September 29, 2011

Ladies' Goodreads - October

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

**please comment on your thoughts about the book and the "lines" our lives....

September 2, 2011

Ladies' Goodreads - September

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
Gary D. Schmidt

This book is set in 1912. Turner Buckminster, the son of Reverend Buckminster (Preacher in Phippsburg, Maine), has just moved from Boston, Massachusetts to Phippsburg, Maine and is constantly being teased for simple misunderstandings, not to mentioned being automatically disliked by the boys of Phippsburg for playing baseball differently. Turner met Lizzie Bright Griffin, and became friends with her. Turner has to save Lizzie's family and friends before they all must leave Malaga Island. But that means standing up to the authorities, including Turner's father.

The book received the Newbery Honor in 2005 and was selected as a Michael L. Printz Honor that same year. The book was based on a real event. In 1912, the government of Maine put the residents of Malaga Island in a mental hospital and razed their homes. *(from wikipedia)

*Please leave your comments on the book when you've read it, or let us know if you know anything else about there a movie or anything else interesting to know about it?

Homemade Compost 101

Every wonder what to do about scraps of food and old leaves? Why not compost them in your backyard? Whether or not you've tried it before, here are some helpful tips to helping you better understand composting. Afterall, you can't just throw stuff in your backyard and assume you'll have excellent soil next time you check. You need to understand the process--the formula. Then it's a breeze.

-First find a location for your compost with enough sun to help dry it out.

-Then decide if you're going to build something for your compost to be in or not, or if you'll buy a composter.

-There are many options, but it shouldn't be too far from your house...for accessibility and wanting to take stuff there.

-Then have something to store your food scraps in the kitchen. (I just use a bucket in the cupboard under my kitchen sink, but make sure I unload it every few days, before it stinks anything up. You can also buy a specific container at some stores that have a filter thing in it to allow air, but keep down the smell.)

-Then make sure you're getting the right "ingredients," and a balance between food/grass and dried leaves/staw...that way the nitrogen levels are balanced (frequently people only put in produce leftovers, and not enough dried leaves, so the pile never balances.) Make sure your food pieces are cut up small so they're easier to breakdown in the pile.

Acceptable              Not Acceptable
Grass clippings         Meats
Leaves, weeds         Bones
Manures                  Large branches
Coffee grounds        Dairy products
Wood chips,            Synthetic products
sawdust                   Plastics
Bark, stems, stalks   Pet wastes
Fruits and vegetables

Here is some more information.  How to compost video
The document is awesome! Must read if you're really interested. Composting 101 and troubleshooting chart

How to Start your Family Homestead (wherever you live)

I found this cool site that teaches average people how to live more sustainably wherever they are (city or suburb or rural):

It's fun. And it's just to get you started...or to know where to start. There are basics to how to start composting your vegetables, grass/leaves, and egg shells, etc. Or how to raise chickens, rabbits or goats (even o a little amt of land). Or how to grow your own vegetables and fruit trees, etc.

If you haven't thought about your family's "footprint" or about how to be more sustainable as a family, take a look at some of these options and see what else you could do....