Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Break for Action

Before getting started on the day's moving-related tasks, I took a few minutes to fill out some post cards that the Massachusetts chapter of the Sierra Club sent to me yesterday. I'll send the cards to my representative in the state house and senate letting them know that I oppose the fare hike currently being considered for Boston's subway and bus system. Among other things, the proposed increase would increase subway fares from $1.25 to $1.70. More information on the fare increase can be found here. With the prospects of peak oil and global warming upon us, we need to do all we can to promote public transportation.

The post cards remind state legislators of a couple of key facts:

(1) "With gas prices high we should be doing all we can to encourage people to use fuel efficient transit, not setting up more economic roadblocks for riders."

(2) "There is a real concern that fare hikes without additional state assistance is not enough. We are seeing a downward spiral of reduced revenues that lead to higher fares that lead to reduced ridership that lead to reduced revenues requiring higher fares."

If you're in Massachusetts and you want to let your legislators know that you oppose these fare hikes, you can send postcards, find out about MBTA hearings, and email the MBTA from the Sierra Club's site here. If you're elsewhere, finding out more about what you can do to support public transportation in your local area is worth your time.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Refrigerator Soup

I took a break from packing today to try to use up some of the food in the fridge, pantry, and freezer. I hope to waste as little food as possible in the move, but it's hard to be creative in the kitchen while stepping around half-packed boxes blocking just about everything. In the spirit of my sister-in-law, who makes delightful soups from what's on hand that she calls "refrigerator soups", I threw together this impromptu lunch. As always with my cooking (and especially with this soup), measurements are approximate at best.

Packing Soup

Saute one onion and two sliced carrots in olive oil over medium heat. Add peppers (I had some frozen orange, red and yellow peppers), and season liberally with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and a dash of turmeric. I also added some dried sea veggies for salty goodness. Toss in a cubed potato. Add 1/3 c. green split peas, 1/3 c. yellow split peas, 1/3 c. red lentils and 1/2 c. bulghur. Stir in a can of coconut milk and about two cans worth of water. (Of course, stock would be better, but the theme here is use what you have.) Add some frozen spinach, and give it all a stir. Simmer for an hour.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Local Flavors

Check out this post for an elegantly simple explanation of why it's so crucial and delicious to eat sustainably. Well-said!

Sun. Period.

I should be wrapping my wine glasses in newspaper (procured for free from the local co-op supermarket) and packing them gently in wine boxes (also free, from the local liquor store) because we're moving next Wednesday! But today is the first day in about ten days that the sun is shining in New England, and we just had to get outside to soak it up. There's nothing like a hardy dose of nature sprinkled with a romping dog, a cooing baby in her jogging stroller, a husband gazing at orioles and warblers through his binoculars, and blooming lilacs to get the blood flowing. It cleary was not a waste of time. But now that we're home and the Bean is napping and the husband is pouring over Sibley's, I really ought to return to packing. We head to a temporary apartment for a month before closing on our house at the end of June. Last night, I spent a few minutes surfing local harvest while enjoying a glass of wine (hey, I am supposed to be enjoying this time before my new job starts, right?). I'm so excited about all of the local food possibilities close to our new home. There are farms with sustainably raised poultry (for the hubby), free-range organic eggs, and plenty of farmers' markets. We really hope to be able to participate in one of those farmers' markets in the future. In the meantime, it's so exciting to scout out great local food options and dream about our garden plans. We're also rereading This Organic Life for some inspiration. In between getting our vitamin D fix while we can.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mission Accomplished

We bought a house this weekend! We flew down to PA on Friday evening and returned tonight having signed a purchase agreement for our first home. I'm exhausted from the travel and mental energy flow, but I'm also happy and excited about the lovely home and 1.8 acres. A nice bonus: the sellers are gardeners who are relocating and there's a three-year old asparagus bed, some raspberry, blueberry and currant bushes and some rhubarb growing. Our heads are spinning with the possibilities!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

One Down, One to Go

Life moves along full steam ahead. I long for things to get settled for our family so that I can get back to the daily stuff that makes a life. In the meantime, we're working hard to get the pieces to fall into place on the two big decisions: job and home. The good news is that I've accepted a job that seems like a really good fit for me. I start on May 30th, so we'll be making the move to Pennsylvania by then. The bad news is that we don't know where we'll be living. This housebuying stuff in another state is quite taxing! We thought that we had found a great place to set down some roots, grow a little food, and raise the Bean for awhile. In a bizarre stroke of fate, the former owners of the house swooped in at the last minute and made an all-cash offer for the place that we just couldn't (or wouldn't) compete with. We've spent a lot of time telling ourselves that it wasn't meant to be. We jet off again tomorrow afternoon to spend the weekend pouring ourselves into a renewed house hunting effort. We don't want to rush things, but we also want to be in a position to act quickly if the right place is presented to us.

In the meantime, I'm desperately in need of some good reading material that will take my mind off of these Life Decisions. Suggestions?