Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Nutwood McSteamy

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.

                                         ~~Anne Frank

Wise words for such a young girl, eh? I've always wondered what she would have become had she lived. Her humor, intelligence, and compassion were obvious in her writings, and we are lucky to have them. The fact that her voice was silenced at such a young age is still sad to contemplate, even after all these years. I wonder if she realizes that people all around the world know her and love her and remember her writings? She never was truly silenced, was she? Hmm.

I've written about how our place here is our sanctuary...that if I let myself be absorbed by what is going on around me and what I can see and hear, I feel grounded. After dealing with a minor irritant yesterday, I walked out and stood on the deck and took it all in. The sky was a brilliant blue, the sun was warm and bright, and everything was lush and green. The catbirds were yowling, there were a couple of blue jays playing their version of "Dueling Banjos" in separate trees, and woodpeckers were pounding away at sunflower seeds. Within a few moments, all felt right with the world. Thanks, Nutwood. You're the best!

As I was out on the deck, I looked down and thought, "Oo! Picture!" I came in and got my camera and took this.

Hi Everybody!

Me and my shaa-ah-adow...I thought I'd wave to everyone when I took this. That's not a small Christmas tree behind me. It's the tip of the umbrella that is over our patio table and chairs.

It would be kind of neat, though, to put a little Christmas tree out on the deck this winter, wouldn't it?

Nah. Passing thought.

Speaking of nature appreciation, I saw a neat thing this morning. There was a young bird sitting on one of our deck hooks. I could tell he was young because he was fluttering his wings and chattering a bit, like the little ones do. As I was watching him, a male cardinal came up with food in his mouth and fed this young one! Now, this young bird was not a cardinal. So I got out my Audubon book and looked for him--and found him right away. He was a young starling, and his voice and chatter confirmed it. Now what was a cardinal doing feeding a young starling? How odd! Of course, I started thinking about blended families, and then "The Brady Bunch" theme started going through my head. "...the youngest one in curls..." AGH!

A very steamy one here today. All afternoon, it's been acting like a storm was blowing in, but nothing so far. I suspect we'll get something tonight, and that would be fine by me, because it will cool things off a bit. The flowers I planted yesterday would also enjoy it.

I got a nice thing in the mail today. Some time ago, I was on some "living green" website and there was a link to a thing from Earthbound Farm organic foods. It said that if you took a quiz about the environment and conservation, they'd send you a reusable tote bag. I figured that was a cool thing, so I took the quiz (I think I got 95% on it...that's an A in my book!) and they said they'd send me the tote. I forgot about it, but a couple of days ago, I got a letter from them saying that due to unexpected demand, they had to order more totes, and mine would be on the way shortly. In the meantime, would you please enjoy this coupon? I got my tote bag today, and it's quite roomy and nice! They also sent MORE coupons, so thank you, Earthbound Farm! I believe I will use one of these coupons to buy a bunch of mixed salad greens and we'll have a Monster Salad for dinner one night. That's not really the name of the recipe, it's just one bigass salad. Some Vidalia onions, some mushrooms, some oil and vinegar dressing...oh yeah, babe! In fact, I'm going to the store tomorrow, so I think that will be tomorrow night's dinner.

Anyhoo, back to the bag. I don't intend to sound preachy or anything, but I can't say enough about investing in some reusable grocery bags. This is what Earthbound Farm said about the bag they sent me: "If all 80,000 people who won this bag use it just 10 times instead of a paper bag, 450 trees will be saved. If all 80,000 winners use it just 10 times instead of plastic grocery bags, we'll keep 2.4 million bags out of the landfill and the environment!"

I think that's remarkable, and it's such an easy way to make a difference. A couple of years ago, Ken and I bought several unbleached cotton bags to begin using at the grocery store (or other stores--none of them mind if you bring your own bag). We still get the occasional plastic bag, because we use it for the litterbox. (I might have to explore some alternatives for that....) But for the most part, the cotton bags are what we use for shopping. Not too long after we got our bags, I sent an email to our local store (my friend Jillian, who is BIG into "green," sent one, too) urging them to offer reusable bags at a reasonable price. They responded and said that they'd been getting lots of letters about that, and a plan was already in the works. Shortly after that, they started selling their extremely nice and sturdy bags for 99¢. Considering that we paid 4 times that for our cotton bags, I really wish they would have offered them sooner! But that's okay--the important thing is reusable bags. Since then, they've upped the credit at checkout from 3¢ to 5¢, and while that's fairly negligible, it's still just a very good thing to do.

There may be some people that say that they don't want to spend a dollar on a reusable bag, or 12 dollars on buying enough to bag all your groceries when you make your weekly trip. Just buy a bag a month! That's 25¢ a week, and within a year, you should have plenty of reusable bags for every trip you make to the store. That's a mere $12 in a year, and I think almost everyone can suck that up. Besides, I suspect that eventually a lot of cities will start adopting San Francisco's excellent policy of a plastic bag ban.

It's something that is so easy to do, and if you haven't already invested in a few reusable bags, I urge you to at least consider it. I think everyone wants to do something, and this is a great way to start.



carouselqueen70 said...

Thank you for sharing the Anne Frank saying. She was a wonderful woman. I like the idea of the reusable bag. I think I will buy one tomorrow when I go shopping.
hugs, Christine

mereel2005 said...

Preaching to the choir here :)
We have a wonderful new food store here called the Market and they sell resusebale bags. I brought several and they are wonderful.
Wal-Mart also sell the reusable bag. I have a few of them as well. I love them.

rdautumnsage said...

I remember reading Anne Frank's Diary in school and it's always stayed with me. It dawned on me even with the childhood I had at the very least I still had more in the sense of the outdoors and being able to get away from time to time. It's been a few years since I've read her diary...I think the next time I'm at the book store I might look it up.

Doc was reluctant to buy the bags at the Giant. I finally gave in and brought them myself. I told him we can get the occasional brown bag or plastic bag when we need it, otherwise this made more sense environmentally.

Loved the picture of you and your shadow. I feel the same way about our home as you do Nutwood. I wish we were more out in the country instead of on the edge of suburbia but for now this is home. (Hugs)Indigo

buckoclown said...

Not only do you keep plastic out of landfills, but plastic is made from petroleum based products, so you are helping with oil demand as well :o)

dbdacoba said...

I know a photographer in NYC who did a series of self-prtraits and they were all pictures of her shadow, on the pavement, the grass, the walls, anywhere she could get one.

chat2missie said...

Anne Frank taught us so much in her short life.  I would like to think that she could have changed the world with her words, had she lived a long life.

markonit said...

... I am going to try to find the money to invest in resuable bags ... and with you and Ms. Frank being able to find your sanctuary in nature, I envy you ...

jmoqueen said...

Great picture and love the fact you point out it's not a xmas tree ;)


frankandmary said...

A few times I've bought one or two items & told the clerks I don't need a bag. They give me a placate & appease look & throw the bag they were starting to use for my purchases out =(. I tend to keep a few plastic bags in my car from previous purchases & just use them over & over when I go to the grocery. ~Mary

helmswondermom said...

I have bought reusable bags at Meijer and at Kroger (.99 ea.) and love them!  They're roomy and they even have pockets!  I just have to remember to keep them handy and to take them with me.  And I do need to buy some more.