Yard plants up for grabs in Nopa

We are starting our highly anticipated landscaping project next Monday but that means we have a lot of plants that are going to the compost, UNLESS YOU SAVE THEM.
Our yard is partly to completely in the shade, some flowers can also handle more sun, like e.g. the scented geraniums.

We have trees to give away that can give you privacy, black bamboo (spreads a lot less than regular), flowering ground covers, bushes, ferns, a gingko tree and flowers. Some pictures are below but I don’t know all the names of the plants. All plants are in great shape, ready to start blooming in the spring.

Come by this weekend 1/28, 1/29 to dig them out and give them a new home. Bring a shovel, a wheelbarrow or plastic bags or containers to transport them home.

Email me for details alexbdanieli@gmail.com

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Great News! TweetList is featured in the iTunes App Store!

TweetList featured in the App Store

Exciting news! We’ve just discovered that TweetList, our featured-packed and über-fast Twitter client for the iPhone, is currently featured in the iTunes App Store. See it there in “New and Noteworthy”?

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Twitter has recently released its own official client, a rebranded version of Tweetie 2. Tweetie was an excellent iPhone Twitter app that set the bar pretty high in terms of usability and speed. But we are striving to be better. And it’s great for Apple to recognize the work of independent 3rd-party developers.

Tweet on!

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TweetList for the iPhone – a Twitter client especially for lists

We did it! Zooble launched TweetList to the iTunes Store on 4/4/2010, which happened to be Easter.
What a surprise when we saw the email from Apple during our Easter brunch!

Adrian and I have been working hard on the launch for about 6 months and we are relieved to finally have something to show. Which does not mean we will rest now, first happy customers have emailed with praise and suggestions as to what they would like to see. So Adrian is still coding happily, working on the next update.

Check it out here: http://tweetli.st

Here are some screen shots to get you started:

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Urban Beekeeping for Beginners – how to get started

How would you feel if you found out your neighbors were keeping bees? Would you be interested? Would you be scared?

Bees are fascinating creatures, especially the way they work together and know exactly what to do, even though most of them only live for a few weeks.
Last year sometime I had the idea of starting my own hive but it was too late in the year to start a new hive. So I decided to wait until this spring. Last Sunday I had my second beginner’s bee class and it was awesome. It was held in a little beekeeping store here in San Francisco, called ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper’ .

The class was held by Karen Peteros, who is also active in the SF beekeeper association. She was great and resourceful.

Here is a little bit of what we learned about getting started:

What do you need?
1. A fairly sunny spot for the hive, at least in San Francisco. In hotter areas full sun can get too warm for the bees.
2. A water source, so bees don’t drink in neighbor’s pools, hot tubs, etc – you don’t want anybody stepping barefoot onto a drinking bee, would end badly for the person and the bee
3. Ventilation for the hive, bees breathe, and if the warm wet air can’t escape out top, the hive can get moldy inside
4. Something to lift the hive off the ground so ants, mice, skunks and other critters can’t get in.
5. The actual hive, consisting mainly of boxes. There are different varieties, some with foundation in the frames, others without, each have their advantages. The most common ones are called Langstroth and Top Bar. You should give the boxes a painting several weeks before the bees arrive so the fumes can air out.
6. A bottom board, best is if it has a grid, so that mites that fall off the bees fall through the grid and are out of the hive. There are also solid bottom boards.
7. A top cover. There are also various ones for more prettiness or more ventilation, or both.
8. A smoker, it will help you work the hive better as it calms the bees down.
9. A hive tool, it will help you lift out heavy frames and get in between sticky frames and boxes that the bees glue together with propolis.
10. Protective gear, especially for your head, neck and hands. They recommended rubber boots to protect your ankles too.

When you consider where you locate your hive, you have to make sure you have enough space behind and on one side of the hive, so you can remove and inspect frames conveniently. At no time should you be in front of the hive, or else you get into the bees’ flight path and confuse them.
In general, bees are not very offensive or aggressive. They just defend themselves and their hive when they have to. And, unlike wasps, bees are solely interested in flowers and pollen, so they will not bother you and fly into your drinks and food.

It is recommended to check into your beehive every 10 days to look for the queen or a sign of her having recently been there. This will also give you an idea if your colony is about to swarm. But that is another complex topic. So you will be looking for the queen, or if she is well hidden, look for young larvae which will show you that the queen was there a few days ago.
The presence of a queen is essential to the hive, without her, the hive cannot reproduce, she is the only one who is fertile and lays eggs.
When a hive goes queenless, the bees will try to requeen it by feeding one larvae with royal jelly, which will turn it into a queen instead of into a worker bee. So it sounds fairly easy, but in a city environment the problem is mostly the mating flight. Oftentimes, after having mated with drones, on her flight back into the hive, the queen gets snapped away by a bird.
A queenless colony can become depressed as they know they can’t reproduce anymore and will die, or aggressive and start stinging people for no reason, or they can keep going about their business as usual, collecting pollen and making honey.
A colony can also be requeened with a new queen that the beekeeper buys. It is a complicated procedure but it can be done.

There is so much more to know and every new bit of information gets more interesting, I could not possibly cover everything I learned on Sunday in this post. If you are considering getting into bees, get a good beginner book (for example The Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum) and take a class with your local beekeeping association.

Looking forward to buying my first hives and painting them! The bees will arrive in April.

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Wholewheat Tuna Onion Pizza

In Germany, tuna pizza is amongst the most popular pizzas you can get.
Here in California it seems weird to people to put canned tuna on pizza. I still like it though.

Last night was Italian night here at our house. I bought whole wheat pizza dough and just topped it with tomato sauce, onions, canned tuna, oregano, olive oil and fresh mozzarella.

It went on the hot pizza stone in the oven for about 10 minutes – ready. Delicious!!

The problem is, the better you get at cooking, the harder it is to be satisfied when you’re eating out. But, oh well…

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Oatmeal Pancakes

There’s this whole wheat pancake mix at Wholefoods that I like. It’s pretty pure and tastes good.

The other day I wanted to make oatmeal pancakes so I made the batter a little more liquid and added some oats. Another version I have made before is to cook the oats in water or milk before and then add the oatmeal to a (drier) pancake dough.

Adds a little flavor and fiber…

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How to make the Perfect Frittata

You might know the problem – frittatas are thick, so it tends to be hard to get them cooked all the way through before the bottom is burned. The solution: a cast iron pan. I can’t advertise these enough. They cost 20 USD and are great for everything!

I used to use expensive non-stick skillets but they don’t get the same results as the cast iron frying pan.

So for the frittata, beat up however many eggs you need (2 or 3 per person, depending on the hunger) with some herbs and salt, sauté your favorite greens, mushrooms, or onions in the cast iron pan.
Once they are done, pour the egg mixture over the greens or mushrooms. The pan should by now be hot enough to maintain its heat for a while. Turn it to medium hot so the bottom does not burn and cover the pan with a lid. That’s the key. This will make the frittata thick and fluffy and delicious. Darn, I’m getting hungry just writing this.

Serve with a slice of your favorite bread and if you like, add some cheese on top.

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