Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Home Grower's Dilemma

Every year I hope to have a good harvest. At the same time I have to try to be creative with all the fruits and vegetables I grow. Besides giving them away to neighbors, I make desserts and preserves with the fruits. I also dehydrate them to eat later. I just picked my first basket of apples. I will give Dusty a piece first and eat the first one and then bring a bag to a friend down the street.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sweden's Conservation Efforts

(from left to right) Clear glass, Colored glass, Paper, Garbage

One of the biggest impressions Scandinavia made on me during my trip is their conservation efforts. Both Copenhagen and Stockholm are extremely aggressive in recycling, reducing waste, and promoting bicycling as a mainstream transportation. In the Bay Area, we are more progress than most of the country, but I am embarrassed seeing what they are doing here. All of their "garbage" cans are categorized. In most of supermarkets, you either bring your own bags or you pay for the bags. I remember seeing that proposal in SFGate.com not too long ago, and many people were angry at the idea of having to pay for shopping bags. Their public transit system is rapid, on time, and extremely reliable. I took public transit everywhere during my two weeks here. Outside of many train stations, self serve bicycle rentals are available. Bicyclists have their own wide lanes and traffic signals with little concern of colliding with cars. Needless to say, I see very few obsess or overweight people here.

Air and Water quality indicators

Right next to the waterfront of Copenhagen, there are these two indicators (above photo) showing Air and Water quality. They also explain what the government is doing to clean the water and air and the importance of doing so. At many supermarkets, I see self serve recycling stations. People just bring their plastic and glass bottles to feed into the machine and get cash for recycling them. They don't need to make an extra trip to some recycling facility.

Plastic and glass recycling station right inside of a large super market. It pays to recycle.

As I walked  by their Culture Festival, I noticed another banner, "Good Planets Are Hard to Find. Don't Blow It." That shall be a constant reminder to all of us. Conservation efforts aren't something we should wait for our government to take actions. It starts with individuals like you and me. For the last few years, I have felt like an oddity at times for growing my own food, composting, recycling, and hardly ever driving my car. After seeing what they are doing here, I don't feel so odd anymore.

"Good Planets are hard to find. Don't blow it."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Copenhagen Botanical Garden

I am traveling in Scandinavia this month for a couple of weeks. For a long time I have heard how progress Scandinavia countries are in their environmental programs. Everywhere I go around Copenhagen and Stockholm, I am reminded that people here have adapted conservation into their daily lives to reduce waste into their environment. One of the examples is their public transit system. I never had to wait for more than 5 minutes for their metro trains. Bicycles are also a popular form of transportation. I walked everyday since I got here since Copenhagen is extremely pedestrian friendly, and most attractions are accessible by foot.


I came upon the entrance of the Botanical Garden as I was walking around. You know I'll never miss an opportunity to check out a botanical garden especially when it is free of charge. The botanical garden is located on the other side of Rosenborg Castle and is a part of University of Copenhagen. All the plants are labeled with scientific names and place of origin. 

a variety of passiflora

Inside of the green house, I recognized many tropical plants including several species of passiflora, bamboo, banana, and other plants that I frequently see in California.There are several green houses, but only the two-story one shown in the top photo is open to the public. The other ones are strictly for research and educational purposes.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Green Beans

The beans are finally ready! Similar to tomatoes, the beans are growing slower than previous years due to the unusual cool summer we are having.

The new arbor is perfect for the beans to climb. I grow many of the vegetables from seeds that I gather from previous year's crop. All the green beans are from the beans of last year.

Green beans are good regardless how you prepare them - steam, blanch, saute in olive oil, bake, pan fry, and deep fry, are some common ways to cook them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Brushing Dusty

Dusty disapproves brushing

I don't brush Dusty as much as I should. Over time, his long fluffy hair gets matted. Sometimes I just have to cut parts of the hair off. When I do brush his hair, I have to take a couple puffs of my inhaler before proceeding because all that hair and dust tend to trigger my asthma.

Today I decided it was time to brush that big hair ball of Dusty. I grabbed him and put him on my lap to give him a good brush. As you can see, a lot of hair came off. My cloths were covered in bunny hair.

Dusty would tolerate the brushing for as long as he could then he'd try to get away. I held him down from a few escape attempts and kept on brushing. Similar to cats, after he gets handled, he cleans himself.

He looks much better than before the brushing. After he cleaned himself, he went over to the shady cool part of the room next to the bricks to relax. When you see a bunny laying down with legs all stretched out, you know it is in relaxed mode.