Friday, June 8, 2012

Teaching Gratitude?

Anyone that has ever met Fiona knows that she is one of the most loving, sharing, and thankful children around. I am sure the person that came up with pet rocks must of had a child like her. She thinks rocks make fantastic gifts.

However sweet she may be, I am not sure why I didn't realize that it was bound to happen eventually. The it being ungratefulness. Well, it happened.

Living in our little small town,  book stores are scarce so while on vacation I have been stocking up on some wonderful reading material. The other day I bought her this book:

When we got home I handed it to her and this conversation ensued :
Fiona: Did it come from the kids collection?
Me: Not really, it was in the same location as a few adult books, but it is a children's story.
Fiona: I don't want it. Let's give it to the poor kids.
Me: What? Why?
Fiona: Because it didn't come from the kids collection.

Oh, my! I was crushed, not to mention without words. What in the world was I suppose to say to that? Was I suppose to scold her or take the book.  I was wishing they would have given me a Fiona manual when she was born. But alas, they didn't so I had to wing it.

I let it slide until I collected my thoughts. Later as we sat down to supper I decided the best course of action was the truth so I said:

Fiona, I was very sad when you said you didn't want the book that I bought you. I felt like you had formed an opinion based on where it came from rather than the contents. Secondly, I feel like there are children in this world that not only don't have books they also lack  parents willing to read to them. You both have books and a mother that loves to read to you. So your refusal of the book came across as being ungrateful which made me sad.

She thought about it for a minute but didn't say anything. After supper she said she thought she might like that book and asked if I would read it to her. Then said thank you.

Did I do the right thing? Who knows, and what does it matter. As parents, I think we often put so much pressure on ourselves to do the right thing, be the best parent, not to fail the "super mom" model. However, at the end of the day the right thing is doing the best we can with what we have.  And my advise, which should be taken with a grain of salt, is that when in doubt shoot it to them straight.

Happy Parenting and Happy Eats!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summer Adventures

Next week Fiona, the dog, the cat, and myself are leaving for a summer long adventure. Yes, you read that right, I am taking the dog and the cat...and our bikes, two kitchen knifes, my rolling pin, two 18/10 gauge stainless steel pans, and my stone muffin pan. You never know when you might need to bake up a pan of muffins, roll out a mess of noodles or cut a tomato. :-)

Anyway. I have been on a facebook hiatus so I thought I would update you all here, with news from our wild and wonderful life.

It's been a long hard winter, and I only wish I were talking about the weather. Some of it, I am willing to talk about, most of it I am not. Neither here nor there for the point being that I have stayed the course, and kept on keeping on in the face of much adversity .Now, it's time for a little fun in the sun. (Well, not much sun for my alabaster skin doesn't need any more abuse).

When I look back upon my professional accomplishments of the last year, I almost amaze myself. I coordinated the local food for the Farm Aid concert in Kansas City, I took a group of farmers to Virginia to meet with Polyface Farms, I helped two farmers become certified organic, lessened the farm to fork miles for one of my businesses in Florida by 1500. I met with Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack. I was the guest speaker at many events (at which, and for this I am very proud, was able to remember my own name rather than start with "Hi, my name is Um.") I have written and had published numerous articles about my industry. I have helped my family farm with their quest to make a difference in the world of farming. I have been written about in numerous articles. I have maintained and grown the businesses I already had and opened two additional ones. And the cream to the top, is that I have helped mastermind and implement youth gardens for the homeless and underprivileged as well as put into place a school program to help hungry children have food to eat.

OK, rant over. Bored yet? Thanks for staying with me while I tooted my own horn. There was a reason for it, which was to say this: It all means nothing. Sure, I did some "amazing" things on paper, but that's my job. I love my job, which is probably why I am so good at it, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter. What I truly work for in my life can not be obtained by money, or ego, or awards.

What I want, and what I work for in my life is quality time with those that I love and care about. I spend my days doing great things for others, but that is useless if I don't have time for the ones I love.  It brings me the greatest joy in life to sit down and color a picture with my daughter, or go on a road trip to some random little town with my grandparents. Time is the currency of my life, and I intend to spend it wisely.

Here is the tentative plan.

I have been spending a month delegating responsibilities and downsizing my time commitments to my work. I believe that I have condensed my workload to about 3 intense hours a day. Whew, I feel crazy just typing that. Am I really going to be able to run all these companies and do what I do in three hours a day? Wish me luck with that, I am going to need it. I digress.

We will head to the east coast first, which is where my uncle lives, and will be our "base of operations" for the summer. My intention is for us to go to the beach once, Washington DC to visit old friends and go to the museums, mosey up and down the eastern seaboard, and maybe work in a trip to Canada. Along the way, we will visit with some of my eastern farmers, go to a play or two, have numerous picnics, frequent farmer's markets, and smile until our faces hurt.

It's going to be fabulous. I am especially excited about spending quality time with Fiona. She is hilarious, and I can't wait to hear her take on our adventures.  Speaking of Fiona. Here is what she had to say so far about this trip.

Me: Are you excited to go on vacation?
Fiona: You need to learn the code.
Me: What code?
Fiona: When I talk in a really fast loud voice, it means I am really excited. When I smile really big but don't say anything it means I am a little bit excited. When I don't do anything, it's because you already asked me that question three times, and my voice hurts from being very excited about the SAME THING three times.

Summer adventures, and a battle of the wits. Wish us luck, it's going to be great!!!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Slug in my Kitchen.

Sometimes I wish I had no heart. Really, truly. If I could just muster up the courage to be cold and heartless then I would be able to kill this thing: 
It's a slug. A nasty vile creature that is way to close to snake like for me not to squirm.

It has been living in my garage for months. I discovered it, and freaked. Then, I had words with the dog and the cat about earning their keep. They ignored me. I shut the door on the garage and decided we would live in peace as long as it kept out of my sight.

I told my assistant Ashley about it. She told me I could kill it by dousing it in salt. I contemplated it, but decided I couldn't. It moves slow. I am torn between feeling bad for it, and jumping up and down screaming at the top of my lungs.

Then, this morning at 5 a.m. I noticed it in my KITCHEN. Stupid vile thing. I can't touch it, or get near it (this picture was taken from the other side of my house with a high zoom lens.).

Dog sniffed and walked away from it. All my brothers are either sleeping or have already left for work. What in the world am I going to do? Fiona gets up at 6 and she will either freak or laugh hysterically at me for freaking.

I called my mother. She's a farm girl. She's on her way to fix the problem.

Never a dull moment in my farm town life.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Daikon Cakes

So I made these for a friend of mine and she asked “What kind of meat is in these?” I told her there was none and she says “SHUT UP, NO WAY.” Um, yes way. Supposedly a radish hater, she sends me a text a few days later saying “All I need in my life is some radish cakes.”
So all radish haters unite because you are about to turn a corner in your world of food love.
  • 2 Daikons
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • Seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic…and chili powder if you have it)
  • Butter for frying
  1. Shred daikons and squeeze out excess liquid.
  2. Beat egg and mix with shredded daikon.
  3. Add breadcrumbs and stir together.
  4. Use a heavy hand with seasonings.
  5. Make into patties and fry in a pan coated with butter. (Everything is better in butter).
I melt cheese on the top of them but that’s just how I roll. Michelle Murillo (credit for the picture belongs to her) says you must 1. Grow chives in your front yard. 2. Fry them in hot oil. 3. Pat them dry. 4. Chop them up and add to sour cream to make a wickedly wonderful condiment. Or…you could be lazy like me and serve them with whatever condiment needs to be finished up and out of the refrigerator. ;-)
Cheers and Happy Eats!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Healthy Debate

I posted the following link on my face crack page:

And the following debate ensued. I concur with Health in the sense that I think you should know why you do or do not agree with something. Here are some of our view's about GMO and if they are safe, what trouble they cause, and what can be done about them.

  • Dan Isaacs Just FYI, almost everything you eat has been genetically engineered. it's all been selectively bred. GMO just accelerates the process.

    The issue isn't GMO, it's that Monsanto thinks they can own everything.
    14 hours ago ·
  • Lucinda Clark I think you are confusing hybrid with GMO.
    14 hours ago · · 1
  • Cherie N Kevin Schenker There's a big difference between genetically altering corn and breeding cattle to eliminate a bad temperment or horns for safety reasons. just saying...
    14 hours ago · · 1
  • Dan Isaacs Well, no, there isn't. Its a difference of speed. But the process and concepts are the same. Genetic engineering just accelerates the process.

    I'm not sure why this is a problem, outside of Monsanto's evil business practices.
    14 hours ago ·
  • Lucinda Clark let's get the genetics person involved as his opinion would probably be less biased and more scientific than mine. Heath Aaron Smith can you weigh in your opinion on this?
    14 hours ago · · 1
  • Joseph Ruckman Hybrids can not be bred to generate their own pesticides. GMOs are genetically modified plants which do just that. They are NOT the same.
    14 hours ago ·
  • Dan Isaacs Joe, you could selectively breed specimens that showed resistance. it would just take hundreds of generations to get it right through selective breeding. GE just accelerates the process.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Lucinda Clark Let me first say that my educational level is a GED, and my background is in business. With that said, my understanding is that you are somewhat correct Joseph, but they can be modified to do more than be pesticide residence. The difference between a hybrid and a gmo (in the plant world) is open pollination. Genetically modified is GENERALLY (Although not always) when you take the dna of one species and "inject" it into another. I believe, and again, this is just my understanding and my not be scientifically correct, that you have to "trick" the first organism into accepting the dna from the other. So often times a virus or a protien is used to attach the "second dna" too. This can not be done naturally no matter how much cross breeding or evolution takes place. Therefore, GMO has to be done by a scientist, it can not be done by natural evolution or open pollination cross breeding.
    13 hours ago · · 1
  • Lucinda Clark And yes you could selectively do that Dan. However, that would not be Genetically modified as you are not say, crossing a cow with a fish. However, again, hopefully Heath Aaron Smith will weigh in here, as this is his background.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Joseph Ruckman Dan - Joe is the one who stepped in when Curly & Shemp died. I'm Joseph.

    I'm not talking about resistance. GMO corn actually generates its own pesticide which in turn leaches into the ground and contaminates the water supply.
    13 hours ago · · 1
  • Dan Isaacs My apologies, Joseph.

    It's true, they can do unintended things. They should be tested before they are allowed to be sold. They need to be regulated. But we need a heavily funded FDA to do that.

    Lucinda, you've described the process accurately. Viruses are often used as the mechanism. What I said was that the thing that's happening is the same thing that happens when you selectively breed organisms.

    I think cross-pollination of crops is a concern. The byproducts are a concern (Bt specifically). And Monsanto is a concern. But there is nothing inherently wrong with GMO.

    I would still prefer to eat food that is grown locally with as few pesticides as possible. But I recognize that we can't feed 7,8,9 Billion people without using genetics to accelerate large-scale farming.

    I also recognize that Monsanto operates somewhere beyond the law, and ought not be trusted to do the right thing.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Lucinda Clark I think the other thing is that just because it hypothetically "could" doesn't mean that it would.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Joseph Ruckman I don't trust the FDA to do the right thing either. Monsanto has both parties in their pocket and the FDA gives them free reign regardless of which party is in power.
    13 hours ago · · 1
  • Dan Isaacs Sadly, you're right about the political realities. Though that's not a problem with the science. most of the hysteria around GMO is just that, hysteria.
    13 hours ago ·
  • Heath Aaron Smith Hey guys, I actually totally agree with Dan here. Both on his views of Monsanto, which I have problems with and his views on GMO. I generally would say that GMO foods are as safe as anything else you could eat and maybe more safe if pesticides and hormones aren't being applied. That is really my biggest concern. Golden rice in east and southeast Asia has been genetically modified to include genes from several species to completely incorporate an entirely new biosynthetic pathway to express carotinoids so the children in these countries aren't dying from malnutrition in the hundreds of millions. GMO has saved hundreds of millions of lives to date and if there is a small chance of recombination with an indiginous species (a nearly negligble risk in my opinion) then you would have to weigh the pros and cons. If you are an environmental purist and would choose that over human life then I can't begrudge you too much because I think the human race is fucking this planet pretty hard right now, but I am more of a humanist than that. In the end, from my own experience with genetic research, and what I have learned....I think it's pretty darn reasonably safe. But to each there own. A good debate is never a bad thing as long as people are educated about it. :-)
    43 minutes ago · · 1
  • Dan Isaacs I like you, Heath. :)
    40 minutes ago · · 1
  • Heath Aaron Smith Glad I could join in Dan. :-) Thanks for the invite to the discussion Lucy!
    35 minutes ago · · 1
  • Lucinda Clark My major issue with GMO is not actually health, it is social. Being on the "front lines" of food distribution and how the logistics/ economics of the food chain work, I believe the issue is increasing yield as gmos aim to do. It is economics and logistics. Should a farmer plant an entire acre of tomatoes, where would they sell it? With row crops there is a market, they can take it directly to the elevator. It also stores and transports with a long shelf life. All this is great, BUT the issue is that it would take much less fossil fuel and yield greater nutritional value if that field was indeed planted with tomatoes. The next issue would be, how in the world do we get that tomato to starving people? That's just logistics. However, instead of solving these economic and logistical issues we are throwing GMOs at it as a way to "fix" the hunger crisis. And although, I respect your educated view point that they are safe, there is no actual way to tell what the fall out is until it happens. (Again though, this is not my main concern). Monsanto's practices combined with the fact that we are not focusing on the real issues of food sovereignty. Furthermore, to ask our farmers to plant non gmos without a market in place is to ask them to commit financial suicide, in many situations, as the price of land and inputs increase. Therefore, we are taking away from them their ability to farm as they desire and forcing them to buy into Monsanto crap. The solution? Create a market for food that doesn't have to be modified to eat. Set up the logistics to get it from point a to point b. Shameless plug here, but I know it can be done because that IS what I do with my businesses. But you can't change the world overnight.
  • Lucinda Clark ‎*is NOT increasing yield as gmo's intend to do.
  • Dan Isaacs There are other economic issues as well, Lucinda. namely, the degree to which speculation is tolerated by regulators. Most of the cost increases for commodities is a result of rampant speculation in commodities markets.

    A good book to read:
    Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking Am...See More
    14 minutes ago · · 1 ·