Tag Archives: Sustainable Living

I Will Be A Hummingbird

I am planning to do work on a different layout here at Read & Tell Me.  I am not sure what direction I will go, but I feel the need for a change.  I just about spent some time working on the banner this week, when I read about the death of Wangari Maathai.

This amazing lady was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  She was a strong voice for education and environmental sustainability.  Ms. Maathai spoke all over the world encouraging people to do what they can to make a difference.

She is most famous for a very simple story that really spoke to me.

Techy Tuesday — Organizing a Garden

I often joke…tongue and cheek, of course…that my life as a stay at home mom is a lot like the life of Scarlett O’Hara trying to take care of Tara without the luxury of “help”.  I am the cook, house cleaner, chauffeur, mechanic, nurse, butler, gardener, not to mention CFO and at times, the wet nurse.

This is not meant as a complaint, but more just an observation.  I do a lot of different things none of which I really know all that much about.  The most applicable training for this was probably my time in the nonprofit world.  I ran a quarter of a million dollar program with only one full time employee, ME.  During this time, I learned how to “make things happen” on a shoe string budget and only “general knowledge” of my responsibilities.  Let’s just say I could not have done it without Google.

I learned that organization is the key.  Not just putting my spices in alphabetical order, although that helps, but having all of the information that I might possibly need at hand at all times.  Now, working moms, here is the key…..you must juggle this without a desk.

Enter Laptop.

This is how it all began.  But, it has evolved into a finely tuned system complete with smartphone and smartbook.  Yes, that is my answer.  These are not toys but tools for any respectable and organized mom.  You may quote me on that.  I do tend to favor Apple products, but this organization can be accomplished…generally…with a PC brand too.

So, get excited for Techy Tuesday.  Every Tuesday I will post ideas about how to use technology to get organized and keep all the balls of motherhood in the air and still be cool, calm and collected.

This week I have been organizing my garden.

Challenges:

  • Oklahoma is HOT
  • I have a lot of shade
  • My dog and my children like to dig
  • I can never remember what I did five minutes ago much less when I watered last

Benefits:

  • I *heart* fresh produce
  • I love to share the joys (i.e. successes) of gardening with my children
  • Gardening gives me something to do during the HOURS we spend outside in the before mentioned HEAT

So, here is what I am doing to “get organized”.

I made database on Bento for my Garden.  This allows me to keep track of what I have planted, how it is doing, growing instructions, etc.  From this information I can:

  • Pick up other ingredients to pick up for a specific recipe based on what is ready to harvest.
  • Keep a running record of what I have success with growing.
  • Reference any special care information at any time and any place, via iPhone.

Created a diagram of my garden to design, reference, and keep for future ideas.  I used this template to create the one below in Word, but you can also use Photoshop or similar program. 

I use the calender function in iPhoto to keep track of what my garden, flowerbeds and yard look like during various seasons of the year.

  1. Assuming the date is correctly set on your digital camera, it will be saved in iPhoto along with your image.
  2. Add a “description” by highlighting all applicable pictures via >photos  >batch change (i.e. “yard and garden”)
  3. Search your iPhoto Gallery for the designated description.
  4. Sort by date via >View >Sort Photos >By Date

VOILA!!!!  You have all of your Yard and Garden Photo’s sorted by date so you can determine what you were successful with and what you might want to change.

These are a few ways I use technology to organize and learn more about caring for our yard and garden beyond the obvious research and reading blogs about others success and tips.  I hope this inspires you to get out and get dirty….then come in, wash up, and get organized.

    Urban Gardening and Edible Landscapes

    Yesterday there was an article in the Oklahoman about a new program at the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank.  They are going to be hosting gardening classes this spring as a part of the Urban Harvest Sustainable Home Gardening program.  This gets me so excited about summer and I am motivated again to try my hand at gardening.

    This is something I dream of….me, in my garden all day, planting, watering, growing, getting my hands dirty.  I think of one of my mom’s good friends who has such a gift for this.  I was privileged to work with her one summer.  We maintained people’s flower beds.  While this wasn’t the gardening/slow food/growing for nourishment I  dream of now, it was a really great experience.  I learned to tell the difference between plants and weeds, which bugs were good and which bugs we needed to watch out for.  I remember it being so quite out there and the 100+ degree weather just wasn’t so bad in the morning.

    The idea of edible landscaping is something that is just really intriguing to me.  The art and beauty of the food that nourishes us.  Last summer I was awe struck when I saw the edible landscaping at the Philbrook in Tulsa.  It was amazing…..so amazing that I walked all over the property, in cute little pumps, sweating….just to find it only to realize it is just not that far from the Museum wall.  I had some explaining to do when Law Man and I returned out of breath and sweating after we had “stepped out” of the Cocktail Hour portion of the Firm Summer Party.  But, it was worth it….this is what we saw….*note the pictures really do not do the garden justice.  I was armed with only my i phone.

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    The plan was to convert “3,600 square-foot of seasonal planting beds in the south formal garden into a vegetable garden in an effort to help Oklahoma’s hungry get through the current economic downturn.  The produce was donated to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, who in turn distributed it to their 450 Partner Programs in 24 counties of eastern Oklahoma.”  More than 1,000 pounds of food was distributed out of this beautiful garden.

    You can hear more about the garden on this NPR segment.

    If you are interested in more sustainable gardening news and information in Oklahoma, here are a few links.

    Kam’s Kookery and Guilford Garden’s Blog

    Guilford Farm

    Turtle Rock Farm (This blog run by the sister of the previously mentioned “friend of my mom.”)