The Backyard

The Backyard

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chicken Trucks - A Tear Every Time

When I first gave up meat several years ago, it was for many reasons, one of them being the way I felt every time I got behind a chicken transport truck. My heart starts pounding and tears come to my eyes. My husband call me a bleeding-heart liberal and today was no different than any of the other 100 times I came upon a truckload of chickens. I say I'll eat organic meat if push comes to shove, but I'm not sure I can because the images of beakless, caged birds comes to mind and I can't bear to support that industry. My neighbors have Rhode Island Reds, and when we first moved into our house, the chickens would come visit. They'd scratch, dig, chase bugs and one even laid an egg under my porch. My cats would watch with curiosity. I never owned a chicken, but hope to someday...I read they are social and can make lovely pets. My goal would be the organic eggs, although they are easily obtainable these days thanks to the organic movement. No egg enters my house without "CAGE FREE" on the container. So my heart still bleeds for caged birds in trucks heading to slaughter - I guess it always will. And I'll continue my liberal stance on not supporting the chicken farm industry, unless cage free and organic of course. From the PETA Website:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Buying From Companies that Care about the Environment

Check it out...this link scores top companies on their care for the environment. Its no surprise Burger King and Con Agra foods score "stuck." Stonyfield Organic Dairy Products gets a high rating.

Three Years, 2 Months to Go to All Out Organic

Part of the original scheme in building our house in the country was the landscape and the gardens. Situated on seven acres of prime agriculture land with a view to die for, the house HAD to be surrounded with tons of gardens. Initially, it was designed to compliment the Victorian styling of the house, and after a year or two of constant reasearching and reading on organic gardening, it leaned toward more natural plantings, thus additions like the Wildflower meadow smack dab in the front of the house replacing about 1/2 acre of mowed grass (pictures to come this summer). This was all in 1992 and 1993 - almost 15 years ago! My obsession at that time for anything garden related led me to the Penn State Master Gardener program with a focus on Antique roses -- which are grown mainly because of their lack of need of chemicals and attention. A 20-page booklet on "Antique Roses, Hardy to Pennsylvania" was my project for the Master Gardeners and available today if you want one. I'll do an article on those too at some point. Stacks of books, folders of garden plans and info, research materials from the state library on topiaries, authentic victorian plantings, etc, botanical plant name dictionaries are all collecting dust at the moment -- awaiting the big day on April Fools Day, 2011 when I retire permanently from work and get my hands dirty again. The smell of a compost pile and fresh manure sticks in my nostrils, just waiting for the day I can take a whif of the real stuff again. So why not now? Why not garden today? I do, but very little. In 2001, I opted to focus on health and fitness. At that time, losing excess weight and becoming more healthy was more important than gardening so I took up mountain biking. Over the past 6 years and today, spending 10-15 hours a week training and racing, and commuting 2 hours a day to and from work leaves just enough time to mow grass and simply maintain the two acres of gardens and lawn. There's virtually no time for the composting, the seed starting, the harvesting and storing of all those wonderful organically grown vegetables and fruits. So I buy them for now, and dream of the day I retire and get back into it full time again. Its the top of my priority list of things to do after retirement. In the mean time, I started this BLOG separate from my training and racing blog to share my passion for organic gardening and helping to do my little part in helping the enviornment. Enjoy!