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"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)

“One single bit of information, if missing, incomplete, out of order or just plain wrong, has the potential to significantly alter thought processes, conclusions, decisions and behaviors, even when that one single logic entry exists in a sea of accuracy.”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Winter Gardening Harvest Pictures

Food Fight #32: It Takes Two To Fight

Winter eased up this season. Compared to recent times, so far this one has amounted to taunts and jabs rather than uppercuts, hooks and haymakers. A few days ago temperatures reached the middle forties Fahrenheit again. It was also the third time this winter the store in the backyard has provided garden produce.

The soil has sufficiently protected these vegetables in their fresh state despite rain, snow and temperatures 40 to 45 degrees colder this winter. These vegetables, under less than ½ inch of leaves, have survived several freeze/thaw cycles. This is of little surprise since squirrels have been using ground storage forever, the thin, near surface roots of grasses survive harsh winter better than harsh summer and earthworms are wiggling about and very much alive beneath the surface despite the cold above.

The long, light-colored carrot on the right side resembles the bottom half of many a plastic doll after falling into the wrong hands.

The varicose veins/black lines/dark lines must have been caused by pressing against its own root system. The flesh was white, firm and showed no sign of discoloration. Several potatoes like this were fried and eaten as shown below. There with no negative effects and no taste or texture difference.

For the curious, the potatoes were fried with onions and placed on top of tomatoes surrounded by avocado. Fried eggs on top and a slathering of ketchup and a few hits of hot sauce.

These Sprouts were planted last spring and first harvested December 30, 2011. The leaves have a muted green color instead of yellowing or browning associated with dead leaves. Perhaps they'll spring back!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Home Ownership, First-time Buyers, HUD/FHA

”HUD” is the acronym for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. There may be similar departments and programs in other countries.

Anyone 18 years or older who has not purchased a house in their name should consider looking into HUD-owned property. This does not necessarily mean the house is of lower quality, it only means that HUD owned the mortgage and now owns the home.

Many of the homes will need some work just like any other home when it is purchased.

Visit these websites and/or call HUD to find out how you can qualify.

Do not assume that you do not qualify, even if working for minimum wage and/or getting food assistance. Call HUD.

HUD website to search for homes and other properties

Information on Buying A Home

Let FHA Loans Help You (FHA is a part of HUD)

HUD Homepage

You do not have to buy a home from the HUD Home Store website. Also, you do not have to buy a HUD home. If you qualify for assistance, your choices are greater. Investigate and ask.

A husband or a wife might be able to qualify by themselves if they are not on a mortgage.  Ask.

Friday, February 10, 2012

School Lunch Program Politics: Food Fight #31

Trading Progress in the 3 R's for the 4 P's

After reading, Nation's schools could learn something from Chicago's early lunch trials [and errors] by Monica Eng, the following thoughts arise.

Just when adults have the chance to reenforce healthy eating, they fail to make the grade.

Instead of depending on vendors to supply 100% of the food, if school districts used a little land use sensibility, many schools could grow a lot of their own fruits and vegetables, on school property, in the community or in their county.

Out of all parties involved, educators and administrators should not expect brain cells to retain all they can unless brain cells contain all the nutrition they demand.

Not feeding children wholesome food is counter to whole learning and is counter to the notion of education which is supposed to be the engagement and integration of the entire self. Yet, instead of serving nutritious hot lunches, adults on school boards are throwing hot messes at kids. Many kids do not have the resources to bring their lunches to avoid these unhealthy meals because they depend on the free/reduced lunch program to satisfy their hunger. It would be nice if the meals also provided the nutrition to help the children stay prepared for the rest of the school day. Nutrition should be a part of the school report card, daily lesson plan and learning goals. Aren't schools supposed to help prepare students for life? What is more fundamental to life than food and how it is grown?

How can the institution of school, that is supposed to be about opening minds and helping children learn, not listen to its other stakeholders: the cafeteria workers, the parents, the children, the community? Schools are supposed to be focusing on No Child Left Behind instead they do the opposite and make a decision about food that indicates their judgment is based on No Child In Mind.

School boards that make these kinds of decisions are not dedicated to the children or to common sense – only to politics, power, prestige and profits.

Related article: ”Healthy Food Tastes Like Fresh Outdoors”