Earth Day Birthday Plant Swap

In case you didn’t know, April is my favorite month. There are so many reasons for this, top of the list being 1) I’m a warm-weather girl and 2) I love plants, flowers, nature, etc. The other reason I love April? April has Earth Day! (For those of you that don’t know (shameful! kidding :)), its next Sunday, April 22.

What’s better than an Earth Day Plant Swap?

Of course I always try to celebrate this epic holiday in some small way. This year, however, I’m going bigger and better on the celebration. I’ve come up with a brilliant idea: I’m hosting an Earth Day Plant Swap.

To make the deal even sweeter, two of my very best friends have a birthday right around Earth Day, so this year, it’s gonna be an Earth Day Birthday. (They adore plants almost as much as I do, so I swear I didn’t push this on them. Ok, maybe I did, but only a little.)

Here’s what we’re doing:

Each guest will bring a (small) plant of their choice. Petunias! Tomatos! Orchids! Oh my! It doesn’t matter, as long as everyone has something to swap. Creativity is always welcome.

Then it will all go the way of your average Dirty Santa, and we’ll fight for our favorite. We’ll all take a number; No. 1 will pick his or her favorite, then No. 2 can steal from No. 1 or pick another, and so on. It could get pretty intense, fighting over the hydrangea. It’s sure to be a good time. I just can’t wait!

The best part – everyone goes home with a beautiful plant to help liven, and provide beauty and oxygen to, their home or yard. What could be better than that?!

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After the Revelry

It goes without saying that Mardi Gras in New Orleans is an incredible event. The parades are amazing (see photos) and the energy of the enormous street party on Fat Tuesday is so hard to describe.

The trash generated from this huge event, including discarded or uncaught beads and toys, is hard to describe as well. I found it fascinating to see how much littered the streets (trash cans were there, they were just full). The good news is, New Orleans seems to have cleanup after the revelry down to a science.

Enjoy the photos of Mardi Gras leftovers.

Beads lined electric lines

Some beads that never made it to hands ended up wrapped around electric lines. It made me wonder if birds would be wearing them while they watch next year’s parades from their electric perch.

More beads high in the sky.

Other beads that missed hands ended sadly broken on the side of the street.

The Catch and Release Float for unwanted beads. This one warmed my green heart!

This poor fishy fella went for a swim but missed a new home.

This is how the street looked post-parade, before clean-up.

The long trash view.

New Orleans deployed these giant machines to scoop up the trash late at night.

Say goodbye to all the trash! Like I said, they have it down to a science.

And On That Farm They Had Chickens

There is a local place I’ve been visiting that seems to fascinate, relax, and inspire me each time I goWhispering Dove Goat Ranch, or as I simply like to call it, The Farm. I go there mainly to get fresh eggs, but I leave with goat cheese, honey, and sometimes even hand lotion! Owners Dale and Linda are as kind as they can be and seem not to mind my numerous questions and ooohing and ahhing at the chickens, sheep, and goats. (And they only chuckled just a little bit when I said, “Oh, look! The chickens are chasing each other!”  Nope…that isn’t chasing. More like mating. Whoops.)

honey for wedding favors

honey for wedding favors

I found The Farm when I was looking for local honey to give as wedding favors. Dale ordered the jars and packaged them up for me, and I just added a torn-edged tag that read “Thanks for sharing sweet memories.” Easy peasy,  super cute…and local. Always a plus!

But back to The Farm. I have a vague memory of my grandmother’s chicken coop and the time she told my brother and me to go get eggs. The reason I remember it is because I was very, very terrified by those chickens. I couldn’t have been much taller than they were, and they had big, flappy wings. Needless to say, my brother did most of the egg-gathering.

Now that I’m all grown up—taller and no longer afraid of the chickens—I’ve come full circle. Now I find them just darling! And, I believe in eating healthfully and locally as much as possible.  Plus, I don’t actually have to gather the eggs myself so there is nothing to fear! (I’ve even told my husband that I would really like to have a couple of my own. He keeps saying no…)

Dale and Linda have been kind enough to not only sell me eggs but also give me little tours of The Farm. They tell me about the different kinds of chickens there. Here are a few:

the Golden Comet

the Golden Comet

the Delaware

the Delaware

the Americana

and my favorite: the Americana

These chickens have very nice chicken-on-a-farm lives. Even after they are no longer laying eggs, they still just peck away and enjoy life on their little farm. And I swear, you can definitely tell the difference in the eggs. Currently my mom is in town and was making one of her fabulous desserts; she was worried the dessert would turn orange because of how rich the eggs are!

If you’ve read The Omnivore’s Dilemma (great book!), then you know about the importance of eating locally as much as possible. One thing that really stays in my mind from the book is the descriptions of how factory chickens are raised, whether for meat or eggs. In some places, they are so cramped they can barely move (that is, if they aren’t genetically bred to have bodies bigger than their legs can support, rendering them unable to move anyway). I won’t go into details here – Michael Pollan does a really good job so I recommend you check it out.

My point is, if you can, why not eat eggs from chickens raised very humanely by a local farmer? They may be a little more expensive, but the taste—and the experience of getting them—more than makes up the difference.

Find your local farm and give them a call.  I called Dale and Linda out of the blue and haven’t regretted it one bit. Now, I look forward to running out of eggs just so I can go back. Those chickens are darn cute, and so are the sheep and goats too! And, the best part is, I know exactly where my eggs come from.