Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Morning Amazement

I love the joy and spirit of this amazing dog:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Quote for the Day

"Do your little bit of good where you are;
it's those little bits of good put together 
that overwhelm the world."
~Desmond Tutu

Friday, March 28, 2014

Farm Friday

Learn More About Earth Hour
Again, as I've been doing lately, a quick update on what's going on:
  • We're still waiting on Madonna's baby(ies) - probably the most ever anticipated kid(s)
  • We got yet another snow on Tuesday - that's 5 times in March alone
  • Had a extension agent visit us as part of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher program
  • Delivered orders of kale, spinach, garlic greens, and eggs to customers on Monday and today
  • Continued to prep for the craft show in just over a week
  • Gearing up the planning stages for our local 2014 CROP Walk 
  • Will be observing Earth Hour tomorrow at 8:30 pm making it our sixth year of participation
After our evening el paseo, I decided update this post to add a photo of the sunset:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Happy Belated Birthday, Ms. Steinem

Birthday Cake 2
Today's post is somewhat related to health so I won't be doing a Wellness Wednesday this week.  Instead, I want to wish Gloria Steinem a Happy 80th Birthday (yesterday was her birthday)!

Thanks to Ms. Steinem and other women and men of the second wave women's movement of the 1960s and 70s, women today have freedoms that allow them to live safer and healthier lives.  Since that movement, women have gained the right to charge intimate partners with rape and other physical abuse, to have access to reproductive options regardless of their marital status, and to have general control over their health and welfare.

In addition to "gaining" ownership of our bodies, women now have access to so many things that were prohibited prior to Ms. Steinem's activities.  It's hard to believe today, but at one point a woman couldn't:   have a credit card in her name, be employed in a position that was considered "male" (classified ads were even segregated into "male" and "female"), wear pants in public, be visibly pregnant on the job or retain a job after childbirth, be admitted to many public colleges and universities, obtain a "no-fault divorce," report a spouse for domestic violence.  Being a woman prior to the women's movement included numerous other barriers to being treated as first class citizens.
File:Gloria Steinem at news conference, Women's Action Alliance, January 12, 1972.jpg
Well done, Ms. Steinem!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quote for the day

"On the day that the intelligence and talents of women are fully honored and employed, the human community and the planet itself will benefit in ways we can only begin to imagine."
~Anita Diamante

Saturday, March 22, 2014

World Water Day

Today is a day designated to bring awareness to the precious nature of water - and the fact that millions of people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water.  Here's a water statistic that really slapped me in the face (it was in one of the infographics on my Wednesday post):

The average person uses 80-100 gallons per day.  Flushing the toilet is the largest use of water in the United States.

There must be a better way.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Farm Friday

Johnny, our buck and the father of most of our goats.
Despite his fierce looks, he's a very gentle guy.

A quick update on this past week's happenings:

*Our bottle-fed baby Squeaky continues to thrive.
*Fancy, one of our goats, kidded with triplets.  Unfortunately, none survived
*Madonna, another of our goats, is due any day now so we check on her regularly.
*Our onion transplants arrived and they're in the ground.
* Blueberry plants arrived and should go in the ground this weekend.
*Lettuce has been planted.
*The overwintered kale and spinach is coming in strong.
*I've been prepping for a craft show next month.  I'll be selling my aprons, hot/cold therapy pillows, totes, and a few other items.
*I successfully finished my "buy nothing new" challenge.  Challenges are a great way to establish good habits and highly recommend them.  I'll be announcing a new challenge soon.
*More snow is predicted next week.  How is that possible?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

March 22 is World Water Day.  Good health starts with access to clean drinking water.  Yet according to UNICEF, almost 800 million people lack access to this life sustaining necessity. 

Here are a couple of infographics to raise your awareness of the importance of water to individual and global health - and to remind us how precious water is:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Quote for the Day

Today I'm sharing an old Irish blessing in honor of St. Patrick's Day:

Four Leaf Clovers
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Farm Friday

Today I was away from home most of the day - going to my weekly yoga session, running my usual weekly errands, making a few deliveries to customers, and making my monthly run to one of the health food stores to stock up on bulk ingredients and other organic foods not available in our area.  So, today's going to be a quick recap of the week.

After having several inches of snow last week (which prevented us from attending a farming workshop), we had lovely weather on Wednesday, with the temperature getting up to 74.  Then the temperature plummeted again, with a temperature of 18 greeting us this morning.  Spring won't come soon enough.

Last weekend we purchased another round bale of hay to feed the goats.  To get the round bales, we drive to a farm about 20 miles away where they load it into our pickup.  This is the easy part.  The hard part is getting a 1200 pound bale of hay out of the truck and onto the pasture.  First we have to pen up the goats - it's dangerous for them when we're unloading the hay.  Why?  Because we have to get up into the bed of the truck and push it out with our feet because we don't have the equipment to unload it any other way.  As we were doing this, Bill commented that you'd pay a gym good money to get that kind of workout.  Very true.

A neighbor heard we needed hay and kindly brought some more round bales to the farm.  So we didn't get the fantastic gym workout that usually comes with a bale of hay nor will we need to buy more hay before spring.  A win-win situation.

Our goat Missy gave birth to two beautiful females this week.  Two more goats - Fancy and Madonna - look like they will be kidding any day now.

Last night our dog Ginny got skunked.  This is not the first time it has happened.  And it probably won't be the last.  She just cannot make the connection between the unfortunate incident with the black and white striped critter and being banished from the house.  I really hate to make her stay outside overnight, so after I returned from my errands, I spent quite a while bathing her with a combination of baking soda, peroxide, and dog shampoo.  (Have I mentioned that she hates baths?)  It didn't get all the smell out but it got enough out that she can return to the house.

Here are a few scenes from around the farm:
Mr. Fabulous has a new hiding place

On top of our garage door

Here's one of the 1200 pound bales of hay

Missy's newborn kids

Squeaky with some of his friends
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

The recent "yoga mat" bread news has caused the Subway sandwich chain to reformulate its bread recipe.  The change was sparked by the revelation that the bread contained azodicarbonamide (aka ADA), a chemical used in the plastics industry and  banned in Europe and Australia because the World Health Organization has linked it to allergies, asthma, and respiratory illnesses.  

Although Subway has removed it from its bread, a number of companies continue to include it in their products.  In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group, 130 brands use it in almost 500 products.  Here's a link to the list.  

Confused over what ingredients to trust?  The best policy when buying convenience foods is that if you can't pronounce it or you can't identify it as coming from nature, you shouldn't consume it.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Quote for the Day

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home."
~Anna Quindlen

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Social Justice Saturday: Trans-Pacific Partnership

I'm far from an expert on this topic, so I'll let this infographic explain some of the ways it will affect workers and the environment:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Farm Friday

We were scheduled to attend a North Carolina Cooperative Extension school today.  The topics were high tunnels (aka hoop houses or unheated greenhouses) and asparagus.  The weather forecast was for a bit a snow last night, turning to rain this morning.  However, when I looked outside last night and saw the ground covered with snow, I knew we were probably in for more than the prediction.  Here's what we saw this morning:

So, instead of driving to North Carolina, we did a bit of this:
Doesn't Mr. Fabulous look confident and relaxed?
Despite the weather not always cooperating, we were productive this week.  We attended a vendors' meeting at the farmers' market and put in a request for a particular spot.  We were told if we don't get that spot, we'll get the one next to it.  We also made a couple of deliveries of eggs, now that the girls are laying again.  Bill started prepping the raised beds and I worked on aprons and a few other crafts for a spring craft show next month.  

Have a great weekend!  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Refresher Course in the Importance of Feminism

Below are some advertisements from "the good old days" of the 50s and 60s,  the days of Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Lassie, and similar shows that portrayed idealized nuclear families.  I think these ads tell a different story when it comes to a woman's place in that era:

Those who demonize the feminist movement either were born after that era or time has mellowed their memories.  Contrary to the way Hollywood portrayed women in television shows, life was not rosy for women (nor was it for minorities).

Unfortunately, we still see advertisements that objectify and humiliate women.  
There's still more work to be done.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Walking.  It's what's good for you.  Why?  Mother Nature Network gives us 8 reasons:

  1. It helps prevent diabetes
  2. It revs up your sex life
  3. It's inexpensive
  4. It can reduce the number of prescriptions you take
  5. It helps with pain from fibromyalgia
  6. It improves survival rates for breast cancer 
  7. It reduces your risk of stroke
  8. It improves your memory and helps stave off dementia

Now get off the couch and walk!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Poem: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Yesterday we got (I hope) our last snow of the season.  While it's cold outside, the snow is welcome in that is brightens up the otherwise dreary landscape.  (I'm big on light and bright.)   In honor of the snow, I'm sharing a classic poem.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Quote for the Day

"For a Quaker, religion is not an external activity, concerning a special 'holy' part of the self.  It is an openness to the world in the here and now with the whole of the self.  If this is not simply a pious commonplace, it must take into account the whole of our humanity:  our attitudes to other human beings in our most intimate as well as social and political relationships.  It must also take account of our life in the world around us, the way we live, the way we treat animals and the environment.  In short, to put it in traditional language, there is no part of ourselves and our relationships where God is not present."

~Harvey Gillman
Quaker Faith & Practice (3rd Edition)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tolerance and Persecution

A few weeks ago the topic of praying in public came up because an openly Christian prayer was given at a government sponsored event.  One person commented that he was glad to hear that because "everyone talks about wanting tolerance but they're not tolerant of Christians." Considering the fact that there is practically a church on every corner in most communities, this comment didn't ring true.  And now that a court has declared Virginia's Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, I've been hearing similar rumblings about the threat to people of faith. 

So how do we know when a group is experiencing intolerance or persecution?  Rev. Emily Heath designed a quick quiz (found on Huffington Post) to help clarify:

1. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my own choosing.
B) Others are allowed to go to religious services of their own choosing.
2. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to marry the person I love legally, even though my religious community blesses my marriage.
B) Some states refuse to enforce my own particular religious beliefs on marriage on those two guys in line down at the courthouse.
3. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am being forced to use birth control.
B) I am unable to force others to not use birth control.
4. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to pray privately.
B) I am not allowed to force others to pray the prayers of my faith publicly.
5. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) Being a member of my faith means that I can be bullied without legal recourse.
B) I am no longer allowed to use my faith to bully gay kids with impunity.
6. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to purchase, read or possess religious books or material.
B) Others are allowed to have access books, movies and websites that I do not like.
7. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) My religious group is not allowed equal protection under the establishment clause.
B) My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings and resources as we would like, for whatever purposes we might like.
8. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) Another religious group has been declared the official faith of my country.
B) My own religious group is not given status as the official faith of my country.
9. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) My religious community is not allowed to build a house of worship in my community.
B) A religious community I do not like wants to build a house of worship in my community.
10. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to teach my children the creation stories of our faith at home.
B) Public school science classes are teaching science.
Scoring key:
If you answered "A" to any question, then perhaps your religious liberty is indeed at stake. You and your faith group have every right to now advocate for equal protection under the law. But just remember this one little, constitutional, concept: this means you can fight for your equality -- not your superiority.
If you answered "B" to any question, then not only is your religious liberty not at stake, but there is a strong chance that you are oppressing the religious liberties of others. This is the point where I would invite you to refer back to the tenets of your faith, especially the ones about your neighbors.