McOrganic

“What?!” you say.

It’s true.

McDonald’s is going organic!

The fast-food giant is jumping on a healthier bandwagon these days … replacing sodas on its Happy Meal menu boards with juice and milk; adding apple slices, Go-GURT and Cuties Clementines to its menu; printing fun nutrition facts on its Happy Meal boxes; testing healthy salads with ingredients like kale and quinoa; and unveiling plans to phase out antibiotics in its chicken products and source only cage-free eggs.

And this month, McDonald’s debuted its first hamburger made entirely with organic beef at over 1,500 locations in Germany. The “McB” burger makes a test run through October and November, sporting Lollo Bionda lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onion rings, Edam cheese and sauce in addition to the organic patty. Later in the month, the same locations will test a  “Long McB” burger—organic beef, arugula, Maasdam cheese, red onion rings, tomatoes, and spicy sauce on a sunflower seed bun.

Long McB, McDonalds

McBetter!

 

Boston Hits an Organic Home Run

The Boston Red Sox hit one out of the park.

But this home run wasn’t hit on the well-known diamond at the oldest baseball stadium in the country, Boston’s Fenway Park, which my daughter and her family just happened to visit last summer.

Think higher. The next time you watch a Red Sox pop fly soar high into the sky, take a gander at the stadium rooftop. That’s where Fenway Park’s new urban garden grows. Fenway Farms made its debut this summer, sporting 5,000 sq. ft. of garden rows that will produce more than 4,000 lbs of organic produce each year. The produce will be used at Fenway Park’s concession stands and restaurants during events, and also provide tools to educate local kids about healthy eating and environmental stewardship, giving the term “farm team” a whole new meaning.

photo, greencitygrowers.com

Talk about a grand slam!

corn mazes

Ever wonder where the first corn maze was grown?

Photo by Hugho226 via Wikimedia Commons

Well, if you hadn’t, you are now.

So, let me fill you in …

Walkable mazes are as old as the early Greeks, but they were generally made of stone until the Victorian era, when “puzzle hedges,” like the gardens at Hampton Court Palace, became all the rage in Europe.

Photo by NotFromUtrecht via Wikimedia Commons

The corn maze was America’s agrarian version of the labyrinth: cheaper to build and a whole lot faster than stone walls, plus it’s easier to groom (or not groom) than those darn hedges.

Now, can you guess when the first corn maze was created?

If you’re thinking centuries ago, think again. I was surprised to learn that the landmark date was 1993.

Surprising, right?

But sources-in-the-know say it’s so:

“The weather is cool and the leaves are falling, and in Central Pennsylvania, the corn stalks are drying in the field. This time of year is perfect to get lost in a corn maze, a unique attraction that originated at Lebanon Valley College in 1993,” reports the Lebanon Valley College (and they should know, no?). “In the early 1990s, Midwest farmers were struggling to recover from severe flooding, which ruined many crops, including corn. LVC alumnus and Disney World producer Don Frantz and then-student Joanne Marx had a plan to do something about it: build a corn maze, charge admission, and contribute the proceeds to the Red Cross to aid the disaster victims.”

How cool is that? Apparently, Frantz was intrigued by European hedge mazes that were designed to fit in a backyard or terrace, and it struck him that such attractions hadn’t caught on in the U.S. So, he contacted England’s eminent maze maker, Adrian Fisher of Minotaur Designs, and they conspired to craft the quintessentially American corn maze.

The first maze was 3.3 acres in size and boasted 1.92 pathway miles in the shape of a dinosaur (a stegosaurus, to be exact, confirms my astute granddaughter).

You can check out a small picture of it here (the only photo I could find of the very first corn maze—go figure).

Find a corn maze near you at Corn Mazes America.

Tree Down

I’m remodeling …

my farm.

I’ve learned to avoid deadlines whenever possible, so I’m remodeling my farm for …

however long it takes. I must say, re-doing my B&B is a kick in the pants. I’m lovin’ that part. I didn’t love all the digging associated with new underground sewer/water/electricity. Mud mounds abound-ed!! One of the changes I had to make that was a tad sad was a 120-year-old pine tree that was rotten in the center and needed to go.

tree_9141

 

tree_9128

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The end result? Lots of firewood.

the sum of your parts

The next time you doubt your ability to tackle a daunting task, stop to consider the sum of your positively powerful parts.

Photo by Christopher Michel via Wikimedia Commons

What the heck am I talking about?

Well, in case you didn’t know …

  • Your body is made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms! That’s a whole lot, considering there are only 300,000,000,000 (300 billion) stars in the galaxy.
  • Your atoms—all 7 octillion of them—formed during the “Big Bang,” 13.7 billion years ago.
  • Your hair, if braided, could support several tons.
  • Your blood vessels, stretched into one strand, could circumnavigate the planet about two and a half times.
  • Your belly button contains thousands of (healthy!) bacteria,  creating an ecosystem that rivals a rainforest (follow the link to get the dirt on that one).
  • Your smokin’ hot body (tee-hee) gives off enough heat in a half hour to bring a gallon of water to boil.
  • Your blood travels 12,000 miles around your body in a single day.
  • Your body produces 25 million new cells each second, so every 13 seconds, you make more cells than the population of the U.S.
  • You’ve been told you have a heart of gold. Well, your heart IS made of gold. Sort of. You have 0.2 milligrams of gold in your body, most of which is coursing through your blood, which travels through your heart … you get the idea.
  • Your skin is bioluminescent—it actually glows in the dark! Our eyes aren’t strong enough to see the glow, but it’s there, girl, it’s there.

Photo by ServiceComDigne via Wikimedia Commons

And that’s not even counting your creative spirit, which is capable of moving mountains.

Peppy Partners

Photo by Alex.der.2 via Wikimedia Commons

Running, playing, dipping and dodging …

High-energy dogs look like a lot of fun in photos and dog-food commercials, but when it comes to family life, many owners find they just can’t keep up with constant canine craziness. As a result, a whole lot of peppy pups end up homeless. A chosen few are lucky enough to become “conservation dogs.” But what about others?

Happily, the “performance dog gear” aficionados at Ruffwear recently realized the potential for perfect partnerships between active people and energetic dogs. Ruffwear partnered up with the national no-kill shelter advocates at Best Friends Animal Society to launch the Ruff Adventure Dog Adoption Service. Ruffwear will contribute $50,000 to the effort to cover adoption and travel fees for dogs adopted from Best Friends’ sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, to their new homes anywhere in the U.S.

“Ruffwear customers are adventure-loving, outdoor-oriented folks who believe dogs make the best running, paddling, hiking, and camping partners,” explains Bark, the dog-culture magazine. “Many of the adoptable dogs at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary are also fresh air-seeking, high-energy individuals who would LOVE to find an outdoor adventure partner for life. Throughout the year, Ruffwear will be highlighting a few hand-selected dogs and playing match-maker between these active dogs and Ruffwear fans looking for their new best furry friend.”

If you’re an adventurous gal looking for a perfect “out there” partner, this might be the opportunity to find a new friend …

pumpkin planter

OMG

In this case, I mean, “Oh, marvelous gourd!”

Photo by Eranb via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, I’m talking about the pumpkin (it is October, after all).

Yeah, yeah

You’re no doubt wondering what more can be said.

Been there, carved that.

Painted that.

Embellished that.

Baked that.

But, my dear, I ask you, “Have you planted that?”

(You roll your eyes—of course, you’ve planted pumpkins, too.)

But that’s not what I mean.

I guess I should ask, “Have you planted IN that?”

Ah-ha!

I thought not.

That’s why I must share this wonderful video tutorial I found from Westwood Gardens in northwest Arkansas:

Now, go on and check THAT one off your list.

Photos? Post ’em on the Farmgirl Chatroom.

 

Recycle your what??

Here’s an idea I bet you’ve never considered …

Bra recycling.

Photo, circa 1900, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, so maybe you’re not a big bra wearer (no pun intended)—lots of farmgirls are going without these days—but I’ll bet that most of you have some old wire-rimmed contraptions laying around at the bottom of a drawer somewhere.

Am I right?

Well, if so, Kathleen Kirkwood wants them. Of course, she wants the ones without wires, too—stretch, lace, cami, padded, training, but no gel or water cups, please.

Wait a minute … what?

Intimate apparel designer and QVC maven Kathleen Kirkwood wants your used bras.

Seriously.

The thing is, Kathleen knows bras. Like, lots of bras. She has been designing them, in one form or another, since the early ’80s. But a few years ago, as she was handling a huge shipment of bras from Hong Kong, she had one of those light-bulb moments.

“I thought, we have to start recycling bras,” she recounted to Mother Nature Network. “Let me go back to New York and find a company that does this. I’ll put it on my hang tags so I can be this super-cool designer. But lo and behold, there was nothing going on.”

The more she researched, the more she felt compelled to fill this gaping niche.

According to MNN, “Some 500 million bras—made of toxic materials such as polyurethane foam, which off-gases dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and doesn’t biodegrade for centuries—are tossed into U.S. landfills each year or are incinerated.”

Long story short, Kathleen got ‘er done. In 2010, she founded B.R.A. (Bra Recycling Agency), which transforms old bras into—you’ll never guess this one—red-carpet cushioning.

I’ll let Kathleen show and tell you in her original “test pilot” recycling video …

Now you can say you learned something new today. Find out more about B.R.A. (including Bra Recycling e-Kits) at BraRecyclingAgency.com.