Some recommendations, as the summer fades...

I go back to work Friday. It's been great having the summer off; I love having time to clean the house thoroughly, work in the yard any time of day, and spend lots of time with the kids. I'm so lucky to have had this time.

I have some volunteer work coming up the next couple of days, so today was my last available day to do something fun. We grabbed some neighbor kids and went to the beach in Alameda. This beach is on the Bay - not the Pacific - so the water is much calmer and warmer. Still not warm, by any means, but that never stops my daughter from hitting the waves.

It was foggy at first, but then cleared up. In this photo, you can see the San Francisco skyline behind the sailboats anchored in the Bay.

The boys dug with shovels and ran up and down the beach (which was nearly deserted), and the dog and I enjoyed the pelicans and cormorants.

Over the summer, I had a chance to watch some 'food' movies, so here are a few recommendations.

I really enjoyed Symphony of the Soil, which is all about how soil is formed, the history of the soil we have now, and how to keep it healthy. If you really think about it, without good soil, we're doomed. Soil is everything. If you have any interest in food production, gardening, what you're eating, or the health of the earth, this movie is for you. I had to buy it, and found it at Whole Foods.

I also enjoyed (the badly named) GMO OMG, which I was able to get from Netflix. This film taught me a lot about how insidious GMO's are, and how little we really know about how they affect the human body. However I am less concerned with that, and more concerned with overuse of pesticides and insecticides, which definitely happens with GMO seeds, as they are designed to withstand killing, and in some cases, actually DO the killing. I also don't like that seeds can be patented. I have a new respect for places like the Seed Savers Exchange, and will be very much looking at labels in the future.

If you can get a chance to see a screening of Growing Cities, do it. Totally worth the price of admission. And at home, for free, you can watch Back to Eden, which is a wonderful film about growing food. Don't let the religious overtones stop you - I really like the guy who quotes scripture (but then I like scripture)- but even if you don't, the information is good and the film itself is gorgeous.

And books! I've read some great books. American Catch by Paul Greenberg is wonderful. Why are we exporting so much of the wild fish we catch in America, and importing farmed fish from Asia? This book has the answers, and it changed the way I buy fish forever.

Grass, Soil, Hope, by Courtney White was great - all about carbon sequestering. I wrote about this book before. Sounds like the most boring read in the world, but it was a joy to read and gave me hope for the future of our planet.

Greenhorns was a fun book of essays, all by smallish farmers. If you like short stories, you'll like this book - but only if you're into gardening.

At Poppy Corners, I'm going to have to start harvesting pumpkins. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out a cool place to store them. I've decided our bedroom is the coolest place, either in or out of the house. I must say, a root cellar is sounding more and more like something we need. Where am I going to store potatoes and sweet potatoes? When I finally grow garlic, where's that going to go? Our garage is too hot. Honestly. I'm going to have to convert my tiny little clothes closet to a root cellar. Ridiculous. We need more room!!! And where are we going to put the aging cheeses, once Tom takes Cheesemaking 101 in September and starts making cheese??? I ask you. It's a good thing we don't make wine. Or beer. (Though I'm not saying we never will....)