I feel compelled to compile some information related to the recent reversal of a planned ban of a common, yet dangerous, pesticide. I hadn’t actually heard of the generic name of this poison until the new EPA administrator announced he was halting the steps to ban it. [modified 5/19/2017]
“By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making – rather than predetermined results.” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
- An article covering the public comment period on the regulatory reform agenda of Trump, Pruitt, et al. In other words, I’m trying to begin with something positive and empowering. Here’s the actual comment form. The deadline is May 15. Look for the “Comment Now” button in the top right-hand corner.
- Forbes has a great overview about the chlorpyrifos reversal
- “Poisons are us” | A compelling opinion piece by Timothy Egan
- Dow Chemical tries to kill risk study of its chlorpyrifos
- Here’s the National Pesticide Information Center general fact sheet on chlorpyrifos. The publication provides a very basic, yet alarming, explanation of why children are more sensitive to the insecticide. Studies have found that children who had chlorpyrifos in their blood had more developmental delays and disorders than those who did not. In addition, it states that chlorpyrifos is toxic to bees and earthworms. “It can poison non-target insects for up to 24 hours after it is sprayed. Chlorpyrifos can be toxic to earthworms for up to 2 weeks after it is applied to the soil.” Doesn’t that seem counterproductive — especially in its agricultural applications?
- A strong case against a pesticide does not faze EPA under Trump
- Letter from over 45 Scientists and Health Professionals Supporting EPA’s 2016 Risk Assessment and 2015 Proposal to Revoke Food Tolerances for Chlorpyrifos [pdf]
Please contact your federal legislators about the chlorpyrifos reversal, as well as the plans for repealing other EPA regulations.
A year ago the city installed a sidewalk on our street (March 28, 2016, to be exact), and we asked them to not spread the dirt and lay sod after the work was done. We wanted to keep the “berm” created by the displaced soil. At first it was a lot of work to remove big rocks and create a somewhat uniform mound, so we wondered if we made the right decision. And it continues to take effort to (attempt to) fend off the bermuda and crab grasses. Would we do it again? Unequivocally, yes. If entertainment value alone were the only metric: yes, yes, yes. The berm has given us so much:
- Food for humans and other animals: culinary and medicinal herbs, eggplant, okra, winter peas, sunflower seeds, nectar, and more to come.
- Community: We are playing or working out there often, so we get to wave to drivers or chat with walkers. The berm is a conversation piece. Some people clearly are baffled and others are inspired. Either way, we eagerly share our experiences, challenges, and future plans. Also, we were flush with cowpeas and now winter peas, so we share with our neighbors.
- Activity: The berm hums with life. The berm provides opportunities for wonderment and movement with purpose — both are a joy to share with our daughter.
- Beauty: Flowers! See photos and plant varieties below. I sought out advice for seeds that might have a fighting chance against the invasive grasses. The best performer was cowpeas: They thrived all summer and fall and they’re pretty, edible nitrogen fixers.
- Buffer: Our house is situated on a curve and the berm gives me a sense of security when we’re playing in the front yard and a car takes the bend too fast. I feel less exposed in general, but even more so when the mammoth sunflowers are up and we have a “living fence.”
Before the berm
The city installed sidewalks
Brian working on the berm
Brian watering the berm
Feel the berm
What we planted in the spring:
“bee feed” mix
Oriental scarlet poppy
red marietta marigold*
purple prairie clover
What we planted in the fall:
Windsor fava beans
To save money, we planted a lot of seeds and just a few transplants (eggplant, sage, rosemary, hibiscus). We’re hoping that many plants will readily re-seed this spring and we’ll plant seeds I saved at the end of the season.
Have you missed me? So much has changed that scrolling through the previous 10 entries conjures memories from a previous life. But that’s not to say things aren’t good. They are. Beautiful, awe-inducing, emotional, complicated, challenging, and precious.
My little Oklavore just turned 1 and it’s been about a year since I posted. Coincidence? I think not.
Continued silence around here is likely, but I am hoping to get back to documenting our adventures with local food and other food-related interests. Our baby brings more joy and meaning to all aspects of our life, including (and especially?) food.
The last couple of summers, I have been lucky enough to be invited out to Rose Ranch to pick wild blackberries. Last summer was no different. Well — it was different, in a big way, because Rose Ranch had just lost Don Rose. As I headed out toward the brambles, there was a muffled quiet like when you navigate a crowded space while wearing ear plugs. It was as though the ranch was observing silence at the loss of its caretaker. I pondered what Vicki might be going through and quietly, meditatively picked the berries from the thorny vines that snagged my shirt and jeans. I felt grateful for the opportunity to be in Don’s domain while mourning his absence. We miss you, Don.
I picked several pounds of blackberries. I ate more than my share of raw berries, froze some for a future crisp, and decided to experiment with blackberry-infused vinegar to make a drinking vinegar, known as a “shrub.” The color and flavor of the berries leached into the white vinegar as it sat in the cupboard for almost one month. To the strained vinegar, I added sugar and simmered it to make a syrup, which is used to flavor carbonated water. Refreshing! Bracing! Add some spirits, if you wish.
Making the shrub syrup
It’s been about three months since I moved in with Brian. Our household boasts an impressive collection of cast iron skillets and mason jars waiting to be filled with homemade goodies like jam, pickled peppers, and barbecue sauce. Oh, and the assemblage of spices and dried herbs! One exciting weekend we spread them out on the kitchen table and thoughtfully culled the dated, mysterious, or simply redundant bottles and baggies. More recently I consolidated our seed collections while Brian baked a fish pie — perfect activities for a rainy Sunday in December. Seeds saved from our respective gardens were tucked into envelopes made from the colorful pages of last year’s seed catalogs. Then I trimmed and stamped old file folders to separate and alphabetize the packets. Brian’s mom, Linda, recently took us shoe shopping for Christmas and an empty Asics box became our seed storage bin. Simple and satisfying!
July 4th in Prospect Park
We made a big batch of avocado popsicles
We learned how to kill and clean chickens. It was one of our first dates.
Delicious lunch at True Food Cafe in Denver
Cooking his homemade bacon on our camping trip
Brian with his baby fig tree
That time we made ricotta
Shenanigans and ice cream on our way up Mt. Scott
His sketches of our charcuterie plans
We attempted to make wine with grapes from the backyard
All kinds of homemade pizza in our past and future
Making fresh salsa
Meet Brian. Today is his birthday!
This man has been part of, if not responsible for, many delicious meals and food adventures since we met two years ago at an Asian-themed dinner party in my friend Marcy’s serene backyard
. He was a guest; I was wearing a yukata and ensuring everyone’s enjoyment, namely by refilling sake cups. It was an easy (and serendipitous) gig. I overheard him speaking emphatically about ginger and pork and my ears perked up. He’s held my rapt attention ever since.
All the details are here!