Sunday, February 17, 2008

The dormant phase

It's been over a year since the first post at Fuller & Fuller. During that time, we've planted, harvested, cooked many loaves of bread and batches of seitan in the solar oven, and realized that despite all that, our hopes for the ranch are different. Probably too different. I had hoped for a triumph of complementarity, but Fuller & Fuller has failed R. Buckminster's test.

It's been almost a year and half that I've lived here, hoping, walking the mesa, strolling to work. My focus has been forced beyond the perimeter of the ranch. My "home" is becoming smaller than it's ever been, and because of that, more expansive. I expected to be embraced by this house, but as it's pushed me out I've been reminded of larger connections to the ocean and the mountains. The world is out there, greening and patient.

Winter's empty beds, imagining the fall harvest.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So excited!

This headline from the San Francisco Chronicle was like an early Christmas gift:

Batboy key to report, breakthrough for Mitchell

Alas, turns out they're not talking about Batboy after all... just baseball. Now, so disappointed...

Turns out I'm not the only one. Shocking News from the North Pole: More and more Americans, even kids, don't get the satisfaction they expect from their Christmas gifts. Turns out that when Mommy takes a second job to buy the kids matching mini-Hummers, it really doesn't improve life that much...

In an innovative strategy combining No Child Left Behind with unprecedented Corporate subsidies, Americans can substitute time, care, and attention with imported Chinese stuff for a Low Low Introductory Credit Rates. Now more than ever, good parents—and good patriots—spend, spend, spend!

Or DON'T. Please don't. End of sermon by Reverend Whackamole. I'll yield the pulpit to Reverend Billy, from the Church of Stop Shopping. Today's reading from the Book of Visa: "What Would Jesus Buy?"

God bless us, every one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The No Impact Year is over, but the holidays are just beginning

At least for No Impact Man, Colin Beavan, who marks the end of his one year experiment today. I learned about the No Impact experiment in spring. From his blog:
The rationale for the project was this:

(lower negative impact) + (higher positive impact) = no net impact

This, of course, has no real basis in science but it was meant to make rational-sounding a more philosophical question. Could I and my family, for at least this one year, do more good than harm?

Over the year, we reduced to zero or as darn close to zero as we could:

* Our trash (we produced almost none)
* Carbon emissions associated with growing our food (we ate local, seasonal, unprocessed, vegetarian)
* Use of transportation dependent on fossil fuels (we rode bikes, push-scootered and walked)
* Consumption of resources (we bought only what we needed and then only second hand)
* Our use of mains electricity (we survived with the one lamp provided by a single solar panel, a lot of beeswax candles, no fridge and no laundry machine)
* Our use and pollution of water (lots of water conservation measures and use of homemade vegetable- and mineral-based, biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning and personal products)
* We also increased our positive impact through volunteering to help tend trees, raise money for charity, tend to oyster growing in the Hudson, etc.

By taking things to an extreme—an in Manhattan, no less—he was able to get a lot of attention from the press, and raised awareness about how much impact the average American has. As I've been reading the No Impact Man blog this year, I couldn't help but think how much easier his project would have been in Santa Barbara, where the climate is mild and local foods are abundant all year. WE CAN DO THIS. We don't have to go to the extreme, but we can make small changes that would have a big impact by making a big counter-impact. I'd like to join Trekking Left in saying I am thankful for the people who pay attention and sacrifice small comforts and question their habits. I believe that this planet matters to people. Unfortunately, I also believe that many people hear what they want to hear, and consumerism has a loud voice. My hope for the holidays is that people will consider options that help us all step off the Great American Treadmill.

A few options worth considering are:
Bill McKibben's book The Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas (get it at your library or else read about it here: Hundred Dollar Holiday)
Adbuster's Buy Nothing Christmas
New American Dream's Simplify the Holidays page

A Small Act of Resistance: The day after Thanksgiving is traditional THE biggest shopping day of the year. Please consider taking part in BUY NOTHING DAY. Yep, buy nothing all day, just to prove you still have a choice.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Don't it make my brown eggs blue

This spring, we added a couple of Ameracauna chicks, Ramona and Ruby, to the ranch. While I chose my Buff Orpingtons because they are known for having excellent, calm temperments, the Ameracauna claim to fame is laying blue and green eggs. I've been waiting all year for some blue and green eggs. Egg production had stopped while the girls were molting, but started again a few weeks ago. Lots and lots and lots of brown eggs, including lots of cute little eggs. Brown, brown, and brown.

So, I came to realize that we had defective chickens, or that in fact our Ameracauna chicks were mixed-breeds which produced lovely small BROWN eggs. Sure, I still like Ramona and Ruby, but no denying I was disappointed.

Until yesterday. In one of the nests were a large brown egg, a small brown egg, a delicately blue egg, and one barely celadon. The photo doesn't capture the subtle shading very well, but here they are, finally!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Harvest

The haunted harvest is in! Witch fingers (purple string beans), baby bat wings (Queen of Siam basil), ogre thumbs (mini eggplants), pumpkin embryos (sun gold tomatoes), and sea monster scales (Russian kale). Boo appetite!

Trick-n-Tax: In Illinois, they are now taxing pumpkins. No soup for you!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Parable of the Lost Bat

My friend Trekking Left asked, now that I've started Knit Another Planet, if Fuller & Fuller will be retired. I thought I would answer with a parable. Or a metaphor. Or maybe it's just a symbolic incident.

Earlier this year, we drove across the country to pick up a surplus step van in North Carolina. On the way back, we stopped at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The man remembered going as a boy, and I had never been. I am so happy we spent the extra time, and risked ironically running out of gas in the abandoned oil fields of Texas to see the enormous cave. It was spectacular.

As a souvenir, I bought a pair of silver earrings shaped like bats—real bats, not Batman stencil bats. Tragically, I lost one of them before we got to San Diego, a casualty of napping in the back seat. I remember this trip as a wonderful adventure. While I try to avoid daily driving, I'm a sucker for a road trip.

Just last week, the man came into the room with a "Look what I found!" And sure enough, five months later, there is my missing earring, just in time for Halloween, our favorite holiday. Of course, in the meantime, the not-lost earring had found its own secret hiding place. It would have been reasonable to get rid of it, and I thought maybe I had. Dang it.

Last Friday, the man came into the room and said "I'm going to the store to buy some milk. Want anything?" Except instead of "the store," he said "Canada." And instead of "some milk," he said "an RV." And he didn't ask me if I wanted anything. If he had, I probably would have said that I wanted us to spend Halloween together.

Two things happened Saturday, my husband left for Canada, and I found the second bat earring. I doubted that I'd ever be able to wear my bat earrings again, but here they are, dangling from my ears as I type this, with all my thoughts circling between them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm moving to the sticks

I haven't been blogging here as much as I'd like. Fuller & Fuller was starter as "our" project, intended to chronicle our experiences in developing and improving life at the ranch.

It's time to tend my own spirit at least as carefully as I've been tending the garden.
The issues we've blogged about at Fuller & Fuller still matter to me, but it's been unraveling a bit.

That's why it's time to KNIT ANOTHER PLANET. Come visit, won't you?

Fuller & Emptier

Why, yes, I have lost weight! The polyp is gone. And no, Trekkie, I'm not gay, but the polyp was bi...opsied, and normal. Whew. I hope this concludes all blogging about my uterus.

Thanks to all who sent good wishes... I feel very lucky.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So, how are you celebrating?

Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day.

Some of you know, though I haven't blogged about it here, it's been a rough ride at the ranch. The earliest collaborative hopes of Fuller & Fuller were a little Fullerling. Unbeknowst to me, some little polyp has been trespassing in my uterus, not only kicking any willing zygote to the curb but also making me feel way too lousy way too often.

So, tomorrow, that damn polyp is coming out. Good riddance. Thanks to the Queen Mum coming up to play nurse, and to Princess Whackamole for pointing out that October 11 is the best day this could happen.

Happy Coming Out Day, everyone! Here's a little drawing of me victoriously kicking the polyp to the curb. Or else me being pulled into a black closet of doom and depression.