Garden Update

The garden! Perennial border area (which is very weedy in this pic) has been planted so far with two currents, a gooseberry/josta berry hybrid, some sorrel, strawberries and echinacea. Some ornamentals line the area closest to the sidewalk

Hi! This is a garden update! In my last post it was all just a dream on paper, the colored circles holding the place of the real greenery that is out there now! I really don’t think it could be going any better, considering this is my first time doing anything like this. I look outside and am amazed at what’s growing, and most of it like gangbusters. It started with kale at the beginning of June, then continued with collards, dill, sage, mustard greens, edible marigolds, calendula, nasturtiums, baby greens, some radishes, broccoli, two heads of cabbage (one big, one little). Now we are full on into pole beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes,summer squash, onions and zucchini (we call our GIGANTIC plants “the giant zucchini machine”).  Coming on strong on are eggplants and one regular tomato plant (one didn’t do so well). Plugging along is my little polyculture, which I’ve struggled with a bit. Mainly because I don’t know the difference between radish tops, turnip tops, and certain baby greens. A lot of the radishes went to flower…not sure if it was because they didn’t have enough space? I got, like, 4. But I got tons of baby greens (lettuces and mustard greens) for salad for several weeks. The carrots and parsley are coming up now, as well as little parsnip leaves. I had one potato plant come up (I planted 4 seed potatoes) and just harvested three little potatoes. I’ll have to try again with those.

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My Permaculture-based Garden Plan

Hullo! Long time no blog. I have been so busy doing stuff that I haven’t had time to write about it. Isn’t that always the way?

Well, spring is here, and I have my permaculture-based garden plan all set and ready to go. The funny thing is, I have never had ANY kind of garden, much less something permaculture-based. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s kind of ambitious for a newbie, but that’s just the way I roll. If I can’t do some of it or don’t have time…so be it.

So some of the site considerations I needed to take into account with this plan are:

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In the New Year….

This is a sort of New Year’s resolutions post. I usually don’t write resolutions. In fact, the last few years I’ve thought it was silly and that it just ends up being a list that hangs over your head. But I feel differently this year for some reason. Writing down a list can be a powerful way of committing things to your psyche. And I feel very strongly about the things on this list. I think they are accomplish-able and important for my mental health and the health of those around me. And, I’m in a new state, a new (small) city, and I feel an immense sense opportunity that is just waiting to be plucked from the beautiful Vermont sky.

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The Nation-State Has Got to Go, or Everybody Permaculture!

I’ve been meditating on this idea of the nation-state for a while. A gentleman that came to our Massachusetts Zeitgeist Day event in Cambridge last March commented that unless we get rid of the idea of nation-states, we will never have peace on the planet. I completely agree, and I wanted to just write a post about it as it’s been on my mind. It’s especially pertinent now, as it seems war with Syria (and whatever slippery-slope conflicts emerge from that) might be inevitable.

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Nothing on TV?: June 5, 2013

I am going to start a new feature on the blog! Everyday I am going to post the videos that my husband and I watch in the evenings. Instead of watching primetime TV (which I used to do all the time), we now fill our evenings with informative, weird, fun and out-there nonfiction videos, movies and documentaries. Of course, sometimes the Bruins, Sox or the Celtics take precedent, but that’s cool because, hey, we live in the best sports town in ‘Merica and sometimes you gotta watch the boys.

Here were last nights selections! Right now it will be a lot of permaculture selections, as I have to (and want to!) watch these for the permaculture course I am taking in August. These are both fine to watch around children, by the way.

The Cosmic Giggle (this was AWESOME)

The Cosmic Giggle is an experimental documentary film that explores the human energy field’s dynamic relationship with our environment. Naturally as human beings, we are connected to a vast network of fluid information inherent to the world around us. When we are children, we are open to this field through simple innocent observance, but because of our collective evolution towards a dominating and fixated worldview, this perception becomes veiled. This film reveals how this process takes place and provides keys for returning to a more primal and authentic experience of our reality.

Temperate Permaculture Strategies, Parts 1-8

Permaculture in cool climates with Bill Mollison (he’s one of the founders of the idea of permaculture)

March Against Monsanto

Hubs and I went to the March Against Monsanto in downtown Boston yesterday. It was a decent turnout even tho the weather felt more like October. I hate this company and I hate that somehow they have managed to completely fool our government into thinking their products are necessary and safe. Really, the only things we can do at this point is grow our own food, buy organic, continue to demand labeling and banning these weirdo crops with things like pesticides spliced into their genes.

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The Fall, Hell on Earth and How to Remedy It

We have created a hell on Earth. Most of us remain blinded to its firey prison, but it’s here. Most of you reading this are probably only in the outer circle of hell, not the very center of the agony. You may have to work 8–10 hrs a day at a job you hate to pay your mortgage, but you have a house. You may worry that you won’t have enough to leave your kid when you die, but your kid eats three meals a day, has people to love it and people to teach it. You think your life doesn’t have much point, but you get enough joy in the few hours you get to spend with your friends and family to keep you ticking. You may medicate heavily with alcohol, pot or pharmaceuticals, but all in the name of unwinding, relaxing, kicking back. Yes, this is only the outside circle of hell.

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You Are What You Eat (Part II)

I was writing this whole descriptive post about this film Forks Over Knives, which is the main thing I want to share in this Part II, and I was getting really sick of the sound of my own writing. I’m going to let the trailor, a summary, and your intense curiosity about it drive your interest to watch it.

It is a documentary examining the overwhelming evidence that reveals something that might be astonishing to some: our skyrocketing rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes could be turned around with a wink. It documents the work of American physician Caldwell Esselstyn and Cornell professor of nutritional biochemistry T. Colin Campbell. Their many, many research findings and clinical studies all point to one fact: animal products (anything made with milk, meat, or eggs) eaten as more than 5% of your diet causes a sharp increase of your risk of getting cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Not only that, cancer patients, heart disease patients and diabetes patients are reversing their diseases by foregoing almost all animal products and switching to whole foods, plant based-diets. Oh, and they also have a lot more energy and are much healthier in all respects.

Cows milk, meat and eggs are killing us. (Oh, and sugar too but I already covered that in the last post.) All while the government massively subsidizes those industries and represses fun facts, like countries with the highest consumption of dairy products also happen to have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Headscratcher, right?

If you are in anyway concerned with your health, your family’s health, your children’s health or anyone because of diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, obesity, or anything related, please stream this on Netflix or rent from wherever you get movies, because it might literally save a life.

Enjoy! (At least watch the trailor, it’s like 2 minutes)

Just so it stays personal, I am currently trying to have as many veggie meals per week as I can get my husband to agree to (he’s awesome, he says “why should I care if there’s meat in there if it tastes good?”). I’ll keep you updated on the progress and maybe share some recipes.

You Are What You Eat (Part 1)

Bagels with cream cheese (Lender’s Bagels, remember those chewy treats?); bagels with cream cheese with potato chips on top. Potato chips dipped in cream cheese. Pretzels dipped in cream cheese. Kraft mac & cheese scooped up onto potato chips, like some freaky, orange, processed starch salsa. Velveeta cheese sandwiches on preservative laden soft white bread. Oh, and if no one was looking? Straight up, a blanket of Doritos smashed in a slice of white bread, folded in half, eaten as a crunchy sandwich.

No wonder I was a chubby little kid. These were my favorite snacks when I was 10. No, we weren’t poor, yes my mother knew how to cook, yes she tried to get me to eat healthier things. But once I tasted white bread, fake cheese and potato, there was really nothing else I liked. At dinner when I had to eat more real food, I would eat the meat we had, 2-3 white rolls, and baked potato, all layered on top of each other. A few bites of salad. A few green beans. Glass ‘o Coke.

I don’t really fault my parents with having that stuff in the house. My dad liked it, and no one else seemed to have a problem sneaking Dorito sandwiches, so I’m sure it seemed draconian to them to cut it out of our diets all together. Plus, no one really knew the dangers back then of eating processed white flour (or at least the main stream didn’t), processed fake cheese, processed anything. It was cheap, easy and convenient, and America bought it up. Why shouldn’t we? Commercials for Doritos, Lays, Wise, Ruffles, WonderBread, Coke, Pepsi, and Kraft flooded the TV. These brands are your friends! They’re feeding your family for cheap! Look at all that food you can afford! And, I’m sure I begged and begged and BEGGED for these items. Advertisers do studies on how long it takes a child nagging to get the parent to buy something. I’m sure nagged and begged, and my mother has specifically told me that I wouldn’t eat anything else except those cheese sandwiches for lunch. She said she thought it was better to let me  eat that than to have me starve. I believe she was doing what she thought was best. Unfortunately, what happened is I’m pretty sure I got addicted to that stuff, and I now consider myself to be a recovering white-flour, fake-cheese, empty-carb-aholic.

I was talking with my husband about this the other day, after watching Food Matters. I was wondering why I got so obsessed with these kinds of foods, while others didn’t. My best friend growing up liked salsa and salad, tomatoes and pepperocinis, and I’ve told people recently what I used to eat and they look at me with horror. Husband mentioned maybe it wasn’t the food per se, but it was the extreme high I got from eating them. As we know now, those empty white flour carbs are just like sugar, and I basically got a sugar high from eating them. It’s the same feeling you get when you eat McDonalds. The food tastes absolutely glorious while you’re eating it, you can’t get enough. It’s alarmingly crack-like and you just want more of the taste in your mouth. And then when you’re done, you’re really sad and kinda depressed you’re done eating. If you watched Supersize Me, you know Morgan Spurlock commented about that when he at his McDonalds diet for a month. He would get wicked psyched for his meals and then crash after.

I also recently got off anti-depressants I was on for 6 years. I’ve had sort of an anxiety-based, worried about the end of the world, what does it all mean, what am I doing with myself type of depression ever since about 4th grade. I used to lie in bed wondering “what’s outside the universe? Is it God? What’s outside God? What’s outside of that? Why are humans here?” I also was terribly afraid of the dark and slept on the floor of my parents room for a few months in 6th grade. I was afraid of monsters, poltergeists, witches, boogey-men, demons. Mostly paranormal stuff. My sister’s room shared a wall with mine, and frequently throughout the night I would tap on the wall, and keep tapping until my sister returned the tap, signaling she was awake. For some reason, I was extremely terrified of being the only one awake.

Anyway, all this just means I think I had/have some psychological…issues (as we all do to some extent), and that food, for whatever reason, comforted me. I looked forward to it, I craved it, it made me so happy to eat it. The endorphins it released soothed me.

Now I know that kind of stuff is toxic. Study after study is showing that when you eat white bread and sugar, you create a breeding ground for cancer—cancer feeds of that kind of food. It also leads to heart disease—basically sugar causes inflammation in your arteries, which causes cholester0l to stick to the inside of your veins.

I stopped eating processed foods a few months ago. I’ve gradually started buying as much organic as I can. I avoid GMOs whenever possible (those are a whole different story).  I don’t buy white bread, I don’t buy chips, Doritos, etc. I will eat them if they are in my house. My friends know – I’ll go to parties and I’ll end up eating the Doritos and kicking myself later. It’s an addiction, and the companies that make that shit know it. They know exactly what they are doing.

I have a friend who calls that kind of food (basically convenience store food) “slave food.” He calls it that because guess who eats that stuff? Poorer people. Rich people (and I mean the real 1%) don’t eat that stuff. They eat organic, fresh,  meals (most likely prepared by personal chefs), they live off spring water, they indulge in exotic fruits and all the healing, wonderful superfoods you’ve heard all about. Think you’ll ever find a pomegranate or bee pollen in a convenience store? No. Those are reserved for people with funds and the education to know how good certain foods are for you. Poorer people on the other hand are relegated to eating $1 menu McDonalds stuff, Wonderbread, chips, granola bars riddled with GMOs and high fructose corn syrup. And it’s killing them. And that sad part is all we need to fix it is a little more education, community gardens, and free food forests. I was about to say “and more regulations on what is allowed to be in our food,” but I didn’t, because education in and of itself is enough to make people choose appropriate products, and those companies that don’t provide healthy products will slowly shrivel up and die a satisfying death.

I am slowly recovering from my life so far of processed crap. I have way more energy now than I used to. I just realized that my desk job is feeling torturous because I have so much energy I just want to get up and run around the office. I’ve lost a few pounds. I don’t feel about food the way I used to. Now when I eat my food I think of it as fuel, not the highlight of my day. I like the foods I eat a lot, and I use plenty of healthy fats when I cook (lots of olive oil and safflower oil, nuts too). But I don’t want to scarf the food up on site and I don’t feel the desperation to feel that starchy taste in my mouth, or salivate inhaling fake-cheese smell. I consider that a small victory.