Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Bee-Friendly Garden

The Bee-friendly Garden, Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn

I have a number of friends who are beekeepers, and I do my best to share any information that comes through the news with them regarding bees. Everything gets passed on, from colony collapse, through pesticides, pests and weather reports.
Many people don’t realize just how important bees are to our diet. European honeybees ensure that we have fruits and vegetables in the market and on our plate. The wild growth that supports so many of them has been cut back, and people just don’t grow enough of the right kinds of flowers anymore. That’s why a book like the Bee-friendly Garden is so important.
The book is divided into 6 chapters, ranging from a general introduction to various kinds of bees through becoming an activist for bees. The plants are both decorative and edible, and lists of plants for different parts of the country and differing climates are included. The back of the book offers resources, photography credits, and an excellent index. The book has something for every experience level, from beginner to Master Gardener.
The illustrations are beautiful, but there aren’t so many that the information gets lost. The font chosen does make the book a little hard to read, especially for aging eyes.
I received this book through Blogging For Books, and was not required to give a positive review.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2016 reset

As usual, the New Year started with those pesky resolutions. You know, go to the gym, watch what I eat, lose some weight. This year however, I was so sick with bronchitis that none of that happened. So, I decided that January was just a test run, and I’m starting my New Year on Imbolc (also known as Groundhog Day, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day, Candelaria, Feast of the Purification, etc.).

We started at the gym last week, mostly walking and Tai Chi. Being sick for two months just killed any aerobic fitness level I had achieved, and even a half mile was exhausting. But a half mile is better than sitting all day. Plus, it got us out of the house, into some winter sunshine and talking to someone other than each other! I guess starting in February was a good idea, because all those folks who started on the first of January have already stopped going. Finding a treadmill empty in January is always tough!

On the nutrition front, what I started with was simply portion control. I've found over the years that if I don't remind myself what a one cup serving really looks like, it will grow to a whole lot more, especially with favorite foods. It seems to be making a difference. I cut out fried foods a long time ago, and am limiting soda (even diet soda) to a couple of servings a week. Limitation, not deprivation, for most things.

I’m working on a new Tai Chi form, which keeps my brain active. The entire thought process is so different from Taekwondo and Karate that learning a new form is really work. I have to remind myself to slow down, not put so much power and focus into the techniques…just breathe! My knees and shoulders aren’t objecting too much, but I’m not trying to get the low stances all the way down. That’s just not going to happen.

I also got back into my choir practice at church. People don’t realize just how much work there is in singing, especially in a group. Obviously, when I had bronchitis, singing was out of the question. The coughing tends to irritate the entire group, but I had no lung power to breathe, much less sing. So, I missed the entire Christmas season this year, which made me really sad. Singing is food for the soul, even if my ribs are really sore from all that diaphragmatic breathing!

One thing I did manage to do while sick was crocheting. I finished a bunch of fingerless gloves and one prayer shawl while I was down. My technique is improving, and I think I’m going to try to move on to some more challenging patterns. Hats are next! This winter has been so mild here that I really don’t need any more, but I love to wear hats and I have some beautiful yarn that I want to try with.

I did a little herbal work over the sick days. Fire cider came out really well, and seemed to help people other than me! Some pre-shave oil was a quick mix. Now, it's time to make some boo boo salve up, as I'm running out. Motivation was hard while I was so sick, but I'm ready to go!

Friday, January 8, 2016

A walk in the Woods

For the first half of the book, I really did enjoy the book. I wasn't bothered by the fact that they were unprepared or out of shape. I don't think anyone can really be prepared for their first long distance hiking trip. I know I wasn't, and mine was only three days. . I also enjoyed that he talked honestly about the experience of hiking, and I liked the way that he interspersed history and facts about the trail with the travel writing.

The second half, however, got much less interesting. The day trips and the abortive Maine portion were actually kind of disheartening. The whole feel of the prose got sort of mean spirited. I had trouble finishing it, because it just got nasty and tedious.