A new project... FloWiTheJames!

A photography project using flow and other performing arts to bring attention to local environmental issues (especially James River water quality) combined with an action, such as a clean-up.

So, we flow. Object manipulation is our thing. Sad thing is, our species has also negatively manipulated objects for entirely too long. We've trashed the planet in which we express our true selves. We hoopers, poi spinners, staff folk, dancers of any genre yearn to move and play in nature. It's limitless, unlike ceilings. Search "flow arts" online, and you'll discover stunning media capturing our fluidity, often in gorgeous surroundings... a verdant forest, a spotless beach. Prop manipulation garners stares and dropped jaws. We have the unique ability, as unconventional performers, to draw attention from just about anyone.

Well, what needs attention isn't the spotless beaches. It's the trashed ones. It's the urban stream, right in your backyard, that's permanently choked with 2-cent disposable plastics.

So let's grab our props. Let's get lost in the flow, while encouraging others to get swept in with us. Let's allow our craft to spread a message to the masses: that the natural world is the very foundation of all that is art and that is human. Let's do more than dance within it; let's dance for it.

Join us on Facebook at Flow With The James!

(c) Natalie Stickel 2014


NO pipeline

This is the risk we take (x 1000000000000!) if the Keystone XL pipeline for tar sands oil is completed. Let's join Nebraska Judge Stephanie Stacy and strike down this destructive project, while moving toward a renewable, clean energy future.


Vagabond Advice: Things (I did but) You Should Never Leave Without

In no particular order...

- A quick-drying towel. Mine is 50% polyester and 50% polymide. It usually dries within about an hour, a little longer of course if you're in a more humid area.

- Some sort of portable internet access. depending on the region of the world you'll be visiting and its accessibility and dangers, you will probably benefit from having a 'global capable' smart phone, miniature / netbook laptop, or blackberry-type of device. I can't tell you how much time we wasted running around trying to find internet cafes every time we needed to book our next hostel, check bus and metro schedules, or communicate with our AirBnB hosts on-the-go.

- A pillow. For-rillow. Especially if you're taking trains. 'nough said.

- Triple-threat shoes: fit for shared showers, cute enough to wear to a dive bar with a sundress, comfortable and supportive enough for light walking (bring a sturdy pair of tennis/hiking shoes for the longer stints). This is difficult, I know, so choose wisely.


Knead Juice in Your Life

Get juiced in the morning with cucumber, beets, ginger, celery, carrots, and an apple!

I love juicing. I don't do it every day, but when I do, a refreshing 10-oz. shot of vitamins and minerals straight to the head in the morning fuels my entire day. It does a better job than coffee at waking me up (gasp!). 
What I don't like about juicing is the leftover pulp. All of those fruits and veggies, which in their whole form would have taken me 2-3 meals to consume, are reduced to a few smooth gulps, and their healthy fiber is supposedly destined for the worms? 

That didn't sit well with me, so I started contemplating ways we could use it. I don't make desserts very much, but we constantly bake bread. Seriously, rarely does a day go by when the house isn't filled with the essence of that fluffy, yeasty goodness. So, after perfecting the recipe, Alvaro and I created for your baking pleasure:

Veggie Heady Bready

You'll need:
A food processor
About 1 c. leftover pulp 
2 1/2 c. unbleached, unenriched bread flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pure cane sugar
1/4 oz. (this is a rough estimate!) bread yeast
Extra virgin olive oil
1-1 1/2 c. very warm water

1. Blend pulp in the food processor until finely chopped and well-mixed, ya'll!
2. Add dry ingredients: both flours, salt, sugar, and yeast. Allow to mix well.
3. While processor is running, carefully pour a thin stream of olive oil for about three seconds. Don't you dare turn off that processor!
4. Here's the tricky part. I'm giving a range for the amount of water because the water you'll need for perfect dough depends on what your juice ingredients are and how long they've been sitting and drying out. I've made it with fresh juice pulp and only needed 1 c. of water; I've also let the pulp sit out overnight so that it dried out substantially and needed close to 1 1/2 c. H2O.
Anyway, pour a thin, even stream of water into the *running* food processor until the dough ball starts to form and gather the stray bits. Only stop the food processor when the blade actually gets caught a couple of times; that's when you know you've got a sticky, sturdy, well-beaten dough ball!
5. Lightly flour a baking sheet, and pull and shape the dough (with fold/crease always remaining on the same side) until you have your desired loaf:
Pink bread. Take that, green eggs and ham!
 6. Place loaf on sheet, and cover with a cloth napkin or dish towel and let rise for at least two hours. Preheat oven to 350F when it looks like it has risen enough.
7. Get creative and make you some artsy little cuts on top of the loaf. Then, bake at 350F for 45 minutes and BOOM! A beautiful, veggie-speckled, naturally nutrient-enhanced loaf to accompany all of your favorite foods... and all in the spirit of zero-waste.


Plastic Bags Aren't Free

... and here's why we shouldn't pretend that they are.


Weekend Waste War II -- Results

I apologize for the delay… sometimes I feel like Labor Day winds up putting on more pressure than it relieves… Oh well, the abbreviated work week that follows is always welcome.

Alvaro, our roommate, and I debated about how we could compost… from the second story… without the stank… while having the bin as convenient as the trash can (if not more so). We don’t mind going the extra step to compost our food scraps outside, but we knew our guests would be more apt to do it if they were faced with the choice outright-- both receptacles right next to each other!

Here’s what we decided on:
- A 5-gallon bucket in the kitchen (sans worms), as accessible as the trash can. We leave the lid off when actively using it; close it when our grubbin’ is done. We continue adding newspaper to cut down on odor, but it never really gets stinky anyway, since we empty it every other day or so.
- The bucket’s contents get transferred to the downstairs vermicomposting bin. Every other week, we use an old screen to sift the processed compost (AKA worm shit) from the food scraps.
- We save the resulting rich fertilizer in a bucket for use in the garden all year round. If we create more than we can use, nearby friends and community gardens can take it off our hands.
- The recycling bin is a bigger version of the trash can (hand-me-downs from Alvaro’s parents). Richmond’s curbside recycling service occurs every two weeks, so we periodically transfer its contents downstairs to the large bin the city provided.

*Photos are a comin’ soon, sorry!


Do you compost?
If so, how? If not, what’s stopping you (living arrangements, etc.)?

Note: I will not be waging a Weekend Waste War for the blog this weekend... but fear not, the war continues...


Weekend Waste War II -- Kitchen Scraps

Happy Friday of Labor Day weekend, fellow laborers.

I’m sick and tired of not keeping up with composting. We have vermicompost outside in the backyard we share with our downstairs neighbors, but the trick is keeping a compost container accessible and convenient in the kitchen, which we fill and then every week or so take downstairs to the worms. (Here's a great local link about how to compost with worms)

This weekend, I’ll be tackling food waste at home (remember, food waste is the theme for THIS UPCOMING ZERO-WASTE WEEK!). My goal is to improve the efficiency of our composting system to fully eliminate our kitchen’s contribution the city’s trash. I’d also like to learn how to better store our goodies; I’d be afraid to know how many spoiled edibles we end up throwing out over time… or all the wasted funds they represent.

I’d also like to get my whole house on board with avoiding the use of trash bags. If you really think about it, virtually all wet waste you create in the kitchen can be composted! Lend me your ideas for reducing kitchen rubbish!

Here’s to bigger compost bins, smaller trash cans, fatter wallets, fuller bellies, and a happy Mama Earth. (Phew, is that too much to for one toast?)