Wednesday, October 29, 2008

turning on the thermostat

We'd been putting it off, but we finally turned on the heat yesterday for the first time. It was 59° F in our apartment and we decided that was cold enough. We installed a new programmable thermostat just in time. I've got pictures and I'll try to blog about it soon, but I have a big deadline next week and I still don't have my new computer so no photos until then.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

last farmers market and first frost

Today was the last Pilsen farmers market of 2008. Neither of the regular produce vendors were there, so sadly I was unable to stock up on winter squash and apples as I'd planned. I wish I'd been able to go last week but I was out of town! According to the other people I talked to, the farmers didn't have enough produce left to make it worth the trip. It sounds like next year they'll end the market sooner.

There were pumpkins for sale and most of the regular neighborhood food vendors (Cafe Aorta, Soy Organic, Kristoffers) and of course the honey vendor.

(Photos to follow next week- I don't have space on my hard drive to download the photos from my camera!) ***UPDATE: Photos added November 10, 2008***

As I write this post it is 38° F at Midway Airport with 16 mph winds, 29 mph gusts, and some rain drops. It is fiercely windy and cold. The forecast calls for a low of 35° F but a chance of snow tonight and tomorrow morning (How does that work? Snow above 32° F?). So, I did a lot of pre-frost container garden work this evening.

I brought my window boxes into the kitchen to transplant my springeri ferns, cordyline, and sweet potato vines like I said I would eariler. I'm also going to try keeping my nasturtium inside.

I did all of the most important transplanting, but I still have to finish cleaning the window boxes because there's a lot of dirt left in them.

Then I went outside and cut all of the basil that wasn't already brought inside. We'll make our last pesto batches of the season tomorrow. I picked all of the tomatoes, ripe and unripe. My last two brandywines still aren't quite ripe, nor were my roma tomatoes. The plant finally produced some tomatoes without blossom end rot and I had to harvest them green. (photos in another post next week)

There's no denying it now- winter is upon us :-(

Monday, October 20, 2008

still no frost in sight

We ate another batch of pesto with cherry tomatoes for dinner tonight (our fourth or fifth this year) and the basil is still growing. There's still no frost in the forecast, so I think I'm clear at least through the weekend. I've been putting off the final basil harvest and transferring many of my window box plants inside. Hopefully I can get them transplanted this weekend. I think we'll harvest all of the basil the night before the first forecast frost.

Photos to follow later this week, I hope!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apple goes gold

I'm still here and I really will blog more! I have a lot of pictures to post, but as I think I've mentioned before my poor little computer's hard drive is soooooooo full. However, I am about to get a new laptop and then I'll be able to download pictures from my camera to my heart's content because the new hard drive will be more than 10 times as large! So, until I get my new computer, I thought I should write about it.

Earlier this week Apple released their new MacBooks and MacBook Pros which have some major improvements that make them much more environmentally friendly. They have reduced the amount of heavy metals used in production, used materials that are more easily recycled (aluminum and glass), made the computers more energy efficient, and reduced the product packaging.

The new Apple laptops have been rated Gold by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). You can see other Gold rated laptops and see the critera used to rate them.

I'm buying the best MacBook I can get right now with the intention that it will last me for the duration of my Ph.D. (4-5 more years). My computer isn't dead yet, so I'll definitely be finding it a new home to extend its useful life for as long as possible. It is so important to keep computers and other electronic waste out of landfills- and to recycle them in a way that doesn't put human health at risk.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Little garden in Little Italy

Last week I noticed this garden while I was biking down Taylor Street between UIC's east and west campuses. It's in front of an abandoned building that is adjacent to Arringo Park and across from Bar Louie.

They have a few watermelons in the garden.

Flowers & Food

You can see the trees of Arringo Park in the background.

The garden is completely fenced in but has its own water supply. I wonder who takes care of it? It looks great! I didn't see any signs but it's possible I missed them completely while peering through the fence at the plants.