Monday, August 18, 2008

Sometimes ignorance IS bliss

My mom brought a book for me to read when they visited last month - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It's totally got me in a tizzie now, feeling frustrated with our world in general and country specifically. I'm also feeling helpless, like there's not really a way (at least an easier way) to circumvent the problem. I can't easily sum up the book, but it's basically about food and how we are so used to eating out-of-season foods and don't even think about how much fossil fuel is used up so we can have salad in December and bananas anytime. Also about how corn and soybean products are in everything we eat so they can justify growing more than we need.

The problem I'm having is not only thinking about the food I buy with a more critical eye, but also that it's hard to be really frugal and stay on a budget when the farmer's market peaches are twice what I can get in the grocery store, although the grocery store peaches probably came from California and the farmer's market peaches are local and help a farmer in my community. How can I be a conscientious shopper and not spend more?

I've also started making plans for a bigger garden next year. I tried some tomatoes this year, mostly on a whim. It was good to do a trial because now I know that I will have to declare war on the neighborhood squirrels, who apparently enjoy eating green tomatoes. A friend from church told Alec about how he electrified the chicken wire around his tomatoes and fried a squirrel because the first wire he used was way too big!

Well, that's what I've been chewing over in my brain lately. Here are some pictures of what else has been going on around here:

Luke fell asleep on the couch right before supper one night and in his semi-wakefulness peed all over the couch. He was so upset and discombobulated that he didn't want supper and went right to bed. No more couch naps for a while.

Alec has been staying pretty busy around here. He cut down a bunch of trees next to the garage to get ready to put a small addition on it. Last week we hired our friend, who is a certified arborist, to come cut down a diseased pine tree. Luke wore a hard hat and "helped."

Jim cut off most of the branches first and threw them down to Alec.

Luke stayed out of the way on a lawn chair with a bowl of trail mix.

Here Alec is holding the line while Jim climbs down and gets ready to cut the trunk down.

I tried to get the tree in motion on its way down. It's almost down but not quite.

Here's what was left:

The next day Alec rented a stump grinder to take care of the stumps and roots from the few trees that were there.

It was so nice that the kids spent the day outside watching. They had books and toys in the pack-n-play so they wouldn't get in the way.

Alec also earned $75 taking a stump out for our neighbor across the street. What a resourceful guy!

A few weeks ago, Alec did a job for a friend and they gave us Redskins tickets. We don't really care about the Redskins but it's not something we'll ever buy for ourselves ($79 each!) so we got a sitter and went. It was a beautiful night out and we enjoyed ourselves, despite having the sun in our eyes for about the first hour. And it didn't hurt that the game wasn't a washout like the last time we went.

Last week some friends of ours rented a house at the beach for a week and invited us to come for a few days. The weather was great - not too hot and quite cool at night. The kids didn't sleep so well the first night, but they enjoyed themselves on the beach and slept well the second night.

One of the friends has LOTS of stuff for the beach and would go in the morning right away to get a good spot and set everything up. It was nice to have a place to put the kids - they have a 7-week-old baby and he slept on a sheet in a little sand divot, all nice and cozy.

And lastly, here are a few pictures of Luke and Erin yesterday morning "eating" breakfast before church. Mostly they were just playing with their food - Luke taught Erin how to wear raspberries on her fingers - and playing footsie.


Gayle and Rob said...

Hey, thanks for the great update on your recent activities. Love the ones of the kids of course, but it's nice to see the progress on the yard as well. Sorry about the book - it had the same effect on me. My dream of a someday garden again in a more temperate climate was reinforced after reading that book. The basic simplicity of growing and or raising what you need to eat still has a strong pull for me.

MLE said...

Great update! I love the pictures and the info on what you've been doing lately. Glad you two were able to get out and enjoy a night away as well. Those kids keep getting cuter.

Joy said...

I read the book Serve God Save the Planet and was convicted of the same thing. We found a local farm that does a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The idea is that you pay them at the beginning of the season and they give you a share from their garden every week. It's a great way to support your local farmer, eat organic produce, and try some new veggies! I'd encourage you to research for one in your area.

Joy said...

I would do a search on-line. We found ours through a couple at church. They are pretty new to the whole thing so I think that they are a bit cheaper, but we pay $250.00 for 30 weeks of produce. It varies every week depending on what they are harvesting. Some CSAs give so much that you can split it with another family. When we did the math it seemed like we would be paying a bit more than buying at the store, but decided that it was worth a try and so far we are really liking it.