November 2009

I have yet to embrace a 100-mile, seasonal diet.  In this charged, politically-correct environment I live in, this brings out the battle cries for a small amount of folks. And I’m okay with that.

On any major issue, the population usually breaks into 3 categories: 10% are fundamentalist believers, 10% are fundamentalist non-believers, and 80% fall into a nice little bell-curve between the first two stands.

Everyone has their axes to grind, and as the environment becomes a greater social issue, there will be more and more martyrs and blasphemers, and they will go to war, screaming for the end of crazy backwardsness.

And while they are doing that, I’m madly in love with a guy who fell for me back when I was a metropolitan girl, escaping anything that reminded me of my agricultural past. I had expensive clothes, expensive hair, useless pets, and a dream revolving around never seeing poultry or cowboy boots (known as “shit-kickers” where I grew up) again.

Except now I’m reverting back, or at least trying to find a happy medium, because it makes sense to me. My fella is part of the 80% on the green issues. He knows the environment-locavore-seasonal eating-recycling-green-everything is important, but it’s huge, it breaks a lot of his automatic routines, and the fundamentalists turn him off of the whole thing. One side is ignorant, the other arrogant, and he just wants to have a good life where he doesn’t screw everything up.

Standard marketing technique is to play on a subject’s fear and insecurities in order to win them over. But it is against human nature to accept and retain any emotion for a long period of time.

My grandfather was a pastor. He had to save everyone’s soul from the fire and brimstone of Judgement by 1962, when he believed the world would end. On 1/1/63, he realized that God gave us all more time, and we had to be saved by 1966, when fire would rain from the heavens, and…. By the time he was declaring our doom in 1984, no one was listening anymore. Everybody was still sinning, waiting for the conventional end of life to worry about tallying up.

We are living in a place where HBC and Walmart consider themselves local. Where Monsanto has decided to call itself “sustainable” and the words Green and Organic have no real meaning anymore (except in marketing and agendas). We have developed a new term, “greenwashing.”

It’s confusing to stay on top of the trends, the marketing, the research, the whole issue of changing the basics of everything to be what the majority determines to be environmentally sound. It doesn’t inspire learning and changing when the mobs that tell us we must do XYZ, or our children will inherit a cinder and humanity will be lost.  I can’t help but think of the radium water (toothpaste, creams, etc.) that were still promoted for good health even as recently as the 40’s. Do we really know what we are doing, or are we being as good-intentioned as the pilgrim who first planted a worm into the New World soil?

Recycling plastic was a huge leap in the environmental scene, not long ago. Now, the same petroleum products get to pollute several times before being buried.

It’s 1962 again. Or whenever the world is currently going to end. It’s okay, I took survivalist training as a kid. I know how to sauté slugs and chew aspen. I’ll make soap to barter for hides. It’ll be goo-ood living.

Seriously, I’m tired of the guilt-trips, hyped marketing and power-struggles and one-upmanship that is happening with the Green Revolution. No one older than 25 changes their life to be cool, people don’t scare into a new lifestyle, and you can’t guilt them into a lasting change either. No matter how many carrots you eat, if you want chocolate, you will not be sated. It’s not about will control. It’s finding satisfaction.

  • A smaller house means less cleaning and lower bills — perhaps additional money for movies or trips.
  • Buying a box of apples that are fresh and crisp off the tree is a treat that is tasty, and stocking up fresh means months of tasty apples from the box.
  • Dining by lantern for dinner is romantic.
  • Learning about worms, or experimenting with different compost systems, or trying to grow different things at different times, can be a fascinating study.
  • Just slowing down allows us to appreciate the things around us.

(It is shown that a recession in the U.S. actually makes us live better. People spend more time with children, there is less overeating, less stress, more hanging out with genuine friends.)

We really can have a good life, right now.

So, no. I don’t follow an inflexible rulebook regarding foods that I bring home. What we eat and why is a personal choice anyway. I figure, if we pursue a better life for ourselves, our friends, our family, our homes– if we are willing to learn about and appreciate our surroundings and how they occur, we’ll naturally find a sustainable way. I make the best choices I can, and seek better knowledge.

It’s enough to know that a banana, pineapple or orange has travelled so very far to be appreciated by me. And over time, these fruits became a treat rather than a ration.

After enjoying a fantastic bounty of bright red, fresh tomatoes (and canning them) this summer, the pale and grainy tomatoes at the store have lost their appeal.

My fella suggested we buy eggs at a different grocery store, because the eggs he was looking at were thin-shelled and he didn’t think they were quality. They were from Ohio. The eggs he thought were higher quality came from 3 hours away.

The changes happen automatically, not because we’re embracing any challenge or trendy green diet.

We just want to live better. To progress, not to be perfect.

The colors in Lakewood

The colors in Lakewood

A foggy morning on the waterfront

A foggy morning on the waterfront

Sunrise view of the ports

Sunrise view of the ports

Misty morning on the waterfront

Misty morning on the waterfront

Farewell, my slug

It’s hard to end things, especially when it is going well. It’s a quirk of mine — I have a hard time completing really good books, adding a signature to paintings or finishing fun video games. I mean, I still haven’t finished Baldur’s Gate or Diablo. I enjoy them too much to say goodbye, to let them drop from the “currently enjoying” column into the “been there, done that” category.

This is why I had a bowl of garlic cloves soaking in my kitchen this morning. And let me tell you, when garlic is deciding to root in a bowl of water, the smell is… potent.

It has been a good season in the garden, and I’m having a hard time closing it down for the winter. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. The two tomato plants crowded out 6 cucumber vines, the zucchini, and even the basil. The trellising fell over. There was an issue with aphids delighting in the fennel. The beans were woody, the number of potatoes harvested was the exact amount planted.

But to watch the sprouts come to bear, to simply walk out with a pair of scissors and gather whatever was ready for dinner, the long nasturtium vines, the pill bugs and dragonflies visiting, the two monster spiders that protected the heirloom tomatoes… it’s been a fun ride this year, baby. I don’t wanna let it go.

So when I opened my refrigerator and saw that the cloves of garlic had sprouted, I couldn’t throw them away. You do understand, don’t you?

And when I was chopping up the tomato vines, and found a couple branches still going strong, I couldn’t just turn away.

Today, I planted 80 cloves of garlic in the garden during a downpour. Inside the house, I have a potted onion, a pineapple top (planted in spring), and wastebaskets that have been re-purposed as planters. These “planters” contain chives, the heirloom tomato branch, and the root system of the cherry tomato, with one tiny branch emerging.

I’m planning on some Kale and lettuce for winter planting, and listing the missed varieties that we should add to our garden next year.

I just can’t give it up.