April 24, 2011

Our New Composter!

Isn't it marvelous! This is our new, homemade composter. Hubby did most of the construction of the wood and I attached the wire. Last year, our little store-bought composter was simply too small. This one is large enough to hold all the kitchen and yard waste from our 1 acre plot. And, since it has wire for walls it allows for maximum airflow to speed up the composting process!

Check out the wire chimney. So simple, yet brilliant! It allows air to circulate into the center of the pile.

This all was inspired by Mike McGrath's book: The Book of Compost.

April 16, 2011

Garden Progress!

Hubby and I worked so hard last year on our garden that this year it was much easier to start the season! We've already watched small shoots of herbs, flowers and lettuce push their way through the sun-warmed soil. We've even tasted some of our asparagus!

Our mesclun mix is looking delicious!

The mint is growing faster than I could have hoped for!

The onion sets have sprouts!

The peonies are making their spring time return!

The catnip, lavender, yarrow and bee balm survived the winter!

The blueberry bushes have buds!

There are also new additions to the garden this year....
I've tilled three new beds that will be a cutting garden, filled with wildflowers!

Do you see that open space between those two baby trees? This week a hammock with be going between them! The L-shaped bed has knock-out roses, butterfly bushes and an assortment of other perennial flowering plants!

April 12, 2011

Eating Healthy in Our Nation: A serious topic for this fun and frilly blog

Jaime Oliver is among the handful of celebrities and chefs that are determined to change the relationship most Americans have with food. Tonight I watched the Season 2 premier of his show Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution. It comes on every Tuesday night at 8:00 (eastern time) on ABC. He is determined to change the food that is served in schools all over the nation. This season he focuses on Los Angeles. Another celebrity who is trying to make a difference, and whom I admire for her efforts, is Alicia Silverstone. Her blog about eating kind can be found here: http://www.thekindlife.com/

For 8 years now I have eliminated all poultry and beef from my diet. I am what they (complicatedly) call a pesco-ovo vegetarian. I do eat eggs and I occasionally eat fish (sushi is a huge weakness). However, I have every desire to eventually go vegan, eliminating all animal products from my diet.

While a number of articles, reports and studies tell us obesity rates in America are sky high, that is not my main reason for trying to improve my relationship with food on a daily basis.Compassion towards animals is what initially drove me towards being a vegetarian. Once I adopted that lifestyle, numerous health related reasons for being a vegetarian surfaced in articles, books and other media. Every day I try to understand why so many people still eat processed meat when the literature available tells us how bad it is for us. Of course, in my ideal world, no one would inappropriately use any animal, but I know that a meatless America is never going to happen in my lifetime.

So that leads me to numerous questions...Is it lack of knowledge? Lack of money? Or, more simply, is it just a general disagreement. Often I hear that my diet is "wacky", "strange", "weird" or some other adjective that implies I am somehow not normal. If being normal means eating foods packed with preservatives and empty calories, or food that is brought to my table with the cost of suffering on the part of a defenseless animal, then I am proud to not be normal.

Another misconception/criticism I hear is that if I don't eat meat then I must eat only lettuce. That, of course, is not true. There are many delicious recipes that do not contain any meat. PETA is a great source for guidance on finding meat-free recipes. Also, Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet, looks to be filled with great recipes. I confess, I have not purchased her book yet. I've only known about the book for a week.

It is hopeful to see on prime time television, a wake-up call regarding our nation's food consumption. I only hope that the people who needed to see the show, did in fact see it. Although, preaching to the choir can be good to empower a larger movement. I am not so much an activist as I am a person who chooses to live her life in the kindest way possible. I can only hope that others share my outlook.


April 7, 2011

Spring and My Dwindling Presence

As you may have noticed, my presence on most online social media is dwindling. It is not for a lack of enthusiasm of the technology, it is simply spring! When spring arrives, I am naturally drawn out doors. My cool weather crops have been planted and I am seeing small seedlings pushing their way through the loose soil.

Here are some images from my yard:

How can one stay away from this?

The warm weather has also inspired a new project: a spring/summer scarf. It is made of a lightweight cotton that is knit very loosely. I'm certainly in love with it!