Monday, February 23, 2009

For My Mom ...

Every morning I drink my coffee while watching the birds that visit our feeders. They usually come in pairs ... each couple choosing their spot after investigating the possibilities. Some like to hunt and peck on the ground ... others like to nibble from the hanging feeders. All of them seem to tolerate other species ... including my cat who sits on the porch and watches them.

Watching birds isn't new for me ... I first started enjoying them with my mother. For as long as I can remember, she has loved birds. She feeds them and has bird baths set up. She even makes bird houses and every year we wait for the babies to take their first flight.

So much of the person I am today is, in large part, due to my parents. As a child, their example shaped me and, even though I'd like to think that everything I do and think is unique to me, the truth is that my belief system comes from them. Including my passion for "green" living.

When I was a child, my mother cleaned house regularly (she still does). When the hardwood floors needed polishing, she'd apply the wax and then, rather than use an electric buffer to finish the job, she'd put old pairs of my father's socks on our feet and let us "ice skate" our way to a high gloss. We had fun polishing floors in a natural, "green" way.

Preservatives and toxins in food were never an issue in our house because my mom canned fruits and vegetables for us. Most of the produce she used came directly from a farm or our own garden. She bought locally and preserved food without chemicals. She also cooked for us ... wonderful, delicious meals made from scratch with fresh ingredients. They were healthy and always made with love.

Before it became a popular, green activity, my mom reused and repurposed many things. Shopping bags were saved and used to line her garbage pails. Plastic butter or cottage cheese containers were washed and used to store leftovers or to send food home with friends and family. And glass jars were either reused for canning or they found their way into my father's garage to hold nuts, bolts and all manner of small things.

It was a way of life for us ... for my mom. She didn't talk about living green ... she probably didn't think about it those terms. She just knew what was right. We lived a natural life and used what we had. We never wasted ... whether it was electricity or used containers.

In thinking about those times, I am reminded, once again, how our actions matter. Yes, using what we have and not wasting has a direct affect on the earth ... but it also serves as an example to others, especially the children in our lives. We can help our children develop a respect for the earth by our example. We can teach them, in fun ways, to live green.

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday. We are many miles apart but I'll be thinking of her ... and thanking her ... as I sit and watch the birds at my feeder.

Happy Birthday, Mom ... I love you!!


  1. Yip that sounds like Mom and My sister... Happy Birthay Sis. John

  2. Happy Birthday to your mom!
    My grandparents were the same way. Waste not want not was often said to me. For years I have been called cheap not green.
    Now I am called a green person because I am not wasteful.
    Another thing is that way as American are so wasteful. Just throw it away and buy something else. The t.v. and radio ads are just as bad. Buy this container so you can throw it away after lunch?

  3. Your post just brings tears to my eyes. Seems we both had our Moms' on our minds today. Yet I lost mine two years ago. Still though she is always on my mind!
    Your post also reminds me alot about my Mom and her ways of canning things, reusing the butter dishes, etc. Lord how back then we all did not know it would be a "green" thing now! And you are 100% correct in that our actions do teach our children! Way to go on another wonderful post! And Thank you for giving me though for a post of my own this week!

    Blessings to you and yours,


  4. wow! that was a wonderful tribute post to your mom :))) it brought tears to my eyes... happy birthday to your mom!

  5. Very beautiful tribute to your mother. I grew up on a farm and was raised the same way as you. Lots of fun getting the bird book out to see what birds were at the feeders. Thanks for reminding us on what a wonderful childhood we had and how we should teach our children to live.

  6. HAPPY BIRTDAY, you must be proud of your son!!!

  7. I'm hoping to teach my children some of the same things -- don't waste water, turn the lights out when you leave the room, recycle, etc.

    A very touching tribute to your mom...

  8. That was very nice. Happy Birthday to your mom! I guess my dad was green after all and not just cheap! He never threw away anything and we laughed at his moneysaving methods. Now I try to emulate him.

  9. Happy Birthday to your Mom. This was a very touching entry, and I could see little pieces of my Mom and the way I felt for her in this also. A lovely tribute. ~Mary

  10. Happy Birthday to your Mom. In my mother's time, re-using stuff was not recycling but not wasting anything.

  11. Please send my greetings to your mom :"HAPPY BIRTHDAY and may you be in good health and happiness always!"
    (Warm wishes from a far away Singapore!)

  12. It's nice to read something of a more personal nature from you. Happy birthday to your mother and well done to her on bringing up children who are kind to the planet (even if she wasn't consciously aiming for that outcome).

    A lot of what you have written reminds me of my own childhood growing up on a farm - although my parents weren't consciously 'green' we made do, saved energy and water (we had to since the only water we had was what fell out of the sky into our tank), we grew our own vegies and tried not to let food - or anything - go to waste. We got our milk directly from the cow, mum cooked virtually all of our meals and also preserved fresh seasonal fruit. Vastly different to how I live now in the centre of a big city, but I still try to live a simple, clean life that's kind t the environment.

  13. I love your story and I love the way you write........tears came to my eyes

    Thank You SF

  14. besides being all the things you shared about your mom she's also:
    a FRISKY, FUNNY, FUN-LOVING, THOUGHTFUL, CARING, "Aunt" of mine & I call myself lucky to share her with you!

  15. I love this post. It brings back so many memories of my own childhood. I don't think we ever wasted a thing and grew a big garden.

    Happy Birthday to a special mother!

  16. Your mom and mine have two things in common: they are both women and they breathe. LOL I love my mom but let's just say she wasn't a huge fan of cleaning the house without someone else doing it.

  17. I hope one of these days I get to be as talented as my mom. :)

    - Cesia.