Needs vs. Wants

October 4, 2011

An interesting viewpoint regarding iphone hype.


Summer update…

July 5, 2011

  • This is our second summer choosing not to use our a/c. I’d say we’re well accustomed to the heat now. I actually crave it, I think it’s good for my bones since I’m just now thawing out from the brutal winter we had this year.
  • EXCITING NEWS: Stephen will soon be blogging for Kansas City Food Circle on a weekly basis! Stay tuned for the deets…
  • This past weekend we celebrated our first anniversary as a married couple, Stephen’s birthday, and Independence Day. It was a fun-filled weekend of sparklers, peach juleps, and homemade cheesecake!
  • Stephen fixed our rain barrel! After a couple of good storms we have an ample supply of water for our little garden.
  • We’re proud to announce our home has been flea-free for two years! You can read about our initial debacle here and here. I like to think it’s because we’re taking better care of our kitty by feeding her a raw diet, but I’m sure there are other theories.
  • We attempted the GAPS diet for a week and couldn’t do it. Not because of the restrictions, we’re used to eating simply, instead it was the ludicrous amount of meat it suggests you eat.  It just didn’t feel right for us.  We’re mostly plant eaters who occasionally eat meat if we know the source and that ethical standards were achieved.  We like to follow Michael Pollan’s advice, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Through our experiment we decided we want to try to eat gluten-free as much as possible. Tomorrow I’m attempting chocolate chip cookies with almond flour for Stephen’s actual birthday. We’ll see how it goes! If they’re tasty, I’ll post the recipe.

The following is an excerpt from an article found on   (You can find the entire article here.)  Some of these may be controversial, but necessary to ponder.  Thoughts? What will you pledge? 

I pledge to begin taking as many of the following steps as I can to stave off the worst effects of global warming, and spread the word. In so doing I will cut fossil fuel use. I will do some or all of the following:

  1. Cut down on driving my vehicle, or carpool. I will walk or bike, and not buy a car if I do not have one (best of all). I will support and use mass transit. I may work closer to my home.
  2. Cut down on working just for money: I can thereby barter more, and cut down on commuting.
  3. Depave my driveway, or help others’ depave their driveways, or depave parking lots, and grow food in depaved land.
  4. Unplug or retire my television, and perhaps go off the electricity grid. I will reduce energy for heating, and share appliances such as my oven with neighbors, and not buy or use power tools or jet skis, etc.
  5. Publicly oppose new road construction and road widening in my community, to start undoing sprawl, prevent growth in traffic, and halt the spread of forest roads allowing clearcuts.
  6. Take vacations without jet air travel, and avoid career activity dependent on jet travel.
  7. Plant trees, collect rainwater, and avoid overusing municipal water as it is energy-consumptive (and thus may emit CO2, the main heat-trapping gas that fossil fuels release).
  8. Buy local products, buy as little plastic as possible, carry a travel mug. Minimize consumption. Support alternative plant materials to cut down on petrochemicals and trees for paper. Avoid eating animal products especially shipped-in beef.
  9. Not bring more children into the world, or limit my offspring to one, and possibly adopt. I recognize the threat of overpopulation.
  10. Inform my community and the greater national and global community on the need to take action such as the above for climate stability.”


April 29, 2011

Our blog has been dormant for much of the winter. I could say that we were observing the cyclical nature of the seasons, but that’s not true. You might think we’d have more time to share our thoughts during the colder, darker months when we’re relegated to the indoor life. I would have thought the same, but our absence had little to do with the season, and it had only a little to do with the busy-ness of life. About once a month, my lovely wife would say something like: “we really need to post on the blog.” And we’d sigh.

She said it again last night, and this time I’m doing something about it. Without concern for order or cohesion, here are some things that have occupied our thoughts or time over the past few months:

  • It’s really difficult to keep tropical ferns happy through the winter–especially when our house is 50 degrees at night.
  • We met our newest niece, a chubby, dark-haired, happy lil’ thing.
  • It’s difficult to balance the desire to use as little electricity as possible with the need for some light, even if it is artificial.
  • Spring is a tease.
  • The first market of the season is my favorite day of the year. I get so excited for this day that I hardly sleep (and I purchase every green thing I see). Now I just need some morels.
  • We spent some warm, beautiful days in the mountains of Arkansas. We picked, we played, and we sipped moonshine (with some wonderful company).
  • I am sick of politics, and I find the political discourse in our country to be truly maddening. This is why David Bazan’s latest album, Strange Negotiations, is such a breath of fresh air.
  • We hosted a successful celebration of New Beer’s Day. Our guests brought far too much beer (which I am still enjoying), and I am further convinced that it needs to be a recognized national holiday.
  • The Farm Bill is up for renewal in 2012, and it is vital to our country’s future that we attempt to understand this bill’s importance.
  • We got rid of a cell phone in favor of an orange rotary phone.
  • Very soon we will open our windows wide, and we won’t close them for several months.
  • Spring is glorious.

Put an end to the uselessness of these bad boys and save some trees in the process. Go here to read more about said uselessness and saving trees and/or go here to opt-out.

Should I Buy That?

January 7, 2011

We all have questions we ask ourselves when considering purchases. Can I afford this? Will my butt look good in these? Should I get this color or that color? Will I feel bloated after I eat this? We also have impulsive moments where we don’t ask any questions, and, at least in my experience, those purchases usually end in regret.

So we should probably stick to asking questions, but what if we ask ourselves some different questions. Our purchases affect our communities, they affect the environment, they affect our families, they affect individuals on the other side of the globe. And knowing these things, purchasing anything at all can be very overwhelming. Check out this article from Mother Nature Network. It offers some questions you might ask before checking to see if your butt looks good in those jeans.

“The Organic Consumers Association has identified 12 priorities for action over the next 12 months. These are our New Year’s resolutions. We’ll be trying to make these priorities official policy at the federal, state and local levels, but they also make a good to-do list for daily living.”  – Organic Solutions 2011

1. Eat Organic
2. Grow Organic
3. Compost
4. Boycott Factory Farms
5. Support Carbon Farms
6. Defend the Forests
7. Grow Edible Forest Gardens
8. Protect Wild Fish
9. Save the Bees
10. End Exploitation of Farm Workers
11. Promote Local Farmers
12. Learn from First Nations

Hang dry your clothes. Am I crazy for suggesting this in the winter? Not really. Your clothes line might be shorter in the winter, but wherever you wash your clothes, assuming you do so at home, hang a rope and dry your clothes. This is even easier if you have a drying rack. Air drying clothes saves a significant amount of energy (and some money), and if your home is like ours, you can use some extra humidity. If you can’t stand crunchy clothes, try tossing them in the dryer for 5 minutes once they’re dry–it will help soften them up.

Built from scraps

December 14, 2010

This is lovely! Hello, kitchen envy.

There are many ways we can slow climate change, but becoming an advocate for organic farming is a major one.  This article is very informative and optimistic, if you’re in to that sort of thang.

“Organic advocates can act in solidarity with the world’s farmers and farm workers to turn back climate change. Here’s how:

  • Become a small farmer yourself.
  • Buy organic produce direct from local farmers.
  • Increase the amount of food you can source locally by drying, canning and freezing seasonal produce.
  • Restrict grocery store purchases to organic and fair trade certified products, and work to improve organic and fair trade standards.
  • Help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and put carbon back in the soil where it belongs by composting all household organic waste, including food scraps and yard waste, and using composting toilets.
  • Support laws that keep green waste out of landfills and toilet waste out of the sewer system.
  • Avoid industrially produced food, especially animal products and processed foods that contain the intensively farmed commodities corn, soy, cotton, and canola.
  • Support the struggles of family farmers and farm workers at home and abroad, including workers who are exploited because of their immigration status.
  • Press local, state, federal and international policy makers to honor the contributions family farmers and farm workers make to food security and climate stabilization.
  • Work for government policies that empower family farmers and farm workers to save the soil, including public land management rules that encourage the use of restorative grazing techniques and farm subsidies that reward farmers for carbon sequestration.
  • Support efforts to inform and engage consumers in the food-climate connection by urging local, state and federal officials to enact truth-in-labeling laws that expose greenhouse gas polluting industrial agriculture practices, energy-intensive food transportation and storage, and the exploitation of farmers and farm workers.”