Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for today's Yarn Along.

I finished Phoebe's purple plain vest a couple of weeks ago. I finally got the buttons on and yesterday I surprised her with it to wear.  She told me that now she really only loves light purple, so apparently I got the color a bit wrong, but she did wear it and even did a bit of modeling for me.

I have finally started knitting my sweater again. I am almost through the first skein of yarn, but it is slow going... I have only been managing to sneak in a row or two at night before succumbing to the need to rest my entire body, including my hands!

On the reading front, it seems like all of my library holds have come in at once and I have a big ol' stack of books to get through. I just started Allegiant, the last in the Divergent trilogy, and the last of the teen lit sci fi books that I have on my to-read list. Does anyone have any more suggestions? I have been loving these quick and thrilling reads-- sometimes, my mind just needs an escape.

I have also started reading This Place on Earth, which is about the environment (and environmental problems) of the Pacific Northwest. It's about 20 years old and so frustrating to read about the environmental problems he writes about... because, they are essentially the same exact problems we are facing today. We have learned so much over the past twenty years, yet we haven't done enough to put our knowledge into action.

What are you reading?  What are you knitting?

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekend Gratitudes and Rhododendrons

I have had a wonderful weekend full of friends, family and community. Friday night we had a ladies gathering at a friend's house, which turned into a super-awesome late night dance party. I was very tired, and sore from all of the dancing, on Saturday morning, but it was well worth it. It reminded me why we all need special ladies in our lives, and how grateful I am for the women who are near and dear to my heart.
The rest of the weekend was filled with time spent in the garden, cooking, a class on growing edible mushrooms, a movie with the kids, and a few episodes of Downtown Abbey. Sunday morning  the kids and I waited for a break in the rain and headed to my favorite park in town, Crystal Springs, where the rhododendrons are in bloom. It was spectacular and reminded me how lucky I am to live in a place like this.

Joining in with the other Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots for a Gratitude Sunday post and  Amanda from The Habit of Being for a weekending post.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Importance of Choices

Having a very independent 3 year old has reminded me how important choices can be for young children. When I am tired, or in a hurry, I often find myself telling Phoebe what she needs to do (and to do it quickly!), which usually leads to a power struggle, and we both end the situation feeling frustrated.
When I take the time to stop, and give her a choice, things usually work much differently.  For some reason saying "We need to leave. Would you like to put on your boots or your fast-shoes now?" is entirely different than "We need to leave. Please put some shoes on now." Giving her control of something makes all the difference.
It's not a magic fix... sometimes, even with a choice, she will still refuse and throw a tantrum. But it definitely increase my odds of success.
I guess the real problem now is me. I have to remind myself that no matter how tired or stressed I am, how late I am running, or how little patience I have left-- I need to offer her those choices. An extra 20 seconds spent offering a choice can save a lot of time (and sanity) in the end.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo (or more!)- no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Damnation: A Review

Last week, I went to see the film Damnation. It chronicles the impact that dams have had on our ecosystems, as well as the benefits that can come from removing dams that are obsolete. Our nation is covered with dams: more than 75,000 dams over 3 feet exist in the United States. That is insane. Some of these dams are well-run and provide important benefits, like low-carbon hydro-electric power and water storage. However, the vest majority of these dams are non-essential and they are having huge impacts on our environment.
I won't talk about all of the impacts of dams, but let's touch on a few big ones:

1. People. People across the globe get displaced every time a large dam gets put in. Damming a river changes the flow of the river (and oftentimes the area upstream of the dam is purposely flooded in order to create a reservoir). The people that live in that area are forced to move. To leave their homes. Their friends, family and neighbors. Their way of life. In the developing world, these displaced folks often leave their paradise and head to live in the city, without any job or skills, and end up dead or in a slum.
Damnation talked about Celilo Falls, Oregon. It was THE salmon fishing spot for the Nez Pierce tribe, and the installation of the Dalles Dam flooded out the falls, and with it, a way of life.

2. Fish. Fish can't get past dams. Yes, some dams have state-of-the-art fish ladders, which is wonderful, but some salmon have to pass through 6 or 7 dams on their migration back to their birthing grounds.. and many just are not able to do that. Because our native fish populations are dwindling, we have created hatcheries to make up the difference. Hatcheries are pretty cool, but the lack of genetic diversity is messing up wild fish populations, which is not that cool.

3. Amazing Places. Places like Glen Canyon Dam that are full of native art, historical artifacts, beautiful terrain, and surreal spirit have been flooded out and lost.

4. River Health. When rivers can't flow as they want to, they don't work correctly. Sediment builds up, aquatic life shifts, the riverbanks lose nutrient inputs and start to change. Rivers are meant to be wild.

Damnation also showed a lot of dam removal and how fast ecosystems and fish populations can recover when dams are removed. Nature is resilient and amazing. So, so amazing. This film was the kickoff for the 2014 Environmental Film Fest in Portland. It was sold out and the energy there was high. Every shot of a dam removal was filled with cheers and whoops, clapping and hollering. I felt like I was at a concert, not a movie. (In a good way)

On a sad note, the movie talked about a huge proposed dam in Alaska in the heart of the wilderness. A lot of money has already been sunk into this project, so we need our voices to be heard now. Go here to learn more.

This film was great, inspiring, and entertaining. Please watch it if you get a chance.

And, to end, a quote from the film: "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul" --Edward Abbey

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dear President Obama

Yesterday, in celebration of Earth Day, the kids and I had planned to pick up trash around our neighborhood after school. We picked up trash for about 10 minutes when the sky turned ominous, and it started pelting hail at us (ouch). Thunder and lightning followed soon after, and before long we were running back to our house with only a couple of small bags of trash in hand.
The other activity on my agenda was to spend some time planting seeds.... but apparently I had forgotten that April in Portland is not necessarily spring weather.... and we were basically stuck inside.
So, we decided to write a letter to the President instead. I think President Obama will be quite impressed.

How was your Earth Day?
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

Don't forget to love your Mother today!
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

My Favorite Green Juice Recipe

After a winter lull, I have been juicing again. I make green juice about 3-4 mornings a week, and have even gotten the Todd to drink it as well. My kids, however, are a whole different story. They are very turned off by the green color, and spit it out after trying it. If anyone has any tips on how to get your kiddos to drink veggie juice, please let me know....

Anyways, here is my favorite recipe for juice as of late:

5 kale leaves
1/2 bunch of parsley
6 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 apple
juice from 1/2 a lemon (not put into the juicer, just squeezed in afterwards)
tiny bit of fresh ginger

The amounts on here are approximate.... I don't actually measure it out, so my juice tastes slightly different each day. This makes 2 small glasses or one big one.

Do you juice? What is your favorite recipe?

The ducks love juicing days as well... they get the sludge, and they love it!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Years of Living Dangerously

We are living in a time of climate change. A crisis, really, yet few seem to be doing much about it. For me, personally, climate change is always on my mind. Always. Yet, I seem to be able to push it way far back in there so that I can function and enjoy my time on earth without being in a constant state of panic. But honestly, it scares the crap out of me. I am so nervous about what life will be like when my children are my age... yet I feel so hopeless as to what I can do. In my opinion, so much of this battle rests on the shoulders of our leaders, our politicians, our corporations... the folks who have the girth to sway how this planet works. We need to stop using coal and oil and natural gas and figure out new energy solutions... and we need to do it now. And no matter how many letters I write, or petitions I sign, or demonstrations I attend, I can only do so much. This whole issue needs everyone-- the entire global community-- to get on the same page and choose to make a difference and save our planet and ourselves.
OK, end of rant. For now.
I sometimes get glimmers of hope that maybe we will band together to solve this problem. There is a new tv series on Showtime called Years of Living Dangerously. The awesome thing is that this is on a hit tv network, and has the chance to reach out to lots of people who would never watch a documentary on climate change-- so there is some great potential. The bad side is that it is on Showtime, an "extra" channel that makes this show not accessible to lots of people. But, the first episode can be watched online for free, and maybe they will post subsequent episodes as well.
I watched episode one over the weekend and it was sad. And a bit inspiring. More than anything it is a good reminder that plenty of people are as worried about climate change as I am, and maybe, just maybe, we will soon be on a path to change.
So, check out episode one. Spread the word. Take some action.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo (or two!)- no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tryon Creek State Park

Yesterday I took the kids on an adventure. The trilliums are blooming here, but won't be for long, so we needed to make some time to see them. I pulled Finn out of school a few minutes early and we sneaked in a trip to one of my favorite local places. We saw trilliums, a lots of spring plants, some very cool fungus and we even saw a couple of snails in a tree (the pictures below are of a snail about 5 feet high in a tree).... it's the first time I have ever found a snail high in a tree. I think it is a Pacific sideband snail, but please correct me if I am wrong. Apparently, I have lots to learn about snails!

We had a lovely time... until the end, when Phoebe was tired and hungry and threw a meltdown. She does that often, so I wasn't surprised, but did feel bad for the other folks there trying to get some peace and quiet in nature. Peace and quiet is pretty rare with young kid around.. at least my young kids!

Here are a few pictures from our adventure...

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for today's Yarn Along.

I finished Phoebe's purple plain vest on Monday night. I still need to weave in the ends and add the buttons, so a finished picture to come soon. I better hurry while the weather is still cool enough to wear it. I think I have been avoiding picking up my sweater again, but now that I have finished all of my other WIPs, I think it is time.

I just finished The Death Cure, the last book in The Maze Runner series and I enjoyed the whole series. Yesterday, I started Insurgent (the sequel to Divergent) and I am excited to get sucked into this one as well. I will have to start searching for some more young adult sci fi that I can get hooked on!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Morning. Noon and Night

Joining in with Kim over at Mothering with Mindfulness for my first Morning, Noon and Night post.
Morning, noon and night...three little peeks into my day yesterday.


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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Gratitudes

This weekend has been amazing......

This weekend I have felt grateful for:
  • A moment where Phoebe looked at me, gave me a huge hug and said "Mama! I love you! You are my best friend." My heart almost exploded. (If this seems like not such a big deal, read why it IS here.)
  • Wonderful weather, just perfect for heading to the nursery and planting a few new plants in the yard. A garden update to come soon!
  • A night outside with a fire, spending time with a few wonderful ladies, and a late night bike ride home.
  • Finn. He is doing so well and his anxiety seems to be at it's lowest in years. As I write this he is playing at the neighbor's house. Without me. He's 6, but it's the first time he has ever been at a friend's house without me (except for when he went to preschool at his friend's house). I am glowing with happiness.
  • Two amazing hikes with my kids this weekend. Saturday's adventure was full of wildlife, and I am pretty sure that Phoebe is a budding scientist. Today's adventure was just the kids and I. We saw 3 racoons (check out the photos below of them crossing the stream) and all sorts of birds. Finn even spotted a northern flicker and a bald eagle before I did. An ornithologist in training!
  • Young-adult science fiction thriller novels that suck me in.
  • Green juice. And coffee. My morning treats.
  • Sunday evening out with a couple of mama-friends, and getting to skip the bedtime routine for a change.
What have you felt grateful for this weekend?

Joining in with the other Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots for a Gratitude Sunday post and  Amanda from The Habit of Being for a weekending post.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Have I Mentioned... much I love spring? Especially the warm sunny days of spring? Well, I do. They make me happy!
Today the family headed out to Smith and Bybee Wetlands, a great little natural area in Portland that is great for spotting birds. Today we saw so much amazing wildlife in the short hour that we were there. We spotted a beaver dam, several great blue herons, a red tailed hawk, a whole bunch of western painted turtles- finally awake after their long winter slumber, a rabbit, 3 snakes, a goose sitting on a nest on top of a birding blind, and a whole lot of pacific chorus frogs. Phoebe was amazed by the frogs, so I caught one, briefly, so that she could see it up close. After I let it go, she decided to chase it and, somehow, she managed to catch it again entirely on her own. That girl has skills.
The fact that all of this life exists in the industrial part of town, literally right off of a busy road and just a hop skip and a jump from I-5, blows me away. All it takes is a little bit of undeveloped land for so many different animals to find their niche.
Hoping I can convince the family to head somewhere else to hike tomorrow-- spring always seems to be over as soon as it starts, so this year I am trying to soak up as much as I can.... especially before the rains come back!

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