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Archive for the ‘Healthy Living’ Category

I thought you might like a look at our garden this year. It is about 50 feet wide and 120 feet long. Things are growing pretty well. Here you can see the whole garden with a couple of the kids hard at work. We have a 30-minute weeding ‘party’ every morning Monday through Friday to keep things in line. It really helps to get out there on a regular basis– and to have a lot of people to help with the work.

You can see cabbage on the left. The two rows of tiny plants are peppers, both sweet and hot. Then there are our obligatory 100 tomato plants, and a good sized corn patch. The corn is almost too tall to step over, which is good because that also means it is getting close to the stage where it is obviously winning over the weeds, and we can content ourselves with weeding only the edges of the patch where we can get to them.

Here is a picture of one of our grape vines. It is a Concord grape that is growing at one end of the garden and stretches further down the fence every year. That one plant is probably covering 30 feet of fence this year. Good thing– we ran out of jelly this winter, and I am hoping to make a LOT more this year.

The apples (above) and the plums (below) are looking wonderful this year. I sprayed the apples a couple weeks ago and need to do it again soon. I try to spray about every 3 weeks during the summer. Most of our garden is organic, but there’s no such thing as a good organic apple. Plums, on the other hand, are fine without spray.

Below is one of the two volunteer zucchinis. It has a couple of zucchinis on already, tiny 3 inch long babies that will probably be perfect by the end of the week.

The cabbage is looking wonderful. Probably within a week I’ll be picking the first one.

I didn’t get pictures of our strawberries or our chard, both of which we’ve already been eating. Later this week I’ll be sharing a recipe using that chard. But for now I am headed off to bed!

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120 tomato plants, being transplanted by my hubby from seed packs into yogurt containers.

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I have a friend named Erin whose family looks a lot like mine: a mix of adopted African and Asian kids along with several kids born to her. One difference, however, is that two of her precious Ethiopian children, Belane and Solomon, are HIV+. She asked readers of her blog to share these facts about HIV with two other people. Maybe some of you will consider passing on this information as well.

Today I have heard from several different parents of HIV+ children who are facing negative reactions to their adoptions based on the stigma and ignorance surrounding HIV. It is extremely frustrating to me that in 2008 there is still so much unfounded fear caused by a lack of education, that results in nasty, ugly and mean treatment of people who are HIV+ and their families. The reason people in the U.S. are not educated about HIV is that most people don’t care, because most people in this country are not affected by it. People still see it as the problem of homosexuals, drug users and people in Africa.

The reality is, HIV/AIDS is everyone’s problem. It is a devastating problem in Africa and many countries, but there are many, many Americans living with this disease as well. In fact, new cases of HIV in the U.S. are now being seen in the largest numbers in heterosexual women. HIV/AIDS is a HUMAN problem.

Living with this nasty disease is hard enough, but compounding that with the misguided fear and judgment of society is beyond tragic, and as the mom of two HIV+ children, it is sad and frustrating.

So, if you are one of the many who check in to this blog every day, I am asking you to do me a favor. I want you to tell at least two people about HIV.

Spread the word that…

– HIV can NOT be spread through causal/household contact.

HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other causal way.

It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).

– HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives.

– People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do.

If anyone wants more info on transmission, there is great info on the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/transmission.htm

Help me spread the truth about HIV, and take a tiny stab at the stigma against HIV. Tell your friend when you talk on the phone. Tell your spouse. Tell your parents. Post it on your blog and ask other people to tell their readers. Ask them to pass it on as well. I would love to see this spread beyond the adoption blogs.

Even if you have no real interest in HIV/AIDS, even if you are not involved in adoption, even if you don’t think you know anyone who is HIV+… education and knowledge are always a good thing. It is so easy to say to someone, “hey, guess what I learned today?” and it is even easier to put it on a blog or in an email.Do it for me. Do it for the other adoptive families and the HIV+ orphans that are waiting for homes. Do it for Belane and Solomon. Do it for all of the other people on this planet living with HIV. If everyone that reads this blog tells at least two people, that is a whole bunch of people we can reach and a little bit of difference we can make.

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Apple basket- day 5

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…awash….

I’m awash in produce this week- tomatoes and apples and peppers of every size and color and heat. SO far I’ve canned 92 quarts of tomatoes and 11 pints of salsa and enough pickles that there will probably leftovers a year from now. There’s a heap of tomatoes on the counter that will be ripe enough to make more salsa on Thursday– hopefully that will use most of the hot peppers too.

We got about five bushels of apples this year, I think. A far cry from the dozen or so bushels last year, and yet more than enough to overload my fridge and leave me wondering where I’ll put them all. Today I managed to squeeze in half an hour between homeschooling and taking the kids swimming to sort the apples.

Probably 2/3 of the apples were perfect or nearly so. I used those to stuff two drawers in the fridge, layered more with newspaper in two boxes in the pantry, and left the rest in a laundry basket in the corner of the kitchen. I told the kids they could get an apple whenever they wanted one, as long as they eat what they take and don’t leave cores on the floor. I am curious how long it will take them to eat a whole basketfull. I suspect maybe 10 days….they’re really nice Jonagold apples, and our kids all like fruit.

I’ll be making applesauce or canning spiced apple-rings with the apples that are a dinged up or bird-nibbled. I was tearingly busy all day– too busy to do sauce. But after supper I sat in the living room for awhile and peeled and trimmed some of the apples that needed to be used soonest. Now as I write I am listening to the applesauce simmer….and am hoping I can find space in the fridge for the sauce once it is done. Our fridge is so full!

Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the grapes. Weve been eating lots of Red Flames in the past couple weeks, but now the Concords are getting ripe. I plan to make grape jelly with those, lots of it this year, since last year we ran out way too early and it was a big hit. I just don’t know when. We already took one day off this week to process vegetables. Home Ec, our piano teacher said I should call it. But still, I don’t want to miss too much school….

It is a little overwhelming to be looking at all the work involved in caring for this food, but I am very grateful to have it. A few weeks ago we spent two mornings filling one shelf in the freezer with sweet corn. We’d also been eating corn 4 days a week for a couple weeks. At that point I kind of got tired of dealing with corn, and so we left the remaining corn on the stalks in the garden.

Thankfully this year we have a cow, so nothing is going to waste. We’ve been bringing him a dozen or so corn stalks every day, and he eats them down to almost nothing. I have been loving having a cow….every day the children bring him scraps from canning and processing– tomatoe tops and carrot tops and apple cores and tough cabbage leaves. I love the feeling that nothing is wasted.

However I am deliberately NOT looking that cow in the eyes very often. Attachment is not a good thing when it comes to beef cows.

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No lumps, no cancer?

Don’t miss this post over at Toddler Planet. And tell your friends about it too.

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You decide.

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