Confessions of an EVERYDAY ECOTARIAN

creative, conscious and conserving ideas, thoughts and solutions

18 hours of my life July 27, 2008

Filed under: Ramblings — adm @ 1:53 am
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Friday, July 25th, 2008

6:00-7:00pm: Sang backup in a soul band for a little rural town’s celebration of itself. It was fun, felt a little ridiculous but I certainly don’t take myself seriously enough to care about that! I danced and everything.

7:00-8:15pm: Shared a hamburger and some fries with my kids, (mediocre). I looked everywhere for a fresh, organic salad greens stand, couldn’t find one. Drat.

8:15-8:30: Drove to my neighbors house to do chores -they watched our animals while we were away so I’m returning the favor.

8:30-9:45: I pull into the drive and all four horses are out of the pasture wandering the yard. So, now I collect, gather, entice four horses back into the paddock. Jubilee is not cooperating. Alpha mare. Everybody goes in so I go about the rest of my business…

-Find the break in the fence

-Fix the fence

-Milk the goat

-Put the milk into bottles and feed the baby goats

-Give hay to the horses, baby goats and big goats

-Check everyone’s water

-Go inside, filter the rest of the milk into a quart jar for our family

-Clean bottles, milk bucket and funnel

-Go home

10:00-10:30: Clean up dishes, fold some laundry, collect, gather the clutter from another day

10:30: Go to bed

Saturday, July 27th, 2008

4:30am: Go get the crying baby, bring him back to our bed to snuggle

5:00am: Put the wiggling, squirmy baby back in his own bed

6:00: Get up, have breakfast, drive back to the place I sang last night.

7:00: register for a 5K race, (3.1 miles)

8:00: Start running!

8:24: (and 46 seconds) -Cross the finish line!

9:00am: Leave for chores at the neighbors again

10:06am: Finish chores, (milk the goat, feed the kids, grain the goats/horses, hay the goats/horses, check water, test the fence again, let the horses back into the pasture).

10:15pm: Walk in the door late for yoga, (put the goat milk in the fridge of the building we are using for yoga because I didn’t have time to go home and drop it off).

10:15-11:30pm: Do Yoga, (with really tired legs and hay in my shirt). Finish yoga, give the milk to the yoga instructor who is just thrilled about that.

11:30-12:00pm: Drive back home, eat a snack-sized snicker bar, (I’m so hungry and I haven’t shopped since returning from our trip so it is what I could find), rest for a few minutes.

…until I head back over to see if the horses are still in their pasture and find that the fence is down again and they are all over the yard, again. So, I gather them in, again.

I think it’s a conspiracy. I think they’re organized. I think I’m tired and am going to bed.


Excess and Equality July 24, 2008

Filed under: Ramblings — adm @ 3:07 am
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Way up in the mountains of northern Colorado I had a lesson in excess I will not soon forget. Two friends of mine are ranch hands at what I will label as a “7,000 acre playground in the mountains for a very select ultra-rich”. The beauty was amazing. The landscape was incredible. The architecture of the homes was genius and something to be admired and appreciated for it’s beauty. However, for most of these families it wasn’t their primary home. These gigantic fully furnished lodges nestled in some of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever seen only get used a few times a year. For some of the families it is their 7th home -one their 13th. I can’t comprehend that kind of wealth. The yearly association fee alone is four times what our family exists on.

It really got me thinking. I try to live simply. I know I’m not living as simply as I could be but I try. You see, way up there in the mountains when the awe from the beauty passed I began to feel indignant. Who are these people who think they can have so much when there are people in the world who don’t even have their basic needs met?! How can somebody justify that kind of excess? Does it even cross their high-living minds what it might have been like for them had they been born in a third-world country to a mother who had HIV?

Not long after this internal rant the familiar pangs of conviction hit me. I have more than I need, too. So what is the difference between them and me? Well, besides millions, (maybe billions) of dollars. Stewardship is an old church word that comes to mind. What does it mean? In really simple terms I like to think it means doing the best you can with what you have. If I’m not doing the best I can with what I have where do I have room to judge them? These are questions we all need to ask ourselves. At what point does an inappropriate amount of excess creep into our lives? What amount of excess is inappropriate? When does it become a problem? When our neighbors are struggling to pay their basic bills? When someone in a third-world country can’t meet their basic food needs? It’s a really tough series of questions to begin asking and I’m not sure there is a corresponding series of simple answers. It’s uncomfortable to even think about. -But like all important questions -very necessary.

Maybe the best thing we can do is to constantly remain aware that we have more than we need and sometimes living on less means we can give more to help someone else. Feeling guilty over what we have isn’t helpful. Feeling resentful over what others have isn’t either. I’ve been guilty of both. Sometimes the only thing left to do is to live in the tensions of this world, remain aware of the paradoxes and incongruities while trying to do the best we can with what we have. -Giving what we can give and asking for help when we need help. Above all we need to always look for the holy in the everyday of our lives -those opportunities in which God is in the ordinary and he’s asking us to act. This reminds me of the chorus of a song I wrote a few months ago:

Sometimes we must quiet the world to hear the voice of God speak

Or we will pass by and miss, the burning bushes all around our feet

For we can listen to the world, to money and power and envy and greed

Or we can listen to God, who knows who we were created to be

Maybe the problem with excess isn’t the stuff itself. Maybe the biggest problem is that the stuff begins to run us. Maybe running after more and more demands so much energy, makes so much noise that we loose track of who we really are. -and then what good are we to the world anymore?

May you go through this week with the ability to live in the tensions of a world cluttered with stuff, full of inequalities and at the same time see the image of God in everyone.


Farm Fresh Free Range Cage Free High Omega 3 Organic Eggs July 9, 2008

Filed under: On Food — adm @ 3:05 pm
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Lovely Eggs

Lovely Eggs

I was going to try to post something deep and thoughtful. However, I’m attempting to pack for an 11-day road trip across the country with my husband and three kids so I’m just not there right now. So here’s what I’ve got:

Farm fresh, free range, cage free high omega 3 organic eggs, (100% natural) -and yes I’m going over the top on purpose. These are all titles I’ve pulled off of egg cartons people have given us to store our multitude of eggs in. I think the “green” titles get a little crazy sometimes…

They happen at my house. Blue ones, green ones, pinkish-orange ones, brown ones and good-old white ones. In fact, we have enough farm fresh free range cage free high omega 3 organic eggs to throw at birds. And sometimes we do just that. Here are a 20 other things about our farm fresh free range cage free high omega 3 organic eggs you may not know:

1. We don’t actually throw them “at” the birds. We throw them near the chickens so they will eat them. They need the calcium to produce more eggs. Sometimes if we find a stash we’re not sure about the age on we’ll just give them back to the chickens. How’s that for recycling?

2. The “girls” have a lovely set of nest boxes in their cedar-trimmed coop that they choose not to lay their eggs in. Finding where they are laying is like an easter-egg hunt every day. Today I was grooming my donkeys while one bird after the next proceeded to fly past me to the very top of a stack of new hay. Sure enough, after some acrobatics to get to the top of the pile I found the eggs.

3. One of those birds, (on the way to the secret nest) knocked the horse brush I was using for the donkeys between the giant stack of hay bales and the wall. Ever squeeze between the wall and 35 bales of hay? Not pleasant.

4. Sometimes we get eggs with double yolks.

5. Sometimes we get eggs with no yolks, (we call those our “low cholesterol” eggs).

6. Neither of these things is a problem. It’s just a glitch in their internal production line.

7. Our eggs are high in Omega 3’s because I feed them flax-seed in their mix, (chickens have gizzards that they store small stones and gravel in that grind up the hard outers shell so they don’t need it ground like people do). They also gain omega 3’s and other nutrients from foraging and eating what a chicken feels like eating.

8. Our egg yolks get more yellow in the summer than in the winter when the hens are able to go out and forage for their own food.

9. In the summer anything I make with our eggs is nuclear yellow. After a nice white cheesecake? Not gonna happen in the summer at our house.

10. Egg yolks are yellow because of caretenoids, (a form of vitamin A). I’ve read that the color of the yolk does not indicate it’s nutrition -only what foods the hen is eating.

11. Doesn’t the food you eat affect nutrition? In any regard, our eggs taste better than regular store eggs.

12. The color of the egg shell is dependent on the breed of the bird. So is the size. People tend to like nice brown eggs but white eggs from the same farm will be just as nutritious. Two birds of the same breed will lay the same color and size of egg, (within reason).


One of our Lakenvelder Hens

13. Did you know there are endangered chickens? Really. One of the somewhat endangered heirloom breeds we have is a Lakenvelder -a chicken from the Netherlands. Lakenvelder means “shadow on a sheet” in Dutch. They are black and white. -The craziest birds I’ve ever seen. They are also incredibly “feed efficient”. This means they consume very little to support themselves and their egg production. In the summer, they forage almost entirely and do not rely on the grain we offer. The last two “pinkish” eggs in the picture above are Lakenvelder eggs.

14. Are they really farm fresh? Yes, unless we find a stash that’s been hidden for a few weeks. -not so fresh, (but still farm)

15. Free range? Yes, they go wherever they so please

16. Cage free? This is redundant isn’t it?

17. High Omega 3? See #7 above.

18. Organic? Well, not certified but you can take my word for it.

19. Eggs? Yes, eggs.

20. 100% natural? I’m not sure how to answer this one. They are eggs. I’ve not had one lay a carton of egg-beaters. Nope. Never once.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s time for bed.