Monday, August 4, 2014

Home Grown

I had the utmost satisfaction tonight making dinner. Most of the things I prepared were from my garden. It hasn't been the greatest this year, in comparisons to other years, but I do have one, and I made roasted beets with carrots and garlic (all from my garden), pasta with pesto (the basil and garlic were homegrown), and quinoa tabbuloeh with cucumbers from my garden and tomatoes from my neighbors garden, filled me with such glee.

I harvested some onions and squash also, but didn't use them tonight. The squash is from seeds I saved from last year. Despite the fact the resulting vegetable looks somewhat alien, I think it will taste alright. I have tomatoes, but they have not ripened yet. I also have eggplant, well I did have eggplant, but some squirrel or ground hog grabbed the two golf sized fruit right off the stalk.

I just love having really local, fresh produce, that came from my own back yard. It is so satisfying that I can grow something, harvest it, and prepare it for my family. I feel as if I am honoring my roots as this is what my ancestors would have done every night. What a great feeling.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Health

I got the results of my bloodwork back from this new doctor I am seeing and they were really interesting. Apparently I have something called Leaky Gut Syndrome, among other things, which could be the reason I am having all kinds of digestive problems and weight issues. The bloodwork showed that I have several low level food allergies which were a little surprising.

Mt mother has had food allergies all her life and for a long while I thought I didn't have to worry about it. However as I have gotten older, at a point where the body starts to decline if you don't really pay attention to it, they have reared their ugly heads and begun to cause me issues. Like her, I have a sensitivity to wheat, gluten, and dairy. Interestingly enough string beans ranked very high - weird.

So my doctor suggested I cut all of that out for a month and see what happens. I am having a good time trying all kinds of substitutions in some if the recipes I use, and finding new ones, so there is a positive on that. But cutting out wheat and cheese is a big challenge for me. She is also going to start me on two new supplements and feels pretty confident things will begin to reverse themselves. I am glad she has confidence here, because I am a little doubtful. But we shall see. As my stepfather used to say, "we can only go up from here".w

Friday, May 9, 2014

Food Justice

I attended a presentation of some Temple students who had done a study on sustainable food practices in Norristown last night. First of all I am really happy they chose Norristown to study, regardless of the reasons, it confirmed some things for me but I also learned some things.

One of our biggest issues, which holds us back on many levels, is the poverty rate of our community. In regard to food justice, the demographics prevent a good quality grocery store from opening in the 'burb. We do have a store, but it is not a god quality store and offers very little, if no, organic produce. However I was excited to know that we have several bodegas who do sell fresh produce. In addition, there is a CSA and a few community gardens which can help out. It is a matter if education to make sure they are recognized by the public.

The students offered some great suggestions, and at some point they will present their findings at a Council meeting. One recommendation is the creation of a food policy council where members of the community as well as government representatives can coordinate everything that is going on in the town. I have read really good things about other communities who have them and would be excited to have one of our own. I foresee many good things happening in the area of food justice for our town if we take the recommendations and act on them.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Contest


The other day I was talked into entering a garden contest. The judging is going to be in July and I am all excited. I usually don't think my garden is much of anything. It pleases me and yes, sometimes I blog about it but entering a contest is usually nothing I would think about. I don't think it is really that good. 
It took the picture below the other day before the I spoke to the person.  I showed it to the person who was asking me to enter. She apparent thought is was good enough and said I should enter. Now I am all worried about what needs to be done. There is a lot on my mind and. I have been going through it slowly. I also ordered some plants online and hope they are situated enough when the time comes. It is two months after all.
I have also enlisted the help of my husband, which actually helps because he always needs a kick in the pants to finish anything. He has been working steadily on the rain barrel collection system since this weekend so maybe that's helping. I think it will be finished soon. So wish me luck!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Recycled Art

I went to an art show the other day. It was sponsored by the DEP and Waste Management amd featured thebwork of Norristown Area School District children who had been involved in a project to make art out of trash. More specifically art from recycled items. It was fascinating, a d this picture is of one of my favorites. It is made from water bottles that were colored and then cut up to spiral and then attached to the panel. I love its bright, yet suble, coloring.

I think it is great that an art project like this is done. I hope it showed the kids that everything doesn't have to be thrown away, but can be useful in another way. We are such a disposable nation and are paying for it with the existance of land fills and increased pollution to the planet. Some of the kids said tney were doing projects at home because of this experience.

I know a simple project like this is not going to change the world, bjt it can have an impact. When the children learn that things you buy can have another life it puts a thougt into thier heads to spark their creativity. I hope it also sparks their thinking as to how we can create things that do not make trash, but that has value in and of itself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From Blah to Fab


 I had a great time this weekend sprucing up my yard and one of the things I did was to paint some patio chairs that were looking old and outdated. I think I was inspired by a posting on Facebook of someone who had done something similar. I think they turned out great.
I used spray paint that said it adhered to plastic which I think is important. Regular spray paint I think will run, but this didn't. It stayed where I put it. First I washed them carefully with a scrub brush and a sponge with a scrubber side with just regular dish washing soap. Then I let them dry in the sun. Then I sprayed. 
I think they make a great impact to my patio and really make it something special and unusual. I will be curious to see how long the paint will last, but a friend told me about two seasons. I did get extra paint so a little touch up later shouldn't be a problem.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sustainable Agriculture

Last night, a fellow council member and I attended a sustainable agriculture workshop. It was held at the senior center and sponsored by Temple University. The students there are undertaking a study about how a community can improve sustainability and picked Norristown. On one hand. I was thrilled that they picked us, and on the other hand. I was sad they picked us.

I met some very interesting people who are very interested in making Norristown better and it was good to be in a room with kindred spirits. These people understood that access to fresh produce and a variety of good quality food is important to the health of the community. However it is frustrating to note that there was not a large showing.

There are some places where people can get fresh produce, but it may not be organically grown produce, and they are few. We discussed things like CSAs (of which there is one really close), community gardens, education opportunities, and getting children involved. The students will go back and do their analysis and come back to us with suggestions. I will post when that happens.food