You can call me SL, this is about living.

60 bulbs of garlic harvested from Plot 95 ©2013

March 14, 2013

For the first time since July, I bought garlic from the store. My crop of 60 bulbs finally ran out. I stink so good.

archives: Garden, Plot 95

Santas on the subway platform
Upper East Side, NY ©2011

December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays from New York City!

I hope everyone out there has a fantastic day filled with family, friends, and food. The Swede and I are cooking up a storm including Swedish Christmas ham, Swedish meatballs, saffron buns, and some American classics like stuffing. Mums! (Yum!), as they say in Swedish.

archives: Miscellaneous

Getting my Southern cooking on, collard greens and mushroom wild rice.

Comfort/stress foods were recommended as part of a suggested hurricane emergency food supply, so we made cake and smoothies for dinner.

Paella has all the good stuff: rice, fish, meat, and veggies.

Cherokee Purple tomato flesh. Not very prolific plants, but so worth setting aside space for them in the garden.

Fried chicken and waffles with watermelon salad, currant tarragon soda.

November 10, 2012

Instagram continued...

I like to use Instagram for food photos. And honestly, I use the application to cheat a bit. Often times, evening lighting conditions are poor and in restaurants using the flash is not always appreciated by fellow patrons and the restaurant staff. Instagram jazzes up low quality photos and I'm thankful for that. It can turn a quick snapshot into a beautiful and nostalgic image. Here's my Instagram roundup:

    1 - Collard greens and mushroom wild rice
         from The Kitchn and Garden & Gun

    2 - Buttermilk cake and strawberry banana smoothies
         from A Cup of Jo

    3 - A birthday paella for The Swede
         @El Boqueron

    4 - Cherokee Purple tomato slices
         @Plot 95

    5 - Fried chicken and waffles with watermelon salad, currant tarragon soda

archives: Instagram

Fishs Eddy casts their vote
Union Square, NY ©2012

multilingual "Vote Here" sign at polling station
Astoria, NY ©2012

November 6, 2012

Election Day

Election Day is finally here. The voting process took me one hour and ten minutes, while carrying a 20 lb. bag of cat litter. At least the litter kept me warm, it was bitterly cold out today. After about 40 minutes, I smartened up and put it on the ground, and scooted it along with my boot. I'm positive the people in line had more important issues on their minds, but I couldn't help but think they were looking at me saying, "Why is that weird cat lady carrying a huge bag of litter?"

archives: Miscellaneous

Plot 95, now ready for winter ©2012

post Hurricane Sandy, nasturtiums still happy ©2012

echinacea putting out new growth, collards hanging on ©2012

November 5, 2012


Plot 95 has been winterized and thoroughly mulched. It now looks like a pumpkin patch. And for the five minutes I stayed on after finishing mulching, it felt quite cozy. But then my body reminded me that I had been working outside for the past four hours in forty-degree weather, and then I had to go.

The structure has been repaired; the weeds pulled; garlic cloves planted; kale, collards, Swiss chard, and chamomile sown. The plants left to overwinter or die back include: yarrow, strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, chives, dill, sorrel, succulents, nasturtiums, thyme, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, mustard greens, hyssop, lavender, lovage, lambs ear, echinacea, collards, kale, and Swiss chard. Amazingly, the nasturtiums, echinacea, and asparagus are still going strong, still putting out new growth. I even found a handful of perfectly ripe tomatoes before I pulled out the plants. One had fallen into the cushiony leaves of the yarrow and was left unblemished.

I'm extremely relieved the garden is now ready for winter. It's always a daunting task to clean up the mess left from a fruitful summer and winterize in a timely manner. It's important to rid of dead vegetation before winter. Many pests can burrow in the soil and wreck havoc come springtime. While cleaning up, I came across countless earthworms, which is a great sign. It is an indicator of good soil quality. I also found a few piles of their poop, known as castings and referred to as "black gold". It's good stuff that plants love it. And I love it too; it's free organic fertilizer.

I'm really looking forward to Season 2013, which will be my fourth year as an Urban Farmer. I feel I've gained a good deal of experience over the past three gardening seasons, enough to know what works in Plot 95 and what doesn't. So for 2013, I'm going to stick with what works and keep the experimentation to a minimum. It will hopefully save some time in upkeep and allow for more leisure (and mosquito swatting).

archives: Garden, Plot 95

pre Hurricane Sandy, Con Edison trucks at the ready
Union Square, NY ©2012

post Hurricane Sandy sky, Roosevelt Island and Manhattan
as seen from Queens, NY ©2012

post Hurricane Sandy, fallen tree and downed power line
Astoria, NY ©2012

post Hurricane Sandy, Plot 95's structure windblown and snapped ©2012

pre Hurricane Sandy, happy nasturtiums in Plot 95 ©2012

post Hurricane Sandy, corrugated metal wall bent by strong winds
Long Island City, NY ©2012

November 4, 2012

After Sandy

It's been a long week, even for me, sitting in my warm apartment with modern amenities uninterrupted. Minus my cell phone, which easily received texts, but failed on most occasions to send texts or places calls all week long. But it was a minor inconvenience compared to those who are truly suffering. And there are many. I can't imagine what it's been like for those who have completely lost their homes, others who have water damage, and those who have been living without electricity and water. At the moment, I can't bear to watch any more coverage of the aftermath on television; it's heartbreaking. From images of people filtering through waterlogged or charred remains of what used to be their possessions; to people waiting hours to pump gas into their cars, others crying because it's cold and they have no clothes, desperate because they still hadn't received food or water; and those individuals who without a conscious are looting is completely unbelievable. Looting from someone who has lost everything is like sucking the breath from someone who is already dying.

Limited service of the subway started running Thursday, albeit slowly, but The Swede's route was/is still under water. He has been riding his bike to and from work, an hour and a half each direction, poor guy. The day after Sandy, The Swede and I rode our bikes around the neighborhood. Astoria and the northern end of Long Island City seemed to have fared well. We didn't notice any evidence of flooding; we saw many downed power lines and trees, a few which had damaged cars but not homes. So our neighborhood was lucky. Our community garden lies in Evacuation Zone C, so we were slightly worried it would flood, but it was fine. In fact, Hurricane Irene did more damage to it than Hurricane Sandy. Plot 95 suffered some damage but nothing major. The structure is windblown and snapped in a few places. But it can be easily fixed.

I've listened to politicians address the masses hours on end before the storm, during the storm, and after the storm. I was very relieved to hear Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer speak about Climate Change. In the past year and a half, New York City has had two hurricanes, two tornadoes, and an unusually warm winter. Something is going on.

archives: Garden, Miscellaneous, Plot 95

The Swede a few years back sporting his homemade mask ©2009

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Amidst the devastation and destruction, some kids were out and about trick-or-treating on the streets of New York City tonight. It was nice to see them in their various costumes, little superheroes bawling their eyes out for reasons unknown. It was comforting to see people carry on as normal after the events of the last few days. It is a sad time.

The Swede and I are fine, with electricity and water. Our neighborhood is not in a low-lying area, thank goodness. Many others were not so lucky. Our thoughts go out to those people affected. It will be a long time before anyone forgets Hurricane Sandy.

The recovery process will take a while. If you can, please consider donating to the American Red Cross. If you can not, please keep New York City and all the other affected areas in your thoughts.

archives: Miscellaneous

clockwise: thyme, kale, collards, shiso, eggplant, tomatoes, green garlic, basil ©2012

September 30, 2012

Summer Over

Summer officially came to an end a week ago. I'm not entirely missing summer, just yet. The heat was oppressive and the humidity high. People were grumpy (meaning me) and the mosquitoes insatiable. The Swede and I were in our garden a lot less this gardening season, it was just too hot. Seasons prior, we would spend hours in the garden, leisurely gardening, relaxing, and picnicking. This season consisted of visits to harvest and that was it. I would leave with mosquito bites that quickly turned into the size of quarters. Total misery immediately turned into delight as soon we reached home and unpacked our bounty. Cutting into a tomato that you grew yourself will make you forget about everything else, even your throbbing, itchy ankles.

A few crops managed to thrive this season, garlic, asparagus, tomatoes, many herbs, kale, and collards. The others, radishes, beets, eggplants, and peppers struggled. Our pepper plants literally put out three red bell peppers. But that's not a complaint, I'll take what I can get. I grew a new herb that I can't get enough of, if you're speaking to a Japanese person, it's known as shiso, to a Korean person, it's called wild sesame leaf. I'm hooked. It comes served on seafood bibimbap at a Korean restaurant I frequent. Being on the pricey side of things, I set out to grow it myself. I was able to find seeds on a visit back to California. The seeds easily germinated and grew very well, becoming lush and tall in no time at all.

Today I harvested the last of it, along with the last of the Genovese and sweet basil. All are sitting in jars on top of the fridge, so beautiful and bountiful, surely to be gone in a week. Until next year will we meet again.

archives: Garden, Plot 95

Union Square, NY ©2012

mourning dove
Istanbul, Turkey ©2011

September 14, 2012

Everybody's an opportunist. After completing my shopping at Migliorelli Farm's stand at the Union Square Greenmarket, I turned around to find these sparrows having a free lunch. They happily munched away on a crate of bok choy. (Well, at least they made a moral choice, I once spotted a host of sparrows pecking at a discarded fried chicken wing on the sidewalk. Cannibals.)

While in Istanbul last fall, The Swede and I wandered through alleyways filled with what appeared to be pet shops. Often when traveling, it can be difficult to determine what is what when you don't speak the language. And in many countries, it can be difficult to discern between animals sold for food and animals sold as pets. But in this instance, we determined this area housed animals as pets. We cracked up when we spotted this mourning dove gorging itself in the bird seed bins. We stood there laughing wondering if the shopkeeper would shoo the bird away. He didn't, he smiled and shrugged. He didn't seem to speak English, but we took his body language as a universal, "What are you going to do? Sometimes you just need a handout." Survival of the fittest, right? Smart bird. Who wants day-old bread crumbs tossed onto the sidewalk, go straight for the good stuff.

archives: Miscellaneous

I want one of these Yayoi Kusama posters in the subway.

Garden member's truck outside my community garden. Now that's passion for compost.

Hello Kitty madness.

Savoring the last few weeks of vine-ripened tomatoes. After that, fried green tomatoes time!

September 1, 2012

Instagram continued...

Here's my Instagram roundup:

    1 - Yayoi Kusama poster
         @MTA subway

    2 - Compost license plate
         @Plot 95

    3 - Hello Kitty microwaves and refrigerators
         @ Bed Bath & Beyond

    4 - Early Girl tomatoes and fig tree
         @Plot 95

archives: Instagram

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