Even though I’ve written before about the lunacy of rewards cards and programs, a few months ago I signed up to get rewards at one of the chains where I buy Hannah’s dog food.  It seemed like a good idea since I buy dog food at least every six weeks and it stands to reason that at some point I might earn some type of reward to offset what I spend on food. 

Naturally, that meant I had to provide an email address so they could tell me about all the fabulous deals that were available and that’s when things got a little weird. It wasn’t a surprise to start getting emails every day, urging me to sign up for home delivery – strictly for my convenience, of course – and I knew they would send me lots of special offers.

What I didn’t expect was this . . .

Star Wars Collectables for Pets

Followed a week later by this . . .

Bobo Fett Dog Toy

This is what Hannah does to stuffed animals . . .

Hannah and Duck

It’s a duck, okay?

Duck Remains

This was a ‘stuffie’ I’d made out of a plastic bottle and an orphaned sock.  If there is a squeaker in the toy, it’s done for in a matter of moments.  Even toys labeled indestructible last only a matter of minutes before they are ripped to shreds, their stuffing tossed around the room.

It’s not that I’m not a fan of Star Wars – I’ve seen all the old ones and will likely see the new one at some point.  No doubt there are other dogs out there that don’t destroy their toys the same way that Hannah does, but I still can’t fathom purchasing a collectable toy or other movie tie in items for my pet.  Would I have to tell her it’s just to look at and not to touch?  Would she understand the significance of it being a collectable toy and treat it differently?  It seems unlikely.

There are days when I can barely wrap my brain around the things we value and the things we bring into our homes and lives. There is a place for well curated items that are beautiful and items that are practical and useful. Here’s the question to ask yourself – how many favorite things can you truly have?  Is it possible to love every piece in your Kewpie doll collection?  Every shot glass you acquired as you traveled across the country?  Every turtle someone gave you over the years because you once mentioned you liked them and everyone jumped on the bandwagon at gift giving occasions? 

Often times people will say that certain items bring back memories and while I believe that it’s true that an item can jog a memory, that memory remains independent of the object. There is also comfort in having familiar things, things that make a house feel like home, but isn’t it the presence of the people there that truly make it a home?   

The opportunity to purchase these fabulous items has likely passed – after all, supplies were very limited and those emails came a couple of weeks ago. Let’s hope that Hannah doesn’t hold it against me and will be satisfied with having a plain non-collectable tennis ball.Hannah and Tennis Ball

An Open Letter to Litterers

Dear person who threw the White Castle bag and assorted food wrappers out of your vehicle:

Why?  Why did you find it necessary to chuck your garbage out the window instead of taking it home to dispose of properly?  Were you eating on the sly and needing to destroy the evidence?  Your trash was barely five hundred feet from White Castle – you must have horked down those bad boys in two bites!  Was your trash somehow offensive to you and you felt the need to remove it from your presence as quickly as possible?  Or is it simply too much work to carry it from your vehicle to an appropriate garbage container? 

White Castle Bag

White Castle Slider

White Castle Cup

Please refrain from purchasing fast food in the future if you are unable to appropriately dispose of your trash.

Dear person who flicked the cigarette butt out the window:

Why?  While I don’t understand your choice to smoke, I support your right to do so.  This doesn’t mean, however, that I want your butts littering the road, the sidewalk, my patio, really any spaces that I frequent.  Can’t you keep it in your vehicle and dispose of it in a trash receptacle at your earliest convenience?  If you’re okay with smoking it stands to reason that you should be okay with having butts and ashes in your vehicle. Can’t you put it in an ashtray instead of sending it over the edge of the balcony?

Cigarette Butt

Please own the  byproduct of your choice and stop throwing your butts out the window and off the balcony. 

Dear person who tossed the non-biodegradable tin can on the ground along the greenway only feet from a trash receptacle:

Why?  While I can totally relate to you needing a cool beverage while out on the trail (it gets hot out there!), why would you just throw something on the ground when there are at least six trash receptacles at conveniently located intervals?  Was the half ounce it weighed too heavy for you to carry?  Was it too large for your hand to hold comfortably?  Or were you trying to spare that can from joining the thirty plus million tons of trash that go into our landfills each year? 

Tin Can 1

Tin Can 2

Please put your bottle in the trash container or consider suffering through the thirty minutes it takes to walk the trail without a beverage to slake your thirst.


The person who felt compelled to clean up after you


Dear person who is hawking chewing tobacco loogies off your balcony:

Spitting Tobacco

Stop it.  Right now.

Stoney Creek Farm

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting Leigh and Olin Funderburk at Stoney Creek Farm.  They are Business Impact Partners of Way FM and I heard about their farm while listening to the radio on my way to work. Since I’m always on the look out for new farms to patronize, I signed up to receive their weekly newsletter.  A few days later, I received an email that their U-Pick season was ending on July 23, 2016. 

Since temperatures were supposed to be in the upper nineties, I made sure I was at the farm in Franklin, Tennessee by eight am.  Leigh greeted me as I walked up and told me where the fruits, veggies, and herbs were located and even gave me a glove so I’d be protected from the prickly cucumbers and squash. There wasn’t a huge selection of cucumbers, zucchini, squash or blackberries, but tomatoes, wow, there were a lot of beautiful tomatoes! 

SCF Tomatoes

SCF Grape Tomatoes

After I picked all that I wanted, I spent some time chatting with Leigh and Olin, who are two of the most delightful people I’ve ever met.  They are great storytellers and Leigh’s a pretty good salesperson too – in addition to the berries, veggies, and basil I bought, I also bought some sourdough rolls, a book they’d written, and a temporary tattoo to help support the volunteers on the farm.  The rolls were amazing by the way – I ate several the first day!

The book, Dirt Rich: How To Experience More Joy And Less Stress Through Sustainable Farm Living, tells the story of how they came to own Stoney Creek Farm and what it means to farm sustainably.  Though I’ve only read the first three chapters so far, I’m enjoying their story and their perspective on how to farm successfully. 

Dirt Rich

There’s something about people who farm – there’s a look that comes over their face as they look across their property and the way they admit that it’s not an easy life, but it’s one they wouldn’t trade for anything.  It’s a pleasure to get to know them and feel the connection between what they grow and what I consume.  It seems to me that it’s a holy sort of thing, this connection, something that doesn’t happen when I buy food off the shelf in the grocery store.  

Even though the season is over, Leigh and Olin will continue to offer classes and other events at the farm.  They’ll still have tomatoes for a while so head over to pick some up before the season is done for good!