The Monkey Mind
June 28, 2011, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Activism, How I got Here, The Movement

Now, those of you familiar with some of the new age hoodoo voodoo speak may know of  ‘the monkey mind’ as the extrenuous thought process, which combined with the human ego, can create horrible distractions — like fear, paranoia, greed, gluttony, and on and on. This is in no way related to the mind of MonkeyMan (the mister) and his MonkeyGrrrl (the missus) who produce and grub gobs of green veggies in a weird and wild backyard in the middle of the nowhere America. These monkeys are completely at peace with themselves and the universe, and these are a few of the philosophies, as the MonkeyGreens, that we abide by:

1. Every man, woman, child (and heck even most beasties) should know where their food COMES from. This means, paying attention to how far your food has to travel to get to your table. Better yet? Get to know who is PRODUCING your food. Me? I’m lucky. I live with the crazy farmer who grows what goes in my belly! In fact, many a summer night I see his little headlamp aglow as he lovingly picks slugs off our leaves. Some of our plants even have names! But the best part is, in addition to having the great priviledge of knowing where OUR food comes from, we can offer that to our community.

2. Ahhhh! COMMUNITY. There is a word you don’t hear often enough these days. Do you know your neighbors? Think about it….we allow fear and individuality and LETS  face it– technology–separate us from our sisters and brothers. We don’t care about the people that comprise our community, which means in turn they do not care about us. That is a pretty lonely concept. And in terms of food– it means that rather than sharing what we grow (if we do grow) with our community, we are either stashing it to ourselves…or…we are becomming a slave to the supermarket, where we literally have NO idea what is in what we put into our bodies, or where it came from. In the MonkeyMind, community isnt an abstract concept, its a real, tangible entity, and it lives in each and every one of our hearts.

3. Start asking questions. Lots and lots of questions. Here is a good one to start with. Chemicals that are designed to KILL insects, KILL. In order to kill they must be a form of poison. How long does it last? What is it made up of? What are the ingredients on a can of insecticide? Chemicals designed to kill a living thing. Next question. How long does it take for those chemicals to ‘die?’ In other words, do they ever die? What do they become like when they are old, or mixed with water, or heated, or frozen, or…..touching the food you place in your body. Do you have a yard? Do you go into your yard? Do your children play there? What about your pets. The MonkeyMind lets these questions in, and wants to know the answers. But the best answer is very simple. DO NOT USE CHEMICALS. Not to make your food bigger or bug-free, not to grow grass, not to kill weeds, not to erode your children’s intestines and shrink their reproductive organs. The MonkeyMind says ‘Lets find another way.’

4. LOVE. Love your family, love your fellow human, love animals, love the earth, love your creator. Balance all questions against love. See what answers you come up with. We care too much about the future of the planet to do it any harm now, but even better– we can create change NOW that will improve today and save tomorrow.

5. We believe in the power of using our bodies as modes of alternative transportation. Wow isnt that an amazing concept, to use your legs for walking or peddling a bike? Sorry, sometimes MonkeyGrrrl can be a little sarcasmo. Trust me, MonkeyMan is much nicer. Well, not really, lets just say he has better finesse. Maybe thats why he is the green thumb! He does all the heavy lifting I just write about it. But seriously, folks, a two person family doesnt need 4 cars COME ON!

6. Often times the very best solutions to easily completing everyday tasks have been in action for generations –we as a society just dont want to take the time. That means, to our family, we do it by hand. No machines. No tractors. We use hand held instruments our forefathers used to toil the soil and it works beautifully. Doing things the right way takes work, love, endurance and devotion. THAT is why you may find that the naturally grown, chemical free apple (perhaps even with a worm!) costs more than the apple that was imported from Peru three weeks ago and sprayed with war-zone unnamed chemicals. Yum 😦 Which brings me to….

7. If you find a bug on a piece of produce, that bug sees that it is safe and nutritious (probably also–delicious)to eat. Listen to that bug.

8. Meat! We eat meat! We love meat! Happy animals are tasty animals. Which essentially means the bovine frolicking in the pasture looking like a Laughing Cow ad munching fresh unfettered grass, well, he has it pretty good. When I think of cattle being ‘fed’ truckloads of chemically engineered corn, all I can think of is frois gras. Then I cry, and no one likes a crying monkey. Then there are the chickens. A pretty revealing experiment is to purchase a dozen eggs from a local farmers market. Talk to the farmer. Are these chickens free range (they run around) What do they eat? If they eat bugs and grass and twigs and whatever else the earth provides, that is a bright green light. Now go home and cook one farm egg and one mystery egg and do a taste test. One of them will taste like water (or worse)

9. The insects that destroy plants (and before you think we are bug-loving aliens, we DO have to have concern for our food being damaged by pests, so we are not totally irrational…Daddy needs to bring home the grassfed all natural bacon, after all) have natural predators. They get eaten. Its super fun and really cool to use nature to fight nature. Its not even a fight, its evolution….the circle of life. Ducks, toads, ladybugs…..each of these methods will be discussed in this blog, most in very vivid and entertaining detail. Its all a ‘work in progress.’ But its totally possible. Then when that favorite nephew or your grandchild or — heck — YOU– go out into the garden and want to grab a green bean off the vine and eat it? Pop it straight in your mouth. You won’t grow a tail. Not growing tail=awesome.

10. Putting up the food you grow, i.e. canning, freezing, drying, using root cellars, etc….SAVES YOU MONEY. Shhhhhh don’t tell anyone right? Everyone will jump on that. Yeah sure. Its a lot of work. But thats not hte secret. Other than eating safe, healthy, SCRUMPTIOUS food all winter long….the process? Its super fun. MonkeyMan and I laugh, and tease, and we are SPENDING time together. Nobody wants you to know that honest, hard work feels fantastic, expecially when you reap the rewards later down the line.

There is so much more…but this plants the roots for the tree of life we are growing. Hopefully its branches will reach out and touch your heart, and if anything , make you think.

Life doesnt have to be routine, or unsatisfying, or dull. And it doesnt have to kill our MotherEarth to go on, either. Just little steps each day, and this is the beginning of our story on how we are trying make change.


Greener Pastures
June 28, 2011, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Activism, Home Sweet Home, How I got Here, Saving the Harvest, The Movement

This very first post will serve as an introduction of sorts. I am Mrs. Gibbons. My husband (and I…sometimes hehehehe) run a local, home-owned and operated small business called Gibbons Greens. We specialize in chemical free collard greeens, kale, and swiss chard, but we also grow an endless bounty of fresh and natural goodies for our own consumption. What makes us a bit unusual? Oh, several things, but for starters? We live in the city. Our garm, or farden (whatever you prefer) encompasses the front, side and back of our double lot yard. In addition to our wee business, we are part of a small but growing community of young(ish) local producers who attempt sustainable living. My feeble, but sincere, offering here will be a glimpse at the life of two crazy thirty somethings living life a completely different way; shucking a good portion of society’s technologically dependent ‘norms’ in favor of a slower pace. We have a lot of adventures to share around the garm, and a lot of philosophies and ideas too. Ever wonder what a day in the life of your grandmother from Kansas might of been, and thats a taste of summer at the MonkeyHouse. Yup thats us, just silly monkeys who love fresh veggies. And while most of our livelihood depends upon the food we grow, we also cook, can, dry, and preserve our food for the winter. This all sounds mighty boring right now….but this is just the pilot. Come along and follow us on our journey of doing something totally different. Trust me, we are having a lot of fun.

What comes next? The Monkey Philosophy…….