Last week I wrote about being in a rut. This week I’m out of the rut, having found and done a few things in a concentrated effort to break through that fog of indifference that was swirling around in my head. And it took a combination of four things to get out of my funk, four things that taken alone might sound ho-hum, but what can I say, it was time to quit pretending to care about what my fellow residents are saying and doing and check back in. Those four things dug me out of the funky rut are:
One: I went to a lecture about hydroponic, container based farming and it brought me joy knowing there are people working on ways to feed the world. So much is written about the poor state of the farming industry and food insecurities that it's hard not to worry when even the military say its a threat to world peace. In addition to climate change being responsible, the honey bees are in trouble and they are necessary for the production of nearly 80 grains, fruits and vegetables crops not to mention the flowers we love.
What I learned at the lecture is there are companies turning old universal shipping containers into hydroponic farms that only need five gallons a water a day to grow crops vertical without dirt or sun light---six walls per container. They contain built-in technology to give the plants exactly the right amount of artificial light and water, the right temperature and all completely free of pesticides and herbicides. Each container can supply 6,000 pounds of produce per container per year and you can move these farms any where you need them so the produce grown inside stays fresher longer for the consumer because we’re not shipping picked crops long distances.
The next day a college professor was bringing a delegation of people from South Africa to see the owner's container farms---she has four sitting in a parking lot in the heart of out city---and they are also touring those of a huge food service that you might recognize in your deli section of the grocery store---Gordon Foods. They have 20 new-built container farms at their corporate headquarters that were made by a different company than the one that is retrofitting old de-commissioned shipping containers into the indoor farms. I don’t know about you but it uplifts my spirits to learn about people who take a depressingly huge problem like world food insecurity and turns it into an opportunity of hope. Brighter minds will figure out how to save the world.
The wall of plants like you see in the photo above move like the book shelves in many libraries and each has its own watering system. They are working in purple light because the plants only need the red and blue rays so the lighting costs are cheaper than the full spectrum lighting we’re used to seeing.
Two: I’ve been watching a lady from Texas Beeworks on Facebook Reels and Shorts who moves bees from places they aren’t wanted to places where they can thrive and are needed. She uses her bare hands to sift through the bees until she finds the queen, knowing once she’s moved the queen to a new hive the others will follow. She wears no protective gear while hundreds of bees cover her hands and thousands more are within arm’s length. Makes me want to use an EpiPen just watching my monitor. But she also makes me happy just like it made me happy when I read on Facebook about towns in Europe that planted all the areas between the sidewalks and the streets with flowers to help the bees. Those brighter minds at work again.
As a side note here: I also read Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan since my last blog post. Wow, is all can say other than it deserves its own post and I’ll bet it’s on the top of the Banned Books list in Florida. I learned a lot more about the bees from the book as well as about a topic I dare not name because none of the reviews named it. Doing so would be like telling the who-done-it in a murder mystery. The surprise element is part of what makes the book such a great read and knowing it might keep some from reading the book and missing a compelling learning opportunity.
Three in my effort to break out of my rut was I picked a book I’ve read once and listened to twice before, sat in my chair all afternoon and listened to it yet again. Obviously West with the Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge is a book I love. I especially like listening to it because it’s written and read as if an old man is looking back on his life and it was based on an actual event that took place in depression-era America. The story was a coming-of-age adventure about transporting two giraffes from New York to San Diego in the 1930s. It’s as much about the Dust Bowl as it is about the giraffes and this time when I listened to it I was reminded that our country faced food shortages and farming issues that seem insurmountable in the past and we recovered.
It wasn’t just several years of droughts that caused the Dust Bowl but also contributing to it was that farmers abandon soil conservation practices. Crop prices were so low they planted land they shouldn’t have, causing the top soil to blow away. And the lessons learned from that have helped lessen the damage done by future droughts. The agricultural department was able to help farmers plant tree rows between fields and how to use proper crop rotation to get and keep the soil ‘healthy’ again and more importantly keep it from blowing away. They had their brighter minds back then too to save us from the brink of starvation.
Four: I have Google following me around like a stalker. Yes, I know could change that in settings. It's a holdover from before I moved and I welcomed Google tracking my where-bouts since I lived alone and it could be months before anyone would notice me missing. That was the long way around leading up to how I know I only drove an average of 15 miles a month since last fall. I get a monthly report of all the places I drive. (Can you believe how easy they make it for a jealous spouse to track a wife or husband?) Anyway, I took one look at that and thought, “No wonder I’m in a rut! I don’t go anywhere.” So I decided to take my niece-in-law and nephew up on their invitation to their garage sale out in the country. I got lost going there within ten minutes of me leaving my apartment---a construction detour issue, not a old woman issue. Then after I left my nephew’s and on the spur of the moment (which I rarely do anything) I went another fifteen minutes south to my niece’s house.
As much as I like the campus where I live it was nice getting out and about and letting the mini day trip help pull me out of the rut. Our worlds get smaller the older we get. If you don’t believe me, take a look at anyone living in a nursing home where they depend on others for their everything. But I’ve let my world get smaller sooner than it needs to be and I need to work at changing that.
Until next Wednesday….