The love affair with our farming class is back on! We were off for a couple weeks because of the holidays and we skipped a couple of weeks because the presenter was boring and the topic didn't apply to us (pasture management), but this week's guest speaker was an entomologist from the U of I who talked about Intergrated Pest Management. Very. Interesting. Really! (The University of California has a really good site about IPM.) We learned how to identify the beneficial insects and where to find info on biocontrols for the pest insects. Makes us get motivated to start thinking about cover crops and getting plants started for the garden.
Keith sold his car, the Catalina, which he is a little sad about. You know, men, cars. Something about ownership and testosterone. Anyway, he got caught up on some bills and we have a little left over to start another project for the tiny house. I think we're going to finish the bedroom wall and build bookshelves, which I am very excited about. I designed them based on ones I saw online...and I want to try to make some natural paint. Milk paint? I'd eventually like to do the whole interior with some kind of DIY paint, if we find something that works. Keith's open to experimenting in small batches, so bookshelves are a perfect canvas. (Also of interest: DIY chalkboard paint, any color you want.)
My newest inspirational house/life blog find is These Days in French Life. "An American food and travel writer, a reformed shopper, now living a rural, "slow" non-consumerism life in the south of France with her French husband and daughter. Poorer than dirt, but living like kings from the riches of the earth."
Now, I thought we were doing pretty good by joining The Compact a couple of years ago and seriously limiting our purchases, especially of New Things, but they are taking it to a level that is at the same time extremely inspiring and terrifying. "August 2007-August 2008 we did not purchase anything. Only food and that was severely limited to the farmers markets and the organic co-op store. This year, we are doing an all-out No Shopping School Year: September 1st thru June 15th, we will not buy anything, not even food. We will use what abundance we have: what we preserved this summer, our garden, foraging, bartering, trading, living off what mother nature gives us."
WOW. And the tour of their house is AMAZING.
Speaking of inspiring blogs, my sister's boyfriend, Keith (or K2 as my mom calls him, fittingly) is a firefighter and mountain climber who is down in South America to climb Acancogua, the highest peak outside of Asia (22,841 ft.). He's started a blog, called Seven Up, that will track his quest to climb the highest summit on each of the continents. How impressive is that!
I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, about Greg Mortenson, and I recommended it to K2 via Amanda since it's partly about mountain climbing and she sent a copy with him on his climb. It's not a book I would ever chosen for myself but a co-worker handed it to me and I am glad she did! Greg Mortenson has dedicated his life to promote community-based education and literacy programs, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Such an inspiring read. He is really a hero and someone who should be advising our goverment on how to fight the "War on Terror." Obama and Clinton especially should read it, if they haven't already. Dropping bombs is NEVER going to accomplish anything long-term, but access to education is something that can really change lives. Anyway, read the book. It's great.
I redesigned the classifieds at the newspaper (with the editor's blessing) and I'm really excited for the paper to come out tomorrow. We looked at what we could do to transform the appeal of the classifieds, long known to be the most boring part of any paper. Options like Craigslist and the internet in general are really drawing revenue away from the classifieds and the newspaper industry has been dying in general, so we brainstormed and decided since we're printing them in color when we have a short paper (which is lately), we'd do a whole reformat and offer color photos/logos/screens/etc. Each category is grouped together (instead of traditional columns) and a color graphic for illustration... I'll try to post a photo. Probably not all that exciting to anyone who isn't a newspaper or design nerd, but it's nice to have a challenge and feel like you're really improving a product like your hometown newspaper.