Archive for November, 2010

This Doesn’t Look Good for Local Farmers Markets

My stomach is clenching as I read the details of the FDA Food and Safety Modernization Act that has reached the Senate for vote. This bill will have a devastating impact on small local food producers ability to provide fresh produce at low cost to consumers.

Philadelphia has a thriving local grown market where urban gardeners raise nutritious, organic vegetables and sell them to co-ops such as Weaver’s Way. The Horticultural Society sponsors a program called Community Gardening Alliance which teaches amateur urban farmers how to make money from their produce. These well thought out programs tap into the rich history of urban gardening in Philadelphia and teaches the value of honest work for a fair wage. Best of all this increases the amount of fresh, organic food available to Philly residents. You can read more about the Community Gardening Alliance by clicking on the link below:

Making a go of Urban Gardens – Pete Crimmins WHYY

See how the Weaver’s Way Co-Op is working together with urban farmers to gather the freshest organic produce for sale in their farmer’s market:

The vaguely defined bill and burdensome mandates are real threats to our local farmer’s markets and co-opts. Please contact your Senator and ask them to vote NO on S.510, the so-called Food Safety Modernization Act

Oh, I hope the Philly gardeners selling their produce to Weaver’s Way Co-Op have purchased a business privilege permit. The city frowns on not getting their 6.45% of your profit.

Thanksgiving 2010

Fall Splendor

It’s that time of year when we reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives.

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

Winterizing the Vegetable Garden

Green Manure for Beds and Ground

This winter I’m trying out the concept of green manure. What is that, you ask? Green manure is an organic way to fix nitrogen into your soil that has nothing to do with the business end of a horse. Using a cover crop in fallow patches has the benefit of fixing the soil with needed nutrients and nitrogen. In the spring, all you have to do is cut it down and incorporate the roots into the existing soil. Viola – instant soil amendment!

The two I’ve selected to use, based on the pH values of the garden are Crimson Clover and Mammoth Red Clover. As you can see on the photo, each seed was selected based upon the pH of the various soils in my garden. The raised beds are alkaline, the Crimson Clover works best in that soil condition. The ground soil is quite acidic so I’ve selected the Mammoth Red Clover to use in that soil.

Green Manure - Mammoth Red Clover

The seeds were quite big and I simply spread by hand a generous amount over the beds, covered them lightly with compost and watered well.

Green Manure

So far, the cover crop is doing well in the raised bed and I look forward to seeing the results come the Springtime.

Gardening Year 1 – Lessons Learned

Fall and Spring

Has it been more than two months since I last blogged on this website?

Apparently so.

Continue reading

2010 Marine Corps Marathon 10K Race Review

MCM 10K Medal

On October 31st, I completed a 6.2 mile (10K) race in support of two fallen soldiers –  Travis Manion and his best friend, Brendan Looney. First time participating in a 10K race and doing so in the spectacular environment of the Marine Corps Marathon was so memorable.

Yep, I was absolutely star struck at this event and terrified of the unknown as well; the sniper issue was adding to my pre race jitters. My main fear was simple really; I did not want to crash and wind up walking during the race.  No way on this earth did I want the Marines that lined the course to think I’m a wimp. Thankfully, that fear never materialized during the run.

I would not have attempted this race if it were not for some specific people who graciously shared their knowledge to this novice.

  • RJ – You sarcastic wit pushed me through some tough patches in training. I’d imagine you on the side of the road doling out sharp critiques of the run.
  • John Ruberry – A marathon runner extraordinaire – your blogging inspired me to lace up the shoes and keep going. I’ve adopted your quote – But pain goes away–glory remains until I find my own.

The most important take home lesson of this race is that we are stronger than we imagine ourselves to be. See the photo below taken during the race, notice the man running although he is a double amputee. What ever struggles I had at this point in the race vanished as I saw this amazing runner.

True Grit on Display

Other important lessons learned during this race:

  • Familiarize yourself with the race route noting elevation as well. Don’t let hills sneak up on you!
  • If possible, take a day or two to take in all the events surround the marathon. The health fair is a great way to learn something new about running or check out the latest and greatest in training gear.   I picked up a few items that are quite useful during a typical run.
  • While perusing the health and fitness fair, don’t forget to check out the latest flavor of Chobani Greek Yogurt .
  • Most importantly – don’t forget to eat a healthy breakfast before your run. A minute after I snapped my self portrait at the starting line of the MCM 10K, my stomach grumbled and I realized I had completely forgotten to eat before arriving.  Essentially, I started the race on empty and prayed the water stations were doling out Gatorade.  Thank heaven they were handing out Gatorade, which powered me through the miles.  I won’t make that mistake again.
  • Drinking (water or Gatorade) while running is an oxymoron.
  • Those who come out and cheer from the sidelines are angels sent from heaven.  You are encouraging more people than you realize. THANK YOU!
  • RELAX AND HAVE FUN!!! The finish line is closer than you imagine.

At The Start of the Race

It was encouraging to run with assorted skill levels and body shapes. Anyone can pick up the good habit of running and reap its benefits. This run was unique from the start, I easily found my pace and not feel compelled to ‘run with the pack’. My left knee behaved beautifully, not one little twinge or throb of pain. It was if the damage from the strained ligaments never happened. Another worry put to rest during the run. I easily kept control of my breathing, outside of one incident of the dry heaves which I attribute to the forgotten breakfast. Oh yes, I know how to run through dry heaves.

Along the Route

This finish line. What a beautiful sight to behold! I’ll admit I did get a bit choked up when I approached the finish line. Still amazed I was able to take a fairly decent photo while running. All systems felt good as I made my way to collect my medal. Good enough for me to ask about the 2011 Philadelphia Broad Street Run and Philly’s Rock and Roll half marathon. Oh yes, I am coming back the DC next October. Until then, happy running everyone!

YES!!!! I DID IT!!!

Below are a few of the goodies I purchased at the health and fitness expo. I really took a liking to the Armpocket. It’s a waterproof arm pocket large enough to carry your cell phone, keys, credit cards, cash or supplements.  Crafted out of recycled materials and memory foam to fit your arm without if feeling like a blood pressure cuff.  It worked well during the race and I recommend it to anyone looks for a better way to store life’s little necessities.

The reGen is good stuff which does not taste like cardboard. A big plus for me and a great after run recovery drink.

The pretty sweaty band works quite well, I’ve yet to have it slip off my head.

Marathon Goodies

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