by Tina Stone
My journey into becoming a Fly Lady Homesteader
Deep down, I think homesteading runs in my blood. I've always loved planting and growing things. Animals are a huge part of my life and so is nature and I really think now is the time for me to get back to the basics. To rejuvenate and reconnect with what is vitally important to me needs to be something I focus on and not let it just get juggled to the back burner. |
How many years have I dreamed of wanting a greenhouse but I never made it a priority to accomplish that dream. How much healthier and happy would I be or would my husband and family be if these past years I had been home growing the vegetables we eat? Now, more than ever, with the way mass growing trends are headed with genetically modified this and that, the chemicals, hormones and other unnatural being done to not only vegetables, crops and the animals that are grown for slaughter, but also to the very soil and water being used to propagate those things.
Is it any wonder our bodies are riddled with disease, aches, and pains? That we are in a constant battle with exhaustion and mental health issues? The very food we eat is slowly but surely killing us. God created food to sustain our bodies. To give it strength, to give it vitality and to heal us and protect us. Our bodies were not made or equipped to deal with, process or work on the majority of the stuff we put into it.
I am only 45 years old and over the course of the last four years, I've lost the vast majority of my mobility because of chronic cellulitis infections not once or twice but 7 times ya'll within a three year period. These infections were so bad, I had more than one doctor advise I actually have my left leg amputated...cut off! The severity of these infections caused my kidneys to completely shut down three times, requiring me to have multiple rounds of emergency dialysis. I've had to have three blood transfusions because several times these infections became septic and got into my blood and poisoned by whole body. On top of all that, I have an enlarged heart, congestive heart failure, asthma, high blood pressure, and hypertension.
This creates a vicious cycle. My heart is not strong enough to pump the fluids in my system properly. As a result, fluid builds up in my legs to the point they swell so big they crack and small open sores appear. These skin breaks allow bacteria to enter and thus, I get infections.
Not all has been bad news. I have been an insulin dependant diabetic since I was aged 13. I am not sure if the toll on my system from being so sick did it, or if those blood transfusions did it...I do not know by what method God used, but He healed me of diabetes. A year and a half ago, I was told I was in the PRE Diabetic range and was taken OFF all my diabetic medications and I have not needed them since. Praise the Lord for that!
My battle with these infections left me weak, exhausted, depressed and unable to walk. I spent huge amounts of time in hospital beds - both in the hospital and at home. My legs became so unstable, I started falling regularly and as a result, my Doctor insisted I start using a wheelchair. Now, I use a combination of wheelchair and walker, depending on my energy level and what exactly I plan to get up to do. Going outside, the wheelchair is a must.
Suddenly finding myself disabled and unable to hold a "traditional" job in public, I found myself with a WHOLE LOT of free time on my hands and nothing with which to fill it. I knew deep down, somehow, someway, my life was going to have to change. It simply could NOT stay the way it was or one thing was for certain. I was going to die.
Now, I am what some have termed, a stubborn woman. I agree. I am stubborn, tenacious and hard-headed and I know when I put my mind to something, I CAN do it. However, I am also very impulsive, I have ADHD so my attention span is short, I lose interest in things very easily, I get distracted, and I lose my focus. I think, at 45 it is high time for me to overcome all this and be the woman I know God planned for me to be.
This is where Homesteading comes into play. Sure, I could just go the route so many before me has taken and hit the gym and follow one type of diet or other and sure, that would probably help with a handful of my health issues. That's just not for me! I've tried multiple times in the past and have failed epically each time. The fact of the matter is most exercise does not give me any fulfillment or sense of accomplishment and I become bored with it quickly.
Homesteading allows me to focus on things I naturally love and enjoy doing, things God created me for and I can still get basically the same benefits without the failures. How? Well, have you ever hoed up a patch of land for planting? That in itself is a major cardio workout! You're grasping the hoe, your stabbing it into the soil, breaking up the ground, and doing it over and over...until your patch of garden or your flower beds are turned over. I promise you'll have used muscles you forgot you even had. Not only that, but you're breathing the fresh air, you're smelling the freshly overturned soil and there is just something very grounding and satisfying about digging in the dirt.
On top of that, you know the labor and sweat your putting into it, is going to result in fresh, homegrown, healthy, life-giving food for your body, mind, and soul. That there, is what makes the pay off so much more than say, what I would get from running on a treadmill in a gym somewhere. The physical exercise invested and put forth doing homesteading tasks, I feel, will hold my attention for a greater span of time and as I see the results of my labor, the fresh veggies, fresh herbs, the beautiful flowers, the rich compost, the chirps from the hens, the fresh eggs, etc..I think that will serve to keep me motivated and focused far longer than other things I've tried in the past.
And, this is absolutely the perfect time to get started!
WHY am I going to blog about this? Well, number one, I love to write and I think writing about my experiences will be an enjoyable activity for me. I also think, at some point, maybe I will want to share this journey with other like-minded folks out there. Additionally, I think there is something to be said for building a support system for days when you become disenchanted, frustrated and feel like giving up. Cos, sure as the sun rises and sets, we are all going to have days like that. On those days, it is nice to have people who you know understand where your coming from. They done been there themselves and can sort of boost you back on track.
It is also a good way to build in a sense of accountability. Lord knows it is easy to say we are going to do something. I don't know about you, but I am great at coming up with all sorts of fabulous ideas and plans and before you know it, I've let myself become distracted and off course. A good plan needs an element of accountability. So, If I know that you know I have said I am going to do something, and I have set a reasonable goal and set my deadline, then I know you're going to be expecting a result, whether it's good or bad.
So that is why I've decided to start blogging this journey I have decided to launch myself on. For now, as I am getting organized and set up, I'll write about it, but I think I'll keep it private. Just for now. But I look forward to the day when I can invite you to join me on this new adventure.
|Yesterday, it finally came! My new desktop computer that runs on Windows! I am very excited that I can now access all my old files that were saved on a thumb drive. Those files included 11 chapters of a book I've been writing and much of the research and maps. Whew! I had been so upset and disappointed thinking these files were gone forever.
I spent a good deal of time getting familiar with the new computer and getting all the settings adjusted to my preferences. Oh and I do so love my keyboard! Call me crazy, but the sound of the clickity-clack of my typing is not only motivational but soothing to me. My laptop's keyboard was silent. Now, I at least SOUND productive even if I'm just typing random posts and not actually doing "real" work.
Not having access to my files for nearly five months has actually proven to be a good thing. Because I had to re-read the entire story to re-familiarize myself with what I'd written and some of the mistakes I caught were because I hadn't read it in so very long. I was able to pick up on portions that simply did not make sense, or noted places where I really need to go back and clarify and expand on. I'm all fired up and ready to get back to business!
Some of my research has been lost, and I'll have to refresh some of it. Also, since I've learned so much in the last few months while being part of WDC, I can see I really need to backtrack a bit and spent some time better developing my characters and working on an outline. I've noticed I have a subplot going and have no idea where it's supposed to go! I really must get that fixed.
In other "news", Vacation Bible school will kick off tomorrow and I am very excited! I have really been looking forward to getting this going and can't wait to get to know the members of the group better. If it goes well, and everyone seems to enjoy themselves, I'm thinking I might offer to start a bi-monthly or maybe even weekly group that can focus on our spiritual lives. But, let's see first how this next week goes!
Fundraising for the fall competition is going very well and I believe it won't be long before we hit our 2 million mark. The goal is 4 million, so we are nearly HALF way to our big goal! YAY!! Collaborations for the competition are going well and everyone I've described the competition to has been very enthusiastic and supportive. I have found only ONE judge so far to commit to the event. That leaves me with four other judges to find!
I have discovered something very recently about myself. I have never been one to like fantasy stories. It just never held my attention for very long, because so much of it is just so far fetched and hard to even fathom. However, to my surprise, I've met two very talented writers and I have become hooked on their fantasy tales. I have to say, that is a remarkable feat for any writer. To engage someone's attention and hook them into a story that is of a genre they don't even like. I have to admit, tho, I am completely hooked and captivated by the two stories they are telling.
|It is with a great deal of frustration and exasperation that I am writing this entry. With every step forward, I feel like I am falling two or even three steps behind. The art of juggling is not something I have yet mastered.
I get one aspect of my life on the right track, heading in the direction I want it to go and at the speed I desire, when another aspect of my life decides to derail and well, my sister once told me when we were growing up, I am as subtle as a train wreck.
We started making wonderful strides in our Fly Lady routine and I think my husband makes a darn good Fly Man, but when I am focusing my attention on that, then it seems like my writing and other areas in my life go all wonky and off-kilter.
Then, I started making good progress on my writing, even bit the bullet and bought a new (refurbished) computer that runs on WINDOWS! I am so fed up with this worthless Chromebook! Never again will I ever buy anything run on Chromebook. ONCE my computer gets here, I'll take a few days to transfer what I can to the new unit, which is a desktop, not a laptop. Call me crazy, but the laptop is to quiet. I LIKE to hear the clickity-clack of my keyboard as I type. My husband is thrilled because he will get my laptop. All he will do is probably play video games or watch movies on it. I plan to spend a good amount of time getting back on the writing track.
This week I plan to get everything ironed out for Vacation Bible School, which I'm hoping will be very enjoyable. I have a PC party to focus on, which will be held June 1st, a huge contest to prepare for coming in August/September. I am endeavoring to teach English to a person I met online. Here lately, my husband has been wanting me to watch more movies with him. Which is great, but he gets annoyed if I DO anything while watching lol. I need to spend more time with him
This entry is a bit of rambling really. If anyone reads it, I apologize for sounding somewhat flaky.
|It is hard to believe 8 days have already passed since my last entry! Gosh, I'm not very good at this whole daily journaling thing. I shall make a goal to be more consistent with my blog entries.
Have you ever gotten a inspiration from a most unlikely source? I was approached via Facebook by what was most likely a scammer and indeed, today, he revealed what I suspect is the tag line. He told me he is a driller on an oil rig and we have had some very interesting chats about the subject. I managed to catch him in a few lies but did not let him catch on that I had caught on. I just love to give them enough rope to hang themselves! Amongst all the BS and bad catch lines, he did come up with a few not bad ideas for writing projects.
One project would be to research and write about ghost rigs. I've discovered nearly 1,000 or more deaths occur on oil rigs yearly, and many from falls or explosions. Not all hit the headlines, nor get any media attention. Where sudden and somewhat violent death occur, so do spirits with unfinished business, pissed off spirits with a score to settle, or a haunting of some kind. A book on these occurrences would be fun, interesting and probably profitable, given the consumers who love this type of thing.
Secondly is a close look at the astonishingly large number of abandoned and dead oil wells that scatter across America. Now, many are properly filled in after they dry up or the company moves on. However, close to over a million wells are not properly filled in. These wells leak hazardous, combustible gasses, lead to a possible cave in's and letch chemicals into the water and contaminate the soil in surrounding areas. These improperly covered wells then get roadways, houses, commercial buildings, and yes, even schools and hospitals built over them. A book looking into these and the effects they have on the environment and society, what causes them to be abandoned and just, the stories of these wells might also make for some fascinating reading to a good number of people. NOT a book that zeros blame on big oil companies, but tells the more human side of these wells and gives practical, interesting stories.
Hand in hand with abandoned oil rigs are the oil rig ghost towns that litter across America as well. Like the railroad, mining, and other such jobs, the workers formed communities that often led to the birth of a town which all centered around the growth and success of an oil well. When the oil rig dried up or was abandoned, jobs were lost and the people had no choice but to move on and settle elsewhere. Perhaps there are some interesting untold stories in relation to these ghost towns that might make good fodder for a book people would be interested in reading. Maybe not as interesting as the first two, but still, not a really bad idea.
Fourth do you have any idea of the interesting things found when drilling? I have had multiple generations of men in my family go into the oil rig work. I remember as a kid, my older brother would come back from a drilling assignment and he always brought back pretty rocks, minerals, semi-precious gems, old coins, fossils, and even petrified wood pieces all found while he was on the job drilling. I do think that might also be a good idea not for a book really, but for a few articles at least! Wouldn't it be interesting if someone organized a show of some kind for oil workers to display and possibly sell the goodies they've found? What stories could be gleaned from something like that? I would think, plenty!
And let us not forget the industrial evolution side of things. The first oil-producing well in America was in 1895 (I think, I have it in my notes, but can't get to my notes while typing this entry) in PA. From then till present the way oil rigs are drilled and how oil reserves are located has changed immensely! A book that focuses on the technology aspect of the industry and its impact on American oil would be interesting. I believe that too could be made into an interesting book of some kind. I would, however, think someone a bit more knowledgable with engineering and mechanics would be better off writing about this than I would.
Fifth but probably not finally, if you look at images on Google there are some amazing, breathtaking photos of oil rigs...both on land and offshore. I think a coffee table style book with original photography of American oil rigs would be popular. Someone who could travel around and take photos of the rigs and get interesting facts and history about it to add on the captions would be a very nice, interesting book I think!
So, there you have what's been flooding my mind in the last few days. I've really NO idea where or how to get started. I"ve been reading up as much info as I can on the whole industry. I've placed ads in hot spots asking for Roughnecks to tell me their stories concerning ghosts, hauntings, and odd things that happen on rigs. The whole ghost rigs idea has captured my interest for the moment. To date, I've had just ONE person respond to my ads. A man named Todd from the Beaumont, TX area. Says he worked on rigs and ships most of his life. I'm wondering what questions to ask. My days of taking journalism and broadcast journalism are years gone by lol and I am pretty rusty!
I have wondered if perhaps I should look and see about finding a partner that has an interest in this subject and we could work together on these projects? Right now, I have tons and tons of questions and no real answers! How on earth do I even organize something like this?
|Seems like I blink and suddenly it has been DAYS since my last entry! Where does all that time go? It has been a three-ring circus for the last few days for me.
Wrapped up the Epic Battle of the Pens Writing Competition 2020! Whew! What a blast that was!! It was a long, 4-week competition but wow, it was amazing. There were so many wonderful, creative writers who submitted Epic stories! I really can't wait to do it again, maybe next year?
Making strides in Fly Lady mission. The last two weeks, my husband and I have fallen into a routine that I just love so much. We wake up and sit at our kitchen table and have coffee together. Sometimes we eat a little something, but not always. We have started discussing our daily goals and what do we want to accomplish for that day? By the time we clean up and head our separate ways, we both have a game plan. I know what he is going to work on, and he knows what I'll be working on. This way, we can encourage and push one another so we can both feel we have accomplished the things we set out to do. We hold each other accountable and can offer each other help when it's needed. So far, this is working out great and my house is getting blessed far more than I ever could have hoped for.
VBS! I have been getting seven days of Adult Vacation Bible School planned and organized. I have the basics down, but still have some work to do as far as getting prizes together, working on challenges, and thinking of how to kick off the campfire thing I want to do. My goal is to have people start signing up at least by the third week of May. I want to give people at least two weeks to decide and sign up.
Fundraising efforts. I have been putting together a fundraiser I'm hoping to also kick-off either the last week of May or first week of June. This will be the first in probably two or three fundraising events to help pay the cost of a MAJOR Competition I'm collaborating on for the month of September!
All these things are on my plate plus, let us not forget I've got to get some personal writing done on my own writing projects! I really need to sit down and get myself organized on that front.
|My husband has tried unsuccessfully to go into hiding. My dogs duck and go the other way when they see me coming. Past two days I've been armed with a broom, mop bucket, and array of cleaning products. My spring cleaning is behind schedule. Normally I tackle this around the first of March but have been rather sidetracked.
Yesterday, much to my Husband's dismay, he found himself stringing a new laundry line outside, bleaching every wastebasket and sitting them out into the sun, taking our pillows and mattresses and spaying them down with Lysol, laying them out in the sun as well.
The house we live in is dark and every wall in the house is covered in that dark wood paneling. Every single picture and wall hanging came down and got a good wipe down. Then, I used Mop & Glow and a special cloth mop I reserve only for this job and polished every wall in my house. Tons of cobwebs came down! While I did the walls, my husband helped me by scrubbing the baseboards and doorframes.
Plastic came off the windows, windows got washed inside and out!
TODAY, we picked up where we left off. To keep the husband from mutiny or striking...I baked a deep dish peach cobbler with pecans and had it cooling on the oven draped with a towel. During our first coffee break mid-morning, we had a piece with our coffee. THAT got him looking forward to his next plate full lol.
All four dogs got baths and flea dipped. The cats got a wet wipe bath with special no-rinse cat shampoo and sprinkled with flea powders. None of my animals are in much of a mood to talk to me or look at me. I'm being given the silent treatment. Every curtain has been taken down and washed and hung up outside. During winter months, I do not heat my kitchen, dining room, bathroom, spare room, or hallway so blankets are hung in the doorways to keep the heat in the rooms I DO heat. All those blankets have been taken down, washed, and hung out. When they come in, they will be packed away for next year.
No, it's not always convenient or fun sitting on an icy cold toilet or standing in the kitchen with a jacket to cook with, BUT... my highest electric bill this last winter was $186. dollars. Compared to last year when we had a heating bill hit nearly $300! It was well worth a little nip of cold here and there! I DID have a small heater for the bathroom when we would take our showers, I'm not totally crazy!
I have not had the heart to tell my husband that tomorrow I plan to clean and organize ALL the closets and cabinets. I'm fully prepared tho with my bribe. Er, I mean, um, special reward dinner for helping me. I'm going to make one of his favorite meals. Roasted pork tenderloin with steamed buttered/herb radishes, turnip greens, and a fresh pan of cornbread. I'll even have a batch of blonde brownies for him. See, hard work does pay off around here!
As for me, I also plan to reward myself for getting all this done. I've been craving cottage cheese with raw radishes and bacon bits. I know, its a very odd combo, but something about it just makes me crave it at times.
Oh yes, and I dug out my Sun Tea jar! Hopefully, by Mid May it will be hot enough outside I can start making yummy jugs of sun tea.
|Anyone who knows me, knows I'm easy going and laid back most of the time. However, there are a few things that will take my temper from zero to full-blown in a matter of seconds. One of those things, I'm about to vent about right now. Have you ever been so full-blown furious you'd just love to strangle someone? But, at the same time, your happy and swelling with compassion and love?
Somehow, people just know my husband and I love animals. Out of the blue this morning, one of my husband's several times removed cousins or some such came to our door. We had not set eyes on this person in years, last we heard he was in prison. He and his flavor of the month stood there, he had a box in his hands. He says they know we are "good" with sick animals and their cat seemed sick.
Reluctantly, I let them in. As soon as I saw what was in the box my anger ignited. Huddled there was a cat so badly emaciated it could not even stand up or meow. Its fur was gone in patches and it was infested with fleas. At first glance, I wasn't even sure it was breathing.
These "people" stood in my kitchen spewing forth their excuses. They claimed they had no clue why it got so sick. They hadn't noticed it not eating. It just "suddenly" got skinny. It was a mean cat and always hid. On and on they vomited their words and all I really wanted to do was strangle them.
My husband, thank goodness, did the talking. He was calm but the steel coldness of his voice even got my attention. I'd only heard him use that tone once before. He took out his phone and while they watched, he took several pictures of the cat. They asked how soon did we think they could get their cat back?
My husband told them flat out, it was not their cat anymore. He had pictures and if they even thought about coming to see or get that cat, he would take those pictures to the humane society and the police and file charges of animal abuse. Here, in the state of Texas that carries a heavy fine and possibly up to 5 years in prison. He told them if he ever got wind that they had another animal, he would also turn them in, and then, he told them to get out of our house.
We both agree while we hate what brought that cat into our lives, we both immediately fell in love with our new little girl. She's so pitiful, it breaks our hearts. My husband gently gave her a warm bath, she was too weak to fight. All those nasty fleas off! And he dusted her with flea powder once she dried.
We've been giving her chicken broth, and my husband scrambled her an egg. She nibbles but not much. She drinks good tho, so I sent my husband to the store for infant formula that is fortified with both iron and calcium and a bottle of unflavored Pedialyte. He brought back some jars of chicken baby food for beginners as well. She lapped that up rather well.
She's laying on my bed and all my other animals have sniffed her and not one single time has this "mean" cat shown even an ounce of aggressive behavior. My animals seem to sense she's sick and my big dalmation/pitbull dog Isreal lays next to her and if she makes any noise at all, he sniffs her and seems to be giving her comfort.
My husband came into the room a little while ago and said, he thinks we should name her Princess Phoebe. He would pick a name I can't spell lol. I agreed, but think I'll probably just call her Princess.
Animal abuse and neglect is one of the few things that will make me furious in a matter of seconds. There are several stories I could tell on this subject. I even broke the law once. Actually it was a few laws but well worth it. I'll have to write about that one day. Guess, for now, my rant is over.
|During my research of rabbits, I wandered onto a survivalist type website that, while I find them rather a bit um, extreme, I did find a few things of interest that I could apply to my own budding homestead. Maybe not here where we are now, but we fully expect to be moving within the next year or so.
I was completely in awe of the set up this guy has in what looks very much like a greenhouse. Now, what he had was on a huge scale and I'm thinking for my own homestead, a much smaller scale would still work just fine.
He had set up very large drum tanks he had cut and they kinda looked like rustic metal bathtubs. Each tank held a type of fish. He had catfish, carp, trout, bass, salmon, and I believe he also had perch. Over each tank was a simple hydroponic system made with PVC pipe. The pipes rested close to the top of the tanks so that the plants growing in them could reach the water. The root systems of the plants skimmed the water of the tanks.
The water from the fish tanks is full of fish poop and this provides rich nutrients to the plants making them grow very well. The plants, in turn, filter the water through their roots thus eliminating the need for expensive tank filters. He basically created a very cool echo-system.
I completely fell in love with the whole system and the idea behind it. It was completely self-sustaining with no need for a power source, no need for an expensive watering system, and you have not only a source of meat and vegetables for your family but the overabundance of fish and produce can be sold and provide an income source that is, pretty much passive.
Now, he DID have a backup heat source for the tanks in case of freezing temperatures. But the greenhouse also had a solar panel system for heating and the backup source, according to him was very rarely ever used, and the back up was run by a generator.
My goals now include reading books about growing fish in such an environment and which do the best. I don't think to start out my homestead needs that big a variety of fish. I'm thinking one or two breeds would be just fine.
So Goal 1. Read books and choose the best two fish breeds to start with. Learn all I can about them and their specific needs when raised in captivity.
Goal 2. I have BIG eyes and BIG dreams. I need to work on making a detailed itemized list and then start getting specific prices and working on a budget.
Goal 3. Will be to prioritize these big dreams and ideas in an attainable, logical order.
In the meantime, keep preparing for getting my new seeds the first week of May!
|I've always loved bunnies and have even had a few as housepets over the years. After much youtube video watching and researching, I've discovered just how valuable and vital they can be to a homestead, especially one just starting out.
According to the homesteader I watched earlier, the rabbit poop is magical and wonderful! It was amusing to see how excited this guy was over rabbit poop, however, he made some very good points. Now, as far as our own homestead goes, I am highly doubtful we will ever grow our own meat for consumption. Neither my husband or I have what it takes to kill something.
But, rabbits can still be very useful and beneficial. Their poop not only is a high-quality fertilizer, but chickens LOVE it. They are relatively low cost and low maintenance and multiply quickly. IF not used as a source of food, baby bunnies can be sold as pets or breeding stock. The sale of just a few rabbits can pretty much cover the total cost of growing them.
So, I am totally on board now by starting a mini rabbit farm. They don't take a huge amount of space and don't make as much noise as chickens. But, I want my chickens as well! I will put hubby dear to the task of designing a six burrow rabbit hutch, for us to start with. In the meantime, I'll start researching rabbit breeds to determine which ones would be best for starting out.
|Patience is a virtue, but not one I have yet mastered. I have learned there are two types of patience. There is the kind that allows someone to extend grace and understanding towards another person, animal or circumstance when it clearly seems as if it or they will push you well past your limit. That particular kind of patience, I am thankful I have grown an abundance of.
It is the other type of patience I find myself lacking in. The kind that demands I must wait. I am just as guilty as most when it comes to enjoying the nearly instant gratification time period in which we live. I like getting things quickly.
My case in point is my seeds. I want them NOW. I am excited and bitting at the bit to get going on this project, yet I am forced to wait. Wait for payday. Wait to order the seeds I've already picked out. Wait for them to be shipped. "Wait," is my obscene four-letter word I can't tolerate. I suppose, hand in hand with Patience my virtue of long-suffering is also being put to the test and developed. In the meantime, I take comfort in knowing there is much to do while I wait.
A good homestead generates little if any waste. Currently, my household throws away on average two 30 gallon trashbags of waste each week. My goal is to cut that down to two 30 gallon trash bags per Month. I don't think that will be hard to do, and I even think, if we try hard, we could even reduce it down to ONE garbage bag per month.
Our homestead has zero food waste. What food is not eaten by myself or my husband is given to the dogs and cats. What they do not eat is dumped outside by the base of our trees for the wildlife to eat. What they don't eat, gets rotted into the ground and becomes nutrients for the trees. Nothing goes to waste.
What we do have in the line of what I call "wet" trash are tea bags, coffee grounds, coffee filters, eggshells, peelings from onions, and peelings from citrus fruits. All of these things CAN be eliminated from the waste bin and put to good use.
The coffee filters I buy are made from recycled paper and are biodegradable. They can be used not only to germinate seeds, but they can be used to help the soil retain moisture and be thrown into the compost pile. The same can be said for the tea bags.
Eggshells are very good plant food and can be crushed and added to the soil. I even watched a video showing the benefits of burying a whole egg under various plants to provide plant food.
Must be careful about tea and coffee grounds. A little bit acts as a growth stimulant but too much can cause roots to die and kill off the plant. So use sparingly!
The rest of the wet trash can be put into the compost pile rather than the trash.
The bulk of our trash is essentially cardboard or plastics from wrappings, junk mail, disposable things like paper plates, plastic utensils, dog and cat poop, aluminum cans from canned foods,
I have been searching for a suitable metal barrel so we can burn what items can't be rerouted to either the compost pile or reused for something else. I have to double-check with the fire department though because we live right on the borderline of the city limits and I'll have to make sure I'm still OK to burn my trash. Once a week, one small barrel shouldn't be that much of a hazard unless during the summer and we are under a burn ban.
Oh, how rich would I be if I could think up a use for all the tons and tons of dog and cat poop that my household generates? With four dogs and seven cats...it gets deep fast! I'm researching and seeing if it is acceptable to add animal poop to a compost pile that will be used for growing food that will be consumed by humans or if there are any health concerns by doing that. I mean, I wouldn't THINK so because manure is basically animal poop processed into plant food! So what would be the difference between horse and cow poop and that of dogs and cats? It stands to reason, they should act about the same. But, to be safe, this bears further investigation and research.
I think perhaps I've rambled enough this entry. Hoping time flies and I can get my seeds in my hot little hands ASAP.
|It has been a few days since I wrote an entry. I've been spending the time reading up on gardening methods, watching youtube videos about container gardens, and all the various hacks, tricks and tips to a bountiful harvest.
The other morning, I sat my husband down and over a pot of coffee talked to him and told him what I had in mind. Explained why I wanted to launch into homesteading and kind of laid out my tentative ideas. My husband has always been a great source of encouragement and not once has he ever just dashed my hopes or trampled over goals or aspirations I've talked about. So, I knew he wouldn't just shoot me down. However, I was not prepared for how overwhelmingly excited he became. My husband became quite animated about telling me stories of when he was growing up and his Mama cleaning out chicken houses and milking cows and how he remembers so clearly of sitting on his Mama's front porch chucking corn, snapping beans or shelling peas.
For nearly TWO HOURS my husband and I sat and talked. We laughed, we dreamed, we envisioned, plotted and planned together. He really became excited talking about the chicken coop he wants to build. He also suggested something I had not even thought about.
The cost of seeds is relatively cheap, and once we get started we can harvest our own seeds and never have to buy them again. He suggested maybe not this year, but if we plan for it...then next spring we could raise seedlings into small plants and sell them. We live right on a major highway and have tons of traffic. It would be NO hardship to just tack out a sign and set out the plants. To that end, once we have a steady stream of veggies coming in, we will have way more than we can eat and more than I can freeze or preserve. So, my husband suggested it would be a simple matter of just putting up some tables and tacking up a sign and selling our overabundance and that would provide a source of passive income.
I have the most wonderful husband in all the world!! I know, I know...I sound so bias but he just simply amazes me at times.
After spending hours pouring over online seed websites and comparing prices and such, I've decided Amazon, as usual, is my very best bet. I am a bit shocked though about the cost of potting soil, which is what I'd use to germinate and sprout my seeds. Getting started, We will just get only what we need to get started. I'm going to look into getting two or three huge 20-gallon barrels where we can start a mulching system so that NEXT year and all those that follow, we will not need to purchase fortified soil. We will have made our own.
This morning, we did a complete search of the house and filled not one but two good-sized boxes with containers...cardboard toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, butter bowls, empty peanut cans, anything and everything we can use or modify to use for germinating the seeds that will be the first week of May.