Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Never Mind the Milk...Got Green?

The BEST Green Smoothie Recipe Ever.... even your 2 year old will love it!

5-6 oz spinach
2 apples, cored not pealed
1 or 2 bananas
1/2 cantelope
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup pure cherry juice

Make my recipe, link people to my recipe, but please DON'T steal my recipe and take credit for it yourself -- that would be mean!

And Finally...

The Borough has finally made efforts to remove MOST of the material from the leaf dump. After speaking with Councilwoman Hughes, I returned to the dump to ensure this was done. Some of the material remained, which was disappointing. While there I caught a local landscaper dumping materials.
These people should not be there -- they are not residents of High Bridge. The dump is for residential, not commercial use. Not only that, but they appear to have dumped prohibited materials that will cost the High Bridge taxpayers moneyto dispose of properly.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Disappointing Follow-up

Yesterday I returned to the borough leaf dump to see if the marials were removed as promised. The borough administrator told me he would have them removed from the dump. He shook my hand. He looked me in the eye. I asked him if I had his word and he said yes. I was disappointed to see that the materials were not removed, but rather bulldozed into the piles of good organic materials .

You can see the fresh bulldozer tracks in the mud and their attempt to conceal their illegal dumping they uncovered the old bourough commons sign, lying upsidedown in on the right side of the above picture. However, our much beloved Season's Greatings from High Bridge sign was burried but still visible:

It seems that someone thinks that if you bury something deep enough it will go away. You can see in the left side of this photo that the poisnous lead paint is chipping off to be included in the mulch that people put on the gardens from which they feed their children. Ironically we live in a world where foreign toy manufacturers are forced to recall millions of toys and small town officials can knowingly poison their residents.

I went to borough hall again and was assured that the offending items would be sorted out prior to mulching. I was not informed of any intent to remove chips of lead paint from the mulch. About an hour later I returned to the dump to take some more photos and I passed the department of public work's bulldozer leaving the commons. I tried to snap his picture but I was driving. This time they managed to deeply bury the poisons they illegally dumped.

There is honestly no need for this. There is a transfer station less than 5 miles away where such materials could be disposed of properly. It seems the borough did a whole lot of unnecessary work to bury these materials when it would have been easier to remove them AS THEY PROMISED.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Illegal Dumping by Borough Administration

Last week I visited our town's leaf dump and was appalled to discover the borough itself is illegally dumping here. For more than a year now I have been photo-documenting the illegal dumping problem. The organic matter of the leaf dump is ground into mulch for the residents. This is the sign posted on the only enterence to the leaf dump:

This is a wondeful thing my town does, however, if there is no control over the toxic materials being dumped there, this becomes environmentally devistating. As the residents apply this toxic material to their gardens, certainly it winds up on their dinner plates. Not only that, this dump site is uphill from the South Branch of the Raritan River, a stocked trout stream. Rain run-off from the dumpsite is further poluting the river as well as the fish that are deemed safe to eat by the state. Now, when we drove into the dump last Friday, this is what I saw:

Clearly, this is prohibited by the the borough's own ordinances. It is a sad day indeed when the borough does not care about the imact its collective actions have on the community. Not only that, the violator of this ordinance should be subject to fines, jail time and community service. Now upon discovering this I spoke with an emloyee of Public Works and he confirmed to me that they were ordered to empty the contents of the borough garage and deposit them in the dump. He referred me to the borough adminstrator, who I visited with four muddy kids in tow after leaving the dump. At first the borough did not seem to take my complaint seriously. I brought up that this huge sign was painted in 1962 and contained lead paint.

This is when the administrator promised to have the offending material removed from the dump site. I am certain that the borough does not have the appropriate permits to be dumping toxic materials there.

I will be checking back soon to see if this has been remedied. I am organizing a citizen's action group to police the leaf dump and promote public awareness of the illegal dumping here and other places in town. Please email me if you are a resident and you would like to be part of the citizen's action group to address illegal dumping. Just because it is what it is, doesn't mean we have to put up with it!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Water Brigade

Yesterday we planted three trees: 2 apple and one almond. We watered them in using rainwater we collected from our gutter downspout. Right now our system primative. We remove the water using a pitcher from the rain barrels and the girls dump the pitcher into buckets on the wagon an drag the wagon to where ever needs water. Our rainbarrels, btw, are recycled water softener tanks. My husband (the plumber and source of the used water softener tanks) wanted to rig up some fancy pumping system and even scavenged up a pump for me. Nice, but my objection to it is that it would use electricity. So I asked the plumber if he could kindly install a valve at the bottom of the container to which I could attach a hose and allow gravity to pump the water. He promises to do this as soon as I have one of the barrels empty.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Trash to Treasure

Last week I pulled this from the trash. It looked nice and sturdy.

A little paint, and here you go: Okay this look a bit blurry but I am messing up my pictures bc I am not used to this new software. Ah...the new computer blues.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Garden Cheat

My frost free date is May 1 but I cannot wait so long to garden and we need to be outside, feeling the sun and the wind, and on some days, the rain, on our skin. So our first little cheat was March 2, a full 2 months before these seeds were supposed to hit the earth. We created a little bed of lettuce surrounded by bricks and covered in a salvaged piece of plexiglass. I checked today and the seeds have germinated even though our nights are in the teens and 20s and daytime temperatures in the 40s.

Our second cheat was on March 3. We chopped the bottoms from milk containers and used them to make bean houses. We planed 4 seeds in a 2" square at the base of each pole and then pushed the container into the soil and mounded soil around the sides. Today I noticed the first beans breaking through the soil.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gardening Today aka Mud Bath

I could not hold out one minute longer. After being cooped up indoors all week with complicated projects like painting ceilings and doing the taxes, I had to plant. I had many things that needed to go in already. I realized a few things about how I garden:
  • rules don't apply to me
  • seed pack instructions are mere suggestions
  • tidy little rows of anything offend me (which perhaps is another reason why I homeschool, thinking of school children in their tidy little rows of desks)
So we started out with 6 packs of seed: radhish, parsnip, broccoli, beets, peas and spinach and it started to drizzle. It has been raining here for almost a week but it was misty and hardly raining so we gave it a shot. We took a wire frame that I had covered in mesh for pest control and covered it in plastic and stattered the entire packet of broccoli seed under it -- ta da...instant greenhouse! I figure that once they grow a bit I can tease apart the seedlings and transplant them. Then the drizzle became a steady rain. I hoed out a line along 30 feet of trellis and we planted an entire pack of peas. By this time it was raining so hard that my attempt to nicely space my parsnip seeds was thwarted by them sticking to my hands, so I poured out half the pack and pushed them into the dirt next to the little broccoli house. Then it was POURING. So I scattered the spinach seeds next to that and raked them in a bit. So we will see what will grow where but at least I got SOME veggies in. And once the girls had a hot shower everyone was cleaner and feeling much better. Okay, Monday will have to do for the beets and radishes.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Green Smoothie

For a while I've flirted with the idea of the green smoothie. So yesterday I purchased a blender. Now I own another appliance that requires electricity but oh well, until something catastrophic happens I'll be making green smoothies. So today I decided to have my very first green smoothie for lunch and into my new blender went 3 cups spinach, 1 cored apple, 1 ripe banana, 5 strawberries, 1 TBS cocoa powder (you didn't expect me to go through with this without chocolate, did you?) and a quarter cup almond milk. My daughter said it tastes like the banana bread I make on Sunday (note to self, look for new banana bread recipe). So I consoled myself with the thought that at least this was going to be filling. A friend of mine, and smoothie regular, asked me how hungry I could be after eating 5 servings of fruit. The answer simply is: VERY. Hungry enough to eat my chair. Okay, new tactic. I am going to make this closer to supper time, say 4 pm in the hope that I will not eat so much for supper and snack afterwards.