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….
I'm glad things are looking up!ReplyDelete
Thank you for this. I live alone and am aware of how easy it is to get in a rut mentally and physicaly. I love that you are doing something about it.ReplyDelete
It's so easy to get caught in the sameness of every day. Sometimes that's not a bad place tob e but other times it can suffocate us.Delete
I totally agree with your thoughts on getting out of our routines. Over the winter, I got stuck, staying inside way too much. I've been planning day trips now that spring is here and am glad to hear that it's not just me!ReplyDelete
I've got a couple of day trips planned too and they are a bit scary. Got to get over that feeling. Hope we both enjoy our break out plans.Delete
I read Mad Honey and agree it had much to teach me. :-) And you're the second person I know who enjoyed West with the Giraffes. I'm putting it on my "to read" list.ReplyDelete
It's good to get out and about and I'm pretty sure I'm familiar with the detour you mentioned. The area out here is full of detour signs lately. I guess it's just the summer construction season. It's annoying, but I'm always ridiculously happy when one of the projects ends and I can use my preferred route. lol.
Trouble is the construction never ends until snow is about to fall. I hadn't been to my nephew's since I moved so it was a new-to-me route. Next time I'm trying something different.Delete
I loved both of those books and Jodi isn't normally one of my favorite authors. If you read the book about the Giraffes---and I hope you do---it starts out slow and maybe ten pages of boring but keep going. You won't be sorry.
Good for you, getting out and about! Planning a small day trip every now and then is liberating, and it reminds you that there's a world out there to engage with. You don't want to get too isolated in your Hive!ReplyDelete
I'm not as isolate now as when I lived alone for 12 1/2 years but I have allowed myself to get isolated in a different way.Delete
I had that conversation with my friend Kate the other day about smaller worlds -- that if you really boiled it down, I don't have many friends (I'll define that in a minute) in the area and that my world got very small after I retired and then Covid. There are really only about three or four people I "hang" with -- go on a road trip, meet for lunch, chat with on the phone -- on a regular basis. I KNOW tons of people -- Cork Poppers, fellow retired folk, neighbors. But it's not like we DO things together when we aren't in a group. I need to change that.ReplyDelete
So, do you ever get over to Lansing? Or Portland, even (half between). We could meet up for lunch!
I never go anywhere. Give me some time to practice driving around here and I'll be game to meet in Portland. I looked it up on google maps and it's only a 40 minute drive from my place and only one highway. When will you be moving to the cottage?ReplyDelete
I loved West with Giraffes and recommend it all the time.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you are finding ways to get out of your rut. Good suggestions for all of us! Thank you!
That book is so well researched and written. I can and probably listen to it once a year.Delete
I'm glad you've found a way to get out of your rut. Well, many ways to get out of your rut. I am beginning to feel like my world is getting smaller, too. I know that I can do more things than I do, but it just kind of happened that one day I was doing much less. Weird how life works.ReplyDelete
Our worlds are small when we are growing up and now we're growing down so to speak.Delete
Just borrowed a digital copy of Mad Honey from the library. Thanks for the recommendation, Jean!ReplyDelete
It's good to get out of our regular stomping grounds, even for a day trip! I've been so focused on my back yard project for weeks and now I need to balance the scales a little better and get out more, myself. Thanks again, for reminding me how good it is to do this!
Hope you like the book and find it interesting on several levels It's been passed around our campus and so far everyone has loved it.Delete
Since I'm alone a lot, I recently joined a Democratic women's book club in my town. The next meeting is on June 5th and the book "The Rose Code" is on its way from Amazon. I looked at the book particulars yesterday and to my horror saw it's 656 pages long! Good luck on finishing that door stop in time. The club is going on hiatus for the summer after this meeting. Probably to recuperate!ReplyDelete
Wow, we had one of those LONG books for club once and it was tough getting it done in time. I love the idea of a Democratic women's book club. Often after reading a political book you do want to discuss it.Delete
I kind of know a couple of the women from when I did Zumba at our Wellness Center, but this will be my first meeting with them. I did recommend a book though, "Bettyville" by George Hodgson. It's a memoir from a gay New York writer who goes home to Paris, Missouri to take care of his elderly mother. It's poignant, but also a hoot.Delete
Bettyville sounds like a good book to recommend for our book club.Delete
Although it's comfortable to withdraw and the pandemic exacerbated that, it's great that you're getting out and doing more socializing. I don't like Jodi much but the Giraffe book sounds intriguing!ReplyDelete
I can't imagine anyone not liking that book. It starts out boring but quickly changes when the old man in the nursing home switches to telling the story about the giraffe.Delete
Those hydroponic gardens sure are impressive!! I'm struggling to grow cucumber, tomato and spinach plants. The fact that it requires so little water is encouraging, too. I hope our government is subsidizing hydroponics. And the lady who moves unwanted bees is truly a heroine! It really does my heart good to hear positive stories.ReplyDelete
I applaud you for getting out for a day trip. Ever since Covid, we tend to stay closer to home than we ever did before. Maybe we need to start looking for some new adventures. A change in scenery is good for most of us!
I guess colleges are starting to introduce hydroponic farming in their curriculums which is promising. According to the lecturer, the movement is world wide. Africa with their long days of hot sun, for example, think they can combine the farms with solar power to run the lights and generator they need.Delete
GOOD FOR YOU! I love reading Jodi (until I stopped reading) so must get it on Audible. Portland is well known for letting homeowners plant gardens in their front yards, as well as back. Some even plant on top of their garages!ReplyDelete
I have a friend who raises bees AND goes and brings hives home. She also counts bees in different parts of Oregon. And counts butterflies on Mt Rainier. We do have amazing people among us.
Now that I have Olive (new Subaru Forester), I get out almost every day and have noticed a big difference in my self. I deliver food to two clients of our local food pantry on Monday mornings. (I know, me + morning isn't my usual mode) Honestly think Covid has left a permanent mark.
Yes, it as and many people are noticing the need to get back out into the world. Going to be a good summer for tourism.Delete
Audible is a wonderful way to get back into books. I forget what I pay Amazon for the service but its worth it. I listen to books when I'm getting ready in the mornings and in bed at night with a timer on the book.
Love and you for going things that help others and/or the environment.
Getting out of a rut is the best thing sometimes it is hard to do but feels good when it happensReplyDelete
Amen to that!Delete
The hydroponic garden plan is mind-blowing. I did wonder however if plants can produce nutrients correctly with artificial light? I'll have to do some reading about that.ReplyDelete
There's some irony in watching bright minds figure out how to efficiently feed the too many people we have on the planet; many of who grow up to become the fodder for the powerful to kill in endless wars.
The plants get what amounts to plant food/nutrients in with the water and it's all measured and regulated with technology they can do over the farmer's cell phone which can also give her alarms if any condition in the container changes.Delete
So glad you're expanding your World and not allowing it to stagnate or get Smaller. I was Inspired by what uplifted you, it's things like that which do give us Hope and also want to make a positive impact in this World of ours. Most of our Bees in Arizona have now interbred with the Africanized versions so I don't know I'd try to handle them barehanded and without protective gear as they agitate easily and attack relentlessly. An elderly Man was on the News with his Poodle just Yesterday, they both survived an attack and all he was doing was walking his Dog down the Sidewalk, he in his electric Scooter since he was disabled and had to crawl away from the scene until Emergency Responders arrived for him. They too were attacked. I'm allergic to Bee stings but try to Be The Tree, which is advice that a Beekeeper and Bee Removal Specialist on a TV Reality Show said is the Key to them leaving you alone. I've done that near Bees and it's Weird, but, works. I used to do Hydroponic Gardening in the Hippie Years, it was novel then, I'm sure they've perfected it since then. They used to sell these small Hydroponic Gardening Units for your Home and you could grow quite a bit with those things even tho' they were not large.ReplyDelete
Since writing this I found out one of my neighbors has a small hydroponic garden in her house and she grows salad fixings.Delete
I'm allergic to bees as well and I try really hard to be still and calm when one is around me. I haven't been stung since my forties. It would be my nightmare to handle them like that Beeworks lady does.
My only problem with West with Giraffes is, I read it at the same time as The Lincoln Highway; the two books had so many similarities I kept getting them mixed up, wondering what had happened with a particular character, when that character was in the other book. Re tough books, one of my book clubs figured out a good option. Each month, we read a popular book club book, plus one chapter of The 1619 Project. It’s working for us.ReplyDelete
Two years ago, I realized I was spending days at a time at home alone in the winter. So like several of the commenters here, I set about to change that. The goal became to go out once, five days a week, and do something in my small, remote island community. So I started going to art night at the community center, going to the Saturday night movie, joined a second book club, set up a biweekly piano session with a friend (we are both lapsed amateurs, trying to learn how to play from a fake book), got involved with a gang of friends to go out to our brewery Sunday late afternoons (hey, it’s free soup afternoon, why not?), and finally, organized a weekly ladies lunch open to anyone on the island who felt like lunch and good company. Getting out for just a couple hours most days felt just right. Still had slow mornings and plenty of house time, but it does feel good to get together with people.
I enjoyed this post, thanks!
I love the idea of reading one chapter of the 1619 Project along with your regular book club selection. I am going to suggest that to our club, Also love how proactive you've been in getting out and about again. Covid made many of us hermits and just becomes a way of life but ti is good for us to be with people.Delete
I've heard of hydroponic gardening, of course, but this way of approaching it is entirely new to me. Your report reminded me of another 'invention' that came along for the treatment of malnutrition. The product is called Plumpy'Nut; it's made of a peanut-based paste with sugar, vegetable oils, powdered milk, and vitamins and minerals. It comes in a self-contained packet that's shelf stable, and can be given out to people who live without refrigeration. It wasn't available when I was in Africa, but apparently it's now widely used where malnutrition is a problem. I've read that it tastes good enough that children are more than eager to eat it -- always a good thing.ReplyDelete
I sometimes see bee hives when I'm out and about. They're often out in the country: maybe as many as fifty hives tucked up against hedgerows and such. It's possible they're meant for transport to our various peach orchards and such when the time for pollination has come. The other story I remember is of bee keeping on the rooftops of Paris. What a great concept!
I've heard of moving hives around to various fields to help pollinate the crops. I'll bet that is what you're seeing. Interesting! They say if you eat honey made from bees in your area that it helps you with your allergies to the local vegetation.Delete
I've never heard of Plumpy'Nut but I'm glad that kind of product is around where it's needed.
That was me, shoreacres. I always click 'google account' and it shows, but then it turns me into anonymous. I'm going to see if using my url will work.Delete
At least you can make it work to leave a comment. There are still blogs where I can't do that and it's so frustrating.Delete
Fascinating, the hydroponic farming. Do the bees get brought into these containers to do their magic? Or do they only grow plants which don't require pollination?ReplyDelete
I live alone, and have since my husband died 18 years ago. I absolutely love it. I found it difficult to share my space when I invited a Ukrainian refugee to live with me. Of course I couldn't cherrypick somebody for their compatibility but the experience revealed how settled in my ways I am. I lasted 5 1/2 months and had signed up for 2 years, the length of the humanitarian parole. Now that she's got different housing and is doing well, I'm back to my settled ways and oh, how sweet it is. You've got me wondering, what constitutes settled in and what reveals a rut.
Glad you are rearranging things to put sparkle in your day. P.S. I miss your twice weekly postings.
Thank you for missing by biweekly posts. Tell you a secret, I don't miss writing them. I like the longer format I'm doing for weekly posting...gives me more time to edit and think about changes.Delete
I thought about the bees in those container farms, too...after it was too late to ask. But I do know the crops are grown from seed are mostly vegetables and eatable flowers. The fancy restaurants and wedding caterers buy the flowers and she's just starting to put them in salad mixes she sells to the local supermarkets.
I'm in a rut too, and pushing myself to join with friends and buck up! Loved the book Mad Bees and gave me a new perspective on trans people. Well written and worth reading.ReplyDelete
It sure is worth reading and probably should be required reading to a lot of adults. The fact that Jodi's co-author is an activist for the trans gender movement, the voice of the trans girl was super authentic.Delete
What an educational and uplifting post! Thanks for sharing so much positivity, you made my day.ReplyDelete
Okay then....Thank you for reading it.Delete
A friend of mine had an audiology emergency a few months ago when she woke up one morning to find her hearing completely gone in one ear. It turns out that this kind of sudden deafness should be treated as an emergency because the hearing loss can sometimes be reversed, but only with immediate treatment. Luckily, my friend is a scientist who knew all this and did not do what most people do -- which is wait a few days to see if the hearing returns on its own.ReplyDelete
I knew sudden loss of hearing was an emergency. I just thought they'd see the doctor, not the audiologist. But on second thought I suppose the doctor would want the hearing tested either before or after he/she saw the person. I do like having both in the same practice.Delete