Prop 37

Written by Lydia Benedict.

 

Next week our country will elect a president. But there are important issues to vote on as well. Californians will vote on an issue that affects us all: food labeling laws. Proposition 37 on the California ballot would require food companies to identify whether or not their food products contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A GMO is an experimental plant or animal that has been genetically engineered in a laboratory with DNA of other plants, animals, bacteria and viruses.

Red-light, Green-light

Written by Lydia Benedict.

Summer is an island, surrounded by sunshine and freedom. It is freedom from coats and boots, from school schedules and study, from darkness and cold. I love waking up early on a summer morning, the sun already up or daylight lasting until bedtime. To me, summer is warm nights with fireflies and hot days interrupted by thunderstorms and the smell of dust rising up from the rain.

Tomatoland

Written by Lydia Benedict.

When I think of summer, I think of tomatoes. The sweet and tangy flavor of a homegrown tomato is a summer treat worth waiting for. Tomatoes are a sun-loving vegetable, and a gardener must endure the scorching rays of summer to reap her reward. I stopped purchasing store bought tomatoes some time ago simply because they have no flavor. (Call me crazy, but I want a tomato that tastes like a tomato—not like cardboard.) So when I taste my first tomato of the season, I’m in heaven—tomato heaven! Now let me tell you about Tomatoland. It’s a must read book. In Barry Estabrook’s book, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit, we learn the ugly truth about the tomato industry—especially Florida’s tomato industry.

Going, Going... Green

Written by Lydia Benedict.

A while back my 15-year-old son Tennyson wrote a compelling essay on global warming, which I featured as a blog post. Not everyone agreed with him and some adults wrote me to say that my son, while well meaning, was just misinformed. In other words, global warming is a non-issue. Well, Tennyson has written a response. Here it is.


GOING, GOING... GREEN
by
Tennyson Benedict

When it comes to global warming, there are two schools of thought. Some believe that human consumption of fossil fuels contributes to global warming. Others argue that human behavior has nothing to do with global warming. Those in the latter camp site research claiming that our planet goes through periods of heating and cooling. “We also need not worry about environmental calamities… Earth has been much warmer during the past 3000 years with no calamities,” claims one recent study. Be that as it may, there are still good reasons for us to cut down our use of non-reusable energy sources and try to find renewable sources of energy.

Mitt, Mormons, and Muslims

Written by Lydia Benedict.


Have you ever wondered what a fundraiser is like for a presidential candidate?  Jeff and I were invited to a couple fundraisers for Mitt Romney last week.   The fundraisers were back-to-back on the same afternoon.  A photographer working at the events informed us that Mitt had four such events that day and six the following day.

Mother

Written by Lydia Benedict.

When I was a kid, I had a neighbor named Jan. She offered my mother work sewing for her newly created backpack company. My mom wasn't a career minded woman, but she's a talented seamstress and sewing is in her blood: her great, great-grandmother sewed for the king of Denmark. Although working for a king wasn't in her cards, perhaps my mother could have used her skills in the fashion world sewing for a company like Calvin Klein. Instead she added a Juki, an industrial size power sewing machine, to our little house and started making backpacks. I still remember spending hours beside my mother stringing elastic through the casing of waterproof backpack covers for JanSport.

SHOW BUSINESS

Written by Lydia Benedict.

 

It's not uncommon for city folks to retreat to the country for rest and relaxation from the hustle and bustle of city life. Conversely, I look forward to trips to the city as a change of pace from country life. This past week was a pace-changer for me when I accompanied Jeff on a business trip to Southport, Connecticut and New York City. The funny thing is that while the pace felt different – muck boots vs. heels will do that to you—the long hours were about the same. While I was still exhausted at the end of each day, attending speeches, meetings, and the theatre were a welcome break from schooling, cooking, and refereeing—and I'm not talking about basketball.

Eat Like You Mean It

Written by Lydia Benedict.

Too often we Americans make our food choices for the wrong reasons.  We choose convenience over nutrition, cheap instead of safe.  And the mileage on any given food product rarely weighs into our purchases.  Furthermore, Americans increasingly make their food choices to satisfy their never-ending appetite for sugar and caffeine.  When it comes to food, there seems to be a new American motto: Fill the belly, spare the wallet.

This motto, thanks to our food industry, can now be achieved.  Today, Americans spend less of their discretionary money on food than just a couple of generations ago.  This means that proportionally speaking, food is cheaper than ever.  How can feeding our families and ourselves take a smaller percentage of our income than it did for our grandparents?  Keep in mind that cheap food refers to the sticker price. Just as a television’s sticker price doesn’t include the satellite or cable service required to watch TV, neither does the sticker price on food include the price our health or our environment pays.  

Warming Up the Planet

Written by Lydia Benedict.

My 15-year-old son recently wrote an essay for school on a topic of his choosing.  Since our family moved to Virginia and changed the way we eat and live, Tennyson has not only embraced this lifestyle, but also educated himself by reading everything from husbandry books to Omnivore’s Dilemma.   After working through several drafts of his paper, Tennyson is ready for his first by-line.  So instead of hearing from me this month, please read my first guest blog by Tennyson Benedict.

 

 

Warming Up the Planet
By Tennyson Benedict
 

 
Polar bears in Alaska are dying and the reason may surprise you: a lack of snow and ice.  For years now, the average snowfall in Alaska has been dropping.  Ice glaciers are melting and are forcing polar bears to swim great distances.  For example, scientist attached a radio collar to a mother polar bear, and discovered that she was forced to swim 600 miles.  The culprit behind this dilemma is that carbon dioxide is trapping solar heat.  These green house gases are simultaneously eroding the ozone layer.  And America and China are the countries producing the greatest amount of these pollutants.

HUGH JACKMAN: Back on Broadway

Written by Lydia Benedict.

 
 
So what did you do this weekend?  Me?  I got a kiss from Hugh Jackman.  Well, it was more like a peck on the cheek.  But when it comes to this Australian born actor, I’ll take what I can get.
 
When I learned earlier this fall that Hugh Jackman was singing and dancing on Broadway, I just had to see the show.  Then Jeff surprised me with tickets for our 23rd anniversary.  And not just any tickets: the seats were right next to the stage.

What the Fluff?

Written by Lydia Benedict.

I often meet people who want to change their diet to an organic one, but can’t afford to.  Instead they settle for a diet of cheap food.  Unfortunately, less expensive food tends to also be less healthy.  From fast food burgers and fries, to soda and T.V. dinners, cheap food is often highly processed, contains high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, or all of the above.  What it doesn’t contain is nutrition.

Humble Pie

Written by Lydia Benedict.

A friend recently said that my blogs about my life sound boastful. I apologized, and then she did too. Still, it hurt because I hate to think I may have offended my readership—namely my friends. I'd like to set the record straight. Although my life is good, it's not perfect. Life comes with challenges, and mine is no exception.

While criticism is tough to swallow, sometimes it's good to self-inspect. The reason I have chosen to focus on the positive when blogging about my lifestyle is because no one wants to hear me carry on about the challenges of gardening, raising and caring for animals, or home schooling. Besides, I would likely sound unhappy—which I'm not.