Team PrISUm ISU solar car

Looking back over my 2010 photos, I ran into this and it gave me hope for spring, and the future.  Do you think we’ll ever be driving cars that look like this?  Around Earth Day last year,  Iowa State University groups showcased their earth friendly initiatives on our beautiful campus.  Check out Team PrISUm’s web site for more great photos!

Solar Car at Iowa State University

Brown Pelicans/One Footed Wonderful

Since I got a Twitter  shout out from the author of Zoomoods: A volunteer’s eye view of the Minnesota zoo, I decided I better get blogging!  My passion for green really translates into a passion for nature more than an interest in green technology and such.  Being around plants or animals transports me away from the worries of human life to a world not made with words.  I like words, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes, the verbal part of my brain needs a rest.  What IS the world of green and fur?  Is it pure mathematics?  Physics?   Chemistry?  What form do tiger thoughts take if they aren’t made out of words?  The natural world is a playground I never tire of!

The following pelican encounter in Florida this summer took me wonderfully by surprise.  I’ve always loved to watch units of pelicans skim across the gulf waters in perfect formation, so when I drifted out of the St. Petersburg Pier building and caught a  glimpse of some pelicans coming in to land on a post, I cautiously approached for a close up view.  I gradually got closer….and closer…..and even closer, much to my delight!  Wow, these guys were friendly!

Upon closest encounter, however, I noticed something was missing.  This guy/gal had only one foot.

And then I wished there had been a common language between us, some words to explain the adventure or tragedy of the missing foot.  Perhaps this one had been nursed by humans, hence the friendliness to this woman with a camera.  But maybe with no words, there was no strong memory of whatever mishap had befallen.  This one just seemed happy to be alive, to preen some feathers, hang out with a pal, and smile for some pictures.

Late Autumn Sun: Part I

Autumn here in the American Mid-West has been lingering wonderfully.  We haven’t even had a killing frost yet.  My days are mixed with substitute teaching and writing my masters thesis on sustainability activism.  I like the combination of being out and around and then having days at home to write and think and enjoy the sun streaming in my apartment balcony door.  Do you have favorite places to enjoy the sun in your current abode?

Southern Food, Missouri Style

Another goal for the vacation ( I know, I know, people who have goals for vacation are a little weird!) was to eat some southern food, and I have to say, I hit the jack pot on BBQ!  The first was sampled at Ole Planters restaurant in Hannibal, MO.  It was very tender pork, quite sweet, and melted in your mouth.  Another choice was catfish in a sandwich, and the rhubarb berry pie with real whipped cream?  Yum!

Carmelized brussel sprouts, really!

In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m trying to psyche myself up to eat more veggies this week.  I had this a while ago: Romaine lettuce with bosc pear slices, ranch and toasted pumpkin seeds, pork tenderloin and carmelized brussel sprouts.  I got the idea for the sprouts from some other blog I think.  Carmelizing something involves butter and sugar and way more heat than I would believe either could tolerate….a very interesting experience!  I think I’ll try carmelized onions next! As for the salad, it didn’t taste as wonderful as I’d hoped.  What’s your favorite salad combination?  I’m open for ideas!

ps  Oh, I almost forgot to mention the sweet potato…a veggie that tastes like dessert!

Mache

Several people have mentioned feeling a craving for more healthy food after the holiday sugar rush!  This was my supper about a month ago: flounder topped with Italian bread crumbs, sauteed zuchinni, a salad of mache, tomatoes, and cucumber topped with Wishbone Robusto Italian dressing and a few Kashi fire roasted vegetable crackers.  I like my crackers to have a lot of crunch, and these taste interesting while having some whole grain and fiber in them.  A lot of people don’t think much of zuchinni, but if you don’t over cook it, and you season it with some dried oregano and lots of coarsely ground black pepper, each bite can help your taste for something pure green and gardenish grow with every bite!  Speaking of green, mache is supposed to be the new up and coming salad green, according to this, or at least someone is hoping it will.  I remember trying to grow this from seed one year and not having much luck, so when I saw it at the West Ames HyVee, I decided this was my chance to give it a taste.  It’s a very small, tender leaf, more sweet like Boston lettuce.  It’s also called Lamb’s lettuce…again….soft, sweet…..and actually, not enough punch for my salad.  I’m not quite an arugula person, that’s a little too strong for me, at least as a lone green, but if you like your lettuce to stand up and talk to you at all, you might not like mache.  On the other hand, it is supposed to be loaded with vitamins, so it might be worth mixing in with some Romaine lettuce next time.

Anyway, hope this encourages you to try something new, eat something green, create a feast for your eyes, and think about spring!