2017: the Year of the Distractions

I've been mentally writing and rewriting posts for the past month and a half. I'm stuck in my mind on the current shape of politics. I want to write, I want to speak out for my beliefs, yet I still have no words. One day I will have the words, one day I will put them all here.

I understand politics and what is a business-based site will have an effect. I will talk about that, too, I'm sure.

In the meantime, we're working on some big projects. Let me distract you with our distractions.

We've demolished one of the full baths, combined it with the closet from the master bedroom, and are figuring out a plan to redo the bath on a moderate budget. (Ideas abound, continue to be pinned.)  We also bought a vintage camper at a great deal. We've named him Major Tom (....here am I sitting in a tin can...) As is usually the case, the work is more extensive than we'd thought, but hey! Why not 2 major projects all at once? It is, after all, 2017: the Year of the Distractions.

I'd be remiss without mentioning the significance of Martin Luther King Jr Day (today). I was going to put a quote or some sort of image with his words here. I don't think it's fair to distill his work (and so many others) to a Pinterest worthy spectacle. Instead, take a moment to read the lengthy summary of Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 

Apparently the works-in-progress are far more pervasive than a bathroom redo.

Simply Put

Today my heart aches for my beautiful state. Yesterday a constitutional amendment was passed that limits marriage in vaguely defined terms.
"Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."
The implications from this are huge, but more than anything I feel ashamed to  be "privileged" by marriage. Without getting into personal views or furthering hateful speech towards anyone of any belief, simply putting this issue up for vote has blurred the already illegible lines between church and state.

Paloma's Nest tile for the inclusive.

Follow Up Politics

Good news! The NWF and Scotts have called it splitsville, which is especially good because all the facebook and twitter urging/activism I was doing was making me feel a bit obsessive. I was just *so* disappointed in them. 

The thing is, though, Scotts MiracleGro will continue to try "owning" the profitable realm of organics. While their corporate friend Monsanto will continue to "buy" rights to plants.

Even if you aren't wary of GMOs, we risk losing the resulting joy of simply pushing a seed into the ground to watch it flourish.

Farmers should be able to sue Monsanto, not just vice versa.
Monsanto is more than represented in the FDA. And another, similar petition here.

down wind of chemical stench

My lengthy dislike for Scotts MiracleGro products started when I was just getting interested in gardening. Scotts was suing TerraCycle for using green and yellow on their packaging, though I never really believed that was all it was about. Perhaps a small start up company with a great idea for reused packaging and simple organic ingredients was putting a hurting on a major corporation's profits. Whatever it was, Scotts image seemed like the popular football star stuffing a nerdy kid in a locker.

Companies like Scotts promote chemical use in the garden, persistent chemicals that perpetuate reliance for gigantic yields and "weed-free" gardens. They promote the idea that a singular plant (grass) is the only acceptable basis of a beautiful, lush yard. A single variety plant space, such as a weed free lawn, is known as a monocrop, and a monocrop's lack of diversity can create all sorts of issues that need other synthetic products to resolve.

I won't get into the many uses of weeds...well maybe for just a second--some of those weeds might replace your prescription medicine, others could be pulled up and used to make an organic plant food, yet others simply feed the wildlife in your yard. Perhaps if the critters had natural forage they wouldn't go after your tomatoes and you wouldn't need that Scotts brand pesticide after all.

The more I learn about gardening, the more I learn that popular kid in the green and gold uniform had a few unsavory secrets. Enter stage left: Monsanto, wealthy, smooth-talking hip best friend to Scotts. Monsanto's own GMO-tainted politics does nothing to endear me to Scotts. 

To put my feelings into perspective, let's talk about something most people have some level of concern about: the honeybees. We've all heard about the rapid decline of bee populations and what will happen if they keep mysteriously dying. Bees an accessible environmental issue: less bees, less pollination, less productive crops, less food, higher food prices, food shortages...you get the idea. Scotts sells all sorts of weed killer monocrop the hell out of your yard. Make it all grass, get rid of that nasty clover...that nasty clover that bees find so useful as a source of food. Yeah, food, that little thing that keeps us all alive. Of course, Scotts' BFF Monsanto, the company that sues farmers whose crops have accidentally cross-pollinated with Monsanto GMO crops. The GMO crops that may or may not contribute to the decline of bee populations, certainly contributing to the loss of monarch butterfly populations (another handy insect that pollinates plants).

And then the National Wildlife Federation announced its partnership with Scotts. Frankly I took the news personally. I felt like an old friend went and made out with the dude that used to tease me every day about being flat-chested. Betrayal.

How do you feel about the partnership? Care, don't care, wish I'd saved my breath for some pretty furniture and lovely pictures?

* * *

You Grow Girl and Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens discuss the new partnership on their blogs.

Gardening Chit Chat

My oldest brother reminded me that it's a good time to pick up some soil sample kits from our local cooperative extension office. Consider this an annual PSA: send off soil samples now, so when the ground thaws you'll know what you need in order to balance your soil nutrients!

Those of you in Mecklenburg County can pick up soil sample kits at these fine locations.

While discussing gardening, I read a few articles on the topic yesterday:
Poisonous food and how agricultural chemicals hurt people at every point in the growing process.
Seeds, who owns them and what you can do with them.

Both articles strengthen my resolve to produce more of our own food this year. If you're new to gardening and interested in a super easy way to get started in filling your belly with homegrown goodness, check out Biophilia {images from Biophilia's site}. 

Biophilia is Danielle, a NC-based permaculture designer. Her shop makes it easy to jump right into a more sustainable lifestyle through gardening and producing your own healthy food.