, ,

This past week was mostly chilly and raining. Two semi-dry days allowed me to bike to work but all other outdoor activities were pretty much suspended. The poor Dashwoods found themselves stuck inside their run complaining about their ill treatment. Today, however, has been a glorious sunny day and the Dashwoods have been out wandering the garden since sunup. Bookman and I have been busy since then too with cooking and cleaning and various other tasks. As he said this afternoon, we are all going to sleep well tonight!

The forecast for the week suggests the possibility of frost Tuesday morning. It will not be a hard, killing frost, just one of those light frosts that might touch the edges of sensitive plants, the kind you can toss a sheet over your tomatoes and have them be perfectly fine. A couple weeks ago I was in no way ready for any kind of frost but since then my allergies have been so bad I have reached the place when I call out, bring it!

There isn’t much going on in the garden at this point anyway. We are waiting for the pumpkins to finish getting ripe. The cabbage is still growing, there are carrots, chard and kale but that’s it. When we finally do get a good frost we will be able to harvest some sunchokes and horseradish. This will be the first year for the horseradish. We planted a root about three years ago and it has finally spread and grown large enough that we can begin to dig some up. Bookman is really looking forward to this as he is the horseradish fan and the reason we planted it to begin with.

I did find a zucchini in the garden and there are two more out there of size and perhaps one more that is small that may or may not get big enough to bother with. We have gotten so much zucchini this year Bookman cried out in alarm when I brought the one in this afternoon and told him about the other two. He is currently insisting there are no more zucchini to be had, I am surely imagining things! I suggested that maybe next year we shouldn’t plant so many and he eagerly agreed. I admit I was surprised to see the zucchini out there since the plants are starting to die back, but I guess they are putting out one last reproductive effort.

The goldfinches have moved from the hyssop to the purple coneflowers now. On one of the dry days I biked to work, when I got home and stopped in front of the flowerbed in my front yard that is pretty much all coneflowers, about six goldfinches flew out in alarm. How they make me smile!

As happy as my garden and chickens are, I cannot forget that it is not like this everywhere. I read a heartbreaking article the other day, The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-up of Barbaric Factory Farms. If you eat animals, even if it isn’t pork, you are contributing to the suffering of conscious beings with thoughts and feelings. If this bothers you, then stop eating animals. If you also care about the environment and climate change, going vegetarian will make a big difference.

And while my garden is an organic oasis free of pesticides that don’t harm bees, this is not the case for most places. How much evidence has to accumulate before neonicotinoid pesticide is banned? First it is shown to kill bees and other pollinators, then it is found polluting our drinking water, and now it is in 75% of honey samples from around the world. But we aren’t supposed to worry? It’s such a tiny amount in the honey it won’t hurt you. Ok, but what about the cumulative effect? What about when you add the exposure from honey and water, and other food? Nothing to worry about? I beg to differ. As a vegan I don’t eat honey but it is still something concerning because it is indicative of a widespread problem.

As the seasons are changing and you are putting the garden to bed or getting ready to plant one, as you stand in the grocery store planning dinner, stop and consider the choices you are making and how they are affecting the bees, the pigs, chickens, cows, the goldfinches and ultimately you at the top of the food chain. We are part of a web of being and the choices we make to feed ourselves and our loved ones matter. Do you want your choices to be part of a web of life or one based on suffering and death?

I know you don’t come here to be preached at, but I can’t not say something about the treatment of animals when my own government is complicit in covering up their abuse. This is something everyone should know about because it doesn’t have to be this way. The world and what and how we eat can be different. And if you enjoy my stories about the Dashwoods and you eat chicken, you need to know that the chicken you ate, even if it was cage free or free range, was not running around a garden enjoying a happy life. No one should have to suffer, not people, not animals, not bees, not the planet. The power to do something about it belongs to each of us.