Winding down in the garden

Now that our hot, hot summer has departed and the cooler temperatures of fall are setting in, we’re shifting things around in the garden. The tomatoes are still growing like wild (I will try to buy 5 tomato plants next year, not 9!) and the peppers are still giving it their all.

October 2012

greenhouse

We’ve cleaned out the cucumbers and melons, and planted radishes, beets, leeks, parsnips, and onions. The radishes look good, but there are no parsnips and just one beet. Any suggestions? Those are my favorite root vegetables, so I would really love for them to succeed.

Certainly, we’ll have freezing temperatures soon, and we’ll have to give in and pull up the remaining tomatoes and pepper plants. I can’t wait to see how long the greens last in the garden. Plus, I planted a bunch of seeds in the little greenhouse – kale, bok choy, arugula, and lettuce. Cross your fingers!

Thinking outside the box (Or, The importance of a good nap)

Our cat Lemon is, to put it lightly, severely bossy. He will stomp around for hours, screaming about one thing or another. Literally, hours! And not meowing… screaming. Maybe he wants to go outside (which is not allowed), or he needs us to watch him eat. Whatever. His demands are varied and specific. And they must be met immediately, or we will face his wrath.

We’ve actually taken him to a behaviorist who said he has anxiety. Our vet calls every once in a while to check on him because she knows he doesn’t let us sleep at night (Dr. O’Connor at Highland Veterinary Clinic is the best!). We have tried every solution you can think of, but the stomping and screaming continues.

The solution… a heated blanket! Lemon loves to lay in the sun and be warm, but, as we’ve told him countless times, that’s not always possible. Last year, we bought him a heated blanket. No one else in the house has a heated blanket. Just Lemon. And it really works! He calms down and goes to sleep. He will even snuggle with Imogen, which was previously unthinkable. Lesson: sometimes it pays to think way outside the box when you’re trying to solve a problem.

Last week, he was having a particularly vicious tantrum and we gave him a calming treat, turned on the blanket, and he took a four-hour nap! When he woke, he came around and gave everyone a snuggle and a purr. All he needed was a good nap.

P.S. He is actually the sweetest boy ever and I love him to pieces. But seriously, he can be a little monster.

October 2012

Are you a monster when you don’t get to sleep?

Unconventional moves

Looking for a fun and different way to exercise? I found two new ways to move your body. What’s your favorite way to exercise?

Dance Dance Party Party

My friend organizes Akron’s Dance Dance Party Party group that meets at 8 p.m. on the third and fifth Fridays of every month. What is this DDPP?

Akron hosts one of the many chapters of the female-only cult phenomenon known as Dance Dance Party Party™ (DDPP™). Unlike typical workout or dance classes, Dance Dance Party Party™ has no instructors, no fitness goals, and nothing to prove. There are only three rules in the room – no boys, no booze, and no judgment.

The next meeting is Oct. 19 and DJ Necronomi-Tron, fan of Ghouls Night Out, will be spinning the tunes. Feel free to use this as a night to test out your costume! Can’t dance? Go anyway and sweat to the music with some lovely ladies.

Keep up with Akron’s DDPP on their blog.

Or, find out if your city has a DDPP group. If not, you can start your own!

Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run! is a fantastic new app that gets us lazy bones to run…from zombies!! You can get the app on your Apple, Android, or Blackberry device.

You tie your shoes, put on your headphones, take your first steps outside. You’ve barely covered 100 yards when you hear them. They must be close. You can hear every guttural breath, every rattling groan – they’re everywhere. Zombies.
There’s only one thing you can do: Run!

I’m not a runner, but this would definitely make me move my feet. The app tracks your run and gives you a summary of the story to check out once you’ve caught your breath.

Get the app! (It’s $7.99 but might be worth it.)

Chipotle doing good

ChipotleThe last time I had a Chipotle burrito, I nearly cried. Too spicy for my wimpy palate. (And they were owned by McDonald’s then.) After reading about the restaurant and it’s related foundation, I decided to give them another try. My husband and I split a bean burrito with chips and salsa.

Chipotle uses local food and ethically-raised animals. (though they still buy animals for people to enjoy, you can get a meatless meal) They support family farms and are partnered with inspiring movements like Farm Aid and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. They saw what factory farms have to offer, and they have rejected it in favor of better food and community engagement.

I’m really inspired by how they are committed to supporting local farmers and using better ingredients. I am, however, disappointed that there are no women on the Chiptole Cultivate Foundation board. There’s a real opportunity to set an example by being more inclusive and open-minded. Also on my wish list… less fattening food! Some students have a Chipotle burrito and chips as a snack before dinner. Yowch! Those calories are taking their toll on kids and families (and our health care system!).

This video explains their mission, and got me on a Willie Nelson kick that is still going after 3 months. Love.

Bad blogger

I know I’ve been seriously slacking here. Writers block? Maybe.

I’m embarking on a new journey that I’m not quite ready to disclose here yet. But, I hope to document some of my thoughts and new discoveries here, so you can expect to see more posts from me about food, energy, and wellness. Those are my passion, and our food industry impacts the planet in a huge way, so it’s all relevant.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Cleveland Zoo 2012Isn’t she lovely? She lives at the Cleveland Zoo.

Sharpener

Our very old knives recently became very dull. It happens. So, I went to Facebook to ask for recommendations for a new set of knives. My smart friend Stephanie suggested I get them sharpened. Of course! That’s the “reduce” thing to do. So, we packed up the knife set and brought it to the Highland Square Farmer’s Market on Thursday to get them sharpened. Turns out, we have a vintage set of good quality knives that just needed a little help.

It only cost $38 for all  5 knives, and they were done by the time we finished wandering around Highland Square (20 minutes). That’s much better for us and the environment than getting a new set.

Kevin Noon of Noon Sharpening and Wood Working (“the environmentally friendly sharpener”) did great work for us on his old foot-pedal sharpener.

farmer's market

P.S. When I got them home and made dinner, I didn’t cut myself, but I did pour boiling water on my arm. Ouch! (I’m ok, just very clutzy.)

Lemon in the garden

Lemon thinks he likes greens, and he definitely loves to explore new places. He won’t run away, so we take him out in the garden sometimes. We don’t allow him to eat the plants, but he does it anyway.

Lemon in the garden

We’ve had a good crop of tomatoes and cucumbers so far, and one kabocha squash. I hope we get more squash. They’ve sure spread out enough!

Garden

cherry tomatoes

Garden

kabocha squash

Pollinators in trouble

Scientists continue to warn us about how pollinators are in trouble, and how our food supply is in danger too. Some species of bees have declined by 96% in some areas.

In California alone, researchers reported last year in the journal Rangelands [sub. req.] that native species pollinate more than one-third of the state’s crops, making them a multi-billion-dollar contributor to its rural economy.

Garden

The problem

Colony collapse is a real problem, and supposedly still mysterious. There are a few potential problems, and they’re all preventable. We all know that pesticides are affecting the bees. Most pesticides that kill bad bugs kill the good ones too. Certainly, it’s a challenge to keep a vegetable garden from getting destroyed by insects, but without bees, there is no garden. Pesticides are causing a bigger problem than they’re solving. The other potential cause is that bees need to eat their honey throughout the winter. Well, instead of letting them eat the honey, beekeepers are harvesting the honey and feeding the bees high fructose corn syrup. What?! Yes, they’re taking the bee’s natural honey and giving them a processed food instead.

How we can help

I don’t like all the doom and gloom… I want to know how to help. Check out this TED Talk about urban and city bee farmers and how they can help solve the problem. If you don’t have room for a beehive (which, regrettably, I don’t), you can plant a pollinator garden to give the bees and their friends lots of options and variety. Additionally, some countries have banned the use of the pesticides that are killing bees. Maybe we could encourage our country to do the same.

bees

Sources

Avocados

I never liked avocados as a kid. In fact, I only started eating them about 2 years ago. Now, they’re my new favorite thing! I can’t get enough. We put them in everything from smoothies to dinners. Last night, I made a fantastic guacamole (1.5 avocado, 1/3 cup salsa, lime and lemon juice) to bring to a neighborhood party. And, I recently learned that you can even replace butter with avocados – it’s a 1:1 ratio.

avocados

Healthy fats

Avocados are so good for you because they have healthy fats. One avocado has 15 grams of unsaturated fat, which is good for your heart. The anti-inflammatory combination of the fats and carotenoids are helpful for relieving arthritis.

Good cholesterol

Avocados help promote good cholesterol, and lower bad cholesterol. So, if you have a family history of high cholesterol, think about adding avocados to your salads, salsa, and snacks. Southern Living tells more reasons to eat avocados.