23 May 2011

wendell berry love

I'm only two chapters into Bringing it to the Table by Wendell Berry and I'm already loving it. 

Here is a glimpse of the greatness:

"Of course, agriculture must be productive; that is a requirement as urgent as it is obvious.  But urgent as it is, it is not the first requirement; there are two more requirements equally important and equally urgent.  One is that if agriculture is to remain productive, it must preserve the land, and the fertility and ecological health of the land; the land, that is, must be used well.  A further requirement, therefore, is that if the land is to be used well, the people who use it must know it well, must be highly motivated to use it well, and must know how to use it well, must have time to use it well, and must be able to afford to use it well."

That is what I hope to do someday.  I aspire to be a small scale farmer, eating only what I grow and maybe being a regular seller at a farmers market.  That's the dream, anyway.

And, Berry sums up in a paragraph one of the main reasons I am a vegetarian:

"To concentrate food-producing animals in large numbers in one place inevitably separates them from the sources of their feed.  Pasture and barnyard animals are removed from their old places in the order of a diversified farm, where they roamed about in some freedom, foraging to a significant extent for their own food, grazing in open pastures, or recycling barnyard and household wastes.  Confined in the pens of animal factories, they are made dependent almost exclusively upon grains which are grown in large monocultures, at a now generally recognized ecological cost, and which must be transported to the animals sometimes over long distances.  Animal factories are energy-wasting enterprises flourishing in a time when we need to be thinking of energy conservation."

If you haven't read Wendell Berry, you should make a trip to your local library right now.  Seriously.

21 May 2011

now in the shop.

The first of summer things are in the shop.  Take a look!

10 May 2011

getting crafty.

Being back in the States and all I have had ample time to do crafty things again.  Quilting, paper crafts and painting have been my crafts of choice lately and I'm loving it!  I really missed expressing myself through the art of making things while in Costa Rica.   This blog started as a way to promote my etsy shop, but this past semester became more of an account of my adventures abroad in Latin America.  I liked the outlet this blog gave me to put my experiences and thoughts into words.  So I plan to use this blog as both a place to express my thoughts on life and a place to share the projects I'm doing and the products I'm selling in my shop.  For any of you who read my blog to know what I was doing in Latin America, I hope you continue to read because while I am no longer having new adventures abroad, I am still processing my experiences there and I will continue to have more adventures here in the mother land.

Here is a glimpse of the quilt I am working on.  I started last summer (I know, I know, I'm slow) and I plan to finish it this summer.  I love the bright colors and that I don't really have a specific pattern.  More on quilting later.
 And, coming soon, new paper products for my shop

07 May 2011

eso! cuba study trip.

My last full week in Latin America was spent in Cuba and that was a great way to finish of the semester. I learned SO much about Cuba and U.S. foreign policy and socialism.  Mostly it was just amazing to experience Cuba first hand.  If you don't know much about Cuba at all, I was in your shoes three weeks ago.  Learning about Cuba doesn't really happen much in the U.S. education system, so I felt like a sponge during my Cuban experience.  I got to learn about Cuba from Cubans, which was a perspective I have not gotten in the U.S.  My group stayed at a Baptist Church center called the Martin Luther King Center and the workers there set up our tour of Cuba.  Our tour included charlas (lectures) with fascinating people, visits to museums, schools and hospitals, dance lessons, participating in an elderly dance therapy class, two days at the beach and delicious coffee.  Since I can't remember everything nor would you want to read every little detail or my trip, I will just give you a few highlights.

1.   Solidarity:   I read a little bit about the sense of solidarity amoungst Cubans and I got to experience it first hand.  Let me tell you, it was awesome! Through listening to the charlas, I learned that solidarity is what influences Cubans to clean up their neighborhoods together, to share their material things and really all aspects of their lives with each other.  I think it's solidarity that fuels the incredible friendliness of Cubans.  The Cubans I met were some of the most friendly people I encountered in Latin America. People on the street would stop me and my friends, asking where we were from and what we were doing. 

2.  Dance Lessons:  Cubans can dance.  It's in their blood or something.  We visited an elementary school and the kids danced for us, we attended a dance class for the grandmas and grandpas in the community and we went to a dance performance done by college students.  Everyone in Cuba dances, so we did too!  One night our group of 40 gringos got a a dance lesson. We learned 3 or 4 different dances, but the only one I remember is the salsa.  And the only reason I remember the salsa is because every night after our dance lesson, my friends and I practiced and practiced and practiced.  It was great.  However, I am still on the most basic level of salsa.  Most basic, I tell you.

3.  Easter in the Ocean:  On Easter Sunday, my group was at the beach in Varadero, Cuba.  After walking around town and writing in our Cuba study journals a bit, my friends and I made our way to the beach.  That meant a two second walk across the street.  We were quite lucky in our guest house location.  Once in the clear blue water we decided to recognize Easter in our own way.  Caleb, Allison, Alyssa, Annie, Josh and I each shared how we have seen Christ resurrected in our lives this semester, we talked about what we have learned and how we plan to incorporate these new findings into our lives back home.  We prayed the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and recited a Psalm 23.  It was an unconventional Easter celebration, but it was fitting considering that we choose to leave our home culture and home community for the semester.

I hope to write another post that is more specific about what I have learned overall this semester.  It could turn into me writing a book because I learned so much this semester.  Vamos a ver.