Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Slowing Down


As part of my low impact living, I've been doing a number of things - like hanging clothes out to dry or cooking whole foods purchased from the local farmer's market - that force me to slow down. So many people think going "green" is a sacrifice, as giving up something. I guess that may be the case for some things but, in so many ways, living lightly on this planet is actually a gift.


I live my life in a constant rush. Hanging out the wash makes me slow down, listen to the birds (there aren't as many of them as there used to be), look at and enjoy my garden, pay some 1:1 attention to my cat. Sometimes, the kids come out to help and that is fun too. It is so much more interesting than having them just push the start button on the dryer.


Tonight, I'm making cranberry beans for dinner. They are these beautiful purple and white speckled beans that you buy fresh from the farmer's market in a red tie-dyed pod. Shucking them makes me slow down and sit. My youngest likes to help out and we can have a nice quiet (or sometimes not so quiet) conversation while we pluck the beans out of the pod.


Let's look at the upsides of living lightly in addition to all the good we are doing for the planet. We're saving our selves along the way.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The 11th Hour

My husband and I had a hot date night on Saturday - we went to the city (San Francisco) to get dinner and see the 11th Hour (see http://www.11thhouraction.com/). Even if you are already very green, the movie was very informative - it was full of depressing figures that I did not know. For instance, did you know that 90% of the big fish in the ocean are gone? Did you know that for every truckload of new product that goes to market, 32 truckloads go to the landfills? Staggering!

Anyway, I highly recommend the film. My husband is business guy and was truly inspired by the latter part of the movie which offers a glimpse into the new business of sustainable living - reducing consumption and offering consumers new green options for things that they need.

To top the night off, one of the film's producers was in attendance and held a Q&A after the movie. Go see it. Remember that we vote with our dollars and by seeing this movie, you will be sending the message that you care about the world we live in.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Reducing

I have a number of blogs that I check daily and one is the Sierra Club's The Green Life site. Today's post reminded us the importance of reducing in addition to recycling and re-using. I have to say that in the past, reducing has been very difficult for me. I love to shop or at least I loved to shop.

A couple months ago, in an effort to drive less, I stopped buying all of my necessities at Target and instead started walking to my local drug store. Sure, it costs a little bit more for the cat food and tape but I saved money by not being tempted to buy all the other junk that I do on a trip to Target. Just by making that small change, I have mostly stopped buying new stuff. In fact, I had to go to Target last week for something that I couldn't find closer to home. I didn't even have a urge to impulse buy! In fact, I looked at all the folks shopping there with overflowing baskets of stuff they probably didn't need and felt a sense of relief.

I still enjoy the occasional treasure and indulge myself - when it is something we need or can really use - at the local Thrift Center where I've found deals galore. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Farmer's Market Fun

Today was our bi-weekly farmer's market and I picked up some yummy fresh food! Golden raspberries which I've already turned into jam (though it's only my second forray into jam making and I had to fiddle with the recipe so I'm not sure it set. It does taste great though!). Corn on the cob - picked today. New varieties of apples are starting to show up and blueberries are winding down - I thought I'd make jam with the latter tonight.

Going to the farmer's market this morning got me thinking. I just finished The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. In one of the chapters regarding family farms (the non-barcode people), Pollan states something to the effect that everyone who buys directly from that farm is making a political statement - opting out as it were. He is right. I started going to the farmer's market as a statement to the powers that be that I want fresh food, locally grown; that I want a sustainable lifestyle, and so on. Looking at the bumper stickers of the other cars in the parking lot, I'm obviously not alone.

But the food from the farmer's market is much more than a political statement. It is making jam like my mother. It is eating fresher, better tasting food. It is losing 4 pounds in a month without even trying. It is my kids trying new kids of vegetables and pronouncing "Green beans are yummy, mommy. I do like them." Or my oldest, pickiest son begging for fresh strawberries this morning. Now that is truly sweet.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Adventures in Local Eating

I'm trying to eat more sustainably these days. I've rediscovered the farmer's market, am following One Local Summer (http://onelocalsummer.blogspot.com/) and am finishing up Plenty by the founders of the 100 Mile Diet. http://100milediet.org/ By the way, it's a fascinating read but also pretty instructional - use what you have, improvise, make do.

So I sent the hubby and kids out for pickling salt (I'm making pickles tonight!) and set about cooking a (mostly) local meal for our farmer's market finds. I decided to make potato frittata - a new recipe - and bravely began soaking my potatoes, coating my olive oil, folding in the eggs. I was missing certain ingredients and added some others (local cheese for the farmer's market - yum!) Well, wouldn't you know it.

I burnt the heck out of the frittata. My boys came home to a house filled with smoke. We opened all the windows and doors and turned on all the fans (so much for saving electricity). The old me would have tossed everything out and whisked the kids to Baja Fresh or thawed out some frozen dinner. That was the me who had not spent the last week reading about the 100 mile diet and who had not started this blog. I was determined.

Despite the unseasonably cool weather (ahh, the Bay Area in August) and to escape the smoke, we decided to picnic in our backyard. I flipped over the toasted frittata and cut off the blackened crust. We enjoyed the frittata (though it did taste as if it had been smoked), watermelon and strawberries and watched a squirrel scamper across the back fence. Just as we finished, my oldest turned to me and said "Mom, what a great idea to have a picnic. I loved the frittata."

There you have it. Adventures in local eating sure beat dinner at a fast food joint.

Welcome

I am the mother of two preschoolers and, with the kiddos now in preschool, I have finally come up for air. As a teen and college student, I cared passionately about the environment - sneaking into Safeway to put dolphin-free stickers on tuna cans and writing representatives about old growth forests. Somehow, in the blur of graduate school, establishing a career and parenting toddlers, I forgot all about this planet we call home. When I re-emerged on Earth Day 2007, I was surprised that so few changes had been implemented since I was a passionate advocate 20 years ago. And embarassed that I too had disregarded all the changes I had previously advocated. Well, I'm back!I'm busily implementing low impact living changes in my pod and hope this blog will help me stay on track and maybe even provide some amusment or motivation to anyone who stumbles upon it.

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