Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Slice of Organic Life

I checked out this book for two reasons. First, it looked interesting. Second, the editor's name is Sheherazade Goldsmith. Wow! What a cool name! I've always wanted to give my children a musical name, but never was brave enough for something like Sheherazade. That's awesome! Back to my point. This book is a pretty good guide to all things organic, although there's no rhyme or reason to how it's organized. You have how to raise your own chickens, tomatoes, bees, apple trees, goats and whatever else you can think of intermixed with how to make your own soap, paint, baby food, bathtub cleanser, etc. There's also how to conserve energy and water, make your own compost and use untreated wood. It also has a large section on how to live more organically even in very small spaces, like apartments or places with very small yards. It's really interesting and has beautiful photographs. But this kind of book is also depressing to me. There's no way I can do--or more accurately--will want to do most of these things. I did a little dance of joy because our new neighborhood has free recycling, but I'm not going to raise goats or make my own paint. Then I feel bad that I'm exposing my family to toxins and hurting the environment. I just spiral downwards from there, wondering how I can be a good mother and wife if I don't raise our own pork and clean my house with only baking soda! Deep breath. Calm down. The fact is, I do try to conserve. I do try to recycle. I make my own bread and get organic milk from a dairy, for crying out loud. Ignore the fact that they deliver it to my door and that was most likely my primary motivation. The point is, there's only so much people can do, and that's got to count for something, right? I gotta draw the line somewhere and that line is most likely going to be at cloth diapers. There's only so much a woman can do. But go ahead and read the book. It's pretty.


  1. You've done more than I have on the organic front! I've bought produce when it happens to be on sale. Alan and Anya tend to drink soy milk. I actually just taught an Enrichment night about homemade cleaning products. I made some vinegar cleaning wipes (which work just as well as my Costco brand ones) and I can't wait to work on homemade laundry detergent. Several good friend swear by cloth diapers, but I'm just not there. However, I'm considering line drying (but I'd still throw the clothes in the dryer at the end to soften them a little!). We also do a co-op for fresh food. It's been a great deal. And I'm starting to look into CSAs (community supported agriculture).

  2. I know line drying will be a huge energy saver, but I just love my clothes from the dryer. They're so soft!
    I looked into a really great CSA when we first got here, but I wasn't ready to pay that much more. You could get a discount if you helped at the farm (2 1/2 hours away) or at the distribution centers, but it just wasn't going to work for us. Then, when I finally decided to just go for it, they had already sold all their shares. Bummer.
    I found a co-op for Western Slope fruit and I can get pears, peaches and apples, but I have no idea if it's organic or not. My first box of peaches should be coming soon and I'm very excited. I haven't found a co-op for anything else yet. One that's within a reasonable distance, anyway. And now I'm going to move and start all over again. I hope Douglas County has some good stuff.
    The dairy is awesome. Seriously, I've never tasted such good milk. It's more expensive than store-bought, but cheaper than organic store-bought. And it's delivered to my door twice a week. I'm in heaven. I would send Mike to the store to get milk at least once a week and he'd come home with much more than milk. I think he has fun shopping, but I'm saving money just by keeping him out of the store.

  3. I think it is line upon line... It takes a while to build up the soil in a typical back yard so that you have some natural fertility. But you will find that with a small garden as a base, that you don't haul the leaves or grass trimmings to the dump... they go back to the garden or on a compost pile. As do the corn husks, watermelon rinds, brown lettuce leaves, cucumber peels, peach pits, peach skins, odd quart of spoiled fruit or old yogurt... and pretty soon you notice that when you turn over the soil that earth worms are not rare, and not skinny sickly fellows anymore...

    So that is a good start. And from this healthy soil you will have some summer meals where you have raised it all. Potatoes, corn, cucumber salad, onions, tomatoes and green beans. How fun that has been for us. Except the green beans. They don't seem to like us much. Some years there is extra to freeze or can, and then you get to enjoy your produce when the wind and snow are blowing. Very cozy.

    Annie often hangs our shirts and blouses on the line on hangers, and they are almost wrinkle free and smell so good. Blue jeans sometimes get a few minutes in the dryer and finish on the line, and are really pretty soft.

    Anyway, it looks like a very fun book. I will have to see if we can get an interlibrary loan.

    When we were first married, Grandpa and Grandma and Annie and I spent and afternoon with a huge cauldron of hot, rendered pork fat and about six cans of Draino and ended up with almost #150 of soap. It wasn't face soap - powerful stuff. If you water was fairly soft it worked well as a laundry soap. Annie used it for a while, and Grandma pretty much used it up. I know we won't repeat that experiment as Annie is a real Tide fan now. But it was an interesting afternoon.