My hero!

Barbara Kingsolver has a new book out and I’m on pins and needles until I can get my hands on it. A quote from her recent interview with Salon illustrates why:

“Food is the one consumer choice we have to make every day. We can use that buying power in a transaction that burns excessive fossil fuels, erodes topsoil, supports multinationals that pay their workers just a few bucks a day — or the same money could strengthen neighborhood food economies, keep green spaces alive around our towns, and compensate farmers for applying humane values. Every purchase weighs in on one side or the other. It just isn’t possible to opt out. Otherwise, if you’re going to eat food, you belong to some kind of food chain. The goal of this book is to reveal that truth.”

Every time I read one of her books, I am struck by how she can so eloquently express my world view and then I feel like I was born 15 years too late–that I should be her. Her fiction entertains, but her non-fiction enlightens. If you haven’t read her books, and are at least remotely interested by the ideas of community, farming, family relations, and sustainable living, proceed directly to the nearest indie bookshop and check her out!

I love my Babyhawk!

I’ve been meaning to post for about a month on my latest babycarrier–a Babyhawk Mei Tai–purchased from our local carrier goddess, Karen at Eesti Slings. Lily loves it and goes to sleep in an instant. Even Gabriel seems to enjoy a ride on Mommy’s back from time to time, especially when he’s worn out from running in the Denver Botanic Garden!!

Lily in the Babyhawk

Anyhow, if you’re in the market for a versatile, easy carrier that looks great and is easy to use, a Babyhawk may fit the bill!

You are what you eat!

To continue my unannounced Earth Day series of interesting articles & causes, I’d like to point to one of my new favorite writers, Michael Pollan, and his latest NY Times article on the cost of foods in America. To summarize, it posits that poor people are suffering from obesity in greater proportions than the general population not because they are making bad food choices, but because our beloved farm subsidy program actually makes it cheaper to eat junk food than it does to eat fruits & vegetables.

I’d love to see someone do the math on what the obesity epidemic costs the American taxpayer; paying Medicare/Medicaid for all these people who are bound for long-term health problems can’t be cheap. When you add the $25B a year we’re spending on farm subsidies, logic might dictate that a change is in order.

A shout out to Doug for sending me a link that eventually led to this article!!

MySpace Displays its Ignorance Yet Again…

My pal over at CrunchyDomesticGoddess let me know about this latest blunder from MySpace…Apparently the powers that be have removed a very discreet picture of a nursing mama and threatened her with deleting her account if she continues to post pictures. The charge? It “violates MySpace policies against nudity and sexually suggestive images.” Excuse me?

Let me point out the number of news stories flooding the wires about young girls masquerading as legal and meeting up with older men (or, conversely, older men masquerading as younger to meet up with young women). On the few occasions that I’ve attempted to search for anyone on MySpace, I have found dozens of pictures of scantily-clad and/or suggestive photos. The breastfeeding one they’re complaining about here is so totally harmless and probably shows less skin than the usual Abercrombie & Fitch ad.

Come on MySpace. Get a grip.

Why I love canning…

It’s August, a time of year when I become absolutely obsessed with canning, freezing, and dehydrating. That’s right, canning is not just for your Great Aunt Mabel, hip (or not) young (or not) people do it too! When we bought our house in 1999, we inherited a home-canner’s paradise in the way of fruit trees, vines, & shrubs. We had two blue concord grapes, a red concord grape, a white Niagara grape, rhubarb, raspberries, an apple tree and two cherry trees. My husband grew up on home-canned grape juice, so I decided to give it a try. Our first batch was canned in the dishwasher (don’t try this at home kids!) and was delicious! I have now graduated to a simple canning bath and for about $100 of equipment, jars, bands & lids, I can now put by enough jam and canned fruit that we don’t have to buy any all winter long! In recent years, I have taken out all but one of the original grapes, cut down a diseased cherry tree, added a sweet Muscat grape (not producing enough for wine, but makes an excellent white grape juice), and added a strawberry patch to the garden. I have also signed up for Monroe Organic Farm‘s CSA & fruit share, which means I’ve added peaches, plums, pears, and apricots to my canning repetoire. This year, I tried a new recipe for plums from Recipezaar.com that is so good I might have to buy another box of plums to make more. So, top 7 reasons I love canning:

  1. It’s one of the few things that ties me to my extended family’s traditions (my Aunt Amy makes the best pickles you’ve ever tasted and now I make them too!).
  2. It’s good for the environment because I don’t buy frozen or canned fruit that was trucked in using lots of fossil fuels.
  3. I have complete control of the ingredients from choosing individual fruits at peak ripeness to controlling the amount of sugar and salt.
  4. The stuff I can tastes so much better than store-bought and is fresher too.
  5. It’s organic without the sticker shock because organic produce is cheaper when it’s purchased in season.
  6. The look on Gabriel’s face when I feed him canned Colorado-grown peaches in mid-winter is worth the effort!
  7. And hey, I’m a foodie, so I’m always looking for unusual food-related hobbies to pick up!

If you’re interested in learning more about canning, this site will get you started. Jars and other supplies are frequently available (at least here in Boulder County) at your local thrift store! Happy Canning!
J