Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interview: Katie Does Tulsa

Last month I started a series of interviews with moving-and-shaking, down-to-earth Tulsans. The inaugural edition was with Sindy of Dresden, Germany; this time I caught up with Katie Hughes, blogger at Okiehoma From a Yankee's Eye View.

Katie moved to Tulsa just six months ago. She's from Glenside, a medium-sized suburb of Philadelphia. Katie's blog is about her transition from life in the northeast to learning to get down with T-Town.

"I get the impression they thought I would be living in a teepee, hunting buffalo and dodging tornadoes," she said of friends and family back home. "My blog is my way of letting them know that I do have modern conveniences and don't live in the middle of nowhere. Plus, it gives me a great excuse to try new things so I have something to write about."

What was your first impression of Tulsa?

My first impression was just how green and open the city appears. There are so many parks and little squares in every town. Downtown doesn’t feel overwhelming. The highways don’t feel as congested.

What are some ways Tulsa is different from where you grew up?

I grew up in a metro area of 5.8 million people (not counting that I could be in New York City or Washington D.C.’s metro areas within 2 hours north or south). I’m used to a lot people and a lot of cars in an area the same size as the Tulsa metro area. Tulsa seems so wide open to me! It’s funny when people here complain about traffic when it used to take me 45 minutes to commute 14 miles just 6 months ago. Although, when it comes to traffic, I do find the Broken Arrow Expressway & IDL just as frightening as anything back east.

I was raised Irish Catholic in a very Catholic city. Now, in Tulsa, I have found that there are so many churches a lot bigger than what I grew up with, but I’m happy to have a found a nice small parish I can call home in Sand Springs called St. Patrick’s. I have also found that there are several nice little Irish bars, so that makes me feel home.

Then, there’s the weather! We don’t have tornado warnings in May back home, let alone in February! I can do blizzards and hurricanes because they are big, slow-moving weather systems, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to living in tornado alley.

If you could, what would you change about Tulsa?

I don’t think Tulsans realize the amazing potential of this city. It seems like more people from outside of the area are visiting, moving into the area, and taking advantage of the great opportunities. Tulsa has so many great sports and arts opportunities to see, like live music at the Flytrap Music Hall and Cain’s Ballroom, and I’ve been to Dwelling Spaces, which was so much fun!

I can’t tell you how many people from Tulsa I’ve talked to and mentioned different places like the Gilcrease Museum or the Rose Garden or how I rode my bike down the River Park trails and they had never been to any of those places. I think native Tulsans and those from the outlying communities need to do more to explore and support the city. There are so many cool and inexpensive places to see within such an easy drive! This is definitely a cool, small city.

Oh, and I wish Tulsans would not see all Yankees as yuppy, fast-talking, liberal, Appletini drinkers. Some of us are white t-shirt & jeans wearing beer drinkers who don’t talk politics and just happen to talk a little fast.

What are your favorite things to do for fun in Tulsa?

absolutely LOVE the River Parks. There’s an area like it back home in Philadelphia so when I’m homesick, I head down to the river.

I have had a lot of fun exploring Route 66 east and west of the city. I have no problem being a tourist and having my picture taken in front of random things.

One of my absolute favorite things in Tulsa is the Tulsa Drillers. I am a baseball geek and for Valentine’s Day my hubby bought me a 20 ticket voucher package. Having a minor league team in town just makes my heart so happy. I think I’m more excited about the new ballpark than most native Tulsans.

I am surprised that I am really finding a home here in Tulsa. I never in a million years thought I would love it here so fast. I do miss the big cities out east but, I am also having a blast getting to know Tulsa. I feel like I’m getting to know this city more than I ever got to know “my” city of Philadelphia. It is a very cool thing.

Thanks for spreading the word about Green Country, Katie. You can bring your fast-talkin' 'round here anytime.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blogging: You're Doing It Right

It's snowing. It's snowing a lot. 

I don't get out much on snowy days, mostly because of crazy drivers and the high deductible on my car insurance. Also, because I tend to use this time to make giant vats of chicken stock and cookie dough. Mmm - chicken cookies. 

These snowy days are also good for link dumping. I know a lot of people don't like them so much, but I love link dumps. They give me a chance to add yet more blog subscriptions to my mailbox, and I usually learn something. I like learning. That is, unless it's about Calculus II. Calculus II has defeated me, and it gloats, which is a sin. At the end of its life, Calculus II will have to answer for what it's done. 

I don't think anyone is going to challenge me on that point. 

Here are some fun and interesting things I found this week: 

Local blogger Maria at A Piece of My Mind wrote about the battle against consumerism in her home, saying that commercialism is not just a secular issue. I loved what she had to say about the marketing of Christian products. Maria's honestly is refreshing, not just in this post, but in all of her blogging. It's rich. I like rich. 

Michael Bates of Batesline.com has been munching his way through indie Tulsa. He gave a great explanation of value, something to keep in mind as we ration our dollars in the face of this downer of an economy:
We're all trying to spend less these days. Instead of settling for expensive mediocrity, why not find the best food you can find for the money, encourage small business owners who sell a high-quality product, and keep money circulating in the community?
Behold the spinach salmon bacon pizza by the kids at the new Bootstrap Farm. If that isn't the perfect snow-day food, I don't know what is. Also, read what Don writes about the three food groups on which to center a localized diet:
We have decided that the three food groups of seasonal eating are tacos, stir-fry, and pizza. You can basically make them out of any seasonal vegetable or fruit with basic kitchen staples and few exotic spices. Take tacos for example, all you need to have in your kitchen is corn tortillas and refried beans. When it comes to squash and sweet potato season, you will certainly hear more about tacos. Stir-fry is another good one because all you need is rice, vegetables, some meat if you like, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. 
So true, and yet I hadn't heard it said that way before. I'll be keeping this mantra in mind as I plan my menus around my outings to the farmers' markets next month. 

Ah. Farmers' market season is almost here (squeee! yay! yahoo!). I'm attempting to wait patiently, but only because people might stare if I let my true emotions show. Today's weather sure doesn't make strolls through the stands packed with local vegetables and herbs and friendly farmers and food people seem any closer.


Oh! While you're in the kitchen, get some of this started. Don't cry; it's okay for bread to be that delicious. Thanks, Amanda!

Know what else April is good for? Learning the basics of personal finance. Hey, hey, I hear you groaning - cut that out. Put on a happy face and celebrate Financial Literacy Month by heading to one of my new favorite blogs, Get Rich Slowly, for everything they didn't teach you in public school about how to manage that green stuff in your wallet. Hey, you might save something - or, a lot. 

For a localized dose of how-tos on how to stretch a dollar, check out my new column in Urban Tulsa Weekly, Consumer Watchdog. Everyone has their own little tricks for pinching pennies, so get to sharin'! Leave your tips and tricks in the comments, or e-mail me at nball@urbantulsa.com. And don't forget to pick up a copy of Spring Thing, UTW's annual spring-and-summer guide to Tulsa. It hit stands Thursday, so ya'll had better get one while the gettin' is good.

Last but not least: Baby chickens!! At least, I think that's what they are. Also, smoothies. Thanks for those, Red Fork Hippie Chick.

What have you been reading this week? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Countdown to Farmers' Market Season

It's almost April, people. For this foodie, that means: farmers' markets openings, vegetable gardening, trips to local farms and wineries and lots and lots of, well, food. Delicious, fresh, local food.

As the growing season gathers steam, I'm getting an early start at plundering my local food sources for early goodies. Specifically, spinach.

Has anyone else been eating this green, leafy goodness from Bootstrap Farm in Bixby? I snagged some over the weekend, and I've been putting it on everything. I even had an inner dialogue on whether or not it'd be good on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I didn't try to find out, but maybe I should have. It might have been a flavor explosion, taking Jiffy and all-natural preserves to a whole other dimension. I guess we'll never know - at least, until tomorrow at noon, when I'll be making yet another peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Don't judge. Most foodies are snobby, but they all secretly pine for the PB&J.

Lordy, that spinach just won't stop.

I procured this Bootstrap spinach from the little corner grocery at Charles Page Boulevard and Phoenix, BlueJackalope Grocery & Coffee. Proprietor Scott Smith has a great thing going at this place, apparently. When we arrived - unbeknownst to us, before opening - several people were camped outside. Some were jonesing for their morning coffee fix at the BlueJackalope coffee counter, and others were waiting for the meeting of the Tulsa Community Garden Association to start.

Even before the local farms burst with produce, Smith has stalked some local yummies, including the spinach from Bootstrap and Fisher's eggs from Bristow.

Though they didn't have any the morning we were there, BlueJackalope offers a small menu of sandwiches, made from ingredients available at the store. Tulsa's Bloggy Bloggerson, Michael Bates, gave their avocado, hummus and muenster cheese 'which a try:
Delicious. It costs the same as a Roastburger at Arby's, but it's far tastier and healthier, and it's sold in an old-fashioned neighborhood grocery.
I need to return soon to give it a try for myself. In the meantime, I'll content myself with my signature chicken naan pocket, stacked with Bootstrap Farm spinach.

Careful, little sandwich. Don't hurt 'em.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday Scare

Do you see it?

How about now?

And now?

"WHAAAHHHHHHH! YIPES, YIPES, holy crappers!"

That's what I sounded like at about 12:30 yesterday afternoon.

Remember that story that was all over the local news last week - the one about the banana spider in the monkey fruit at the Tulsa Whole Foods? Well, it was at the forefront of my mind as I did my weekly grocery shopping. Since I hadn't managed to convince my son to give up his banana habit, I had to brave the most sparsely populated section of the Whole Foods produce department and resist the creepy-crawlies to snag some 'nanas.

Actually, I made my husband do it.

Anyway. I thought I'd made my shopping trip without death-defying incident. That was, until I saw the above.

As it turned out, it was just one of those plastic pinkie rings everyone gets at Halloween time. Still, it was pretty obvious some jackass thought it'd be funny to plant the fake spider in my precious naan bread section. In the same Whole Foods where the banana spider was found. On the day I do my grocery shopping. In my precious naan.

Thank you, whoever you are, for helping me prove to myself that my ticker is still, indeed, in great shape. Also, for the clean, midday pair of underpants.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Look What Tasha Did Today

Growing up, my parents used this refrigerator magnet affixed to a clothes pin to showcase the A+ papers and "artwork" I'd bring home from school. The magnet looked like a teddy bear holding a sign that said, "Look what TASHA did today," with the letters of my name handwritten probably by one of my parents, or maybe by the dude manning the personalized magnet stand at Silver Dollar City.

There are no refrigerator magnets in the blogosphere, so I'll just post pictures of what I did today right here.

I didn't make the shirt, of course. But, I did dig it out of a giant pile of clothing at Tulsa's inaugural Swap-O-Rama-Rama this afternoon at The Collective (11th and Harvard):

...and milled around the room for half an hour trying to decide what to do with it.

Swap-O-Rama-Rama was an afternoon-long, giant clothing swap and series of DIY workshops on how to remake unwanted clothing into rad new ensembles. Getting in was simple: lug in a bag of your gently used, unwanted clothing. A host of talent was on-hand to teach swappers how to transform those used duds into unique, handmade garments.

The core of the swap was, of course, the gigantic pile of free clothing. There were shirts, skirts, sweaters and pants - even a pair of biking shorts and a retro bathing suit. What remained at the end of the swap went to Youth Services of Tulsa for homeless teens.

Whoops! Pit stop. Had to have a sit to enjoy some of the yummy coffee and muffins available at The Collective. That place is so cool, by the way. A coffeehouse, a cafe, a concert venue AND a bar? Right next to a college campus? Brilliant idea alert.

There were a few instruction stations at the Swap for inspiration, to help people like me get started.

You know - people who get distracted very easily by sparkly things:

And sexy little 40's-inspired dresses (both handcrafted by Weather & Noise):

Ultimately, I decided I was meant to spray paint something.

I made the entire room smell like a chemical wasteland, but I had a great time. In fact, it was one of the best times I've had around town in a long, long time. I got to chat with some of the members of Tulsa Craft Mafia (hosts of the Swap) and their cool friends; I met a few friends in person who I'd previously known only on Twitter or via this blog; and I walked away with a sack full of sweaters I plan to salvage for yarn and a cute little pink tanktop to wear to family reunions to convince them all I have finally flipped my lid.

Either that, or I've suddenly gone really clumsy with my paper dolls. At any rate, Swap-O-Rama-Rama made me feel like one of the hip kids. I really like feeling like a hip kid.

I heard the TCM plans to give the Swap another go next year. Check back here for a date/time/location, because I will definitely be a repeat offender of the ready-made clothing establishment.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Because I Know Y'All Love Your Cheeseburgers

Thanks to the fine folks at Tulsa Gold & Gems (and an ex-boyfriend who provided me with such fine hocking material), I scored a little extra cash this week. Now, 99 times out of 100, I either save these little windfalls, or I spend them on groceries or gasoline. But not this time, folks. Not this time.

Instead, I opted to blow my extra $15 on a pound-and-a-quarter of to-die-for, all-natural Italian Piedmontese beef from Natural Farms, a half-gallon of the best milk in town (Braum's - the only milk our little man will bother with drinking) and a set of four GIANT sandwich rolls from Tulsa's own Farrell Family Organic Bread Co.

Whew. Is it hot in here, or is it just these sexy burger fixin's?

I don't normally post recipes here, but in this case, I can't help myself. The weather this weekend is going to be good for mortal burgers, but for other-worldly burgers, it's gonna be perfect.

If you're a little short on cash right now (and who isn't?), plan your menu this week around some middle-of-the-week bliss and snag your beef from Natural Farms on Wacky Wednesday. You get to draw a discount on your entire purchase from this cute little bag, and it could be a lot or a little. Either way, every little bit counts, and there's no better help to get over hump day than a big, juicy, naughty burger.

Tasha's Natural Farms Burgers
(makes two 1/2-pound burgers that are way too much for one person. Sharing is advised, but not if you're me)

  • About 1 lb. Natural Farms ground beef - a little more is nothing to quibble over
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. soft breadcrumbs (always use homemade breadcrumbs, folks - the store-bought kind is a convenience item, not a delicious item - besides, they're over-priced, as most convenience items are. Invest in a food processor for times like these when you need make a quarter or so of an extra burger bun from Farrell into fresh, flavorful crumbs)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian or Green seasoning, your pick
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • shakes of Tobasco sauce to your heart's content - I used maybe five
  • 2 hamburger buns
Combine first eight ingredients, blending well with clean hands. Shape into two giant patties - not to thick, not to thin.

Options! Grill, uncovered over medium coals about 13 minutes or until done, turning once (for medium, the best and, in my opinion, proper temperature to which to cook a burger). Or, place patties on a broiler pan and broil about three inches from heat about 9 minutes until done (for medium), turning once.

Or, fry the suckers, which is my preferred option. Heat a heavy skillet until hot. Add patties one at a time, cooking over medium heat about 4 minutes per side (for medium), not moving patties until time to turn.

While you're working some patty magic, toast the buns in a skillet using lots of butter, medium-low heat and a careful eye. Try not to pass out from the intoxicating smells coming from your stove top.

Slap the patties onto the toasted buns and dress as desired. Hubs likes tomato, lettuce, onion, cheese, mustard and mayo - I like weird stuff like guacamole, bacon and poblanos or blue cheese and lots and lots of caramelized onions. Feel free to experiment and make fun of the traditionalists as you do it.

Tasha's Homemade Potato Crisps
(makes about 4 cups)

  • 5-7 small baking potatoes (I like to use Yukon Golds, but Russets are O.K., too)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
Slice potatoes thinly (with a mandolin, if you've got it), and place in salted ice water (about 1 tsp. to a quart or so of water) until you're done slicing. Save a tree and drain on a cloth towel.

Pour oil to depth of two inches into a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Heat on medium-high until a potato slice dropped in sizzles vigorously. Fry potato slices in batches of just a few at a time for a minute or so, removing them as they brown - pay attention, because you'll need to work fast unless you're one of those weirdos like my dad who likes burnt potato chips.

Drain on cloth towels and sprinkle with salt.

Find the makin's for your ultra-local, super-organic, too-sexy-for-its-own-good-and-so-must-be-eaten-as-soon-as-possible burger at the following sustainers of my foodie existence:

Natural Farms - 420 S. Utica Ave., 583-5354; 6560 E. 91st St., 779-6300
Farrell Family Organic Bread - 8034 S. Yale Ave., 477-7077 (available all over town, from Reasor's to Whole Foods to Center 1 Market, but my experience has been that the freshest product comes straight from the source at 81st and Yale).

Can't get enough of those burger buns? Check out the sandwich creations at the newly open Dilly Deli, all made on Farrell Bread. Head to 2nd and Elgin and let me know what you think.

Read more of my food-astic adventures here, here and here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Don't Hassle Me, I'm Local: Mos Jef on Turkey Mountain

I've written a few blog entries for the award-winning Tasha Does Tulsa. Mostly I've been asked to, but a couple of times I begged Natasha to let me contribute something. This is one of those times. I'm on Spring Break with not much to do, so I'm going to get down with T-Town this week. I'll post my Tulsa blog entries here as the "Don't Hassle Me, I'm Local" series. This title was, of course, inspired by What About Bob.

Bob Wiley
(my cat is named Dr. Leo Marvin)

Today I made my way to Turkey Mountain.

Shhhh, don't tell anyone it's not really a mountain.

If you've never been there, it runs for about 2 miles on the west side of the Arkansas River. It is bounded by I-44 to the north and 71st Street to the south. It happens to be the biggest piece of undeveloped land in the metro Tulsa area and is a fantastic place for cycling enthusiasts. The several miles of bicycling trails are managed by the Tulsa River Parks Authority. If verbal directions aren't your thing, perhaps this helps:

Google maps is da best. Tru dat!...


Aside from the 300 acres of wooded area and the two local ponds, there are several miles of bicycle trails for people's enjoyment. Now I don't know a whole lot about fat tire cycling, but there seemed to be a lot of serious looking sportsman out there enjoying the 70 degree weather we had in Tulsa. It was an absolutely perfect day. I simply hiked one of the trails while listening to Africa by Toto. It was like perfect bliss. Here's a map of the trails:

And more importantly, here is Toto:

I bless the rains down in Aaaaaaaaa-frica.

Turkey Mountain is also known for the "Turkey Mountain inscriptions," or petroglyphs believed by some enthusiasts to be pre-Columbian European markings. Now by "enthusiasts," I mean "people who are wrong." However, there is some cool stuff engraved on the rocks out there.

So, if you get a chance to get out and explore our beautiful city while the weather is so nice, you should try to make it to Turkey Mountain and have a walk around.

Tasha's note//Other posts by TDT contributing blogger Mos Jef:
Mos Jef Does Dfest
Cover Band Hilarity
Tulsa Zoo Run
Maple Ridge Memorial Day Run

Monday, March 16, 2009

What to Do With This Good Weather

As I write this, the temperature outside is 73, and a gentle breeze is blowing away the last of winter's brown leaves.

For the next few days, Tulsa is forecasted to have beautiful, gorgeous, delicious weather. Spring may not officially begin until Friday, but if the temperatures and sunny skies over the next few days have anything to say about it, spring has already sprung.

There is no end to the list of exciting things to do in pleasant weather in this city. Tulsa boasts 50 miles of bike trails to explore; a huge offering of public parks; restaurant patios galore; and on and on.

For those of us who have lived here our entire lives, while the activities I just listed are a great way to ring in the season, we've also been there and done that about 237 times. A scavenger hunt is an easy way to get out and enjoy the weather, and it's somewhat off the beaten path - and that's good for us lifers as well as adopted Tulsans and anyone within a day's drive looking to get out and do something fun during Spring Break.

Here's a hunt to add to the annals: a tour (by bike, if you're feeling really adventurous) of sculptures by Tulsa's own Garden Deva Lisa Regan.

That's my personal collection of Regan's work - a wall hanging and a magnet. They're cute, they're whimsical and anyone who comes over sings their praises and wants to know where to get their own.

From the new Garden Deva Web site:
Lisa Regan has been cutting metal for almost twenty years. After finding success selling her sculptures at regional art fairs, she took the plunge in 1996, quitting her “real” job and going into business for herself. Since then, Garden Deva Sculpture Company has just been getting bigger and better. Lisa has gone from sculpting with scrap metal and borrowed equipment, to owning her own building which serves as a fully functioning metal shop as well as a popular venue for local art. Her work can be seen all over Tulsa; in schools, libraries, restaurants, youth centers, and private collections.
My favorite thing about Lisa Regan's work: you don't have to buy it to enjoy it. It's all over town. So, pick the sculptures you want to see, pack a lunch and hop on the bike. It's time to see Tulsa, Garden Deva-style.

Suggested route (starting in Sand Springs, headed east, as logically as I could surmise, through Tulsa):

1. Train on outside wall of Charles Page Library in Sand Springs
2. Kiosk at 2nd and Detroit, northwest corner
3. Figure sculptures in i-beam structure out front of the Educare Center (early learning for children under 5 years), 2511 E. 5th Place; also alot of work inside in the foyer - mobile and wall mounted pieces
4. Fence at Youth Services, 3rd & Norfolk
5. Prayer flag outside the Garden Deva studio at 317 S. Trenton Ave.
6. Signs for Family and Children's Services, on 8th Street just west of Peoria Ave. and at 202 W. 8th St.
7. Interior room divider at Wild Fork Restaurant at 1820 Utica Square
8. Brookside 'B's hanging along Peoria Ave. between 32nd St. to 48th
9. Interior wall pieces at Brookside Library at 1207 E. 45th Pl.
10. Figure Sculpture at entrance to Grimes Elementary at 3213 E. 56th St.
11. Two 19-foot Tree sculpture Garden Deva Sculpture Company made for M. Kadishman, an Israeli artist, whose work was bought by a local businessman seen in the gardens at Philbrook Museum and the Schusterman Center on the OU campus at 41st and Yale
12. 'Believe' sculpture in the garden at Ronald McDonald House at 6102 S. Hudson
13. Parking lot signs at Kingspointe Shopping Center at 61st and Yale
14. Butterfly mobile at Hicks Park Recreation Center at 3443 S. Mingo
15. Sconces and sign at Disney Head-Start School at 11610 E. 25th St.

Have an idea for a Tulsa scavenger hunt? Leave it in the comments.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tulsa Grows

Look, you guys! My little garden is growing.

Since I plan to try organic gardening this year, I went this morning to the northeast campus of Tulsa Community College for a seminar on the subject, hosted by Tulsa Community Garden Association.

From what I could tell, it was a good turnout:

I counted about 115 gardeners eager to learn about giving the pesticides a time-out and letting the ladybugs do the work. Also in attendance was Rita Scott, the woman behind Sustainable Green Country, an instigator of Oklahoma's Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign and a passionate, extremely active woman who is a wealth of information on food issues; Rainbow Girl, the local artist and Master Recycler who brought the Mother Nature Needs You campaign to Tulsa; and a few other local groups and growers passionate about food, nature and giving back to planet Earth.

Here's Rainbow Girl talking to a seminar-goer about Art In, an upcoming event at the Denver bus station that will feature local artists in an effort to increase awareness about our local transit system (more info. on this below).

She was also plying wares, including totebags hand painted by her, Mother Nature Needs You shirts and these Your Mom shirts, printed on t-shirts claimed from a local thrift store.

Of course, I had to have one. Plus, a portion of the proceeds went to support the TCGA.

See that huge rosemary plant back there? Not only was it a perfect specimen and made me weak in the knees with wanting for lamb, but it was only $5. Several of the other plants were going for just a couple of bucks. I resisted, though. After all, I'm supposed to be growing my own herbs. I think.

It's going to take me awhile to digest all the information presented at this seminar. I look seven pages of notes, and a stack of handouts is sitting on my dining room table, glaring at me. Here are some preliminary links:
  • Tulsa Recycles: Curbside recycling is a service available to City of Tulsa residential refuse customers for a small voluntary subscription fee. Anyone know off-hand the amount of this fee?
  • Oklahoma Food Cooperative: Fresh from Oklahoma family farms to more than 20 pick-up sites statewide. Visit the Web site for information on products and pick-up and how to join the coop.
  • The Pearl Farmers' Market: Another Rita Scott project - that woman is amazing, y'all. Veg out downtown Thursday evenings 4:30-7:00 p.m. starting April 23. This market is great for downtown dwellers-by-day who make regular pit stops on the way home to pick up this or that for dinner. Why not opt for local produce sold in a beautiful park in the shadow of downtown rather than trudging through a steaming parking lot only to be dehumanized under the florescent lights of a big-box grocery store "produce" section? I'm not opinionated about this, no.
  • Downtown Tulsa Farmers' Market: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. every Tuesday at Third and Boston on Williams Green. I love this market; it's a great lunch stop for the downtown set.
  • Art In for Tulsa Transit: April 4, 1-4 p.m. at the Denver Tulsa Transit station, 319 S. Denver. The event, which will feature local artists, poets and musicians, aims to support and create awareness for Tulsa Transit. The gathering will be thanks to the Mother Nature Needs You campaign and Friends of Tulsa Transit. For more information, call Rainbow Girl at 346-2131 or e-mail her at mothernatureneedsyou at yahoo dot com.
  • Sustainable Green Country: "Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Proud sponsor of Buy Fresh Buy Local in northeast Oklahoma and a chapter of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network.
  • The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture: A wealth of information on anything and everything ag in Oklahoma.
  • OSU Extension Fact Sheets: A topical list of fact and help sheets on anything and everything gardening in Oklahoma.
I'll post more as I delve into the stack more thoroughly. Unless, of course, the stack eats and makes fertilizer of me.

The mission of the Tulsa Community Garden Association, the group that sponsored the seminar this morning, is to promote and facilitate the development of community gardens in the Tulsa area, among other things. Right now the TCGA is fighting for the community garden ordinance vote at the Tulsa City Council. Read more about what's going on with that here.

How is your garden growing? Feel free to post links to your favorite local gardening, food and/or green sites and resources in the comments.

St. Patrick's Day Round-Up

According to the countdown on the McNellie's Web site, there are less than two days and eight hours left until that day of really good food and beer and whiskey and redheads like me looking a little stereotypical and silly in green shirts, St. Patrick's Day.

Besides the huge parties going on in Tulsa's restaurant and bar districts (The Blue Dome District, Cherry Street and Brookside are all hosting huge bashes) and the Elton John/Billy Joel concert at the BOK Center, here's what else is happening on or before the 17th:

Bring A Friend to Tulsa, or just celebrate with the winners of the "Bring A Friend to Tulsa" contest. The party, hosted by the City of Tulsa, being held to congratulate the winners starts at 5 and last until 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, at 100 E. Second St. Did I mention there would be complimentary refreshments? No? Well, consider it said.

The Local Table, Tulsa's one-stop shop for local, familiar food and comfortable prices, is celebrating St. Pat's with a Irish whiskey and Irish beer dinner. The meal will include a four-course Irish dinner with three beers and three shots of three different types of whiskey, all for just $40 - it's tough to find a four-course meal in this town for this kinda cash, folks. Here's the menu:

First course: Smoked Salmon and Mache Salad with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette; Powers Irish whiskey; Smithwick's Irish Ale
Second: Colcannon Soup (potatoes, bacon, kale); Tullarmore Dew Irish whiskey; Murphy's Irish Red
Entree: Corned Beef and Cabbage with Creamed Horseradish and Irish Soda Bread; Knappogue Irish whiskey; Guinness Irish Drought
Dessert: Irish Cream Chocolate Mousse Cake

Everything kicks off at 6:30, which leaves plenty of time afterward for more liver punishment. Call 794-8013 for reservations.

Joe Momma's Pizza, sandwiched downtown between the centers of the universe in Tulsa on St. Pat's, McNellie's and Arnies, will be serving green beer and baked potato pizza on the big day. Or, order something off of Joe Momma's new, expanded menu, which will feature more sandwiches, calzones, desserts and appetizers. Either way, take your time; Joe's will be serving pizza until the wee hour of 3 a.m. on the Day of the Irish. Get the party started early with $3 Marshall Beer Draughts.

Fleet Feet Sports will host its annual St. Patrick's Day Dash Monday, March 16. Proceeds will go to Family & Children's Services. Pre-registry and a $10 entry fee is required. Call the store at 492-FEET for more information.

ADD 03.17//Cavedoll/Ghosts/Recorder at Exit 6CNeed an alternative to the regular St. Paddy's bar scene? Check out an otherworldly show the night of the 17th featuring Salt Lake City's Cavedoll (who made their Tulsa debut at 2008's D-Fest music festival), the psychedelic pop of Tulsa's own Ghosts and pure robot produced music of Recorder. $5 at the door; doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 at 222 E. First St. Only folks 21+ need apply. 

Know of a happenin' St. Patrick's Day event/special not listed here? Leave some info. in the comments and I'll add it to the list.

ADD 03.17//Folks, be sure to check the comments for even more fun things to do tonight. Just remember: Don't drink and drive. Just imagine there are little, tiny, vulnerable babies in the backseat of every car on the road tonight. Hopefully this visual will help you to call a cab if you've had one too many. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Organic Gardening Workshop This Saturday

Hey, Tulsa gardeners: Forget the pesticides and herbicides this year and let the ladybugs do the work! Grow organically. Learn the techniques and advantages of organic gardening at a workshop hosted by Tulsa Community Garden Association this weekend. 

WHEN: March 14, 9 a.m.-12 noon
WHERE: Tulsa Community College NE Campus, 3727 E. Apache
COST: $10 at the door

Topics will include "Why Grow Organic?" with Sue Gray, "Black Gold" (composting), "Butterfly Gardening" with Carol Eames and information about community gardens. 

Since pre-registration by March 10 was suggested, it might be a good idea to call 592-1466 or e-mail info@tulsacga.org to let them know you're coming and if you're bringing anyone along.

Happy chemical-free gardening! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello, Inspiration! It's Swap-O-Rama-Rama

Got a pile of underwhelming threads crowding up prime real estate in your closet? Mark your calendars for March 21, the date of Tulsa's first Swap-O-Rama-Rama, a celebration of reusing and recycling clothing the crafty way! 

The event, hosted by Tulsa Craft Mafia at The Collective, will be an afternoon-long giant clothing swap and series of DIY workshops on how to remake unwanted clothing into rad new ensembles. A host of talent will be brought together to teach festival goers how to transform new/used duds into unique, handmade garments. Six DIY stations and several local designers will be on hand for sewing help and modification tricks, silk screening, stenciling and original designing. 

The core of the swap will be, of course, the gigantic piles of free clothing! There will be pants, shirts, skirts, sweaters and more (oh, my!), which will be the collective total of each guest's donated clothes. Feel free to clean out those closets, let go of what's no longer inspiring and take home as much clothing as you can carry. What remains will go to Youth Services Tulsa for homeless teens. 

At 8 p.m., the designs that came off the sewing machines during the day will come to life during a participant-modeled fashion show. Local music acts Tops of Trees and Low Litas will rock out the rest of the evening, when food, coffee and beer will be available for purchase from the folks at The Collective.  

Wondering what to bring? Visit the Swap-O-Rama-Rama Web site to get the low-down. Still have questions? Get in touch with Christine Crowe, the mind behind Indie Emporium and a founding member of Tulsa Craft Mafia, at christine@indieemporium.com.

WHAT: Swap-O-Rama-Rama
WHEN: March 21, 1-6 p.m.
WHERE: The Collective, 3148 E. 11th St. (across from TU stadium)
COST: A bag of clothes for donation or $5

Thanks to the ladies of Tulsa Craft Mafia for putting together hip community events like Swap-O-Rama-Rama and Indie Emporium. T-Town would be much less feisty without you. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

What My Valentine's Day Activities Hath Wrought

No, I'm not here to announce that I'm expecting another baby. I have, however, been germinating.

Well, my veggie seeds have been. On Valentine's Day, I planted a few varieties of vegetables and several cooking herbs in an indoor seed mother thingie.

You can tell I have a really technical knowledge of this gardening stuff. Actually, I knew little about what I was doing when I started. Thanks to the following links, though, I now know more:

While it's not much, I consider it to be a good start. Feel free to leave more links to Tulsa gardening stuff in the comments. Please. Because my soul thirsts for gardening knowledge.

I first became interested in raising food for my family when I did a story on the business of farmers' markets for Tulsa Business Journal back in 2007. The passion of the growers I talked to for the story impressed me to go home to plant seeds in my backyard that very night. In the middle of May. I mean, $30 worth of seeds I bought at the Wal-Marts would grow all nice and neat and produce lots of lovely food if I put each plant in the ground three inches from all of the other plants - right?

Whoops. My crops of corn, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, jalapenos, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, white onions and carrots - all planted at the same time during the first heat wave of the summer - were over-grown, disorganized and nutrient-deprived. And dry. Plus, I planted the whole mess right under a shade tree.

I hope my grandmother isn't reading this right now - you know, the grandmother whose entire yard is always looks like it came fresh off the cover of Southern Living magazine:

I certainly didn't inherit her talent for gardening. But, I didn't give up after a false start, and that's what counts, right? Say yes.

This year I'll be transplanting starts of roma tomatoes, brandywine tomatoes (heirloom alert!), jalapenos, yellow squash and green beans. I'll also plant several cooking herbs in pots that I'll strategically place all over my yard to make things really sparkle and smell delicious and drive the neighbors even more bonkers than they already are: Italian parsley, sweet basil, rosemary, cilantro, thyme and chives.

This weekend we're building raised beds; the next step (I think) is to have our soil amended. I'll be keeping you all posted on how my little garden is coming along. Right now I'm just hoping everything lives to be transplanted.

What veggies are you growing in your garden this year? I hope to hear of someone growing some really weird stuff - like the tomatoes they use to make purple ketchup - and I'd also like to know where that someone lives so I can come eat some of it.

Just kidding about the purple ketchup thing. Maybe.

Related Posts with Thumbnails