Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving delights

This Thanksgiving, I had turkey for dinner. But it wasn't just any turkey. This turkey came from a farm nearby, where the birds were truly free-range, ate grain by the handful and all the bugs they could snatch up, and met their fate in a humane way. I bought this turkey from a farmer I know, whose farmer friend actually raised the turkeys. They were dispatched last Sunday, picked up on Tuesday, and brought to the table on Thursday. The farmer I know sends her children to a local school, which she must pay for, and she raises and sells her own chickens, ducks, and eggs. She and the turkey farmer buy their feed and other supplies from local stores, so my money is supporting local businesses instead of some big conglomerate hundreds of miles away.

Ours was a 10-pounder, lean, and more than enough for three people. We spread olive oil and herbs under the skin and all over the top, and stuffed onions and carrots in the cavity. Although not as tender as a factory-raised bird, the meat was so flavorful and went down well with a dab of cranberry sauce. We even cooked and pureed the giblets, a fine feast for my kitty. Picking the rest of the meat from the bone after dinner was strangely satisfying in a primitive way. It was good to know where my meat came from, even if nothing else on the table was organic or sustainable. I can preach to my family all I want, but only they can can take the step to commit to sustainability. My dad now recycles, and I consider that a big step.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Small realizations

Last night, I went to a meeting of the local chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals. Following dinner was a presentation about new state rules for stormwater management, a rather technical topic. Not only did I know exactly what they were talking about, I wanted to ask questions. I guess I truly am an environmental professional. Now if only we had some stormwater to manage...

Also, I'm back on coffee. I tried drinking black tea instead, but I'm sorry, tea is just not coffee. And I refuse to feel ashamed for my 1 to 2 cups a day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Primaries

As expected, the media are full of political blather about who's ahead, who's going to win, what surprises lie ahead, and the likes. A few points have been made that could change things completely. First of all, polls say that Hillary is ahead, but the participants of those polls are only people who could be reached via land line, thus eliminating anyone with only a cell phone. This means that a large percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 30ish don't have a voice in the polls. Also, Iowa's early primary means that many students registered to vote in Iowa won't be back from winter break in time to vote, leaving them out of a critical decision. But those are the people whose voices matter most, because the next president will really be our president. He or she will have the future of economy, the environment, health care, young injured veterans, foreign relations, and much more, in his or her hands. That's why even the primaries matter so much. Anything could happen. Everyone should vote, even if they think their candidate won't win. The right to vote is like our muscles. You have to exercise your right to vote in order to keep it strong and powerful. Even if you never enter a body-building competition or run a marathon or even lift heavy things, your muscles keep your body working properly. Public participation in choosing our representatives keeps our democratic system healthy and strong. So please, register now and make sure you vote in your primary, even if it looks like the candidates have already been chosen. Use your voice and exercise your political muscles. Send a message to the country about what change you want to see.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The last obstacle removed

My greatest regret since moving to the South is that I have not been able to indulge in the barbecue scene down here. Although I recently decided to eat some meat again, I vowed to remain loyal to locally produced, sustainably raised meat only. Which excludes barbecue, unfortunately.

Until now. Opening November 26th, The Pit in Raleigh will source local, sustainably raised pork and locally grown produce. Oh man, I can't wait.