Community Supported Agriculture

I got frustrated the other day at Whole Foods after spending a ton of money because I wanted vegetable stir fry for dinner. Two yellow squash, three zucchini, a bunch of carrots, two heads of broccoli, and some teriyaki sauce set me back about $20 for dinner for two. Not absolutely ridiculous (though slightly), but it’s not something I can do every day of the week. The next day I set out to research some CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs here in LA, something I’ve been intending to do for a while.

What is CSA? The best I can explain with my knowledge is that you are paying money to a local farm to help it support itself (essentially, in a way, buying “stock” in the farm), and in return you get a generous helping of various fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm every week (or bi-weekly). Most of the farms involved in CSAs seem to be organic. What better way to eat healthy, eat local, and eat organic?!

I found a great blog post here, with a seemingly comprehensive list of all available CSAs in the area. After doing some of my own research online and asking around, I decided to sign up for Savraw Organics (formerly known as CSA California). I signed up for the $25 box, bi-weekly, and my first pick up is on Sunday June 3, just a mile away from where I go to church. So convenient! I am very excited to start saving money and eating more fresh and local whole foods. I am also looking forward to broadening my cooking skills and recipe repertoire, as I’ll surely be getting some vegetables I’m not used to eating. I’ll be sure to post some of my favorite new recipes once this starts happening.

Ironically, the day after I signed up for Savraw, there was a Living Social deal for Farm Fresh To You, another CSA. Of course, I couldn’t pass it up, since buying the deal (half off a $31 box!) got me a voucher to use whenever I desire, and the produce will be delivered right to my apartment! I’ll be sure to post about that when I redeem it.

Do you invest in a CSA? Which one? I’d like to know other people’s experiences!

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The end of … something

I don’t know much about hummingbirds, but I do know that every time I see one, a sense of calm falls over me and life stands still for a few moments as I watch it delicately drink nectar from a flower. Call me a sap, but the beauty in those moments almost always catches me off guard.

There is an orange tree in the backyard of the house I work in. The kids and I go out there often to play in the sandbox or run around in the sunshine or draw on ourselves the ground with chalk.

Very often around the orange tree for the past few weeks I’ve seen a hummingbird drinking from flowers, flitting in and out of branches, and disappearing from sight. Just last week I realized that the hummingbird never actually leaves when it disappears, instead it sits in its tiny little nest perched on one of the lower branches of the tree.

It has been my enjoyment over the past week to take the kids outside and then check on what became “my” hummingbird. The nest appeared as innocent and delicate as the tiny bird itself- bits of fluff and the thinnest twigs made up a soft resting place just large enough for the bird to sit in. I admired both the nest and the bird from a distance for one glorious week, knowing every time I saw the fluttering wings that it was the same bird I saw the day before. Watching the bird sit in its nest was comforting and beautiful.

Today the kids and I travelled to the backyard for some morning sunshine, and I found myself habitually wandering over to the orange tree. Today I did not find my hummingbird. I did not see its long beak reaching into the depths of a flower, nor did I hear its wings as it skirted through the branches. Today I found the tiny nest half fallen off of a branch on the orange tree, not quite decimated, but in no shape for a tiny bird to fix. Today marks the first day I will no longer know where my hummingbird is. Today the bird that brought me calmness and comfort brought me a peculiar sadness. Today is the end of something.

“how-to” part two

6. Find friends and family to visit and take a very roundabout trip west. (Leave more of your things at your boyfriend’s parent’s house, due to lack of space in your car.)

Our trip took us from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Lexington, Kentucky on the first day. A trip that we had made before in 9.5 hours took us 11 (a little rain, a little traffic) this time, but I was fine with it. We spent a day and a half in Lexington, enjoying time with the family I nannied for while living in Lexington, a gathering of friends into the later hours of the night, and plenty of Catan and Canasta with Jeremy’s family. (We also stopped by the local “John’s Run and Walk Shop” to buy shoes for our marathon training, see the link to the right to sponsor my running in the LA Marathon in March by donating to Love Without Boundaries.)

From Lexington we drove 6.5 hours to Springfield, Illinois to visit my roommate Laura from college and her husband Jeremy. It is always so great to spend time with the very friends who helped you become who you are today. The evening included an Irish pub, where the only thing I could order off the menu was a double-decker grilled cheese sandwich (no worries there, I love me some grilled cheese), watching their dog, Connor, fall asleep with excitement about carrots (have YOU ever met a narcoleptic dog?), seeing Jeremy’s (clearly Laura’s Jeremy, not mine) live sports broadcast on TV, and making some ridiculously fattening and ridiculously delicious apple tarts while “Failure to Launch” was on in the background (at least Zooey Deschanel’s character is fun to watch). I was sad to say goodbye (early) the next day, but a 16-hour day of driving ahead of us meant not enough time with some of those who we love.

Springfield, IL to Laramie, WY was our longest driving day of the trip. Luckily, it was on a Sunday, so traffic was not a problem. Driving through the states of Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska did not prove to be entirely exciting, but there’s always one of those days. We were still fresh and happy and not worn out yet, so it was a good day for those 16 hours on the road. And as we were on the way to see my best friend from college, driving 16 hours was the least I was willing to do. (And Jeremy was behind the wheel for 13 of them anyway …)

Wyoming is my “most favorite place in the world.” (Quotations due to bad grammar and a clichéd but true statement.) We got in around midnight and so were not able to enjoy its beauty until morning time. There’s something about the sky there. The reality of the world is so apparent. I love being able to see storms from miles away- storms that you may never even feel. To see an entire cloud in the distance light up with a stark lightning strike. Blue skies with white clouds for as far as you are able to see. The effect of a sky so large that you can see the shadows of the clouds rolling over the mountains. The wide-openness of everything around you. That is Wyoming and that is what I love.

A Monday spent with the lovely Becki in beautiful Wyoming was better than I could have asked for. Some hiking in the mountains, homemade ice cream in Centennial, WY (population 100), lunch at a vegetarian restaurant (in Wyoming, really?!), Farkle and Bananagrams. The hours passed by too quickly and the reality of a goodbye was not fun. However, I left my heart there, which can only mean that I will return.

Early morning goodbyes in Illinois

Wyoming storms

Wyoming sky

See, no lies.

Friends in Wyoming

how to move across the country, part one

Jeremy and I (and most of my belongings) spent August 25th through September 1st on the road from eastern Pennsylvania to Los Angeles. We spent time with beautiful friends and family and saw jaw-dropping sights as we made our way from one coast to the next. Here’s the beginning of a simple “how to” guide, Bekah style, if you’ve ever the notion to make the trek:

1. Buy a new car.I chose the 2011 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE. 3340+ miles and only $315 worth of gas later, I was still very happy with my purchase.

2. Leave lots of your belonging at your parent’s house.Though I chose the hatchback car, I originally owned a Ford Ranger with an extended bed. There’s no way around the fact that there was more storage space in my truck.

3. Pick up your boyfriend at the Philadelphia airport two days before the road trip begins.While we thought harder about this after the plane tickets were already bought, we realized he should have came earlier. Such is life.

4. The night before you leave, have a get together with all of your family who can make it. Spend the night laughing with/at each other. (Pack the car before this.)

5. Leave Pennsylvania at 7:30am for Lexington, Kentucky. Take the stereotypical (but entirely necessary) “We’re going on a road trip! We’re moving away!” picture.