Sunday, October 30, 2011


Needs or Wants
The past few months have been a lesson in learning to prioritize our priorities.  When Dave was furloughed from his job at the beginning of the summer, he was told that it was going to be for a few days until they could get the next project started.  Then it turned into a month, then two, three.  The company he has been working for finally called him back to work after an almost 4 month furlough.  Because we didn’t anticipate such a long time of unemployment, we weren’t prepared like we should have been.  As the weeks dragged on, we started to have to make some choices we normally don't make.  At first they were easy choices…canceling that scheduled vacation.  No more buying that new {insert magical sparkly item full of whimsy and wonder}.  Skipping going out to eat on Saturday night and eating in.  All those thing were just wants and it's not like we were suffering.  We know that 99% of this country is experiencing some effect of this bad economy.  At least we still have a roof over our head. 

Then the choices started to get harder.  Do we pay the car payment and I call in sick to work because I can’t afford the gas get there or do we risk getting behind on the car payment and I get gas and go into work because I am one of the lucky ones to have a good job and I don’t want to jeopardize it?  Do we pay credit card bills or buy groceries?    Which bill should we pay first?  The 60 day late credit card or the water bill because we just got a 48 hour shut off notice.  Questions that you never want to answer, because no matter what the answer, you are always left with a knot your stomach and tears in your eyes.  Dave always reminds me that "It's only money, we can make more."  Money is one of the main thing that destroys marriages.  We have always vowed that money would never be a source of conflict in our relationship.  As long as we love each other, that's all that matters.  We will figure the rest out together.  

When we were making those difficult decisions, one thing we decided that we would not compromise on is our food.  Because of various health problems I have, including being gluten intolerant, we have learned the importance of eating a healthy diet.  Since we have embraced a healthier way of eating, including eating almost strictly organic produce, we have noticed a dramatic improvement in our health, and many of the problems that have been plaguing me for years have begun to vanish.  Just because we were facing financial hardships, we will not eat 10-cent ramen packets full of MSG and sodium.  We will not eat frozen 2 for $1 pot pies full of half a days calories and ingredient lists full of artificial preservatives and additives.  We will not eat cheap food void of any nutritional value just because it’s cheap and we are hungry.  We will eat food because it’s wholesome and nourishing to our bodies.  We will choose to make the investment in our health today and improve our risks of developing health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer leading to astronomical medical bills in the future. 

One of my new favorite ways to make sure I’m getting plenty of nutrients found in fruits and vegetables is juicing.  One glass of juice gives me more energy than a Rockstar, and I feel great, which for me is a rarity.  I use my Jack LaLanne Juicer.  If that guy lived to be almost 100, juice must be pretty good for you.   Lately, this is my favorite juice combo. 

  •         Carrots
  •     Apples
  •     Spinach
  •         Red Grapes
  •     Cucumber

 Place washed, but not peeled ingredients in the juicer.  Serve immediately, or chill and drink within a few hours of juicing. 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Beginnings

Every morning before work and every evening when I arrive home, I check on my garden. On the weekends, I find myself checking up on it a few times a day or just standing at the back door staring at the plants. It’s kind of an obsession. Since I’ve become a homeowner, I’ve come to resent the time and money spent in yard care. For what? Green grass that I’m very allergic to and can’t enjoy? Trees that make me sneeze uncontrollably? We should get something in return, darn it. Make our plants work for us.

When we decided to move to a new house last winter, I begged Dave to have a garden. He was very skeptical at first because I tend to have grandiose ideas and abandon them after a couple weeks when I get bored or distracted by a new, shinier idea. But now that we had a home with full sunlight all day long, I decided it was time to start our garden (and for him to do most of the hard work).
Dave hard at work...see how happy he is?!?!

Luckily Sasha is great supervisor/inspector.

We had to take out all the ugly bushes that came with the house.
But we had some good helpers.

This is our second year having a vegetable garden, but our first fall/winter garden. We’ve had so much fun with our summer gardens, we decided to take on the challenge of cool weather gardening. We are very lucky to live in Northern California where we have very mild winters that rarely dip below freezing, allowing us to grow a variety of cool weather crops.
After doing some reading and chatting with some “experts”, I discovered that many of the winter veggies are best planted from seed. So different from going to the nursery in the springtime, picking out the right plants, and sticking it in the ground, and immediately watching it grow. Seeds are so blah. You stick it in the dirt and wait. And wait. And wait. And then you wait some more. And I'm the least patient people in the world, I want to see results NOW. So for the first week after planting, I went out there morning and night and looked at dirt. And bare dirt makes me sad. Then one day, in the early morning, I saw a tiny little sprout, barely sticking up out of the ground. I really hoped it wasn’t a weed. By the time, I got home from work, there were dozens of tiny sprouts popping up all over the place.

Now a couple weeks later, the sprouts are turning into tiny little plants, growing bigger every day. In a couple weeks, we will be harvesting our first radishes of the season. I'm so very excited!

And I'm very glad that Sheriff Daisy will be there to guard them.