Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Club! My thoughts on Organic Manifesto by Maria Rodale

Maria Rodale’s book, Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe, presents a clear blueprint for change. In plain language she explains the dangers of chemical farming, the misconceptions of organic farming, and calls out the government on its irresponsibility towards our health and well-being in favor of corporate influence.

“Farmers are caught on a treadmill” she writes in her compassionate defense of many farmer’s reluctance to return to organic farming. They and their land have become dependent on the chemicals, GMO seeds, and tax breaks generously offered for chemical farming. She offers two scenarios – one of a farmer trapped in a chemically dependent farming system and another that follows an organic model of farming. Painting these two drastically different pictures she calls to task all those who say it can’t be done profitably. She further disputes the tale told by big business that the world would starve without chemical farming.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Secret to My Organic Garden

“Organic gardening is too labor intensive.” So sayeth the generally ignorant population. This is the standard defense line of traditional chemical gardening (crops grown with the use of treated seeds, artificial fertilizers and toxic pesticides and herbicides). But I would beg to differ.

I’m a fundamentally lazy gardener. I try to grow mostly useful plants, and the few flowers I cultivate are nearly all perennials that can take care of themselves. As much as possible, I try to garden organically. I choose heirloom and/or organic seeds and seedlings and save seeds each year. I use no pesticides and depend on the ladybugs, chickens, bats, and cats to keep the pests under control. Our horses, chickens, and compost provide plenty of fertilizer. But what about the weeds?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don It or Donate It and find out if you really wear everything in your closet!

Americans have too many clothes.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair. I have too many clothes, and my children have too many clothes. That’s fact.

As I hang clothing on the line to dry each morning, I have time to consider the clothing we own as I shake it out and determine how many clothespins it will take to keep it from flying off into the wind that whips up the hill from the hollow. Jeans require four, shirts two and underwear requires anywhere from one to four depending on who it belongs to. My daughter would be none to happy if her panties went sailing into the grass to be discovered by her little brother’s friends. (Three clothes pins minimum even though the panties are barely bigger than a tissue.)

Back to the subject at hand, we all have too many clothes. Our drawers are stuffed to overflowing (note picture) and our closets crammed. No one could possibly wear all of it. Or could they? I’ve devised a clothing challenge for myself and everyone who thinks they have too many clothes but are unable to reduce their surplus. It’s also for you smug people who are reading this and thinking, “I wear everything I own otherwise I wouldn’t own it!”

This challenge is called Wear It or Toss It. Or Use Ir or Lose It. Or Don It or Donate It. The name isn’t important, but the purpose is.

It’s a very simple challenge.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Join my Book Club!!

Have you ever been part of a book club? For the past thirteen years I’ve been the member of at least one club and sometimes two. When I’m reading, I underline phrases I find well worded or facts I think are fascinating. I scribble my own examples and questions in the margins. When I’m excited about a book or learning new things, I always want to share that news. Many times my patient husband is the recipient of my newfound insights or knowledge. I know that sometimes his patience wears thin and he must grit his teeth as I read him “just one more” passage from my current book crush.

Books are a passion for me and luckily, most of my family, as evidenced by the many, many, many crammed book shelves in our house (including two in bathrooms!). In a rush to get out the door this morning, I scrambled to find a paper I needed and knocked over the current stack of I’ve-got-to-read-these books that teetered nearly two feet high on the corner of my desk. They tumbled over the side, a few landing in the trash can. I re-stacked them and sighed. Some from the bottom of the stack have been there since last fall. When was I going to read these books?? I’m busy right now hurtling through the book for my women’s Book club that meets next Friday. And then I’ve got to finish the book for the book discussion I’m helping to lead at my church.

Book Club books always take precedence over the hundreds of other books haunting me from my shelves in nearly every room of my house. The ones on my desk are piled there so I’ll get to them sooner rather than later, although that phrase has become very relative in my life. I need another book club to force me to get to them. And then I thought – Ah! I have a perfect audience for a book club – my blog. You people are trapped there and have no choice but to listen to my ramblings (yes, I know you could simply click away from this post, but I trust that you won’t and choose to live in the blissful belief that you hang on my every word).

So KFOL Book Club begins this month! I’m going to do one book a month from the stack. Although Marion Nestle’s book What to Eat is so dense it’ll need two months. I’ll devote at least one post, possibly more if I get excited. You have several options for participating.