Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

The sooner we, as a culture, realize that we can't spend our way out of our current problems the better. We live in a closed-loop system. In such a non-infinite system, we cannot continue consuming ever-increasing amounts of resources. It simply cannot happen. We must, like Americans with over-burdened credit cards simply learn to live within our global means. Toward that end, Buy Nothing Day is a small drop in the bucket. But its real value lies in realizing that we don't really need to buy much on other days either. Of course, we need food, we need clothes, we need toothpaste and toilet paper (well, my neighbor who has invented a hand-held bidet would say we don't even need that!), and we occasionally need fun splurgy things too. But do we need so much stuff, the avalanche of stuff that the average consumer buys in these holiday weeks? Does Aunt Martha really need yet another pair of Dearfoams slippers? Does Uncle Joe need another mug with a fishing joke printed on it?

One of the best things we did when our kids were very little was to tell them that Santa brought each child one present. And we give them each a Christmas book that they open on Christmas Eve and we read together (and then read many of the previous years' books as well). That's it. No expectations of piles and piles of stuff, just a simple family-filled holiday. Thus, I don't need to be standing in lines today for that mountain of gifts. One click to Heifer Project will take care of the rest of the presents for family.

Happy Buy Nothing Day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Autumn Memories

Rainy days in the kitchen with the smell of applesauce all around just can't be beat. All too often it feels like I don't have the time to do everything I want to, so I'm glad when I can at least do a bit here and there, like make up a batch of applesauce or a homemade pumpkin pie. Here's a view out of my autumn kitchen window. The white crockery canister behind my sink was from my grandfather's restaurant. He died when I was six, and I only have one very strong memory of him: Once when we were visiting, I woke up scared in the middle of the night. Instead of sending me right back to bed. he sat on the stairs with me and read me my favorite book, The Little Gingerbread Man. I still think of that whenever I get a tea bag out of the canister. If you only had one memory to give to someone in your life, wouldn't it be awesome to make it as loving as that one?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nice Website for Local Foods and Prep

I was looking online for a recipe for fresh pumpkin pie (since all the Betty Crockerish cookbooks carry is recipes with canned pumpkin) and stumbled across this nifty little site:

From the website description:
This website provides local listings of pick your own (also called U-pick or PYO) farms in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries. There are crop calendars for each local area to tell you what is available to pick throughout the year, local weather forecasts and really easy illustrated directions to show you how to make jam, jelly, salsa, pickles, spaghetti sauce, applesauce, apple butter and 150 other recipes with step-by-step directions to can, freeze, dry or preserve the harvest.

So far, our family can vouch for their pumpkin pie recipe. This is a great time to get deals on pie pumpkins at local farms, with the Halloween rush over and the Thanksgiving rush not quite yet starting. I'm really enjoying the roasted pumpkin seeds too. There's nothing commercially available that even comes close to my home-roasted seeds, which is a bummer because they usually go fast around here!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

One More Reason Not to Shop At Wal-Mart

If it's not enough that Wal-Mart is a union-busting, employee-screwing detriment to communities and the environment,, or that its Chinese imports have displaced hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, and if it's not enough that you might run into folks like these shopping there, here's one more reason not to shop at Wal-Mart: open discrimination against gays.

As a side note, I have only been in a Wal-Mart once in the last decade. Coincidentally, this was the only time I was ever harassed for breastfeeding in public. Asa was then an infant, in a sling where she was nursing very discreetly. A greasy-haired bulk-buyer of CPC (that's Cheap Plastic Crap if you know my family's lingo) and a shopping-cart full of junk food said very loudly to my face "That's disgusting!". I would've laughed if I hadn't been so stunned. Haven't been back since.