Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Musings #3

Five years have passed and my views on this haven't changed. 

A repost from  Friday, June 11, 2010
Food for Thought
I'm currently reading "In Defence of Food" by Michael Pollan.
This is the page I'm up to:-

"With the rise of industrial agriculture, vast monocultures of a tiny group of plants, most of them cereal grains, have replaced the diversified farms that used to feed us.

A century ago, the typical Iowa farm raised more than a dozen different plant and animal species: cattle, chickens, corn, hogs, apples, hay, oats, potatoes, cherries, wheat, plums, grapes and pears. Now it raises only two: corn and soybeans.

This simplification of the agricultural landscape leads directly to simplification of the diet, which is now to a remarkable extent dominated by--big surprise-- corn and soybeans.

You may not think you eat a lot of corn and soybeans, but you do: 75% of the vegetable oils in your diet come from soy (representing 20% of your daily calories) and more than half of the sweeteners you consume come from corn (representing around 10% of daily calories)."
"Why corn and soy? Because these two plants are among nature's most efficient transformers of sunlight and chemical fertiliser into carbohydrate energy (in the case of corn) and fat and protein (in the case of soy)- if you want to extract the maximum amount of macronutrients from the American farm belt, corn and soy are the crops to plant. (It helps that the government pays farmers to grow corn and soy, subsidising every bushel they produce).

Most of the corn and soy crop winds up in the feed of our food animals (simplifying their diets in unhealthy ways, as we'll see), but much of the rest goes into processed foods.
The business model of the food industry is organised around "adding value" to cheap raw materials; its genius has been to figure out how to break these two big seeds down into their chemical building blocks and then reassemble them in myriad packaged food products.
With the result that today corn contributes 554 calories a day to America's per capita food supply and soy another 257. Add wheat (768 calories), and rice (91) and you can see there isn't a whole lot of room left in the American stomach for any other foods. "

I've been concerned for some time about the number of additives and preservatives in the foods available to us, and I've been reading labels much more carefully and more often than not, choosing to make my own soup or baked goods over the pre-packaged kind

This book is a bit of an eye-opener, the extent of the government input into what should be left to the farmers for the sake of diversity and natural foods is a little upsetting. This book is aimed at exposing the faults in the American diet today, but we all know that governments everywhere value dollars over health.

I can see how this came about; more food was needed more quickly to feed more people who were living longer, but the problems with processed foods have been apparent for years, (according to this book, since the 1950s). I think it's high time governments realised that the health of their peoples is more important than the huge profits they gain, and started reversing this problem. 

It's no coincidence (in my opinion) that we are now seeing so many more cases of allergies and intolerances, adding vitamins and nutrients back into processed foods is not the same as eating whole, unprocessed (or little processed) naturally grown foods. Unfortunately for a lot of us, the processed option is the cheaper option, whole foods are time consuming to cook, organic produce is too expensive for many on low incomes.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Selections # 231

Welcome back to Sunday Selections!

This once-a- week-meme was originally begun by Kim of Frog Ponds Rock, as a way to showcase some of the many photos we all take, but don't get around to showing on our blogs.

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to me, River, somewhere in your post
3. leave me a comment so that I know you've joined in and can come over and see what you've posted.
4. hop on over to Elephant’s Child to see more of her wonderful photos.
  Andrew often joins in too, but he is currently holidaying in the summery northern hemisphere, hopefully taking lots of photos.

I usually go with a theme for my Sunday Selections and this week I'm showing you my garden. again.

I was given this echeveria by neighbour T; it's quite sprawling and floppy, so I've propped it up with my square pot. I broke sections off it and planted them , now I'm waiting for them all to take off. That won't happen until spring, so I've got quite a wait ahead. 

Here is one of the tinier heads that dropped off as I moved the plant into place. I put it in the pot so it wouldn't get lost in the mulch.

And here is one of the bigger sections I broke off to plant.

Spring bulbs are popping up all over, these floppy ones are freesias, the dense patches, back left and right, are the kangaroo paws.

tall Ixias growing inside the windmill frame for support.

Bluebells, the foliage looking right now like miniature clivia.

look who's been following me outside. AngelBoy. I changed my mind about keeping him in, I have him out there when I'm outside, he wanders around and I catch him and bring him back in when I'm going in.
Look at that facial expression, what do you suppose he's thinking? He's a lot happier now and sleeps better at night, which is much better for me too.

Ranunculus; just a small patch, many of the bulbs I stored crumbled away to dust.

grape hyacinth or starflower? we'll have to wait and see.

Anemone, already beginning to bloom; a little blurry as the breeze was blowing.

a second bud already formed.

I have several of these green aeonium cuttings from neighbour T, they're a little droopy as they've just been stuck in the ground and don't yet have a root system for support.

I'm fairly sure these densely filled pots are freesias; as I took this photo I noticed my chickens have 'lost' their feet in the mulch. Well at least they won't blow over in a strong wind.

I don't remember what these are, or if they will flower, I have two of them, also from T.

another large piece off the sprawling echeveria.

My mint, which began so promisingly, is looking very sad. I'll see if it grows again in spring, if not I'll buy a new plant then.

in between this tractor,

and this cat (with the spider-web beard),

is a large empty space, which will be filled in the spring,

with these,

and these,

and these. 
I also have...

six black aeonium cuttings which I will space out between the green ones. 

This time next year, I'm hoping it will all be starting to grow together, filling gaps and looking pretty.
There's even going to be a wide and shallow pot, or two, for the miniature succulents.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Wednesday's Words on a Friday

On Wednesdays, Elephant’s Child has been putting up a selection of six (or twelve) words which is called “Words for Wednesday”.
She had taken over this meme from Delores, who is gradually retiring from the blogging world.

This month the meme continues here, at Drifting Through Life

Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write.  
Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image.   What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.  I would really like it if as many people as possible joined into this fun meme.   
If you are posting on your own blog - let me know so that I, and other participants, can come along and applaud.
I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. battered             and/or:          1. thesis
2. assessing                                2. believed
3. widened                                   3. really
4. credit                                       4. finger
5. collection                                5. game
6. clarity                                      6. flash

Here is my story:

World Power (continued: part one was here last Friday)

After each outing, upon returning to our rooms, I inspected mine carefully, seeing nothing different, but sensing it wasn’t the same as when I’d left it. 

Every room in every building was exactly the same; a bed, hooks holding two spare sets of clothes, a table and chair by the window. Under the window was the food chute, a small spring-loaded door which opened twice a day to dispense a tiny container with two calorie pills each evening and the pills plus a tear-open protein pouch each morning. 
On the wall opposite the bed was a small tiled cubicle in the corner with a shower head, toilet and washbasin, to the right of that a large viewing screen which showed the daily movie choices at precisely 8pm. Two choices would appear on the finger-touch screen, we could select either by tapping the screen or ignore it altogether. When movie time was over, our lights would flash twice, indicating thirty minutes before all lights were turned off for the night. 

Today, when I returned to my room, I didn’t inspect each element immediately, choosing instead to let the scene ‘sink in’. It came to me in an unaccustomed moment of clarity
The clothes! 
I saw in my mind’s eye, the burly man brushing his hand down his clothes as he glanced my way. Now I saw two sets of clothes hanging on the wall to the right of the bed. Each morning we showered and the clothes we’d been wearing were dropped into a hamper for collection and we put on a fresh suit, then left the room. 
My eyes widened with the realisation I had been right to believe someone entered our rooms while they were empty. This was proof, to me at least, that we weren’t the only people living in this complex. There really were others somewhere out there. I gave the burly man a mental credit for pointing this out to me. 

At the next outing, I walked a little closer to the burly man and instead of the quick glance, he gave me a slightly longer, more assessing, look. I took this to mean “had I understood?” and gave the slightest of all possible nods. A tiny mouth twitch as he turned away to continue his walk indicated a pleased smile. We had successfully communicated.

He walked across the grass, away from me and I noticed that he wore a battered old hat as well as carrying a stick. No one else had these things. I concluded he must be the oldest of all the men; perhaps age brought certain privileges. 
I turned away and watched as some of the younger men made a game of their walk, each one stepping in exactly the same spot as the one before him as they walked single file around the single tree in the center of the yard.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thursday Thoughts # 53

from Finger-Lickin' Fifteen, a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich

" The food is surprisingly good, if you like nice greasy chicken, heavily salted gelatinous potatoes, and gravy so thick you could walk across a vat of it. Lula, Grandma and I gave it five stars."

from Plum Spooky, a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich

"What's up?" I asked.
"I'm dying is what's up," Lula said. "I got the flu back. I woke up this morning and I couldn't stop sneezing. And my eyes are all puffy. And I feel like crap."
I pulled Gordo Bollo's file out of my bag. "I'm going to look in on Mr Bollo. According to his file, he works for Greenblat Produce on Water Street."
"I'll go with you," Lula said. "I heard about Greenblat. That's a big fruit distributor. I could get an orange or a grapefruit....while I'm there"

Today's thoughts:

So many people, not just in books or movies, do not eat fruit and vegetables as part of their daily diet. There are probably individual reasons for this; I personally once knew a girl who ate meat and potatoes and not a single other vegetable. 
Yet everyone seems to know that citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C and this helps with colds and flu. 
By why ignore fruit and vegetables until you are ill, then suddenly decide an orange or a grapefruit will make you better?
Any intake of vitamin C will help, of course, but a much better option, in my opinion, would be to eat fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, keeping the body's ratio of vitamin C higher than zero. 
Or whatever your current ratio is. 
This reduces your risk of becoming ill in the first place. Staying well away from other people also helps (*~*).

And here's another thing:
I like to eat things like beef casserole with mashed potatoes, but sometimes I like to take a break from cooking, so I buy a few Lean Cuisine frozen dinners for a week. 
But when reading the ingredients list, I discover that anything of the stew or casserole variety contains red wine as part of the gravy components. 
I tried one once and the taste is far too strong, I simply do not like red wine. 

Being 'diet' foods, either calorie controlled or portion controlled, these frozen meals need something to add flavour, so many of the other varieties have cracked black pepper, or chilli in them. Not so bad, I thought, I could pick out the chilli and leave it on the plate, ditto the cracked pepper bits. 
Huh. Those teeny, tiny pieces are near impossible to scoop out and plenty of them hide in the broccoli, giving a hot surprise when you bit them. 
I like the flavour of chilli and black pepper, but it has a long lasting effect on my Rosacea. My face turns red and I feel like I am burning from the inside. The burning feeling disappears quite quickly, a day or less, but the redness can last almost a week.
So I go back to cooking my own meals. Large pots of spaghetti sauce and big beef casseroles which get served into meal sized containers and frozen. 

On a happier note: has everyone discovered the newest Tim Tam on the market?
Up until now, I haven't been a fan of Tim Tams, finding them much too sweet. Odd when you know I love chocolate.
Anyway, the newest flavour is exclusive to Woolworths (that's a shame, they should be available everywhere) and is called Three Bean.
Described on the packet as 
"a rich combination of coffee bean, vanilla bean and cocoa bean".
I like all of those flavours, so I gave them a try. Boy am I glad I did! these are wonderful. The coffee is just strong enough to offset the sweetness of the rest of the biscuit, which makes them thoroughly delightful. 
Finally, a Tim Tam I can enjoy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Words for Wednesday

On Wednesdays,  Elephant's Child has been putting up a selection of six (or twelve) words which is called “Words for Wednesday”.
She had taken over this meme from Delores, who is gradually retiring from the blogging world.

This month the meme continues here, at Drifting through Life.

Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write.   

Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.  I would really like it if as many people as possible joined into this fun meme.  If you are posting on your own blog - let me know so that I, and other participants, can come along and applaud.

This week's words are:
1. battered
2. assessing
3. widened
4. credit
5. collection
6. clarity


1. thesis
2. believed
3. really
4. finger
5. game
6. flash