Kena Landry

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since May 17, 2018
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Recent posts by Kena Landry

One thing I love is being very visible about my urban gardening activities. It's the best conversation opener, and it gets people curious about how cities could change. It's my little act of activism: fighting back against cars, concrete and manicured lawns, one little act of gardening at the time.

Today's activity: carrying free straw to the school garden with my trusty bike. It's actually a very efficient system because the trailer can pull exactly where I need it to. The weakest point on the system are clearly my own two puny arms. I would not want to haul twenty bales one by one like this, but for a short distance (1 km) and a few bales, it was just perfect for an end-of-day workout, and probably not longer than doing it with a car.

But best of all, lots of the school kids and parents saw me, asked questions, and I might have recruited a few new volunteers.

How are you making permaculture visible in your urban area? Show us your front yard gardens and active transportation modes.
3 days ago
Podcasts would definitely be on that list.

You can certainly download enough of them to last a really long time, and I find that it's a less "busy" media source. It goes deeper into stories and is less "click-baity". More protein, less sugar

I'm not sure if it's accessible where you are, but Canada's public radio system has a lot of podcasts and audio books available.

You can also download a trove of old classic books at the Gutenberg project.

If you plan on visiting the library frequently, I'd also see if they provide e-books and figure out how to get them on my device. (Book books are also great, of course, but going electronic means you don't have to bring them back, so if you do not visit often, that's useful. )

(I'd also invest in several good local and regional maps. Even with cellphones, I still keep a few of those in my car because nothing beats the information density of a paper map.)
1 week ago

Joan Candalino wrote:Otherwise it's really nice to do rice while working on the rest of the meal. "saute" to melt the butter and mix in rice, "cancel", "rice" add broth etc., "start", close lid, let it make rice and keep it warm.

I'll do the same thing with my stove top one. Turn on the heat to sauté ingredients. Add liquid. Add lid and wait for pressure to come up (generally within a few seconds). Lower the heat and set kitchen timer. Move the pot to trivet once the timer rings. It's essentially the same thing, except I turn a knob instead of pressing buttons :)
1 week ago
How about simple season extension tools, like row covers, tunnels and cold frames? This is what I've been slowly exploring for the past year.

It's much simpler than a greenhouse, is not such a big one-time investment, and if a part of the whole breaks, you don't lose the entire system (if we're thinking in terms of post-disaster setting, a heated greenhouse has lots of components that could end up failing and not being easy to replace/repair.)
1 week ago
I am a big fan of using plain text for most information. Plain text will always be readable provided you have access to the bits themselves. It can be version-controlled, compared easily, there's no versioning of any kind, and the worst that can happen is that accented characters turn out weird.

1 week ago
I haven't found an Instant Pot recipe I couldn't do on my stovetop pressure cooker (13 years old and as good looking as the day we got it as a wedding gift)

I wouldn't like a heating pressured kitchen implement to run unattended in my house, so I don't see how the delayed function would be useful (plus it means food sitting at room temp for a while, right?)

And there's more that can go wrong with a device that has electronic components, heating components and a vessel combined. If my range breaks, I can fix most of that myself. If the instapot breaks, I'm doubtful I'll be able to find standard after-market parts for it.
1 week ago
I'd probably start with a good "deep storage" pantry and bug-proof containers. Dry goods only last as long as the battle between you and bugs. And until you can produce your own 100%, well-stored bulk grains and legumes provide a lot of long term food security.

A well-organized pantry also means you can rotate the goods efficiently, spot imbalances, and detect spoilage quickly.

1 week ago
I don't have personal experience with it, but as for any kitchen item, I'd recommend trying the old-fashioned way first.

If you have a good blender, nut milks are really easy to do: soak the nuts (or not... I have a good Blendtec and do not always soak first), blend, then pour through a clean kitchen towel into a glass jar. I guess the Almond Cow simplifies the kitchen towel part, but you could use a French Press if you'd prefer.

Chances are the Almond Cow is not as good/reliable a blender and parts will be harder to find when it breaks. I always prefer ONE kitchen device on my countertop that does everything than a lot of single-use items.
1 week ago
Another interesting option at 1 year old is a "discovery basket", with a few safe natural elements.

Ours initially had a few large rocks (some smooth, some rough), a giant pine cone and a piece of driftwood. Other options are a piece of (recycled) fur, a (very clean) feather. These are all items that do require some adult supervision, but that provide interesting tactile experiments and a direct experience of nature. Just putting the items in and out of the basket is challenging at first.

Then, as kids grow and stop putting things in their mouths, you can add other elements like seashells, pieces of bark, interesting minerals...

It's another one of those toys that still lives on our shelf 8 years later (my girls will use it for drawing inspiration or to find cool things to look at through a microscope, and they now fill it up themselves with various "treasures").

1 week ago
If we're talking in terms of sustainable gifts that last a long time and support long-term growth (which I think fits the spirit of permaculture), play silks and wood blocks are two favorites for our family.

Both are open-ended toys that support tactile exploration, discovery of the basic rules of the world (ex: object permanence, gravity, air resistance), fine motor skills (stacking, simple knots), and later small-world play (of which creating sustainable full-scale environments is a natural extension).

Play silks, in particular, are widely misunderstood by adults, but kids intuitively understand who to play with them. (My 8 and 9 year olds still play with their tattered and discolored play silks).

It's not "teaching them gardening" per say. But when I see my girls playing outdoors, creating forts out of vine cuttings and gathering "herbs for potions", I can see how this kind of play was born out of simple open-ended toys in early childhood.
1 week ago