Tomorrow is the birth anniversaries of Amerigo Vespucci (1454), cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and Vyacheslav Molotov (interesting story on how the incendiary devises came by his name 1890).  Barbie debuted in 1959, General Grant was commissioned commander of the union forces in 1864 and it is the anniversary of the Tokyo blanket bombing where 343 Superfortresses carried all the incendiary bombs they could carry and 16 square miles of paper and wood homes were leveled and the death toll was over 83,000.

The Seventh Annual Farm to Table Conference is scheduled March 22 and 23 at DL Convention Center.  The have over 65 exhibitors scheduled and plan on having networking, educational opportunities, cooking demonstrations, gardening tips and much more.  Various prices depending on various options, go to their website for details.

The Pittsburgh Public Market seems to have found a new home.  Neighbors in the Strip, their sponsor, signed a lease in the 2400 block of Penn Avenue, execution of the lease depends on them raising the money needed to renovate the building.  One asset this new property has is it’s on the level with the sidewalk which makes it wheelchair accessible.  Another is it offers twice the square footage.  Another is it gets them away from those evil people at Buncher Development (did I mention I have no respect for those money hungry, no respect for our history or historic preservation?).  Also in the plan is to create a commercial kitchen, which would be a real asset for a venue such as this.  This would give the vendors access to legal commercial kitchen space and give the opportunity to give cooking classes, etc.

I like the term “fractivists”.  I am very much in favor of extracting energy sources with a lesser carbon foot print, but safely.  The ultimate  energy source would be totally green with no carbon foot print, but this is the real work and we need compromise.  We are and will be for decades, paying for “industrialists” that took the coal from under us and we have that unhealthy, smelly and deadly to aquatic animals acid mine drainage.  Lets not do that again.  You can call me many things, some I may not approve of, fractivist would not be one of those.  🙂

OK, are you ready to Pysanky?  Do you have any idea what I’m talking about (or care)?  Pysanky is the Ukrainian tradition of ensuring the earth’s survival through decorating eggs.  It keeps us in balance. Pysanky is the art of placing  bee’s wax (or is it bees’ wax)  🙂 with a funnel funneling the wax unto specific areas of the egg you want to stay white.  You then dip the egg in the lightest color of dye.  Cover the section(s) that you want to remain that color with bee’s wax (or is it bees’ wax) and dip the egg in the next darker color of dye.  Continue this process and when you have achieved the pattern you are looking for, peel off the wax.   They will be teaching Pysanky at the Sewickley Public Library Saturday from 1 pm until 4 pm.  If you are busy Saturday, you can go to St John Russian Orthodox Church at 450 Glenwood Drive, Ambridge, PA any Friday in Lent from 7 to 9 pm.

Keystone Oak High School is sponsoring an electronics recycling next Saturday (March 16) from 10 am until 1 pm.  It is now illegal in Pennsylvania to dispose of electronic equipment in landfills anymore.  They are setting up in the middle school parking lot (next to the high school).  There is no charge.

Several years ago New York City created the High Line Park, built on an unused elevated rail line.  The founders of Low Line Park just reached their Kickstarter goal of $155K to get this underground park built.  Dan Barasch, co-founder of the non-profit for this park wants to take the old Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal in the Lower East Side and convert this underground terminal into a park complete with natural light so plants can grow.  He plans on using a new technology that captures natural light above ground and moves it through fiber optics below ground.  An added benefit of this system is the dangerous UV wave lengths will not be transported down the fiber optic channels.   There are many architectural features still down there that he plans on using in the final design.

Years ago I was involved with a local company cafeteria that was the first step outside the institutional setting of the Goodwill training program for food service workers.  If the trainees passed the mustard in my cafeteria, they graduated to regular jobs on the outside.  Recently I read an article in the PAII newsletter about an initiative in St Augustine, Florida where the local bed and breakfast association started a food service training program for convicted criminals either recently released on about to be released so they could learn marketable skills.  Recently, Jennifer Flanagan founded Springboard Kitchen over on 9th Street on the Southside by Mercy Behavioral Health as a food service training program for clients that have “barriers to employment”.  Several other very interesting things about this endeavor includes over 10,000 pounds of fresh foods rescued.  To accomplish a goal of providing fresh foods, the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank ends up with perishable foods that are nearing the end of their shelf life.  That’s when Chef Josh Den Boer and crew step in.  Frequently they don’t have immediate uses for this perishable food, so Chef Josh needs to figure out how to break it down, cook it down, freeze it or preserve it.  Pretty amazing.  And there’s another goal with Springboard, serving food-insecure or at risk people.  Jennifer’s goal here is to prepare as good of a meal as she can because quite possibly, this meal is the only meal these folks are going to get that day.

Speaking of people with a heart, Karen Phillips, VMD founded Hope Haven Animal Sanctuary in Wexford.  Doctor Phillips left private practice a decade ago to work with animal shelters where she felt most needed.  While listening to The Secret on audio tape while driving, she decided to open Hope Haven for homeless farm animals.  This is a group not serviced my most shelters.  Due to zoning issues, she can not take in cattle or horses.  But pigs, sheep, fowl, etc are all welcome.  She hopes this year to team up with local 4H clubs and start regularly scheduled tour of her facility.  She’s looking for volunteers if you are up in that area.  🙂

I’ve been a customer of DirecTV for years.  My first time with them was when I moved to Florida in the mid 90’s, I used them at my residence.  Then when I opened my first bed and breakfast, they were who I used.  When I moved to Pittsburgh, I interview several cable providers and DirecTV kind of won by default.  Overall, I think it’s a good value for the money, other than occasionally having minor service interruptions because of weather I’ve been very satisfied with them.  I must say, whenever I call for technical support, the tech team has always been Johnny on the Spot.  It’s just getting to the support team that drives me nuts.  I deal with a fair amount of national companies and I swear the thrive on making us jump through hoops.  Verizon’s recorded message going into voice mail is one of the most annoying.  Well, I had problems with one of my DirecTV receivers the other day and called for tech support.  After going through the usual queue, I even had to endure an advertisement for “referring a friend”.  When the tech got on the phone, I voiced a complaint about this to her.  As always, she was very professional and expressed regret at my displeasure.  The next day, I received a solicitation from DirecTV to evaluate how my experience was with their tech support.  I rated the techie very good, the experience very bad.  I explained that I already knew that I was going to have to devote close to 10 minutes for rebooting the system once she sent a signal from her home location.  Add to that the 8 minutes going through the queue and the advertisement, 20 minutes of my life is too much.  I got a call later yesterday from a senior DirecTV representative that couldn’t have been nicer and concerned about my loyalty!  She gave me her direct line as well as a toll free number that goes directly into tech support.  DirecTV has a loyal customer for life.

Well, I guess this is about it for today, have a great one and enjoy these near 60 degree days  coming up,


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