Green Rascal Design

 
 
Borage - This plant can be eaten in salad or cooked in other foods, and has a mood elevating effect according to some sources. Even the blue flowers are edible, and we often put them on food as a garnish. This year our borage plants are extremely large, and the bees love it.

Burdock - Burdock root (not to be confused with the local weed!) can be found in some grocery stores, and it's a good addition to soups. It has a mercury mitigating property that I'm not completely clear on. But it can be found in traditional eastern cooking.

Lambs Ears - This plant's leaves can be used as bandages. They're very soft and fuzzy. Kids and sometimes adults are drawn to touch the lambs ears because they're just so much fun to pet. And they kinda glow in moonlight, so are often planted along pathways.

Lovage - The leaves of strong celery-tasting perennial vegetable can be used fresh or dried in salads, soups or other cooked foods. The roots can be used grated as a flavoring or cooked as a vegetable, like, say, carrots. It has a very savory flavor. A tea can also be made from the grated roots.

Marsh Mallow - The leaves can be used raw, finely chopped, in salads or cooked in soups to thicken them. The root can be cooked as a vegetable or ground up into a fine powder and made into a paste and roasted - how marshmallows were originally made. The water left over from cooking any part of the root can be used as an egg white replacer with some preparation. And the flowers can be used as a tea.

Stinging Nettle - This herb is actually considered a weed. It likes areas with a lot of nitrogen (so well-fertilized spots). It has tiny thorns on the stems and leaves (everywhere) that cause a painful stinging sensation that lasts for days if you're sensitive. However, it's great for allergies. It shows up in spring right when allergy season starts. Before it flowers you can harvest the leaves and make tea (with local honey) that will help alleviate your sneezing and stuffy nose. You can also buy it at the grocery store in two places. In the natural remedies section it can be found freeze dried in pill form. We take one nettle leaf pill in the morning and one at night, and have very little trouble with allergies. In the tea section you can also find nettle leaf tea. It's not as potent this way, but still beneficial.

Sweet Cicely - The leaves of this perennial taste like sweet anise. Most people brave enough for a taste, find that they like it. The leaves can be cooked with tart fruits to reduce acidity or made into a tea.

 
 
It's incredibly difficult to get anybody to come out and network in the summer. Don't you agree?

For one thing, it's hot. And nobody wants to go hang out in center city in 90 degree heat if they're not used to it.

Bless those who live there. I don't know how they do it.

We had pretty good success getting people out to our 422 ARCH networking event on June 12th, but traffic was a mess and that was in the SUBURBS! I can tell you that's the only networking event I remember attending since June began. (and that was my own event, haha)

Not every group is taking a break like we are at 422 ARCH. The Who'ja networking group has like 3 events scheduled for each week. It's tempting, but at the end of the day I just do not feel like hauling my butt out there. Maybe I have senioritis.

So this summer, I don't know if things will pick up as far as attending more networking events next month. It's hard enough convincing my loving mother in law to come over on a Saturday afternoon for a small party.

Forget trying to gather a big crowd. Be happy with a small gathering until vacation season is over. That's just my two cents.
 
 
In the last approximately 2.5 years a lot has grown here at our little patch of heaven. I wanted to show a comparison of exactly how much.
I hope this visual helps you understand what it means when I say that last year we grew 50lbs of tomatoes and canned $200 worth of strawberry and raspberry jam. Numbers are convincing, but these pictures really tell the story.

We'll be having people over occasionally to see the garden in person, and hopefully I'll also have a couple videos sometime. So if you'd like to talk about how we did it, and how you can do it too, send me an email!
 
 
One networking event venue I've been meaning to review is the Havana Room in Northern Liberties. I was there recently for a Who'ja networking event, and was happy to go visit the area because it had been a while since I used to wander around there taking photos for studio class.

The Havana Room is attached to the North Shore Beach Club, right across Germantown Ave from the Piazza, a development with lots of shops and housing. The parking situation is still precarious in this neighborhood, but generally it was easy to find after looking online at the Google Maps satellite image. The area has a lot more people now than when I used to visit for school, which means it's safer but more of a pain to go there now.

Approaching on foot, I can tell that the nifty looking wood they applied to the outside of the beach club is a thinly veiled attempt to cover up shoddy masonry work underneath. Since I don't know if this is a new building or an older one, I chose not to hold it against them. If I hadn't been trained in architecture I doubt it would have been noticeable. What did disturb me, however, were the stairs up into the building. The first step is shorter in height than the other steps - by how much I'm not sure but it might be an inch or so - and thus I tripped on the second step. Most people who've never been there probably also trip on the second step because the first step usually sets the pace for the rest of them. Since the first step is shorter, it's quite a surprise to stub your toe on the second one. This might be quite a hazard in the winter if it weren't under a roof! Am I being a bit nitpicky? Yes. But it's not safe and deserves to be mentioned. And it should be fixed!

Once safely at the top of the steps the story changes! The pool is rightthere to the left. (no that was not a typo) It's surprisingly open just through the door. And on the right is the Havana Room. This place is pretty good for a networking event. The space by the entry is large enough for a small crowd, and the ceiling is low enough that the noise isn't unbearable. There are a variety of tables and booths scattered about. The finishes seemed clean and fairly well done. And the colors they chose are dark and soothing.

Their bar is really interesting. It's an irregular polygon in plan, with a nifty offset shaped soffit within. They use the soffit as their menu and have interesting lighting highlighting the back bar area. The only thing I was was there are hooks below the bar top to hang purses because the actual surface area of the bar isn't all that expansive. But at least it is visually interesting!

Beyond the entry and bar area is a wall of storefront style windows overlooking an outdoor eating and performing area which is just down some stairs. (wooden stairs this time, thankfully!) This more intimate area has standard tables underneath umbrellas and trellises and surrounded by potted plants and interesting landscape lighting. They have a small stage area underneath a larger trellis structure suitable for a 3 or 4 piece musical ensemble, which was being more than adequately utilized for the Who'ja event. I liked the ambiance of this space, but most of the networking-event-goers were up in the bar area (of course). It's kinda like the stairs are a barrier between those focused on networking and those interested in food and music...

Other than the architecture, the service was great and the drinks were good. I really liked the appetizers but wished there were more. Naturally, since I don't eat chicken I missed out on a couple offerings. As the evening started to wind down I got myself some guacamole, and it was pretty darn good. I only say that because I was so hungry I wolfed it down without really tasting it. lol.

And I have recommended the Havana Room to a friend who was looking for venues to perform... actually it's for my friend's brother who plays the guitar, but ya know I think it could be fun to have a dj there sometime too. Though I read somewhere that they don't intend to do that type of thing. Anyway, it's worth a visit either for a networking event or in general for fun Cuban dining.
 
 
Dear fluffs,

Why can't you all just get along? I mean really!!

Pepper, what's with picking on Clover in the FUV, or keeping Pumpkin away from the food? They're so much smaller, and you're fat. You don't need all the food/grass. You can afford to share. Especially since Summer is coming, and you know how hot you get with all that fat under those heavy black feathers!

Cinnamon, yes I love you too. If I could hold you all day long I would, but I can't. Mommy's got things to do. I know laying an egg is so dreadful and you think you can't possibly go on without your daily two-hour snuggle, but at some point I do have to put you down. You'll just have to live with it.

Pumpkin, what on Earth is that noise for??? It's so irritating! You're not a rooster, so stop trying to act like one. You've never event MET a rooster! I can't believe such a small birdy can make such a racket! And for goodness sakes, will you please eat the treats when I give them to you? You need to eat more.

Clover, you're such a sweetie. Keep it up. Good birdy. I don't know how you turned out so calm and quiet being raised with Pumpkin, but I thank my lucky stars.

Sugar, you're a mess. I don't know what's up with you, but I really wish you could speak English instead of Chickenese. That thing you "laid" earlier today... WTF? You poor sick little birdy. You should take better care of yourself. Get ready for a bath tomorrow, because gurl, you need it bad!

Alright everybirdy, I know things are tough with all this rain, but you lived through the hurricane last year. Things are not as bad as you think they are, so please cut out the whining.

Also, good job on the eggs lately. You've been keeping them pretty clean, and I really appreciate it. The lovely women who buy them from me really appreciate it too. I know they say they don't mind a little poop, but I think secretly they do mind, and the greatly reduced poop-on-egg level is really awesome.

Now if only we could get you to wipe your feet...

Well that's all for today. Now mommy has a networking event to go to, so be good for daddy. You know how he is. There are a bunch of strawberries for you if

Love you,
mommy