Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting back to challenges

My May challenge went well enough, but then I fell behind in June. I had challenges enough without trying to force myself to artificial challenges like only patronizing local stores. Not that I don't like challenges; the only way to grow is to push yourself. And try not to break. Or to push back against the challenge. Human being are amazingly malleable creatures, but if we try to stretch ourselves too thin, or past our limits, we can loose all the momentum we had created and the shape for which we are trying is lost. We have to push slowly, consistently, making small but incremental progress. Granted there are times when a mold has to be broken in quick, forceful effort, but those are the exception not the rule.

Becoming a mama and entering grad school have both necessitated some strenuous pushing of limits. I don't think I've ever broken, but I'd be surprised if none of the elastin has not suffered permanent damage. I guess that's just a part of aging, isn't it?

Please don't get me wrong; I love the challenges I've faced. They've made me who I am. An intelligent, strong, persistent, compassionate and driven womyn, wife, mother, daughter, researcher, friend and teacher. I wear the marks and scars of those challenges with pride. And I have chosen to add some parts of my story myself, in the form of tattoos marking the big pieces of the puzzle that is me.

And without further ado, the challenge for July is to write- a minimum of an hour a day. Any topic, any form, any method- just write. Maybe this way I'll finish that dang manuscript I need to do.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sneak Peak at the Heritage Festival

Hopefully by now, we all know that the planet is our responsibility and it is our job as humans to do what we can to keep this planet clean- we only have one, remember.
So to that end, this little brochure was created. In case you weren’t aware, some of the food you buy in the grocer has traveled farther in its life than you will in yours. Globalization brings not only cheap toys and cheap labor, but also cheap food. For climates like Ohio, where our growing season is limited, fresh produce is now available from all over the western hemisphere. Strawberries in December. Tomatoes in February. Whatever you want, whenever you want it.
But what’s the real cost? We know that travel takes gasoline and creates carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. We’re learning about alternative transportation and driving less. But what about your food? Can you limit how far your food travels? YES!
Eating locally and in season not only lessens how far your food has to travel, but ensures fresher food, less carbon dioxide, often healthier food (fewer nutrients lost in over-ripe food), less food waste, fewer chemicals to preserve your food for shipping, and more money kept in the local economy. For items bought at a chain store like Target or Walmart, 43 cents of every dollar stays in our community. For items bought at a locally owned store, 67 cents of every dollar stays here. For food bought direct from a local company, that number is ever higher.
Take a moment to think about what impact your diet has on the planet

A note about this information

The purpose of this is to look at and compare a diet consisting of local food, and one consisting of standard fare on the basis of food miles and ecological footprint. It does not consider cost, organic or conventional, nutrition, or any other aspect- just the carbon produced transporting your food.
What I’ve done is create a fairly basic menu for one day, using all ingredients that can be obtained easily as either local or standard variations. The menu is approximately 2200 calories, so there is room to cut calories (and carbon), or indulge in a longer after-dinner walk. I took a larger daily calorie limit so I could make sure to compare the upper limits, not a low figure.
There are plenty of concerns with food, its production, distribution, and the practices of the producers- figuring food miles is just one part of the puzzle, but it is a place to start thinking about our food and discussing some of these other paradigms as well.
All food miles were calculated using simple food miles (from the point of origin of end product to point of consumption), although the weighted average ingredient method proposed by the Leopold Center for Sustainability gives a more accurate number.
All information on how these numbers were calculated, sources for statistics, or other information you might want, as well as answers to questions, can be gotten by emailing me at LKRegula@gmail.com.

The Menu
Breakfast- Granola, yogurt, tea, dried fruit, milk.

Lunch- Sandwich (meat, bread, lettuce, cheese), fruit snack, water, carrot sticks.

Dinner- Noodles with mushroom sauce, salad, asparagus, strawberry rhubarb pie, wine.

The Grocery Lists
Saxonburg, PA (MN)
Wooster (WI)
Columbus Grove (China)
Akron (MN)
Dried fruit
Hiram (Westley, CA)
Hopedale (NC)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A quick one for the Kentites (Kentians? Kenters?)

Go over and vote for Haymaker Farmers' Market, and help the market win $5,000 if you haven't already! Or if you have. What's that line from Boss Koss- vote early, vote often?

Joking, just vote once, but do make sure and vote for Haymaker! Check out their blog- linked over on my blogroll. We all know Kent has the best farmers' market around...

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Lately, for some reason, I've been thinking a lot about sharing. It may be because I have a three and a half year old, it might be because of the economy, it might just be my brain stuck on one song. Whatever.

Our society has possibly the oddest relationship with sharing that I've ever seen. It's a trait we teach our children (or at least try) from a very young age. It's something that we stress over- kids sharing toys, playing nice, being fair, not leaving others out.

And then we hit adulthood. And it's totally OK to be anti-sharing. It's normal to be opposed to many forms of redistribution of wealth. We don't expect everyone to have a slice of the pie. We praise those who can get (or take, depending on your perspective) a huge portion of the wealth. We see no moral qualm with the disfranchisement of millions from our health care system, safe housing, adequate nutrition, and decent schooling.

What happened to sharing? When did the emphasis become "me" not "us"? Or the definition of "us" become so contracted? Does no one now believe that a society is judged by how it treats the least among them? Do we teach by example only when it serves us?

Maybe we all need to step back, take our hand out of the cookie jar, and make sure everyone has at least one treat before going back for seconds. We've created a mess with our greed, self-indulgence, and desire to get something for nothing. Why don't we make sure that every one has a few basic "somethings" before adding to our growing mass of stuff? Can we do that? Can we share?

Oh, yeah, if you hadn't noticed- socialist is a fair label for me, and possibly a bit generous.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sleepy time

I can't sleep. The last four or five days. It's really starting to suck. But I did get an (hopefully) awesome wool topper for the mattress in from our favorite organic home store up in Rocky River. D-train said it was pretty nice (because he has no problem sleeping, any time, any where). Now I just have to wait for the darn sheets to dry so I can put the bed back together. Also did some extensive sampling- I really need to get the key to the shed at the wetland. I want to at least be able to use the radio in there, daggumit.

For some reason, I planned a half birthday party for Ken tomorrow. Oh, yeah, because he was born on the 25th of December and getting anyone to come to his birthday parties then has been, well, impossible. And tomorrow looks to be no different. I have such a complex from sucking at birthday parties when I was a kid, I have to wonder about this whole thing. Would it be better to keep trying and risk him having this same complex? Or should I just stop trying? Stopping would be a h3ll of a lot easier and less expensive. Grrrr...

He and I went to the park a couple of days ago, and had a bunch of fun. I brought my camera, and was snapping shots of him playing with the other kids, when the other kids at the playground got interested in the camera. So I have about 100 photos taken at the eye level of three to six year olds, all of the most random stuff (even random for me!). It was cute, I just hope the moms weren't too upset. They kept telling their kids to give me back the camera, but I was really fine with what they were doing. They always had neck strap on, and I was always nearby. Oh well.

Hoping to maybe write something a little more coherent and thoughtful tomorrow (or Sunday? see how busy I am tomorrow). There have been a lot of things running around in my head, trying to put the right words to them. Thoughts needing a release, or a way out. I would much rather write them than drill a hole and shake them out. Ta for now!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I promised pictures

So here they are. It was an I love my job kind of day. These were out at the research wetland the university made as mitigation for a little Woopsy-daisy when they built a new rec center.

Fishing spider

Sparganium sp.

Yep, dragonflies. Doing it.


Bumblebee. Helping a flower do it.

Yes, my mind is in the gutter. But how can it not be with all the life going on out at the wetland. And one last pic, just because. My favorite bug.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I'm sore. I hurt. I'm tired. But I'm almost caught up. Almost. What have I been doing? What could be more important than writing on here? Why do any of you care?

Well, the truth is, you probably don't. Your eyes will glaze over when I discuss my current project. It's the normal reaction. If anyone ever didn't have their eyes roll to the back of their heads when I started to talk about tadpole dietetics, the mystery of omnivory, amphibian mating and reproductive styles- I'd check for a pulse and then call the coroner. My life is banal. I'm one of about ten people in the US that have a clue what in h3ll I'm talking about when I start blathering about Typha phenolic compounds and developmental effects. I know that. I'm OK with it. I'm not a people person, so not making any sense to others is my modus operandi.

But sometimes, someone does understand me. Once in a while, some one gets what on Earth I'm trying to say. They might even recognize some rellevance in it. And today, I felt like that was the case. First thing in the morning, before breakfast even, I was checking my email (because I'm OCD like that) and found out that my first publication is going to be cited in a new Ohio Amphibians book being edited by a colleague. I use the term colleague loosely here- we both work on frogs, we both are involved with the frog call survey, we have attended some of the same conferences, but we live on opposite ends of the state. He probably wouldn't even recognize me in a crowd. But he'll know my name. He'll know my work.

And then my mind does a tail spin. He'll know it's crap work. He'll see some flaw I didn't notice. He'll laugh at my ignorance in my chosen field. He'll point out to others how wrong I am in my conclusions. And thus- "Ugh..." Why can't my brain just accept the good once in a while? Why must my brain find the negatives, real or potential. I didn't used to be like this. I don't think.


Pictures will come in due time, I swear.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Melissas, Melindas, and all other sweet names

Yep, it's finally bee day! Here's some future honey components.

One of our workers.

Greeting old friends at the new house.

Renovations at the old place- hope the owner doesn't mind.

And Home Sweet Home!

I haven't put the whole thing back together at this point, but it's almost there. Letting the gals calm down and get aquainted. The upside down jar is a feeder, just to make sure they have plenty of food to recover safely from the move. Yeah! I'm so excited! So many fun things are happening!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Here's our veggie garden accomplishments, side garden will be posted later. We came home to little flowers on the pea plants- just in time for bees on Monday! We have veggies popping up all over, including a few volunteers from the compost heap, I believe. In other news, Kent now has a group on Neighborhood Veggies, so check it out for plant swapping/veggie sharing/co-op news, among other things. Yeah! This weekend has been an outdoor weekend, and my back is killing me, hope you had as much fun as we did. I finally got my new telephoto lens, Sigma 100-300, with macro! How freaking cool is that?

And before you ask, yes I did do work as well, this happens to be the first time Dwight had set foot in the garden. Don't think he's all that just because I stopped a few minutes early to grab the camera. ;-)

Monday, June 8, 2009

2009 Regula Meyer Garden- A field guide

No pictures yet- I'm OK with being lazy- and they won't be helpful when they are up. :-)

This is meant to be a less-helpful, more limited version of Peterson's. For garden plants. This is not intended to be an extensive volume, or decisive, but it should be able to tell you whether to pull or to keep a plant in your garden. Whether to eat, if something is edible- that's a whole other story. Hopefully, if you can key it out to something worth saving with this guide, it should at least be non-toxic, but I can't vouch for what you've been planting.

Sturdy stem, vaguely heart shaped leaves that are soon clipped off by wild life, to likely wither and die- The beans and peas that you were counting on for salads. Don't pull.

Broad leaves emerging from the soil with little to no stem, can be quite colorful and also prized by wild life- Those salad greens that you wanted for with the beans and peas. Don't pull.

Very common plant, reddish stem, two very long thin cotyledons- The universe's way of telling you that you should be in silviculture, not agriculture. Tree seedlings from the nearest prolific tree. Eat if you dare. Pull. Then cut down the source of the seeds in spite.

Fairly common plant, grown in sort of row-ish configuration- Don't pull. But a warning- this one will be the prime target of husbands and children trying to be helpful, so don't expect it to last.

Long thin leaves emerging from the ground with no stem- Grass. If it's a stiff leaf, with a prominent midrib, probably barn sedge. Pull. Not that it will do any good.

Oblong, circular or arrowhead shaped leaves on a petiole that emerges from the ground in small bunches- Spinach or plaintain (not the banana like one). Don't pull. But good luck trying to get your kid to eat it.

Random rocks, candy, and toys- You're in the Land of Oz. That section of garden that you let the kid(s) plant, in an attempt to get them interested. Back away, slowly. None of it will grow, and if you try to pick up the mess, there'll be h3ll to pay. Hey, don't we all wish growing your own candy were that simple?

Common plant, grown in rows, still has the tops intact- Don't pull, but know that the bugs are coming. Start trying to find alternative ways to keep bugs off plants now. Because I know you're growing an organic garden, right?

Long straight stem with leaves wrapped tightly around the stem, occurs sporadically in one specific area- The corn that the squirrels managed to not find and dig up. For the third time. Don't pull.

Delicate, almost fern-like leaf on a long petiole- Carrot, dill, or other probably edible. Don't pull.

For any other questions on plant identification, let them grow until you can identify them. You might get some veggies out of the deal, and at least you garden looks a little greener.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

May, Can, Should

This past Wednesday was the fourteenth anniversary of my dad's death, so I've been thinking about him quite a lot. The annual funk has mostly past, thanks to my sometimes awesome husband and kiddo, and some amazing music at the Kent Stage. One think that pops up about my dad at odd times is everything he taught me about the importance of semantics and words. They matter. In a world where new words are created frequently and by simple usage (think "incentivize"), and where grammar is falling by the wayside at an alarming rate, the words we use and their definitions continue to mean a great bit.

One of dad's sticking points was the use of may/can/should. If I were to ask "Can I go to Tiffany's?" I would undoubtedly get the answer "I don't know- can you?" Until I finally learned to ask "May I?" It was frustrating beyond belief to my child-like brain that thought the thirty second delay on my sleepover would mark the end of the world. I eventually learned, and I now find myself doing the same to my Ken, although he's less receptive to the nuances of language.

Of late, I've been wanting to lecture some of the adults in my life about may/can/should, although I typically let it go with just a glare and arms crossing. Let's review. "Can" implies the ability to do something. There is only physical/mental/social ability in this definition; it speaks nothing to legality or otherwise. I can hear, see, and speak because I have all of these abilities. Most of the population in the US can also do these things, excepting of course those who are deaf, blind, or mute, respectively. If I so choose, I can strangle the person next to me that won't get of his cell phone and insists on talking at approximately 90 db.

"May" is the permission or the allowance to do something. As a citizen of the US, I may speak, write, think, and gather as I choose because all of these things are protected rights. That same person whom I can strangle I refrain from doing so, because according to the law I may not kill another person. And I'm a just-cause pacifist- I swear- although his level of annoying may soon hit "justifiable" by some measures. By this same token, in places like China many people who can speak out against the government don't because they are not allowed. Regarding human and civil rights, what one person may do should in no way be different from what another person may do, and especially this difference should not be based on minority or majority status.

"Should" implies a moral obligation to do something. Exceptions can be made for "should" due to inability. Should also depends on priorities and necessity. Everyone should help to provide for those not able to provide for themselves, but sometimes people can't due to lack of funds, e.g.

Consider for a moment the environment. What can you do to help? What are you able to do? Can you recycle, pull invasive weeds, lower your resource usage, compost, grow some of your own food, buy organic/local/fair trade/natural, drive less or re-use more?

Of those things that you have thought, what may you do? Does your locality have any restrictions on compost bins, clotheslines, or solar panels? Do you have access to bike lanes, sidewalks, public transit, close shopping places, recycling, thrift stores and rental places (including libraries)?

Now, what should you do for the environment? This is the tricky one. Realistically speaking, our environment is such that you should do as much as you can and may. Our planet needs the help. It's failing. Some will tell that if we don't change our ways, there is an environmental crisis coming. I'm telling you- it's here. Just like those economists said a recession was coming when we were already seeing significant downturns, while others waited for "more proof." You might not notice the crisis- it's easy to ignore when it's not you that has to walk five miles for water, disregarding potability. In fact, if you happen to live in a locality with arcane laws- the first thing you should do is attempt to get laws/infrastructure changed to more environmentally friendly options.