Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's Time to Plant the Garlic....

It’s Garlic time!! I know last year when I blogged about garlic you said – “Next year, I’m planting garlic!” (Maybe you didn’t say it out loud, but I’m sure your subconscious was screaming it!) 

So, this is the year to do it. Yes, I know garlic is pretty cheap at the grocery store, but….have you ever tasted fresh garlic? If you’re buying it at the store than the answer to that question is NO! If you’re a garlic lover, I promise that once you taste the difference you’ll be planting it by the gardenful.

But this year, if you’ve never grown garlic before, you can start small. Just buy one extra head of garlic. (This will produce 4-20 garlic plants depending on the size of the bulb.) You can either buy it at the store (yawn) or you can buy heirloom garlic from some of the companies that sell it like Landreth Seeds. If you’re a local-yokel, don’t miss Landreth’s Heirloom bulb sale THIS SATURDAY in New Freedom at their old location. They’ll have gorgeous rare heirloom bulbs and dozens of varieties of heirloom garlic!

Garlic is a bulb, so it’s as simple to grow as a tulip. You could even grow it in your flower beds. Those of you who live in neighborhoods with rules about gardens, can plant garlic and pretend it’s a daffodil that never bloomed! Here’s how easy it is to grow garlic.

Now, when ordering your garlic you’ll need to choose between –

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Does Fluoride do More Harm Than Good?

I don’t want to alarm you, but – FLOURIDE IS NOT NECESSARILY A GOOD THING! Okay, for years I’ve kind of dismissed the crazy-hippie people who harp about the dangers of fluoride. Every now and again I’d catch a whiff of legitimacy to their arguments and I’d buy a tube or two of non-fluoridated toothpaste. But the kids grumbled about the taste of the natural toothpastes and after weighing the brushing-with-fluoride vs not-brushing-at-all dilemma, I’d throw a tube of Colgate in my cart.

When our doctor discovered we were on well-water, he immediately said we should fill a fluoride prescription for the kids. I filled the prescription, but the following week we visited the dentist. When I asked him if the kids should be on fluoride pills since we had well water, he rattled on about how there might be fluoride naturally occurring in our well water and the supplements weren’t critical. He didn’t say there was any danger in taking them, but he did say, “They probably don’t need to take them every day.” For the past ten years, he has been noncommittal, neither telling us to take them nor warning us against them. In fact, he never brings up fluoride pills unless I do. I think MDs have a phobia of contradicting each other. I never did give the kids those fluoride pills (and none of them have a cavity yet, (KNOCK ON WOOD).

But today I read a study from Harvard (HARVARD!) that says that yes, indeedy, fluoride has been identified as one of the neurotoxins that are causing the rise in autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other cognitive disorders. Neurotoxins are chemicals that are dangerous to the developing brain. The Harvard study named twelve culprits. A few of the chemicals on the list seemed vaguely familiar, but FLOURIDE I know. If you want to read the summary in the Lancet, here it is.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Free Flowers!

I’ve waited an entire year to tell you this!! (Mostly that’s because I had to first be sure it worked before spreading it all over the internet.)

YOU can make flowers from flowers!

Never again do you have to spend your hard-earned money on big expensive pots of blooming annual flowers! True! If you have just one beautiful blooming annual beginning to sag in a pot on your porch right now, you’re good to go!

Don’t believe me? Okay here’s what I started with – a New Guinea impatiens I paid $20 for through one of the kids’ fundraisers. It bloomed beautifully all summer, but you can see here it’s getting long in the tooth by last October (that’s 2013!).

 Now, here’s that same New Guinea impatiens this summer:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is the Chicken You Eat Carrying Too Much Water Weight?

Does your chicken carry a lot of water weight?

Anyone who has ever been on a serious diet knows the meaning of water weight. It’s the weight you lose that first week or two after you’ve restricted your regular eating to baby carrots with dip and low-sodium chicken broth. Five pounds in a week! You can get the same results after a few days of the stomach bug. It’s just water and it soon returns. Water weighs a lot. I can attest to this every winter when I forget to drain the hose and end up hauling five gallon buckets of water from the pump to the barn.

So what does water weight have to do with chicken? Let me tell you.

If you’ve ever priced organically grown, grass-fed chicken you’ve probably been a little frightened by the sticker price. It is expensive. Plus it’s a little on the scrawny side, too. The first time I brought home a $30 chicken, my husband took one look at it and asked if we were having Cornish hens for dinner. I purchased this chicken at the farmer’s market from Lynn, whose farm I have visited where she regaled me with stories of her early days of raising hundreds of chickens and turkeys on their wooded property as a single mom to the horror of her teenage son. This chicken looked perfectly fine to me, but it certainly wasn’t plump and pink and perfect like the meat that stretches the plastic at the grocery store.

Want to know why? 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Saving Money on Organic Food (Deals, Discounts, and Delivery)

I recently ran across an article on the Internet entitled, How to Eat Organic on a Budget. Since this is the tag line for my Homemade Life workshop, I clicked on over. This article listed 75 ways to save money while eating organically, most of which I already do and a few that caused me to chuckle (get a couple of chickens and hatch your own eggs - really that's all there is to it? and skip the Starbucks -duh). It also listed sites where you could find discount coupons and deals on organic products. I was excited – this is useful information! So I spent the better part of an afternoon exploring these sites. And I learned two things –

If you spend two hours tracking down a coupon for 50 cents off a product, you probably haven’t really saved anything.

Most sites that make big promises are either for products you’ve never heard of and have no need for, or are full of dated information and expired coupons, but plenty of advertising.

And here’s the thing about coupons – they’re only useful if you were planning to buy that product anyway. Otherwise they’ve done exactly what the company had hoped when they hired that fancy advertising genius – they’ve tricked you in to buying their product.

A few of the sites did actually garner real coupons on products you might actually find in your grocery store. Now, I make no promises that your grocery store accepts these coupons. The world of coupons is lost on me mostly because coupons are for processed food – organic or otherwise, and I avoid processed food – organic or otherwise- as a rule of thumb.

All of that said, I will share with you the sites that looked promising because I know I’m an oddity and most people have no choice but to buy processed food (or starve) so I’d rather you bought organic processed food if you must buy processed food at all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Live Intentionally

NOTE: This is an introductory chapter explaining my working title for my forthcoming book based on this blog. After WAY too much agonizing, I finally decided that my blog is about much more than eating. It's also about more than organic living. It's about living intentionally. So, that's the title (for now) - Live Intentionally. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter. The manuscript goes to beta readers this Friday! 

What Does an Intentional Life Look Like?

An Intentional Life is a life that is authentic. It’s real. It can be trusted.  It means not just healthier eating, but knowing your food – where it came from, how it was prepared, and what it can do for you. It’s also enjoying that food and taking pride in the care you’ve taken in selecting or creating it.
It’s feeling good about how you spend your time and how your children spend their time. It’s taking care of your body and teaching your children to do the same. It’s exploring your own creativity and ability and not being a stand-by passenger in this life.