Greener Gifting

We’re sure that you — like us — have been trying to Simplify your life. Perhaps you’re simplifying because of the economy. Perhaps you’re simplifying because you’ve become aware of the burden that excess consumption is placing on our planet, and on people in third world nations.

This holiday season, we invite you to join us in this different, more meaningful approach.

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce recipe

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, several people enjoyed my photos on Instagram of pomegranate processing. Some people begged for the recipe.

The original recipe was something my sister made up years ago, to cope with an over-abundant harvest of pomegranates. Since each of us have pomegranate trees, this Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce has become standard in our family. And boy, is it GOOD!

It does take a bit of labor, however.

To make Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce, you have to start by processing the fresh fruit. Then you have to make the pomegranate molasses. Lastly, you make cranberry sauce.

Pomegranate molasses can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores. It is a staple product in several cultures. Or, pomegranate molasses can be made from pomegranate juice you buy in a health food store; there are several recipes on the internet. But we homemake it from our fresh fruit.

Here’s how to DIY, for those who are still interested.

How to make thermal drapes

The heat wave this past week really got to me. We don’t have air conditioning in our home, and even if we did, it would be great to insulate our windows to reduce the load on the a/c units and power supply. That’s why I got busy yesterday on a project I’ve meant to do for quite some time: making insulated drapes.

As climate change’s weather weirdness intensifies, we’re likely to get MORE of these intense heat days. So now is the time to begin preparing your home. Plan for hotter in everything you do, from which fruit tree varieties you plant, to what drapes you choose, to installing awnings and shade sails. In the coming decades, temperatures will go up! (Here are more low-tech things you can do to prepare your home for heat)

You can buy thermal drapes online, but they’re heavy, saturated with some kind of weird plastic, and they look like a throwback to the 1970s. And they’re expensive. No thanks.

I wanted more interesting fabrics, and a lower sticker price. Luckily, there are several stores nearby which sell end-lots of upholstery-weight fabric. (A fun one is Fabric Planet on Lincoln Blvd. in L.A. They also have it at -urk- Joann’s).

The thermal drape I make is like a sandwich: decorative fabric, thermal barrier, and liner fabric.

A Day Without a Woman – Weds March 8

daywowomanHow does one make an impact on “A Day Without a Woman”? In trying to puzzle this out, I consider many of the roles I have played and currently play.

Who does it hurt?

If you’re a mother of young children, you can’t very well “strike” and leave toddlers unfed, babies undiapered. Sure, some women might have the luxury of dumping the kids on some male, but when my kids were small that was simply not an option. It was more of “the buck stops here,” squarely on my shoulders.

If you’re a homeschooling mom, or an after-school-activities mom, you can’t abandon your kids’ education, nor refuse to drive them to classes and activities. Rather than a political statement, it simply hurts your children.

Cob repair days – March and April

20160423_121558(1)Want to play in the mud? Are you interested in building with cob? (straw + mud combination, a sustainable building method) A small team will be repairing the Westchester Community Oven during selected workdays in March and April.

Damage to the Oven

During one of the fierce January storms, high winds lifted the rain tarp and the Oven was exposed to a downpour.

Are you taking care of the Resistance?

You are one of the most precious assets we have. And by “we” I mean people who view a healthy environment, human rights, and a positive legacy for future generations as a moral obligation.

These current political times demand activism for the long haul. That means we must tag-team, each of us taking our turn in the marches and demonstrations – which unfortunately may be our constant mode of operation for the next 4-8 years.

The fight for these meaningful goals for the long haul means we must take care of ourselves and each other.

Here are some great suggestions on how to do that:

What you can do about the environment right now

Right to peaceably assemble by Joanne Vana Poyourow 1979

Right to peaceably assemble by Joanne Vana Poyourow 1979

ECM has long been a source of positive environmental news and proactive solutions — about many environmental news, but particularly about global warming.

Right now, this week, is a disheartening time for those who care deeply about our environment and human survival. But I encourage you to tap into what you CAN do…

SHOW UP

(while you still can) Right now, protest rallies and marches are happening on a regular basis. Tune in to your favorite cause – be that climate, noDAPL, Flint water, immigration, voters rights, BlackLivesMatter, gun control, anything that is threatened. And participate in physical rallies whenever you can spare the time. 

How to keep fighting – the 2017 version

It’s a new year. But even moreso, it’s a completely new era. The ground rules have all changed – from what is fact, to what is science, to what is news – to the point that many of us hardly know which way is up.

In the midst of all this turmoil, there have been a few articles which really helped me solidify my own direction.

One of these is a thoughtful, well-considered post by Ijeoma Oluo, “7 Ways you can keep fighting for justice in 2017.” And the things it recommends are both healing and calculated to gain long-term action.