Monthly Archives: May 2007

Buying Green Food on a Budget

One of the most basic things you can do for the environment is to buy foods that are produced in environmentally sound ways. Unfortunately, this can be quite expensive and the foods can be hard to find.

The main reason this can seem to be so hard is that people often limit themselves to the grocery stores, where organic foods are priced significantly higher than other foods. But your local grocery store may not be the best choice.

Find a local farmer’s market. Not all of the food there will be organically produced, but you can talk to the people there and find out. As an added environmental benefit, most of the food will be locally grown.

You can also try a food co-op. Joining a co-op means that you will get whatever is grown at the time, rather than choosing what you want, but the produce will be organically and locally grown. These are not available in all communities, but are well worth looking into.

Another solution if you have the room, is to grow some of your own. The wonderful thing about having your own garden is that you choose exactly what goes into it. It’s also a great way to teach children about where food comes from. And of course it is a nice bit of exercise. Continue reading →

Bees Not a Problem?

Straight Dope has a great look at the reality of the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder. It calls into question just exactly how much of a problem it really is.

No, it doesn’t deny that there has been an unusual number of die offs, but it does question how severe and how unusual the problem is. They note that the same phenomenon has been recorded since the 1890s, only under a different name.

Obviously, European honey bees are still around.

It is also a very good point that European honey bees are the one species having a problem and they account for 30% of world agricultural pollination. There are 2000 other pollinating species out there.

Of course, one cannot help but think that 30% is a huge number. But if this is merely a periodic problem, it is perhaps less urgent. Something to watch, pesticides to maybe reconsider if they are contributing to the current problem, but not quite so urgent.

In reading about colony collapse disorder, one thing that really struck me was the sheer occasional ignorance. On one forum I saw someone wonder what the big deal was… after all, the only thing we get from bees is honey, right??? Other people quickly set him straight, but still, that they had such a complete lack of understanding is amazing.

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Back Home After a Tough Trip

Drove to Sacramento this weekend. My grandmother has been in the hospital for too many reasons, so I and much of the rest of the family picked this weekend to go.

It was quite a trip. Borrowed my mother’s car since it was big enough for the five of us coming from the Southern California area. Yes, a nicely packed car, especially when you consider that two of the children are yet in car seats.

The trip was draining on so many levels. Seeing my grandmother in her current condition was tough, but necessary.

But I was also drained by a lack of sleep. My son was a major cause of that, as he didn’t like traveling, or rather, sleeping in an unfamiliar place. Starting the trip in the early, early morning of course also did not help matters.

Some things were fun, though. If you ever go to Sacramento with young children, check out Fairytale Town. It’s a place that would never be built today. The Crooked Mile is a particularly good example of that. A path I eould estimate as varying between 18-36 inches wide, 1-4 feet above ground, curving, twisting, tilting, up and down. The kids love it, but it could never be built today… no handrails or other safety features.

I’m still tired. So today, while I have some definite work goals in mind, I know I also need to kick back a little and just recover. I could have slept a lot longer this morning if my kids had allowed it.

Because It’s So Hard to Just Get One

Aaigh! This is just torture to look at.

Sunsweet Prunes are now available in individually wrapped packages. Because getting one prune out is so very, very difficult.

I’m not sure, but I’m guessing the idea is that people can take them along for an easy snack without taking the entire package. Easier for the busy person on the go, I suppose. But it just strikes me as completely and utterly absurd.

I’ll be the first to admit that prunes are annoyingly sticky. It can be a real pain to separate them. But this is overpackaging, plain and simple.

Carrying prunes for a snack isn’t all that hard. If you just want a few prunes, go buy a small, reusable container and load it up when you want to bring some along. No need to throw out so many wrappers.

And just to add insult to injury, let’s talk price. You know overpackaged foods tend to be overpriced, and so… Continue reading →