Live Green!Be Kind to the Earth
We are so close to Spring–so close to long walks, decent morning runs, day-trip hikes and noon-time picnics, you can almost taste it. And you can taste it! Because I have created the perfect vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free cookie that is just perfect for dropping in your basket or slipping in your backpack.
When my husband’s copy of the monthly AARP Bulletin arrived early in December, I gave it a casual scan while we were eating breakfast. Then I landed on this headline:
“The Truth About Meat In Your Diet: Going against decades of nutritional wisdom, a group of researchers recently claimed there is no reason to limit red or processed meats.”
Indignant indigestion followed.
The Impossible Burger. It is said to be “the one that bleeds,” a plant-based burger made from “plant meat” (Read: GMO soybean root heme—and doesn’t that sound appetizing.). Finding its way from high-end restaurants to fast food chains to grocery store shelves, this impossible imposter claims everything from “the burger of your childhood” to the “ultimate environmental savior”. I’m not impressed.
Cold, wet outside air meets dry indoor heat. It’s a match made…well certainly not in heaven. Chafed skin, brittle nails and peeling cuticles… so how are those busy little hands these days? If yours are like mine in winter, the answer is NOT GOOD. But I have found some help from the New Hope Network Blogger Box and a favorite new company, Herbal Healing.
Afterwords Books is a family-owned local bookstore, celebrating 10 years in Edwardsville. Customers can purchase new and used books, take advantage of a trade-for-credit program and join a book club like ours—there are clubs going on all the time at Afterwords, for every age and interest. Little shoppers also can enjoy the free children’s story times, while others participate in a thriving monthly documentary club. People come to shop for books at Afterwords, to be sure, but they linger for the community, conversation and coffee and tea.
As we all gather together this Thanksgiving, food will certainly take center stage. For many of us, however, what’s on the table may not reflect what is traditional. Choosing healthy ingredients, reducing carbon footprint and supporting agricultural sustainability are now as prominent in our recipe collections, as Grandma’s pumpkin pie and Mom’s holiday turkey.
What I love most about blogging is the creative witchcraft that takes place. Whether I’ve just discovered another blogger with great cooking ideas, or I’ve dipped into New Hope Network’s Blogger Box for the next Green Gal recommendation, or one of my friends passes on a fabulous recipe that was passed on by someone who found it on another blog somewhere out in the Universe, bloggers are a magic force of sophisticated sorcery.
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven… or at least gone back in time. I was at the Goshen Community Market on a typical Fall Saturday, filling my bags with great food, when I spied this large basket of pears—big green speckled pears like the ones I picked with my grandparents from the side of a country road or in a neighbor’s yard (With their permission, of course!). The Family Garden from over in New Douglas, IL was selling them, harvested from their front yard. I had to make two trips on my bike to get them all home.
If you ask Michael Turley to define “a farm”, he smiles in a way that makes you think you’re going to find his answer a little weird. It’s a hesitant smile, suggesting he is already aware that you are most likely a skeptic. But he answers anyway:
“Remember the opening scenes of the movie The Wizard of Oz? Remember the farm Dorothy lives on in Kansas—there’s Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, barely getting by with a few hired hands to help them, a cow, a horse, some hogs, a few acres of field crops in the distance? Well that’s what I think of as the American farm.” Then he waits for the inevitable response that politely calls his vision “romantic,” “quaint” but in the end “highly impractical” by today’s agricultural standards.
Overall, I’d say I’m a pretty stable and balanced person. Of course, a survey of family and friends might reveal a slightly different opinion, if I’m caught at the “right moment.” And, I’m guessing you have had some of those “right moments” too, when everything in your life is in overdrive, when every box on your little calendar is full. Sometimes it is just the simple and natural change of seasons that can push me a step past coping, especially if all the other factors are in play. And this pretty much describes my September 2019. But still I try to be strong, soldier through, resist help.
Can you say “stubborn”?
Autumn is the season of BIG harvest. It’s as if Nature put on a fireworks display all summer and September and October mark the grand finale, when the world is literally lit up with abundance. All the winter squash is coming in by the wagonloads at my market, while the end-of-the-summer produce makes one last HUGE BOOM. And the question becomes: “What do we do with the wealth?” Waste not, want not. Here are a few ideas to move us in smooth, non-wasteful ways into Autumn.
While I’m not a milk drinker, I am an organic dairy user—there’s always whole milk, heavy cream and full-fat Greek Yogurt in the frig. I’m also a believer in dairy farms—when they are organic or regenerative, humane, and sustainable, with a cautious eye to carbon mitigation. Yeah, I have a lot of qualifiers when it comes to dairy. But, really, you should, too, especially if—like my honeybun and me—you and your family enjoy milk daily.
Okay, here is a not-so-happy idea: the older I get, the more unwelcome changes my body presents. Perhaps, you’ve had similar ideas as the years have passed. We can whine and pout, but I think it would be more productive to face maturity head on—embrace the wisdom of age with gratitude and don’t let those growing-old cliché’s get us down. Because, while aging is inevitable, growing “old” is not. My grandma was a young—very young—97 when she left this world for a new one.
Heather promised to help me start a native plant garden. She and her dad did the grunt work in the fall, removing turf, turning soil and establishing a well-mulched patch that would get me started in the spring…all I had to do was fill it.
I let a lot of things go in Summer: the garden is happier with native weeds; just ask it. The house is usually empty because we are outside, so if no one’s there to see the dust fall, is it really dirty? The kitchen is due for a rest, too, I think, though there is the issue of healthy food and market goodies. OK, not everything is “let go.” But my grip is certainly more relaxed.
Success begins with a sound foundation. How many times have you heard that sentiment? Whether we are talking architecture, education or parenting, a strong foundation is the common denominator to success. This is also true of one of my favorite places on Earth: the Goshen Community Market.
I was at Dayempur Farm near the end of April, learning about this self-sufficient Sufi community’s sustainable spin on farming and living in Southern Illinois. The journey took me to the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, onto 60 acres of pristine land, some cultivated, some left wild and wooded, but none sprayed by pesticides and herbicides that mar most modern commercial agriculture.
Last December, we talked about the new wave of CBD oils that have hit the market in a HUGE way, highlighting one of my favorite companies, Barleans. Since then, the CBD conversation has only grown because of hemp’s change of status within the 2018 Farm Bill from a controlled substance to an agricultural product.