A Day in the Farmers’ Market

Thanks Cherry Street Farmers’ Market for letting us display a small harvest of our ceramic greenbelt meridian cantaloupes.  We have received supportive feedback and hope we can all take care of the world like the kids who held ceramic cantaloupes: with tender care, and with both hands.

This week, Islamic State group militants searched through the Syrian town of Palmyra and they don’t have a good attitude in handling ancient objects with care. Stay strong, Humanity!!!

nice places for nice people to do nice things

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April food’s Day

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Ceramic cantaloupes placed with the real fruits in a Tulsa supermarket. Our melons look pretty real! Thanks the store manager who took the art idea with understanding.

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I cannot ask for a better combination: Pharmacy and cantaloupes, bingo!

Perfect fruits

A far from perfect ceramic cantaloupe.

 

I  have never been a fan of anything that is “perfect”, for example a perfect score, perfect husband, perfect weather, or perfect life. Now perfect fruits under Japanese farmers intensive care grow the king of fruits: cantaloupes. So, how much would you pay for a pair of cantaloupes, a bunch of grapes, or an apple, perfect in size, shape, taste, and color?

In an article Why is fruit so expensive in Japan? “It’s not uncommon to give gifts of fruit in Japan; unlike in the UK, fruit is considered a luxury product, and features heavily in Japan’s gift-giving culture, along with other gourmet foodstuffs including frozen steaks, whisky and black tea.  Gifts are presented not only on special occasions, but as part of a reciprocal tradition to show appreciation, extend courtesy and build relationships. Rarely would anyone turn up at a friend’s house empty-handed, and the exchange is an intrinsic part of business relationships.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/why-is-fruit-so-expensive-in-japan-9605105.html).

The following In pictures from BBC helped me finally understand why two perfect cantaloupes sell for $408. (source:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-radio-and-tv-17359461?fb_ref=Default)

_59165026_melonhats _59165027_greenhouse _59165028_farmer _59165030_melons

_59165031_shopinterior _59165034_strawberries _59165035_applescartoon

In conclusion, thanks to farmers from all over the world (except from Japan) and channels of transportation that our produce to be raised, moved, and sold at all times of the year, cheaply.  While I  enjoy fruits with affordable prices, it is hard to accept the price of some fruit should be more expensive than ceramic art cantaloupes I am producing? The truth is that market forces are able to legitimize unreal practices, like the set of golden standards used to judge dog breed champions at the Westminster dog show.  Is the practice of growing   perfectly formed, seasonal fruit a gift? or a dilemma.

The red soil of Oklahoma

Thursday, James and I went to University of Tulsa Presidential Lecture Series for Jared Diamond’s lecture on Constructive Paranoia and what we could learn from the way traditional societies assess daily risks. At the end of his lecture, when asked about the knowledge of Geography in the USA, Dr. Diamond answered: Not enough. So, with this blog, I studied a little bit more Geography and Geology as well.

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The incredible journey of Lewis and Clark through  the west rangelands captivated our imagination on many levels. Their “Corps of Discovery” set off up the Missouri River into western Montana and on to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis and Clark had specific instructions from the President Jefferson to report on factors that would reveal the potential of this vast new land for agricultural. After the first winter, Lewis and Clark sent samples of soil, minerals, and plants and other items back to the president. Their journals contain the first detailed descriptions of the soils, vegetation, and animals native to an area that now spans 18 different states. Reports coming out of the expedition excited America.  Farmers in New England and the South left depleted farmlands to settle large western farms with rich, prairie soil. While much has changed inside the landscape since the Lewis and Clark expedition, none of us is less dependence on the land nor should we underestimate the bounty it has to offer us. http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/

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wheel with red dirt

Soil samples for Oklahoma State University Soil Lab

Port Silt Loam is the state soil of Oklahoma. This type of soil is reddish in color due to the weathering of reddish sandstones, siltstones, and shales of the Permian Geologic Era.  It is a medium textured soil and is an alluvial soil deposited along flood plains. Soils are often named after an early pioneer, town, county, community or stream in the vicinity where they are first found. The name “Port” comes from the small community of Port located in Washita County, Oklahoma. The name “silt loam” is the texture of the topsoil. This texture consists mostly of silt size particles (.05 to .002 mm), and when the moist soil is rubbed between the thumb and forefinger, it is loamy to the feel, thus the term silt loam.  Port silt loam can be found in 33 of the 77 counties in Oklahoma and covers around one million acres (4,000 km²).  When Port soils are undisturbed, they produce native vegetation including tall grasses with an overstory of pecan, walnut, bur oak, and cottonwood trees. This native condition offers very desirable wildlife habitat for most of Oklahoma’s wildlife species. (you can find out more on soils at www.soils.org)

Soils are one of our most import natural resources and also are important for the beauty their many colors add to our landscape.  Soil colors serve as pigments in bricks, pottery, and artwork. The color and texture of soil painting is fascinating and a creative opportunity I learned from an Oklahoma educator Carolyn Mathews and will post my finding on this blog next time.

A Moldy Cantaloupe in 1941

On July 9, 1941, Howard Florey and Norman Heatley, Oxford University Scientists came to the U.S. with a small but valuable package containing a small amount of penicillin to begin work. Pumping air into deep vats containing corn steep liquor (a non-alcoholic by-product of the wet milling process) and the addition of other key ingredients was shown to produce faster growth and larger amounts of penicillin than the previous surface-growth method. Ironically, after a worldwide search, it was a strain of penicillin from a moldy cantaloupe in a Peoria market that was found and improved to produce the largest amount of penicillin when grown in the deep vat, submerged conditions. The History of Penicillin by Mary Bellis

Because the surface of a cantaloupe can contain harmful  bacteria—in particular, Salmonella—it is always a good idea to wash and scrub a melon thoroughly before cutting and consumption.

If all you have is a hammer

watercolor by James Gallagher

 If all you have is a hammer then I would smash those fences and let the cow eat the tree.

If all you have is a hammer then I would smash those fences and let the tree shade the cow.

There is no greater calamity than not knowing what is enough.

There is no greater fault than to desire to be foremost of all things under heaven.

Knowing that enough is enough is always enough

 If all you have is a hammer, that would be enough

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contain trailer full view

Our project, “If the Only Tool You Have is a Hammer”, began with one simple observation.  The Earth is home to all life.  The earth is our home.  Our container has everything human adaptation requires.  It grows food. It contains food. It travels. The hypothetical cow and fruit tree inside a transplanted transportation device are not presented to highlight modern advances in survival.  They are set in place to cajole us into questioning how the most advanced human logic has come to separate us from the mystic center of life; Earth.  Therefore, our parked  trailer, with its introduced habitat contains the artists’ humble effort to bring the cosmos home.

“If the Only Tool you Have is a Hammer” shipping container was finalized at Kaohsiung Pier 2, Taiwan in 2011. We could never get a real cow to graze on the grassy cart field, however, we found two goats we could house under the container’s roof for a day.  After all, the orange tree withstood replanting and  was harvested (salvaged from recycling).

containter trailer

orange tree and goats

container orange orange

Freight Farms’ green containers: http://freightfarms.com/

Also see: Indoor Farming; Rooftop Farming; Urban Farming and Vertical Farming.

Pinchot Sycamore

pincho tree

The Pinchot Sycamore in Simsbury is the largest tree in Connecticut. When measured by the Connecticut Botanical Society in 2010, the Pinchot Sycamore was almost 28 feet around and 104 feet tall, with an average canopy diameter of 147 feet. The sycamore is estimated to be at least 200 years old, and possibly over 300 years old. The tree was named in honor of influential conservationist and Connecticut resident Gifford Pinchot. It was originally dedicated to Pinchot in 1965, and re-dedicated with an engraved stone marker in 1975. (Wikipedia)

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 I passed  by this old Sycamore many times while  visiting relatives in Simsbury, CT.  My focus changed after I learned of the Great Fire of 1910 and Gifford Pinchot, who was born in Simsbury.  James paid a visit to the Pinchot Sycamore during the New England big chill and sent me this picture, along with photographs of the  town’s giant historic tree.  It is also irony that the tree is unique because it lived through the changes it witnessed.

Engraved Stone

Persimmon Grove

Persimmon Grove, Tulsa Botanic Garden

I was in the middle of the Tulsa Botanic Garden’s Persimmon Grove.  This grove of trees has been designated by the State as an official Centennial Grove Commenorating the first 100 years of Oklahoma’s statehood.  Persimmons are dioecious, individuals are either male or female.  Female trees produce flowers with ovaries that mature into fruits, and male trees produce flowers which only produce pollen.  All trees in this grove are male.

Persimmon trees, Tulsa Botanic Garden

When I saw the persimmon trees for the first time, I pondered. The persimmon fruits were my Taiwan grandmom’s favoirt fruit.  My mother always reminded me to bring persimmons to grandmom whenever I visited her.  However, the fruits are too sweet and too slimmy for my taste, so I never fell in love with them and regret dearly that I had never eaten a “shi zi” with my grandmom.  My grandmon died at age 95.  She never learned how to read and write and never drank a sip of milk.

dried persimmon

Dried persimmons in Xi’an market. Photo by Greg from Richmond, Va, Flickr

Into Chinaberry’s thicket

china berry trees

A dense group in the Foss Lake State Park, Oklahoma

chinaberry

The fruits are poisonous.

A native of Asia, Chinaberry and was brought to the U.S. in the late 1700’s by a French botanist. Chinaberry has been used over the years as an ornamental plant, shade tree, and fuel wood.  In spring, long, fragrant, lilac-like flowers are produced in leaf axils.  Yellow to yellow-green round drupes are formed after flowering and can persist after leaf drop in the fall.  The fruits are mucilaginous and sticky, with hard, round; marble-like seed. Birds spread seed effectively but the fruits are poisonous to humans and other mammals.  Chinaberry is also believed to have allelopathic properties, prohibiting other species to colonize in areas in close proximity to the Chinaberry.  Overall Chinaberry reduces the plant diversity in any area in which it grows.  As an invasive species it spread quickly after it was introduced to Oklahoma, competing for space in environments with many native trees  .

The Loop 610, Houston

Interstate_610_map

In Houston the area inside the 610 Loop is the urban core. A person who lives inside the 610 Loop is called an “inner looper” and Jeff Balke of the Houston Post  wrote that the freeway “is as much a social and philosophical divide as a physical one. ( Wikipedia)