photo credit: Jeffrey Mabee of Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage
Our Sunday mornings lately have begun with kale, cauliflower, and heaps of carrots. Once a week, our neighbors gather to harvest veggies from our local community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. It is a worker-share arrangement, so each member contributes a couple hours of time each week or pays in a larger sum to receive a share of the farm bounty. There is an element of surprise each week as we discover what we are harvesting and thus bringing home. By design, this unique business promotes resiliency, teamwork, and a deeper relationship with our food.
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My children playing with a borrowed toy
This is an article I wrote for Mother Earth Living.
As the American economy recovers, the average new home size has reached an all-time high of 2,300 square feet. This is part of a cultural shift where many Americans are shying away from children sharing bedrooms, and bathrooms are becoming more plentiful and sophisticated. Homes have more than doubled in size since the 1950s, meanwhile vegetable gardens and close relationships with neighbors have declined.
I’ve noticed friends and family raise an eyebrow when I announce that my family of four (with a boy and a girl) is purchasing a two-bedroom, 900-square-foot home next month in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage (BC&E)—a multi-generational community in Midcoast Maine, located just 2½ miles from the center of town and the Penobscot Bay. We are drawn in large part to the simplicity of a small home, shared resources and social activities with the other 35 households.
Cohousing is a collaborative neighborhood where residents actively participate in the design and operation. BC&E will soon be a 36-unit community with private kitchens and bathrooms on 42 acres. More than half of the homes are complete and inhabited, some are still under construction, and just three remain unsold. We are also breaking ground on an approximately 4,000-square-foot common house with a shared dining room, commercial kitchen, laundry room, guest bedroom, playroom, offices and root cellar.
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As a parent, I find my kids bombarded by messages to consume. The marketing and packaging industries spends billions to get children to nag their parents to buy more stuff. I was thrilled to discover these two books at our library, which counter that message.
Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon
by Patty Lovell
This book juxtaposes Molly Lou Melon, who is making fun homemade toys with a new neighbor girl who has all the latest gadgets. Molly Lou Melon demonstrates how to have fun and uses the words of wisdom her grandma passes down to her. The illustrations by David Catrow are beautiful and expressive. Continue reading
My family has a fall CSA share at Little River Community Farm at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage. We have a worker share, so we contribute a couple hours a week to maintaining and harvesting the farm.
Our fridge was overflowing with kohlrabi, so I found this simple, yet delightful recipe for vinegar-free kohlrabi pickles. They provide beneficial bacteria, which benefits the immune system and digestive health.
Courtesy of Kim Christensen, http://www.affairsofliving.com
Yield: one quart
2-3 large kohlrabi bulbs 2 Tbsp high-quality sea salt (Himalayan pink salt, Real Salt, or Maldon are excellent)
2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
1 Tbsp whole yellow mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed, sliced in half lengthwise
optional: ½ to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 to 1 1/2 c filtered water
1 1-qt. glass canning jar, sterilized with boiling water Continue reading
I enjoy including my children in gardening. We water it from rain barrels and harvest tasty foods together. My daughter really enjoys planning things, so we created this fun project together.
I save the garden catalogs that we get in the mail for collages. I then ask her to make a collage of all the plants she wants in the garden. She has lots of fun choosing and planning our future gardens. Best of all, it is from free, reused materials.
This is a great summer dish to make when the farmer’s market or garden is full of zucchini.
- 3 large zucchini
- 2 cups raw cashew (soaked for at least 1 hour in water)
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (without preservatives or chemical additives)
- water (enough to have desired consistency, around 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
- 1 to 1 1/2 limes, juiced
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 heaping tablespoons or more of cilantro
- dash of salt Continue reading
Antacids and laxatives are some of the top selling over-the-counter medicines in the United States. Instead of treating the symptoms, there is a lot you can do to improve your digestions naturally to avoid dependence on these products and to boost overall health.
Eat lots of fiber
The benefits of fiber on digestive health are numerous. As you may know, fiber helps eliminate constipation, but it also promotes healthy digestive bacteria, prevents diverticulitis, reduces risk of colon and rectal cancers, and prevents gastroesophagel reflux disorder. Continue reading