Going Nuts Going Green

[reprint of the writer’s blog post of September 1, 2015]CompostJJNielsenColor_0001

“Going Green” may be trendy in the secular world, but good stewardship of the world and its resources has been a major tenet of the Judeo-Christian faith since the first man was created in the Garden of Eden.

I confess that my family has been lagging in our attempts to be more environmentally friendly. We have made the attempt, however. Let me tell you about our household’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative.

The problem is, though our grandparents were farmers and ranchers, lived close to the land, and learned useful skills at their mother’s knee, we are clueless urbanites. This dooms our efforts to “Go Green.”

When we attempted to buy local produce, we ended up with grapes from Chile, oranges from California, and mangoes from Jamaica. All of them are growing not five minutes from our house. We just don’t know how or where to purchase them. There are no labels on those piles of loose fruit in the grocery store. How do we know which ones are foreign? Thump ‘em and listen for an accent?

Unable to buy local produce, we decided to grow our own. We would become organic gardeners. We went to the websites, watched the videos, subscribed to the magazines, and we planted vegetables in pots on the small porch of our condominium.

The entire state promptly entered a period of extreme drought.

Our cucumbers never appeared at all, though they had lovely yellow flowers and huge vines that carpeted the entire porch. The tomatoes were the size of grapes and went from green to yellow, but never red. The lettuces were beautiful, but finger size. Waste not, want not: we harvested mini-greens and feasted on teeny-weeny salads.

Our worst failure yet, however, has been at composting. It seemed a simple concept. Pile up the organic waste and let it rot. This should require no special skill. We knew we could do this.

We forgot the characteristics of urban trash. Our nascent compost pile wanted apple peels, peach pits, stale bread, chicken bones, cooking grease, egg shells, coffee grounds, and so forth. Our kitchen waste consisted of cardboard packages, plastic microwaveable bowls, empty Pam spray can, empty warm-and-serve chicken tenders bags, deflated Splenda packets and lots of pizza boxes. Urbanites have terrible eating habits, and we don’t cook.

Our “compost” consists of a large dill pickle jar now full of used coffee grounds (we DO make coffee) and a banana peel. It sits on the back porch near the vegetable pots that now contain either blank dirt or unidentifiable brownish vegetation.

We conclude that as our family moved further from the farm with each generation, the food-cultivation gene has been bred out of us. Yet, with God, all things are possible. So we haven’t given up. For those whom He calls, He also equips, and we believe that, eventually, we’ll learn. We’ll get better.

For now, we are what we are, and God is gracious and merciful toward us in our failed condition. We tried to Go Green. We just didn’t make it past aqua.

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