This is a bit of a “taking care of business” post. Apologies for its strange list-like format.
- BEES ARE OUR FRIENDS. I find it quite hopeful that 120 people showed up for the Introductory Beekeeping Class that my husband attended this past weekend. The Kalamazoo Bee Club can now boast 500-odd members. And if only half of those attendees start their own hives this year, that’s sixty new hives. This is a great and positive thing, and I look forward to home-grown honey topping our home-grown breakfast yogurt!
- MO’ MONEY, MO’ MONEY. I have been watching with interest the kerfuffle over the apparent trademarking of the terms Urban Homestead/Urban Homesteader, among other oft-used terms. I’ve been looking at the debate as one of morals (simply, individual working orders) versus ethics (collective working orders that don’t necessarily apply to everyone). It seems the point of most people’s frustration is the graying of the moral/ethical line by a grabbing of the commons to the benefit of an individual. The folks who are the center of the controversy started their home food-producing endeavor with what I can only assume were the best of intentions (a moral choice). With time and the internets, it appears money has blinded them (an ethical matter). This happens so often to individuals in the business world (that someone’s personal compass gets de-magnetized from one’s moral true north) that it barely bears mentioning…and 99 times out of 100 it is because the idea of “more money” is behind it. In point of fact, “more money” is a laudable, revered goal in the business world (it’s the business world’s ethic, if not any one individual’s). So my first response to this controversy, frankly, was why would anyone be surprised? What makes it galling, of course, is this one family’s land grab over anyone else’s use of the term as it would now infringe on their ability to make (more) money for themselves. They’ve gone way beyond the mere sharing of gardening ideas to the copywriting of an idea. This is morally suspect in the personal world but in the corporate world, it is par for the course.
- TRADEMARK THIS. So I of course have been thinking about how I would never be motivated to trademark anything. Goodness, why? Money has never been much of a motivator for me, and the idea of making money on how-to-grow-food advice is distasteful. Collectively and individually, we all need to learn how to grow some of our food, and the sooner the better. But over the nearly six years of my writing this blog, I have been contacted by two publishers expressing interest in me writing a book that codified and expanded on its ideas. I have considered the proposals with all seriousness and have rejected them mainly because a book would not be free, it’s instead a money-making venture off of the commons. The blog and its contents are free to those of us lucky enough to have access to the web, and likewise I do not accept ads. (If indeed I were to write a book, it would probably be about something else entirely.) However, if I were to rip off anything, how about my personal spin on Michael Pollan’s food recommendations? You know: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. This is what I advocate for myself, and thus by extension, anyone else who can do so: “Grow food. As much as you can. And share it.” I wouldn’t trademark it though.
- VEG GARDEN BOOK. Speaking of books, I have a fabulous one to recommend to you. (Full disclosure of course is that I do know the writer, and, in point of fact, she interviewed me for the book…but I get no kickbacks from this, peeps.) Michele rocks, period. And her argument is completely convincing.
- MEAT CHICKENS. I have ordered my meat birds for this year. This, indeed, is quite early…however, I won’t be getting them until the first week of July. For those of you considering it, I annually raise 25 meat chickens within a chicken tractor that I drag around the back 40 twice a day for 12 weeks. In other words, I expend a lot of energy just for a freezer full of chicken dinner. And like last year, I am ordering the godawfully named Freedom Rangers because honestly they are more tender than the usual slower-growing meat chickens I have raised in the past. Marginally more tender, that is; they taste the same. And despite the problems I had with them (splay legged chicks: a nightmare to resolve, frankly, and general meanness in the flock) I am going with them again. Shoot me now.
- GREENHOUSE STARTS. Indoors and out, many things have begun to sprout, and it makes me happy. I have two toads that have come out of their hibernation hidey-holes in the old greenhouse, too. It’s fun to visit them.
- SWEAT EQUITY. I finally finished my bleeping kitchen renovation. Ergh. Took me eight weeks. Now I can spend my extra time outside!
Ah. That’s quite enough of a list. I wish you all spring cheer.