Intro to my garden patch!

Each of the street trees in New York has a little patch of dirt around it (“tree square”). The NYC Parks department owns them, but officially sanctions adding plantings around the tree to reduce erosion and runoff (as long as you don’t kill the tree).

My local tree squares were sadly bare, so I took them over after seeing a guy down the street planting tulips! Competition is non-existent. In fact, I get a lot of weird stares when gardening 🙂 I was fortunate that the closest tree square is quite large (around 50 sq ft), although the tree, a red oak, has lots of shallow roots that get in the way.

The main garden layout. Seeds were donated by sibling C. Bearded irises were from my mom. They should be quite hardy. Mint was transplanted from an indoor hydroponic garden setup. The sweet potatoes were grown inside from a couple sprouting grocery store sweet potatoes.

The fence was used (“for parts”) on eBay. Apparently it was from a junk yard. It was the cheapest fence option I could find.

Side view. I’ve been encouraging the melons and sweet potatoes to vine around the fence.
I planted a few squash seeds in the next tree square down the street. The one in the center is doing well (although I have to trim back the weeds occasionally to make sure it gets enough sun), but the one on the side got trampled and never recovered.

I’ve decided that I’m willing to eat street-grown food, but only in cooked form. Who knows what goes on in the tree squares!

Disposing of old drugs

I’ve been struggling to “properly” throw away some old medications recently. You’re not supposed to put them down the drain because they aren’t removed in the water treatment process and can end up contaminating your or downstream areas’ water supply. The landfill seems fine to me (they are pretty good at keeping things contained), but drug disposal programs apparently incinerate everything, which is better.

I figured that most pharmacies would have take-back programs, but I guess not! I visited a handful of places, chosen for their convenient location or because an (out-of-date) city website listed them. Some of the pharmacies I tried to go to didn’t even exist at that location any more!

I finally had luck with a DEA drop-off finder tool (thanks for finding it, J!). The drop-off I went to only took pills, though, no liquids.

Another ‘nother rag rug

I just finished another requested rag rug from sibling C. The first request was finished around this time last year, and a non-requested rug + instructions a few years ago.

This rug is meant to replace a solid-color rug that shows hair and dirt too easily 🙂 The rug uses a new-to-me construction method.

You lay out strips side to side as a warp — I initially had this on a makeshift cardboard loom. The length should be the length you want your rug. Then you take strips of fabric and twine them around each other while doing plain weave. The warp ends up completely hidden.
Used part of a sheet, several pairs of underwear (the elastic was worn out), 3+ tshirts (including one I pulled out of the trash when I realized I was running out of white), and one button-up (stained).

The final rug looks nice but it was sloooow to make and pretty difficult to keep the tension even.

Central Park and warmer weather

We’ve braved going out more now. Especially with the warmer, sunnier weather, others are venturing out too.

That field in the back was so full. I thought at first that picnickers came for a special event, but I think everyone just had the idea in tandem.
In the deeper recesses of the park, you can almost not see any buildings.

Spring bulbs

Early on in the season we saw crocuses and snowdrops, and some grape hyacinths, but the majority of the bulbs in New York seem to be daffodils and tulips.

They seemed to come up quite late despite early warm spells.

Some extravagant varieties.

New plants

With the hotter summer weather, a lot of my pea plants died 🙁 The two that survived aren’t doing so well and are likely to die in the next week – we’re having a bit of a heat wave here.

We ate a pea! We had an additional 20 peas, but I saved them as seed to plant next year.

I’ve been looking for veggies that like hot weather. Some old sweet potatoes sprouted a bunch, so we planted those. And my mom sent some seeds to try out! We’ve got basil, shiso, and melon (from sibling C’s garden). I’m excited to see how they do!

The sweet potatoes are growing vigorously! Dead peas against the window.

HiroNori Craft Ramen

Went to HiroNori Craft Ramen in Santa Clara. It had 4.5 stars on Yelp so I was obligated to go.

Yelp reservation only. Worked out pretty well, and it was a better experience than waiting in line for 2 hours at Ramen Nagi. Although I do like waiting in lines…

The menu.

Tonkotsu ramen. It was pretty good! Would recommend. For first timers they give you the “garlic black oil” (you can see it in the picture below), a $1 value, for free. The garlic oil was quite good and I’ll probably order it next time, so I guess their advertising scheme worked.

Chicken karaage. Also quite good! It came with some sauce that was also very good. The aforementioned black garlic oil is in the upper left.

Overall I’d say it was solidly solid. I think I like the ramen and the customization options at Ramen Nagi a bit better, but HiroNori compares quite favorably (with no waiting in line). And the chicken karaage was really good, which Ramen Nagi doesn’t offer. I’ll be back.

Electric Scooters in SF

We came across these electric scooter things all around San Francisco.

I tried renting the scooter, but it didn’t work 🙁

They sure put a lot of these things around. Even though the scooter I found didn’t work, I’m sure there’s a working one somewhere out there.

SF Laundromat: Laundré

An upscale laundromat in the heart of the Mission district.

Wow so fancy.

Millennials can enjoy their avocado toast while they wait for their laundry to finish.

For only $10 a load, you too can enjoy an exquisite laundry experience.