Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 2)

Welcome!

150152_10152698852070371_244688347_nSustainability is not synonymous with sacrifice. 

Living an eco-concious life does not have to mean spending lots of money and it does not need to imply a life void of happiness and comfort. Rather, I believe, by becoming a more sustainable citizen of this world you can actually improve your life. Getting outside, eating real food, taking time for yourself, and paying attention to how your actions affect the world around you – these are activities that are proven to improve health and increase happiness. And they don’t have to break the bank. They are the building blocks for a great life. 

I’m 20-something. I’m broke. I care about the world around me and I know I can do something about it. I’m learning to live a sustainable, meaningful, great life – one step at a time… and sharing with you stories and tips on how you can do the same!

START HERE for “great life” definition and tips on how to achieve one.

I hope you enjoy my writings and, please, leave comments! I love a good conversation.

best, e.

squirrelly twail wun || 13.1

I’ve wanted to run a marathon for a while now. It was a goal of mine for 2014 that didn’t pan out. Which is okay, injuries are not something you can plan for, or blame yourself for. But I’m still determined. I’ve also realized that it’s a little crazy that I wanted to run a marathon without ever having run a race before… I’ve run 15+ miles on my own before, but never in a race setting.

“Thirty minute syndrome”

In early January, when I set my goal to run 26.2 miles in one go before the year is out, I was in the middle of a running slump. I would do a couple of 3 milers in the week but couldn’t push myself further. I call this the “thirty minute syndrome.” I find the first 30 minutes of swimming, or three miles of running, really hard (especially in the cold!), but once I cross that line my workout becomes so much more enjoyable. Sometimes, though, I get in a slump where I forget that it gets better and I get in a cycle of 30 minute workouts.

Train & Pain

So I signed up for a half marathon! I wanted a reason to push myself to do those miles, in the cold, through the winter. But I was nervous that my knees or back would protest, so I didn’t tell anyone… in case I decided to back out. So for the last month and a half I’ve been training, but easily, so as not to push my knees or back too hard. I was doing really, really well – incorporating yoga, stretching, and strength workouts into my routine – until last weekend. I headed out for an eleven-miler and my patella tendons decided to go on strike. So, I didn’t run for a whole week – not the ideal training set-up. I thought several times about quitting, but I really wanted to try. Hey, no one knew about it, so if I backed out halfway through, who would care?

Squirrelly Tail Twail Wun

The race was at Gifford Pinchot State Park. It was a windy, crazy trail setup – true to it’s name. Luckily, we had 40 degree weather with no rain. And I finished! I blew my goal out of the water and ran through the pain (with no lasting affects, promise!).

IMG_3962

Sometimes, even if you know it won’t feel great, it’s worth it to push yourself to the finish line. Even more importantly, it’s crucial that you push yourself through your version of “thirty minute syndrome” – whether in sports, arts, or anything else that gives you a wall.  I encourage you all to remember these facts that are so applicable to every area of life. I’m really glad I did this and I feel much more comfortable about doing races in the future… although I still much prefer running on my own. Half a goal accomplished!

best, e.

sweet, sticky red.

strawberries

The end of June drowns in a chaotic sea of sweet, sticky red. The beginning of strawberry season means the end of everything else – forget laundry, forget friends, forget sleep. This sensual berry seems to celebrate the end of school, feed the excitement of July 4th, fend away cold days and lure the sun closer to the earth. People flood any open U-Pick fields, terrified of missing the most fleeting but sweetest aspect of the summer months. For strawberry farmers, or more accurately strawberry servants, hours, days and weeks are lost to the berry’s conceited demands. To make matters more stressful, it marks the arrival of half the other harvests. Peas, beans, potatoes, zucchini, squash and cucumber roll in as though seduced by the strawberry’s grace; a grace not lost on humans as they spend hours bent in uncomfortable positions, in the scalding hot sun, laboring for the chance to preserve the strawberry’s romance, its embodiment of summer beauty, for the cold, dark, winter months. It is little wonder that the strawberry is the fruit of choice in Hardy’s foreshadowing of Tess’s sexual experiences in Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Yet, as with all seasons, the strawberry must dwindle in numbers. As the berry season relaxes so does summer. The heat settles in and the world adjusts to it. July 4th wraps up and the neighbors finally stop setting off fireworks. The buzz attributed to the beginning of summer subsides to a low hum. The chaos of the season in the fields dissipates and the fields become quiet and still. It is a time for reflection and recovery. The berries, once overflowing unbridled in the fields, now instigate a therapeutic game of hide-and-seek with the pickers.

Then, in the calm, hot, dead of summer, they disappear; they recede into memory until the labor they demanded is forgotten and overtaken completely by the tortuous memory of their allure.

best,e.

 
Pictures taken from the Fairwinds Farm Facebook Page! Check out the website here too. 

hoeing through history.

I was assigned to weed the squash field with my coworker Ana. The rest of the crew had gone to another of the farm’s properties. Once the roar of the rototiller died down it was near silent. No machinery, no cars, no people talking. We hoed in silence as we listened to the wind, the birds and the river flowing nearby.

We weeded for three hours. A repetitive motion like that leaves space for the mind to wander. I found myself thinking about hoeing (and not the selling my body kind, stop that). First I noticed how my body seemed to be built for the motion – the bend of my knees, the strength of my back, the continuous fluid movement of my arms.

Then, after a few hours, my upper back muscles started to protest softly, irritated with the strain. It occurred to me that this pain, the soreness of my muscles from tending the soil, is an ancient pain. It is a soreness that people from pasts forgotten, cultures I have never heard of, felt too. Centuries of people cultivated food using the same motion I use every day at my job. Centuries of people went to bed with the same sore bodies. And centuries of people consumed the harvests their labor sowed.

The hoe is an ancient technology mentioned in documents that go back to 18th century BC, such as the Code of Hammurabi (a Babylonian law code). They were probably preceded only by the digging stick and originally made from flinted stones and simple metal work.

I am fascinated by the realization that despite centuries of innovation here I am, still hoeing, every day. It’s a humbling realization, and a humanizing one. Through the simple motion of breaking the ground I can relate to the centuries of people who inhabited this planet before I did. I am reminded that future generations will most likely do the same. And despite any differences between people then, now and in the future – food is the inescapable thread that binds us.

 

quack cracked.

duck eggThe other day at the farm my coworker turned to me and asked if I wanted duck eggs. Um yeah. Apparently his ducks were producing so many he didn’t know what to do with them.

Duck eggs are the single best kept secret in all of food. That or I live under a rock. I also might be exaggerating a little bit, but really, I was that surprised. They are huge, cool colors, a project to crack and have more flavor than any chicken egg I have ever eaten (farm fresh or otherwise). I cracked the first one on to the frying pan and stared at in awe as the hugest yolk I have ever seen slid out of the shell. I don’t even like fried eggs usually and I ate it just as it was, and it was amazing.

I just looked them up, as I’m sure you could do, but to save you the time I collected a little information on them. First, as you can imagine, the huge yolk adds to the nutritional value as well as the fat content of the egg. duck eggs contain one-third more calcium than chicken eggs, fives time the about of B-vitamins, three time as much iron, twice as much Vitamin A and folate, as well as more protein selenium and potassium. However, they also contain about one whole day’s worth of Cholersterol… if you worry about that kind of thing.

For me, despite my love for chicken eggs, the duck eggs might win the battle, they’re more delicious, healthy, and filling. When I have my own place I will most certainly have ducks. Then maybe I can be an official employee of the farm, considering all of my fellow coworkers have them… who knew!?

Oh and one last thing – substitute one duck egg for two chicken eggs in any baking project and you will be blown out of the water (best kept chef’s secret, seriously).

tick tock.

I work in a supermarket deli.
I was bagging the daily bread delivery. It was early in the morning on a Sunday, few people were in the store. The scale beeped away and spit out tags at me. I slapped them on the bread bags while I chatted amiably with my morning coworkers, one of my favorite crews to work with. I glanced up at the clock, 9:00 am. I’ve really only been here an hour?

I work on a farm.
I was kneeling in the fields. My un-sunscreened shoulders protested in the glare. Three of us labored away, fighting a small war with the weeds that threatened to overtake the lettuce. We had been weeding since after we finished transplanting the tomato plants, whenever that was. One of us asked if anyone had a watch, complaining of hunger. We looked around and each shook our heads. The we joked, looking at the sun and determining it was oh, probably 11:15?  Just as we put our heads back down to the task at hand the others drove up in the truck. “Hey!” they yelled from the vehicle, “You guys gonna work through lunch?” Jeesh, 12pm came fast. 

There is one major difference between my two jobs. It isn’t the location, or the kind of work, or the people I work with. It is the presence of a clock.

Time is everywhere. It is on our wrists, in our cars, in our phones, on our microwaves and walls. We watch time with anxiety. No matter where we are or what we are doing we almost always want it to go faster. We impatiently watch the seconds pass as we work, as we hang out with friends, as we do errands, as we work out, as we go to events and do hobbies. We constantly live in the future. It doesn’t matter what we are doing or how much we enjoy it, we are always anxious to get on to the next thing. A day’s success is based  on how much stuff we get done in the hours we are given. The quality of the activity done in those hours rarely matters more than the quantity; and it definitely doesn’t matter whether or not we enjoyed what we did. Its only output, output, output.

I love both my jobs. There is rarely a day when I leave complaining that I wish I hadn’t come in. Yet, at the supermarket, just like most places, there is a clock in my face the whole day. Do I look at it? Of course I do. How could I not? Regardless of how well a shift is going, how content I am to be there, the presence of the clock always makes me feel like I should be somewhere else, like I should be anxious for the shift to end so I can get on to the next thing. In contrast, the farm fields are one of the few places I have found that provide refuge from time. I get to work at 8. I leave my phone in the car. My boss finds me when it’s lunch time. It is a comfort realizing that when I am done I will be done, how much time has passed and how much time remain are irrelevant. Instead of watching the clock I watch the landscape. I feel sunlight move, I watch the sky change, I feel the moisture in the soil change with the heat of the day.

Be where you are when you’re there – you’ll enjoy it more, no matter what it is. Get rid of daily expectations. When we let go of time, when we let go of productivity, we can relax, be present and allow ourselves to indulge in the moment.

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