Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This is a mishmosh of pictures from the website of the 'thing' I couldn't wait to share. I went to a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm today to pick veggies! It's currently known as Johnson's Backyard Garden. It is owned by Brenton and Beth Johnson. They own 20 acres of fertile river (Colorado) bottom land. They have been so successful this year and have such a well oiled machine, that Brenton was able to quit his day job and become a full time farmer!
My friend who often comments here, Txjuju, invited me to come along. She's one of the lucky members of this CSA. They are currently serving over 450 families and have a 500 person waiting list. My chances of winning the lottery are greater than ever being a part of this CSA.
I want badly to post my own pictures, but my personal computer is still on the fritz. The pictures I'd most like to share are of my "pay" as a worker on the farm! While I fear I'll never be able to be a member, I can partake of their bounty by volunteering. Each person who comes out to help gets a free box of goodies. Today I got butternut squash, about a dozen different varieties of peppers--both hot and sweet, 3 kinds of eggplant, kale, bok choy, tatsoi, butterhead lettuce, and watermelon radishes. All for just 4 hours of picking, bagging and boxing!
Thank you so much to JuJu for inviting me! I think I have a new Wednesday activity when they can use me. Thank you also, to the Johnson's for giving me the opportunity to come help out and for sharing the fruits (and veggies) of your labor with me.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We have been struggling with broken appliances at our house this year. The dishwasher, my computer and the vacuum cleaner recently joined the party. They were not invited, but you know how some party crashers are.
The computer will be fixed. Don't know what happened to it, but it will not be allowed to join the permanently broken appliance party (PBAP).
The dishwasher has been trying to get into the party for a year or more. Because we have such hard water (despite our softener), the vinyl coating on the racks has worn away in many places. Rust has replaced it. The hard water also contributed to a calcium/scale buildup near the drain. Instead of draining through the drain, the dishwasher began barfing up the water out the front of the door. We really, really didn't want the dishwasher in the party, so we just sopped up the water with a towel. It was still cleaning dishes! It finally broke into the party by having the bottom rack rust through. It no longer holds dinner size plates on the bottom.
The vacuum cleaner has been kept at bay for several years. It had been built with fairly stout plastic housing, but when I began having to tie the front on (after replacing the bag each time) with a bit of nylon rope, I decided it was time to let it into the party. I had even tried to keep it going by replacing the beater bar and some other parts. It was no use. For the last several months I have used a $30 no-name model from Home Depot. Worked great, but the filter has worn out and it cannot be replaced. We opened the door and let that little work horse right in.
Saturday, Lee and I went to Sears. We really, really, really, didn't want to shop there because their service department is a nightmare. They added insult to injury each time an old appliance joined the PBAP. What we decided, as we drove there, was that it was better to deal with a large corporation than with a small one if something broke. They were also giving 15% off with free delivery/installation and free haul off. None of their competitors could even touch that offer.
We knew with certainty that we wanted a Dyson. I pretty much knew which model. Dyson offers a FIVE YEAR warranty. There is not an appliance on the market that offers that. The suction is endless, the cord is a mile long (almost!), and the filter only needs to be cleaned every 3-6 months. My $30 model needed cleaning every time I emptied the canister.
The dishwasher purchase was a little harder. A lot harder! We went in, certain we would be getting a Bosch. I had spent countless hours researching dishwashers. The only thing folks really had bad to say about them, was they were hard to load. We decided against that brand once we took a close look at them. They are set up all wonky. It's hard to describe. Plus, the quality of the materials would not stand up to our constant use and hard water.
We knew we didn't want Kitchen Aid or Whirlpool. That left Kenmore. AAAuuuggghhh! Kenmore is what all our broken appliances are! I was ready to bolt and wash dishes in the pool. Lee, cool headed as always, pointed out what a good dishwasher our current one had been. It has been run once (sometimes twice) a day, for 8 years! The brokenness was really because of our water and not the machine itself. We bought the exact same dishwasher as the one that had joined the PBAP , through no fault of its own.
We'd very much like to shut down the PBAB, permanently. Anyone have any idea how to do that? The police don't much care and it's not bothering the neighbors. (((sigh)))
Monday, November 17, 2008
I did not take this picture. My camera is fine, my computer is not. Minor details.
Last night was my church's annual Thanksgiving dinner. We offer it in addition to our weekly Sunday breakfast for the homeless. We have noticed that our breakfast numbers are climbing. We expected it. We also expected that our numbers would be up slightly for the dinner. Slightly doesn't even begin to be the right word.
Our program will be 18 years old this April. It was started by a woman in our church who wanted to make sure the children in our neighborhood who were on the breakfast program at their schools, got to have something hot on the weekends. The program has changed shape over the years. The kids grew up. Now it is primarily low income and homeless men and women who come for breakfast.
I have been at the helm of this program (off and on) for about 12 years. Despite the sadness of our guest's situations, I love doing it. It brings me great joy to be in the service of others. I can see, without a doubt, that I have made a difference in their lives----even if it's only for a few moments while their stomachs are full and they are out of the elements.
I mentioned in my previous post about something new we were going to try---handing out tickets so folks could only get seconds and not a bottomless plate. I really expected a backlash about that from our guests. They surprised me, as they often do, by not saying one bad thing about it. Many were thankful for the chance to even get seconds. It was a darn good thing we did the tickets, because we'd have run out of food if we hadn't. The number of guests simply floored me! Last year, times were tough, and we served about 200 meals. I planned on food for 200 people. We experienced a Loaves and Fishes meal---we served 356 meals! One Hundered Seventy-Eight men, women and children got in line. We did not reach the end of the line for nearly an hour. Everyone got seconds and we did not run out of food. We served from 4-6pm. One gentleman came running in at 5:45, we were still able to give him Turkey, stuffing, gravy, green beans and bread. Not the works, but he got seconds!
My congregation made this all possible with financial, time and food donations to this dinner! Some folks even brought their friends to help out. It really makes me proud to know these folks. I only hope that they receive the blessings from the program that I do. Yesterday, I was the lucky one. I got to hand out the tickets, shake hands, give hugs, and visit with those standing in line. My congregation of helpers did all the hard work--serving food and drink, keeping the food coming to the the line, washing dishes, and cleaning up. I tell people that wonder if I get nervous when this dinner comes around every year, that it takes care of itself. It is much like a teenager, as the program will be 18 in the spring. It takes care of itself for the most part. Unfortunately, it will not be graduating and going off to college. The down-trodden have been with us since the beginning of time. With the economy the way it is, people are teetering on the fence between being able to take care of their basic needs, and not. We are following Christ's example by helping those people. What it doesn't say in the Bible, is that we will receive joy by helping those people. Maybe it should---more folks would volunteer.
Think about volunteering this year. It doesn't have to be with the homeless. You don't have to commit to forever---maybe just one time at your child's school, a Habitat for Humanity day, stocking shelves at your local food bank, cleaning up a roadside of trash, the possibilities are endless. I promise that you'll feel better than you have in years. Your spirit will be lifted. Your burdens will feel lighter. You'll smile more. Your heart will be full.