Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Birth

My youngest and I check our little garden beds every single day for signs of growth.
We've been doing this since the day after we planted.
Not sure what we thought we'd see that first day...but we looked anyway.
Sometimes we check on them twice a day :)

Yesterday we saw this

This cherry tomato is called a "Husky Red"...don'tcha just love that?
Makes me think of little kids clothes :)
I can just picture a little kid in his blue jeans with the elastic waistband...a tough kid...just a little bit bigger than the others.

Those are our little Husky Reds...the first yields of our entire garden beds. 
We were squealing as if someone had given birth to a real baby.
Thank goodness it wasn't me :)

This is what our tomato bed looks like...I may have overplanted, but I don't really even care.
I do have to get my tomato stakes in before we leave for Destin.
We had one good wind, and several of my beloved tomato plants were leaning to the side.
I've got to make sure they'll be ok while I'm away.
I'm actually very worried about leaving them.
Not worried enough to stay home.
But, worried just the same.

These are our cucumbers.
We left plenty of room in this box so that the vines could spread at will.

And, this box has our watermelons in the back with hopefully enough room to grow and spread their vines, yellow peppers on the front right corner, and one little strawberry plant on the front left corner.
(I've got to learn how to write directly on my photos like I've seen other bloggers do :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Weary Travelers

I've been reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
Reading, savoring and thinking.

When I finish the book, I'll fully review it here, but it is impossible not to say anything about how Kingsolver's year of living solely on what her family could produce or buy locally has reinforced ideas I've been thinking about in some form or another for a long time.

One of these ideas is about our country's dependence on foreign oil...and how Americans seem to take everything we're given, suck it dry...then leave the skeletons behind...whether we're talking about farmland, oil, forests, oceans, name it; we are "Users" and "Consumers" in the worst sense of the words....without ever a thought to what we might do when those resources are gone.

Some of the ways that we waste resources are very stupid.
And many of them we do without ever realizing what we are perpetuating.
Take groceries, for example.
Even those of us who try to buy the best that we can to feed our families healthier meals don't realize how much gas and other fuels go into making sure we have those "healthier" products.

I bought these groceries the other day...these items are all items that I would normally buy in my own family's quest for better health. 

Please remember that I live in rural Mississippi...I do not live in the big city somewhere where fresh produce is difficult to find.

However, of everything I bought, only these few items were actually produced in my state.

 The chicken was manufactured in Laurel (10 min. from my home) and the bacon was manufactured in in Shannon (several hours from my home). 
The corn was wrapped at my local grocery which does try to make a habit of buying from local farmers, so I'm assuming it came from someone in my county or close, and the tomatoes came from Lucedale (an hour or so from my home).
While for many reasons these are not "perfect" foods, they are the best of what I bought in terms of how much fuel went into getting them here.

Then, I added in 3 other products that were manufactured and shipped from other Southern states. 
 The coffee is from Louisiana, the bread from Georgia and the blueberries from Florida.
Still not too bad...I can be in LA in 1 1/2 hrs, FL in 4 hours, and GA in about 6 hours.

 Unfortunately, "fresh" bagged spinach and my tasty strawberries rode on some truck all the way from California.
 I've traveled to California no telling how many times in the last 2-3 years...I fly. 
My poor spinach and strawberries had to ride on a truck.
Here's where it gets confusing to me.
The climate that I live in is pretty well suited for growing.
Even out of season fruits and vegetables are available in area hothouses...
So, why am I buying strawberries from California????

The apples pictured in this photo are from Washington, and the Bleu Cheese is from Wisconsin.  I have no idea where the canteloupe, cucumber, broccoli, or milk came from because the only identifier on them was "USA." 

Oh, yeah thanks!
That narrows things down for me a lot.

I went ahead and fed my family these products even though I had no idea where they came from, who grew them, or what kind of pesticides, chemicals, or additives had been used in their production.
That's actually a pretty scary sentence.

 Probably the most confusing purchases of the day were these. 
Why in heaven's name did these world travelers show up in my Southern Mississippi grocery store?

The bananas are from Guatemala, the yellow pepper from Canada, the kiwis from Chile and the blackberries are from Mexico.
I grew up picking blackberries (that's how I found out I was allergic to redbugs, or chiggers as we call them in the South)
And, I have yellow peppers growing in MY garden.
Are you as confused as I am?

While I know that sometimes we have to have certain items shipped in, it seems silly for me to be buying items from Mexico that I can buy right here in my own town. 
If everybody did at least what they can locally instead of buying those same items shipped from faraway places, imagine how much gas/oil would be saved.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Let the Summer Begin

Tomorrow is the last "official" day of school for my girls.
We've spent the last several weeks closing down this school year, so tomorrow is really just a formality.

I'm a lucky mom.
Our lives are not perfect by any stretch of imagination...but my kids are pretty good kids.

My oldest took the stage at Awards Day so many times that she really shouldn't have ever sat down.
She's a perfectionist and a teacher's dream student, good grades, good test scores, and has high expectations in everything she does.
While those are all incredible characteristics for a young woman to have, they sometimes cause her extra anxiety...we've had to help her with some of that this year.
But, she's gonna be just fine...and we're gonna help her every step of the way.

My youngest has a very similar personality to her oldest sister.  She wants everything to be just so as well.  She's had a difficult year in kindergarten...not grades or anything of that nature, but just dealing with change. 

In this picture she is receiving the "Creative" Award for her class from the principal of the school.  She is a very creative child and likes to make things from that respect she is like her middle sister.

My youngest's teacher has been so patient and understanding this year with us all.  She has tolerated the many mornings that we've arrived in tears, the days we've checked out early, the extra reminders to send this or that, and the days that I've been off and we've taken a "vacation day" as my youngest likes to call them. 
We won't have those luxuries next year...but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. 

And then, we ended tonight with my middle child's first voice recital.

I have to be honest.  I wasn't sure how tonight was going to go.  We've all been to recitals where you are wiggling in your seat and trying to discreetly cover up your ears. 
That never happened tonight.
It was such a pleasant recital.  Each student sang a classical song in Italian...yes, Italian!
And, you should have heard my middle child belt out those notes.
Holy Smokes!
Then, each student sang a more popular song; these were equally entertaining with only a note here or there that needed tweaking.

My middle child has frequently found herself in the shadow of her bigger and smaller sisters.  The beautiful, talented woman in the picture with my middle child has helped her see herself for her own value without comparing herself to anyone else.  For this I will be forever grateful. 

We'll be picking up report cards in the morning and then...


Sunday, May 23, 2010

6 Days and Counting...

My girls

looking for shells...Summer 2009, Destin FL

Here's hoping this next week goes by FAST!