Category Archives: Food and Cooking

The Sourdough Blues

IMG_1575I’ve had the sourdough blues. It started out well enough: the loaf pictured here was my first leavened entirely by wild starter (as opposed to commercial yeast). By then I’d nurtured the teeming colony of lactic acid bacteria (LABs) and various yeasts for almost two weeks, feeding it once, and then twice a day until the blob settled into a familiar pattern of eating, rising, falling. What magic, our microbial world! Continue reading

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Building a Hamilton-based Seed Library?

Seeds 2012Over the years I’ve developed a finely tuned tolerance for winter that balances the recognition of seasonality’s importance for southern Ontario with a curmudgeonly bitterness far more intense than the rest of the year.  I’ve coped with winters of late by dividing them into the holiday part, followed by the long, escapist part when I think about gardening, pore over seed catalogues, and mastermind brilliant garden plans. (Incidentally, my summers seem to be divided into two parts as well: the part when I try to put those plans in action, followed by the hot, sweaty resignation part when things get out of hand.) Continue reading

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The Ferocious Cold, or, how to slow the hell down

Today I have been sequestered in the imposing building to your left as my immune system battles The Ferocious Cold.  I refer, of course, to The Ferocious Cold (sickness), not The Ferocious Cold (winter).   Continue reading

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The history of science, eureka! moments, and the apple that (maybe) fell on Newton’s head

Photo Credit: beautifulcataya via Flickr

Really this time, I mean it: I will post more often.  I’m running out of excuses, since my comps exams ended two weeks ago.  Since then I’ve been busy with welcome week events at the university, but I’m also in a bit of a haze.  What does one do with themselves after comps?

One teaches!   Continue reading

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Balcony Garden Euphoria

Note the latent bean lattice in the top left quadrant.

It’s spring!  It’s spring!  Everything is turning bright green and I can commence my balcony garden putter.  I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity since I moved into the apartment last fall and lounged in the warm autumn sun like a September tomato thwarting death. Continue reading

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A Brief Sojourn in Madison, Wisconsin


I meant to write this post about Madison, Wisconsin as soon as I returned home so my thoughts wouldn’t become a banal, nebulous ramble, but unfortunately I got back two weeks ago. Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Food and Cooking, On Agriculture & the Environment, Politicking, Travel

Running Thoughts: the Sourdough Edition

Photo courtesy of Francis Storr via Flickr.com

I would call this post ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,’ but Haruki Murakami already wrote that book and if you’ve read anything by him at all you’ll know mere mortals hardly compare.  Yet I do think about things while running, thank goodness, because otherwise laziness would surely prevail.  The meditative place some runners can reach eludes me.  Continue reading

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The chicken in the popular imagination

Chickens at Green Vietnam

I was perplexed by a friend’s seemingly irrational hatred of chickens.  His explanation weaved itself through an afternoon of conversation.

Over coffee and hash browns (with nary a chicken in sight), the conversation turned to writing.  I’m going to write a post about chickens, I said.  He laughed and said something about absurd blog topics, which sounded distinctly like a challenge.  So, chicken thoughts. Continue reading

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Self-indulgence

Right now I’m missing wild leeks and garlic scapes and the pungency of all that potential pesto.  In May it seems a crime not to be making it by the jarful and spooning it into my mouth so half of it’s gone before pasta’s had a chance to hit the water.  I’m going to get another tattoo, this time garlic scapes curling up my arm.  It’s taken me seven years to reach this conclusion, but I think it’s the right time.  It’s a chance at a feeling of a little bit of permanence in a life that is in the end, fleeting.  It’s an historical artifact.  It’s a story, and people like me, who are bad at small talk, need stories we can draw on when we have no desire to hear what that person with the loosened tie and tired eyes does between the hours of 9 to 5 and what movies they’ve seen lately and their thoughts on the recent turn in the weather.

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Filed under Food and Cooking, On Agriculture & the Environment, On Human Connections