Bread and dirt

It’s been a pleasant summer here at the Iambic Cafe. I’ve recently been on a bread binge, using the nearly no-knead bread recipe

that was featured recently in Cook’s Illustrated – which I always pick up to read on the plane. The bread is refreshingly easy to make, as long as you plan a day ahead (it takes 18 hours resting time plus another couple of hours rising). And this one from the New York Times sounds very easy and convenient. I might start experimenting with levain breads; this blog entry gave me some inspiration.

I also visited a couple of organic farms this week. Local Yokels is a group which provides an acre of cultivation, a cluck of chickens and a well-cleared blackberry trail to groups of children and adults with disabilities for use in therapeutic gardening. It’s a great example of how much can be achieved with very little: there’s a lot of innovation and re-use of building materials, augmented with organic growing practices like micro-drip watering and companion planting. The scarecrow, built by visiting children, is rather splendid.

Haliburton Farm is, thanks to citizen action, city-owned and volunteer operated. I took up tools for the cause

and weeded a patch of golden beets one sunny day. Nasturtiums dressed up one of the fields…

some laying ducks another.

The university has been tending the wetlands area and installed a bat house

and a mason bee house.

Only one of the tubes appeared to be filled when I peered in. The bees lay their eggs in the tubes, separated by their own mini-concrete walls, and when they fill a row they wall up the end, so you can easily see which ones are occupied.

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