The Cat Box

You’ll always find something of interest in the Cat Box

More Healthy, More Happy! — March 28, 2014

More Healthy, More Happy!

Physical activity and movement, so important to humans, has somehow slipped away from us.

We seem to have stopped moving ourselves around in our daily lives and started jumping into our cars to move us everywhere for everything.

Many of us have jobs where we sit. We have cars that we sit in, and when we are sitting around at home we think about ways to fit some kind of physical activity into a lifestyle that has very little time left for adding anything.

To buy our food, many of us drive our cars to a grocery store and look for the closest spot in the gigantic parking lot to the door.

I have written about the joy of riding my bike to my favorite neighborhood farm market in Sunnyside to pick up browns (eggs from happy neighborhood chickens) and greens (arugula, and kale, etc.) from the corner of 44th & Vallejo in Denver.

Denver’s Stapleton Community is an Active Living Partner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living by Design where physical activity is restored back into the fabric of everyday life. People walk or ride their bikes to work and school and to the store and this is good.

The whole experience of riding your bike or walking down neighborhood streets to a local garden or grocery store, chatting with your neighbors, buying fresh food and walking or pedaling home with it is rejuvenating and makes us healthy and happy.

Healthy and happy is worth finding time for no matter where you live and I know that “more healthy” makes me “more happy.”

Happy and Healthy!
Happy and Healthy!

Since I am pretty sure that “more healthy” will also make you “more happy,” may I suggest that you sneak some activity into your life and move it around a little bit.

If you need a little prod, travel on over to my Pintrest account and check out “Day 100” for some “more healthy, more happy” inspiration.

Be Happy!

Reason 421 Why I Love Denver — April 21, 2013

Reason 421 Why I Love Denver

Yesterday, 4/20, I planned to visit my favorite urban garden, take a Zumba class at Studio Thrive Fitness, and ride my bike downtown to investigate the 4/20 celebration.  I checked off the first two items on my list, but at the last minute decided instead to get on my bike and head the other way to find a place to get on the Clear Creek trail from my new house. Two people and a dog were shot at that pot smoking 4/20 celebration. Really? Come on people. What the H E double toothpicks is going on here?

Denver is my all-time favorite city, and to honor her I offer here reason number 421 why I love Denver.

My favorite urban garden, Sunnyside Farm in North Denver opened yesterday so I stopped by. I wanted to see what they had to offer, but I was especially interested in some neighborhood eggs. I was greeted by a smiling garden crew, spent a few minutes perusing the breads and jams and fresh greens grown in their newly constructed hoop house, and departed this happy garden with a dozen browns and some fresh-picked greens.

Experiencing neighborhood agriculture renews me, and luckily there are plenty of agricultural endeavors growing up in neighborhoods all over Denver. Urban gardens are a wonderful place to meet the people who live around you. You don’t just grow vegetables in a garden; you grow relationships too. Studies have shown that urban gardens create an oasis of peace in the hubbub of the city that reconnects people back to the earth. And no matter how crotchety or detached a person is, “garden magic” transforms every individual who ventures between the hoed rows.

Our Denver urban agriculture basket holds fauna as well as flora and goats and chickens live among us all over the city.

ChargingChicken

I peddled past a house in Arvada with a guy working under his car and a couple of chickens pecking the dirt around his feet. Why did that sight make me feel so serenely happy?

Goats

I set out on my bike yesterday looking for a route to the Clear Creek bike path and came upon a small herd of goats grazing contentedly not two blocks from my place. Why do goats and chickens and gardens make me feel so good? Why does discovering a bucolic pocket in the metro area warm my heart? Because animals are therapeutic, and they don’t shoot you.

This is Denver; pot friendly, garden friendly, chicken friendly, goat friendly and bike friendly. To honor our fine town, I suggest a teeny toke and a trip around your neighborhood on foot or on bicycle wheels. You will love what you find there. I guarantee it.

Local Goodness — September 16, 2012

Local Goodness

Fresh–picked baby kale, lightly sautéed in grape seed oil with garlic, and topped with two beautiful eggs laid by a friendly neighborhood chicken.

Local fresh eggs on local fresh kale
Yes that’s bacon, but just enough for your bacon fix.

I knew this kale was going to be good when I saw it lying purple and supple and freshly picked in a basket at the Sunnyside Farm Market at 44th and Vallejo in Sunnyside when I got there Saturday morning.

I was greeted at the garden gate by a smiling Lisa Rogers who showed me, one by one the treasures offered up by her magical urban garden this week. I had the good sense to immediately claim all of the kale that she had and a stunning array of little bitty tomatoes. I picked out a beautiful Italian zucchini to make squash ribbon salad out of and a handful of purple pole beans that I plan to blanche and incorporate into a veggie platter that I am putting together. I left also with two bags of exquisitely fresh baby arugula that I cannot wait to taste dressed in light vinaigrette topped with shaved hard cheese. Yum!

Eating fresh food from as close to the ground as possible is really good for us. But even more, eating food from a local garden whose soil was created by the farmer who with the look of a proud parent, hands you the jewels from that soil, is a pretty personal, and dare I say, emotional experience. I mean really, it is quite different from the experience you have with an Egg McMuffin breakfast that was handed to you in a paper bag through a window by a well-meaning but tragically underpaid stranger.

Neighborhood tomatoes
Lovely garden jewels

Everything means something, but some things mean more than others. The food we put in our body should be real food, and it should make us strong and happy. It is our body’s fuel, but more than the energy produced by the burning of the calories of this food, there is the energy of the intent and passion of the people whose hands are in the dirt.

The history of humanity is cyclical and just as we once gave up our food producing responsibility in the past to some people, somewhere that we didn’t know, we are circling back to a place where we accept and embrace the experience of raising our own food for our own families in our own neighborhoods. Up-close and personal food is good and good for us.