fresh start

How many times have you come home from the farmers’ market or grocery store with a fresh bundle of fragrant herbs only to watch it wilt before you’ve even had a chance to use it?

I know—me too.

Even greens grabbed from my garden will go limp if I don’t snip and season right away.

But I’ve found a little gem that may just flabbergast fresh produce fanatics from here to Farfoodle.

It’s called FreshPaper by Fenugreen.

Cute, right?

And oh so simple.

It’s just an unassuming piece of paper, not unlike a dryer sheet, that keeps fruits and veggies fresh for two to four times longer, organically.

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Photo courtesy of fenugreen.com

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Mighty Mouse Girl

I have a huge amount of respect for a little girl who is building her own tiny house.

Dollhouse?

Nope …

tiny habitable, functional house.

Meet Sicily Kolbeck.

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Photo courtesy of Sicily’s blog, La Petite Maison

At 12 years of age, Sicily is nothing short of a pint-sized … well … powerhouse. As we speak, this darling dynamo is building a 128-square-foot solar-powered mini-home.

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Cows to the Rescue

I always knew my bovine team of Jerseys was destined for greatness. But I didn’t know they’d be the solution to Planet Earth’s demise. (I see a blockbuster movie in the making—Planet of the Cows.)

How many essays have I written where I’ve made my case for the use of protein harvested from local deer, elk, and moose rather than soybean and oats grown in the midwest where the land was tilled, sprayed, and eroded in order for a trucker to deliver granola and soymilk to our doorsteps? I’ve reasoned further, Aren’t bucolic, perennial pastures growing high-end protein better than the constant turning of soil?

cows_MG_1430But first a little background. For the most part, I’ve grown up following Allan Savory—he was a hero of mine when I was a young environmentalist. However, now that I’m an older, “well-seasoned” environmentalist with things like a dairy to manage, I haven’t caught even a glimpse of him in the last 10 years.

Now I know why.

He’s been busy figuring out a way to reverse climate change.

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Only 2 Days Left!!!!

“It has been a bit since I’ve posted in the MaryJanesFarm chatroom, but I knew that this was the place to come for some farmgirl support!” writes Ann of Forrester Farm in Belmont, Michigan.

Yesterday morning, Ann shared her recent mission:

She has been busy searching for a farm addition—a location that would allow her to expand her fabulous floral business and host dreamy rural weddings.

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Photo courtesy of A Sprig of Lavender.

“We now have an opportunity to grow into an additional farm location that will support a you-cut flower garden, bridal and community floral classes, and small events like farm-to-table dinners by local chefs.”

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Food Swap

There’s a craze sweeping the countryside that combines two of the things we love most:

food and friends …

and not necessarily in that order.

The brain-child of five food-lovin’ ladies, Food Swap Network is a growing work of gustatory genius.

So … what’s a food swap?

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Anyone? Here’s an eco-preneur idea.

Would you rent a pair of jeans?

Bert van Son is betting that you would.

Bert van who?

He’s a Dutch fellow who owns a trendy clothing company in the Netherlands called Mud Jeans.

Since his website is written in his native tongue, I’ll do my best to translate.

(No, I don’t actually speak Dutch. Fortunately, the grapevine is an English-speaking establishment).

The Lease a Jeans program is designed to help eliminate wasteful clothing production (and wasteful spending).

The gist: instead of owning a pair of jeans indefinitely, you can just keep it for a year before you send it back and move on to something new …

or, at least, new to you.

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Image by C. H. Trotter via Wikimedia Commons

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Cold Weather Cures

Calling all fans of fermented and cultured food! I received an email recently from our 2009 Farmgirl of the Year, Carrie Williams, telling me that her first attempt to create Kombucha was a huge success. That got me to thinking …

Do you savor sauerkraut,

crave kombucha,

yearn for yogurt,

hanker for true sourdough bread?

If so, you’ve probably considered creating your own cultured cuisine.

Maybe you’ve already given it a whirl.

Whether you’ve just begun a foray into fermentation or are itching to try it, lingering March cold weather can prove challenging to the unseasoned culturist.

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Why?

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Are you a hugger?

I’m a Johnny-come-lately hugger. It took me until about 10 years ago to honestly get comfortable with giving random hugs. My reason? I think I was overly worried about the other person and whether or not THEY wanted a hug. (I’ve always been happy to GET a hug.) I suppose I didn’t want to be in someone’s space unless that’s what the person truly wanted. My oldest son (who moved to Japan 13 years ago) came home for a visit with a form of “hug protocol” that solved my hug dilemma. It’s simple enough. He asks! With his new sing-songy accent, he asks in his most charming voice (as he stretches his arms out towards you), “Little love?” Or, “Give me some sugar?” It’s so dang charming. Speaking of charming, here’s the most recent photo of our grandson.

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How about you?

When you see people you love—or even like a whole lot—are you compelled to soak up a moment of closeness?

Well, then, it’s official:

you’re a hugger too.

Ever wondered why?

Well, besides the obvious happiness that happens during a hug, this catching condition is incredibly healthy in a scientific way.

—hugging is good for you.

Like veggies and exercise …

only sweeter and a whole lot easier and cheaper too.

A recent report featured in the Huggington Post (oops—that’s Huffington Post) confirms that hugging has the power to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, improve memory retention, and fight arterial plaque buildup.

That’s my kind of FREE supplement.

Experts believe that the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin are behind the benefits. Oxytocin is the “love hormone” that floods into your brain that helps create the deep bond between mother and child, and the release of all three chemicals is triggered by touch.

A mere 20-second embrace can spur these chemicals into action, and your body starts reaping rewards instantaneously. According to University of Carolina research, women who hug a partner daily had lower blood pressure than those who don’t.

And how about the “hugging saint?” Thousands stand in line for a hug from Indian guru Mata Amritanandamayi, aka the Hugging Saint.

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Waste Not

You probably know that I’m,

well,

somewhat less than

savvy

when it comes to

cyber-stuff.

Techie-talk befogs me (wrong generation, I suppose),

but, my old-fashioned farmgirl radar recently recognized an electronic issue that warrants TUNING IN.

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Photo by Mo Riza (GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0) via Wikimedia Commons

So, this is the problem:

  • Cell phones are generally “locked” to a single carrier company.
  • Until recently, it was legal to “unlock” your phone so that you could use it with another carrier.
  • Then, the Library of Congress made it illegal to unlock a phone via the Digital Millenium Copyright Act  (DMCA).

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Farm Effect

Dirt,

germs,

bacteria,

and pollen …

Are you squirming?

Scratching? Sneezing?

Reaching for the nearest bottle of antibacterial something or other?

Take a big breath (airborne microbes and all),

and nibble on this recent tidbit of news:

A new study has determined that the Amish of northern Indiana, whose day-to-day lives are ensconced in farming, have some of the lowest rates of allergies and asthma in the westernized world.

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Photo by Gadjoboy via Wikimedia Commons

Surprised?

Researchers are calling it the “farm effect,” a phenomenon that is unlikely to shock born-and-raised farmgirls who have known for eons that farming builds hearty constitutions.

Yet another old wives’ tale turns up true? Hmmmmm.

“This [study] would suggest that if you have early life exposure [to allergens], then somehow it drives the immune system away from developing allergies,” says lead author and Indiana allergist Dr. Mark Holbreich. “Large animals are part of it, and the straw bedding animals sleep on … and what [the Amish children] eat, and the fact that their mothers are in the barn when they are pregnant.”

See?

Farmgirl fortitude isn’t just learned, it’s earned.

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Photo by Ilamont via Wikimedia Commons

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