Spring is in the air…

And I bet your allergies are in full bloom, huh? It’s time for the bees (what’s left of them) to do their job and pollinate the land with beautiful flowers, fruits, veggies and more. Too bad we can’t tell them to stay on organic plants. Shameful Monsanto is ruining everything and killing our hardworking honeybees! Without them we are all done for. 60+ other countries recognize this issue of systemic herbicide, GMO, and altering our foods… but I digress. That is a hot issue for me. I just watched Vanishing of the Bees and remembered why I only shop organic EVERYTHING.

So, Spring is here and things are growing. I am fortunate to live in an apartment that gets flooded with morning sunlight. I frequent the farmers market at least 3x a week if not more and thought to myself, why not grow the food in my 11th floor loft? So this is what I have done.

Can you see the sprouts?

Can you see the sprouts?

I am growing herbs like Italian large leaf basil, thyme, oregano, and cilantro. I am also growing Big and Delicious tomatoes, chili peppers and an avocado plant along side flowers like, Love Lies-Bleeding, English Lavender and Forget-Me-Nots. It’s very easy to do, especially if you have egg cartons around and lots of good lighting. I cut the top off my egg carton. You can use both the top and bottom to fill with seed soil to start planting. It’s good to start with the soil moist for seeds to grow, but not too wet. After filling the carton with soil, place about 5 seeds in each mound, spray gently with a mister if you have one nearby and cover with a container for a greenhouse like enclosure. I turned my glass “tupperware” containers upside-down to make a greenhouse. Seeds should start to sprout in a few days to a week depending on the sunlight hitting them and water consumption. They need to have warmth and lots of sunlight. Check the soil everyday to make sure they have enough water. I use my tablespoon to apply more water to each dish almost every day and mist the container tops every night. I would suggest labeling your dishes so you don’t forget what you planted where. I always forget. “) Paper taped to toothpicks work great for labeling. Click here for a guide to help you grow from seed indoors.

6-12-08-avocado

Now, avocados are different since it contains a pit. Take a few toothpicks and insert them into the pit in order to have it rest in a glass cup or jar full of water keeping the top inch dry. Place the jar out of direct sunlight and in a few weeks you should see the plant start to sprout from the top and roots underneath. Replace the water when it gets low. Click here for more info on growing avocado plants. It’s super easy and great for teaching kids to grow plants indoors.

I am itching to grow more. Can’t wait to get organic heirloom tomatoes, organic yellow pear heirloom tomatoes, and more organic seed flowers. Remember Chia plants? They’re super easy to grow with kids or beginners. Tell me what you are growing and your experiences. I am so curious.

*I heard through the grapevine, DTLA is looking into a community garden. Hal Bastian has the land, he just needs experienced people to help run it. “I have been offered a plot of land in Downtown to start a community garden and need someone with community garden experience to volunteer to run it. If you know how to set-up a garden, decide who gets the plots and all the business aspects, please email me to hbastian@downtownla.com” quotes Hal. Let’s figure this out and be gardeners together. I need somewhere to put my compost bin goods.

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“Nothing but blue skies do I see…”

The weather is warming up Angelenos. How do you spend your sunny SoCal days? Are you an early morning riser or a late night owl? My loft has huge windows that let in an insane amount of early morning light which has me waking earlier than I ever would have on my own. I used to consider myself a late night owl, but now a days I think I am swaying towards the early risers. Watching the sunrise or at least catching a glimpse of the sun just after it peaks the horizon is magical! The sky looks as if someone painted it with watercolors. As soon as I get up the first thing I do is open the windows wide and let in the morning air, so crisp and cool before the day takes over with its blanket of heat.

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Today is Pershing Square’s Farmers Market. Nearly ever day somewhere in the city there is a farmer’s market. Pershing Square is close by and has a large assortment of fresh produce with some farmers selling goods without pesticides, or so they claim. I noticed lots of people taking advantage of the weather, lunching at the tables near the center of the square. I was pleased to see a brand new plot of grass in the center, though I am not sure how long it will last. I filled my reusable bag with as many veggies to last a few days of juicing and a quick lunch with my cousin. As I was walking home, the song Blue Skies was drifting through my head… “Blue Skies… Smiling at me… Nothing but blue skies… Do I see… ”

Here is Ella Fitzgerald singing her version…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epRXoS_P0lk

Enjoy the sun in whatever way you can. Even if it’s only for a moment to close your eyes and soak up the rays, take that moment for yourself, your soul will thank you. Happy Blue Skies to you all… enjoy the California sunshine.

Pershing Square of yesteryear.

Pershing Square of yesteryear.

Pershing Square today

Pershing Square’s only grassy area.

Pershing Square today.

Pershing Square today. What happened to all the greenery? It will be nice when they finally redesign the park. Too much is concrete.

Sans automobile in Los Angeles?

I recently sold my car… I know, I know… having a car in Los Angeles is really a must, but I have sold my car non the less in hopes that public transportation will deliver me to my destinations. I will lower my carbon footprint and demand more out of mass transit. Win win right?! So far, I have been pleasantly surprised as to what is available to people sans automobile.

Take for example yesterday, my boyfriend and I took a trip up to Griffith Park Observatory on Mt. Hollywood. We walked a few blocks to the underground Metro at Pershing Square, hopped on the RED LINE for $1.50 each, took it to the Vermont/Sunset stop, caught DASH’s weekend only Griffith Observatory Shuttle for .50 cents per person. The shuttle drops you off directly in front of the Observatory, how convenient! From there, we “hiked” (walked along) the Mt. Hollywood Hiking Trail to the tip top to view all of Los Angeles. The trail head is found just at the entrance of the parking lot. At the top you will see everything from the famous Hollywood sign, to downtown, Burbank and beyond. It was so gorgeous out even the butterflies were dancing in the breeze. Many people were out from all over! Some jogging, families brought their lunch to picnic,and some people rode on horseback to the top! The trail is moderately easy as far as hiking goes, but it’s a great outdoor walk if you feel like escaping the city for a day. It’s not far from downtown either, it probably took about 35 min from my house to the Observatory.

View from atop the Griffith Observatory overlooking the grounds, Mt Hollywood and the Hollywood sign.

View from atop the Griffith Observatory overlooking the grounds, Mt Hollywood and the Hollywood sign.

Inside the Dome of Griffith Observatory houses the Zeiss 12 inch refracting telescope.

Inside the Dome of Griffith Observatory houses the Zeiss 12 inch refracting telescope.

 

Recap… Metro RED line + DASH + Hike = perfect car free outing in LA!

.. and it was only $4 RT! what?! Plus, when we got up the mountain to the observatory I noticed many cars were idling waiting for a parking spot for 10+ minutes. So even if we had driven up there, it would have been a nightmare finding a parking spot. In addition, the DASH makes a few stops on it’s soute to and from the Observatory. So if you wanted to, you could stop over to see the latest art at La Luz de Jesus,  grab brunch from Figaro’s, lunch at Alcove and dinner after your “hike” at Home. It just seems so much easier to use public transportion then stress about parking and waisting gas looking for said parking spot. Besides traffic these days is an adventure unto its own. I for one am happy to toss out my car and use my legs to get around.

Hollywood sign in the distance.

Hollywood sign in the distance.

 

A view of the snow capped mountains way off in the distance.

A view of the snow capped mountains way off in the distance.

A view of downtown Los Angeles.

A view of downtown Los Angeles.

 

for more on LA Metro click here

for more on DASH click here

 

A room with a view

Waking up in a loft with windows that face the morning light is magical. Though at first I was not a fan of such early rising, I have now adapted to the light and learned to love it. My loft faces east with giant windows that take up our entire eastern facing wall. And to my luck, we only have a short building across the street that blocks half the view otherwise I can see Mt. Baldy on a clear day. myview

Today on the other hand is quite gloomy and cold. I can see the hills just barely as the fog is blanketing their grounds. I can see the cars in the distance chugging along the freeway trying to get somewhere in la. Not many birds out today, probably huddled together under a tree waiting out this weather. Normally I see a hawk flying around looking for its next meal. As for me, I am cuddled up in a blanket drinking tea, reading and watching my cat sitting on the ledge of our window seal watch all the people hurrying below. All bustled in their coats, hats and scarfs. You would think it’s going to snow, but it’s only California rain. The city always looks so crisp and clean after a good rain. I smile in anticipation for the rain to end when I get to see the city buildings in their glory of the sunshine. I always love a good rainy day. The sound of the drops on the window is beautiful, the smells are wonderful and the aftermath is even better.

What are you doing today? Where ever you are, if you are outside (if you aren’t, go outside) stop, close your eyes and breathe in to remind yourself that today is just one day of many. Make it a good one. Enjoy the cold Angelenos, summer will be here before you know it.

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