Sick Day: Garden Update and Food

I’m sick.  First, Almost-Three got it.  Then Lionel got it when he stayed home with Almost-Three.  I was doing fine with echinacea tea and raw garlic, but then I didn’t do that for a few days and succumbed.  Truth be told, my delayed-onset probably had less to do with the echinacea and garlic and more to do with the adrenaline rush of finishing up Summer Quarter.  Now that it’s over, I’m toast.  Almost-Three and Lionel both seem to still have it too, though not so bad as I do so they are at school and work respectively.  And though I have a ton of grading to do, I’m at home on the bed, trying to rest up because tomorrow I really do have to go grade.  The end is in sight though.  So about a week of grading and then I’m taking a full week off, complete with letting my department chair know and putting an away message on my email.  There are a couple of service things going on, but I’m sure that Committee Report will come back for revisions before next week Wednesday, and I’ll schedule Dep’t Task Force meeting for a few weeks out since I’m basically the unofficial head of that since I came up with the idea in the first place.  (It’s one of those things that really needs to be done and really affects the people in my group, but no one has wanted to take it on before now.  Probably with good reason.)

I took yesterday off too, but these days just fly by.  There’s so much that should be done — like a round of battle with dishes.  Lionel says that there are three things that one is always doing:  dishes, laundry, and trash.  He’s right:  today I’ve already done a load of dishes (not relaxing!), bagged up some trash, and finally bought the remaining ingredients for homemade laundry soap.  (I found the borax at Target, but the washing soda and washing soap were trickier.  But I didn’t know I could use Ivory for the washing soap, but oh well.  I love that I can no longer find the recipe I was using, but the recipes for this stuff are so similar that this one will do, though I do remember really liking the site I got it from.  Perhaps I’ll keep looking.  I can’t even find it in my bookmarks!  Nor can I find the recipe in the email that I know the CSA farmers sent me last year.  Sigh.)

So let me tell you about the garden:   on September 10, I planted Apollo Arugula, Bloomsdale Spinach, Blue Solaise Leek, Red Russian Kale, Rouge d’Hiver lettuce, Winter Density lettuce, Ladybird Nasturtiums, and Radio Calendula, all from Seeds Savers Exchange, which I highly recommend, though I’m not bought off by the fact that Obama recently spoke at Seeds Savers’ Heritage Farm:  whatever his other strengths, he’s put pro-biotech people in the FDA and USDA and  is clearly not listening to the non-GMO seed-saving contingent of farmers and locovores.  So he can speak there all he wants; unless Seed Savers has a couple million to give to a campaign, it’s not going to change his or any other politician’s spots.  But I digress.

Arugula came up first.  Now the spinach is coming up, and the calendula makes everyone else (yes I did just refer to the plants as people) look like slackers.  The leeks are languishing.  I think they just don’t get enough sun where they are.  They should’ve germinated by now (5-7 days).  The lettuces, besides the arugula, are still small.  But the coolest thing I’ve ever seen is that between the dicots — those roundish leaves that aren’t really leaves — are coming up these spiny leaves that couldn’t be anything else but kale.  Kale!  Even at an inch these plants are distinctive!  (I’ve learned to like kale since I started up with the CSA last year; kale is so full of nutrients that on bad days I think of it as medicine rather than food.)  The nasturtiums were having a hard time of it (I forgot to pre-treat the seeds by treating them rough — I guess they really thrive on bird digestion) but have finally made an appearance.  Nasturtium leaves look like none other — those gorgeous silver dollars.  I just love nasturtiums.  They are gorgeous viny plants with pretty flowers — and you can eat them.  I eat the leaves rather than the flowers myself.  Yummy peppery goodness.  I was looking up correspondence courses on herbs and stuff and saw one that talked about discovering one’s plant allies.  I don’t know what qualifies as a plant ally, but if it’s love, than seriously, nasturtiums would be mine.  (I ordered more from Seed Savers with my seed garlic that’s still coming.)

Yes, I am a nerd, but I love checking the garden and watching the plants grow.  I know this is just the way it works, but it seems to me totally miraculous that you can stick these itty bitty pieces of almost nothing in the dirt and these plants grow from them.  (I think the whole thing will really come home to me when I start saving my own seeds.  I nearly saved the seeds from these gorgeous plum tomatoes I made “sun”-dried tomatoes from in the oven over the weekend, but then I didn’t because it’s complicated and messy and I’m not up for it just now.  Recipe for oven-dried tomatoes here.)

I have in mind a post about how I got here, how I got from wanting to be on the tenure track to wanting to jump off to homestead (which of course is a story that starts long before I ever thought of becoming a professor).  I’m sure I need to write this post just to make sense of where I am now on politics, society, activism, and how on earth I got here.  Also I have pictures of the garden and pictures of the oven-drying process, but these days go so fast (I pick up Almost-Three at 3:30 and then there’s no time for anything else).

I keep dreaming of sitting around and watching a movie, but I haven’t been able to do that lately.  Yesterday, also a sick day (worse than today), I watched The Future of Food, which, if you want to know about what you’re eating and the problem with GMOs, I highly recommend.  It encapsulates well most of the research I’ve done on the subject.  And it’s more focused than Food, Inc., which is more about the industrial food system at large, and The World According to Monsanto, which is great but focuses too much on that one giant (though I think they don’t mention that Monsanto started out with saccharine — those of us who remember the 1970s remember the great saccharine scares).  Seeing The Future of Food is certainly something that I needed to do, but it’s not relaxing for me because the whole issue makes me so riled up.  I alternately yell and cry.  (And not always about the obvious:  When they started talking about how there are some cultures that never bought into our culture’s obsession with efficiency and streamlining, I yelled:  “I want to quit my job!”  My institution is in love with those very same things in very real and felt ways.  I digress again.)  It’s very hard for me to deal with the fact that most people really aren’t paying much attention the GMO issues or don’t understand the very real dangers of GMOs or just don’t care.  Especially when those people are parents or child care providers.  (The Montessori teacher is great and into homeopathic medicine herself and didn’t blink at all when I said that Almost-Three wasn’t vaccinated.  But the other parents there?  Most of them enrolled their children because their children are special needs and the place came highly recommended from various specialists.  But they don’t get the connections between these issues and what their kids are eating — in some cases, just the obvious things that kids shouldn’t have too much sugar or fast food.  I already have a reputation there for being into “health” food, perhaps because of these fabulous low-sugar banana muffins that the kids loved but which did not make them hyper I made.  We went to our first kid birthday party over the weekend and felt how weird we are compared to the other parents.  I’ve determined to find other parents like me, even if they are going to be ten years (or more!) younger than I am.)

Anyway, I also made more of those banana muffins for Almost-Three because we had almost-gone bananas on the counter.  In short, the whole day just evaporated before I could sit on the couch and watch a movie.  So I better go do that.  After lunch, of course.  What I’m not going to do is spend the rest of the day on email.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and I watched The Future of Food on hulu, but I don’t recommend it because the Gerber “Naturals” commercials were infuriating.  Also one about how all children “deserve” to play video games.  (Playing video games as a human right?  Please.)  Don’t be dumb like I was.  Watch it for free online here.

(You all know that so many documentaries can be viewed online for free that there’s really no good excuse for not watching them, except that there are so many of them!  That and the small screen.)


Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: