Is it organic?

USDA organic sign

  Making healthy food choices is important. But, sometimes it’s really tough to be sure that you are getting what you intended to get. Let’s say, for example, that you have made a decision to eat primarily organic foods. Well, how do you know it’s organic? The obvious answer is that it is labeled by the USDA, whose National Organic Program regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop … [Read more...]

Radical homemakers

cozykitchen

Confucius said that the health of a nation could be determined by the integrity of its homes. If we apply that standard, we’re in trouble. Culturally, most Americans don’t even have homes anymore. They have houses, not homes. Homes are something that are made, not bought. And, homes, thus, require homemakers. That’s right, plural: homemakers. I'm not talking about just women. And, I'm not … [Read more...]

Holidays as a benchmark

Reflection

Another holiday season is behind us. As I reflect on mine, I get a strong sense that holidays can be seen as a sort of benchmark. We tend to remember certain traditions and how they played out throughout the years. On needles and pins Take the Christmas tree, for example. Let’s face it, there's nothing that can bring out the worst in any of us than the tree. Remember the year that the kids … [Read more...]

The heart of my home

kitchenshape

The kitchen is the heart of my home. It’s the hub of the domestic wheel. Since it’s where the woodstove is, this time of year, it’s where everyone gathers. And, everything of any importance takes place there: meals get prepared, recipes shared, bills paid, horse grains mixed, tinctures made, messages exchanged; kombucha brewed, coffee sipped and books read. Sometimes I take for granted that the … [Read more...]

Eros and economy

Eros

Everybody loves a good story. Especially this time of year. In Plato’s Symposium, Diotima recounts the story of Eros. She tells us that on the day of Aphrodite’s birth, the gods had a banquet. Penia—that is, “Poverty”— came begging at the end of the meal. There she espied Poros — that is, “Wealth” — drunk on nectar and asleep in Zeus’ garden. As a way out of her destitution, Penia decided to … [Read more...]

Planned obsolescence

old washing machine

My washing machine stopped working this week. It just quietly threw in the towel and stopped agitating. It’s a really old machine so I assumed that it had paid its dues. It’s so old, actually, that anyone under about 35 might not even recognize it as a washer. Anyway, I crossed my fingers and called the repairman. He came out and, within 30 minutes, had it running perfectly again. Then, he told … [Read more...]

The tomato incident

Tomato Harvest

I was in my greenhouse the other day, watering some enormous tomato plants. These plants are massive — well over my head and still going strong. They're planted in a raised bed, with about thirty of them shoulder-to-shoulder in close quarters. It’s literally a tomato jungle. They're lush, full, heavy with tomatoes and the pride of any gardener. Enter my friend, who upon seeing this eye-candy, … [Read more...]

Fruit pickin’

Peaches

The idea of eating locally and in-season just makes sense. Foods that grow locally are produced in the very same environment in which we're nested. Thus it’s quite likely that they contain the essential micro-nutrients which, quite naturally, work well for us. The “in-season” concept, in fact, makes more and more sense when we start to really study nature. Think about it: in the spring, … [Read more...]

Green waste

Waste not want not WWI poster

I was riding my bicycle into town on trash collection day last week and noticed that one of my neighbors had filled their can with weeds and other green waste. They had obviously cleaned up their yard and had accumulated a lot of green material in the process. But, I stalled out in trying to figure out why they had put it in their trash can? Weeds, grass clippings, twigs and other cuttings are, … [Read more...]

Work bees

Wood pile

Are you old enough to remember community Work Bees? Or, did you come along after most of the homestead “work” got out-sourced to “professionals?" I’m old enough to remember Work Bees. And, I’m interested in reintroducing them. We're living in a period of the Great Forgetting and part of reclaiming resilience is becoming reskilled in many of the practices that were native to our grandparents’ … [Read more...]