for all its worth, CEOs, hedge fund operators and private equity geniuses loot the world of wealth, telephone and credit card companies load mysterious charges on everyone's bills, shopkeepers price gouge, and, at the drop of a hat swindlers and scam artists get to practice three-card monte right up into the highest echelons of the corporate and political world....

Spanish girl downhill skateboarders

Hey hey hey!

Etta James: You can leave your hat on

Talk about covers, this is a wicked take on the Randy Newman son. She's backed by the excellent Roots Band at the House of Blues in LA in 2001. She is so bad! I can think of another instance where she took a macho male song and turned it on its ear, a woman talking sexy to a man: "Work with me Henry," years ago, cover of the classic, "Work with me Annie," by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters.  She's a powerhouse.

I was listening to Etta one time when I realized that great singers (like her, Otis, Sam Cook, Aretha, Al Green, etc.) always do exactly the right thing. There are many choices to make for a singer, and the tempo, timing, inflection, ad libs, etc. are always perfect. Zing! Right in there. I heard Howlin' Wolf earlier today and it sounded so powerful -- 50 years later. I'm afraid I'm going back and back in time in my musical tastes of late. Where is the equal of Muddy Waters in this day and age?

San Franciso apartment rent rises as vacancy rates fall

Article in 11 Aug 2011 San Francisco Chronicle by Carolyn Said:
"Apartment hunting in San Francisco has turned into a competitive sport with hopeful renters swarming open houses and experiencing more rejections than contestants on "Survivor."

"You have to pounce as soon as you see an ad you like," said Chris Covert, a manager at Symantec who was among 18 people vying for a $1,395 Nob Hill studio last week. "It's definitely nuts.…"

"…vacancy rates are falling and rents are rising in the city. RealFacts says that the average monthly asking price in San Francisco for studio apartments in complexes with at least 50 units hit $1,801 this year, up 13 percent from $1,595 a year ago. Across apartment units of all sizes, landlords at these big complexes are now asking for an average of $2,361 a month, up 5 percent from a year ago.…"

Nice stone masonry/Buddhist seedlings

Top: nice stone work in Mill Valley. It's starting to look like Fall. Above: seedlings with Buddha front and center at Zen Center garden at Green Gulch Farm, Calif.

Bottle houses

"At Cap-Egmont in Prince Edward Island, where he was a lighthouse-keeper, Edouard Arsenault started collecting bottles in 1979.…In the spring of 1980, at the age of 66, he began his construction, a mere hobby yet. As his six-gabled structure was taking form, visitors started coming in. Impressed by his work, they encouraged him to continue and to advertise it as a tourist attraction. And so, in 1981, the first Bottle House was open to the public. From 1980 to the spring of 1984, he cleverly cemented over 25,000 bottles of various shapes, sizes and colours, into three fantasy-like buildings."
More bottle houses: http://www.agilitynut.com/h/bh.html

Musica de semana

Last night driving along the coast (I love this drive, every Tuesday night after light running (+ pond swimming this time of year) and a Guinness in the pub with the boys), this great song came on. I'm not a Dead fan. Too much endless guitar noodling and weak voices for me, but this was a good 'un. Plus, a week or so back I heard a couple of Dead songs I really liked. Who'd a thunk…

Also last night, the group Dave's True Story with a great version of It's All Over Now Baby Blue. I love well-done covers. Last week I heard Jesse Fuller doing San Francisco Bay Blues (which he wrote). It was covered by Eric Clapton on his masterpiece album Unplugged. Great to play one after the other.

And last night Muddy Waters doing Rosalie, such a perfect song, as I looked out at this view.

Field of lettuce, broccoli, spinach

At Zen farm at Green Gulch last night at dusk

Latte, good Wi-fi, good cinnamon roll

Verve coffee on 41st Ave. in Santa Cruz. Barista artista.

Jeff Denholm paddling 32 miles with one arm

Thanks to Brendon for sending this (as a comment to my posting about Jeff last week).

Godfrey Stephen's frog carving

My friend painter/sculptor Godfrey Stephens just emailed me this photo from a few years ago, showing a frog he was carving. I was staying with Godfrey and his wife Megan in Victoria, BC, while shooting pictures for Builders of the Pacific Coast.

See other carvings of Godfrey's at: http://www.godfreystephens.com/Site/Carvings_%26_Sculptures.html

On the Nature of Things

Great article in August 8 2011 New Yorker by Stephen Greenblatt on "On the Nature of Things," an epic poem by Roman poet/philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus (99BC - 55BC) with special relevance in this era of religious bigotry:

An ancient poem was rediscovered—and the world swerved.

"…at its heart, 'On the Nature of Things' persuasively laid out what seemed to be a strikingly modern understanding of the world. Every page reflected a core scientific vision—a vision of atoms randomly moving in an infinite universe—imbued with a poet’s sense of wonder. Wonder did not depend on the dream of an afterlife; in Lucretius, it welled up out of a recognition that we are made of the same matter as the stars and the oceans and all things else. And this recognition was the basis for the way he thought we should live—not in fear of the gods but in pursuit of pleasure, in avoidance of pain.…"

"To people haunted by images of the bleeding Christ, gripped by a terror of Hell, and obsessed with escaping the purgatorial fires of the afterlife, Lucretius offered a vision of divine indifference. There was no afterlife, no system of rewards and punishments meted out from on high.…"

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/08/110808fa_fact_greenblatt Note: this is only an excerpt from the full article.

I just ordered the version of the poem translated by Martin Ferguson Smith, as recommended by Greenblatt (Hackett Classics Series). Lucretius nailed it over 2000 years ago.

Salmon are back!

Boat streaking out from Bolinas channel last week. Better salmon fishing than in years. Also halibut, rock fish and stripers around right now. Fisherman Josh says "The ocean is healthy"

Tiny home in Berkeley, California

"Light glows from inside the tiny cottage built by New Avenue Homes in the West Berkeley backyard of Karen Chapple, a UC Berkeley associate professor of city and regional planning who is studying how many such homes could be built around area BART stations and their potential economic impacts. (Photos courtesy of UC Berkeley.)"

Hen and baby chicks

The (4) chicks are about 3 weeks old, and feathered out enough so they peek out from the mother at night. Usually all 4 of them are peeking out, but 2 were hiding from the intruder with camera here.