Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Reports

Although I've finished a few books, I have two worth reporting to you about since setting my reading goals here.

Let's start with the first one.  I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver a while ago and I can't stop thinking about it.  In fact, I went and got one of her novels Prodigal Summer, maybe?  I tried reading it, but it felt too much like a typical romance novel and I quit reading it and continued onto my nonfiction stack.  Anyway, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, will go down as one of my all time favorites.  The book is about her family's journey to eat local foods for a year.  In essence, she has a lot of land, planted insane amounts of food, bought chickens (eggs) and turkeys (meat), and frequently visited the farmer's market and her neighbors to get food.  She canned like crazy.  In doing so, she bonded with her two daughters over canning, making home made mozzarella while her husband made bread, weeding the garden, picking veggies, and raising the chickens and turkeys.  The book takes us through a year's worth of food and presents it in a way that my mouth was just watering for fresh veggies.  (Now that I'm in the thick of greens month at my CSA, I'm so over that craving!)  Reasons for eating local, as summarized by myself:

   1. supports your local economy,
   2. cuts down on greenhouse gases necessary to bring you your food from other states/countries,
   3. means that your food can be fresh off of the vine, and not bred to be hard enough to make a cross-country trip in a refrigerated semi trailer
   4. you'll know where your food came from and what was or wasn't sprayed on it,
   5. you'll appreciate your food more knowing the amount of effort that went into growing it,
   6. you'll learn how our grandmothers did things before the days of processed food, warehouse/grocery store ripened flavorless tomatoes, and watermelons available at in December.
   7. you'll eat things that are good for you
   8. you'll enjoy the challenge.

I find myself more aware of what I'm purchasing at the grocery store, and since I have my Community Supported Agriculture weekly now, I can do this really easily by avoiding the grocery store for veggies.  Of course there's a lot of improvement to be made on my part and the part of my grocery store.  This book was inspiring because she wasn't just preaching to the choir, she was inspiring me through her creative way of telling a story, not just listing out her year.  Plus, having never done a CSA before, and only having grown up knowing when strawberries, cherries, corn, and apples have their seasons, it was very enlightening to to get a biologist's wife's view of the veggies seasons and why we have greens, then colorful fruits, then roots.  I highly recommend that everyone read this book and a big thanks to my good friend Melissa for sending it my way! 

Let me share a few pictures of the latest state of the plants around here.  My tomatoes and basil are in flawless shape after fighting off a case of flea beetles.   
Peas!  I grew these!  The plant is up to my chest.  I'm so happy it grew!  They have a little filling in to do, then we are going to have peas galore!  Dave pointed out that last year, my peas grew about 6 inches, fell over, and that was the end of them.  This year I think I got them in early enough and that was key. 

Our fence that surrounds our tiny condo yard is covered in grape vines!  We had to intervene last weekend and keep the vines from taking over our plum tree as well as our entire yard.  I LOVE that this gives us privacy during the summer.

My care for this rosebush includes cutting it down every year because the branches are dead.  Then every year, new branches fly out of the ground and these beautiful roses bloom.  It's just getting started.  We also have a ton of sunflowers that are about to peek out along our walkway.  Whoever landscaped this area did such a great job!  We've had nonstop flowers since tulip season. 

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