Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Ten reasons to love Ben and Jerry’s

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Can you really be “in love” with an ice cream company? I think I am. Not only the ice cream but the company as well.  After hearing the reasons their employees, Jay and Scott ( our friendly servers at the Ben and Jerry’s food truck during the Frendly Gathering) had to say about Ben and Jerry’s, I thought I needed to do a little more research instead just gushing about “Chunky Monkey and “New York Super Fudge Chunk.”  Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream became a leader in business social and environmental responsibility pushing the buttons of politicans and larger companies to do the right thing while becoming an extremely profitable company.

Photo Op at the Frendly Gathering

1. First scoop shop was in a renovated gas station, Burlington Vt and showed summer movies. First delivery truck was a VW wagon.

2. Built the largest ice cream sundae weighing 27,102 lbs

3. Protested the Seabrook NH nuclear plant with the slogan “Keep our customers alive and licking”

4.Sent the “cowmobile” to Wall Street after the 1987 crash to serve free scoops of “That’s Life and Economic Crunch” ice cream

5. Came out against bovine growth hormone and the impact on family run dairies and paid a premium for milk during volatile pricing times

6. Give away free ice cream at music festivals and events.  Also have a free cone day at all their stores.

7. Made “Fossil Fuel”  ice cream to protest oil drilling in the Artic Wildlife Refuge and served it up on the US Capitol Lawn

8. We able to sell to mega giant Unilever while maintaining quality control and their own board of directors.

9. Committed to fair trade, sustainable packaging, buy local milk and corporate social responsibility

10. Names ice cream after rock legends like “Cherry Garcia” and “Phlish Food” (which is celebrating it’s 15 year anniversary and going strong.Jay and Scott at the Frendly Gathering

And why do Jay and Scott love working for Ben and Jerrys? ” Continuing respect for social equity and the environment while putting smiles on people’s faces!”  Thanks Jay and Scott!

Summer Solstice… Summer Begins

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

It is the longest day of the year TODAY! … and all over the country there is record heat forecasted .

The sun is closest to the earth today. It is the longest day at the Northpole, but the shortest at the south pole. National Geographic says that although it is the longest day with the sun closest to the earth, that it is not necessarily the hottest although this year it may be in the U.S.

“Earth’s oceans and atmosphere act like heat sinks, absorbing and reradiating the sun’s rays over time. Even though the planet is absorbing lots of sunlight on the summer solstice, it takes several weeks to release it. As a result, the hottest days of summer usually occur in July or August.”

The solstice has been acknowledged as a spiritual celebration for long back in our human history. We still wonder at the the many ancient civilizations who marked their lives and built their cities around the suns rotational patterns. How did they know? How many years did it take these first people to map the stars and count the days. Finding the sun so important. Gods.

Think of Stonehenge. Simple or not so simple stacking of giant stones.

Check out this party shot posted last night… Now there is a Solstice Party!

Celebrating the sun as it gives us life and helps plants to grow and do their Photosynthesis thing in the forests and the seas and they make oxygen so we can breath it and creates the food so we can eat it.

So enjoy this long day with some close friends and make the most of the extra light. I will be gardening here in california anbd my day has started with our cool coastal fog after a hot one yesterday.

Drink water… get a nice firm watermelon and don’t exert yourself unless it is doing something wonderful. Maybe some yoga? Have a friend with a pool? A pond? A river? If it ios hot and you’re in a city find a cool spot in the shade. Enjoy this day for a moment and think of the SUN and how we love It!

Sun Gods

Apollo-*Greece

Hellios* Rome

Re(Ra)* Egypt

Liza*West African

Freyr*Norse

Sol* Norse

Mithras*Persia

Iti*Inca

Surya*Hindu

Garuda*Hindu

Tonatiuh*Aztec

Sol Invictus*Roman

Amaterasu*Japan

Lugh*Celtic

Kinich Ahau*Mayan

Here Comes The Sun King

Don’t panic, there’s a party in the pantry!

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Friends or family coming over at the last minute and you haven’t done any grocery shopping.  Eating dinner out every night and no money left in your account.  A well stocked pantry can get you out of a jam in many ways.  Have on hand a variety of canned beans, tomatoes and jalapenos.Have a selection of dried rices and pasta, olive oil, salad dressing, peanut butter and jarred sauces.

Simply saute some onions, garlic and green pepper in oil olive.  Add some canned tomatoes and Mexican spices and beans.  Select a brand of rice you like.  They come in different flavors for different themes and are easy to prepare. You’ll have a quick festa.  Arrange cut veggies or apples on a platter with peanut butter in one small bowl and hummus or salad dressing in another and you have an instant appetizers.

Make an easy homemade soup by pouring a container of chicken stock into a pot.  Bring to a slow boil, add chopped vegetables, pieces of boneless chicken breast, a dash of garlic powder, 1/4 of white wine and 1/2  dried rice.  Cover and simmer until the veggies are tender.  Serve hot with bread or croutons.

There are also some tasty, 1950’s recipes that involved canned soup.  Have a few cans of cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup on hand to make an easy chicken and rice casserole.  Simply cook the boneless chicken breast in the oven at 350 degrees, pull apart when cooked, add milk, soup and rice. Cover with foil and bake in the oven. Canned milk can be used in place of fresh milk for macaroni and cheese. Have coconut milk around for a quick curry and a few jars of sauerkraut for your kielbasa.

And then there is of course, dessert! Brownie, muffin, cookie and cake mixtures are a must!

April… Patagonia… Torres de Paine… Awe

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Here I am in Patagonia. With a quick day in Santiago, Chile after a long night’s travel , and the a flight to the obscure town of Punta Arenas and a four hour drive… Well, five if you add the stop for a lunch.

WOW!

AWE!

Torres del Paine…When you finally find the view of the grand mountain Massives jutting up into the sky from the gentle rolling plane of the pampas below, you are speechless… Well, maybe several exclamations.

Torres del Paine… Los gran montanas!… The blue ice of the glaciers. I haven’t had the time to write because I have been busy climbing the mountain! But really the exploration of the nature around them in this furthest south part of Chile, of the WORLD!

Wonders.

The ostrich related Nandu, also called Rhia, the Guanaco related to the llama…

Pink flamingos? Es verdad! Flamingos in the cold waters of a salty lake. Crazy but True. Visual drama. Surrealism? No, it is there. Driving past Flamingos again and I want to gasp and giggle both. Alice playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts with her flamingo croquet mallet in the steep mountains, windy, blowing in Patagonia?

The guides were passionate and crazy. I guess you are to be living way out in the middle of somewhere special in the world, at the bottom of the world, at the end of the world. The crazy young man from OZ planking on rocks. The beautiful Chilean woman who can drive a big truck and escort you gracefully up the mountain with the crazy power of the wind, el viento, trying to pull you off the mountain trail and throw you around.

Leaving  from a sanctuary in Patagonia and on to explore the Straits of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego. I never dreamed, yet wondered…

More Wonders to come!

Following the road to explore a life.

See and experience as much as you can fit into it.

Beauty is all around…

Recycled for art

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Having a friend stay with us this week gave us an idea to recycle an old ironing board for an art supply table.  Laura loves to paint and since we didn’t have an easel, we found a new meaning for an extra ladder.Before you toss, rename and resuse.  Use your imagination!

Art from Garbage-How a small Mexican town inspires the youth

Monday, March 26th, 2012

To say that I was impressed by the community center of the small beach town of San Pancho, Mexico, would be an understatement.  Thanks to many volunteers, dedicated citizens of San Pancho  and an old warehouse that housed a small dairy processing plant , the entreamigos.org, San Pancho’s Community Center was born.  The result is an inspiring, safe, stimulating home for arts and cultural events with the underlying theme of recycled goods.  Besides, art and  cooking classes there is language emersion.  Entreamigos, offers after school classroom support for the community families in most need and a safe learning environment for anyone who wanders into the doors. Entramigos counts on donations to continue their programs and leads as an example for all communities to act responsible while enjoying the arts.Greeted at the entrance with a scrap metal tree

The bathroom wall is made from crushed plastic bottles, left open to teach the kids about the importance of recycling.

Walkways made from a mixture of concrete and recycled crush colored glass

The Winter Garden… Much to Do

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

When you live in a temperate climate, there is always something needing to get done in the garden. It gets chilly but the plants are still growing. Some dormant but the roots are getting strong and growing deep as the upper plant is resting. If you can still find bulbs at your nursery, pick them up and plant them in the ground or even in a pot. The daffodils and tulips were gone, but I just picked up some freesias and crocus. You can still order on line for spring planting too: freesia, ranunculus, anemone and lilies.

Time for the bare root trees and shrubs at the nursery. First check the sale plants. There could be just the peach you were looking for, potted in the sale area at a discounted price.

Special items such as tree peonies are bare root at the nursery now.

Something quite incredible… They take for ever to grow but the surprise of the stunning flower… Careful! Be watchful and aware or you might miss the bloom. I have some tree peonies that have only had one flower for 5 years… Can’t wait until it has several more. But patience….

In the milder climates it is time to plant roses and fruit trees. Right now without the rain from the gods, as we are having another very dry month in California and throughout much of the country, you will have to be sure to water. When you plant trees in the fall and winter, they get a strong start in the earth as the roots grow underground while the plant above is resting. Different for the winter blooming plants of course. I once planted a whole huge forest of Camelias when it was February into March and they were laden with blooms.

This isn’t really the right timing. The flowers fell and the plants were a bit stressed. The energy put into bloom takes much of the plants energy and planting them in bud challenges the plant and you should be careful to be sure it is deeply watered and even give it some fertilizer, like fish emulsion or manure tea. My Camelias are doing well now three years later, so it was fine in the end, but I am sure they were a bit miffed at being planted while they were so busy putting there energy into blossom… Excuse me…

Fish emulsion is a nice way to water in some nutrients. You can add it to a watering can if you have a small garden or potted patio or deck garden.

Manure tea? You can take your bag of chicken or steer manure and put a couple of handfuls into the watering can and steep for a half hour or so and just water it into the pot.

Cutting back roses, vines, pruning the orchard.

Adding manure and compost to the garden so the rain will wash it in during the winter months.

A bit of a workout in the Garden? Raking is a meditation and, if done briskly, a nice bit of a work out. Shoveling, digging, and planting a nice sized bare root tree is also good for the muscles and a bit of cardio and weight training, but be careful when lifting as the posture or lack of it that you exhibit can cause some muscle tension later. Use your core, don’t slouch and lift things from below. Bend and turn from the hips not the lower back. Remember that a slightly bent knee rather than straight knee is good support and protects the knees and the lower back.

I love to rake leaves. It is something you can do with a rhythm of motion and try to, instead of thinking of the things you need to do at work, at home, or even let go of that cloud of the confusing relationship your in, and listen…. The leaves blowing, the birds are all around always you just sometimes don’t hear their scuffling under the brush and low shrubs… soft little steps waiting to come in when you leave and pick at the bugs you have uncovered with the rake.

I just heard one of my Hawks out early this morning. So happy that they have settled in on my property again. Not good if you have the very small dogs or little chicks running around on the lawn, but I am hoping they take away some of my rabbits this winter. Sorry bunny’s, but the kids are gone and there is no more Easter egg hunting around here… At least at the moment. Leave the vegetables alone and go where the children are living down the road.

The rabbits ate all my greens that I planted this fall, chard, kale, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower. I hope to replant soon as these are the good winter crops. The weather is so warm right now that I was daring enough to buy some seeds. Peas, sweet peas, get ready to plant these in March, but with this fair weather in February I might set some in the soil now.

Arugula in The Winter Salad Garden

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

In my aromatherapy class we are all asked to bring a meal in the evening as the class goes from 5 to 9:30 and you need to break and recharge with such a long span of time. A woman in the class brought a great fresh salad of arugula and radishes with green onions all from her garden in February. Here we are in the midst of winter and having a garden meal even with radishes sown in December! I always think of Radishes as being a early spring and all summer vegetable. Actually they don’t like it too hot or they go off into flower and seed even before finishing there lovely succulent watery, crispy, ball form.

Arugula does well in cooler weather. It will make it through the summer heat, but most of them go off like a rocket into flower… Another name for arugula: rocket. So we can plant the greens right now, all winter where there isn’t snow. It can even withstand a bit of frost.

I brought along some of my tangerines and sugared violets, mint and lemon balm leaves as a celebration of the fragrant plants we are studying. This health conscious group didn’t even complain about the white sugar… it was organic, but sugar and fairly white  nevertheless, but not a lot, just a dusting on the fragrant botanicals.

Bee Cause

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Bees have been disappearing at a alarming rate and  there is a certain chemical that is suspect for  being part of the problem.

Bees are known for producing honey, and while that industry is certainly an essential one, it’s not the only reason why we need bees. Governments throughout the world are trying to combat a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, first observed in North America in 2004 and which subsequently moved to Europe. America has lost 36.1 percent of its beehives since 2007. Perhaps because bees are considered “bugs,” they don’t get the same attention as a mammal facing extinction.


But we should be paying attention to bee survival: bees are essential to the human food supply. USA Today warns that if we don’t do anything to protect the bees, we might end up reverting to diets composed solely of bread and water. Insect pollination supports one-third of human crop growth, and of this number, honeybees are responsible for 80 percent. What sort of crops? Apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, strawberries and peaches, just to name a few, the article says. And since cows depend on bees to pollinate the plants they eat, we’d also be without meat if all the bees died off.

This link will give you more information on the chemical that may be partly responsible for the disappearance of the bees.  It gives you the opportunity to send your opinion to pressure the EPA to ban this poison from our environment and help the bees. Hurry, the deadline is tomorrow.

Fungus Festival… in Santa Cruz of Course!

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Last weekend was the Fungus Festival in Santa Cruz. I haven’t been to one in years. Last time I went it was at our lovely, humble, small Santa Cruz Natural History Museum located in a beach neighborhood with a whale sculpture in front for natural history interest and for the kids to climb on and learn from and enjoy.

Now they hold the Fest at the Louden Nelsen Center, a rather nondescript building that functions as a community center just blocks away from the central downtown Pacific Avenue hub.

My buddy in mushroom foraging didn’t think the specimens would be very good as the last 6 weeks have been dry and the fungi found for display would not be beautiful any longer but drying up without the vibrance you would want to see in them. He was right. He didn’t join me.

I wasn’t disappointed, however as I had wanted to catch a talk on medicinal mushrooms and I did. The speaker was a local renown acupuncturist, herbalist, and writer, Christopher Hobbs. He spoke briefly on mushroom nutrition before getting into the medicinal history and use of mushrooms. The mushroom has been valued in chinese medicine for thousands of years. When I have more time I will share some more of this information.

There were mushrooms trinkets for sale, mushroom books, mushroom art, and mushrooms to grow at home. I bought some “plugs” that I can introduce into some of my rotting logs up here in Bonny Doon, California. I am so excited! I think I will drill a hole into some partially rotting logs and hope for some success. A mushroom garden for my culinary pleasure and health and well being. Maitake, shitake, blue oyster, hericium or lions mane, and the powerful reishi.

Hopefully I will find time to share some more information later… so many kinds of magic in a mushroom, healing, nurturing and the interesting ways that they grow and spring out of anywhere and everywhere.