Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baby Chat - Twin Boys Having a Conversation

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DIY Spin Art for Kids and Kids-at-Heart

Giant Spin Art

Monday, March 14, 2011

Remembering Japan and Hope for the Future

The natural disasters in northern Japan have captured most of my attention this week. Although I could avoid watching news media on the television or bypassing stories online, I find myself drawn to the images and feeling so powerless, shocked, and very sad.

The devastation is overwhelming; I sit here watching from thousands of miles away, in the northeastern USA. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for people who are in the midst of the situation - in shock, hungry, cold, terrified - surrounded by destruction and death.

In a former life and career more than 15 years ago I traveled to Japan twice on business as part of small e-publishing consultancy team. Our travels landed us at Narita airport where we took a train into Yokohama and then walked to our hotel. We stayed in a hotel that was not far from the sports arena and main shopping district; it was also not far from the busy Chinatown neighborhood.

All our local travel was by train, tram, subway, or on foot and I had many opportunities to see how ordinary people lived, worked, went to school and spent leisure time. On both trips I spent much of my free time (after dinner and on the weekends) exploring the busy streets of Yokohama shopping, touring the waterfront and parks, jogging and people watching. I made one trip to Tokyo with another team member where we toured the Royal Garden where we caught a glimpse of the Royal family as they passed by, and we visited the peace shrine and outdoor market in the city center. It was a beautiful place filled with history, culture and families. 

As days go by there seems to be no end to the human suffering from Friday's earthquake and tsunami and the ongoing danger this week from the damaged nuclear power stations. The Japanese were very prepared for earthquakes, but no amount of planning or preventative action could have kept the wall of water from doing its damage. It's sobering and sad; I spend time every day just thinking about Japan and saying a prayer.

I took lots of photos; I'll try to share here or on Facebook in the next few weeks.

NHK World Television (English)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just Eat Organic - A Rap With Real Information

No need to panic - just eat organic. And support your local farmer!

Cut out unnecessary chemicals - change the stuff you eat and protect your health and the health of your children, and theirs.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Mantra

I just finished this book - a gift from daughter #2 at Christmas. It's a good read, but it's more than that. The story of one family's year of eating locally and growing much of their own food is powerful. The information that's also included on just what's happening to our farms, foods, agriculture and health is even more compelling - and alarming.

I have always been a bit of a food snob, and I'm certainly aware that what I eat has a direct affect on my health. I made my own baby food and bread decades before it was trendy. I cook from scratch - no mixes for me, and I don't buy processed foods. I was a vegetarian for more than 10 years, and even now I don't eat much meat except for poultry. I garden organically. And I refuse to eat food additives, colors and flavor enhancers.

What I learned from this book is how much more is going on behind the scenes than I ever imagined. I had a good idea that agribusiness was king and putting pressure on sustainable farms and organic operations, but I learned a lot more about the "new" way of farming and the tie in to chemical companies ... and it's not pretty.

Vandana Shiva: The Future of Food-Part 1

You are what you eat ... in the case of GE foods, Frankenstein looks tame.
Who the heck gave Monsanto the right to own and control seed as a patented commodity?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Study: Reading Could Bounce Back - Regional News - Berks Story - WFMZ Allentown

This week Reading, PA made television news ... on the regional station, with this profile (including a family member who was interviewed after her appearance on a panel discussion) and by NBC News, profiled in a feature with Tom Brokaw.

Study: Reading Could Bounce Back - Regional News - Berks Story - WFMZ Allentown

M is for March, Maple, Mud Season and Musing ...

copyright lee hansen 2010 all rights reserved
So many things happening, so much to do. March always catches me a bit unprepared for the chores and changes it brings. There are taxes to finish and file, gardens to clean up and mulch,  holidays to celebrate and new art to be made before the official first day of Spring.

In Pennsylvania, the weather at the beginning of the month might still be wintry, but by St. Patrick's Day the grass is green and the snow piles are long gone. The garden is ready for the first peas to be planted, crocus flowers are blooming and daffodils are almost bursting with their welcome bright cheer.  Overwintering birds are looking for love, claiming spots to build nests and singing from the tops of the trees. The first of the returning south-migrating flocks are passing through the yard on their way to back Canada and New England.

Life's not so different at the house in Vermont, except that early March is the season of major snow and ice melt,  just before Vermont's fifth season - mud season. In Vermont if you don't drive a 4WD truck or a car with high clearance (and a come-along in the trunk) your best bet is to avoid back roads until everything dries out.  Of course if you do live on a dirt road that's prone to becoming a quagmire in early spring you probably own the right type of vehicle and you know how to drive in and out without a problem, no matter how much mud and snow might be hiding around the bend.

Today as I write it's been raining steadily in Rutland county for 12 hours. The icy driveway that trapped me at home for two days last week along with sub-zero temperatures is clear again down to the gravel. The huge snow banks along the driveway are starting to retreat and the thermometer says it's 50 degrees - nearly the same weather as at home in Pennsylvania today. As the next few weeks go by, the differences in the weather will diminish until it's tomato planting time at both houses.

For now, I can see bare ground at the base of the trees in the front yard. There's snow forecast for the north country tonight, with a mix expected here, then above freezing weather all week during the day.  Maple season is starting. No more need for my roof rake this year ... welcome Spring.