Friday, May 25, 2012

More Backyard Edibles: Rhubarb

So last year I began to scratch the surface on backyard edibles. I began of course with what one could find in my own back yard or back yards like mine found in the Northeast USA or Canada. I discussed burdock, wood sorrel, black raspberries aka black caps, pineapple weed aka wild chamomile, and dandelions. This year I want to get to even more from the Northeast and possibly discuss ones from other parts of the country.
So let's start this year's backyard edibles off with one that is right now in season or will be shortly, is delicious on it's own or baked in a pie... that all around yummy thing: rhubarb!
So what is rhubarb? Well if you live in the northeast it is a plant that grows all over your backyard that as a kid you ate as fast as you could, probably with a little salt or sugar sprinkled on the celery like stalks. Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, like all edible stalks such as celery or asparagus. It tastes much like a fruit though and is often used in combination with fruit and berries in jams, pies, sauces, syrups, drinks etc. It's uses are as varied as the uses for fruit. The leaves are poisonous. When eaten one should be careful to remove all leaves and eat only the stalks.
Rhubarb also has medicinal uses. It can be used as a strong laxative. Its roots have been used as a laxative for at least 5,000 years. The roots and stems are rich in anthraquinones, such as emodin and rhein. These substances are cathartic and laxative, which explains the sporadic use of rhubarb as a dieting aid. The roots contain stilbenoid compounds which seem to lower blood glucose levels in diabetic mice. (
You may be surprised to know though rhubarb can be found in many places with climates similar to the northeastern USA. It is found in the North West in Oregon and Washington, the UK, Russia, etc.. The only places it is not usually found is in the south or anywhere without cold winters.
It is a perennial so even if you do plant some in your yard you will get it back every year and long after you are gone.. that plant will still be giving food to the people who now live there.
Rhubarb is such a beloved food that it is now a highly sought after plant and even some varieties have been domesticated but domesticated it may be this remains a Backyard Edible. It grows wild almost anywhere. Unfortunately one place it does not grow wild is my backyard so I have to find it elsewhere. I am hoping my next house has a big huge rhubarb plant in it. So if you have never tried rhubarb I highly recommend it. It is one of the tastiest things you will ever try.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

First Ever Green Mommy Video

So I decided to rather than bombard you all with another post showing off picture after picture of my garden to instead make a little video. I have never made one for the blog before so I was nervous. I will add though I have bit of a cold (allergies that ran awry) so I sound a bit nasally. Also when I say terrace yes I do mean to say trellis. So anywho... enjoy :)

Monday, May 21, 2012


No I won't bore you with all the details of my day yesterday, and no this is not a brag post about how I finally achieved my degree in Biology, which hopefully will allow me a job in a field where I can further my desire to make this world a more green and sustainable place for our children. Mostly I want to talk about a more universal topic in this post, that of family, motherhood and what you can achieve for your children.

I began college in 2001. I went for three years and due to one bad semester where I had stopped going to classes due to family issues I lost my financial aide. They gave me a few semesters to overcome it but no amount of 3.7's and 4.0's can wipe out 0.0's. So I was given a choice, I could appeal and try and fight for my financial aide or I could take a leave from the school. I took the leave. I worked, I got married, I became a mother, I began this blog. When my son was born I knew I wanted to go back to school. I knew I wanted to prove to him that no matter how long it took, no matter how many classes I had to retake, or how hard it was to do it while raising a child, I would do it, if only to prove to him someday that he can achieve anything.

So in the spring of 2010 (January) I got back into school for that semester and started working towards finishing my degree in Biology. I had a 4 month old baby, still EBF, and was taking on a loaded schedule. On the days both me and hubby were gone, we had hubby's mother watch him. After a few semesters though we felt it would be better to put him in daycare so that was another huge hurdle we faced. The first year I was back in school we did not own a car, so I biked in snowstorms to get to classes, pumping milk between lectures, and in some cases getting so engorged that I would wince in pain over my chem lab experiments. Bug began spending more time on campus then he did at home. He became a campus baby, often attending classes with me, and even making friends all over. The 5 semesters I took to finish my degree saw both his 1st and 2nd birthdays, I had days where I could not attend classes because my son was sick, or our child care was not available. I did things I am not even proud of as a mother such as begging friends last minute to watch him for the day so I could get to classes. I am even ashamed to say I often would turn on hours of TV shows for him to watch while I tried to write a paper or study for a test.
Getting my degree with a 4 month -32 month old child was a battle. Everyday we, as a family, had to wake up and say, how is this day going to work. We faced challenges together but the unwavering support and love of my husband and Bug never went unnoticed by me. They always were there when the chips fell. They would pick up the pieces. There were days when the finals and the crying baby got to be too much and I would just flop down declaring I gave up. Hubby would whisk Bug away for a trip to the store or to play with Daddy so I could study for exams.

Yesterday when I earned my diploma and walked across that stage I was so proud of myself , but nothing and I mean nothing meant as much to me as hearing that little voice say "Congwatulations Mommy I am sooo proud of you". Even Hubby was choked up most of the day expressing how proud he was of me. Seeing their faces beam with pride was all what made it worth it. I have had so many people help me along the way and offer love and support and I appreciate every one of them but the two people who count the most, the ones who helped me everyday and who I know I could not have done it without is that of my loving hubby and wonderful amazing little boy.
I would also like to add a special note that my cousin Sara who is an amazing woman and who does for women with PCOS what I do for Green Mommies, and herself is a pretty green mom, also graduated this weekend with her Masters in Teaching. She became pregnant shortly after she returned to school and did work while she had swollen ankles and morning sickness. She gave birth and had a bouncing baby boy to raise all while going to school, she only took off one semester during that time. So My heartfelt congratulations goes out to her as well. She is awesome!
Motherhood is a two edged sword you love someone so much that you would die for them, but you live your lives to make them proud, and you strive to be the person you want them to be someday. It is a hard line to walk and we all fall short sometimes, but we are the strongest most fearsome creatures on this planet. WE ARE MOMS!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Garden Fun

So the last few days have been crazy long but fun. My next door neighbor and I have been each buying a few toys here and there for the boys (her son is 2 weeks older than Bug so they have become best friends) and both getting our backyards (which connect) ready for summer. It has been really warm so we have been working double time. I got my garden entirely planted and in the backyard I got wildflowers planted and marigolds in hanging baskets along the wall. I put up tiki torches and decorations and in the front I put little animals around my garden and butterflies to decorate both the front and back. All in all we have gotten so much done. Today was my mother's day. We went out for lunch and then I spent my Mother's Day gift money on the garden stuff. There is something about summer nights sitting by the light of tiki torches watching two little boys run around still trying to prove they are not yet tired, relaxing at a patio table, with dirt and sweat still caked on your hands and feet, knowing how hard you worked all day. I will be taking some pictures tomorrow to show what we have done but here are a couple I took in the dark tonight.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


It isn't often I am wrong... but when I am I will admit it and apologize. I have to apologize for my comments about the breastfeeding picture in the Times Magazine. While I still believe the title, the articles and the picture itself were meant to be divisive and inflammatory, I have since learned that many women actually have stood their children on kitchen chairs to breastfeed. I had no idea honestly. My reaction to that picture was that it looked so mechanical and cold that I really just thought their is no way people actually do that.. but they do... so I am sorry. I have been informed that when you breastfeed a large child it can be hard to find positioning that work and that sometimes standing them on a chair is what it takes.... who knew. So again I apologize.

More Compost Fun, and Upcycled Cowgirls

So today my neighbor and I worked some more on our awesome backyard and I decided to plant the beans. I went to put some potting soil in the big bin I had picked out to use (big enough to use the trellis in it for the beans to grow up) but when I went to fill it I realized I was out of potting soil. So I was going to take some dirt out of the garden but I thought, hey why not check the compost bin to see if anymore has broken down enough to be soil. I recently had emptied all the finished compost out of the bin to fertilize my garden so i wasn't expecting enough compost to be finished to fill the bin. Yet that is what I found. I had more than enough to fill the bean bin and so I planted to bean seeds in dark rich compost fresh from the bin. YAY!

Now onto upcycled cowgirls. My son asked me a few days ago to make him a Jessie the Cowgirl Doll. He got the really nice Woody and Buzz dolls for his birthday and Christmas so rather than spend 40$ for no reason I decided to just make him one. I was going to make a cloth bodied doll since she was one but I decided to use an old craft doll I had. She was a fashion craft doll like a big barbie. So I removed all her hair hand seeded yarn into her scalp. I hand sewed a felt cowgirl hat and outfit and tied her hair in a braid. Her outfit isn't exactly like the one she wears in the movie, but it's cute and Bug flipped when he saw her finished this morning.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

International Compost Awareness Week

I love when things I love just happen to collide all at once. So this week I started a new fb group dedicated to green living and organic gardening. In it we were discussing composting and how to get started on it. this lead me to looking into buying some more red compost worms because mine I think died during the winter. I haven't seen them yet this year. I figured even if they are still alive in there I would help them out with a pound of worms added to the bins (we have 2 bins). So I was on the fb page of our local Agway and saw that this week is International Composting Awareness Week. How cool is that?! I had no clue.
So in celebration I am going to spend the weekend writing about composting topics. So I will start with linking you to my post about how to build a compost bin. This is one option. There are a lot of ways but this is how our bins are. Having the airateing holes in the sides and bottom help make it so you don't have to "turn" your compost. Other ways are to have rotating bins or circular bins that you roll. If you have a short wide bin you can turn it with a pitchfork. When we first set up our bin I posted this. Right now though we have two full sized bins.
So the bit of new info that I will share here in celebration of compost is this. You can buy red wriggler worms (compost worms) for 12$ on Go Amazon! Happy ICAW!

Time Magazine's Outrageous Spin on Attachment Parenting

Ok so I am sure, being readers of this blog that you have already seen the new Times Magazine cover. If you haven't here it is. So already there has been huge backlash not surprisingly from anti breastfeeding people or people who are very anti AP. That is almost expected, though after reading the comments on the Good Morning America page it made my stomach turn just how ignorant most of this nation is. The thing of it is though, you may be surprised to know.. WE DON'T LIKE THIS COVER EITHER! So you may ask why?
Well let's begin with the fact that the child is standing on a chair. How is that comfortable for anyone? This child is most likely 5ish. Maybe 4. A ton of Moms breastfeed to 3-4 though most don't bf to 5-6 but it does occur and is not frowned upon. But children breastfed past 2 or what is called extended breastfeeding occurs normally with the child being lovingly held by the mother and they bond. What this lady is doing who knows. NO ONE DOES THAT! Seriously you could ask ten million EBF moms and they would all say they have never stood their child on a chair to breastfeed standing up. It is beyond sexualized in this picture.
Next point. The title "Are you MOM ENOUGH?" Great way to divide even among AP parents (too bad we are too clever for your tactics). So with that one sentence they have reduced the entire gentle parenting movement to a competition between mother's who are the elite and the rest of use who maybe only breastfed for a few months or a year or two. If anything AP moms are inclusive and helping. That was why I started this blog afterall.. to help educate women to a different way of parenting both AP and more earth friendly.
Next point. There is inside (though I haven't read it yet... I need to buy this magazine to do so and I am not sure I want to give them money) an article entitled Sears VS Science. Again way to reduce everything we do to the same category as astrology. As though their is absolutely no science to back up what we do. Even though Sears based all his research on the work of other groundbreaking Psychologists like Ainsworth and Bowlby (Theory of Attachment), he himself is a pediatrician and his wife a nurse, his sons are pediatricians and this form of parenting goes back centuries. That being said one of the leading current gurus for Attachment Parenting is a Neurobiologist (Mayim Bialik). There is countless neurobiology and science to back up the benefits of what we do. I have yet to meet a practitioner of AP who wasn't intelligent, well informed, well educated, knowledgeable, and well researched. We know what we are talking about because WE RESEARCH EVERYTHING BEFORE WE DO IT! To pit Sears against Science is to say we just make this crap up on a whim. Wow!
So Times looks like to just made everyone angry both pro AP and Anti AP. Overall I would say whatever good this may have been intending to do for the AP way of parenting it failed. It failed big time. I myself am torn between buying this edition to read it for myself, and not giving them a dime of my money. They are portraying the way I and 99% of my friends parent as weird, unusual, scandalous, and most of all a competition. If anyone has bought it and read it.. let me know what you think.
Edit: So I somehow missed that this child is 3. So therefor that actually brings up a really good point. 3 isn't even that far as far as EBF is concerned. Most just regular AP breastfeeder go to 2 and a good chunk to 3. I thought this child was at least 5 but 3.. come on people. He is a baby still. If my son had gone along with my plan we would be feeding still or at least until he turned 2. Our next one I have a goal of 2.
blog hop

The Accidental Greenie

So I set out to make May about Mommies. Green Mommies in particular. After all Mother's Day is coming up this weekend. However when asked if they wanted to featured in the blog I got a resounding answer "I am not a greenie I am green by accident". Basically the thought is that because they do these green actions mostly to save a different kind of green (money) they don't consider themselves actually green. OK so here think about this. Does that make the actions any less important? If you aren't buying disposable diapers and paper towels and instead using less and wasting less and showing the disposable companies that you don't need their bleached paper crap does but you do it to save money instead of the trees.... does it make the trees any less alive? Nope. If you make your own soaps and detergents and cleaners that are chemical free and safe for not just your kids but animals and ecosystems and waterways. But you do it to save money and protect your children.. does that make the waterways and ecosystems any less protected? Nope. I am here to say that you do not have to be an ecowarrior living in a tree to protect it. You do not have to be protesting whaleing on a anti whaling boat in the ocean to care. he biggest thing that you can do is these little things. Compost, recycle, buy cloth, don't support disposables. It is a simple message but it's true. There are no accidental Green Mommies.. just you you wonderful, humble, sweet ladies who everyday help make this a better world for your kids. Just because some people do it with the deliberate intention of saving this planet does not make their (or my) actions more noble than yours. Every time a new Mom says "I am switching to cloth" whether it is for her babies sake, the planet's, or her own pocketbook, all three things do happen. I do envision a world where gas powered vehicals do not exist and where you can see the stars anywhere even in a suburb, where the oceans are free of garbage and GMOs are no more. But let me tell you do I not enjoy how cheaply we can live using handmade instead of store bought, using reusable instead of disposable. Heck no. I love it! So for everyone of you who answered that you were in it for the savings... you ARE .. because you also are SAVING this planet. Corny yes but Happy Mother's Day my beautiful friends. I love you all.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Family: Many Shapes and Sizes

So for most of you who read this blog you may only read the articles here but some of you may also follow my page on FB or even my personal one, and so you may have an idea of my personal politics and why I do not discuss them that often in this blog. To be fair they don't often cross over into the blog, since this is about how to live a more natural and Earth Friendly way and how to help share that with other mothers and with your children. That being said sometimes my blog and my personal politics overlap. Sometimes it's just a matter of protecting mothers (or fathers) or children. So let me begin by saying two things. I 100% support gay marriage (though not a big fan of calling it "gay" marriage.. I think it should just be called marriage and it should be allowed to everyone). The second thing is that families have never come in one shape or size. 

A recent article came across my attention today. JC Pennys is under attack from a group calling themselves "One Million Moms", even though they are not even 50,000 Moms. A better title might be "a Handful of Moms". That aside the attack comes because of a mailer ad that JCP mailed out showing a lesbian couple and their two daughters. It talked about how artistic the whole family is and how they love making pottery and painting. I am not entirely sure how that sells clothing but I didn't get to see the whole ad.. maybe there was more to it.. idk.. but art and clothing aside the point is it portrayed a happy loving family just like any other happy loving family. I have never understood why people have this idea of a cookie cutter family anyhow. Since when is Man+Woman+ 2.5 kids the norm? Anyone who watch TV between the 50's and today saw their fair share of not cookie cutter families. 

Take the Brady Bunch for example. A blended family where  each parent brought in 3 children leaving the resulting blend of 6 kids. A larger than average family with stepparents. The Nanny showed a widower living alone with his 3 children. Kate and Ally showed 2 straight women living together without husbands to raise their children together. Full House showed a widower raising his three children with his brother in law and his best friend, three straight men raising 3 kids. Later on Uncle Jesse marries and has kids of his own showing that cookie cutter family but even then they live with the other family resulting in a blended household of cousins and Aunts and Uncles living in one house. My Two Dads was about two men being awarded custody of a daughter neither knew whether or not was theirs. The Partridge Family is about a single mom with a busload of kids who form a band and tour all over the country. Who's the Boss was about a single father working for a single Mother and raising their two children together while balancing professionalism in a familiar setting. Modern Family shows a straight couple, a gay couple and a divorced and remarried blended family all within the same family. To be fair this is a more recent show but still. In Different Strokes the family was an older white couple who adopt two African American children. So you see even on TV families rarely fit the cookie cutter view and show life as it is. Families are made up of those people who love each other, whether it be two moms, two dads, a gramma, a single father, a single mother, a mom and dad, aunts and uncles and cousins living with you, or even your dad's best friend and your deceased mom's brother. 

So this attack group trying to preserve the sanctity of mailer ads for the next generation, really what are you fighting against? Good happy parents who love their children? Do you think that seeing a happy lesbian couple with their two happy daughters is going to somehow damage your own children? How? Are the eeeeviiil lasbians going to sneak out of the picture like weeping angels and send your children and you back to the 50's where you would probably be happier anyhow...? Will they sneak into your house at night... knowing you got the flyer and brainwash your children? NO they will just be happy being themselves and a family a nice normal family just like yours.You don't have to have a Mom and a Dad to be happy. Families come in all shapes and sizes. I know I for one may start shopping at JCP more. Groups like this push hate agendas and then cry victim when we call them homophobes. If you push hate... then at least have the decency to own it. Say I am a homophobe and I use ideas like "morality" and "religion" to push my hate into the world. True morality is acceptance and truly following Christ's example is to love.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Website: Same Blog: New Email

So you may have noticed clicking on this blog now directs you to If you type it will bring up our new site. It doesn't have much on there but it directs you to the blog and also to my new email account. If anyone would like to contact me without leaving a public comment on the blog you can now email me at This is also our new icon. It was a collaborative effort between myself and Rogue Decals. I love it. It so perfectly shows what we are all about!

Getting Daycare on Board with Cloth

So one of the questions/complaints I get a lot is "My daycare won't use cloth diapers". I hear this often. Even if they do use them or allow them they often do not know how to put them on properly causing discomfort to baby or major leaks. So the other day my cousin and I decided to do something about this. We are going to work with the childcare council up here to run a course ( we don't have the legistics worked out yet) where we teach local daycare providers how to properly use cloth diapers, and that it is not a scary option. With this education we are hoping to even further promote and make it safe for cloth moms to feel they can use cloth at daycare and out of the house. At least 1/4 of all the cloth moms I know only use cloth at home. I know when we first started we used disposables when we went to church or when Bug went to Gramma's house overnight. We want to make sure that with our second one they never use disposables ever. We began using cloth with Bug from day one but many places made it hard to use cloth. We have been lucky with our daycare, but I was the first person she had ever had who used cloth and the only one since at that daycare. So I was surprised with how quickly she took to the process. So I will keep people updated on if, when and how this will work, and if local Moms would like to enjoy the same course, I am sure we could arrange that also.

IPM: Integrated Pest Management

As most of you know I am both an organic gardener as well as a biologist (or will be in 2 weeks when I don my cap and gown and finally achieve my degree). My focus in my degree was ecology, entomology, and botany. So that along with my organic gardening in my home life makes subjects like CCD and IPM very important to me. So what is IPM?
IPM or Integrated Pest Management is a way to is a way to control pests in both a garden setting or a large commercial setting without the use of large amounts of toxic pesticides or with little use of toxic pesticides. It is educating farmers large and small about better ways to deal with pests.
There are five steps to IPM:
1. Build your knowledge base: Learn all you can about the crops you are growing, the pests that plague them and the many different ways they can be controlled.
2. Monitor your plants: pretty self explanatory. Monitor what insects and pests eat them and how they are harming the plant. Is it an adult, or is it a larvae?
3. Decision making: Decide what plan of action will work best for your garden or farm. If you decide chemical, make sure to go with the most ecologically responsible possibility.
4. Intervention: Before insects become a problem there are ways you can intervene. One way is to spray kaolin clay on the plants. This forms a ecologically sound barrier to make in more difficult for insects to eat your plants.
5. Record keeping: Keep records form year to year on what worked, for how long, and what you could do better next year. This will help a lot in bigger farms because charting from year to year can help determine the Economic Injury Level or EIL.

A big aspect of IPM is determining the EIL. The EIL is the level at which it become no longer financially sound for a farmer to grow crops. If he has spent more on pesticides than he gains in crops then he is no longer making a profit and his farm is going to go bankrupt. The principles of IPM are meant to prevent chemical pesticide use through other more organic methods, however if chemical methods are needed then it is best to use them in regulated amounts, in rotation, and at the certain time when it is actually needed, which is when the pest level is reaching the EIL.  By implementing IPM farmers can lower their pesticide costs to almost nothing, and further reduce their own impact on the environment.
I have spoken a lot about impact on the environment but one of the biggest things I have not spoken about is one of the largest ones which is Insect Pesticide Resistance. Now assuming you all understand how selection pressures work on evolution, I am sure you can imagine what would happen if farmers sprayed nothing but one harsh chemical is abundance, year after year. The selection pressure would be so great that it would force evolution of a stronger strain of that said insect which would then be entirely resistant to that poison. So by using a variety of methods, rotating methods, and only using chemical pesticides when you are nearing the EIL, you can reduce almost entirely the chance of Pesticide Resistance.
Now I personally only use organic methods in my own use of IPM but larger commercial farms almost solely rely on chemical pesticides. By implementing IPM strategies any big farm can reduce their costs, promote their crops harvest, and reduce their impact on the environment. I will address this subject again over the course of the summer and show you in a bit more depth just how to find the EIL of your farm, what alternative pesticides you can use, and many other. I plan to have this subject be my main focus of the summer just like my series on backyard edibles was last summer. Happy planting!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Green Mommy Earth Day Garbage Walk

Bug throwing away some litter
So this year was the 3rd Annual Garbage Walk. We had to postpone it from Earth Day because Mother Nature decided that Earth Day weekend was going to be a good time for a whole lot of rain and some snow. So originally I had postponed it to today May 1st, but a weather report that predicted sunshine yesterday and rain today gave me enough advanced warning to switch days to yesterday. So this year we were joined by my good friend Liz H and her daughter Eleanor. So Bug, me and our two guests set out with 3 30 gallon trash bags, some hand sanitizer, waters, and the stroller. After a quick fight over who got to be in the stroller (which resulted in both of them sitting in it) we were off. All in all it was quite nice. Surprisingly there seemed to be much less garbage around town and the park, however it was garbage city in the area around my house and the vacant lot. Mostly because people coming home from the bars will toss there food and trash into those peoples yards thinking they should clean it up. I am thinking maybe next year we should walk the opposite way, though the park is a nice end to the day. The biggest surprise was coming home and finding more trash in the places we had already cleaned up. We ended the day with ice cream cones at Stewarts. A nice Northern NY treat.

Bug and Liz cleaning up the town.
Our sweet cleanomobile
Bug Liz and Eleanor patrolling for litter.
Bug sporting his awesome new shirt. It reads "The Green Mommy Earth Day Garbage Walk".
It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.
Like this Mom?
I found a piece of trash 'thiiis big'.
I got some trash!
We even got to watch some geese swimming in the park.

Next year I really am hoping to get more people involved and maybe do a press release on it. The more the merrier.

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