Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Spring!

Common traffic vehicles
Each day as I head out to work I have the joy of driving through the rural part of my community to the next connecting city. It's a drive that I thoroughly enjoy and purposely drive just at or slightly under the speed limit. There are no stoplights or stop signs on this main thorough-fair through the valley. As I drive I take in the surroundings and watch through the seasons as the landscape changes from the browns and dark greens of winter (usually through a curtain of rain) to bright pinks, yellow, greens and blues as spring and summer push their way through.

Cover crop near home...there are LOTS!
The last several weeks I've patiently
awaited the first of the cover crops to bloom...CLOVER! Today I stopped by one of the fields anticipating the picture that I might capture. As I opened my door the scent of the clover was intoxicating. The air was warm and the breeze was gentle and the fragrance of these amazing flowers was simply wonderful! I fully understand why the bees are so busy this time of year.

After taking my pictures and climbing back into the car, dreaming about how good honey tastes, my thoughts wandered to the bee house I needed to replace (darn those curious raccoons!). This bee house isn't for our honey-producers, but for a gentle, solitary pollinator the Orchard Mason Bee (Osmia Lignaria) - check out Knox Cellars for houses and instructions. There's a lot of concern over hive collapse throughout North America and in parts of Western Europe. Regardless of whether its the honey bee or mason bee, hive collapse is an important issue.

Honey is used as a natural alternative to people allergic to cane sugar (the key here is "natural"). Yes, there is always agave (which is one of our family's favorites) but sometimes you simply hanker for some honey.

And our little sting-free pollinators are key to our food production (although I'm sure Monsanto is working on a self-pollinating frankenseed if it doesn't already exist). If nature's little pollinators are missing, that's a major loss in the food-chain, and EVERYONE will feel that one. There are two items that are ensured to increase in value as the scarcity increases - FOOD and WATER. If we don't have pollinators, our food chain will collapse.

So do yourself a favor, buy a bee house. Don't use pesticides in your yard. Plant flowers that have bright, variegated blooms. Then pour yourself a nice glass of wine, sit back and enjoy the symphony of sounds as pollinators and honey gathers flit throughout your yard. I know that's what I'll be doing!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kindred Spirit Found!

I came across a new-to-me blogger last week and felt like I found a kindred spirit! She is a lot like me...married mother of three (although her bambinos are a bit younger than my brood) trying to figure out how to best feed her clan the healthiest, most nutritional and tastiest food. And she's not perfect and admits it - a character trait I truly appreciate as I try to successfully juggle activities, commitments, obligations and events of my three chicks. 

So if you're interested in a real, down-to-earth, recipe-testing resource, check out her blog: Learning to Live Organically. I also love the fact that she posts information about our food chain. It's important to know where your food comes from, and if possible who's growing it or involved in the harvesting/packaging of it.   

Some of my favorites...
About 18 months ago I made a conscious change in how I shopped and what I eat, and what I fed my family. Yeah, it was difficult at first...changing habits is never easy. And it's been a progressive effort...increasing my knowledge and sharing with others. I'm very excited by the increase in availability in organic options...and that the prices are beginning to (slowly) come down. I'm most excited by the behavioral change in my children. They've always been good eaters (loving their fruits and veggies), but I've noticed their preferences are leaning even more towards the healthier options.
...also some of my favorites!

About 5 weeks ago I joined Weight Watchers. Man, it amazing how working a stressful job and juggling family really aided in packing those extra pounds on! Who would have thought?! (Okay, I'm sure moving down the chronological trail of life is also helping...) Well, I'm officially 11.4 pounds down and feeling amazingly better already. I felt so much better when I changed our food sources, and I feel even better after dropping those first 10+ pounds. I can't wait to see how I feel when I reach 15 and 20 pounds! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Passing of an Era

Ahhh...t'was not too long ago when our little bambinos ran around the yard, climbing on the play structure...swinging...sliding...climbing some more. We have officially closed a chapter in our family's history book...and started a new one.

The Play Structure & were it has sat for almost 10 years!
The play structure was sold, broken down (with some help from the ever-patient husband and the two youngest) and toted away today. A wonderful young family with a little almost-2-year-old little cutie pie is now the proud new owner of the former Roe Clan Play Structure.

The GOOD thing is now Momma has the start of her new garden area. Ahhhh...what to do...and how to do it... I think with a sigh. I'm giddy with anticipation of what I can do and how I'm going to set everything up! (Yeah me!)
All broken down and partially loaded into the truck.

First, I want to figure out how to incorporate a little greenhouse. Not a big one, but one large enough to start my seeds in and grow some veggies into the fall and maybe even into winter. I could do a few shelves...have a grow light or two...out will goes the "heavenly" bamboo...we'll reorganize the plastic, corner shed and figure out just how to set up the raised beds and where to put a little greenhouse. And of course, I'll be incorporating a rain barrel...along with my little compost bin...or maybe I'll just get a little worm compost bin and let the worms do all the work. This will help in my overall organic approach to gardening, PLUS reduce the amount of water I'll need.

Sigh...I'm one step closer to my farm life...even if it is in the 'burbs. =0)