Archive for garden

I’m Ba-ack! As Best I Can, Anyway.

I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long. I wish I could blame my absence on writer’s block, an early and fortuitous move, or being busy doing something I love, but I can’t.

Unfortunately, I have fibromyalgia. Pushing myself over the winter to work on the blog while trying to work on the house while transitioning jobs while doing the holidays while getting sick from the germs of being around new germ factories kids was too much. I crashed, pretty hard. I ended up being mostly bedridden, sick (still coughing), having to drop to 16 hours a week at work (and still sometimes calling out), and feeling so bad that I actually applied for disability (both disability and SSI were denied; I’m not appealing right now since I feel better).

But the bedrest and forced slow-down helped me immensely. I was able to start to recuperate. We went from eating whatever fast thing I could throw together to eating less-processed fast things I could throw together. *Quick meal tip: you can boil potatoes ahead of time with the skin on and then just scrape or rub the skin off when you’re ready to use it with either your fingers or a spoon edge. Even the big baking potatoes!

I’ve been able to go back to working five days a week, with 1 or 2 of those days being longer than 4 hours. I hope this holds up because the class I’m working in over the summer has two field trips each week starting next week until school starts.

Unfortunately, I also have ADHD, so when I started feeling better I was still too disorganized and scattered to work in “time” for posting. I finally just pushed over the edge this morning to get my foot back in the door.

I’m going to be posting more frequently, but no promises yet as to how frequently (due to being scattered, disorganized, etc). I plan to post on lifestyle “stuff,” which for me will mean posts on the following:

  • homesteading
  • decluttering
  • home management (possibly slanted for someone with chronic conditions that affect memory, as both ADHD and fibromyalgia do)
  • life management – I expect lots of trial and error here
  • vegan recipes – starting with simple smoothies (I make one for breakfast these days)
  • our animals
  • Kaida and her art
  • homeschooling
  • home repair/renovation or random building projects that I do. I’m not trained to build, but I like doing it so, why not? Don’t follow my building advice! Maybe just use my stuff as idea generators.

I’m probably forgetting a lot of what I want to talk about; my brain just stopped. I guess that my clue to wrap it up!

See you next time!

SQUIRREL! Just kidding! I remembered that I want to also post (and maybe even write about) interesting articles I find about ADHD, fibromyalgia, general health/nutrition, or maybe anything else… 😉

Compost Is Gold!

We’re learning about compost this week (What We Learned Wednesday)! What kinds of systems are there and how much work is involved in each?

What I’ve Learned So Far

You could use a tumbler. You put your compostable scraps in and turn the handle a few times. I’ve heard they’re not too bad as far as work required, but they’re small, expensive, and look to me like they would overheat easily. However, if you only have a small space to work with then they might be the perfect match.

You could make a pile and use a stick turner. There are manual ones that you turn using your muscles and also ones that attach to drills.

If you have the space and time, you could just make a new pile each year and leave the previous ones to rot into whatever state you are happy with.

You could try using worms to do your composting in a worm bin. I haven’t yet been able to quite figure mine out; my worms die and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I think I might be keeping it too wet. I have an older model of the Worm Factory.

Me, I’m a lazy gardener. I do not want to spend time every week/month/year turning compost. I want the glorious bacteria and worms to make compost for me! I like lasagna gardening for this reason. You just make layers of compostable stuff directly on your garden, put a mulch layer on top to help retain water, and let it break down in place. Easy-peasy!

For making larger amounts to amend large areas, I think I like the idea of multiple piles that are turned less frequently, such as in this video:

Regardless of the method you choose, your plants are sure to reward you with healthier plants and higher yields! Do you use a method not discussed above? Let me know about it in the comments!

Two Big Summits You Don’t Want To Miss!

Holy mother of pearl! There are two back-to-back summits that you do NOT want to miss–the Prepper World Summit 3 and the Mother Earth News Summit.

I don’t how I’m arriving late to the party for this first, but the Prepper World Summit 3 is currently ongoing. It’s run dates are October 22-October 31, 2016. They will have encore days on November 2 and 3, thankfully!


The Prepper World Summit 3 has a “hand-picked team of 20 world-class prepping & survival experts will reveal how you can avoid common prepping mistakes, take your preparedness to the next level and create a survival plan that WORKS for you and your family.”

Topics include:

  • Bug-out bags. I need this reminder…Don’t ask.
  • Surviving in an urban environment.
  • Growing a stealth food forest. I wonder what kinds of foods will be included?
  • Building community.
  • Prepping with chronic health conditions. I hope they cover more than medication. I’ll pay attention to this one during the encore listening.
  • Permaculture basics. I’m going to be taking as many notes as I can!
  • Building a secret greenhouse on your house disguised as a porch. I’m definitely going to watch this one!
  • And so much more!

Squee! I can’t wait for encore day to listen to everything I’ve missed! Sign up here to be able to listen free!

The second summit that’s coming up is the Mother Earth News Summit online. Yes, they do in-person fairs in several places around the country every year. This one is online and is free! This one runs October 31-November 6 with encore days on November 7 and 8. It includes 35 speakers over 7 days.


Topics include:

  • How organic gardeners produce 2X to 10X greater yields.
  • Build your next garden beds for $0 (yes, nothing)!
  • Grow 75% of your food in less than 10 hours per week!
  • 5 ways to achieve FOOD ABUNDANCE in small urban spaces.
  • Lazy backyard chicken farming secrets.
  • Rainwater Harvesting: turn water scarcity into water abundance!
  • How to get FREE ACCESS to local seed varieties.
  • Make clothes that last 10X longer, using the “old ways.”
  • Whip up delicious, slow-cooked meals using the sun!
  • Transform your property into an edible landscape.
  • And so so much more!

The Mother Earth News Summit is more geared toward homesteading and gardening type of discussions. Even if you just have a little garden patch or grow tomatoes in pots, sign up! You may learn some easy tricks to be able to expand what you grow.

These are going to be so much fun, I’m giddy just thinking about them! Ok, maybe not giddy, but really excited! What’s your favorite topic that’s being covered? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Don’t forget the Thyroid Connection Summit going on October 24-31, 2016.


What I Want To Be When I Grow Up


Every kid hears the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Like we’re all supposed to know, magically, what’s going to be really interesting to us in the next 10-15 years that’s going to stay interesting for the following 30-40 years. And let’s face it, it seems like most adults don’t know what they want to be when they grow up!

Neither did I. In college, I had been in the following majors (in order): genetics, biological resources engineering, aerospace engineering, astronomy, physics, and psychology. I’ve worked in retail, at a horse barn, in an office (hated it!), and in child care. I have been all over the map, but I’ve found out some things about myself along the way.

I’ve found out that I can think more clearly while working outside. I found out that I hate being pinned down to a desk. I found out that I really don’t mind retail horribly. Yes, some people are jerks, but you just roll along. They’re just passing through anyway. I found out that I like to build things. I found out that I like teaching. I found out that I like learning about plants. I found out that I like to see food grow in my backyard.

So how could I combine these things: outside, building stuff, gardening, teaching (at least teaching my own child, at first), and maybe a little retail? A friend of mine sent me a YouTube video called “How to Make $100,000 Farming 1/2 Acre You Don’t Own” by Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens where he interviews Curtis Stone about urban farming. Viola! An idea was born.

I have 4 acres. Sure the goats need a lot of it, but they don’t need all of it! Marketing gardening will theurbanfarmerdefinitely get me outside, gardening, and a little bit of retail. And Curtis Stone talked about making $100,000 from his small plots? Sold! I ordered his book, “The Urban Farmer“,”The Market Gardener” by Jean-Martin Fortier, “Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre” by Brett L. Markham, and “Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs” by Tammi Hartung.

I know there’s a farmer’s market about 20 minutes from us. My plan going forward is to go to the farmer’s market a few times before they close for the season to see what kind of things are there and then learn the heck out growing food for others!

In a country where only about 2% of the population farms and the average age of farmers is roughly 60 years old (and about 1/3 of farmers are over 65 while only 16% are under 45), seems to me there’s plenty of space for noobs in this field! Anyone else consider going into small-acreage farming? I’d love to hear of your experience!

Got Food?

In light of the situation in California, please start growing some of your own food if you don’t already. Not consider it, do it! Pick a method you like–conventional tilling, raised beds, square food, Back to Eden, whatever–just do something. Even if it’s just growing something in containers, it’ll help.

California is going into its third year of drought and news reports are already talking about prices on things like melons being affected. According to this article on, prices on artichokes, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower could rise at least 10 percent. It’s even worse according to this article on They list several types of produce that are only grown in the USA in California: almonds, dates, figs, plums, raisin grapes, olives, clingstone peaches, pistachios, pomegranates, sweet rice, walnuts and kiwis.

If you’re just learning or would like to check out a different style, check out some of the following books:

(Or you could skip the garden and buy food already stored at

What kind of garden are you going to work on (because you are going to work on a garden, right?)?