Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturdays in the Garden - Local Food for When the Zombie Apocalypse Hits

Saturdays in the Garden is meant to be my garden journal and weekly check-in on what's happening on the blog and random stuff.  The phrase "meant to be" is used because it is still a work in progress.  It mostly works as a nice record for me and may be totally boring to all others:0).

I attended a class for Master Gardeners this week focused on local food and how master gardeners could help.  If you're unaware of the local food systems movement, it is focused on encouraging more sustainable agriculture that's good for the earth, the community, for farmers and for people's health.  Most of the food in your average grocery store in the U.S. travels hundreds to thousands of miles - it's no longer fresh, it's been genetically modified or sprayed with chemicals to stay edible longer and immense amounts of fossil fuels are used to move all this produce around.  More local food systems also means greater food security.  When that zombie apocalypse occurs?  You're going to be really glad you have some local food sources!

One of the techniques to help people secure affordable produce locally is to encourage them to grow their own by providing a community garden space.  I have always been really interested in this idea since I have never had a space where gardening to the fullest potential is really possible.  I also wonder though if I would be too lazy to sustain a plot.  Would I really be motivated enough to get in the car and drive a few miles to tend to things?  I like allowing my dogs to swirl around and play while I'm out working in the garden and in this scenario they'd have to spend gardening time cooped up.  I would also feel guilty about taking a plot away from someone who could really use it more so than I; somebody who might not be able to afford to garden or buy local food any other way.

What do you all think?  Have you ever had a plot in a community garden?  Would you consider it?  Any benefits or challenges?


Is there anything more exciting than a three day weekend?  Okay, there are many things but a three day weekend sure ain't bad.  Monday's a federal holiday here in the U.S.A.  I don't really have any plans which is just the way I like it!  I'll probably concentrate on garden planning and turning my guest room into seed starting central. 

I've mentioned before that I've been working on cleaning up my diet and eating more real food.  It requires quite a bit more cooking than I previously did but I've slowly gotten used to it.  At first I was following the elaborate meal plans from the 100 Days of Real Food Site.  These are great but were a little more than I needed and my grocery bills were higher than I could sustain.  Since I'm okay eating the same thing for breakfasts and lunches during the work week - that simplifies things, and improves the grocery bill.  I've also gotten better at what kinds of things to keep stocked so that most of what I'm buying at the store is produce.

I've also really cut back on my meat consumption.  For Christmas I got Better Homes and Gardens 365 Vegetarian Meals.  I'm kind of a BHG nerd and really like their recipes.  Over the last couple weeks I've tried a few of the recipes and they've all been tasty!  White Bean and Goat Cheese Wraps (basically a spread of mashed white beans and goat cheese in a tortilla with spinach and roasted red peppers), Saucy Mushroom Borscht over noodles (mushrooms AND beets - Yum!) and Cauliflower and Chickpea Au Gratin (a tangy tomato, caper and chickpea sauce baked over cauliflower topped with feta cheese).  It's a good mix of very simple easy recipes with few ingredients to more complex dishes.  I plan on continuing to cook out of this book for the next few weeks trying things. 

So have you ever tried Humble Bundle? I was reminded of the site earlier this week and went to see what they were offering currently. The deal is this - every few days Humble Bundle offers a bundle of books (it also does this for video games if that's an interest) and you can pay whatever you want for it. That's right.  Whatever you want.  A certain percentage of whatever you pay goes to Humble Bundle, a part goes to the publisher, and a good chunk goes to a charity.  It's gets even cooler because you can actually set what percentage of the money you spend goes where so if you want most of it to go to the charity you can do it that way.  The current offering is a whole passel of series-starting graphic novels published by Image Comics.  For $25 I got electronic versions of 28 graphic novels (most of which are volumes that include multiple issues) including the first 48 issues of The Walking Dead, first five issues of Sex Criminals and the first 18 of Saga (and much more that are unfamiliar to me but that look awesome)!  These are all graphic novels I've been lusting after for a while.   Anyway just thought I'd pass this along and hope I brighten someone elses' day!

I finished a whole ton of books this last week and now I'm feeling WAY behind on writing up my thoughts on them.  Catching up will likely be a major task for this weekend.  I finished Lydia Netzer's Shine Shine Shine and while I didn't like it as well as How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky, I still really liked it.  I don't know what it is about her books but they really work for me despite being incredibly quirky.  I also finished Gulp by Mary Roach which I think is my favorite of hers in a long while - it's informative and very funny.  I also finally finished Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James; a Regency romance I started last November but couldn't get interested in.  It never really grabbed me but it was okay.  The last book, on the finished list was Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo - a strong ending to her Grisha trilogy.

My currently reading stack is a little lackluster.  For the Eclectic Reader Challenge, I have to read a Contemporary Romance and I kind of randomly picked Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - it's definitely out of my reading preferences (I like romance but I'm picky about it and I prefer historical or fantastical settings) and I am currently on the fence at the halfway point.  I am also reading an ARC copy of The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber which I am struggling with and just started Lirael by Garth Nix which is the only book on the currently reading list that I'm really excited about.

SUNDAY: Browsing Preferences - Shelve by Genre or Not?  I whine a little bit about places that shelve all fiction in one big section rather than having genre sections while also recognizing there are some problems with shelving by genre - what's your preference?
TUESDAY: Top Ten Tuesday:  The 2014 Releases I Most Wish I had Read. This weeks TTT meme added about 470 books to my TBR.
WEDNESDAY: Review of Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I wasn't wild about Wild but that doesn't mean you won't be.  I'm just super boring!
THURSDAY: Tough Traveling - Messiahs.  This is an incredibly fun meme hosted by Fantasy Review Barn that examines the common tropes of fantasy fiction. 


SUNDAY:  Review of The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
MONDAY: Review of Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham RELEASE DATE IS JANUARY !!!
TUESDAY: Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is a freebie this week.  I'd like to do something character centric I think and maybe something to tie in with the Veronica Mars book release?  Top favorite "detectives" in mystery series, maybe...
WEDNESDAY: Books adapted from TV/Movies - There is always talk about book adaptations in the movies or on TV but reading the Veronica Mars books got me thinking about the books that were spawned from a favorite TV show or movie.  Do you read any of these and if so what are your favorites?
THURSDAY:  Tough Travels this week is about pets and there is no way I'm missing that!

That's it for this Saturday!  What are you planning this weekend? Any great books or TV shows that you are loving right now? 

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