Taking a day off.

Shhhh.  Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve been playing a little hookie.




I hope you can tell, but this was a nice sized cat fish.  I caught two this size one after the other.  The rest of the day their grandbabies were the only ones willing to sacrafic their lives for our enjoyment.

After I got back from fishing, I checked on the garden and saw the peas are starting to flower.  Here’s a picture I took yesterday.


Granny:  See the X…(playing theme from the Twilight Zone)

Everything’s doing pretty good in the “hoop house.”  I’ll post about it this weekend. 

After watering the garden, a task I felt compelled to do, I was 30 minutes late for the Southeast Gardeners Meeting.  When I walked in they were in the middle of a discussion.  Of course they were.  It’s a meeting.  Anyway, Dina, the moderator/leader, said they were going around the room asking what each person needed for their gardens and what they had to offer.  I had a senior moment.  Duh.  My genius answer was enthusiasm for gardening.  I’m sure they were looking for something more tangible, but it was the best I could come up with.

Greg Bratton and his friend Walter gave a summary of what they learned at their workshop on hoop houses at Growing Power in Milwaukee.  Sounds like one of the most important things they learned is not to put the plastic on on a windy day because they were almost airborne when a strong wind came along. 

They also talked about the circulating system that’s at Growing Power which has a tank that’s used to raise Talapia and Lake Perch.  The water is circulated in a continuous loop fom the fish tank up to plants that are watered with the fish water which is a natural fertilizer.  The video gives you a synopsis of what Growing Power is all about.

Will Allen is the founder of Growing Power.  Mr. Allen won a $500,000 Genius Grant from the MacAuthur Foundation for, among other things, his creative pursuits.  Hey, anybody want to be a creative farmer? 

Gregory was really impressed with the fish tank setup and said they ran into a guy that has developed an in-home version that will allow you to raise fish meat and vegetable plants for a fraction of the cost of a commercial version.

We also had at the meeting Sarah Carlson.  Sarah is a college student filming a documentary.  It’s called The Whole Health Project.


The current system of healthcare in the US is in crisis, and fails to relieve many of the contemporary illnesses plaguing people. This leaves many dependent on food and healthcare systems that fail to meet their needs.  In search of relief and armed with the guidance of peers, online resources, and the historical legacy of America’s relationship to the land, many  seek a healing path that leads us to a more direct relationship between ourselves and the food we consume, the environment we live in, and the communities we are a part of.”

Sarah was also at the Green Summit and got a lot of footage for her film.

Lastly, what meeting is complete without parting gifts?  One of the gardeners (please forgive me, I’m terrible with names) brought some wood ash to share with us and, of course, free seeds.

Happy Gardening!!!






10th Ward Green Summit

This post was all prepared for publishing Sunday, but…what can I say.  I forgot to post it. So, let’s pretend it’s Sunday, May 10.

Yesterday I attended the 10th Ward Green Summit:  “Second annual event offering local residents information on green, eco-friendly and healthy initiatives designed to enhance the community’s quality of life and promote economic development.”

Alderman John A. Pope was there.100_0104


Neil Bosanko from the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce was there.100_0106


The young lady on the left was the keynote speaker,  Naomi Davis from Blacks In Green.100_0111

Here they’re getting ready to cut the ribbon on “Steel Millie,”  a 25 cents per ride trolly  that provides transportation through a four-mile area with the goal being “to keep retail dollars in the community by bringing shoppers to the shopping district.” 

It was nice.  They had live entertainment.100_0116

They had a live singer too (sorry, I didn’t get her picture, but I thought she was pretty good),  workshops, tours on the trolly, a health fair, a bike tour, arts and crafts with recyclables, corn husk doll making, and much, much more.

Freebies galore:  The representatives from the Citizen’s Utility Board gave away energy efficient fluorescent bulbs and surge protectors, a rep from Jackson Hewitt gave away coffee thermoses, free pine tree saplings were given out, resuable shopping bags, just to name a few.  They even fed us lunch.

I was there because Gregory Bratton asked me to help out Dinah Rameriz, the Coalition Coordinator from Healthy South Chicago.  

Here’s Stephanie, the other volunteer and Dinah.100_0113

What Dinah did was made salsa and gave away samples.  One of the focuses of Healthy South Chicago is making healthy food choices, and the salsa is made with nopales which lowers blood sugar and blood pressure. 

The salsa was really, really good.  So good, in fact, that Dinah got invited to appear on Cookin’ wit’ Tittle by LaDonna Tittle.  Cookin’ wit’ Tittle can be seen on CAN TV every Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday at 2 p.m. 

Here’s Dinah and LaDonna Tittle talking about the salsa.100_0118

Well, Dinah was saying that the salsa was good and everybody says she should bottle it.  Maybe this is step one.

Happy Gardening Green Healthy Living!!!

Gee, I Guess I’ve Gone a little Green

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Carbon Footprint The other day my youngest son made a special point of asking me if I knew what happened at Washington Mutual. I assured him that unless he had more than $100,000 in that one bank he didn’t have to worry because of the FDIC. Then he commented on the economy and how hard it was going to be for people. I told him that people will just have to not spend every penny they get, save for emergencies and live with spending less. Then he made the comment, “Yeah, but you get used to certain luxuries.”

I had an epiphany, not necessarily about the economy, but about the ecology and the way we live. I realized that over this past year my fundamental belief system about my personal impact on and responsibility to our environment has been altered, and it all began with compost. There’s something about the circle of growing the seed that makes the plant that makes the fruit/vegetable that makes the scrap that goes into the compost pile that makes the compost that’s used as the fertilizer that goes back into the ground to grow the seed to make the plant and so on, and so on, and so on. It gives you an appreciation for the circle of life.  I don’t ever want to go without the “luxury” of shelter, running water, electricity or gas, but some luxuries equal wastefulness which equals negative impact on the environment.

I’ve slowly made changes in the way I live to help lessen my carbon footprint on the world. While reading about composting I was better able to understand and assimilate the information about what pesticides and chemicals do to our environment , which is something that can be avoided by using organic pesticides and fertilizers. I’m very proud of the fact that except for the two applications in March, I ditched my Miracle Grow, which I have sworn by for years and used only compost and bone meal to fertilize my plants this year. I am now more cognizant of the fact that the vegetables I buy from the store come to me with a layer of poison on them if they weren’t grown organically. And that makes you think more about the animals and the hormones and antibiotics that they are fed that make their way through the food chain to us mere humans. Everything I consume now I think about the potential toxins I’m exposing myself to.

I found compact fluorescent bulbs at the dollar store and bought $50 worth (split them with my mother-in-law) and swapped out every light that I could. Now, to be honest, if I hadn’t found them for $1 I’m not sure I would have bought so many, but I feel like I’m doing my part. I can’t say I’ve actually seen a big drop in my electric bill, but that could also be due to older appliances running the bill up.

I did splurge when the washer went out and got a front loader which is supposed to use less water than top loaders and it is Energy Star compliant.

I wash dishes the old fashioned way, but I’m more aware of the wasted water. Now I don’t let the water run the entire time I’m washing the dishes so that I don’t waste so much water. 

I make a special effort to turn off lights when I leave the room to not only lower my bill, but to lower the overall power demand. If the power demand is lower, the pollutants caused to generate the power at the power company goes down.

When you grow a few of your own vegetables or buy locally grown vegetables you help lessen the carbon footprint associated with importing vegetables, such as the cost of fuel and the vehicle emissions.

Living green is a cost effective way to live. When you reuse and recycle you save dollars and cents. When you walk instead of ride you exercise your body. When you ride public transportation you stop emissions from polluting the air. If everybody did their little part the world would be a better place.

One of my future green projects is to get rid of the front lawn and plant edibles and perennials, which will lessen water usage. I just have to plan it where it’s aesthetically pleasing.

Happy Gardening!!!