Thursday, July 29, 2010


The word "stay-cation"has quickly become one of  the most overused catch phrase around.  This morning when  I opened my weekly e-mail from Machine Project I was pleasantly surprised to read the curious words : houseplant vacation.

 photo: Lisa Anne Auerbach

The Hammer Museum is hosting a month long "cultural retreat" for your plant.  Prior to dropping off your houseplant you must agree to the terms of their  release, verbage includes "I will not hold the Hammer responsible if my plant/s gets sick, is overserved, pollinates another plant, disappears in plant napping or otherwise, or if my plants/s enter/s into any other oral or written contracts while on Houseplant Vacation."  One of my other favorite clauses states: "The Hammer has the authority to expose your plant to music, poetry, discussion and other types of performances with the possibility that the art experience will impact and illuminate their life."

 Once you have agreed to the terms, your plant will be taken to a light filled balcony where it will be serenaded by readings, performances and music.  The  plants will also have their portrait taken by photographer Lisa Anne Auerbach.

This innovative and very clever idea is brought to you by the people at Machine Project a community based non profit in Echo Park that operates out of a store front and offers workshops, events and installations.  This year they have been invited to produce a year of programming at the Hammer.

Now to decide which of my lucky little friends get's to go!  I'm not much of a houseplant person but,
what do you think?

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I have always loved cucumbers.  Growing up we ate loads of lemon cukes during the summer.  Yellow, round and slightly barbed we ate them like apples.  Over the last 10 years I have had crops in the hundreds.  Lucky recipients received handfuls upon request.  This year I am growing the family favorite.  Perisan cukes.  Alas, we are still waiting so in the meantime I buy mine at the Hollywood Farmers Market.

 We tend to serve them daily eating them whole, putting them in gaspacho, salsa and salads and as of last night we have found the best place to put them ; in a glass.

Recently while at The Hungry Cat we ordered what we thought would be just another yummy summer beverage.  The first sip told us this was something different, cool, subltle and delicious, this was the drink I had been searching for all summer, the one that would allow me to drink gin again after swearing off it at 18.  

The bartender let us watch as he prepared another, giving us the ingredeints and  the real secret which is  Hendricks Gin.   Handcrafted in Scotland using botanicals such as juniper, coriander and citrus peel  and the  "unexpected  infusion of cucumber and rose petals it is a gin unlike any other I have tasted.
Here is the recipe for one drink:

Juice 1/4 of a large cucumber, skin on.

Make simple syrup: mix one part bartenders superfine sugar to one part boiling water.  Let dissolve.

Measure one jigger Hendricks Gin. 

Fill a shaker with ice, add the one jigger gin, 1/2 jigger cucumber juice, 1/2 jigger simple syrup, 1/2 jigger fresh lime juice.  Shake vigorously.  

Pour and enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Out Damn snails

It has been 2 months since I transformed my winter garden.  Harvesting the last bits of lettuce, kale and misc. other greens in order to get started on several variety's of tomato,  white early corn, six different variety of beans, moon and star watermelon, pattypan squash, persian cucumbers and other delights of summer.

As I begin to till the soil I find some of the decollate snails still surviving from last summer.  These snails are cannibals; they eat garden snails.  

 Not terribly concerned I decide to wait it out before purchasing more.  Convinced they will do their job and keep the bad snails in check.  Alas, they are lazy, anorexic snails, perhaps content to eat just one snail a week and not procreate.  Unlike the abundant population of garden snails I keep finding

Pulling out borage which had taken over one bed, some of the stalks thick as tree trunks.  Discovering little pearls buried in the soil.  Eggs!!!  SNAIL eggs.  I scooped them out and disposed of them in the city green bins...

 Earthy scented, brimming with compost and lovely seeds hand picked carefully, thoughtfully and wisely.    I companion planted beans,corn and strawberries.  Each lovingly spaced, watered and set to sprout.   Melons spaced to stretch out and become perfect sun kissed orbs.

Week one, little green sprouts appear, bursting through the soil.  I am so proud.  I protect them with what I can

Week two the first little leafy bits appear.  Then overnight disappear.  silverly snail trails drunken with my baby shoots trail down the sides of the beds and disappear.  Early morning trips filling bowls full of the buggers and flinging them far off in to the woods.  I cannot bare to kill them... but somehow sending them air-born in to the ivy strewn hillside several hundred feet away seems acceptable.  

Week three- I dissent in to the hallows of Osh to purchase Sluggo... I cannot take the appearance of snails everywhere.  When I get out of my car they are in the trees, mocking me outside the windows two stories up on my house.    Driving me mad!!!

I have purchased a gigantic container of the pesticide and at sunset descend upon every place where the little buggers dwell.  Covering the ground in little aqua colored pellets.

Week four- they seem to have disappeared.    Yet there is still a lace like appearance on all the bean stalks

My gardener is convinced they are still around.  I allow him to pour more sluggo around.  

Week five- Feeling like somewhat of a failure.  Most of one bed has yet to do anything.. Did the birds eat the seeds?  In the past I had always draped my beds with bird netting to prevent the loss of seeds, but after rescuing several lizards trapped in the net, I had decided to forgo the net.  Perhaps a mistake I will regret.

The hot spell has sped the ripening tomatoes to beautiful hues of pink, and burgundy and acid green, we are finally tasting the first bits of summer.

There are a few beans beginning to ripen,  I have now purchased netting and draped them.  I replanted most of the seeds.

 One verdant ink spotted leaf peeping through the webbed netting promise at least one moon and star watermelon.