Eco Lands at Outside Lands 2012

Two weekends ago, I got to go to Outside Lands and watched some pretty amazing bands like Sigur Ros, Jack White, the Kills, Skrillex, Justice, Washed Out, fun.

There were lots of little themed areas, one being Eco Lands.  This section of the festival presented San Francisco’s sustainable green themed non profits.  I got to meet all three of them!

The Free Farm

At the Free Farm, I learned how to make an origami baby planter to start seeds with newspaper.  I’ve got to say, out of all the organizations, I was most moved by The Free Farm and what they do.  I wish we had a similar organization in San Jose.


The Free Farm is an urban farm founded in January 2010, by a constellation of non-profit organizations in San Francisco. We are located on a 1/3 acre lot on the corner of Gough and Eddy Streets on a parcel loaned to us by St. Paulus Lutheran Church. Since April of 2010 we have grown and given away over 3 1/4 tons of fresh organic produce, plus convened gardening and urban homesteading workshops, and hosted community, school, and religious groups.


Yes, I’m wearing a silver jacket and pink jeans.  It was the Skrillex day!

Free Farm showing me how to make a seed pot out of newspaper

Friends of the Urban Forest

I’ve seen FUF’s trees all over town.  I had known about them before I met them at Outside Lands.  They gave me a free seed bomb.  How nice!  🙂 They were teaching composting classes, which was really cool.  I wanted to stay for one, but Stevie Wonder was calling (all the way on the other side of the park), so I had to take off.  Just as I was taking off, a young bloke came and asked me (I don’t know why me…) what is composting and why is it necessary.  So I gave him a quick explanation about how it’s nature’s fertilizer and compost enriched soil is much better for the environment than store bought chemical fertilizers.

Mission Statement Friends of the Urban Forest’s mission is to promote a larger, healthier urban forest as part of San Francisco’s green infrastructure through community planting, tree care, education, and advocacy.

Urban Sprouts


By cultivating school gardens in San Francisco’s under-served neighborhoods, Urban Sprouts partners with youth and their families to build eco-literacy, equity, wellness, and community.

They sound very similar to CNGF and ELSEE here in San Jose.

What a fantastic way to refocus attention on our future!

Since watching Forks over Knives, I have started eating a plant based diet and am feeling great. I haven’t given up seafood or cheese though just yet. I never buy milk anymore since I learned the inhumane treatment of cows udders to obtain the milk. Here is an excellent post about the dairy addiction must of us have. You hear many people saying “I’m addicted to cheese” and there is a scientific reason for this. I suppose ideally I would have my own goats and make my own cheese like Heidi. Check out how she makes her own cheese.

Soul Searching Vegan

To keep with the informative theme I have going so far, I thought I’d discuss a major issue for those who have thought about veganism, Dairy. I’ve gotten many emails from readers stating they want to go vegan, but just can not live without cheese. They describe it almost as an addiction they have and cannot give up. The thing is, they’re right when they say they are addicted to cheese and other dairy products because that is precisely what it is, addictive, disease causing, and fattening.

Dairy products are said to be essential to life, that we need them to grow, and have to have it for calcium to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis. This multibillion dollar industry has persuaded doctors, the government, and consumers that dairy products are necessary for a healthy diet, three times a day at that too. However, many studies would say otherwise. Research conducted at…

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Nymph to Adult: Red Shouldered Green Stink Bug (Thyanta Pallidovirens) Growth

Thyanta pallidovirens 1st Instar Nymph
Poor focus quality was due to the bug being so tiny and running around so quickly!
I can’t blame them at that stage. One wasp kept dining on them a la carte. I even got to watch the wasp eat a nymph at such close proximity. Definitely a downtown San Jose National Geographic moment!

Thyanta pallidovirens

Thyanta pallidovirens

Thyanta pallidovirens – 5th Instar Nymph.
Notice the defining of the “shoulders”

Adult Thyanta pallidovirens

Red-shouldered Stink Bug nymph – Thyanta custator on Salvia Coccina “Coral Nymph”

These hemipteran nymphs were really difficult to capture because they wouldn’t sit still.  I wasn’t able to get great pictures unfortunately.  They measure to approximately 2 mm in length.  They look similar to carpet beetles, however there are a few clear dissimilarities.  First of all, the pattern on the back of the bug looks like some kind of tribal design.  The carpet beetle has more of a zigzag pattern on its back.  This bug’s shape flattens out at the edges whereas the carpet beetle is more of a bubble shape.  It also has very long antennae and thicker protruding legs compared to the carpet beetle.  Also they are about half the size of the carpet beetles.

Red-shouldered Stink Bug nymph – Thyanta custator

Red-shouldered Stink Bug nymph – Thyanta custator

Compare to the carpet beetle

Carpet Beetle

Mysterious giant wasp

It was really difficult to photograph this wasp because it wouldn’t land on a surface so I could focus my lens.  I was only able to capture this picture.  The wasp is about 1.5″/4 cm long.  It has a long elegant body.

Possible Paper Wasp

Look what I found! An itty bitty bee hive in the corner of my patio!

Bee Hive

Lewisia – my current favorite CA Native plant


First time I’ve seen a coccoon!





Etiolation is the stretching of a plant which has been deprived of sufficient sunlight.

Both of these plants were purchased together and divided 6 months ago.  The first plant has been living in my patio and gets a lot of direct sunlight from dawn till sunset.  The second plant has been living in my boyfriend’s balcony which gets a few hours of sun light.  Notice the difference in color and style of growth.  The first echeveria is a bright green.  It has stayed short but popped out two babies on each side.  The etiolated echeveria has pale chalky leaves and has stretched out, growing upward.

Healthy Echivera growing horizontally with pups on each side


Echeveria Etiolation

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