The Hunter/Gather of Surburbia

Are we where we live?

October 15, 2010

Law and Order SVU

SVU this week gave a small nod to water issues in Boliva.

Water is life and for some the search is neverending.

In Oregon we are getting to vote on many things, one of which is Measure 76 which will amend Oregon's Constitution by continuing lottery funding for parks, beaches, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection beyond 2014. Measure 76 does not decrease funding from lottery funds to other areas, only maintaining the current 15%, which for 2011 is approx. $87 million dollars.
In Oregon you don't hear about a lack of water too often, but you do hear about watersheds being lost to development. I am particularly concerned about drinking water as I get my water from a well. 40 years ago when my family first moved out east of Salem we were surrounded by your typical farmland: wheat, grassseed, orchards, corn and berries. Today, Kuenzi Turf has cut down the black walnut orchard that sat for over 50 years down the road to make room for turf. Kuenzi Turf laid down vast sheets of plastic to fumigate the land to ready it for the turf. Kuenzi Turf uses vast amounts of water, pesticides, and fertilizers on much of the area surrounding my home. Kuenzi Turf has expanded to ornamentals for your landscaping needs. Turf, ornamentals none of which anyone needs to live, but which uses lots of chemicals to make your home look pretty.
While my concerns do not come close to the needs of families dealing with drought and lack of clean water it should be a warning to all that there are things in this world far more important than getting your house on the cover of Sunset or Home Beautiful.

October 10, 2010

National Coming Out Day

As a straight ally to some of my students, I am constantly horrified by the cruel things people say and do in regards to LGBT students. When adminstrators feel comfortable making jokes about their LGBT students thats when we all have to worry about bullying in our schools. When the teachers fear for their jobs if they say something, that's worse.
If my former students need me they know they can come to me for help in dealing with whatever they have going on. I just don't understand people like the Mormon Elder or Paladino who could just say nothing instead of spreading their hatred.
It hurts my heart and soul when I hear about young people killing themselves for any reason. I know the despair, I understand the depths of the abyss that you can't see your way out of, I survived it and while sometimes I may wish I hadn't there is so much that I wouldn't have accomplished had I been successful. What I did learn was that my parents were probably among the worst to have in such a situation. I got no counseling and all was swept under the rug.
Please don't let the abyss consume you, call your local hotline or the Trevor Project for help. There are people out there who know how to help through the despair.

October 6, 2010

Michael Pollan on NBC Nightly News

Michael Pollan on NBC Nightly News

Gathering and Hunting

Still reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. No, it's not all that long, I am just not reading as much as I should be. Went to EZ Orchards and bought apples and peaches. Made a fairly yummy peach pie, I think I am finally getting down the "cooking" part of the pie, haven't been cooking it long enough. Primarily because I didn't read all the directions. Sent Kelsey off to hunt for hamburger for the spagetti sauce. I went to Freddies to get some other things, see the picture below, also picked up some reusable produce bags. Amy is right, the bags are attached to plastic!
My other fruit and veggie gathering place is Aspinwall's on 22. Unfortunately, it is no longer on my way home from work so I don't get out that way too often. They do have a restaurant with excellent burgers and yummy fruit milk shakes.
On another subject, water, here in the Willamette Valley we don't hurt for lack of water or access to it. I sit here near the window looking east and I see sprinklers spewing water onto turf. One of Oregon's biggest exports. I would hate to calculate the carbon footprint for a 1 foot by 1 foot section of turf. There is nothing "green" about turf. It is high maintaince and full of pesticides and herbicides. Every other year or so they pull a huge white plastic tarp over about 20 acres and fume the soil to get rid of the rodents and insects. They put up little signs with a skull and crossbones to warn you. I worry about contamination to my well and the wells of my neighbors. While I don't worry access to water I do worry about what is in it.

Peach pie

The first expedition returns...

October 3, 2010

Reading, hunting, gathering

I've changed some titles, not that I'm not still thinking like teacher, but I have decided to expand my view of who I am. To say that I am just "teacher" is to discount myself. Not so much because I'm currently not teaching, just dropped an application for a position in Pendleton/Hermiston, but because I need to be more than just "teacher."
Still reading Ominvore's Dilemma. As I drink my pop, that has corn syrup in it and eat some corn-fed beef stew, I am living Pollan's first section "The Plant Corn's Conquest." Having viewed King Korn and Food Inc. before even starting this book, I already have a fairly good idea of Pollan's point in this section: corn is in freaking everything including my granddaughter Alexis' diapers! According to Pollan there are over forty five thousand items in the average American supermarket and more than a quarter of them now contain corn (p. 19). It is a scary thought to think that corn is in so much. Well, I guess not so scary as well... I don't really know. Just a good thing I'm not allergic to it I guess.
My next task is to take some pictures of where I forage and hunt. We'll see if the owners of those places allow me to photograph their stores.