On Child, to the River

ohriverIf you’re a parent and if you’re anything like me, you tread a fine line, providing for both your child’s safety and her freedom. Just yesterday, I was confronted with this conundrum.

On a visit to a dear friend’s land in the country, my nine year old son, I and the friend walked the edge of a hill overlooking a small river. Along with the five dogs, my son bounded down the steep edge, grabbing branches and lunging from tree to tree to the river bed nearly 100 feet below. My friend and I were in deep conversation, having not visited in too long a time. My son yelled up; I edged along the ridge, stumbling part  of the way down the hill to hear him. He wanted me to join him at the river.  I think I mentioned, my friend and I were deep in conversation.

As a young child, I remember numerous unchaperoned trips to the river, the swimming hole or just meandering along on our farm, sometimes miles from an adult. I treasure those experiences. My blueprint was formed by those long walks- navigating, taking risks, soaking in the environment, playing with the dogs and caring for our safe return.

My son called out again from the river below. I began walking down the steep hill, when my friend suggested that my son could continue down the river and meet us by the barn.  She’s the parent of a boy in his twenties and she’s wise. A little to my own surprise, I yelled the instructions far below. He yelled back that he wanted to cross the river. I yelled back that he must cross the river here, where I could see him, which actually was not really possible, but I was not quite ready to let go. He decided to stay on our side and began walking. We walked on, above. I almost forgot about him, we were so engrossed in our conversation. About 15 minutes later, as if waking for school late, I realized I couldn’t see or hear him, and he was walking along a river. Oh Panic!  Just as I did, we rounded the curving edge of the hill to a nice vantage point and I glimpsed a flash of one of the dogs. At that moment, I remembered my own walks, my own dogs, my own adventures as a child. I also felt an immediate sense of comfort, knowing that now these dogs were also caring for my son’s safe return. I yelled, and a sweet excited voice could barely be heard in return. Then a flash of another dog through the trees. Then a stronger voice, as my son progressed along the river’s edge.

We met up casually and walked on towards the barn together. He was smiling. I looked down and noticed his leg was bleeding. It was a fairly decent little gash. His feet were also soaked. It was 40 degrees. Happy as a clam.


Raising Chickens, Eggcetera…

3morebirdsThere really is nothing like collecting eggs from your very own chicken friends, especially a menagerie of colorful breeds!

Chickens come in all kinds of colors and sizes.  Each breed has distinct characteristics. Some are just beautiful and some are just great at laying lots of eggs. Some are known for their delicious meat.

If you’re planning to create your own backyard chicken farm, be sure to do a good bit of research before you decide to take the plunge. Raising chickens is a rewarding but demanding commitment. You ‘ll need to build an enclosure and a coop. You’ll need to choose the right birds for your needs and to consider any predators that might cause problems like fox or coyotes.

I highly recommend taking care of a friends chickens while they’re away, to get a sense of the responsibility involved. It will do you both good!  You’ll get a more real sense as to whether you’re able to handle the responsibility long term and your friends will get a little time away. Who knows, maybe they’ll repay the favor if you decide to move forward with your own chickens.

Mother Earth News, a  publication that has been a favorite of mine through the years, has many pertinent articles on choosing the right birds, raising eggs and raising meat.

Following is a nice starter page at the Mother Earth News website on raising chickens, but be sure to poke around the site to find other relevant articles. There are many!


BPA RECEIPTS- Results are IN!

Throw them away
Throw them away

Who’s been Naughty and Who’s Been Nice….

I sent eight receipts from eight different grocers around Dallas, Texas to the lab for testing.  Five out of the eight came back clean but three were made with BPA.

Here are the results:

Who’s been NAUGHTY (BPA found in Samples)

 Albertsons,’ 4625 Frankford Rd. Dallas, Texas

Albertsons,’ 3630 Forest Ln. Dallas, Texas

 Albertsons,’ 7007 Arapaho Rd. Dallas, Texas

Who’s been NICE: (No BPA)

Tom Thumb Safeway, 3757 Forest Ln. Dallas, Texas

Tom Thumb Safeway, 11920 Preston Rd. Dallas, Texas

Tom Thumb Safeway, 14999 Preston Rd. Dallas, Texas

Tom Thumb Safeway, 18212 Preston Rd. Dallas, Texas

 Central Market, 320 Coit, Plano, Texas

Food for Thought, Folks

Beeswax Wraps

beeswax-food-wrap-11Wow! It seems like forever that I’ve been trying to think of ways to store food leftovers without using plastic, plastic wrap or aluminum foil. A company named Abego has come up with a great idea… which I bet beekeepers have been doing for years. They’ve created a thin cotton cloth soaked in beeswax that contains almost any food item. It’s pliable, washable and reusable.  Check out their video. Click on “Watch the Video” at the bottom of the page:


Abego was featured on The Splendid Table this past weekend.

A great DIY website called Improvised Life has provides directions on how to make your own beeswax food savers.


Happy Food Storing my little squirrels!


Photo from Apartment Therapy

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs- Why and How?

CFL_many typesYou may have already switched to CFL’s for your home lighting. If  not, I encourage you to do so! The bulbs last much longer. are much cheaper and more environmentally sound.

You also may be aware that CFL’s contain small amounts of mercury within the tubes. Sounds strange, huh? However, the amount of mercury released into the environment by CFL’s is far less than if one uses incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs do not contain mercury but they require a lot more energy which requires a lot more coal to be burned. When coal is burned, mercury is released. So as odd as it seems, using CFL’s lowers mercury emissions.

So, how do you properly dispose of CFL’s? Some states require that you recycle. Whether or not it is required, it’s recommended. Take a look here at the EPA’s webpage devoted to CFL’s and their proper disposal/recycling.


Testing, Testing… BPA Receipts


I mailed some store receipts off last week to be tested for BPA in a lab. Not a cheap experiment, I might add. Before mailing them in, I used an at-home BPA test which tested positive, but I want to be really sure.  All the receipts are from grocery stores.

Most stores are moving away from BPA coated receipts, but some are still using them. Some might be using BPA and not be aware. I know that receipt tape rolls that do not contain BPA are more costly.

After learning how toxic BPA is and learning that it is especially transferable through receipt tape, I have been super concerned for the cashiers that handle these receipts all day.  I have been observing how few employees protect themselves. I have only observed gloves on one person’s hands in the last few months. Another worrisome factor is that most cashiers apply skin cream frequently because their hands get chafed. Apparently, wearing moisturizer adds to the absorption of BPA. How many times have you noticed a bottle of hand cream near the register?

I have learned that the biggest risk is posed to pregnant women and to their developing fetus’s. I can’t help but wonder how many cashiers are aware of the risks of BPA?

BPA and Migraines

BPA and Migraines

Can you believe it? The infamous BPA is back in the news, again. Yesterday a study was released by University of Kansas siting a connection between migraines and drinking water from plastic bottles and cups.

Ok, so apparently the endocrine disruptor BPA is not just linked to cancers, obesity, infertility and chromosomal malformations, it also causes a whopper of a headache. Guess we should have known.