Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Living Life Now--in mind and body-Meditation

I just read the book The Miracle of Mindfulness. Recommended by my friend, Monique (the person whom I have taken sustainability classes from)-Sustainable Living on a Budget.  (Right now I am way too tired to be writing..I just couldn't figure out how to spell miracle...experiencing that "fog" of fatigue..  But, I really have wanted to talk about this so here it goes..hope it isn't too incoherent.

The basic idea...  So often we get through each moment with the hope of what is coming next.  Getting the dishes done quickly so we can enjoy our cup of coffee afterward.  If we live in this way, chances are we not only don't live while we are doing this dishes, but we also won't while drinking the coffee (or tea)...  chances are that while drinking the "treat"..we'll be thinking of the next thing..or something in the past, etc.. 

Thich Nhat Hanh, says that it is important that while we do anything, we think about what we are doing..We purposely make ourselves aware of it and appreciate it.  For example, while washing the dishes, think about what you hands are doing, how the water feels, what the bubbles look like, how it smells, how nice it feels to get it clean, etc..  And that this idea can translate even during times we are doing something we really don't like... 

For parents:  He also talked about not dividing up our concept of time--my time, your time, family time, work time...If you live in the present, it all becomes "me time"..Wow, fancy that!  (-;  How many times, do I plead to my husband to take over so I can find a little "me time"..  ??! 

He taught that to do this--you need to become aware of your breath--I'm breathing in 123..breathing out 123..  (there's more to it than just that, but it seems that is the first step)  He said that we can become more in control of our fears...  (I've had a bit of insomnia lately and I decided to practice this and it may not have put me to sleep, but it kept my worries and excitement from taking control of my mind)---i just found out that we are "expecting" .. 

I think about this, because there are days when I don't think I've truly related to my children...wasn't present. They are going to (and are) growing up so quickly and one of my fears is that I'm going to wake up and realize one day that I didn't even "experience it"--I was too cluttered in my mind..and wonder if I really experienced such a miraculous time.  There are days when I really think I missed out, because I was "too busy"--not just physically busy, but too preoccupied.

I'd like to be more present..  with the people that mean the most to me especially..  (and that is tricky because I am introverted--I feel replenished by time in introspection and I daydream a lot--that is until I hear..."Mommy, can I have some water...)  (-;

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I've been neglecting my practicing a bit...  Life has a way of getting ahead of me sometimes, but even though I've been neglecting it of late, I want to include the idea of it here.  I LOVE learning to play the violin!  It is an amazing instrument and the music...I have found a true love in fiddle and bluegrass music..old time too.. I wasn't sure if I could do it, but it has been much easier to learn than I had expected I started 2 years ago.  (It is just about my 2 year anniversary of first taking it up.  When I listen to and play the music, it fills me with joy!  (and that feeling has not lessened at all)  I started with doing Suzuki Method with my children.  (Both my children are learning too)--However, we are not intensely involved in it.  I could not keep up with the pace at the Music Center and balance 2 schools-elementary school and preschool (and life).  (but the program at the Portland Community Music Center is EXCELLENT!!-a great value for how much they include--private and group lessons and music classes, recitals, discounted and free concerts, adult classes too) However, we are learning at our own pace(taking a private lesson 1-2x/month, and for myself, I am taking an adult Fiddle Class each week.  My children practice 2-3x/week..

The Suzuki Method is pretty amazing.  The basic premise orignated by Suzuki is that learning an instrument is like learning a language, something everyone is capable of..even very young children..and if you teach it like you do language through an immersion program, they will learn it.  He truly believed in the abilities of children. There were some reallly inspiring stories even some children who had limited mobility with their hands..who gradually learned to play it..  

I'm not a big fan of "over-scheduling my kids" but this is one thing I am doing with them--at a very gentle pace so that in our lives it does not have a huge footprint...unless and until they "love" it...then we might take it up a notch if they seem to want to pursue it.. but perhaps they may choose a different interest, and I will adapt to that.  But for me, I LOVE it!!  

Baha'i Quotations on Music
"We have made music a ladder by which souls may ascend to the realm on high.
(Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 73)

1362. It is necessary That the Schools Teach Music
"...The art of music is divine and effective. It is the food of the soul and spirit. Through the power of music the spirit of man is uplifted. It has wonderful sway and effect in the hearts of children, for their hearts are pure and melodies have great influence on them. The latent talents with which the hearts of these children are endowed will find expression through the medium of music. Therefore, you must exert yourselves to make them proficient; teach them to sing with excellence and effect. It is incumbent upon each child to know something of music, for without knowledge of this art, the melodies of instrument and voice cannot be rightly enjoyed. Likewise it is necessary that the schools teach it in order that the souls and hearts of the pupils may become vivified and exhilarated and their lives be brightened with enjoyment."
('Abdu'l-Bahá: Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.52)
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 410)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

D'oh! Hardening off and Plant Rescuing.. Do-Over..

Trial and error.  I've made errors before.  This year, I planted too early and without hardening off.  (actually, my confession-I haven't(officially hardened my seedlings off before-except year #1 when I stared late and just planted the starts outside in their pots to begin with)..and I realize that this is probably why I've had trouble growing brocolli before.  But this time, even my tomatoes did not fare well, and they can take quite a bit of abuse. 

I also learned today, that for where I live, it is best to put starts out end of May/beginning of June.  (Serves me right for being impatient!)  (except peas and lettuce types..--they like the cold)

I also learned that it can take up to 3 weeks to harden off a seedling..getting them used to the temps and direct sunlight (too much sun can cause the white spots)  I had wondered about that! 

Well, all is not lost.  I am attempting to rescue those plants..going backwards, dug them out, and repotted them to give them some TLC..  I have some new seeds going in case this doesn't work (and I bought 2 tomato plants so I have some that will be ready a little sooner) And, I did not plant all my seedlings...some are still in their original seedpots..(a little insurance for survival)

Many did die, though  :(  but hopefully these ones might have a chance..poor things!  Gardening is not always easy...and (we obviously have some bugs in the garden)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bone Broth and Pho Ga(on a budget) and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

 Sally Fallon from Nourishing Traditons  stresses the importance of bone broth for our health.  The nutrients from bone marrow are greatly lacking in our modern diet, but used to be a great source of nutrition..  You hear about how a good chicken soup can help cure the flu or a cold...Well, I believe it!! In our family, we usually buy a chicken a week..or every other week and we use ALL of it.. It makes at least 3-4 meals.  First the roasted chicken meal, then the left-over chicken for sandwhiches or stir-fry (or added to soup) and then the soup made from the broth from the bones which often makes enough broth for 2 soups or 1 very large soup.  If I don't buy chicken that week, I often have bones left in my freezer from making the pet food, or bones from lamb and beef (which we buy from a farmer) Once a year(or every 9-10 months), we buy 1/8 cow, and 1/2 lamb and from those orders we get our meat, our suet(for making soap), our bones for broth and for our dog.

In any case, here is how I make my broth (the crockpot way) (or you can use a stock pot and simmer all day...boiling in the beginning, then turn down the heat)

Bone Broth
1 chicken carcass
filtered water
about 2TB vinegar (it helps the water absorb the nutrients from bones, marrow)
(vegetable scraps on hand)--stems from collard, brocolli, asparagus, etc)
bay leaf

(if you know you are making pho--add  star anise,  cloves,  and cilantro stems if you have them), you can even add a little cinnamon

I place all of this in the crockpot and let it cook all day (occasionally stirring) (or stockpot)This could be done the day before you make the soup if you want to skim any impurities off the top when it cools?  I often skip this part..(perhaps I shouldn't?) I usually make the broth and the soup on the same day.  I then take a measuring cup and strain it through a fine mesh strainer into the pot I wish to make soup out of.  It is absolutely wonderful..and everytime I feed it to my family, I feel like I am helping to protect them from bad illnesses...  Knock on wood, but our colds have been quite mild this year..  The ginger is great for digestion and for staying healty as well..(so I add it to my broth from the start)

So, from this broth, comes infinite possabilities!

I have really gotten into making soups this past couple of years and Pho Ga is one soup my children will eat a whole bowl of.

Pho Ga on a budget (much cheaper than take-out!)

this past week's version with lettuce and homemade sourdough bread

 The trick is that you can play around with the soup. I make it last week and I did not have all the "official ingredients" such as bean sprouts, so I improvised. This time I used lettuce instead, another time cabbage (and they both work)  You can also have pho ga without the added "treats"  and it is good as a very simple soup as well.

For your basic soup
Chicken Broth  
add to the broth:
2TB sugar (or honey or whatever you'd like to add a little bit of sweet)
and some fish sauce (about 2 TB)??  

On the Side:  (so much fun for kids to add these to their own bowl of soup)

Chicken chopped up/
rice noodles
bean sprouts (or cabbage or lettuce, etc)
basil leaves
lemon wedges
hot peppers
spriachia sauce
cilantro leaves
fresh garlic/ginger
This soup can really knock the flu or cold on its back!! (esp with the jalepeno peppers)

Strawberry Rhubarb
Last night, to conclude Mother's Day (and to use up some of the rhubarb growing in our garden and CSA and use up some of the strawberries in our freezer) I made this recipe from Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  (a very very good book!)--and this recipe is absolutely delicious topped with some whipped cream. It is easier/quicker to make this than a pie (if you are feeling the desire to have pie, but don't have the time)

What's left in my pantry-thinking about canning

Been reading other blogs lately..getting ideas.  What a rich source of information and experience that has developed on the web.  What a wonderful forum to share---finding a newfound appreciation for blogging.  Viggie Veggieshttp://viggiesveggies.com/ is experimenting on using a pressure canning and it is making me think abot what I could do with that...  A couple of years ago, I started using a waterbath canner, and this is what I have left from that canning experience.  We've used up most of it.  I had quite a spree of it..made blackberry, strawberry-rhubarb jam, dilly beans, salsa, tomato sauce, pear butter, canned pears, pickles, and I even did some dehydrating--tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and cherries.  (almost gone now, but I also still have lots in my freezer from last season that I need to use up now to make room for this season) Perhaps, if I pressure-canned, I wouldn't need quite so much freezer space.. Hmmmm..

Well, for the fun of it, here is a couple pics of my emptying pantry:

There is also the idea of using lacto-fermentation...haven't done too much with that yet..made saurkraut once..perhaps a combo.. I wonder how much work it is to pressure can??  would it be less laborous than the water bath method?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gardening update

The potatoes have a good start!

Peas are starting to twine up onto the netting.
baby pears

new cherries

And the kids have picked the first 5 strawberries to eat! 

but, I have to re-do some of my seedling plantings..  :-(  I think I planted them too soon...There has been quite a bit of cold-rainy weather and hail..(and cats)--and bugs..  poor things..some are still there, but some are turning white  (anyone know what that means??)  Anyway, I have to try again..my eggplants are all gone..eaten up..  sad sad story. but it is still early enough to try again with new starts..  (hopefully something I can do today.  I do have some seeds planted in the gardens as well..so perhaps, those will start coming up..

Oh and some chard from last year.. Chard is great. It grows for 2 years!

and garlic! (I LOVE garlic!)

The rhubarb is looking really good too..(I'll have to post that pic later though..I forgot about the rhubarb when I was taking pics)

Pet Food Day

Today I made the montly pet food for our 2 cats and 1 Papillon dog.  I don't really have a huge knowledge base for cat and dog nutrition so until I know more, I supplement with dry food (in case I'm off base) but I also don't want them eating too much processed foods considering all the pet food recalls. I also had a cat die, I think from complications due to soley eating processed pet food.  (scary stuff)

Pet food recipe for Cats/kittens/dogs:

Keep in mind that I am not totally knowledgeable about this…you need to do your own research on nutritional needs of your pets..When you do this, please keep me up to date too---because I am still gathering info, myself..

Kittens need more fat and protein and fish oil..(from what I’ve read/heard)

I add some garlic, because I’ve heard that it can control fleas… however, garlic can also cause anemia..my cat’s blood was tested recently, however and she was fine.. I have to weigh the choice of “garlic toxicity” vs. “pesticicide toxicity” the garlic truly has kept the fleas away. They went off of the garlic for 2 months because I was worried after reading about the anemia…and all of our pets got fleas..(and they had never gotten fleas before…) I am back to using garlic…Onion is also supposed to be bad for pets. I don’t use onion..but I use a small amount of the garlic. So use garlic at your own risk..Time will tell on this one, I think… (I have also read some "officially published pet recipes that include garlic...so there is mixed info out there)

For cats/kittens: (this amount usually takes a month to use up for 2 cats)

I use a food processor to make this quicker/easier, but you don’t have to…

1. Boil one large chicken in a stock pot until mostly cooked. Take out of the water (make sure no bones are left in stock) and let cool. Keep stock.

(and also cook some organ meat: chicken,lamb liver, heart, etc..(you have to be careful not to add too much organ meat; I read too much can cause problems as well)
  • also for cats you can add/cook 1-2lbs whitefish

2. In a food processor chop up:

1 carrot

½ bunch of kale

1 sweet potato

1 apple
1 egg

1-2 cloves of garlic

It is nice to have a little helper who likes to press the on on the food processor and mix things up.

3. Add to the stock along with:

¼ cup each of these grains: quinoa, pearl barley, oats/groats

I add grains…but I try to keep the grain ratio lower. Perhaps I shouldn’t add grains at all…I’m unsure of this.. but it soaks up the stock and makes it seem more like the canned cat food and adds nutrients.. (but don’t know the facts of the bioavaiability, etc.) In any case, it seems better than processed foods that have tons of grains, etc.. ?? this part needs more research on my part..

4. cook together…and chop up the chicken by hand/debone, etc..

5. add chicken and veggies, 1/2 cup of brewers yeast (also good for controlling fleas).

6. Fill jars that are appropriate size to be eaten by your pet within 3-5 days. I use a quart size because I have 2 cats. For one cat: probably use a pint size. Leave some good head room at top of jar for freezing expansion.

7. wash off the jars and refrigerate overnight before putting in freezer.  Imorportant to refrigerate before putting in freezer because jars could crack.  Make sure to leave adequate head room at top of jars because the contents expand.

8. I feed my cats a tablespoon or two or so twice a day in additon to leaving out hard food.

For Dogs: (I have a small Papillion dog) and this quantity last a month for this dog.

· The recipe is the same except:

For quantities of grain. And I don’t add fish:

· 1 bunch of kale

· and 1 full cup each of the grains.

Today, it took me about 3 hours to make it and get in the refrigerator.  (but that does not include clean-up. (-;  The dishes are still in the sink... 

I think you could also use a much simpler recipe…by simply feeding the pets the chicken/fish/organs on a regular basis….I also want to learn more about the raw food diet for pets.. I feed them hard food still so help with tarter..and because I can’t make the wet food more than 1x/month due to how long it takes and all the prep, etc..

Both the cats and dog really enjoy their food...Happy Pets.

(just kidding)

If you have any info on pet nutrition, please comment.  This recipe seems to change everytime I make it...it is an "organically changing recipe" because I'm still learning..  and I'd love to hear if anyone else out there is making pet food

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Buying in Bulk/ Azure Standard

One of the first things I did in my journey toward sustainability is to buy in bulk.  It is cheaper..and you always have food to cook with even on a meagher grocery week.  It is a great way to get organic foods much cheaper.  Dry beans are much cheaper than canned.  Wheat berries can be ground for fresh flour.  Lentils, popcorn, rice, honey, nuts, spices...  I use glass jars for my immediate use in the kitchen, and buckets for the 25# bags of beans and grains that I keep in the basement.. These foods are like my "paints or art supplies" and my meals are my paintings..  I buy my bulk foods from http://www.azurestandard.com/

Reasons to buy in bulk
  1. Cheaper way to buy organic foods
  2. Less packaging=less garbage/waste. (when we started buying in bulk and composting we have greatly decreased how much garbage and recycling goes on the curbside..(about 2 medium garbage bags(sometimes only 1)/week for a family of 4 (and 3 animals)  We used to dispose of at least double that-
  3. Healthier to eat dried beans than canned
  4. Tastes better
  5. Has a long shelf-life
  6. Great way to have variety in your meals.  countless recipes from variety of grains


Feeling fragmented lately.  Not sure how to make it any different, though.. Comes with the territory of being a mom, I suppose.  Having children in school does not make parenting easier (not for me).  On days when I have them both at home, we often follow a certain rhythm.  My children often find a groove where they can play happily for hours, so on those days I can get what I need done (well, it is never done, but at least get enough done so I feel good)  Other days, we go on trips together and spend "quality large chunks of time-interacting and experiencing something together (or playdates, etc..)"  I also feel good about that, because on the days I am "working"  I can (sort of keep up with home chores) and the adventure days, I am giving the kids lots of attention.  I can feel good about my role as a "homemaker and as a parent" 

Public School vs. Homeschooling
But, when they are in school, much of my time with my kids is "transition"...and there is very little time in between those times to get much done or to spend time with them(or myself).  Then when they are both home, there is homework to do and dinner to cook..and it seems that they never quite get into a groove of "good old play" in that after school time..  It is full of conflict and being tired. They often need me much more during that space of time...  So, I am spending time putting out fires... Right now, my son is in first grade so he is at school for 6 hours and my daughter is in preschool and spends 3 mornings of 3 hours each week at school.  (Some people comment to me that I have time to myself now..)  Well, not exactly...I may have a 2 1/2 chunk of time a week if I am lucky, because often I am either helping in my daughters classroom, or my sons, or attending a field trip...  It is all part of "my job"---and I love being a mom...but I don't like it when my role becomes more of a "cattle driver" or transporter than a nurterer.  Transtional time is not my favorite time and the past 2 years, most of the school year, I find in an almost constant flux of transition..  In order to get things done (or blog), I have to "steal a moment" here and there..  (and I'm lucky if I get to finish the task) 

Feeling a little bummed.  I somehow, marked the calendar wrong. I was supposed to be the alternate at my daughters preschool today and I thought it was tomorrow.  Someone had to cover for me.  Not feeling like I was a good parent or "team member"--How did I miss that one?  Juggling 2 schools has not been easy.  Next year, they will both be in the same school.  That could be a good thing, but I have to say, I will really miss the preschool co-op we have been a part of for 4 years...I'm kind of struggling with feelings of loss for that community already..  (and failing in my duties today did not help that feeling)...like I failed a friend right before moving away..

Sometimes, I really long to homeschool my kids---then we could find that "rhythm" again..  and not be so fragmented.  At least it seems like it would be less fragmented.  We could create our own learning rhythm..and perhaps my children could learn to play together again.  But, I also think that having them around other kids for 6 hours each day, could be good for them too. And some hardships can help them grow.  My decision has been to be involved in their schools as much as I can..  (but this has been hard for me to do with 2 schools)  Next year, perhaps, I may be able to be more involved. 

I suppose I have high expectations of myself...ones I can't always live up to...and it is hard when I feel I "fail" at something..  But the rhythm of these past 2 school years, I have not entirely felt good about...and it makes me wonder if sending them to a school is the best thing or not..  It's like the school gets the best of my son..His best hours of learning/creative time..and I mourn that..  But it isn't about me.  I need to determine if the time he spends at school is truly the best FOR him..  He's learning..but he's not always happy about going there. Still, there is much there I can't provide for him.. I wouldn't want to hold him back.  I never really questioned sending him to school...  And this year, he has had a great teacher.  I think my own experience with school was mixed..some was great, some really awful stuff..  and some was simply routine and busy-work.  Perhaps school is a mixed bag like life is...and it is really about making the best of it..  and the hard stuff can be confronted and learned from..I'm starting to lose my train of thought..."fires going on in the background (as I described)..  but should I "settle" with "reality" and outdated pedagogies that P.schools are based on..Education can be so much more..  (however, his teacher this year has been wonderful and has done extra art, etc..)

Well, the fires are taking over now and I have to put them out/cool them...

Ok. back again..maybe I have a minute more.  I also feel "fragmented" by having one foot in the door of changing our lifestyle of being a "consumer" and into living a little more sustainably...  but that is one foot..  I can "see" how I want to be, but I still have one foot tied to "consumerism life"--(I still like to watch movies and Star Trek sometimes, I still buy "toys" and make some "impulsive" buys..  I like my ipod.  I buy "some processed foods"--I don't always like to cook or have the time..my home is quite cluttered.  I am needing "time and courage and detachment" to do some good purging.  I am "striving" to live this way...and taking one step at a time. Sometimes it is fun and easy and sometimes it is hard and laborous.  I am realizing that I can't have it both ways, though,...have one foot in and one foot out...  "fragmented"--life is often so fragmented..  and interrupted..can't have the time to really cook and make things..if I'm putting too much time into TV or FB).  (although, I haven't been watching much tv these past few months ...but a part of me wants to get rid of the TV...as long as it is there, my children feel the "pull of it"...but I can't see how I can give up "Star Trek"  (-;  I want to live more simply but having some difficulty "with some of the giving up" TV and "other screen time" (computer) are a challenge to find "moderation" with..  Recently my children have been devouring PBSKids online..and although it keeps them "entertained and not creating fires" for a time...I can see the impact on them is similar to TV time..  and it is hard to have the media and keep it at a very moderate level of "screen time"..  Sometimes, I long to be media-less...  (but how can I blog w/out my computer/internet?)  It is useful in many ways..so how do I keep it at a level of only using it for its usefulness..and not to "escape"--It can be a huge time eater.. and letting my kids experience it, but not overdo it... 

It is nice sometimes just to "go somewhere" where there are no screens..  Perhaps, having "screen-free days" can help?? 

Alternatives to consumer culture focus of new Baha'i document

Alternatives to consumer culture focus of new Baha'i document

NEW YORK — A new statement challenging the common assumption that human beings are slaves to self-interest and consumerism has been issued by the Baha'i International Community.

"Much of economic and psychological theory depicts human beings as slaves to self-interest," it says. "The faculties needed to construct a more just and sustainable social order – moderation, justice, love, reason, sacrifice and service to the common good – have too often been dismissed as naive ideals. Yet, it is these and related qualities that must be harnessed. ..."

"The document deals with the issue of consumerism by reflecting on the question of what is human nature," he said. "We must look at who we are and what our purpose in life is.
"The transition to sustainable consumption and production is one of the great challenges of our times, and to achieve it will require a transformation in both thought and action. The cultural forces at play are powerful and demand re-examination if we are to move forward," he said.
The statement can be read at http://bic.org/statements-and-reports/bic-statements/10-0503.htm

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Peanut Butter

Ok, I have discovered that making peanut butter is super super easy. And if you are like me, you want the better kind of peanut butter--Maranatha costs $$$  for a jar.  $7 or so, I think..  This PB is just as good if not better and much much cheaper.. I pay $11.90 for 5 pounds of  organic peanuts from Azure Standard.  To make about 1 quart, I think I used about 1 pound of peanuts...so my jar of peanuts cost me $2.50  and it was organic and of premium quality with no additives or preservatives, etc.. (not to mention easy!)

  1. scoop up few couple cups of peanuts.
  2. place in food processor
  3. add salt if you wish
  4. let it chop for quite awhile (sometimes you may need to stop it and scrape under the blade) until it is creamy
  5. put in jar and enjoy!!!  (repeat depending on capacity of food processor and how much you want to make)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Clothesline??? Why would I do it?

I keep getting crazier and crazier.  (-;  I have a perfectly working dryer. Energy Efficient at that too--  We have a lot of laundry each week between the four of us.  Already I spend quite a bit of time collecting it, putting it in the w/d and then sorting and folding.  Why oh why do I want to make more work for myself?  I haven't hung up my laundry since I left home in 92.  (we didn't own a dryer in my childhood home)  I have enjoyed those soft towels.. 

Isn't the product superior---you get softer clotes, etc  if you use a dryer??

Yet, we are doing it.  As of last week, we are hanging our clothes up in our "heated" basement until we can hang them outside.  So far so good, but my towels are definitely not as soft..  (-;

Why---Well, we are trying to become less dependent upon appliances.  Simplifying..  And, we'll probably save $20-30/month on electricity..Not to mention the fact  that using less electricity is better for the planet.

Honestly, it isn't that much more work.  It is one of those "in between" tasks..  a little bit here and there..  So, far, I feel proud of the change and it hasn't been hard.  Suppose when the newness wears off, I"ll feel more bored with it..less proud..  However, I have not regretted handwashing dishes...I still feel like we are doing the right thing by not getting a new dishwasher.  Feeling one step more indpendent from "things" that are often designed to break in a couple to a few years..  What I am tired of is being locked into being dependent on things that are so poorly made/designed..and feeling that I have to replace them when they do break..  I know I am not exactly living "off grid", but these are little steps towards being more "independent"

The fact, my clothes aren't as soft---Well, I lived 19 years that way and didn't really care then..  I don't think it really matters now either.. 

Some background from Radical Homemakers.
"devices were invented during the first one hundred years of the industrial revolution with the intention of easing household burdens, but in truth, says Schwartz Cowan, they did nothing to spare the hosuewife labor; they simply reorganized her work processes." page 68..."Del Monte, whose copywriters were soon able to convince housewives that factory-canned goods were superior to what they could produce at home...(p. 70)

So, this is why we have been thinking that "store bought is superior"--sometimes, it may seem so.  For example, I can't quite get my homemade bread to work as well for sandwhiches as the store-bought kind..  (but that is because in my mind a sandwhich has thin bread that is soft and full of gluten.. My sandwiches are thick and more crumbly.  My laundry is not as soft.  My soap has imperfections in it..  For some, there is great appeal for the "imperfections"..for others, they wish to have it "factory-cut and processed so that it looks perfectly measured and colored and uniform..  (and soft)

We've been conditioned and manipulated into thinking that factory/canned/bought is superior.  In fact, the truth, is quite the opposite. For example, clothes that are line-dryed last longer..  Canned food can be contaminated with BPA from the can..and can be so highly processed.  I think most people(now) agree that fresh asparagus is highly superior to the canned version..  Canned and processed food is losing its integrity---Evidence of that rests in movies like Food, Inc.  People are becoming more aware.

Yes, it is more work (maybe)..But honestly, I think the work part is more of a change in "organization"..In my opinion the dishwasher saving time is almost completely a myth...  (considering you still have to rinse, and still hand wash pots and pans.  If you have a 3 tub system, it goes really fast. The first tub is for soaking (pre-wash) Second tub washes, Third rinses.  (then use your old dishwasher as a dry rack)  (-; 

Some more references and reasons to clothesline

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/02/clotheslines_hu.phpI suppose one shouldn’t be too surprised. But, when Project Laundry Listhttp://www.laundrylist.org/ inform us that electric clothes dryers use 6 % of residential electricity in the United States, while the US Department of Energy rate them as the second biggest muncher of household energy, maybe that aversion needs redressing." 

Top Ten Reasons to Line Dry (from the above link-laundrylist)

10) Save money (more than $25/month off electric bill for many households). 9) Clothes last longer. Where do you think lint comes from?

8) Clothes and linens smell better without adding possibly toxic chemicals to your body and the environment. Yankee Candle thinks so...

7) Conserve energy and the environment, while reducing climate change. Learn how!

6) It is moderate physical activity which you can do in or outside. You can even lose weight!

5) Sunlight bleaches and disinfects.

4) Indoor racks can humidify in dry winter weather.

3) Clothes dryer and washing machine fires account for about 17,700 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 360 injuries annually. The yearly national fire loss for clothes dryer fires in structures is estimated at $194 million.

2) It is fun! And can be an outdoor experience that is meditative and community-building.

1) Demonstrates that small steps can make a difference. You don't have to wait for the government to take action!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Huge recall of childrens meds-tylenol, motrin, benadryl


Same story over and over again....as in Food, Inc... Big corporations shortcut safety and quality to make $$ and meet deadlines, etc.. Putting the public at risk.. Each time I hear about recalls, I feel more and more confirmed that we need to be able to be independent of them.. learn how to make our own natural remedies..or collaborate with people who already know how.. They used to make cookbooks "standard" with home remedies included..but then they took out the recipes, and started to mass produce them ($$) and there began big pharm.. (got this info from Radical Homemakers book) Then people forgot how to make them and became "dependent" on having to "buy" them... People a long time ago knew much more about medecine...and had much less need of doctors' visits or "drugs".. Now, we have very little "knowledge"...its like keeping us in the ignorance..(not letting us learn how to read or develop skills) so we have to "consume" to support the corporations/insurance companies.. We live in a time where now, our childrens' life expectancy is lower than the previous generation... Life expectancy is going down...despite the fact we spend the most $$ on healthcare than many many other nations!!


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