Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Today on the Farm

Planted onions. Weeded the strawberries. Messed around with the sun oven:

uh huh, that's right. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an oven that uses the sun for heat.

Just checked out a bread book from the library, and have big solar plans for that little box.


Plastiki, a 60 ft sailboat comprised partially of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles, recently set sail from San Francisco to Austrailia.

photo by Luca Babini.

The (rather attractive) crew is led by David de Rothschild - the organizer of the whole shabang, Jo Royle - skipper, David Thomson - co-skipper, and you can read about the rest of crew here.

The plastic bottles made up for about 68% of the boat's buoyancy, the sail is hand-made from recycled PET cloth, and the secondary bonding is a glue made of cashew nuts and sugar cane - which sounds delicious.

The goal of the project is to "educate, entertain and raise awareness of environmental and social issues whilst driving innovative real world solutions."

I'm for it. And I also hope they have a really great time.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today on the Farm

Well, for starters, I forgot my camera. My B. I'll get it back in a couple of days.

And then I planted onions. One day they will grow into something beautiful like this, and when in a pan with olive oil and garlic will make your kitchen smell like you are a Grade A Professional Chef:

Photo by Claudette.

Also seeded parsley, and dill. Next up, Michael got the woodstove going in my tent and Kathryn staked it back down so that I won't wake up in Oz. Or Albemarle.

The tent heated up super quickly, and I will be just about 5 kinds of cozy.

Less Kickball, More Kale

High schoolers in Princeton, NJ can now garden for gym credit: read more from the NYT.

Photo by Jeremy Flesher.

From the article:

“I think it’s strangely enjoyable,” said Tim Vasseur, a Princeton sophomore, shovel in hand. “It’s definitely not easy to do or anything like that.”

And a reminder that it's not all just rainbows, and simplicity:

As for any extra vegetables, most will be donated to local soup kitchens and other charitable organizations. They can’t be used in school lunches, Mr. Wilkinson said, because of existing contracts the school has with food service companies.

right. Time to tweek some PHS contracts for '10-'11.

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Day

Started at Appalachia Star today, and am really excited to be getting my tent all set-up:

Seeded some fennel. Weeded some strawberries. Ogled at the cows behind my tent.

Ear Candy: Blind Pilot

I got to see this plaid-wearing, biking-across-America group of lovelies this Fall in Charlottesville, and loved their casual, quietly confident stage presence.

Definitely recommend giving them a listen.

They also did a great version of Gillian Welch's Look at Miss Ohio towards the end of their set. Here's Gillian:

- and here's hoping you'll get to see Blind Pilot's version live.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Have a sunny weekend!

Hope Spring is springing near you.

photo by marj kibby

Dream Travel: Destination Marathon in Greece

I've been thinking recently that training for a marathon is a really good impetus for travel. You work hard at something, and your reward of going somewhere awesome is structured into your plans.

So this has me thinking about running the original 26.2 from the battlefields of Marathon to Athens that Pheidippides ran (meanwhile, he arrived with bleeding feet and then died, so hopefully that wouldn't happen).

And! This October is the 2,500th anniversary of Pheidippies' run. More info here.

As for where to stay, how about the St. George Lycabettus Hotel with a view of the Acropolis:

Looks like a great place for sore-leg ice baths, no?

... and in truth - I will not be able to train for a marathon between now and October. But I did just get a new pair of running shoes, and I hear 2,501 is lucky Greek number. Count it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Virginia Naivete: Dinosaur Kingdom

Since I'm still learning about Virginia, it was not a big surprise that I haven't heard about Dinosaur Kingdom yet - but I'm pretty excited to check it out.

Mark Cline has created a world in which Union soldiers come across lost dinosaurs in Virginia and then use them as weapons against the Confederacy.

yep... that's a raptor on a Civil War era wagon.

ummm... Mom? Remember that time that you took us to the Natural Bridge in like '95 and we all complained about the detour? Dinosaur World would've really sweetened that deal.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ernest Shackleton/ Endurance Beer

I was really happy to hear the story about two cases of Ernest Shackleton's whiskey being retrieved recently from the South Pole [details], and I've been scouting around Charlottesville for some Endurance Beer as my own boozy tribute to the explorer's spirit.

For those of you who don't know the Shackleton's story: get excited. It's insane.

Ernest Shackleton and his crew on the Endurance were making an attempt at crossing Antartica from sea to sea - crossing the South Pole in the process. The Endurance ended up being packed in by ice, and was slowly crushed. The most amazing thing about this story is that with grit, fortitude, and probably some of that whiskey, every single one of Shackleton's men survived.

The second most amazing thing about this story? The importance that Shackleton put on keeping a journal. Through the disaster Shackleton encouraged his crew to keep records of what was unfolding - meaning that there are remarkable accounts of the ordeal.

I'm sure his 7th grade English teacher (or whoever taught him the value of record-keeping) was super proud.

moremoremore on Shackleton - Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Journey

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dirt! the Movie

What do you say, Charlottesville? Shall we plan a screening?

I think so, too.

More on the film here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ear Candy: Dawes

When My Time Comes is totally lovely. Hoping Dawes will swing back through Charlottesville this Spring.

Some pics from the band from the road:

seeeee you next time, guys.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dream Travel: Luxury Stay at Angkor Wat

When I was living in Thailand last year one of the trips I had planned was to Siem Reap, Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. I ended up returning back to the US early to take a job on the Alabama, and so unfortuantely never made it.

While my trip to Angkor Wat would have been super-budget and no frills, today I've decided to faux-plan a luxury stay.

First of all, the main reason for the trip: Angkor Wat

photo by Trey Ratcliff.

Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century and dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, and later served as Buddhist temple. It's the go-to example of Khmer architecture, and has an outer wall that encloses the 203 acres that comprise the site. There's also moat. It's been awhile since I crossed over a moat.

A lot of people do early morning hikes to watch the sun come up at the temple, and so that would defintiely be on the itinerary.

As for where to stay, I think I would go for the Amansara Resort:

... and then head over to the Hotel de la Paix for a meal at Meric:

ok. Let's book it.

...the actual trip I would have taken would have probably cost me $15 a day. Just saying.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tolstoy; Virginia Festival of the Book

ohhh books. I've hardly been reading at all of late, but just yesterday started Anna Karenina - and, well, everything you've heard is true. It's remarkable. I'm now a quarter of the way through it. It's that freaking good.

My friend Megan became absorbed by Anna Karenina last Fall, but before hearing her describe the book and characters I was always pretty intimidated by Tolstoy. No more. Treat yourself and go get a copy.

Or don't and go to the Virginia Festival of the Book instead.

Here are my top author/ event picks:

Tonight! at 8pm - UVA Culbreth Theater: Mentors, Muses and Monsters: Writers on Their Influences

Friday March 19th, 2:00pm - Barnes & Noble: Peter Neofotis, author of Concord, Virginia: A Virginia Town in Eleven Stories at the Virginia Stories event

Friday March 19th, 4:00pm - Central JMRL Library: Heidi W. Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky at the Race Matters: Novels of Extended Families event

Saturday March 20th, 4:00pm - UVA Bookstore: Kim Addonizio and the Best New Poets of 2009

Happy reading!

photo by Jim

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Picton Castle

I'm starting to feel some very serious adventure-envy towards my friend Brad who is taking an around the world trip on this lovely - Picton Castle:

That's right. An AROUND THE WORLD trip. Literally. All the away around it.

Here's an abbreviated version of their itinerary:

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; Panama; Galapagos Islands; Pitcairn Islands; Gambier Islands; Tahiti; Rarotonga, Cook Islands; Fiji; Bali; Cape Town, South Africa; Namibia; St Helena; Fernando de Noronha, Brazil; Lesser Antilles; Brazil; Lunenburg, Nova Scotia


The boat departs in April, and Brad has promised postcards. I have promised not to turn completely green with jealousy when they arrive in my landlocked mailbox.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wal-Mart vs. Whole Foods

Turns out Wal-Mart has started making an effort to sell local foods. I find this confusing, and I'm not sure what it will mean for small-scale farmers - but it's definitely a conversation I'm interested in being a part of.

Read more here; including a Whole Foods/ Wal-Mart blind produce taste-testing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kindle? No, Thanks. Kindle Ad Campaign? Yes, Please.

I came across this gorgeous stop motion film by Amanda Kohler and Ithyle Griffiths last week, and was really happy to find squareriggers, birdcages, and moustaches all in the same dreamy video at once:

And now it turns out that they've created some commercials for for Amazon's Kindle::

I still don't want a Kindle. But I'm happy these videos were made because of them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

rune guneriussen

oh-me-oh-my. This guy is special:

via fortysixthatgrace.

Reminds me of an episode of Northern Exposure where the guy who eventually plays Aiden on Sex and the City decks out Cicely, AK in thousands and thousands of lights. Hmm... this might not sound like high praise, but.. it is. Check it. You tell 'em Aiden.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Obamas Do It

.. keep bees that is.

Thank you to Ashley for passing on this article about the Queen (and her hive) at the White House.