Just a few days late for World Water Day

World Water Day took place on Tuesday of this week, March 22nd. Sadly, I didn’t know about it until it had passed. Still, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about water (an issue I take somewhat personally).

The theme this year is “Water for Cities.” It is rare for those living in cities to think about where there water comes from but this is a huge issue and one of the most unsustainable aspects of urban areas. In Boston, for example, all the water for the city (and surrounding areas) has to be pumped all the way from out close to where I currently live, in Western Mass, from the Quabbin Reservoir. It is fed from several rivers and is the kind of beautiful, clean, safe water we are lucky to have and dependent on having in abundance in New England.

But if so much water from Western Mass is being pumped all the way across the state (taking a tremendous amount of energy to get there, ps), what are we left with out here? Piecemeal – various wells, reservoirs, and watersheds left over. And the result? The city gets the good water, and the residents of Northampton are left getting notices in the mail every few years that drinking the town water may lead to an increased chance for cancer.

And what about Boston? What happens when that massive piece of infrastructure – the pipes and pumps that bring the water nearly a hundred miles east – fails? Well, that happened last summer. And it was a shitshow. People freaked out – not least of all because they could no longer get coffee at their local Dunkin’ Donuts, whose coffee makers connected directly to the water supply. Luckily, repairs were able to be made enough to allow water from a backup reservoir in Newton to keep the pipes flowing. It was unfiltered water, but it was water, and a week later everything was fixed and forgotten about. But what if there hadn’t been the backup? There is said to be a three day supply of food and water at any given time in urban areas in the US. What happens after those three days? Imagine, in New York City?

In Baja, water was an even greater issue. It rains TWO INCHES A YEAR – the amount of rain we sometimes get in a week here. Water limits what food can be grown, what the land looks like, everything. And those two inches of rain? It all comes in the same month, and so quickly that it can be more destructive than helpful. The urban/rural water phenomenon also exists there. We would drive to the city, San Jose del Cabo, and see massive resorts, complete with fountains out front, and accompanying golf courses, covered in lush green grass – and right across the street, a dusty, barren, destroyed piece of land. Those resorts were pumping the water from all over the peninsula, often purchasing water rights from rural landowners, tempted by the money. It is not a sustainable model.

So that’s my rant for the day. How often do you think about water?

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Our Nauna

212 words that summed up my Grandmother’s life:

Copyright Boston Herald Library Mar 25, 2002

Louise M. (Mutti) “Nauna” Lodie of Melrose, a nurse, died at her home Saturday after a lengthy bout with cancer. She was 87.

Born and raised in Westboro, Mrs. Lodie graduated from St. Vincent School of Nursing in 1936. Following her marriage in 1942, she moved to Melrose.

During her years of nursing, Mrs. Lodie was known as a family, neighborhood and community nurse. She was the night supervisor at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital before retiring after 26 years of service.

She was committed to HIV/AIDS advocacy and as captain of “Team Lodie,” she participated in the annual Boston AIDS Walk for 15 years. She was a devoted parishioner of St. Joseph’s Church in Malden and a member of the Catholic Daughters of America for many years.

Wife of the late Charles B., Mrs. Lodie is survived by three sons, Robert C. of Los Angeles, Calif., Peter M. of Ashfield, and Paul B. of Stratton Mountain, Vt.; three daughters, Maryann A. Hollis and Lisa M. O’Loughlin, both of Melrose, and Elizabeth G. Sustick of Northampton; 16 grandchildren, two great- grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated tomorrow at 10 a.m. in St. Joseph’s Church in Malden.

Burial will be in Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose.

Arrangements by Robinson Funeral Home, Melrose.

Ill bet she smiles down everyday.

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I love when libraries and agriculture overlap!

And it happens fairly often, actually! Many libraries have accompanying community or library gardens – such a great way to bring in new patrons to the library and bring existing library patrons into the garden. Cool stuff, yo.

If you’re in Western Mass – the Springfield Public Library is holding a series of talks about starting an urban garden. I guess I’m no longer urban anymore (whomp whomp…I still haven’t fully copped to the idea that I don’t live in Somerville anymore) but it still seems interesting.

Urban Gardening

More info here.

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Our original story

I am updating our blog to reflect our current realities and reflecting on how and why we started this to beginning. I am so glad we chose to blog (even if it wasn’t all too often) and I am excited to continue writing about the intersection of librarianship, food, agriculture, love, and life.

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This blog is a personal exploration space for the act of going with our love, quite literally, to the fields.

After two years of Liza being a full-time grad student and full-time library employee, it is time for a little adventure. Mike and Liza have long discussed the impending graduation and “September 2010″ has been the source of many a daydream. Maybe we’d live in London? Or Guam? Or hike the Appalachian Trail? The possibilities seemed endless. And suddenly this past winter – September 2010  a short six months away – the perfect plan fell into place.

Mike is a preschool teacher September through June and spends his summers working on a garden and teaching about agriculture and meditation. A couple he knows through the summer program happens to own a large patch of developing land in Mexico. Baja California Sur, specifically. And they need a hand (or two) developing it.

So we’re going. Liza will have her masters in library science at the end of August, which means it only would have been a matter of time before leaving her paraprofessional library assistant position. We are taking a leap and moving together to Mexico to garden and learn and eat avocados for a few months before returning to the States and, inevitably, those pesky student loans.

This blog will be a space for us to explore a developing relationship with each other, agriculture, food, our relatively new professions (librarianship and early childhood education), and the unexpected. We want to be accountable for the tremendous opportunity we have to do this – accountable to our supportive friends, family, and professional colleagues – accountable for approaching the experience in a thoughtful, relevant way.

This blog is another way for us to practice resurrection.

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Lent

I have been avoiding blogging lately. I think about posts I could write all the time but whenever it comes down to it, I can’t make myself. I feel this bizarre sense of obligation to update and that makes me not want to do it. I am on the computer most of the day at work and I spend so much of my free time doing computer-related activities for various organizations (InterFuture, I’m looking at you) that when it comes to keeping a personal blog, I just can’t seem to commit. Even though I like it! It forces me to write! It is good for professional development! Etc.

Any of you internet folks feel this way ever? It’s the same reason I gave up Twitter. How do you make yourself do the extra work for your own, personal social media presence?

Anyway. On to the topic I actually intended to write about…

Today is the first day of lent.

I could not be less Catholic if I tried. Less religious, in general, even. I am an atheist. Despite that, I have an attachment to multiple religious-based holidays…not for the spiritual element, but for the practical purposes that they have served for humans for hundreds of years. Christmas, for example – a great way to spend time with family and friends, a day to look forward to during the darkest, coldest time of year. Without Christmas, winter (in New England, anyway) would suck much more than it already does.

So if you buy my logic up to this point…

Another religious tradition M. and I have been talking about recently is lent. Lent is about Jesus, sure, but it was also about finding a way to make provisions last during the leanest time of year. If we all lived off of totally local food, March would be the hardest month in climates like New England. There would be absolutely no fresh produce yet and the storage of winter vegetables and grains would be growing slimmer and slimmer. April – and fresh food again – is just around the corner but getting through late February and March would be tough business. So for practical  reasons, people cut things out of their diet, using spiritual growth as a tool to manage the reduced diets.

Humans have been doing this for thousands of years in different cultures (things similar to lent exist in practically every religion). I like the idea of participating in lent in my own way, not only as an excuse to live a healthier/more pure lifestyle for a set time period, but also to know that you are struggling to do so with many other people around you, with a history of billions of people at your back.

So what am I giving up this lean time of year? Sugar. M., too – his idea, actually. Only cane sugar and artificial sweeteners – honey and maple syrup are ok – which I suspect will be very easy at home but difficult when out. And at work, where candy and cookies and sugar-filled treats of all kinds tend to fill the staff room.

So how did we celebrate Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday in the UK/Ireland) – the day when you rid your house of the temptations you will be avoiding the coming weeks and indulge for one last night? We ate every last piece of chocolate in the house AND got a banana split from Herrell’s. Not a bad night. Not a bad night at all.

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