Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
When I initially started this blog back in 2008 it was named The Suburban Farmer because we were living in an older neighborhood on a half acre lot. Through some very sound reasoning on my dear sons part we adopted a total of 10 chickens and started our first garden. Now that we're living on 200 acres we haven't taken the time to build a coop, but we do have a small (25X50 foot) garden. Since we no longer live in the suburbs and I like rant about GMO's, systemic pesticides, and recycling I changed the name of my blog and deleted those early post. I am, however, proud to say that we are getting two, four week old, chicks tomorrow from a friend of a friend that made a impulse buy. The garden is another story altogether.
I hate to admit that I let my garden run a muck over the winter months (not that we actually had a winter here in the deep south), but alas it was a hot, hot mess when I last laid eyes upon it. I could have raised Fall veggies all winter long or at least maintained some sort of order, but I did not. I threw my hands up in the air, walked into my air conditioned house in mid-August, closed the door and read a bunch of really good books when I wasn't catching up on my Netflix queue.
You see, last summer we had an organic garden. A garden where we homeschoolers marveled at the aphids and ants symbiotic relationship (I even included a YouTube video I found so you could enjoy watching someones hard work get destroyed by those destructive pest). This is the garden where the deer, that my husband didn't kill, ate my watermelons and pumpkin vines. A garden where the lawn mowers and weed eaters all broke in protest. In other words, a garden where the bugs and the weeds flourished.
By August the temps were near 100 (not to mention the 70% humidity) so I surrendered, and now I'm having to play catch up and get the wilderness under control. If I am to be completely honestly, and I do believe in full disclosure, I've only put in 5 to 6 hours of weeding, tilling, and shopping in on this disastrous endeavor. I'm also sporting a nice bun on my leg from an afternoon of organic weed control (IE., burning the little devils), several bruises, and a nasty blister on my thumb.
With a great deal of my husbands help lighting the torch and manhandling the tiller, our garden is almost ready to embark on another season of growing corn, tomatoes, okra, beans, watermelon, squash, cucumbers, and whatever else we can think of to plant. However, I will not make any promises to having a *100% organic garden this year. Beware Ants, Aphids, earwigs, mealy bugs, slugs, and any other pest that dare eat MY vegetables, I will keeeeeelllllllll you!
*I will not use any unnecessary or systemic pesticides.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
As an up date on my fitness journey I wanted to post that I lost 7 pounds in 4 weeks. I think that MyFitnessPal has been a huge help. If you are trying to take off a few pounds it's a great site and they even have a mobile app. It might take a week or so to get used to writing it down, but having friends that encourage and support you makes it all worth while. Well, that and stepping on the scales and seeing a loss.
To those who think I'm taking the easier and softer way, I just want you to know that this whole weight issue has been a struggle for me for the past 15 years. I have tried dieting and have had some success, but I've never lost all the weight I need to and I have yo-yo to the point that I now have more weight to lose. About nine years ago I looked into the gastric bypass and knew that it was very unsafe. Then four years ago I considered the lap-band option and knew it wasn't the safest way to go either. I have explored the options and I believe that the gastric sleeve is the safest, most effective way for me to lose the weight and keep it off.
Thank you for the kind words of encouragement and join me at MyFitnessPal. My screen name is Runn53.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I don't know why I am so full of false pride, but I am, and I have a huge amount of anxiety, so writing this is extremely difficult for me. Admitting what I am about to say is causing my heart to race to the point I feel like closing my laptop and forgetting the whole thing. I've gone over this post in my head again and again, and now that I've waited until the last hour to post this entry I have no idea what I am going to say.
I've posted in the past that I wanted to run a 5K, but I never told you why I have yet to run. It's because I can't. I tried. I was walking 4-5 days a week, 3 miles each time, and at a good pace, but I couldn't run. I can't run. I can't because I'm too fat. I'm not 20 or 30 pounds over weight; I am obese. I haven't always been over weight. In fact, I was a size 6 in my mid-twenties which is, honestly, too thin for my body type. I don't know why I've gained so much weight. It may be because I was a two pack a day smoker and quit several years ago. It might be because I'm genetically predestined to be obese (my paternal grandmother, who I take after, was obese). It could even be because I gained too much weight with my first pregnancy and never lost that weight. The why no longer matters. What does matter is that I am still fat.
Almost two years ago I drastically changed my eating habits and started exercising. However, over the past 3 months I've made some really bad choices and started eating high fat foods. I'd like to say it's because I busted my ass and only lost 20 pounds, but honestly, I just gave up. I'm not walking as much as I was and I know I need to; I still plan on running that 5K.
The one really positive thing I have done is fall in love with yoga. I have been practicing for just over a year now. I started out going once a week, then twice, and now I try and attend three classes a week. I'm able to hold side plank (not with my foot extended) whereas a year ago I couldn't even get into that position. So, I love yoga. Being the weight that I am makes some of the positions difficult, and I know that I could do more if I was thinner and yes, healthier. It's one of those catch 22 situations. I'd walk more if I wasn't so fat, but if I walked more I wouldn't be so fat.
So, if you're still reading I'm sure you are asking yourself, what are you going to do about it Marye? I've decided to have gastric surgery. No, not the by-pass; it’s too dangerous. I don't want the band either; there are too many complications like slippage, and the port flipping. So, after researching every possibility, I've decide I want the gastric sleeve. The surgeon would go in, staple my stomach and remove a section of it. Below is a brief video describing the procedure:
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Maggie Stiefvater has done it again. This time with a well written dystopian novel about carnivorous water horses that come out of the ocean each year. They are captured and raced by the islanders with deadly results which attracts tourist to the small island. Like her Wolves of Mercy Falls series she had modified the mythology just enough to lure me into their world.
It's hard to believe that this is just another young adult novel. Maggie does a fantastic job of creating well rounded, believable charters through both their actions and conversation. Puck enters the race as a attempt to save her family, while Sean is a four time champion. This time he is racing for more than just a title. Reading from the authors unique dual protagonist style allow us a glimpse into both Puck and Sean's internal struggles. While the story was obviously building to the climatic race Maggie didn't short change us in resolution which is rich and meaningful.
I have read all of Maggie's books, and this is by far her greatest work.
As mush as I love to hold a book in my hands, I have discovered that audio books, when done right are a wonderful form of entertainment. I happened to listen to an audio version of this book. The point of view of Puck Connolly is read by Fiona Hardingham. While Sean Kendric's perspective is read by Steve West. I encourage you to listen to this book if you have the opportunity; in my opinion, their voices make a huge impact in identifying with the characters.
View all my reviews
Thursday, February 3, 2011
He discussed the three primary concepts in organic gardening. First, he said that the building and maintaining the soil's organic content is important especially in the south. Rainfall and high temperatures break down organic matter much faster than in a cooler climates. Before planting it would be beneficial to have your soil tested so that you know what nutrients your soil needs. The testing should also give you the pH (or alkaline) of the soil. Ideally, the pH should be between 4.7 and 6.5 for vegetables. Here in Mississippi soils are acidic and need something like sulfur to lower the levels. Other adjusters include wood ash, organic matter, crushed shells and limestone. Organic matter is material that was once living.
Secondly, natural materials should be the source of your soil's mineral nutrients. Sources of organic matter include cover crops (like rye or wheat), compost, manure, crop residue and dead organisms. Cover crops are grown to control erosion and can be incorporated into the soil as green manure. Composting is a great way to deal with plant residue and is an essential component of organic gardening.
Using cultural and biologival pest control is the third concept in organic gardening. If necessary, you can purchase organic fertilizer, like blood meal, green sand, fish fertilizer, cottonseed meal, or manure. The advantage of purchasing organic fertilizer is that these fertilizers gradually release nitrogen through out the growing season. Depending on the size of your garden, the cost may make it make it difficult to get the required amount of material. For example, you would need 1,000 lbs of chicken maunre per acre to get the necessary nutrients for your plants. Also know that fresh chicken manure contains large amounts of ammonia and can damage plants. There is no guarantee that the product is organic if it's not labeled certified organic.
The healthier the plants, the less susceptible they will be to disease. Some of the strategies for disease management include crop rotation, proper plant placement, purchasing plants that are disease resistant, proper watering, and weed control. Also, if the seeds are planted at the correct time and in the ideal temperature they will have a better chance of survival. There are products like Neem Oil, Spinosad, sodium bicarbonate, Diatimaceous Earth, lime-sulfur, Rotenone Insecticide, or Bordeaux mix that can protect against predators and disease, but there are other options if you don't feel comfortable using these products. There are beneficial insects like ladybugs and praying mantis that can keep harmful insects in check or you can practice bagging of fruit, shaking, and hand picking. Ideally, planting varieties that are resistant to disease, are rapidly growing, and have a shorter growing season will decrease the chance of insect and disease. An additional problem is weed management. Tilling, flame cultivation, hand pulling, hoeing and mulch are all traditional methods of reducing weeds.
If you are interested in gardening organically, start by identifying your problem areas, gather information on management strategies, develop a list of resources, practice daily scouting, take immediate action, and practice Integrated Pest Management.
Additional resources: Sustainable Agriculture and Research and National Substaniable Agriculture Information Service
Saturday, January 1, 2011
As for my New Year's Resolution, I want to become more organized. I'm afraid to open a closet or cabinet because I randomly put thing away just to get them out of my site. I am so disorganized that I can't even keep appointments on my calendar straight. I'm surprised that I made it through the holidays. Christmas dinner was late, because I did remember to put the chicken in the oven on time. I don't really have a plan yet, but I assure you I will get organized.
What are you new year resolutions?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Is this what Christmas has be come? I think it’s time we all stepped back and took a look around. I doubt there is anything we can do about the traffic or the crowds, but we certainly don’t have to walk around in our self-centered, self-serving bubble bumping into everyone we encounter trying to make Christmas something special. It already is special. All we have to do is enjoy that glory. It’s not too late; join the conspiracy!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
The Daily Green has some great green gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list. I especially like their eleven ideas for not giving 'stuff.' I for one would love a volunteer vacation or a year of farm fresh produce. Treehugger also offers up some great ideas ranging from organic baby toys to recycled dog beds. If you really feel that you have to have a gift wrapped and placed under the tree Why Go Ecotourism offers eco friendly polar fleece blankets and reusable grocery shopping bags as gifts that can be given year round.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Today is Advent Sunday. This is a season that we, as Christians, prepare for the coming of Jesus. I want this season to be about more than running around to parties, fighting the traffic and getting the right gift. In preperation our family went and served Thanksgiving lunch downtown at Brownstone's Free Thanksgiving Dinner. It felt good to be take a small amount of our time and help out those who are under resourced.
Last year our church introduced us to The Advent Conspiracy.
The AC encourages congregations to, "think of meaningful acts of kindness as meaningful gift options to replace traditional gifts." This grassroots movement also supports Living Water International. LWI is addressing the world's water crisis in Ethiopia, Brazil, Haiti, and Mexico just to name a few places.
Another organization that has recently entered the scene in the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. They want to, "empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures." Vampire Support has teamed up with the IS Foundation and is selling t-shirts where, "All profits made will go directly to the IS Foundation. [The foundation] will set aside the money from the shirts for projects with The National Wildlife Federation and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill clean up efforts."
If you are interested in supporting an organization that's goal is to end poverty and hunger, you may want to give to Heifer International. We had the opportunity to tour Heifer International's green office in Little Rock, AR several years ago. HI believes that they can't end world hunger without also saving the earth. Their philosophy is offer a long term solutions by empowering those in poverty and encouraging them to pass along their knowledge and the off spring of their animal to others is their community.
Rice and Bean Ministry is trying to feed 500 families for a month. It takes approximately 100 to feed each family. I know Fred and his team would appreciate your support. They are, of course, trying to feed families all year around in Costa Rica. It only cost $10 dollars to buy a bag a food to feed a family for a week.
If you are ready to give more and spend less (two of the AC founding principles) I encourage you to consider giving some of what you would normal spend on Christmas gift to one of these worthwhile causes.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
According to his method of gardening you should build 4 X 4 foot boxes. The plants will only require 6 inches of soil to grow, but he wants you to avoid using filler dirt since it increases the chances of weeds. After filling the boxes with equal parts of peat moss, vermiculite and blended compost, you should lay out a permanent grid. The end result is a very orderly garden.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
At some point we realize that we don’t make ourselves; we are shaped. We are who we are because of other people. Hopefully, by people who have made sacrifices, people who have been present in our lives and not by those whose impact has had an adverse effect.
Bullying has harmful effects. It is a topic that has been receiving a lot of air time lately, but it is not a new problem. Bullying affects thousands of children every day, bringing some to the point of suicide. I was bullied as a child. It started out as verbal abuse by the popular girls when we moved from the South to culturally different region of the US. I was in 6th grade. The bullying persisted for the three years that we lived there, becoming more aggressive as time passed. I can recall being bombarded by water balloons on the way home my last day of school.
If you or someone you know is being bullied there are a few thing you can do. Most importantly don't get physical with those bullying you. If you let them know that what they are doing is affecting you it will fuel their cause. If possible walk away. It is going to be important that you take charge of you life and who you are. You may need to talk to a counselor, friend or parent about your feelings. Also, you need to find out who your true friends are, and stick together. There is a campaign called Stop Bullying Now that offers information for both parents and children. I urge you to read this information and become aware of how we can overcome this epidemic.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I spoke to a farmer recently that, like many in is business, support genetically modified crops. His argument was that the poor wouldn’t be able to feed their families if crops were grow organically because it is so much more expensive to raise crops using natural methods. He also said that the extra expense would spill over into other products like sugar, milk, and bread. I can’t argue against the cost of growing GMO’s, but I can’t support it just because it’s more cost effective. According to US Department of Agriculture the percentage of GM corn grown in the United States grown from 7 to 70 percent, and 93 percent of the soybeans grown in the US are GM.
I’m sure you’ve read Jonathan Berr's article that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA )is considering whether to approve the production and sale of genetically modified fish, or frankenfish as it’s being called. Apparently, the argument is over labeling. The biotech industry is concerned that consumers won’t buy the fish if the product label spells out that the fish is genetically modified. Most fish in the US are raised on fish farms, but salmon, by in large, is still caught in the wild. The fishermen aren’t able to keep up with the demand and the supply of wild salmon in this country is shrinking. I assure you, the solution is not to make a frankenfish. According to CNN
"The fish's rapid growth will be boosted by the injection of a combination of a growth gene (GH-coding sequences) from the Pacific Chinook salmon and genetic material (the AFP gene) from the ocean pout - a large, eel-like fish - into the fertilized eggs of Atlantic salmon, making the recombined DNA present in cells throughout the body of the fish. The Chinook gene promotes the growth to market size, and the pout gene allows the fish to grow in the winter as well as the summer."The FDA is only looking at whether this fish is safe compared to other farm raised or wild salmon. Today is the last day for your voice to be heard concerning the labeling of this potentially dangerous fish. Aquabay Technologies plans to breed the salmon in an inland facility in Canada, however, they will raise the fish in Panama.
This past summer, according to Micheal J Crumb of the Associated Press, a California judge halted the planting of GM sugar beets until the USDA could complete an impact study on how these organisms affect the traditional crops. Fifty percent of the US’s sugar comes from sugar beets that have been planted with products like Genuity Roundup Ready Sugarbeets. The apparent benefit is that farmers are able to use pesticides on the crops without killing the plant itself. Companies like Monsanto would have you believe that farmers and consumers will suffer if GMO’s aren’t allowed to be planted, but that isn’t the case. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an office of the USDA, has opened a comment period asking for input from retailers, farmers, university professors, dealers, and agricultural organizations on the Environmental Assessment. All interested parties have until December 6 to make their voices heard.
It is essential that we, as consumers, stay informed. The Non-GMO Project supports the verifying and labeling of products and that believes we have the right to make informed choices about whether we want to consume GM products. The Project’s role is to make certain we have accessible Non-GMO alternatives in our future. Voting Block is a site that allows you to tell your elected representatives where you stand on the issue and what they should to earn your vote. Remember to let your voice be heard!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Once again I want to challenge you not to fall into the commercialism of the season. One rebellious group, The Adbusters, are campaigning for us to join Buy Nothing Day where you can pledge to not shop from sunrise to sunset on November 26th. I think this is an interesting proposition, since we Americans have more waste that any other country. So, in addition to not shopping on Black Friday I want you to consider some other ways you can make changes this holiday season.
Did you know that 1.8 million people in under resourced countries die every year from dirty drinking water. The Advent Conspiracy who tells us to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all, is asking for support for Living Water International . There is a wonderful video where Chris Seay explains, from the streets of Haiti, how you can spend your Christmas money to save lives.
Samaritan's Purse offers aid to the worlds poor and sick. They have emergency relief programs that provide assistance to victims of war, famine, disease, and natural disaster. At Christmas time you can pack a shoe box and have it sent to a needy child through their Operation Christmas Child program. Their vision is through the story of the good Samaritan.
Fred Curry, of Rice and Beans Ministry, in Costa Rica is asking for support in reaching out to the poor people in the coastal, central and south pacific. Just ten dollars will feed a family for 4 days.
Of course there are children right here in the US that go to bed hungry every day. Many of these kids rely on the school lunch program to receive nutritious meals. On weekends and holidays there the program, Feeding America, that offers additional food through their Backpack Program. They fill children's backpacks with nonperishable and easily consumed food the day before the weekend or holiday. Our church is partnered with a local school and we provide these backpacks,. We are always in need of more backpacks and money to purchase food due to the increasing numbers of qualified applicants.
So, instead of giving into the commercialism of the season, I am begging you, please consider participating in one of these programs or look into another programs in you region where you can give the most precious gift.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The creamery also makes butter, yogurt, and cheese that is sold locally at the Turtle Creek Farmer's Market and at The Little Butcher Shop.
65% of the milk consumed is processed locally, the rest is shipped in from out of state.
Country Girls Creamery has natural, not organic milk. What that means is that they don't use hormones or antibiotics on their cattle, but the grain that they feed them twice daily comes from genetically modified corn. There is, however, an organic dairy in North MS.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
There are advantages and disadvantages to genetically modified organisms (GMO). Plants that have been modified by genetic engineers are drought resistant, tolerant to herbicides, have a tolerance to the cold, and are resistant to many diseases. There by providing an abundance of food at an affordable price. However,these crops do not contain adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients to prevent malnutrition. In fact these plants are causing allergies and cancers in humans yet we continue to accept and consume them on a daily basis. If you don't believe me read this article about the effects of rats eating genetically modified potatoes.
Genetically modified foods are not only grown for our consumption, but for the consumption of animals. Once the animal eats the GMO feed it transfers foreign DNA into that animal which is then passed on to any humans consuming that beef, pork, or poultry. Even more disturbing, is that the FDA is considering approving the first genetically modified animal for human consumption. If you don’t want to eat genetically modified salmon, you can let your voice be heard here.
I understand that not everyone can grow a self sustaining garden in their back yard, but we can all make well educated decisions when shopping. We have the greatest influence on what is being offered. Europeans have shunned GMO’s. If we refuse to accept foods that have been genetically altered, the farming industry will stop giving into the genetic engineers and biotech companies. One of the ways to make your voice heard is to join the True Food Network. You can also reading labels, buying only organic meat and produce, and eating foods that are in season.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I read an article that reported that 81 percent of people in the US admit to texting while driving in their vehicle. Did you know that there are only eight states that prohibit using handheld devices while driving? Only seven are primary enforcement laws, which means that the police can pull you over without there being another traffic offence. Twenty eight states prohibit novice drivers from using cell phones while 30 stats ban texting while operating a mother vehicle.
Be The Change
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” mahatma gandhi