Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolve to Do This BEFORE the New Year

Here's one important way you can make a contribution to the safety of our nation's food supply and the health of our people (if you happen to live in the U.S.)

The U.S. Government is asking for comments on how corporate control of our food supply affects you. It's easy to speak against what's going on, it's harder to take action but this is one action that's simple and quick. Let them know how you feel about local farms, regulation of small farmers, letting corporations get away with unsafe, unsanitary, and inhumane practices. This is being undertaken by the Department of Justice anti-trust folks, not the usual USDA people who have been turning a blind eye for decades, so it might just be worthwhile to chip in your two cents.

You can email comments to: agriculturalworkshops@usdoj.gov BY DECEMBER 31st!!!!


Find out more details on Slow Food USA's blog post There are links to sample letters and summaries of the issues at stake.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fostering Community: A Progressive Dinner

For a couple of years now, we've been celebrating the Solstice (both summer and winter) by having a progressive dinner with several families from our neighborhood. If you've never done one, a progressive dinner is so much fun! You start at one house for appetizers, proceed to the next house for salad, the next house for soup, and so on. This year we ended up at our house for desserts. Each family hosts everyone for about 45 minutes to an hour, and the walk between the houses is just as much fun as the dinner part.

This year, at about the salad course, we also started singing. We started out with rounds and went to carols and solstice songs (with several glasses of wine by that time, it took all of our collective brains to remember the right order for everything in the 12 Days of Christmas), and ended up at our house with me accompanying on the piano and singing more carols. This is a great way to reconnect with neighbors that you may not see as often as you'd like throughout the daily busyness of our lives. We stop and chat while walking the dogs, or our kids are running in and out of each others' houses, but we don't always get the time to really catch up. This gives us a chance to really talk and listen to what's going on in each others' lives.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shopping Local for the Holidays

A letter in our weekly newspaper made a very good point this week. One of our town's big topics is downtown revitalization, with fingers being pointed at Walmart and all of the big box stores as culprits in stealing away vigor from our downtown stores. We have many open spaces and empty pits where stores once stood. This failed attempt at covering up with a mural obscures the pit where the downtown Woolworth's once stood. The letter writer just pointed out that if everyone who wanted a more vital downtown just took their Christmas shopping there instead of to the box stores, downtown stores would be more than vital.

So today, Mackenzie and I went on a little holiday shopping trip downtown and he bought his sister a really cool present for Christmas (can't reveal it here, I know she reads these posts on Facebook - hi Asa! No, I'm not telling!). We don't do a ton of Christmas shopping, but this year I'm vowing that what we do (other than my perennial Heifer Project gifts for family) will not be done online. No UPS trucks pulling up in the driveway, we're going downtown!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lying Fallow

This is the time of year where things start to slide - the last few apples I socked away in the cold maybe start going bad before I get around to making them into applesauce, and I forgot to go out and pick the peppers before the first frost so I didn't get the last few good ones in. Now that it's so dang crazy cold, everything even in the winter garden is listless. My time is eaten up with the craziness that seems to hit all at once at this time of the year. I guess it's time to lie fallow and regenerate for spring. Starting next Monday (when the karate tests, Nutcracker performances and robotics competition is all over and done with) that's exactly what I'm going to do.