Tag Archives: Garden

If you’re feeling deprived, give something away

Occasionally I feel deprived.  Maybe I don’t have the money to buy that new dress or I can’t have a piece of cake.  One of my best cures for feeling deprived is to take inventory of what I’ve got, and to give away what I no longer need, i.e. share some of my ‘unused’ abundance.

For example, if you’ve got 4 coats (your trench, down parka, and running jacket that you actually wear…plus the fur coat your mother-in-law gave you that you’ve never worn and doesn’t even fit) then GIVE away the fur coat to someone who will appreciate it.  You can freecycle it, sell it at a consignment shop, or bring it to a Free Swap.  Selling it might make you a little money, but giving it away is uplifting and empowering spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

When you find and give something away that you no longer need, you realize how much ABUNDANCE you have.  Something as simple as Continue reading

How grandparents can grow to relate to teen grandchildren

crazyclownGrandparents love grandkids.  They carry around photos of grandbabies for bragging rights.  But what happens when those grandchildren grow up to be teenagers?  How to keep the relationship fresh between grandparents and grandkids? Continue reading

Rosemary: easy-care evergreen cooking/tea/medicinal herb

Rosemary plantRosemary is an easy-care edible evergreen herb for your yard/garden/patio.  It smells great, and can be used in cooking fresh or dried – especially with meats and roasts.  I keep dried rosemary in a jar next to the stove and take out about a teaspoon, crush it, and add to turkey burgers or other meats.  I also prune off a fresh sprig, rinse it with cold water, then let it steep it in cup of hot water for a refreshing and revitalizing tea.  I’ve heard you can use it as a hair rinse to keep brown hair shiny, and in bathwater to revive achy muscles or droopy Continue reading

‘Pets’ with a work ethic: Put a worm bin in your fireplace

worm bin in fireplaceWe live in a 1920’s bungalow.  It has a fireplace that doesn’t work very well, so instead of using it for fires, I use it to store our Worm Factory worm bin year round.  We hide the worm bin behind a large silk scarf draped over a tension curtain rod near the front.  It doesn’t smell, so no one knows it’s there but us (and now you).

worm bin lidThe worm factory is easy to use since the instructions are printed on the black plastic lid.  I like the spigot near the bottom where you can siphon out ‘worm tea’ to feed plants indoors and out.  Not only is this a great way to recycle kitchen veggie scraps, but also to recycle paper from the shredder, lint from the Continue reading

Fresh evergreen huckleberries from your backyard this winter

Evergreen Huckleberry

If you who want a year ’round garden, Evergreen Huckleberries are a must.  They’re the best fruiting plant for shade.  In fact, they grow up to 6 feet tall in the (moist) shade, and only about 3 feet tall in the sunshine, so the shade is the best place to put an evergreen huckleberry if you want a lot of fruit.

I took this photo today, January 11th 2013, and as you can see the plant STILL has ripe fruit on it!  I picked quarts and quarts of ripe berries in  Continue reading

A living sewage treatment plant

Here’s a really cool technique for treating wastewater that treats up to 52,000 gallons of human waste a day, and produces clean water, fertilizer for food, and solar energy in the process.  Makes me want to go on a retreat to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies just to try it out (well, and take a rest, do yoga, get massages, learn stuff – basically my ideal retreat).  This is yet another creative example of cradle-to-cradle technology, where one being’s waste is another’s food.  This is a larger scale and power supplying version of my previous articles on home-use composting toilets and home use herb garden/worm bin/fish tank.  This is also a practical solution to update our current faulty national sanitation system.  Thanks to Yes! magazine for the link.

Breathable, waterproof, comfortable boots

Bog bootsBog boots are breathable, waterproof, and comfortable.  I got a pair for myself several years ago, and my teenage daughter kept borrowing them, so I purchased a pair for her as well.  She tells me she wears them practically every day on her college campus in the winter, tucks her jeans into them, wears her coat, and knows that no matter what – rain, snow, wind, sun – she’ll still be comfortable.

I like that they are easy to walk in and seem to just know what temperature Continue reading

Sorrel: year ‘round lemony spicy greens

SorrelAs a frugal and lazy gardener, I’m always on the lookout for edible plants that look nice, are easy to care for, and dependably give me food (even if they suffer a bit of neglect in the watering/weeding department).  An all-season veggie/herb in our mild Oregon climate that fits all three criteria is a plant family called sorrel.

Common sorrel or garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is a perennial herb or Continue reading

Bare Bones Budget: budgeting time, money, and more when under stress

We are gainfully self-employed now, but when my husband and I both lost our full time jobs back in the 1990‘s we were rather stressed.  So we revamped the way we looked at our work/business/home life.  One of the things we did was come up with what we call our Bare Bones Budget.  This isn’t just about budgeting money, but also budgeting/balancing time and the enjoyment of life.  So for those who are looking for a different approach when under stress (besides doom and panic), here’s what helped us – and we continue to follow today.

The Bare Bones Budget Mantra Continue reading

Vegetable/herb garden, worm bin, and fish tank all rolled into one

Wouldn’t it be great to have a vegetable/herb garden, worm bin, and fish tank all rolled into one?  Such an invention already exists, and the easy at-home version is called a Fishy Farm.  I like the littler version for a fun take on indoor gardening with fish tank aquarium, but in the bigger outdoor version you can grow rainbow trout or tilapia for consumption as well.  The fish wastewater is piped up to the veggies/herbs to be used as fertilizer.  No soil is used, only clay type balls and volcanic rock, and around those balls are red worms that eat anything that the plants don’t use.  The water then drains Continue reading

Paw Paws – North America’s easy-care native tropical fruit

The Paw Paw is a native American fruit.  It looks tropical, and the mature fruit is about the size of an avocado.  It’s a carefree tree that grows to about 12-15 feet tall in a pyramid shape, with long green leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall before they drop off.

Also known as ‘the poor man’s banana’, Paw Paw’s are high in protein and a good source of vitamins and minerals.  The fruit is delicious – like banana/vanilla/mango pudding.  When it’s ripe, it just drops Continue reading

Free pet snails are low maintenance

If you’re looking for free and easy pets, check the yard.  A few years ago my daughter found these large and colorful snails in our garden.  We had a glass fish bowl laying around, which my daughter cleaned every week, putting in fresh grass, leaves, and sticks from outside.

These photos were taken without the cheesecloth cover rubber-banded on top.  You’ll need to have a breathable covering on top so your pets don’t crawl out and become escargo for other animals in Continue reading

Build-A-Building: The all-in-one doghouse, chicken coop, playhouse, shed

Imagine a backyard building system that was so easy to put together and take apart that a 5th grader could do it.  Imagine instructions you could download free online that were as accurate and easy to follow as IKEA or Lego kits.  Imagine not having to get rid of the dog house, the shed, the chicken coop, the play house when you were done with it…. but instead be able to re-form the components from the old building you no longer use, into a new building you CAN use?

Wouldn’t it be great if you had re-usable, interchangeable building pieces that you could reconfigure as your needs changed?  Let’s say Continue reading

“Farm My Yard” connects home-owners with urban farmers

Maybe you’re a homeowner with a brown thumb and no interest in doing anything with your yard.  Or maybe you want a garden, but just don’t have the time/skills/energy/patience.  Or maybe you’re elderly, a busy executive, disabled, or a parent of small children who wants access to fresh organic garden food but the expense or effort is just too much.  Wouldn’t it be great if some green thumb gardener would come, do all the work of putting in a garden or edible food forest in your yard…and then you could have some of it for free?  Well, that’s the premise behind Albert Kaufman’s idea, Farm My Yard.

Maybe you’ve got a green thumb and want a garden, but it seems the few community garden plots available are always in use, or too expensive, or too far away from where you live.  Maybe you live in an apartment, or your own yard is too shady for the heirloom tomatoes you want Continue reading

Supporting those who grow local organic food

Will Raap takes local food seriously….all over the world. Will is involved in several ways to make choosing to grow organic food – or support those who do – a reality.

Will is the chairman of employee-owned Gardener’s Supply Company  which sells home gardening tools and household helps, but also provides FREE extras like an online kitchen garden planner.  He’s the co-chair of the New Economics Institute who’s goal is to collaborate with business and government to create common sense policy.  Will co-chaired the task force set up by the Vermont Business for Social Responsibility that led to the creation of the Farm to Plate (F2P) initiative, putting better policy in place to create more farm jobs and get local food into the hands of consumers.

Will is involved with Continue reading

Get juiced

After watching the movie Food Matters, my husband Chris decided one of the things he’d like to get is a machine to make smoothies using whole fruits, veggies, and ice.  We purchased a Vitamix during a demonstration at Whole Foods, and Chris has been a smoothie-making-fiend ever since. He learned early on to follow the directions closely, because too much of something Continue reading