Friday, March 28, 2014

Boise Spring Unfolding

Days have continued to grow longer and we have been blessed with some good, soaking rains.  The combination of the two is working wonders in my gardens.   Here is what I have right now:

I love these vibrant fuchsia azaleas.  I have two big shrubs, each nearly five feet tall.  They are just beginning to open up and will be the highlight of my back yard for the next week or two.

I'm already beginning to wonder if I was out of my mind to plant Bishop's Weed.  It truly is invasive.  However, it is doing exactly what I wanted - completely filling in an area where not much else was growing.  It has pretty leaves and grows so densely it chokes out everything else - even the weeds.   I just have to do some take-no-prisoners trimming back a couple times each summer to be sure it does not spread to the areas where I don't want it.  For now, I'm really enjoying it.  But I have quite a big patch from having just planted a few sprigs I got from a neighbor.  This is truly a Borg of a plant, trying to take over my yard.  They say it is great for public spaces or yards of people who want something that looks nice even though they can't get out to do any work in it.  I'm counting on this baby to be my serious ground cover when I get to old and infirm to keep up with the maintenance I do now.

My Bleeding Hearts are coming along nicely.   I had to move one because we are getting ready to take down two 50 foot pine trees and I didn't want to risk it getting smashed.  But it seems to be doing well in its new home.  All the ones I have right now are the pink variety.  I'd like to get a couple white ones to add to them this year - especially if I follow through on my ambition to plant a moon garden.

I've had my big yellow daffodils blooming for a while now, but this week I've started to see a few other varieties appearing.

My Pulmonaria is starting to put out its multi color blossoms.  I love this plant and look forward to it every spring.  I have a whole chain of them that circle one of the few pine trees we are keeping.  

I planted these white Scilla just last year and wasn't sure how many of them would survive the squirrels.  I've been very pleased to see groupings of them popping up in all sorts of places.  

This sweet forsythia has been moved three times as I keep renegotiating the layout of my gardens.  I think I've finally found a spot for it to stay.  I need to keep in mind that although it's only a couple feet tall right now, over the next few years this thing will grow taller than the fence if I let it.  I am trying to keep an eye to the future as I decide which plants to introduce and where to put them.

My hyacinth bulbs are pushing out fat buds and will soon be opening to full color.

Another shade lover is my Brunnera  I have a couple different varieties.  I like the variegated ones with the lovely white stripes on the leaves, but this Jack Frost is always lovely as well.

Week by week I enjoy watching different things emerge and learning about each plant.  I am reminded of walks I used to take with my grandmother on the ranch in Oak Creek (Arizona).  She could name every single thing that grew on their property - even the weeds.  I admit I am not as enthusiastic come summer when days turn hot and my gardens compete with other interests.  But in the spring time there is simply no other place I would rather be.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Movie Review - Robot and Frank

Robot and Frank   is an intriguing film,  funny and sad all at the same time.  Frank Langella portrays an aging man with memory loss who in his younger days was a jewel thief.   When it becomes clear that Frank is not doing well at meeting his daily needs, his adult son, Hunter, (James Marsden) gets his father a robot butler to help out. The robot tries to get Frank to work on a garden, suggesting Frank needs structure and that a project will help improve Frank's cognitive ability.  Frank has other ideas, enlisting his new robot friend to help him in a jewel heist.  There's a great trailer clip of it here.

The relationship between Frank and the robot is the heart of this story...but the subtext is clear, without beating the viewer over the head.  What is the responsibility of families for those who face the personality crippling disorder of dementia?   In what ways might technology help ease the burden of caring for this rapidly growing population?

Susan Sarandon does a great job as the local librarian who has a special relationship with Frank. Liv Tyler has a supporting role as the daughter.   The disconnect and disagreement between the son and the daughter in this film was played lightly, but in real life those sorts of tensions can play hell in families.

The movie was very worth's one I would not mind seeing again.

The bigger context, however, is one I only wish we could all escape.  We can't.

In a national study, "the prevalence of dementia among individuals aged 71 and older was 13.9%, comprising abut 3.4 million individuals in the USA in 2002".

How our whole culture addresses the need for care for the many millions of people who will face this is yet to be adequately addressed.  Another report claims that one in three older adults die with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

As our population continues to live longer, how we deal with this growing problem will define who we are as individuals, families and as a nation.

Mahatma Ghandi (and several others) have been quoted as saying a nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.  Sadly, when dementia robs you of someone you love but leaves a shell of that person behind who still needs care, it is no longer a matter of esoteric philosophy or even public policy.  Deciding what you can and cannot do on a day to day basis to be there for that person can be one of the most brutal life experiences possible.

While technology may provide some innovative assistance to how we address the demands of caregiving,  no robot will ever be able to fully take away the sting.

March Color

Earlier in the week I was off to Spokane to do a presentation at the NW Regional Rural Health Conference, so I'm a couple days late on this week's flower report.

As expected, new things are waking up all over the place and those that had begun last week are moving right along.  I have several spots where daffodil are blooming and the allium is getting tall.

The Dianthus is just beginning to wake up, with promise of rich color to be covering it soon.

The Berginia Cordifolia  (left) - also known as "Pig Squeek"is showing color as is the white Rock Cress.  I have some other colors of Rock Cress, but they are a bit further behind.

I absolutely love the sharp, brilliant color of green of new leaves that trees around town are starting to show.  I've recently started using a Pedometer to challenge myself  to be more more excuses about my job keeping me in front of a computer or in meetings.  This body was designed to MOVE so I'm determined to increase my distance each week.  As I go out on my breaks and at lunch, or take longer walks after work, I'm seeing new life pop up everywhere.

Without question, I love Boise in the spring.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book Review - Robinson Crusoe

                                                           (Image of Defoe from Wikipedia)

I just finished listening to the unabridged original version of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe.  It was an amazing story - with so much more depth than I ever knew.   As a child I read the Junior Scholastic version.  Years later I read a similar edition to my grandson.  I thought I knew the story well.  It was only when I read the full unabridged original story as the author intended it that I came to understand it better.

Robinson Crusoe is so much more than an adventure story.  In many ways, it is a deeply religious book. There are many passages throughout the book where Crusoe wrestles with the concept of providence and whether things have happened in his life due to chance or the hand of God.  There is all kind of symbolism and several important themes throughout the novel.

There are also passages about his adventures after his rescue from the island that I have no memory of having been included in the abbreviated children's versions I had sampled the harrowing scene where he and his traveling companions are attacked by wolves in the snowy mountains during their trek to Calaiwhere he plans to take a ship to Dover.

I learned a new word as I was reading the book.....  DeFoe repeatedly uses the expression videlicet, a lovely old English word that I suppose was more common when the book was written (1719).

There have been several movies made of this classic tale including the following:

1997 version,
screenplay by Christopher Loften,
starring Pierce Brosnan.

Opening Scene  HERE

( I LIKE the looks of Sean Conner with long hair in Medicine Man, but this former Bond guy loses his appeal with the shaggy mane)

                            1964 version

                        Starring Robert Hoffman
                           See it HERE


                                                               1954 Version
                                                 starring Dan O'Herlihy

                                                               See it  Here

I have not yet watched the older version, although I may sometime soon.  I was curious about the opening of the 1997 version with Brosnan - that whole duel scene and the woman he wants to wed but can't since her family is rich and his is not....completely made up and has nothing to do with the book.

But then....considering the fact that I've recently read/listened to some old James Bond novels and realized how very little they follow Ian Flemming's original works, I should not be surprised.

Bottom line - I very much enjoyed the BOOK Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe.  Over 200 years later, it's still a captivating read.  The movies?   Dunno... my jury is still out there.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Movie Review - Gravity (Spoiler Alert)

                                                         (Photo credit:  Screen Rant)

This afternoon I watched the film Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Even though there were some scenes of decent acting and some very impressive technical  aspects of the movie, it just wasn't my cup of tea.  I'll get to my reasons for that in a minute.   The first beef I have, however, has less to do with the movie itself than many of the comments and reviews I've seen about it.  I keep hearing this film described as a sci-fi movie. In my mind, it is NOT in any way shape or form science fiction.  Yes, there is a lot of science.  Yes, it is a fictional drama.  That does not make it science fiction.

According to,

 "Science fiction is a genre of fiction in which the stories often tell about science and
technology of the future. It is important to note that science fiction has a relationship with
the principles of science—these stories involve partially true-partially fictitious laws or theories
of science. It should not be completely unbelievable, because it then ventures in to the genre
  The plot creates situations different from those of both the present day and the
known past. Science fiction texts also include a human element, explaining what effect new
discoveries, happenings and scientific developments will have on us in the future.”

The technology depicted in this movie is absolutely possible today.  Some scripts have to do
with hospitals  and/or medical community.  Some are cop shows.  Some are college life.  This
happens to be a drama that unfolds in space.  That does not make it sci fi.

That detail aside, I just didn't like the movie that much.   At first I thought what put me off
about  it was that  the bulk of the movie is carried by Bullock with no interplay with any other
actors.  George Clooney's part is relatively brief.  Some people just don't like her style of
acting.  I actually do.  Still, I do generally prefer movies with more interaction between charac-
ters. But then I started thinking about the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks.  That movie dealt
with an individual in  a life threatening situation where one actor carried the main story.
 I REALLY liked that movie.

Here's where I see the main differences...Castaway takes more time building character
development.  The experience of that movie goes on over a long period of time and we
see a wide range of emotions as Hank's character, Chuck Nolan, has to deal both physically
 and emotionally with surviving on the island where he gets  marooned.  Also it closes with
several scenes that explore the impact that experience had on him when he  returns to his old
life. In Gravity the time of the events is very short, so the main focus in on adrenaline charged
emergency with less nuance.  Sure, there is a scene where Bullock's character more or less
comes to terms with things - but it's a flash in the pan compared to Castaway.
Also, this movie does not give us any information at all about how her life  is when she returns.  
That was a big disappointment to me.  We can speculate, but they don't show us at all.

As with a lot of 3-D movies, a big piece of the movie seemed to be to set up scenarios where
various objects  could come zooming toward the camera.  Special effects can be an enhance-
ment to the film, but in my way of thinking if they become the dominant focus the movie suffers.

I did like some of the cinematography.  Some nice photos of space.  Also, I liked the
interplay between Clooney and Bullock during the short time they have together on screen.
But overall, I was just not satisfied with this movie.  It may have won a bunch of awards and
gotten great reviews.  It did not make my hit list.

First outing of the season....

I've been fighting a nasty sinus infection and seriously considered just flying the couch today.  But it was just too nice a day not to be outside.  So this afternoon my beloved and I headed out to Eagle Island State Park with our son and his family to walk the dogs, play with the kids and catch a few fish.   It felt good to be out in the sun.  We didn't stay terribly long, but it was just enough to stretch our legs, build some memories, and feel blessed to have at least some of our family here in Idaho now.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bountiful Basket - Week 2

This is what I got in this week's Bountiful Basket:

1 pineapple
7 bananas
7 pears
9 apples
6 tomatoes

(I did a report on tomatoes in elementary school.  That's when I discovered tomatoes are actually a fruit, not a vegetable.)

5 # sack of potatoes
2 more spaghetti squash
7 Anaheim chilies

I was happy with just about everything except the spaghetti squash.  I gave away last week's squash.
Then I went to check out the BountifulBasket Blog  and found they have a yummy looking recipe for stir fry using the stuff.  The ONLY way I have ever made it is just plain baked, and frankly, it's not that impressive.
Seeing a new way to try it has me actually looking forward to using what we got this time.   I really like it that the blog shows all sorts of recipes for using the stuff we will get.

Here is some info about the food that we are getting from a recent BB email:

" High Quality, Low Cost and As Local as Possible… So, how hard do we try? Pretty hard! Most bananas are from Central America or the Caribbean and are grown by a couple gargantuan conglomerate growers. We get all of our bananas from small farmers in central Mexico. This saves the co-op between $4 and $7 a box, keeps money with small farmers, and helps keep the carbon footprint small."

Will I sometimes get stuff in my basket that I would not have chosen to buy?  Yep.  That happens. But I still like supporting this effort, and I believe I'm getting a good value for my money.   I am looking forward to getting more involved in the co-op by showing up earlier to help with the unloading and set up.  It's as much about building community as buying produce. Also, it challenges me to get out of my food rut and try some  new things.  All in all I'm very pleased with our participation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring Unfolding

Things are coming alive all over the place:  While I always get knocked for a loop when the time changes for daylight savings time, I'm very much enjoying the extra daylight when I get home form work.  It's always a treat t take a walk through the gardens and see what's coming up, what's budding out, what's starting to bloom.

And of course, my beloved is enjoying that the fish are biting...  today he caught 6 in about 45 minutes at the pond 2 miles from our house.

We love spring!

Book Review - QUIET

I am currently reading the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  This is an incredibly powerful book.   The content is important, but that can be said of a lot of books.  What impresses me the most is that it is so well written that it is a delicious read as well as being very informative.

Cain balances descriptions of research with stories from the lives of well known and not-so-well known people across the country (and throughout history) to illustrate her key points.  Our culture of personality that gives the gold stars to the well spoken is missing out by underestimating the contribution that the quieter part of our population has to give.

Reading this book has helped me understand some of the people I work with and some of the people I love in whole new ways.  It is changing my management style as I become more mindful of giving some of the folks on my team an opportunity to share their views away from the crowd of our big quarterly meetings.  It is changing how I approach my friendships and may deepen my ability to savor my own seasons of quiet.

I'm about a third of the way through the book right now.  I may have more to say about it when I'm all the way done.  But for now, I give it four stars.  The only thing that makes me hold back that fifth star is that I'm accustomed to reading nonfiction that has notations throughout.   This book does not.  Some might call that a strength because it is less distracting to the reader, and in Cain's defense there is a strong notes section in the back of the book.  Still,  I'm a believer in noting every paraphrase and attributing the original source within the context of the writing.  Picky, I know, but it helps me as a reader to be a more critical thinker to be able to consider the source of a given statement or point of view.

Still, even without that, I'm very impressed by this book.  It's some of the best nonfiction I have read in years.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy Feet!

I have a long history of struggling with shoes that hurt my feet.   I am not one of those women who wear stiletto heels or pointy toed monstrosities.   I am truly baffled when I see people pay big money for things like this

But even when I try to buy sensible footwear, I have a really hard time finding anything that fits well.  I have big feet. (Depending on the brand I may wear 10, 10 1/2 or 11).  Many stores carry only very limited selection of shoes in the larger sizes and some don't have them at all.   For years it has seemed like there was a rule against having anything that was both cute and comfortable.  Mostly I live in my Sketchers.  Sometimes I'm in Birkenstock. But when I have important meetings or go to church I wear dresses.  Finding shoes I can wear with dresses has been the bane of my existence.

Until now.  Last week my good pal and I were on a mission to find me some shoes to wear to a professional conference I have coming up where I will be presenting before an audience.  I know my stuff, and the focus really should be on what I am saying more than what I look like, but let's get real.  People are going to be staring at me and I don't want to be wearing stupid clunky shoes.  But I also know I'm going to be on my feel a lot, so I just can't wear something that rubs, pinches, slips, or crowds my toes no matter how good they look. 

So I went in search of a suitable compromise.  I needed something that felt good and looked acceptable for this gig.  I did not have high hopes.  But wonder of wonders, I found something that will absolutely work:  These are NaturalSoul by Naturalizer, Clover wide swingback sandals.  Size 10.  I wore these Sunday to church and then again today when I had a couple important meetings.  I was pretty happy with them Sunday, but today I really put them to the test.  At each of my meetings I had a ways to walk to get to where I needed to be.  In one case that was several blocks.  My feet never hurt once.


Some women have different shoes to go with various outfits.  I'm just so dang grateful to find something that fits me well and feels good while still looking socially acceptable that I am ready to buy four pair of this exact same shoe so when one pair wears out I'll have back ups.  I'm not risking them getting discontinued.  Besides, I truly hate shoe shopping.  These work for me.  So they will be what I wear any time I am in a dress.   (I do have some white shoes and some red shoes that I will still OCCASIONALLY put on... but these are my new go-to shoes.)

It feels so good to have happy feet!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Online Gardening Courses - Who Knew?

I feel a little silly to be arriving so late to the party.   I had no idea that there were so many online courses in gardening available, both academic and otherwise.

I've been teaching various sociology courses online for several different community colleges (one in Oregon, two in Washington, and now here in Idaho)  over the past fifteen to twenty years.  I'm well acquainted with the concept of creating engaging learning experiences in the virtual world.  I'm a strong supporter of using web based tools to overcome problems of time and distance that would otherwise prevent someone from getting the education they want.   I just never have encountered this being applied to gardening.

As I was perusing a few different garden websites and blogs this afternoon I came across My Garden School,  a business in England that offers all sorts of horticulture courses.

That prompted me to look a bit closer to home.  First I found something from Better Homes and Gardens,  but when I dug a little deeper I found that was really something produced by Craftsy.
For thirty bucks you get 14 "lessons".   However, these are archived videos with no live interaction or feedback from the instructor at all.   HMMM....  that does not sound like a "class" to me.  I can buy gardening books (or check them out from my local library) and search YouTube for videos on how to grow stuff.   To me education has as much to do with the relationship between the teacher and learner as it does with the quality of the content.

Besides, if I wanted canned classes,  there are some great things available on various gardening topics from free from universities with good reputations.

Hoping to find something with a bit more student -to - instructor interaction led me to the offerings at Universal Class.  These are more expensive, but in my mind you get what you pay for.  Here you get instructor led classes.  I really like their business model.  You can pay anywhere from $45 to $70 for an individual class that you have six months to finish at your own pace,  Or pay $189.00 for a yearly subscription and take any course you want, as many courses as you want (over 500 to choose from).

Here's what I'm thinking....   we just cancelled our Direct TV which we decided was not something we wanted anymore.  We had been paying about $70 per month for a whole lot of channels we seldom watched.  Now we just have Netflix and watch a few shows online.    For less than the cost of  three months worth of TV that sucked all the goodness out of my brain,  I could now get a year long subscription to all sorts of cool classes.   I would still be looking at a screen, but instead of being passively entertained with the same old TV dramas I could be learning new skills, developing talents, widening my horizons....   That may be well worth considering at some point.  But the truth is, right now I don't want to be sitting inside staring at a screen any more than I have to. 

I want to be out digging in the dirt.

So I kept looking to see what else the world wide web might have to offer:

Oregon State University offers an online Master Gardener Program 

And then for totally self directed learners there are just all kinds of cool garden planning tools and general info about growing stuff.

So yes, I am aching to get out in the gardens and begin turning soil and planning new plant arrangements.  But since I live in the growing zone that I do  (6b),  I still have some cool, rainy days and chances of frost to get through before true spring arrives.   Nice to know that while I am biding my time before my serious garden gets started there are all sorts of resources I can make use of while I'm warm and snug here in the house.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

I was looking back over my earlier posts and noticed I had omitted writing about a particular exchange I had while I was in Washington DC for meetings.  This is something I want to remember always, which is my main reason for posting things here.

As I walked from my hotel over to the Senate Office Building to do some advocacy work, I noticed a gentleman working diligently in one of the White House flower beds.   Anyone who knows me at all knows I'm a total sucker for flowers and gardens.  After having spent a whole lot of time sitting in windowless meetings, the idea of having a job spent outside surrounded by beauty seemed utterly enchanting to me.

I sighed deeply, taking in the full, rich scent of the plants and the earth, and said to the man..."Boy, do I wish I had YOUR job."  He looked at me somewhat bewildered and replied:  "Not today you don't, lady.   I'm here to dig out poison ivy!"

Oh my.

This was just a little reminder that things are not always what they seem. 

We can look at someone else's situation and think they have it so much better than we do.  But without having actually walked in their shoes, we never really know what challenges they face.

I also have a little shell that sits on my desk as a reminder of that same lesson:

Things are not always as they appear.

When my two son (who are now in their late 30's) were just little boys, we spent one winter living in a lovely beach house  in Florida, just three blocks from the ocean.  We spent many days going for walks along the water's edge, playing in the waves and picking up shells and bits of sea glass that we would find along the way.  One day I had found some particularly nice looking little shells to add to my collection.  So, as was my habit, I took them home and boiled them for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria they might be harboring so they would not stink.  Then I set them on a paper  towel on the counter to cool and dry.

I went about my business of the day doing the various chores and errands I had in my then busy young life.  When I returned to my kitchen that evening, one of my favorite shells was missing from the collection I had so carefully set aside.

I called my two little boys in and confronted them, feeling quite convinced that one or the other of them had probably taken it.   Both kiddos insisted they had not touched Mommy's special shells.  I was angry, more so because I believed one or both was being dishonest with me than because of the loss of the shell.  I knew there would be plenty more where that one had come from.  But it was the principle of the matter.  When I asked them a question I expected them to tell me the truth.  There was no one in the house that day but me and them.   I knew I had not moved it.  So the obvious answer was that one of them MUST have taken it.

I scolded them both, insisting "Look, something had to happen to that shell.  There is no way that it just got up and walked away by itself!"

And because the universe has such a wickedly delicious sense of humor....those very words were just out of my mouth when I spied my very special shell.  On the floor.  Walking away.  By itself.

Yeah.  Even though I had BOILED the thing for ten full minutes, somehow whatever critter had been living in that shell was STILL in that shell and was trying to escape.  Yikes!

Now, the kind thing to do might have been to apologize to that little sea creature for dumping it in hot water.  Perhaps I should have returned it to the sea.  But I didn't.  Instead, I apologized profusely to my two little boys and told them Mommy had made a mistake.  I showed them the shell walking across the floor of our kitchen and we had a delightful conversation about how sea creatures lived. 

I kept that shell and have it here still to remind me not to be so quick to make assumptions.  Even when all the evidence before my eyes seems absolutely obvious that a certain set of facts is true, I need to keep my mind open to the possibility that there is more to the story than I know.

Super healthy, but is it super yummy? Jury still out.

I just drank down my breakfast - a hearty Kale-Pineapple smoothie.  I was not impressed.

I know that kale packs a punch with nutrients.  But seriously, eating healthy should be something to savor, not to endure.  I found it a bit too bitter for my taste.

I have had kale chips in at a fancy reception that I  thought were positively yummy.  But those were baked in a convection oven, which I don't have.  When I tried to make them in my regular oven, they didn't come out all that great.  I also tried making them in my dehydrator.  I made the mistake of adding seasoning which pretty much made them nasty.

So I have on more thing to try before I give up on kale.  Just found this recipe online HERE at

Kale & Potato HashServe as a side with steak or pork chops, or set a poached egg on top for a hearty breakfast or brunch. When preparing kale for this recipe, remove tough ribs, tear kale as directed, then wash it, allowing some water to cling to leaves. This moisture helps steam the kale during the first stages of cooking.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 35 minutes

Ingredients8 cups torn kale leaves (about 1/2 large bunch)
2 tablespoons horseradish
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked shredded potatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation 1. Place kale in a large microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, and finely chop.

2. Mix horseradish, shallot, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add chopped kale and potatoes; stir to combine.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add kale mixture, spread into an even layer, and cook, stirring every 3-4 minutes and returning mixture to an even layer, until potatoes begin to turn golden brown and crisp, 12-15 minutes total.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
240 calories
12 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono)
0 mg cholesterol
30 g carbohydrate
6 g protein
5 g fiber
651 mg potassium
244 mg sodium

One more note - unless you know you are getting your kale organic it is very important to rinse it thoroughly.  This is one of the vegetables that has been found to harbor pesticide residue - so be wary.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bountiful Basket

We just picked up our first Bountiful Basket.I'm pretty happy with what we got.

Just in case you are not familiar with the whole Bountiful Basket Food Co-Op (BBFC)  experience, here is a bit of info from their website:

BBFC is a group of people who work together for mutual benefit. This is a grassroots, all volunteer, no contracts, no catch co-operative. Since there are no employees at Bountiful Baskets, we as a group pay rock bottom prices on your food. This also means the co-op would not happen without volunteers. If you are interested in the co-op continuing, please volunteer occasionally. All it takes is a little time, energy and a smile. Volunteer opportunities include helping prepare the baskets, breaking down boxes, assisting with the distribution, and packing up. To help out, simply arrive an hour early dressed and ready to work with water to drink.
One last little thing… To quote a press release that a local City put out to encourage residents to consider participating, “Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op is a participatory experience. Participants all save a substantial amount of money on healthy food. In exchange there are no employees to guide participants through the experience.” Please read the contents of the FAQ and Policies before emailing us. All the information necessary to participate is available on the website.

Bountiful Basket programs are available all across the country.  My sister got her basket of yummies last week in Colorado.

This is what we got: this week:

     1 bunch of kale
     1 head of cauliflower
     1 celery
     2 bunches of asparagus
     6 Anaheim green chilies
     1 jicama
     2 Spaghetti Squash

     4 Tangelos
     6 Cameo apples
     2 Asian pears
     3 Grapefruit
     9 Green d 'Anjou pears

I'm pleased with both the variety of the selection and the amount of stuff we got.  It would be nice to be eating more locally grown produce, but since this is only the first week of March, I get it that some of this stuff came to us from Mexico.  It will be interesting to see how the balance of near and far food stuffs plays out as the growing season progresses.

I would not have purchased the spaghetti squash, since I still have a basket full from my own garden in storage.  Also, sadly, neither Larry nor I can eat the grapefruit.  We LOVE grapefruit, but alas, since we both take statin drugs to control cholesterol grapefruit in not allowed.

While some studies suggest moderate amounts of grapefruit are ok, there is no clear consensus.  So I have just accepted the idea that as long as I'm taking lovastatin, I will not eat grapefruit.  That makes me kinda sad, because I do miss it.  Besides, my favorite home remedy for hiccoughs is to concentrate on a grapefruit for 2 minutes.  Imagine the smell, the taste, the look of it. Every single time, it makes the hiccoughs go away. I don't know why it works, but it does.  Except I have not eaten grapefruit in so long that the last time I had a bad case of the hiccoughs I could not for the life of me imagine one.  So maybe I'll just hold one, deeply smell it, gaze on it's sweet flesh, run my tongue across it once or twice to remind myself of the taste, and then say goodbye.  At least that should help me with my next case of hiccoughs, even if I don't get to make fresh juice.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting Healthy

I am taking steps to improve my health - trying to be more mindful of what I eat and how much I move.  I am NOT on a "diet".  I am hoping to make some permanent changes in what I take into my body and what I choose not to.

This was my breakfast today:

1/2 avocado

Smoothie made from 1 cup vanilla Silk Almond Milk
fresh beet greens

It was SOOO much yummier than I had anticipated!

I really like fresh beets so we'll have them with our fish for dinner tonight.   Greens n the morning, beets at night.
Who could ask for more?


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Boise Springtime - Waking Up

Today was an absolutely GORGEOUS almost spring day in Boise, ID.  After several days of rain, today we had mild temperatures (nearly 60) and beautiful blue skies.  The days are getting longer and the ground is warming up.  All we needed was that moisture for my yard to begin to wake up.

  Here is what's going on out there right now:

CROCUS:   Always the first thing to bloom in my yard - they open up during the day and then close again in the evening.  They are such cheerful, resilient little flowers.

I've got lots of Allium and daffodils popping up in spots here and there

TULIPS are scattered here and there and everywhere.  Some are in clumps among bushes.  Some are in tidy rows.  Some peek out between other things and some have whole areas to themselves.  Last year I got a bunch of bulbs for the LDS Temple here in Boise.  They redo their flower beds every year so on the Monday after Mother's Day they generally have a bunch ready to give away.   I have no idea which varieties these bulbs were, so I'll have some nice surprises along with my usual standards.

My sedum  is perking up as is the money plant (lunaria)   I had purple money plant established for the past couple years but last year I introduced some white to go with it so I am anxious to see how that does.

Of course my Pussy Willow tree is covered in catkins

True spring is still  around the corner, but for me as soon as the days get nice enough to pick up a rake and begin working the yard I start feeling light hearted.  I take the dog for longer walks and savor every minute of the lengthening days.  My sweet husband, on the other hand, has a different definition of what spring means to him:

He caught this beauty this morning along with  five of its friends down at Kleiner Park, less than five miles from our house.  Not quite the same as going out to the more remote lakes or rivers, but still very good eating and great that he can spend a couple hours at a pretty spot so conveniently.

Happy almost Spring!