Archive for January, 2012
For the beginning of this essay, please click “She Loves”
Obesity is a health crisis in America. Robert Paarlberg writes in his book on food politics, “Between 1971 and 2000, the rate of obesity in the United States doubled from 14.5 percent to 30.9 percent, and 5 percent of all adults are now severely obese”. The causes behind this dramatic rise are complex, but a great deal of the blame can be laid at the feet of industrial food. The proliferation of packaged, processed food and fast food has lead to a dramatic increase in the number of calories the average American consumes which in turn leads to obesity and often eventually diabetes. Simply put, families that live with extreme food insecurity tend to eat the least expensive food they have access to. Typically the cheapest food available to poor urban families who live miles away from a grocery store, many of whom don’t own a car, is fast food or processed food. The effect on our health is sobering. According to an article in the Palm Beach Post, “At least 1 out of 8 federal dollars spent on providing health care go to treat diabetes and its complications”.
It’s obvious to any thinking person that something has to change. Industrial farming, with its dependence on chemicals and fossil fuels, despite claims to the contrary, is simply not sustainable on our planet for the long term. We are polluting our land, air and water, and using large amounts of fossil fuel, all for the convenience of a microwaveable dinner. Sometimes progress is not really progress at all.
to be continued…Posted in She Loves, She Writes | 9 Comments »
This post is in honor of the letter “J” and part of Jenny Matlock’s Alphabet Thursday. For more “J” posts, please click here http://jennymatlock.blogspot.com/
The mares came back from the breeder. We rented a big pasture across the street from our house so they could run around for the summer, barefoot and pregnant. As the summer days got longer, I couldn’t seem to go to bed until I had walked across the street to check on the “girls”, maybe taking them a carrot or apple. I’m not sure if it was the mother in me or if I just had always been fascinated with horses and didn’t know it until then, but I fell in love with these two little mares and the idea of two baby horses the next spring really was tripping my trigger if you know what I mean! I started doing research on imprinting and training and horse care and anything else I could find about my new obsession. It was like being 16 and falling in love for the first time, I couldn’t think about anything else except my new passion. Oh Wilbur!
When the vet came out and confirmed our mares were pregnant, something in me shifted and I was changed forever. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was a life changing moment that took me completely by surprise. I had always loved animals and typically had a dog or two running around, but this was entirely different. The whole idea was to just find something for my husband to do now that he couldn’t work anymore. No one, especially me, expected this to turn into what it did. I wanted to build a bigger barn, buy a few more mares, quit my job and breed and train horses full time. The problem was that my job was our only source of income now and as anyone who has ever bred horses will tell you, it really isn’t a good way to make money, just spend money.
So I went to work every morning and then rushed home to clean stalls and groom horses. My husband just kind of stood back and watched me with this shocked look on his face. He never said it, but I think he was a little worried that I was going just a tad overboard. He had no idea how overboard I could get!
Summer turned into fall and fall became a very cold and snowy winter. We moved the mares back over to the barn behind our house and I spent every spare minute I could with them. I loved to brush them and put my hands on their swollen bellies. You could feel the colts moving around in there. I would stand for 1/2 hour at a time in the freezing barn leaning up against one of them and feeling the babies. I was hooked and there was no going back…
To be continued…
For the beginning of this story, please click on the “She Rides” category…Posted in She Rides | 22 Comments »
We still have the songbirds, thank God. Well, at least we still have songbirds where I live in the wilds of Utah. There are thousands of them, brightly colored and constantly singing, along with hummingbirds and even eagles and turkey vultures, circling the oak brush on the hill behind my house.
Rachel Carson warned that pesticides and herbicides were silencing songbirds in her seminal book Silent Spring, and while our springs still have the songs of birds filling the air, birds are in fact, in trouble. The US Forest Service on their website states that “Bird populations are significantly declining. Of the over 850 wild bird species in the United States, the US Fish and Wildlife Service lists 90 birds as endangered.” In fact, we are harming all of the various species that inhabit our planet because of our reverence for cheap, mass produced food, even those of us at the top of the food chain. According to Gary Paul Nabhan in his book Coming Home to Eat, “47 percent of an American’s carbon footprint is from growing, transporting, and preparing our food. What’s more, at least 40 percent of the earth’s productivity is funneled into feeding just one species, our species, undoubtedly at the expense of the myriad other creatures trying to feed themselves on this wayward ark careening through space”.
Experts disagree on the effects of pesticides and herbicides on our health, but it is only reasonable to believe that ingesting these poisons on a daily basis has to be harmful. These toxic chemicals have been linked to a large number of health problems including poisoning, nerve diseases, developmental issues in children, infertility, birth defects and cancer. Farm families and migrant workers exposed to larger amounts of these legal poisons are especially vulnerable.
to be continued…Posted in She Loves, She Writes | 8 Comments »