Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Laundry Success Story

I'm no Laundry Queen. Unless having a "fortress" of laundry piled up around me secures that title. I'm thinking not.

Anyway, I mostly keep everyone in the household outfitted with clean clothes. Socks usually have to be sought out in the waiting-to-be-matched-and-folded basket, but they're there and clean. And if not, yes, Emma, you can borrow some of mine. So, I cover the basics, but I am not known for any domestic goddess laundering skills or stain-fighting prowess.

This morning as I pulled the wet load from the washer to go hang on the line, I noticed that two formerly white t-shirts were stained brownish-red around the neck and along the shoulders. This in itself is not entirely unusual; we have hard water in our well here- iron water- and it is prone to leaving rust-colored stains. But there were only two tinged items in the whole lot and I quickly remembered that both were worn this weekend at Buck's birthday party. One was Ev's, one Em's- both new. Then I realized that I had covered their arms and neck with spray-on sunscreen and determined that it was some sort of reaction between the water and sunscreen that left the stain.

Google is my friend. A quick search affirmed that this could happen- and often did- to other people with hard well water who had used sunscreen containing avobenzone. No, I have not yet looked into what a terrible, toxic chemical that might be that I slathered on my children's skin. But I did find out from numerous websites and forums that a product called "The Works" would work wonders on my iron water-sunscreen stains. And then I did look into what a terrible, toxic chemical that might be. And let's just say that stained clothing doesn't bother me enough to use hydrochloric acid to get it clean.

So I added the search term "natural" to my magic Google box and, lo and behold, you can just use lemon juice and sunshine to the same effect! Hmmmm.... that's a tough one... hydrochloric acid or lemon juice and sunlight?

Surprise, surprise, I went with the option that didn't require a trip to the store or protective gear, and a few hours later have bright white t-shirts that smell lemony fresh- with the added bonus that I don't have to worry about any corrosive effects on human tissue. Isn't that swell?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Quick Update

Am really wanting to get back into the blogging habit, but I think I have the bar set too high for myself once again. I hope to log more entries by reminding myself that each entry need not be a masterpiece.

Anyway, just back today from visiting my sister, her husband and their baby (well, technically I guess he's a toddler, but I'll not push the nomenclature; they grow up too fast already) and celebrating the little guy's birthday. A fun time- party at the park, beautiful weather, and yummy food. And he was *really* into his cupcakes!

It has been a crazy busy month. Two major events stand out:

We started keeping the dogs penned up due to complaints from neighbors. This involved lots of shuffling of various animals to get everyone the overnight warmth and daytime space they need. A poor choice on my part in the shuffling leaves us with a wounded goat- bitten by our very own dogs. Not fun. He's still recovering. It's not pretty. I would post photos of the wound, but I don't think I have enough blog readers that I can afford to scare any off...

On a lighter, and more positive note, my family came up for a tree planting extravaganza. The final tally of things planted: 11 fruit trees, 3 nut tees, 6 blueberry bushes and 104 strawberry plants. One night we had 28 people here for dinner. If you have seen my house, you understand the significance of this. Thankfully, my aunt "catered" the meal by cooking it all up at her house and bringing it over. The weather was perfect and we all ate outside. It was awesome. The food and the weekend.

Now we are in gardening mode. Have lots of seedlings started and are about ready to put them in the garden. The frost date here is the middle of May, so we need to wait a couple more weeks or figure out some sort of covering if we get another cold snap. I also direct-seeded some frost-tolerant crops that are inching their way up. Still have some more things to put in that I thought I would have in a month ago, but I am trying to focus on all I *have* gotten done instead of what I *haven't*. I need to learn that lesson well or else the farm life and it's neverending list of tasks will likely drive me crazy!

Kids are doing well. Ev is playing t-ball and loves it. Eli watches each practice and game with his own glove on his hand and is counting down the days until he is old enough to be on a team. Em spent a few days with my sister in between the tree-planting and birthday weekends, she was a big help to her "Tia," but sorely missed around here (even though her brothers will never admit it!) and I am so glad to have everyone nestled safely in at home- feeling like a happy mother hen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For

I have lots of things floating around in my mind to write about, but in lieu of getting my own thoughts into words right now, I have another fabulous piece to share by others who have far more wisdom than I.

“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart,
and they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally.
Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

–The Elders
Oraibi, Arizona
Hopi Nation

Sunday, April 12, 2009


This is a new favorite poem of mine by Wendell Berry. And very appropriate for Easter.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.