The Last Tomato

In October or November when I pull up the tomato plants for the year I pick all the green tomatoes and bring them into the house.

I don’t especially like fried green tomatoes, the traditional recipe, but I have occasionally made spicy green salsa with them. Most of the time I just leave them out on the counter and let them ripen up.

Counter-ripened green tomatoes are pretty sketchy — at least half won’t ripen at all and will just turn brown and go bad. The ones that do ripen have a funny texture and not a lot of taste. But it’s still nice to continue to eat home-grown tomatoes well into wintertime.


Which brings me to this tomato, the last one from last year’s plants. This is a San Marzano, a saucing tomato, so it’s supposed to be a dry tomato even in summer and ripened on the vine. This one was especially dry, white in the middle, crunchy, and mostly tasteless. Not exactly the kind of tomato you look forward to. I combined it with some expensive winter supermarket tomatoes (“on the vine”) and ate it with my breakfast eggs.

Nonetheless, February is kind of a record for me for finishing last year’s tomatoes.

Imagining your future projects is holding you back.

Idea Debt is when you spend too much time picturing what a project is going to be like, too much time thinking about how awesome it will be to have this thing done and in the world, too much time imagining how cool you will look, how in demand you’ll be, how much money you’ll make. And way too little time actually making the thing.

I am totally guilty of this. A really good read.

Source: Imagining your future projects is holding you back.

London’s Big Dig Reveals Amazing Layers of History

Scientists plan to run tests on some of the remains in hopes of learning about the evolution of the plague bacterium that killed so many. “One of the great mysteries is why the plague never returned to London after 1665,” Carver says. “Up until that time it was a fairly regular visitor to the city, but never afterwards. Why? What changed? We’re hoping this can provide some answers.”

Exhuming plague victims to find out why the plague stopped happening? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG??

(Aside from that this whole article is fascinating, and the photography is beautiful.)

Source: London’s Big Dig Reveals Amazing Layers of History

Spread Too Thin Over Social Media

If you’re one of the very small handful of people who read this blog (Hi small handful!), you may have noticed that I published a link over the weekend, and then unpublished it again. You may also note I’ve started cross-posting the pictures I post on Instagram.

I have active social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook, and to a lesser extent Instagram and Pinterest. I have a moribund flickr account. I keep my LinkedIn account updated for work and occasionally read LinkedIn groups. I deleted my google+ account. I do nothing with medium, Tumblr, reddit, vine, and possibly a zillion other sites I’ve forgotten I actually signed up for.

Of all the social media accounts, Twitter is the one where I “live” most of the time. On Twitter I keep up with my feed, I tweet my own tweets as well as links and photos, and I retweet lots of stuff. I read Facebook, but I don’t feel at home there the way I do on Twitter. I don’t really do more than occasionally check other social media sites once or twice a week.

When I restarted this blog I figured I’d put stuff on here that was longer-form than Twitter, but more public than Facebook, and go into more detail about my obsessive gardening hobby. Which is fine, and that’s still the plan, but there are things that feel weird to post here — links are the big one, but there’s also some writing I want to do about work that feels weird intermixed with garden posts and photos. The whole thing is making me feel stretched thin and kind of puzzled about where my “home” is now. If every social media site is a garden that needs regular weeding and planting and upkeep, I’m having trouble maintaining all the gardens.

Initially I thought I would just cross-post stuff from one site to another, maybe set up some automatic cross-posting via IFTTT, and cut down on the maintenance. I used to automatically cross-post from Twitter to Facebook, but I stopped doing that because it’s annoying to people who follow you on multiple sites, and also because on Facebook the audience and the tone is slightly different.

Cross-posting also has issues where the actual thing you’re linking to can get buried behind a bunch of other links from site to site to site and you lose the context of the actual thing. I have a friend who has recently been posting Twitter links on Facebook and then cross-posting them back to Twitter. And I’ve often seen posts that are screenshots of Twitter, posted to Instagram and then cross-posted to Facebook and back to Twitter. Yeesh.

At any rate I am experimenting more with this blog, I am trying to figure out the right places to put things, and how to maintain multiple social media presences without ending up spending my entire day on the internet posting and cross-posting and cross-cross-posting. I don’t have a plan yet, so if you see things get posted and unposted and reposted please bear with me.

If My Cats Could Talk

(A tribute to/riff on If My Dog Could Talk from small victories)

Me: Nothing. I just stood up.
Me: Yes, I’m literally walking just six feet away into the —
Me: I just fed you ten minutes ago.
Me: That’s too bad, I —
Me: You’re going to have to wait until lunch.
Me: Well, no, you’re five. You’re done growing.
Me: Well, yes, equatorially, which is exactly why you do not get more food right now.
Cat #2: Pardon me. If I could have just a moment of your time?
Me: I’m just here to make coffee.
Me: You wouldn’t like coffee. You didn’t like coffee last time.
Cat #2: Forgive the intrusion. I could not help but notice that you are in the kitchen and yet you are not currently involved in any particular occupation. May I humbly suggest —
Me: I mean it —
Cat #3: *stomp* *stomp* *biff* *pow*

Kishu Mandarins



Four years ago I ordered a Kishu mandarin orange tree online from Four Winds Growers, at great expense, and it showed up at my house as a tiny little stick tree in a long thin box.

Kishu mandarins are like other mandarin-style oranges — small, seedless, easy-to-peel, and tasty — but they’re only about the diameter of a quarter.


I can’t for the life of me remember why I bought the Kishu mandarin in the first place. I remember that I wanted to grow a mandarin orange tree. Those boxes of small tasty Clementine-Style (“cutie”) mandarins had become popular in supermarkets, and I buy a lot of them when they’re in season. And I think I had a friend who had mentioned finding the Kishus at a farmer’s market in SF or Berkeley and loved them. I’m always up for growing something unusual, so I took the chance on this tree.

Citrus trees do very well for me in pots on the porch. Dwarf varieties are easy to manage in pots, but they still bear heavily with regular watering and fertilizer. In case of especially cold nights I can pull them under the roof overhang or cover them to keep them from getting frost damaged or killed.


I planted the Kishu mandarin that first year in a small pot, and then a few years ago moved it to a larger pot. The first couple years I only got a few oranges. This year there are a lot.

The kishu is a good orange, but I can’t say it’s a significantly better orange than other mandarins I’ve tasted. And the small size means that, proportionally, you have to peel a lot of them to get the same amount of sweet fruit that you would with a larger mandarin.

When I was buying full-size mandarins at farmer’s markets I liked the Murcotte and Page varieties. I’ve been eating some Satsumas this month that are amazing. I probably won’t abandon the Kishu, but I might buy another tree. There’s still room on my porch.