Dark Friday Alternative

African Drought Survival Gift


If you turn on your TV or exit your house the evidence of Dark (Black) Friday washes over you like an acid bath. If you find yourself out on Friday, and now on Thursday, please consider putting back one of the items you believe will bring Christmas joy for an even better one. Compassion International is one organization that allows you to give Gifts of Compassion. For $100 you can buy a cow or for $45 you can by a goat for a family. Give the gift in the name of the person you were shopping for or get some friends together and purchase multiple items. Please visit the Compassion International website to see what your options are. I speak from experience when I say you definitely feel the spirit of the season. Here is a video of what the gift can do.


Your gift will help provide clean drinking water, medical treatment, disaster relief, food supplies and much more for Compassion-assisted children and their families.

Meet real needs and bring real joy with a Gift of Compassion, then get family and friends involved by giving gifts in their honor.

Once you purchase a gift, you will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of complimentary greeting cards to send to your honorees. You can select how you would like to send your cards:

  • Have a professionally printed card mailed to you or directly to your honoree
  • Print your card at home
  • Send an e-card to your honoree

Please share any similar sites you go to during this time of year.




One Can Down

One can filled: new can in progress. I have a photo of Chris’ 3 cans that I will share soon.¬†Matt Lemine¬†told me he filled one before he left to FSU and I know another friend is working his in secret (though I believe he is using mason jars). Thanks to everyone who is redefining the can or simply expanding its function.

Some reminders for you:

1. Would love any stories so I can pen them, or rather type them up for the site.
2. Volunteer activity or donation opportunities…let us have them.
3. Boxtops for education: I will come and get them. Don’t throw them away.
4. Fitness opportunities are coming up. Keep your schedule open for the Be Her Freedom Run.
5. Help someone grow something.
6. Have a favorite outdoor activity or place to get away (trail, water, hill, business, etc) let us know.

Don’t assume someone else is getting it done. We don’t have to be original, just an effective part of the collective.

Quick Shot: The Character Behind Being Self Sufficient

BOB SELF/The Times-Union Dean and Kim Black and their daughter Alanna, 12, load up their plates at a buffet-style afternoon meal. Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/entertainment/home-and-garden/2011-08-06/story/family-lives-land-north-jacksonville#ixzz1Vh71E0BM

I came across this piece while having a wonderful breakfast at Lillie’s Coffee Bar, consisting of unsweetened herbal tea (cold) along with an egg and cheese breakfast croissant . Some free advertising for Lillie’s, the atmosphere helps make this quaint establishment. Nothing too fancy on the menu but I was happy with my breakfast sandwich and the tea was very memorable. That night a jazz band was playing and the courtyard was packed.

Back to the reason for the writing.

My brother-in-law, Larry Figart, is an arborist who works for the City of Jacksonville. His knowledge of plant life is constantly mined when I am with him. He also dabbles in growing vegetables and has recently become a bee keeper (fresh honey for Christmas.) Since my wife and I seem to kill things we try to grow I have held off on attempting to sow my own fruit and vegetable garden, along with something as simple as a sunflower. While the article below did nothing to calm my fears that anything other than consistent and time-consuming attention would suffice when attempting to become a suburban farmer, it did serve to remind me that the time invested reaps something more than food for the table. It is a character building burden of love.

The idea that growing your own food can serve to alleviate your shopping bill is a fantasy I gave up some time ago. I fully understand, and was actually reminded of it this summer, that time and money put into gardening more than likely will cost you in the end regardless of what you harvest. As noted, it requires time and attention, something this blog from 2008 notes in detail.

But is that really the point? So one might spend a few years in the red. Is there not an experience that is obtained from working the land? This article seems to answer that question with a resounding yes. As the father Dean Black stated:

“It’s a labor of love,” Black said. “I’m also teaching my children an important life skill. They’re going to learn it, and one day they’ll find a use for it, or maybe not.”

I think you will find the comments of the children the most interesting, if you are not already exposed to the benefits of being self-sufficient. What this family does extends to actual hunting so my admiration and envy is a bit inflated.