Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rainy day in the country - Happy Earth Day!

Today I drove around doing some errands with my camera on hand. I've got landscape painting on the brain and wanted to get some shots before the trees bloom. The colors of bare trees in the distance - the blues and purples, soft greys and muted red/pink - are almost more beautiful than a leafy green treeline (at least from my painter's perspective). These shots will give you an idea of where I live and the views that I grew up with and love.

Here's a shot of a tree and shrub nursery farm - there are lots of those around here, in fact I grew up with one across the street from my parent's house (now clear cut with houses). The birds that nest in these dense plots of shrubs are so delightful - that's probably what I miss most about walking around my old stomping grounds. As you walked along the trail they'd flutter up and out then swirl back into their spot all the way down the line. As rural land gets chomped up more and more, I value the land that remains even more. I know the deer, turkeys and coyotes and many other animals and birds certainly do as well.

This is part of Johnny Appleseed orchard that is right down the street from our house.

The orchard (and our house) are up on the hills in the distance in this picture. I like this shot. I'll be basing a painting on this one.

This is a very Wolf Kahn-esque view. I'll be using this for another painting.

As I'm writing this, I'm watching Oprah's Earth Day special. The images of the massive amount of trash in the Pacific ocean are horrifying and I just saw some footage at a dump that is making me think a lot differently about what we throw away and how we can reduce our amount of waste daily. First things first. Plastic bags are a nightmare. Other countries (and San Fran) have outlawed the use of plastic bags at stores. I will admit that though I do deny a bag for purchases I can hold and/or put in my large handbag, and save to reuse or recycle our bags, I have not gotten to the place where I stop getting new ones all together. That has got to stop. I can bring ones we already have over and over to the grocery store until they fall apart and once we've gone through the ones we have, we switch to tote bags - end of story. It's not like they are terribly expensive and it's a shame that I haven't been doing this for years already.

Next on the list, lightbulbs - check - we've already made that switch and we've seen the difference in our electric bill. A worthy, small investment for sure. Making sure lights and appliances are turned off is also so important, as well as unplugging chargers when not in use. We are mostly attentive to these things, but there's room for improvement. It's just a shift of awareness, learning a new way to look at things and be aware of our consumption. Physical things are right in front of your eyes, sometimes it's easy to forget about the generaly invisible resources that give us power, heat, light.

Another way I can be kind to the earth is to STOP buying coffee or tea in anything but my own reusable mug! If I don't have a mug in the car, I don't need it. I'm guilty of this today and I'm looking at this throw away cup with a plastic lid in front of me much more aware of where it will end up then I was yesterday.

As for food, less meat, more veggies. I'm planning on growing some veggies this year and there are great farm stands here that can give me everything else I don't have, fresh and locally grown. I'd like to do more freezing and canning this year as well to supply us with those tasty veggies throughout the fall and winter months.

These are just a few of many positive changes that I can make personally in honor of our mother earth and in recognition of how important it is for all of us to unite in saving her. Have a great day everyone, hug a tree. :)

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