Monday, September 24, 2007

Twenty-five Things to Do With Old Jeans

Recycling fabric is a powerful green living and cost saving strategy. Denim is one of the coolest fabrics to do it with. It's sturdy, gains character with age and can be acquired very inexpensively at yard sales or in your own “old clothes” closet. *If you're like me, then you just hate to throw out those old jeans even when they can't be worn anymore. Here's a compilation of very cool things you can do with old jeans and denim scraps.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Paradigm Shift- living in context/redefining success

The old paradigm of success has always been based on achievement and financial gain, but as Bob Dylan once wrote, “the times they are a changing.”

I consider success to be the ability to live within the context of ones personal values. Life is a journey, not a goal. As such, if one is striving for the old paradigm of success they might find themselves always striving to do more and to have more and never truly be enjoying the journey. When we take the pressure off ourselves to accomplish so much we begin to experience living.

Goals are not evil by any means. Thank goodness we all have them! But just because ones idea of success may not be primarily financial or materialistic in nature, does not mean they aren’t successful.

Like most things, I believe success is an inside job, determined by what brings you meaning, contentment and joy. I think the times they are a changin’ and that we are seeing a paradigm shift in which the definition of success is changing to mean a life lived true.

Sunny Outlook: Can Sunshine Provide All U.S. Electricity?

Large amounts of solar-thermal electric supply may become a reality if steam storage technology works—and new transmission infrastructure is built

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Deadly Dog Treats-Raisins & Renal Failure

Around 1989, the ASPCA began noticing a trend among dogs who had consumed grapes or raisins…acute renal failure which most often resulted in death. Research has shown, it doesn't matter what brand raisins, whether grapes ingested were store bought or home grown, the results are the same, and dogs for some unknown reason cannot tolerate ingestion of grapes or raisins even in very small amounts.

note-chocolate, cocoa, onions and macadamia nuts can also prove deadly to your dog. For more info visit this link.

Thanks so much Jenni, for bringing this to our attention.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hummingbird Moth - an unwelcome guest

One recent Saturday afternoon as Coop and I were relaxing on the patio, we saw the most interesting thing. Until then, I had heard of the Hummingbird Moth, but had never actually seen one up close and in person.

We enjoyed watching this moth hum about and feed all afternoon in the zinnias. It was quite fascinating. Coop even argued for a short while that it was a baby hummingbird. It measured maybe an inch in length. The distinction, I pointed out, were the antennae and the legs, neither of which were hummingbirdish.

I was able to capture a few photos as it darted amongst the flowers.

Since my curiosity was peaked, I searched the internet to learn just exactly what this interesting moth originated from. To my dismay, the darn thing is the result of the destructive tomato horn worm…an unwelcome guest in any form. There are many types of hummingbird moths I’ve since learned. This one is particular is called a Hummingbird Clearwing or Hemaris Thysbe to be precise.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why Iraqi Farmers Might Prefer Death to Order 81 (or why I hate Monsanto)

Heard about the thousands of farmer suicides in India? Well, Iraqi farmers may be next thanks to the work of U.S. diplomat Paul Bremer and his Monsanto friends. If you care at all about the future of agriculture, (and we all should since we depend on it) this article is very relevant.

I am appalled and enraged by what industries such as Monsanto are allowed to get away with in the name of science when the fact is it is about nothing more than monopolization and greed. In my opinion Monsanto should be held responsible for the deaths of not only the thousands and thousands of farmers whose lives have been destroyed, but also, if as they proceed, (which they likely will as long as our administration is in bed with these corporate giants), for the inevitable collapse of the independent farming industry worldwide.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Ramble

It feels as if Fall has arrived a tad bit early in our parts of Ohio. Temps have been dropping into the forties at night and daytime highs only in the sixties. This old house gets mighty chilly and already we’ve had to run the furnace several times to maintain a mid-sixty degree temperature. I now have to wear socks and sweatshirts to keep warm indoors, but, this could change abruptly anytime soon. All in all, I know Fall is truly just around the corner.

I love this time of year even though it seems a little bit sad as I watch the first yellow leaves flutter to the ground from my kitchen window. When the Walnut leaves start falling I know summers end is not far off. The season is bittersweet. We long desperately throughout August for the relief of cooler air, but then when it arrives we realize that summer is closing fast. Fortunately the Fall season brings with it her spectacular display of color and sunny, crisp days to relish before the cold North wind blows in snow and rain. I doubt I will ever tire of the seasons change. This is one of the reasons I’ve never had a desire to leave my home state. Ohio offers change and beauty from season to season.

The summer has proven to be an extremely busy one with gardening and obligations. We’ve seldom had time to enjoy an evening fire or cookout. Hopefully we will have a nice fire one last time and roast hotdogs and marshmallows before the nights become unbearably cold.

Last week I made up and canned a batch of zucchini mustard pickles and yesterday I managed to freeze nine pints of tomatoes. I’m not getting enough at a time right now to make a canner full so I am freezing them as they ripen, five to ten pounds at a time. All combined I have canned well over a hundred jars of vegetables not to mention the produce I’ve frozen over the summer. Had we not experienced the ravages of too much rain and a myriad of insects at the peak of the season, our garden would have produced even more. Also, next year we will prioritize better and make our priorities better known to those whom we assist over the course of the summer. I am not complaining though, as we have substantial veggies put back for the winter and have enjoyed fresh produce all summer long. August was busy to say the least and seldom a day went by that I wasn’t picking, peeling, chopping, dicing, slicing or canning. The garden is about done now. We’re still getting a few peppers, tomatoes and squash, but with the cool weather everything has slowed down. I feel relief having finally slowed down, too and feeling much less hurried and more relaxed…a welcome pace. Not that there isn’t always something that needs tending, but nothing as pressing as perishables.

My basement is storing an adequate supply of relishes, salsa and pickles to fill gift baskets for the gift giving season, plus I have been working on crocheted gifts for family and friends. I am up to my eyeballs in yarn! Over the summer I received a large bag of yarn from a fellow freecycler. Recently my friend Janet brought me a large bag of yarns and then last week I found another large box of yarn at the Goodwill store for just $5, so I am set with a rainbow of colors for a winters worth of crocheting. Right now I am working on a multicolor granny afghan, made up of all the leftover and small amounts of yarn. It’s quite pretty and I’m thinking seriously about keeping it for myself as a living room throw for those cold evenings ahead.

Coop is busying himself today by working on the bathroom doors. It’s our intention to have the bathroom and kitchen woodwork and doors painted by the holidays. Since he has been helping the landowner all summer remodel their (soon to become) summer home up the road, we’ve put our own house projects on hold. Hopefully this Fall and Winter we’ll catch up.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

So, you think your an environmentalist?

We talk the talk but do we walk the walk? This article (which I urge anyone who cares about the environment in the least bit, to read) brings it all home and asks,"if not us, then who?"

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

my two cents on happiness

Happiness for me is primarily about contentment and creativity. I do believe it's an inside job most, if not all the time. I think our moods can be and are affected by outward things such as money problems, loss, etc, but that true happiness can only come from within.

After many years of depression I learned on my own that getting to know and love (and forgive) oneself are the initial steps to happiness. From there I learned to be authentic...which can be pretty scary but, in the end definitely worth it. I think once you make that choice and have mastered authenticity and learned to base your life on your own values instead of other's values and opinions, happiness (or at least contentment) is inevitable. Getting to know oneself is key to finding what makes you happy.

For me and many others life would hold far less joy without a creative outlet. I think everyone has an innate need to be creative and I believe those who find their creative outlet in their work or can make it their work are far more likely to be happy.

I also believe spirituality can play a very important role. That too, I believe is an inside job. From my own experience, religion was of the things (if not the main thing) that contributed to my depression and feeling a lack of happiness. Trying to live up to everyone's standards (especially Gods) was a formula for failure and guilt. Leaving Biblical dictates behind and living according to my own spiritual and moral standards set me free far more than Jesus could or ever did.

That's not to say one cannot find wisdom in ancient texts and/or spiritual leaders. I agree with the Buddha, "Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others. No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path."