Cheers to Healthy Living

Sunflowers

Last Saturday was a good day for healthy living.  I started the day looking for good food for my insides at the Saturday Morning Market (Al Lang Field in St. Pete). It’s been awhile since I made it down to the market. The weather was perfect and the parking was easy. We bought fresh asparagus and tomatoes. The vegetables are so vibrant with purple, orange, red and green, it was as if the color radiated from the baskets. And, what’s a fresh market without sunflowers? They were there for the picking.

On a muscular skeletal note, I imposed on a yoga buddy who knows ergonomics come to my house to assess my workspace. I’ve been having shoulder strain for a couple of months and decided to track down the source of my discomfort. It turns out my entire workspace was a bad fit. My chair back was too high, my keyboard was too low, my monitor was too far away, and my mouse ran away requiring a long stretch to catch it.  I had no idea it could be so wrong. Since my workspace makeover, I no longer fear my right arm will be permanently frozen in the extended position. All I have to say is, thanks Debbie! I owe you a bottle of wine!

More good stuff

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Mother’s Organics engineers compost

If you’re a gardener, you probably have a compost pile. I know I do. Mother’s Organics has the mother of all compost piles. They are banking on the grow-local movement in a big way.

The Bay Area Daylily Society took a field trip there this past Saturday, March 20th to tour the facility that is on the site of an old marrow pit scraped down to its solid clay floor. They get most of their natural material from Hillsborough County’s yard waste recycling pick up.  It’s piled, ground up, sifted and piled again into “highly engineered” compost rows. Finally, they get high quality soil mediums. In operation for only three years, they’re still experimenting with making a nutritious potting soil. So, what they sell is an amendment.  They also sell mulch, natural fill for erosion control, storm water treatment and grow systems.

I belong to two garden clubs, The Bay Area Daylily Society and the St. Petersburg Garden Club. Both clubs are my main source of earth-friendly information. The garden clubs provide a fix for my addiction to pretty plants to satisfy my eyes and tasty plants to satisfy my palate.

I have always been a little bit “granola,” but I can’t say I’m a vegetarian. In spite of collecting a whole closet full of vegetarian cookbooks, I still can’t make tofu tasty.

Recently, friend from up state New York sent me a magazine she thought I’d like, Edible, with a note attached: “I can’t believe I don’t see more about eating local down there.” Ever since she mentioned that, I have noticed that Sweet Bay advertises produce grown locally. My New York friend wondered whatever happened to all the farm stands she used to see at the intersections.  In fact, the corner stand I bought all my tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, squash, onions, garlic and in-season fruit closed about 3 years ago. I miss them.

So, I did what any gardener would do, I planted my own backyard veggies. Gardeners know it’s all about the soil. Since, the ground in my backyard is mostly sand, I use Earth Boxes (I have 3). The boxes come with a reliable soil recipe, so I’m almost guaranteed success.  But, I digress.

To my New York friend, here’s one way that recycling in Tampa Bay is helping the grow-local movement take root from the ground up.

Hands Across the Sand Could be seen for Miles!

I joined hands with nearly 1000 of my fellow beach lovers today to show we Love Tourists, Not Drilling! This Florida-wide event took place at 1:30 this afternoon. People showed up wearing black from head-to-toe to symbolize what we want to prevent, a devastating oil spill. Phil Compton, Regional Representative of the Sierra Club showed a map of the oil spill in the Timor Sea superimposed upon the eastern Gulf of Mexico – demonstrating what can happen to pristine beaches and vital water resources if oil drilling is allowed in the eastern Gulf.  Patricia Plantamura, Seminole City Council women & Scott Maddux, candidate for Florida Agriculture & Consumer Services Secretary, each spoke about their opposition to drilling and commitment to clean energy development.  Finally, Robin Grabowski, CEO of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce reiterated the Chamber’s longstanding opposition to drilling & support of coastal protection.

As I looked down the beach from Upham to St. Pete Beach, a black dotted line could be seen all the way down to the Sirata Beach Resort and beyond. It was a great way to show that Floridians are opposed to drilling!

Kayak Trip Cures Cabin Fever!

The put-in at the end of Weedon Island Park Drive

I’ve felt like a northerner all month as most days have been gray and cold. For a Floridian, that can cause a serious case of cabin fever.  A sure cure is to get out on the water. That’s what I did this past Saturday, January 23. I joined a group of 11 who booked a trip with professional guide Mike Siebel of Canoe Country Outfitters on a tour of the Weedon Island mangroves. The day started out a little foggy and cold, but blue skies soon opened up a clear view all the way to Howard Frankland Bridge. Experienced kayakers warned me to stay away from the mangroves in low tide.  But Mike made sure we didn’t get out there just to get stuck in the mud and clam beds. At this time of year, the shallow water is pristine. The sky was a cloudless winter blue not often seen in Florida. Herons watched from a safe perch as we paddled by.

Even though trail markers direct kayakers where to go, it’s a confusing route through narrow tunnels that open up to a series estuaries.

Navigating through the mangroves

So it is nice to have an experienced guide leading the way. There is nothing like paddling among these sturdy roots to appreciate how important they are to Tampa Bay.  I’ve sea kayaked in the saltwater marshes off the coast of South Carolina, but I am ashamed to say this was my first trip in my own St. Petersburg backyard.

Towards the end of our three-hour adventure, we broke into a clearing just in time to see the mullet jumping like crazy. I wonder what got them all stirred up? Never did see what was happening, but the mullet were busy! Overhead a flock of white pelicans circled. The area is so rich with fish and wildlife, the Weedon Island Culture thrived here for over 800 years.

If you have a bit of cabin fever, call Mike at Canoe Country Outfitters and book a trip. By the way, he brings all the gear you need.  Here is a 2 minute video of the trip!

Hooker Tea Company

The Lunch Bunch likes this place. This is a cute tea shop that serves tea by the cup or by the ounce, iced or hot. Peachy Keen- recommendation.

http://oldsite.hookertea.com/index.html

This health food store is coming into the same shopping center as Perfect Circle Yoga News Flash! A health food store called Healthy Hut will be opening next to Perfect Circle Yoga. It’s moving into a storefront that has been vacant for several months. You can never have enough granola in the neighborhood! This appears to be a chain. A Google search shows they are in different states.

I went to Cicely, Alaska on my summer vacation

Wow, it has been three weeks since I made an entry to iblogtampabay! I could have written about Seattle and Ellensburg, WA.  I went to WA on August 31 and spent a week out there. My daughter, Kate is moving to WA to go to graduate school at Central Washington University. She had lots of business to take care of and I went along for the 5 – hour plane ride and subsequent 2- hour drive (it is a long way from Florida!).

I was delighted to discover that the town of Roslyn, the setting for Cicely, Alaska in the 1990’s TV series Northern Exposure, was only about 30 minutes outside of Ellensburg. I had to go! I was a big fan of the show, so it was cool to actually walk into Dr. Joel Fleishman’s office. They will be having a big 20th Anniversary Celebration next year in Roslyn. Maybe I’ll make it!