Arbor Day Foundation: More than just cheesy commercials

Those of us of a certain age all remember the Trees are Terrific commercials that Arbor Day put out a couple of decades ago.  While the commercials were over the top patronizing, the message was still solid…get out there and plant some trees people.  Enter in Arbor Day Foundation 2013.  They are still alive and kicking without the cheesy animated cardinal.  Their website http://www.arborday.org has a wealth of information about planting in your zone, educational programs for kids as well as opportunities to help your city/town replenish your tree population through programs like Tree City USA.

pic courtesy of arborday.org

pic courtesy of arborday.org

They also have what looks like a beautiful lodge for the ULTIMATE tree hugger vacation, Lied Lodge.  While we have not been there, I think it would be a very easy sell for me to get Sheldon to visit their lodge/tree farm while I get some rubs in the spa:

Barn at the lodge: pic courtesy of Lied Lodge

Barn at the lodge: pic courtesy of Lied Lodge

But, I’m not here to talk about scamming my way into a spa day (sigh, heavenly!)…I’m here to talk about scoring some bargain trees.  You can do this a few different ways like through getting a membership for ten itty bitty dollars, you get ten free trees that you get to select from a listing of either ten of the same, or just ten pretty flowering trees that are well suited for your zone like the Golden Raintree:

pic courtesy of forestry.about.com

pic courtesy of forestry.about.com

Or, if you are feeling more generous, you can either opt for no trees at all…or you can select that your ten free trees go into a Nat’l Forest.  In addition to the gift with membership purchase, you can also just purchase trees outright from their nursery, which we did (and I will blog on when I’m not so sore from the planting.) The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the idea of ordering fruit trees through them without being able to verify from whence they came….ie…GMO?  It looks like some of their fruit trees are heirloom varieties but I can’t seem to find information on the others.  However, I personally believe there is much that you can do to “rehabilitate” certain plants/trees if you take a long view approach.  That is-more than likely, these trees will take at least a few years to reach fruit bearing stage.  As a result, if perhaps they grew up initially in a “broken-home” full of chemicals from parents with questionable heritage, they can still be loved, nurtured and eventually grown as organic as possible.   And while you can’t love the GMO out of a plant, I do think that you can get pretty close to what God intended with some TLC.  Bottom line is that while I can’t verify if these trees are all heirloom, non-GMO, organic, etc etc…I still believe it is a really good thing for the environment planting more trees that are good for your zone.

Sigh, ok…gotta go get dressed for a morning of boring errands in the city.  Been up waaaay too long today.  Curse you time change!  Happy planting!

Check out some great new posts every Monday at the Homestead Barn Hop!  http://newlifeonahomestead.com

Check out some great new posts every Monday at the Homestead Barn Hop!
http://newlifeonahomestead.com

 

 

Another quickie: Going to be a busy weekend

Well, not much to say today because it’s MOMMY FUN DAY!  That day where I try to work as little as possible and me and The Blueberry just do fun things, so we have several things on our agenda today which means I won’t be online much for the next day or two.  But hopefully by the end of the weekend, we will have multiple trees planted, our greenhouse built, dogs trained more and lots of fun family memories to boot.  Hope you all have a great weekend-see you next week!

It’s time for a quickie

Not much to say today since I have miles to go before I sleep, but did want to share this pretty view from my “office” this morning.  I would also share a picture of our alpha barn cat Fluffy Newspaper, but it’s hard to get a picture of him when he is too busy sticking his bottom in my face.  What is the deal with cats and their bottoms?  Sigh.  Anyway-hope you have a beautiful day!

 

This would be perfect if my toes weren't freezing.

This would be perfect if my toes weren’t freezing.

Whole foods got me pregnant

I bet that title made you look!

Seriously…I want to share a little story with you from about 6 years ago.  After a couple of years of diet, exercise and eating less (but not always better), I had found myself in far better shape than I had been in years.  I was leaner, stronger and happier.  Enter in Sheldon with his wily smile and cooking prowess and fast forward a year or two,  I had gained a ton of weight back.  I was in that happy phase of love where it’s ok if everyone has a big butt…you have a big butt together.  At least that is what we tell ourselves, right?

Well, I decided to do something about it.  I think without realizing it, I had decided to take my first steps towards an ultimately more healthful life when I decided to give up processed food for a month.  You know how hard it is to give up processed food?  I am a child of the 70’s.  For years, my idea of food nirvana was a diet coke, a box of twinkies and a pile of magazines with nothing else to do but snack and read.

This picture of the world's ultimate non-whole food courtesy of wikipedia

This picture of the world’s ultimate non-whole food courtesy of wikipedia

But, I knew I needed to make a change and I was unwilling to try yet another program diet.  It just made sense to me that to eat more like our ancestors had to be the trick.

So, how did I do it?  Well, we had not yet started our city home backyard garden, so it was thrice weekly trips to Whole Foods and Healthy Approach Markets.  The farmers market in Dallas at that time had few organic vendors if you can believe it.  And I wanted to be as close to nature as possible.  I wanted to only eat whole foods and as much as possible, I avoided foods that had been processed.  Which meant no pink stuff (I lost the taste for it that month and never got it back thank goodness) for my coffee, only sugar and whole cream.  I gave up bread entirely which was not a bad deal.  Most cereals were out.  Prepackaged snack foods like crackers and chips, adios.  I ate lots of balanced meals without mystery ingredients.  What started off as no processed foods evolved a bit into focusing on limiting processed foods, but also no foods with mystery ingredients.  Was I ok with granola with several ingredients?  Sure.  Did I pick granola that had been made off shore with polydifardnesnelsud (ok, I made that word up, but you know what I mean)…nope.  That wasn’t happening.  For lunch, I ate out almost daily enjoying as many simple foods as location allowed.  Some cultures seem to lend themselves well to this type of cooking, and for me, Mexican (or more accurately Tex Mex) was a winner.  I eschewed my weight watchers crackers, diet soda and processed low fat/low cal foods.  I feasted on fruit, veggies, meats, certain cheeses, yogurts and simple desserts.  I remember enjoying what I ate so much, not watching my caloric intake at all and yet still dropping 20 lbs in a month.  And you still want to tell me how diet foods are for good for us????  Yeah, not so much, huh?

And at the end of that month, I failed to realize that another odd change had occured for me.  See, I had been told many many moons ago that children would not be an option for me.  And I had never felt the call to challenge that diagnosis.  However, as my body started to feel weird and different (as it only can when you have a wee alien living inside of you), I began to realize that perhaps all of the junk I was putting into my body was also stopping God’s natural process.  For me, not only did I lose weight and feel great, but I got a Blueberry to boot.

Now, this is not to say that healthy eating is the only thing you need to do to fix infertility problems.  Come on-it’s not that easy as any couple with baby fever can tell you.  However, all I’m sharing is my real story of how I went from highly processed to a mom within just a couple of months.  I still have miles to go before my family has eradicated all of our reliance on grocery store “junk”, not to mention the junk in our proverbial trunks, but that month opened…no, reopened the door to the wonder of God’s bounty to me and reminded me that it’s just not nice to fool with mother nature.  Happy eating!

A day in my life…or why I don’t return your calls

I feel like I have been dropping the ball a lot in the friend department.  I’m not returning calls very fast (if at all) and I swear, if texting didn’t exist, I don’t know that I would communicate with anyone outside of my house.  I’m sure a lot of homesteaders feel this way.  It’s hard to connect with your city friends whose lifestyle can often be so different.  Not that ours is more or less busy-it’s just typically that the schedules are so diverse it’s hard to make a connection.  And definitely, I’m not saying that my particular slice of life is more hectic than anyone else’s life (in fact, I spent several bucolic moments in a rocker on my front porch yesterday, so no complaints)…but in the event I fail to call you back today, this week, heck-this month, I want you to know it’s not personal.   Here is a little peek into a recent day:

5:30 Wake up

5:40 Convince Blueberry to stop poking me in the back and go back to bed

6:00 Actually get up, fix coffee, feed inside felines, assess mess left by Sheldon from last night’s emergency chicken whacking, think nice thoughts about Sheldon’s anal kitchen cleaning abilities

6:10  Get Sheldon up, make lunch for Blueberry, make breakfast for Blueberry, pack bag for Blueberry

6:30  Get dressed and begin taking care of 30 (33 if you count the wild Bantams who have adopted us) outside animals

7:00 Give Kya and Buddy some “born free” time before feeding everyone else

7:20 Argue with Blueberry that a t-shirt and tights are not a complete outfit, get her dressed, move Sheldon’s work pants from certain inside feline doom and go back to the animal salt mines outside

7:30 Feed dogs, feed cats, feed chicks and Lana the chicken

7:35 Get Blueberry buckled in for drive to school, get her gear in, discuss why she can’t play with dogs in the mud

7:45 Wave bye-bye for what feels like 20 minutes, come in and check work email

8:00-9:00 Handle personal business, update this blog, think about updating other blog, check stats, read an article on Joe Davis

9:00-11:00 Conduct status calls with 5-7 job seekers, return work email, realize I had forgotten to put appt on my calendar, apologize profusely and conduct call, work on drafting training program for new and revised LinkedIn workshop, return calls, work network for 2 leads for job seekers, wonder why Lana insists on roosting in the car port, build Lana a temporary roost box while chicks have invaded her space, have a slice of chocolate cake I made yesterday (but was too ill to eat), think nice chocolately thoughts, prep beans for dinner tonight

11:00-12:00 Dust mop upstairs, clean litter boxes, do dishes, do load of laundry, clean bathroom, finish putting dinner in crock pot for tonight

12:00-1:00 Conduct intake call with new job seeker, follow-up with 2 other job seekers

1:00-2:00 Realize I have forgotten to shower, shower, let dogs have afternoon “born free” time, check on chicks, reinforce coop door (again), put out feed for Lana, the Bantams and the wild birds, leave cats in charge

2:00-3:00 Drive into town to pick up Blueberry from school

3:00-4:00 Obtain one reluctant to leave child from school, drive to karate, make deals about what snacks are acceptable from snack machine, answer no less than 27 questions at a collegiate level asked by a 4-year-old, put on karate uniform, wash hands a lot

4:00-5:00 Watch karate, sometimes in abject horror at child’s behavior.  Wish that instructors found her less cute and more deserving of ninja attack to improve discipline.  Feel overwhelming joy and pride when she gives her best effort.  Frustration when that doesn’t happen.  Work on resume gratis for friend, send it for feedback

5:00-5:30 Drive home

5:30-6:00 Feed outside animals, check on chicks, convince Lana to get back in her coop, get bitten in the butt at least twice by Kya, sigh copiously

6:00-6:50 Eat dinner, commence child bathing routine

6:50-7:20 Get child clean, in pj’s and read to.  In theory, child in bed by 7:30.  In reality, closer to 8:00

7:30-8:30 Conduct new client intake call, follow-up on earlier emails, try to reach other job seeker who won’t talk during day, wrap up paid work day

8:30-10:00 Attempt to appear awake to entertain Sheldon and our houseguest, wonder if I remembered to brush my teeth today

10:00-?  Sleep and then start it all over again tomorrow

How to finance your homesteading dream with a j-o-b

This post was originally posted on Modern Homesteaders: http://modernhomesteaders.net/2013/03/04/how-to-finance-your-homesteading-dream-with-a-j-o-b/  When you have a second, please go check them out.  They are chock full of interesting stuff!

I saw this question recently come in via the Modern Homesteaders Facebook page and as a professional career coach by day and budding homesteader by day/night/every moment in between, I thought it would be a good thing to address:

Question from fan Adam Kinsman: Hi, I’ve got a question that I wonder if the fans can help me with. I would like to move to the north shore in MN. But there are too few jobs out there to be able to support my family of 5. My question, does anyone know of businesses, services, or trades that can be done from home? I would need to make a minimum of 4k/month to pay bills and provide for my family. Any help/ advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks -Adam @Everyday Survival

We’ve blogged about this very topic on Blueberry Acres Farm site before because let’s face it, unless you are one of the lucky ones who has inherited your farm/homestead, chances are-you are going to have to work to either purchase that homestead or improve/sustain that homestead.   But yet balancing that need to work with the desire to live in less populated areas can be a real challenge.  It’s pretty simple math: fewer people typically equals fewer jobs.  Sheldon and I always thought that the nature of our careers would keep us in the city, but of course, God guided us into making some decisions that ultimately allowed us to move from the city to the country without sacrificing careers too much.  We have been very fortunate indeed.  But not everyone is going to come into this situation.  So how can you explore making your own situation of finding that work/life balance that gets you to the homestead?  Well, a couple of things that I would recommend:

Explore a portfolio career.  You may not be able to find one job that pays your needed rate, but can you cobble together a full-time job and a part-time job to make the ends meet?  If you work full-time can your spouse/significant other also work full-time?  If not, part-time?  What about contract or as needed?

Check out Government jobs.  While we all probably have deep opinions about our government, the reality is that the Federal and State government is still often the employer of choice.  Check out sites aimed at helping you explore these jobs but also check with your local city and counties as well.

Open your own business.  There are numerous resources available to help you start a new job.  Do you have gunsmithing skills?  Can you sew like a madwoman?  Are you the world’s best cookie baker?  Would you make a great community handyman?  Well, stop giving that skill away for free and charge for it!  There are great organizations that give you coaching and expertise (for free!!!) and they can help you explore small business ownership.  Check out Score and the SBA to start with.

Retrain for a different career. Sure, there are careers that will lend themselves better to larger cities.  But then there are careers that will translate in any locale be it medicine, small engine repair or fry cook.  Granted, it may not make sense for you to go back and become an MD, but perhaps you can pick up new training in a trade in 12-18 months.  It doesn’t get you to the country life immediately, but it certainly puts you on the path to being more self-reliant with a skill that will be in demand in multiple markets, including rural markets.  Not sure what to explore?  Check out the O*Net, the DOL’s occupational database.  Not only can this site help you assess where your interests lie, but it will also give you employment outlook for particular functions.

Do a combination of the above.  As a family, we are working on diversity in our working lives so that we can ultimately become more self-sufficient financially.  This doesn’t happen overnight, but it will involve traditional corporate work, consulting work and a revenue producing farm.  It’s not going to be easy, but we are confident that it will be worth it.  If your family longs to make that move, you need to start laying the groundwork professionally soon.  If I were to offer up some hard truth gleaned over years of career coaching, it would be this: if you are looking for a job magic bullet, it doesn’t exist.  If there were perfect careers that paid well, allowed you to work anywhere and enabled you to live your dreams, we would all do it.  Sometimes you have to pave your own way…but hopefully we have given you some ideas to begin that process.  Managing your career to the benefit of your family is a journey-not a destination.

Good luck, keep the faith and happy homesteading!

Shellie

Contributing Writer, Modern Homesteaders

Journey with us at Blueberry Acres Farm

Learn more about Career Management

Looking forward to trying these!

ByzantineFlowers

One Million Gardens can change the world

Start a Garden… why is the garden so important? It teaches us all in what we can do Now! Break free from the dependency from Big Agra, and take out the guest work of knowing that the food you grow will be safe to eat! An organic garden also helps restore and repopulate the bee colonies. In this video noted physicist & recipient of The Right Livelihood Award, Dr. V. Shiva simplifies what we’re all trying to do.

Extensive List of Organic Pest Control Remedies

List compiled by Australian Organic Gardening Posted on Wake Up World

ORGANIC BUG SPRAY FROM ONION SCRAPS

You can make your own organic bug spray from kitchen leftovers! Simply save your onion skins, peels and ends then refrigerate in an empty margarine-sized tub or ziplock bag until the container is full. Once you have enough, place the onion…

View original post 2,680 more words