Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good Impact

I consider myself to be fortunate to have wonderful friends. I'm always learning something new from them, forever expanding my horizons and changing my way of thinking.

One friend suggested having a documentary discussion group at our weekly park days with the homeschool group. We selected the film No Impact Man, but then didn't discuss it much. We will probably talk about it more at a future park day. I'm glad I watched it. While I don't think I could go so far as to stop buying toilet paper, the film made me think about how big of an impact my family has on the environment. Yes, we regularly spill over our five recycling bins each week, but wouldn't it be better to not have all that stuff to recycle in the first place?

The movie made me think of all the ways I used to be better about reducing our waste and how far I have slipped back into the mainstream in the past few years. We used to have worms eating my garbage. We had an indoor electric composter for a while. We have had pets that eat our vegetable scraps. All those have gone by the wayside - the worms were freed when they ate too slowly, the composter died under the weight of our bread crusts and banana peels, and we are on our last rabbit. She has lived two years beyond her expected life cycle.

Between No Impact Man and the Polar Bear lecture a week or so ago, I'm going headlong on a bender about our consumption and waste. My benders are seldom pretty.

Today's target is our food. Actually, that has been a target for a few days now. We've been eating more meatless meals and less processed food. Or trying to. I decided we should be making our own bread again. Back when we had just two kids and when they were less busy, I made bread all the time. Complicated breads and simple bread machine loaves.

Today, I opted for a bread machine loaf. Yesterday I made foccacia on the grill, which got me on a roll. I found a recipe someone gave me that I had been meaning to try. When I got back from taking Small to his one hour dance class, I ran out again to get the strange ingredient - mashed potato flakes. I had a little guilt because I am capable of making my own mashed potato flakes in my dehydrator, but wanted to ride the wave of the desire to use the bread machine.

Nothing is simple or straightforward in a house with three kids, so getting the ingredients (while scoring a clearance sale on Italian sausage half off, there goes the meat reduction thing) was easy enough, but I pushed the envelope on the time factor. I asked Large to water the outside pots while encouraging Medium to practice her 4th half hour of piano for the day, and scurried off to the kitchen to put in the ingredients for the machine. But, the rain barrel was full and strangely off its cinder blocks with the spout smashed in, so Large needed more help. The phone rang and a new assignment fell on my lap. I picked up a weeping Small who was worried about me being five minutes late, did a little more cooking, had a non-text conversation with Mark, another dance class for the older two, another round-trip to the north side and came home to a sleeping house and a completed four hour bread machine cycle. This is what I found inside.

A failure to add yeast. It is a large hockey puck. Or maybe a shot put. Waste. Impact.

On the other hand, between runs to the dance center, I managed to put in a double batch of granola. I left instructions with the men of the house for completion and after discovering the bread disaster, I found this.

Breakfast! And I have my friends to thank for it.

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