Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Experiment weeks 16, 17, 18 & 19

Yeah....I know....I'm a total blog slacker.
It's been hard to kickstart my brain lately. But here I am, with another exciting installment of "Things America Doesn't Want Me To Do"!! Yes ladies and gents, this country is NOT set up for this experiment. The amount of research and 'ducking and dodging' I've had to do is, frankly, staggaring!!
The container garden has had it's ups and downs based on the screwy weather around here, but that was nature. And when it comes to nature I expect pretty much anything. (Being PREPARED for it is another thing altogether. LOL!) far as the buying local / recycled / handmade thing has gone.....
Well let's just say the multitude of other factors has been daunting. The grape thing, the Monsanto thing(spits on ground), and the CRAPTON of intervening crafting factors! OY! Where did you buy your supplies?
Is your cotton organic? Is your coffee fair trade? How do you keep your chickens? Did aliens supply your pesticides?...Everyone who wonders why it REALLY takes me so long between postings, now you know. I'm doing more studying and research than I did in my ENTIRE school life!

In any are some of my more recent lessons and observations.

As some of you may recall I gave up red meat as my new year's resolution. 50/50 health and ethical reasons. My intention was to eat more fish (an ethics minefield by the way) and poultry. I picked up a few pieces of reading material on fish and poultry to determine what I should be eating and where it comes from and all that.
Yet again I am driven to say "HOLY CRAP!".
Check this out:
It's an extremely useful sit on fish you should avoid and fish you can eat with both a clear concience and no fear of toxins or heavy metals. (Oh yes, these are legitimate concerns!)
Honestly the entire site is very cool. Click on a fish on the list and a little side bar comes up describing WHY it's on the current no no list.
So once I found the lists, things got a bit easier. Some of my fishy faves were on there so I was forced out of my foodie comfort zone......EVERYONE should have to do this at least once! I discovered some amazing new flavours and textures for my cooking! It became a game of trying to always get something different, and while there are some things I now KNOW I don't like, there are now new things I know I DO.
So...that takes care of the piscean aspect of my experiment. The list changes by season and depending on who's being a baaaad fisherman that month, so keep checking in on it.

Now....poultry. Ok, I have to admit I'm STILL doing research on this one. There are sooooo many different things to look into! I've made a little checklist for myself, and I have to admit I've only found ONE company that even comes close to covering it. Here's the list. Cage free; grain or wild fed; no anti-biotics, growth hormones etc; cruelty free. (Honestly, as far as EGGS go, I really do buy only local. I'm lucky enough to have a few really amazing and VERY eco farms close by.)

Free range vs Cage free : Believe it or not, if a company / farm has a little door in their massively overcrowded cages that leads to a little dirt run, they can add a "Free range" label to their poultry?!?!?! UGH!
Organic: MINEFIELD!!!!! Are they FED organically? Are THEY organic? What kinds of things are being fed to them/ injected into them??
Cruelty Free: Seriously, this shouldn't even be an issue by now.....but it is. There are still some VERY unsavoury practices being employed by the big factory farms. (For those of you that don't know, 'beak trimming' is still all the rage. Factory workers either cut or burn away the majority of each bird's beak so that they don't peck each other in their cramped quarters and damage the meat. Having that big opening where a beak was leads to infections, breathing problems and all MANNER of nastiness. Thus the 'need' for MONDO antibiotics.)
And then there's this one....
Feeding: Are the birds being allowed to graze on foods they would NORMALLY eat? Are they lovingly grain fed? Are they at LEAST being allowed to remain vegitarian?!?! Non-cannibalistic??? (Yes cats and kittens, our food is being fed...well...itself, very often. Chickens raised on the flesh of other chickens. Can zombie chickens be far off?)
So I'm mostly eating farm raised turkey. Shadybrook Farms to be precise. A local farm is now selling their chickens for consumption as well as their eggs....but I KNOW those birds, so it's a bit hard to eat them.
Man...I don't WANNA be a vegitarian! :(
Anyone who wants my now AWESOME recipies for turkey meatballs or sweet turkey chili, lemme know! LOL!

Now as for the material aspect of this little excersize in self's going a bit better. I still have the occasional slip, and e-bay can be as dangerous as Wally World, but I'm getting MUCH better at spotting the professional sellers. Etsy is back on my buy list for supplies as most of the yarn there is either hand spun, hand dyed or recycled. I'm also re-opening my own old shop soon! So watch for that! (I'm broke folks! LOL)
The steampunk thing is actualy easier than ANY genre I've ever been involved with as it's still mostly thrift shopped, hand made and cobbled together items. Even the 'High Victorian' really pretty clothes are made by someONE rather than some company! LOVE IT!
The Barter site is going well (JOIN NOW!!! ) and I'm drawing more and more folks into the idea of trading the things you have but don't want for the things someone ELSE has that THEY don't want! LOL!
Skills for things, crafts for's thunderdome in there!
So....before the porn spam comes....lemme know what y'all think so far. I'm about halfway through this and I'm curious. Are there things YOU would like to see me address? What research have YOU done?? I LOVE hearing from you guys!
Chime in!