Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gardening: Eden Revisited

This winter I have been pouring over gardening methods.

 "Back to Eden" by Paul Gautschi is really interesting. So interesting, I implore you to check it out online here. 

After all the research I've done regarding human health, this gardening method is strikingly based on the same concepts of human health! It just makes sense that soil and our bodies would be similar, seeing how they are organic!!!

The soil, in an anaerobic environment, is easily compacted and eventually becomes "sick"(loss of nutrients).

Our bodies, when under stress due to the fight or flight response, become oxygen deprived temporarily. (Eventually it can be longer if we stay stressed for long periods of time, creating sickness, like in the soil). I often think of botchulism in homecanned goods, that have been improperly handled. If the seal's been compromised and the good stuff is gone, then botchulism just grows, grows, grows. (A far cry from a perfect analogy, but it'll do for now.)

It's quite striking, to me, how the principles of health in organic things are so closely related.

Gardening with woodchips struck me as so simplistic, it gave me the "why didn't I think of that?!" response!

Another concept that struck me as interesting is that as we are on this journey of life, as long as we keep an "open", learnable mind, we grow! Once we close our minds with"this is the right, only way", that is the moment we stop learning. 

Honestly, I thought I had gardening figured out, but this was mind blowing. 

The method in the movie, has given me full confidence that I can have a gorgeous orchard and ginormous garden in my new altitude and climate! I'm SO pumped for gardening this year!!! So pumped, I'm going to come up with an actual name for my garden instead of "the garden". It's so cool, it deserves it's own name!!!

~happy dance~

So, check out the movie, you don't have to agree with everything said in it (like all things in life) but it sure is an interesting concept to garden this way!

I'm just aching to get our own land so I can plant an orchard that my future generations will be able to fully enjoy!!! 

Garden on, my friends, garden on!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Organic: Label or Lifestyle

Definition of organic:
of, relating to, or derived from living matter.
(Again, I did a google search of "definition of organic".)

Walking into just about any store, you'll find a special "organic" section.

Lately, I've been hearing lots of talk about what truly defines food or other products as "organic".

I also hear the term as the definition above states, as "organic", in fact, I use it often!

Holding a newborn baby (or any newborn for that matter), just feels "organic".

Working in a flower or vegetable garden feels "organic".

Touching a stone from the river's side or lake side feels "organic".

Picking a sun ripened tomato and tasting the natural balance of sweet and acidic feels "organic".

Living a simple life style feels "organic".

Camping can even feel "organic"!

Touching an heirloom quilt or home sewn toddlers dress feels "organic".

Watching chickens pluck, hearing birds sing in the morning's first light, watching the sun rise and set, hearing/feeling the wind whisper the air, all of these feel "organic".

So, since Organic is such a buzzword today, what really is organic? Well, lets take a look at the definition, it is an adjective; a description word.

The term "organically grown" is actually a synonym of sorts.

If we consider that the word organic means "derived from living matter", then it obviously came from or is alive, considering a tomato plant, lets just say, is obviously living matter. A tomato coming from this said tomato plant is organic. It is grown from, derived from living matter.

Okay, so lets say one tomato plant was grown with chemical fertilizers and/or pesticides and one was just by its lonesome in them middle of a random pasture or somewhere. Both are "technically" organic, coming from/derived from living matter....

However, now the term pertains to food and products grown without any chemicals. Totally fine, language and culture do that to words, phrases and objects, don't be a "panty-waist", look it up sometime!

Considering the current trend in organic things, I've begun to look past the trendy-ness of this new hip, buzzword and see it as an actual life style.

Maybe organic could be synonymous with peace, gentle, simple, and maybe others.

When I say I want to live an "organic lifestyle", it brings a vivid picture of old fashioned ways, manners, class, living off the land, community, homemade and homegrown, small business, resourcefulness, classically educated, healthiness (like Grandma's healthy elixir she made herself). I think of longevity, family, root beer floats, popcorn, pickles, walks in the creek, making a corn stalk tipi, fresh flowers on the table in summer time, homemade gifts, berry pickin', homemade preserves, Grandma's famous pies and cooking baby panny cakes.

To me, that is what organic means. It means so much more than a meaning of food and products devoid of chemicals. It's a way of life. A state of being and "savouring the moment".

Since the word organic is just an adjective, it can mean anything you'd like it to mean as well!

What does organic mean to you? Is it a label or a lifestyle?


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Clichefully Truthful

"Life's a Journey"

Yeah, no kidding! 

No, really! 

Think about it.... Life - is - a - journey.

We all know what life is and we all know what a journey is. 

Just think about a journey, though, and what do you think of? 

A Destination? The process of going somewhere? Palm trees? Growing? 

I think it's a little of all of those things.

Today, I was reflecting on the word organic. (Tomorrow's post will be on the subject of Organic).

My thoughts rippled out until they hit the side of the cliche, "Life's a Journey". 

When I started gardening, it was very traditional, follow me:

Tilling, perfectly straight rows, sow in a trench, cover said trench up, water, weed some, water some more, maybe fertilize with a conventional fertilizer, then possibly spraying for beetles, harvest, till everything back up and repeat in the spring. 

Then, as the years went on, I discovered heirloom seeds, natural fertilizers, manual pest control- read, picking the bugs off- and crop rotation to help prevent pests.

Further along I discovered companion planting, intensive "square foot" gardening, native (three sister) type gardens, pot gardens, organic, open pollinated, heirloom, saving seeds for myself, and most recently permaculture.

I look back and when I started gardening, I started a journey that isn't over with yet! 

The key here is that I started! I started a journey, without my knowing, and it's taken me to some really cool places, meeting really cool people and it all boils down to this: It doesn't begin or end at gardening.

Every facet of my life (and yours!) is part of a journey. I have several different hobbies and despite the differences in them, they are intertwined because they are all different aspects of the journey I'm on as I live life.

This applies to everyone. Until today, I didn't realize the garden journey I've been on for over a decade now. I guess I have been "savoring the journey" without even realizing I was on a journey! I was just living life. Therefore, "Life's a journey" is a right on cliche. 

Love it!

So, my friends, garden on and live your journeys to the fullest!


Saturday, January 10, 2015


Casseroles are classic, easy, but sometimes they receive a bad rap.

A few nights ago I made a casserole and caught myself calling it "poorman's casserole".

I stopped and thought about it right after it came out of my mouth and I thought, "wait, why?!".

Why would I call it poorman's casserole? Sure, I used only what I had left on hand but why would I equate that with poorness instead of, lets say, resourcefulness, smart cooking, money wise?

I remembered a question I asked my mom years ago when I was growing up. "Mom, are we poor?". I was about first grade age when I asked that. I won't forget her response. "It depends on what you consider poor.".


"It depends on what you consider poor." 

Then I remembered thinking to myself " well, I don't think we're poor, so I guess that means we aren't poor!".


It's that word again: Perception.

So after all this thinking and reminicing, I decided my casserole was not "poorman's casserole" but "richman's casserole".

Instead of running off and carting four littles to the grocery store to spend money, I used what I had on hand to come up with a very delicious, hot meal!

Now, what is "poor" about that?


Cook on, my friends and stay sunny-side-up, hard boiled is no way to live life!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Icy Awakening

Last night the fog rolled in and slowly left a frosty wake this morning.

It was so beautiful and I'm glad I forgot to take down my red Christmas bow on the front entry.

Today I am sorting through our clothes and making a fabulous family recipe casserole!

I know it is a bit ridiculous getting excited over a casserole, however it's the small things in life that break up the possible monotony of a foggy winter day!!!

Our youngest is now doing the "inch worm" and "army crawl" all over the floor so now I am focusing on purging and organizing our main living spaces and leaving the items in storage for later, once I know whats on the main floor! 

Baby C loves to be "worn" as I do my daily organizing. I committed to 15 minutes a day, 6 times a week. I noticed I end up doing about 1-2 hours of extra work every day doing that. It's done wonders for my moods this winter! 

Well, now back to my casserole making with baby supervising "over my shoulder"! 

Happy Day!



Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Definition of Permaculture:
 *Permaculture, noun
"the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient".

That is SO neat!!!

How did I not know about permaculture until this year?!

The little I have learned so far about permaculture simply makes sense. It just works.

I mean, this goes way beyond a Victory Garden, it's actually intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

As I learn more about permaculture, the more I desire to "grow" a sustainable homestead to pass on to my future generations (as in my kids, grandkids, so on and so forth).

I'm so glad winters are lengthy here to give me more time to read up on and learn more about this noun called Permaculture.

My goal this year is to soak up more information so when we get our own property some day, I can begin on day one to head towards a sustainable homestead. A homestead where my kids could even live off, if they desire, with their future families. Not in a weird way, but in an awesome family helping family way. (Kind of thinking of the Kilcher family in Alaska and their homestead, I'd LOVE to have a homestead setup like that for my family).

Anyway, I'd encourage everyone to look it up and learn a little bit more about permaculture and expand your horizons and stabilize a healthy future for the generations to come!

Cool beans!


*I got this definition of Permaculture by doing a Google search on "definition of permaculture" and that is what came up.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Suburban Spread

After dropping my eldest off at school, I decided to get my free latte since I had a full punch card. Waiting in line at the coffee stand, I was able to take in the beauty of the snow covered mountains! 

As my eyes lowered to the horizon, the pristine view became marred due to huge homes on the golf course. "So sad" I thought to myself, as some of those huge homes on perfectly manicured half acre or so lots sit empty during the long winter season. The HOA's there are particularly stiff. Stiff as in you get in trouble if you leave your garage door open longer than ten minutes.

That brought my thoughts to my family's situation. Trying to come up with financing as a first time home buyer on usable land without becoming hugely burdened with debt due to inflated land prices. 

Then I realized something: The loss of farmable/usable land is directly related to dependence on grocery stores (and stores in general). 

Putting my situation on hold and looking at the generality of what is going on, here is how I came up with that: 

As cities become more populated people want to move out "in the country" but don't want to give up their big city lifestyle and all the conveniences that go along with that. So, someone buys acreage, subdivides it, puts in an HOA and starts selling the land at inflated prices. People come (to live full time or seasonally) and buy this "lot", builds on it, landscapes it, and lives their merry lives. 

There really isn't anything wrong with that picture, in fact for some it's the "American Dream". I'm not against that! 

Now back to my story.

Now that we've found out I need to eat organically 99% of the time (the remaining 1% is when I eat out at friends/family homes), it's impacted our budget dramatically to the point where we either need to become a two income family or go back to basics and grow a great majority of our own food. . .

No big deal, right? Eh, not exactly. . .

Land prices are pretty inflated everywhere, but easily double what we are used to. Add in the fact that we want to have livestock, chickens, a huge garden and obviously a place to live and the price goes up past our financial ability. 

What is interesting to me, though, is that it is SO hard to go back to the land, even though it's the best choice! One would think it would be easy to procure land and just start basically homesteading it, but its so hard to find! If its not HOA, its the conventional field right next to you spraying the very poisons that you're allergic too. 

All this from slowly becoming more dependent on others and not yourself. I'm no doomsday prepper, but even if I didn't have to have organic food, I sure enjoy having a garden!

The disconnect from the land and where our sustenance comes from is mind-boggling and sad. 

So very sad. 

I'm still praying the one opportunity we have at some property will come through, by some miracle. If it doesn't come through for us, then I just pray we can find someplace quickly where we can grow a lot of our own food. 

And all this stems from admiring the beauty of the mountains. . .


P.S. I'm not against growth, just mourning the loss of ease to which one can "go back to the land".

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back to Basics 2.0

I've really missed our farm lifestyle back in Wisconsin. So I decided to take action instead of waiting until we are able to buy a place of our own. Who knows when that will be and I don't want my littles to miss out on learning farming and living off the land kind of things!

This weekend I decided to make homemade jerky. We had some meat in the freezer that was starting to get freezer burnt so that was my candidate roast for jerky. I made a simple sugar/ liquid aminos brine and let that sit over night in the sliced meat and I've been making it in batches in the oven since my dehydrators are MIA since moving across country. Since that would be an extra, not budgeted expense, the oven will have to make do for now, and it is!

Lets just say the kids had a blast helping me throughout the jerky process, learning how it works and eating the finished product!

Last night I whipped up a non-recipe venison stew with a should roast. I put the whole thing in there so I could get some "good stuff" from the bones stewing in the pot. It has potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, vegetable broth, my seasonings, a few canned jalapeno peppers, black beans, and I think thats about it for now. I might add some chopped kale to it about 45 minutes before I serve it tonight.

Yeah, I make soup the day before I serve it. I think it tastes better that way! It just lets everything meld together like a fine tuned orchestra of tastes! The perfect harmony in a bowl, if you will!

At any rate, going Back to Basics 2.0 has begun with the jerky making!

My next project is purging and organizing with sewing and embroidery work to begin after that!

I'm super excited for going back to the land and utilizing whatever I can to make my Back to Basics work! Even if I have to garden in pots and keep a chicken as a "pet"!

(our rooster Brooks with Wilma the white hen and a few other of our layers from our WI farm days)

Dreamin' of the Farm,

Friday, January 2, 2015


Starting off this year, I am discovering how important love is, in daily life.

Something so simple, love, is so important to life!

Love can almost equal life, as in my opinion, loving is life and life is loving!

How can one truly live without love?

We even use "love" as a description of measure as in "I love chocolate", or "I love camping".

Just some interesting thoughts!

More on the "topic" of love to come later!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hopes and Prayers for the New Year

Looking forward to this new year we are in, I wanted to make resolutions without "making resolutions". 

In other words, I don't want to make a change for this year, I want to change for life! My goals this year are:

~ To be easier on myself.
       Stop over achieving, stop stressing over things, be more adaptable and just be realistic on what I can/should accomplish each day but being careful to not become selfish.

~Take more time with the littles.
       This one goes hand in hand with the above. In trying to get everything done in the day, it's been robbing precious time with my littles. Every day they are getting older, every day that passes by is another day I won't ever have with them again. The last load of laundry can wait for tomorrow, I can fold whats in the laundry basket later and read that book now. I can't get lost time back, but I can make more time in the future!

~Change our diet.
       We have to go 100% organic due to the pesticides one the conventional foods that I am seriously allergic to, but I'd like the entire family to be organic, not just myself. Also, I'd like to get low sugar to sugar free in our family. The sugar that we do use, will be organic but hardly used except on those special occasions (Holidays, birthdays, etc). We will still use dairy, but at a lower rate than we do now, unless we get our own milk cow or goat.

~Become more self-sufficient.
       I miss having my own garden. It cut down our food bill (and was organic) so drastically! Now that we have to buy specific organic items, it is really hurting our budget! I also miss having our own chickens. I loved watching them peck around the yard and I absolutely loved getting the fresh eggs! Along this path, I've been introduced to permaculture and I want to learn more about it. The idea that I can garden, raise animals, etc and have it all benefit each other is really neat!

~Slow down
       This one ties it all together. More time with the littles and family, healthier eating, sustainable living, more peace and realistic thinking. Basically more balance in life. Our culture is so fast paced, its nauseating just thinking about the constant breakneck speed and microwave type thinking we are surrounded by and in the middle of. Not for me, I want off that crazy cycle and get back to the basics. Faith, Family, Friendships.

Now, some of my hopes for the year are:

~To get a garden, no matter what type, growing this spring.

~To get our own property to start "homesteading" on.

~To get chickens again.

~To finish some of my old sewing projects this year before starting new ones.

~To involve my littles in tasks, so they can start learning what interests them the most.

~To read 1-2 books a month.

~To finish training our choclate lab.

Over all my hopes and prayers for this coming year are all intertwined together somehow. Putting things down in print/on paper, really helps to clarify what you want to do.

I am so excited for this coming year and the adventures and secrets it holds! Hang on tight, because 2015 is here!