Scenes from the Backyard: Nature Trumps Nurture

CilantroLast spring, my roommate, our friend (the sous-chef), and I stuck a few cilantro plants in our herb garden. We’d barely harvested any of it before the weather turned hot and the cilantro started blooming. When cilantro is ready to bloom, it sends up stiff flower stems with sparse, frilly leaves that are nearly useless for cooking. And once it begins to blossom, the plant spends all its energy on the process, so you don’t get any new growth of the flavorful broader leaves and soft stems that make up the immature plants. The cilantro was the first of many casualties of last summer’s hot, dry weather.

But now it looks as if last year’s gone-to-seed plants set the stage for this year’s cilantro bumper crop! …[MORE]

Do Something Every Day, Part I: A Walk to the Park

Map to Memorial Park
You can get there from here.

Do something every day. That’s the mantra of my exercise program. I repeat this to people all the time: “If I’m sick, or if I’ve worked an 18‑hour day, or if it’s raining, I put on my shoes and I walk around the block.” Something. Every day. It’s how I satisfy the terms of an imaginary contract that my brain has made with my body.

Today, I found myself without a car. My 10‑year‑old Maxima broke down last night, and this morning, a friend helped me jump‑start it and dump it at the mechanic’s shop. I’ll find out tomorrow what’s wrong and when I can have it back.

Meanwhile, I had to get some exercise. …[MORE]