Getting my hands dirty for food

May 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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I took the plunge. I am a farmer.

Well, not a real farmer. But a volunteer.

As a vegan, all of my food comes from the ground, one way or another. Whereas I usually go to the grocery store and buy my tomatoes from another state and my fruit from another country, I figured that is neither sustainable nor economical. I mean, right here in Pennsylvania are tons of farms — mostly dairy farms but still, farms.

And lucky for me, in my little sprawling area, there is not one, but at least THREE CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) that I can purchase from and take part in to reap the benefits of local food.

Well, I decided to jump in and see if I could save money. One particular CSA, Goldfinch Farm, has a program where I work 80 hours in 20 weeks and I get a share of food when it’s harvest time in return.

Yes, you heard me right. Me, a city girl, working on a farm. In the dirt, with the bugs.

First day on the farm, getting dirty. Don't laugh.

I’ve had some pretty exciting episodes in the past two months since I began (we started just after my birthday in April.) The first week, after I got home, I couldn’t even stand up because my muscles hurt so bad. It took me four days to recover, two of which I could barely walk.

But the pain got easier, and it usually hardest on Thursdays. All the crouching, kneeling and squatting really gets to your lower half.

I am even sitting in the dirt now, if need be! I put my bare hands in the earth and let the soil get under my nails. I am addicted to it.

Last week was the most interesting. It was a rainy day and had been a rainy week. The ground was a muddy mess but we still planted. Everyone took off their shoes to walk in the mud but I refused. That is one thing I can’t handle, as of yet. Well, kneeling was hard because you would get covered in mud. Up until 11 a.m., I tried to stay clean but at some point I got a little muddier than I wanted to and didn’t care.

Well, the rain came. We tried to take shelter but decided to go back out when it started to drizzle only. That was fine for me, until it down-poured. Twice. I was soaked and we just kept on planting, shouting over the loud noise as the rain fell.

I felt exhilarated! I have never been this dirty and this connected to the earth. I feel the difficulty it takes to grow food, to harvest it, to feed masses.

But don’t expect me not to flinch when I see something fly around my head. City girl still at heart, just with dirty hands.

Too soon of a run?

May 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I might be crazy in some sense, but I am addicted to running. Well, to clarify, I am addicted to reading running blogs, to researching running equipment and daydreaming about running. But actually running, that is not that often.

Now, I’ve ran before and actually trained for my first, and so far only, 5K.

I swear this is me right before a 5K, which I did complete.

Then the winter blues got to me and I have barely just emerged out of my dark weather depression. Sometimes it sucks, and yes I should probably seek professional help, but that’s a different topic for a different time.

Well, I stumbled upon a 5K in my local area (literally a 5 minute drive.) I saw it a few weeks ago, and it’s a midnight run called Midnight in May 5K. But as I figured, it was on a Friday and I usually work until 1 a.m. Fridays.

Well, while looking for 5Ks late last night/early morning (1:30 a.m.) I found the Midnight 5K website again, and guess who happened to switch days with a co-worker a few weeks ago (to help her out for vacation time) and now is free Friday? ME!

But the problem is, I haven’t been training. Heck, I don’t think I ran in more than a week! And the race is in TWO days! I only have time for running today & Friday (I farm Thursdays and will be too exhausted.)

A 5K at midnight is perfect for me, because unlike most people, I am awake at the time without caffeine and usually don’t need to get up with the sun the next day.

But I am afraid — that I will injure myself, that I will suck so bad (I haven’t ran a whole mile on real ground since the Thanksgiving 5K!)

Advice? I sure need it!

The line between vegan and extremism

May 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I am taking a pause from writing my recent entry after a long conversation with a co-worker in the work parking lot.

See, the other night I watched the movie “Year of the Dog,” which stars Molly Shannon and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007.

Without giving too much away, Peggy (played by Molly) is a dog lover and owner and ends up as a vegan and animal rights activist.

You would think, “oh gee, Bethany, you would LOVE this movie!” I mean, Associated Press film critic David Germain named the film the No. 10 best film of 2007.

Well, yes, it was good to see a vegan movie BUT the tone was completely off and offensive.

First of all, whereas they brought up some of the issues with the meat industry and the treatment of animals, both farm and domestic, the script threw in the one-liners that gives vegans dirty looks, such as “meat is murder.” Whereas this is what I believe, at this point Peggy was a vegan for all of a few weeks. And her little niece, not even 5 years old, asked why Aunt Peggy wasn’t eating meat. The looks the parents gave Peggy when she said it to the little girl was “she’s nuts.”

That was the problem I had with it all. When Peggy talks of the horrors of animal experiments, fur coats and the meat industry, everyone except her vegan friend (only one) gave her the “she’s crazy” look then laughed it off as if she’s the weirdo in their life that can be barely tolerated.

That is until she snaps and tries to kill someone. This is when her veganism, or as I see it veganism in general, went from an innocent “hobby” in their eyes to the extremism they feared in the back of their minds.  They made it seem like this: That veganism was just a hobby, like when a teenager decides to be Wiccan or Buddhist or they go goth. But if gone too far, it can alienate and hurt.

It’s obvious that all vegans do not condone violence, as our premise is that animals should not be experimented on, tortured or killed. So why would the creator of “Year of the Dog” think it was wise for the main character, now a vegan who is clearly upset with what is happening to animals, to try committing murder so “he could feel what it’s like to feel hunted” and make everyone think she needs some mental help? I’m not sorry for being vegan and I do not need to be in rehab for wanting to save animals!

At the end they try to “right” this bad vegan view in the span of less than 5 minutes. The damage has already been done. And even the way that Wikipedia writes it doesn’t sound like the ending was convincing enough: “She must follow her soul. She abandons her former life and heads off to the protest, content that this is her greater reason for living.”

Being vegan for two years now and in a world where vegans are definitely more accepted than before, I don’t know what it was like just a few years ago when veganism was an even harder path, especially without the Internet. Nonetheless, vegans are still persecuted. We are still looked at like we’re “crazy.” And this movie did not help, by a long shot.

I can’t find the specific clips but here is the trailer, though it doesn’t really show what I am talking about:

Too busy playing

May 6, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I am SORRY! I am a horrible blog mommy. Life is definitely getting in the way and I have a ton of things that at the end of my night (1:30 a.m. usually), I am ready to stare blankly at my Netflix.

But I will give you a bit of a teaser for my upcoming blog posts.

My teaser sucks. Sorry. LOL. I tried to crop it, but lo, I do not have Photoshop.

More posts to come soon!

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