Make life a little more earth-friendly without going to extremes.

June 2009 Archives

I love farmers markets

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A few weeks back, The Herald News printed a fantabulous little guide to area farmers markets. I'm not tooting my own horn. I didn't make it. But I did stick it up on my desk.

Saturday, I had to get up early so my husband and his father could replace our jammed-up galvanized metal pipes with PVC. That meant I was up in time to go to Plainfield's farmer's market.

I had cash. I spent it all. Among the edibles I left with are: asiago peppercorn bread, pretzel rolls, two pounds of zucchini, a bag of salad greens and three kohlrabi.

I'm excited about the bread because it's not a kind you see everywhere. I'm even more excited about the veggies. They're from Anderson Tree Farm on Route 126 in Plainfield. The greens are great, I'm going to steam the zucchini tonight and the kohlrabi ... oh, the kohlrabi. I got three for a buck and plan to peek and steam the bottoms to serve with butter and salt. The tops will be fried up in olive oil and a little garlic, like one of my favorites: swiss chard.

Why the excitement? I'm getting veggies I don't usually get, at a good price, and I know they were grown nearby.

I'll have to report back on the kohlrabi since I've never had it before. And I'll tell you the green purchases I made that weren't edible.

What are you getting at the farmers market that tickles your toes? And how is it turning out in your kitchen? Or, do you get a CSA box of mysterious goodies that we can help you cook up? :)

When we bought our house, we decided to try a green experiment: a reel mower. One of those 1950s-style jobbies that is entirely man- or woman-powered.

We fought the good fight. The yard won. It's too big, too uneven and too full of wispy bits of grass that laugh at nonmotorized blades.

Since an estimated 5 percent of pollution comes from yard tools, we didn't want to just break down and get a gas mower. (Well, I actually did want to, but my husband's cooler head - and greener principles - prevailed.)

Thanks to a sale at Menards in Joliet, we now own an electric mower. Since we have tons of nuclear plants in the area, a lot of our power comes from nuclear energy, which is cleanish. So we're not just straight-up trading gas pollution for coal pollution.

Plus it's so quiet and light. My husband couldn't wait to mow when we got it home. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Now, I'll try to hawk our reel mower on Craig's List to someone with a more even, smaller yard; buffer arms; and greener principles. Then, I'll try to be more like him or her. Till then, the hum of the lawn mower calls.

Do you use a reel mower? Or an electric version? Or perhaps your lawn is trimmed by sheep? Let us know how you green your lawn by commenting below.

Paper will never die

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I've been consciously working at reducing my unnecessary paper usage. Even if you recycle, it's greener not to use it in the first place.

So I've been saving important e-mails on the computer instead of printing them. I've even gone so far as to make can't-forget lists, like work schedules for our copy desk and my passwords, in computer files instead of little notes.

Well, that came back to bite me in the butt. Last week, I couldn't log in to my computer at work. If you've ever used a Mac OS X, you're familiar with the way the computer shakes it's little log-in box to tell you that something has gone wrong.

In fixing the problem, IT accidently wiped everything off of my computer. I started tearing up. I lost years and years of things I'd been saving.

Did I back it up? Well, no, I kind of forgot that part. Never occurred to me that I'd just lose it like this. For the past few days, I've been recovering what I can from other sources.

Will I start madly printing in an effort to not lose it this time? Nope. But I will be backing it up electronically this time. And, now that I've found the original e-mail with my user name and password for this blog, I can actually post again. Sorry for the delays.

Allergy-ridden?

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My head feels big. My face throbs. When I sneeze, it's four or five times in a row. We're going through Kleenex like normal people go through water.

The allergies are here.

I have horrible seasonal allergies, in addition to being allergic to furry animals and a host of other things. People have urged me to go to an allergist to a.) find out what exactly I'm allergic to and b.) to get allergy shots. Well, a.) I know what I'm allergic to because I know when I break out in hives and b.) I've never met anyone who really had any luck with allergy shots.

I've tried prescriptions and OTC drugs, but they generally make me unconscious. Zyrtec has me asleep in 15 minutes, whether I'm driving or operating other heavy machinery. Claritin and Allegra can claim anything they want about being nonfuzzy-making, but they put me on about a 15-second delay from the rest of the world.

And I'm not that hot on living life on unnecessary drugs. I mean, allergies suck, but they're not destroying my life. I'd like a little relief though, so I've been thinking about more natural means.

Someone suggested colloidal silver, which I looked up and ran away from. It's tiny silver particles you snort. Only, you're not supposed to put a whole bunch of metals into your body, so it can actually turn you gray-blue. Seriously. I prefer sneezing to being a Smurf.

I picked up some bee pollen from Whole Foods in Naperville. Supposedly, you can take a few grains a day, and work up to a teaspoon or so a day. By exposing yourself to your allergen, you're supposed to build up a tolerance. I forget to eat them, so I don't know if it works yet.

Local honey is supposed to help too, for the same reason bee pollen does. I got hooked up with someone who makes honey locally but, as usual, haven't called yet.

Do you have allergies? What works for you?

Naperville-based Sourcebooks just made me happy. Really happy.

Convenience foods are so great because they're so ... convenient, but I've been had to break away from a lot of them because of bad MSG reactions. This is a mixed blessing: It's forced me to stop eating a lot of questionable food additives. Sure, maybe acetylated monoglycerides and medium chain tridglycerides won't hurt me but they probably won't help me either.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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