On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us. We’ll highlight some nature and environmental news, give you a bit of inspiration, and ask you to partake in a monthly sustainability initiative with us.
I think Sarah and I are both suffering from a case of seasonal identity crisis, for lack of a better term. We excitedly anticipate spring on every warm day, and yet, aren’t quite ready for winter to end. I think it’s mainly because the year just seems to be passing so quickly and we have so much we want to accomplish, all while snuggling with these little boys that are growing right before our eyes. Are you in the same boat? Do you feel like the year has pulled the rug out from under you? Or are you just ready for spring to arrive in all of its blossoming glory?
I haven’t talked about it much on the blog, but here in Colorado we’ve had a fantastic winter season. Getting outside every weekend for some combination of skiing (Alex and Calder) and hiking (Luc and me). Last weekend our outing was walking a fine line between winter and spring : the slopes on one side of the valley were covered in snow while the hills on the other side were free of snow and had the sweet smell of spring. Even though I’m ready (so ready!) for longer days with evening dinner picnics in the park, I keep wanting just one more snowy day/weekend.
In the News
The first Ruby Throated Hummingbirds have landed in the US on their spring journey north. We love citizen science, and tracking the seasonal activity of plants and animals is a great way to get involved. What to learn more? Check out our post on phenology.
This is the first time we’re learning about ice flowers, but it’s now on my naturalist/photographer bucket list to see some in person!
And speaking of flowers, Death Valley is experiencing a “superbloom” right now, thanks to heavy rains that soaked the area last October. That amazing mama earth.
How did you do with last month’s challenge to only buy organic and sustainably grown flowers? Calder bought me a bouquet for Valentine’s Day (what a guy!). I forgot to tell him about the challenge, but fortunately he was a smart shopper and bought responsibly grown and managed flowers from Whole Foods. phwef
We want to keep our responsible flower purchases going and add to that the challenge of cooking more at home. There are many benefits associated with this goal, from eliminating the waste associated with take-out to setting a good example for the little ones by cooking and eating healthy food from our kitchen (and getting them involved in the process!).
As food is essential to life, there are so many ways to extend this goal, from thinking about where your food comes from to how it’s grown and transported to you. These are some ideas that we’ll come back to with additional goals in future months, but step one is eating at home and together. It becomes a great time to start the conversation about food, especially with your kids. Talk to them about what they’re eating, where and how it’s grown, how much energy (and possibly, chemicals) goes into the process, and how your food choices can increase or reduce both the energy and waste associated with food production and consumption.
I have to admit that I’ve been in a huge cooking slump lately! I have no idea what to cook, and even when I make a menu for the week I have no interest in sticking to it. It’s so frustrating because I love to eat and serve healthy, fresh food. Plus I know that eating well makes me (and the boys) feel good. I just have to make it happen, thus the monthly goal.
Bit of Inspiration
If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you theirheart. -Cesar Chavez
Fortunately, I have a few bits of inspiration working in my favor when it comes to eating more home-cooked meals. This article inspired my friend to start a cookbook club. Have you heard of this idea? Find a group of people who like to cook and try new recipes, pick a cookbook, and have everyone pick one recipe from that book to cook and bring to a potluck meeting. Everyone gets together, tries all of the new food, and (hopefully) goes home inspired to cook and much more familiar with a cookbook that may have been collecting dust on their shelf. Our club met for the first time last weekend. We cooked from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and it was awesome! I have the book and now am psyched to make many of the recipes that I may have passed over in the past. If you’re looking for a new take on the bookclub, cookbook clubs are it. Start one, and I promise you won’t regret it.
It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. -Lewis Grizzard
This is also the season to sign up for a community-supported agriculture share from a local farm. Calder and I just signed up for a 26 week share, and it’s left us both so excited to get in the kitchen and cook. This year we invested more heavily than ever before, purchasing a share that includes locally-raised meats, cheeses, eggs, fruits, and herbs in addition to vegetables. We’re hoping that we only have to go to the grocery store for milk and condiments (because we aren’t ready to start making our ketchup and mayo at home, at least not yet!). Purchasing the CSA share and knowing that soon we’re going to get a huge box of meat and veggies whether we like it or not (we do!), is a great way to ensure that we do a lot of home-cooking.
The photos above are from a CSA share that we had in PA. Just looking at them and the list of dishes we made has me so excited for the coming season.
So, where do you stand on this second day of March? Are you ready to jump feet first into spring? Or are you sitting there feeling confused as to where January and February went? Either way, we understand and we’re right there with you!