Tuesday, December 25, 2012

So this is Christmas!

There's been a flurry of activity in our family, both exciting and sweet.  Here a few of those moments.

Wishing you and yours much merriness!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ah, Lunasa.

You gotta love Lunasa.  This online farmers' market is such a creative idea for connecting food producers with local customers in a warm, festive way.  In fact, I first connected with Lunasa during their December Open House Market one year ago.

This past Friday was their first of two December Open House Markets, so anyone (members and non-members alike) are welcome to come.  It's housed in a vacant barn at the Washtenaw Food Hub, so that's always fun!

There was a host of beautiful and delicious items.  There were regular farmers' market goods like eggs, meats, jams, breads, and produce.

Then, just for the yule of it, there were vendors who brought their jewelry, yarn, cutting boards, and teepee tents.

Intrigued?  See for yourself at the next Open House Market on December 21st!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Last stop for this crazy train

Percolating in the back of my head for the last three weeks was the probably the largest, riskiest, most creative scheme I've had yet.  So large, risky, and creative, that to most people (including myself, immediate family, and strangers on the street) it seemed borderline crazy.

The facts: an abandoned property with a condemned home was being auctioned off by the county treasurer's office this past weekend.  The property's backyard is adjacent to our own backyard.  The lot is 0.43 acres, is just 1 mile south of a state university, is just a couple of blocks west of our city's pedestrian friendly downtown, is around the corner from a forward-thinking gardening non-profit.  The home's listing claims it is 2500 square feet, with 7 bedrooms.

Right away I think: total green rehab (solar panels by SolarYpsi, geothermal heating/cooling, local tradesmen to do the work), Bed & Breakfast, Retreat Center offering sustainability skill-sharing events (breadmaking, knitting, spinning, couples retreats, gardening, canning, etc, etc, etc), with a couple of friendly alpaca decorating the backyard.

This idea lived on and gained momentum in my head while I talked it up to anyone who would listen, including a handful of city officials.  The conversation's purpose was to work out the details, gauge public reaction, and gather ideas for funding.  All of those things were successful!  Ah, but, another bidder, with a more concrete plan (and hopefully fewer city ordinances to amend), is now the owner of this property.

I was surprised and disappointed, but a little bit relieved when the auction ended with the word "Sold!" next to the listing.  I hope the new owners are alpaca-friendly!

Thanks to all of you who rode this crazy train with me, smiling and nodding politely while I unfolded this idea out before you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

KindleFest, 2012

I'm happy to report that my first outdoor night market was lots of fun.  While I'm not exactly sure what the word KindleFest means in German (Kristy, wanna help me out?), for me it meant 'best market ever'!

The booths were so beautiful, colorful, fragrant, creative.  The vendors were cheerful and welcoming.  And the customers were curious and generous.

Here are some visuals:

warming station

sweet wooden dollhouse

soap, not fudge!

fairy houses

wooden cars and trucks

what's a night market without a lantern parade?
wooden spoons
beeswax candles
skinny santas
here's my booth, notice the fun mobiles of the vendor next door!

Next market, Lunasa, Friday 4 - 7pm, Washtenaw Food Hub!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Looking for some refreshing ideas for your Christmas experience?

Every year I need to rally and gear up for Christmas.  My normal inclination is to retreat from the overspending, over-consuming, and over-everything as I manage to do the rest of the year.  But our culture's way of celebrating this holiday puts a bit of added pressure to buy, eat, and socialize.  Lucky for me, each year there is more and more awareness of wise, sustainable, meaningful choices for celebrating this beautiful season.

I thought I'd compile a list of resources if you, like me, are trying to rise above the landfill this season.  (Studies show that Americans put an extra one million tons of trash into landfills each week during December, most of it is packaging.  I asked my local garbage collector his take on this, and his response: "so true!")

1) Shop local.  Check out your local mom-n-pop stores.  Here are a few in the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area.
The Rocket
Nicola's Books.  Here is my older daughter enjoying a free afternoon at her favorite bookstore.

And here is my children's book on the same display as the gardening book written by our First Lady!

2) Meet the producers.  Instead of mass produced items from outsourced labor, visit a farmer's market or artisan event and meet the people making your goods.  Here are a few coming up in the next few weeks.  (This is a shameless plug, as I'll be at these events with my trash-free alternatives as The Eventual Farmer!)

Friday, November 30, 6 - 10pm, KindleFest, outdoor holiday market, Kerrytown

Fridays, December 7th and 21st, Lunasa Open House Markets, Washtenaw Food Hub, local food producers and artisans

3) Think globally.  Consider purchasing a item made by women who are overcoming hardship.  Here is one source for unique and worthwhile gifts.

4) Look outside yourself and your own family by participating in a charitable event.  Make a family trip to give blood.  Pack a shoebox of toiletries for an impoverished child.

Buy a herd of livestock for a hungry family.

5) Attend a religious service.  Even consider visiting a church of a different style, just to have a different experience.

Special thanks to the Sunday Small Group who helped to generate some of these ideas!

Do you have any more creative ways for celebrating the season in meaningful ways?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Can I interest you in a little something?

In between the regular day-in day-out of school, music, and meals, I've been working on a little something.

Around here there is always something brewing.

I've recently focused my online presence with this new website:  www.KeriMiddaugh.com

Mostly it's a spot for customers to find my sustainable items and children's book online.

Have you wrapped your sandwich today?

Another fun happening is that my daughters' school is working toward the Michigan Green School Certificate and I'm chronicling these efforts in the form of a blog:
South Arbor Goes Green!

Do check it out and share with other parents.  I'm hoping that, just as we borrow and implement the good ideas that we stumble upon, the ideas shared here would inspire  others to live a tad more responsibly.

What fun projects do you have brewing?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Super Saturday

I did not wake up intending for the day to be filled with so many amazing things.

They just kept popping up!

The first was a flute-a-thon, which was a 5-hour time of flute music to benefit a project in Haiti.  We lasted about an hour.  Very fun and flutey.

The next was an impulsive craft.  My daughter knows I'm a sucker for the glue gun and nature, and she knows she's onto something good when she combines the two.


The other super surprise was something I found when I was planting garlic.

A stash of hidden chicken eggs.  Nine of them!  Behind the shed!

I'm really hoping that Clementine is responsible for this, because that would mean all 5 of our hens are now laying.  This particular hen clucks to the beat of a different drummer, forcing us all to get our feathers a little ruffled, so having a hidden stash of eggs would fit her personality just right.

Combine all that with an extra hour due to Daylight Savings Time, and, wow, what a day!