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First time growing tomatoes that are not cherry/grape.
Managed to fend off the mites with nightly neem oil and morning water blasts.
Everyone seems to be recovering well, but I will need to plant some replacements.
Malabar spinach are all popping up. They sprouted fast. Excited to see how well they do.

Close up of four green tomatoes growing on the vine.

Bits and Bobs

πŸŽ΅πŸ“šπŸŒ±πŸŽ¨

Made a playlist last week for World Goth Day. Just a short little mix of some of the standards/intro bands. It is a little heavier on the post-punk side. Recently I’ve been focusing on digging up newer groups so it was nice to spend some time with the favorites.

Went through a period of slowing down my usual reading amount. Suppose that goes hand-in-hand with reading three back-to-back books that required a bit of a pause and reflection after each chapter/essay. Trying to get back into the swing of it. Was lucky enough to find a used copy of Extra Bold: a Feminist, Inclusive, Anti-Racist, Nonbinary Field Guide for Graphic Designers. That should push me to pick up the pace a bit.

The garden is being attacked by mites right now, but neem oil seems to be doing the trick. I know they have to eat too, but it is just out of control. Sorry little ones.

A few weeks ago I attended a portfolio review event through AIGA. I was lucky enough to give five one-on-one presentations. The feedback was almost entirely positive. So thankful to have such a great free resource. Wasn’t sure what to expect when joining AIGA, but the experience has been excellent.

Canva Impressions

Recently did some work helping to create some images and worksheets for an online course presented by The National Alliance to End Homelessness and created by My Dog is My Home.

What was different about this project was that everything was done with Canva. This was my first experience with this tool. I’ll admit that I’ve always been a little nervous about Canvas presence, mostly for job security reasons. But at the same time, I understand that not everyone has a budget for a professional designer and easy-to-use tools and templates can help small groups accomplish what they need.

Overall it was a better experience than I was expecting. Incredibly easy to use and a lot of the hotkeys were the same as those in adobe products so that helped. It was also nice to be able to simply send a link over to other members of the project and they had instant access. This way if they want to edit or repurpose an image on their own they can without having to call me up.

It has limitations. For example, you can’t adjust kerning. It didn’t look like you can adjust the dpi directly. There is no CMYK option, as far as I know. There are probably more, I didn’t do a full dive into all of its capabilities and only used this for a week to create very specific things.

At the end of the day, it is a tool like anything else and the success of the outcome has more to do with the design abilities of the person using it. Users can start with a blank slate or use a template, but even a well-designed template can go awry in the wrong hands. I would not use it for print, even though they have templates and sizes for posters and postcards because of the CMYK and dpi issues. Plus if one is going to spend the money to print something it is best to also just pay the money to have a designer look it over because there are too many things that can go wrong.

However, if you are a smaller organization that needs some social media posts or digital flyers for events and the like this could be useful. Especially if you are part of a team that needs to share assets, proof, and approve things easily.

Just cant get enough:

🎡 Beauty of Poison by Specimen

πŸ“Ί Star Trek: The Next Generation

πŸ₯ͺ Sandwich made with Violife feta, fig jam, and two fistfuls of arugula.
The bunnies are obsessed with trying to get a bite, but I will only allow some sniffs and a couple pieces of arugula.

Link - Biophilic Cities: Embracing the Optimistic Future of Natureful Cities

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“In Pittsburgh, the city has established an EcoInnovation District, the first of its kind, which seeks to invigorate underutilized commercial districts by planning and designing a neighborhood that is rich in opportunities to access nature. Biophilic include the reuse of vacant lots, improved access to fresh food through community gardens, and the planting of new trees and green infrastructure to capture stormwater and reduce the heat island effect. The project was recognized by C40 Cities in its report Cities100 for creating local solutions for climate change. The EcoInnovation District is one project among many that the city is pursuing to address the impact of its industrial history.”

-Read more

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Took a few minutes to thin out the planter.
Turned these into a pesto with some radish greens.

A group of young carrots sitting on a white tiled surface.

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Went to my first volunteer event at the community garden last night.
Collected the finished compost and moved the dumping and curing piles over.
Felt good to shovel and sift again.

Still not feeling very well so I went home and was essentially dead for the rest of the night, even though it was only two hours of work.
Worth it though.

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Just cracked open Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Got a free copy because our library is participating in Book to Action. Hoping to learn a bit and maybe meet some neighbors with similiar mindsets.

Got on the list to be a volunteer at the community garden too!

Going through and cleaning up the online portfolio today. Mostly minor changes.

Still stumped on how to best display all of the performance flyers I’ve made. A big grid feels like the easiest, but it doesn’t totally fit in with how the other projects look.

Frustrated with how little space Behance gives you for alt text. That is kind of important and you can only just barely fit in the basics. Also when you import a project to your Adobe Portfolio from Behance it doesn’t import the alt texts on anything. That second one isn’t a huge deal but is just something that can be easily overlooked. I only noticed it just now and have to go through and add them all in. At least they give you more characters on Adobe Portfolio.

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Finished up All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine Keeble Wilkinson last week.

I was initially not expecting much because it had been so hyped up, which usually leads to disappointment. However in this case the hype was much deserved.

The book is a collection of essays and poems by women, most of whom are working on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Honestly, it is a great book to read if you are feeling discouraged or hopeless. The stories, advice, examples, and guidance helped to pull me out of the slump I was in. Feeling refreshed and ready to begin the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training at the end of this month.

First Book Illustration!

Woah! Hey! Hey! Hey!
My first book illustration project is out in the world!
Come learn all about clean energy with Sven!

This is the second in a series of nine books for children ages 5+ to help teach the basics of climate change as well as ways to help slow things down a bit.

I’ve been volunteering with Climate Science for just about a year now, mostly creating images for the website/app. Was honored when they wanted me to be a part of the book project. I am part of a team of artists so for each book I am assigned 2-4 pages.

This has been a lot of work, but each book has been a great learning process. Not just in workflow/skills, but also subject matter. I just gotta be careful because I keep ending up spending far too much time learning about different animals and plants. Although that isn’t totally a bad thing.

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Went for a night hike. Met a new bird. This is a common poorwill.

A common poorwill, a small spotted brown bird, sitting on a dirt path lit by a flashlight.

Link - β€˜Underwater Roombas’ Scan Southern California Coast for DDT Barrels

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“It wouldn’t be the company’s first offense. In 2000, the pesticide manufacturer faced a superfund lawsuit for discharging millions of pounds of DDT into Los Angeles County sewers that poured into the Palos Verdes Shelf between 1947 and 1971. But, the barrels were never mentioned in the lawsuit, reports Gizmodo.

Using a deep-sea robot and a hunch, Valentine and his team first found barrels seeping toxic waste 3,000 feet deep in the sea in 2011 and 2013 by happenstance while working on other research endeavors. Old records and shipping logs revealed that between 1947 and 1961, 767 tons of DDT were potentially tossed into the ocean, according to the LA Times’ 2020 investigation.”

Read More

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Made some Irish soda bread today while waiting for the pickled red onions to cool. Turned out pretty darn good.

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Currently reading: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.

Only a little ways in. So far enjoying it. Trying to make sure to read shorter fiction between the more dense stuff.

A photo of lots of  nasturtium leaves.

The snakes and desert tortoises are waking up.
A neighbor reported the first bear sighting this week.
The sweet gum tree is budding, which means I’ve been waking up congested.
Nasturtiums and sierra man-root are exploding all over the trails.
I guess spring is coming on.

Didn’t notice much man-root last year. Calscape doesn’t even show them as growing in our area, but they are everywhere. I may be confusing it with a close relative though.

Spring is nice, but it is always sad to see winter go. Especially when this one was not particularly cold or wet.
Was hoping for one last cold hurrah, but we will see. Still have a few more days until the 20th.

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Slowly adding little libraries to google maps. Not doing this in a systematic way, just adding them in as I find them while out on walks.

Screenshot of google maps with scattered location icons indicating where libraries are.

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Took a break from worrying out about this project to go outside and worry about this project.