Book Haul #6 – I May Have a Problem

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Once a year Salt Spring Island has a giant book sale to fund raise for their literacy group. This is the first year I even knew it existed (it’s the 8th annual) and a friend asked me to go with her. As you may have guessed from the photo, I made out like a bandit.

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Learning to Make Kombucha Pt. 3

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The kombucha experiment is coming along nicely! In my last post I showed my first batch of bottled tea and my first attempt at a secondary ferment with raspberries. The bottled tea was left out to carbonate but after 4 or 5 days the tea had remained pretty flat. It still tasted great, but it didn’t have the fizzy bubbles you get in store bought kombu. The raspberry bottle was much fizzier and overall more tasty, so this post is about how to get that fizz!

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Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

immortal-lifeRead for: Jezebelle Book Club Selection from November ’13 (I’m way behind)

Rating: 5/5

This book is fantastic. Henrietta Lacks was a tobacco farmer in the south who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the early 1950’s. During one of her biopsies the doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital took a sample of her cancer cells and sent it to a lab to see if they could get them to grow. This was done without her knowledge or permission as consent was not required at the time. This event marked a major milestone in scientific history as those cells went on to perpetually reproduce in unprecedented quantities that allowed scientists to use them to develop vaccines and treatments for illnesses like HPV and polio. Those cells are still alive today. Henrietta died of an incredibly aggressive form of cancer shortly after the sample was taken, and no one in her family knew what really happened to her or about the existence of the cells for another 20 years.

This book is about the family Henrietta left behind and the impact of her cells on their lives. When HeLa became famous in the scientific community Henrietta’s identity was eventually leaked to the media and her children found out about it by accident. A can of worms was opened surrounding the notions of patient confidentiality, consent, and bioethics. Rebecca did an excellent job of researching the life of Henrietta Lacks and telling the story of her family. I won’t say anything more, you should just read this book. Now.

 

Adventures in Curry Cooking

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My winter goal is to teach myself how to cook Indian curries. Now that it’s getting chilly outside I have started to figure things out, starting with some of my favourites; dal makhani and matar paneer.

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Road Trip to Tofino, BC

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We are trying to keep up with our exploration of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and this weekend we checked a big one off the list by visiting Tofino and Ucluelet. It was J’s birthday so we booked one night at the Duffin Cove Resort in downtown Tofino and made the drive over. We were warned to bring rain jackets but, with our “traveluck” at work (our made up word), it was gloriously sunny and clear both days which meant I got some really nice photos!

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^ The view from our waterfront room

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Learning About Mushrooms

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There are lots and lots of mushrooms here, and I’m super interested in learning about them. Sounds easy enough, but there are soo many different types of mushroom! It’s pretty overwhelming.

I bought a copy of Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest and I am slowly working my way through the different fungi. Above are all the different specimens I collected on ONE walk in the 707 Community Park. Have I figured any of them out yet? Um, no. But I have some hunches.

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