Monday, April 23, 2012

Biomass

Know why I haven't blogged?
It's spring.  And I'm in my yard working like crazy.
Because I don't have room for food storage.  So I am growing my food storage.
Also I have field bindweed and I have to weed every day.  Sometimes 3,000 times a day.  I was taken to task this weekend for referring to it as "morning glory" because, well, everyone calls it that.  I know it's not really morning glory, but no one knows what field bindweed is.
This is morning glory.  It's an annual.  I don't hate it.
This is field bindweed.  It grows from the bowels of hell and feeds Satan's minions.  It is evil in it's purest form.
  But those poor little morning glory flowers are getting a bad rap so now you've had your horticulture lesson for the day.

Currently I am asking just about everyone I know for grass clippings.  I am smothering weeds and composting like a madwoman.  I cannot get enough.  Wood chips would be better, but I will take what I can get!  I even carted my mower 3 blocks to mow a friend's yard.  She's pregnant and her hubby is out of town so I got tons!  Yay!
I have begun looking at plants differently.  I bought mint.  Yes, invasive mint.  Know why?  #1 to choke out the morning glory (at least I can make tea with mint!) and #2 BIOMASS.  I look at plants in terms of how much compost I can get from it.  I'm excited for my food forests to take shape (it'll be a few years still) and I know having a good compost will help more than anything.  So I'm really geeking out on it.
Also, we're thinking of putting in a sidewalk to our front step.  Any readers have any experience with that?  I've poured concrete for fence posts, but that doesn't have to look pretty.  I'm a little nervous to do this.

ps- check out my new babies:
Besides their absolutely insane cuteness, know why I'm excited for them?
That's right.  Chicken poop=biomass.  :-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Great Utah Shakeout

We're having a state-wide earthquake drill today
http://www.shakeout.org/utah/

After the drill I plan to refill our water bottles and put them in a more accessible place.  Review how to shut off my gas (without actually doing it), develop a plan for finding my husband if he's at work and phone lines are down, and change clothes in our 72hours kits.  I have to do that every 6 months since the kids keep growing so fast!!

By the way, here's my own little trick for emergency clothes: I put in one size larger of dumpy play clothes.  Long pants (usually sweat pant style) and long tees are best because you can always cut them if it's hot out.  That way if I forget to change things out they haven't outgrown something cute they never wore and I wont inwardly cringe as I cut away a cute outfit.  When it's time to rotate, I simply put the outfit in with their clothes and get another one that's slightly big (be careful about this with pants though.  Not too big in the waist!)

I'm struggling with food.  The kind of food you can put in a 72 hour kit doesn't last long.  We have to eat it every 6 months and I feel like it's a resource drain.  Do I just suck it up and buy MRE's? ($$$!!!)
Right now there's only spam and granola bars.  So I'm looking for ideas before I refill.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Permaculture Workshop

I'm so excited!!  I went to a permaculture workshop today!
I already lost some of you.  No worries, I'll explain.
Permaculture is the idea of planning your garden/landscape so that plants work together and it's somewhat self sustaining with a bit of tweaking on the gardener's part.
I like to think of it as gardening with, rather than against, nature.
For example, around my apple tree I will have a gooseberry bush, some spinach, comfrey, chives, sage, and garlic.  Each plants helps out the others around them.  It's a community of food.
Get it?  If not, you better use google.
Basically I learned what to plant under and around my fruit trees and how to make as much of my yard as possible into an edible food forest.  I'm so excited.  And wishing I had more money.  Slowly, slowly we are getting there.  But I'm impatient and want it NOW.

I'm hoping to get something in the ground that will save my lettuce.  Poor lettuce is being eaten away-maybe by ants.  Ants hate lavender and peppermint so I might plant those nearby.  Ants traps are cheaper, but think of the children!

In all likelihood I will never be able to move to out into the sticks and that's probably a good thing.  I still don't know what we'd do for money.  I really believe that every single person can grow some of their own food.  If they have a yard, they can grow at least half.  My goal is to grow 80-90% of all my family's produce (I'm not ready to give up bananas) and maybe even some of our grains.  And I'm determined to find the best way to do that.  Square foot, french intensive, permaculture... I'm trying them all.  And my hope is to glean some knowledge to share and maybe motivate a few more people to plant some carrots.  Maybe even bring currants back into vogue!


Monday, April 9, 2012

A Tiny House Family

Have you seen this?



I have one question. Where did they build this?!  I have looked into doing this a LOT and the sticking point has always been: you can't have a legal residence under 300sqft (average).  This isn't true if you're in the middle of nowhere, but these folks mentioned a paycheck so I want to know what state and county they're in and if they have their own land.

LOVE seeing this with a family though!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Another Open Letter

Dear God,
You know how you designed toddlers to wake up 3am, sneak into her parents room and whisper, "mom."  And then we answer, "what's wrong sweetie?" And they open their arms and say, "hugs." And just want to be cuddled for 20 minutes before going back to bed?

That's one of the best things ever.

Love, me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An Open Letter

Dear God,
You know how you designed toddlers to outgrow their naps but that instead of a nice transition they would just skip their nap but be unable to stay awake til bedtime, fall into a coma from 5-6:30pm and then be wide awake until midnight?

That really sucks.

Love, me.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm the Tooth Fairy

I've been away on vacation.  Lovely!
Now I'm back and that is even lovelier.  I was worried about my garden and the chickens (both survived).  We mostly swam in the pool, played games, and got inspired.  I needed that.  So many things to change in my life and I feel motivated to do it!

The biggest news of the weekend:
Jack lost his first tooth.
He's 7 1/2 so he's been rather discouraged about losing them late.  I like it though.  He has horrible teeth and the bigger his jaw can get, the better!!  Time to find ourselves an orthodontist (the dentist recommended spacers as soon as he started losing teeth) to widen his very crowded mouth.

Jack made out with $2 this weekend.  I think he should put it into the orthodontist fund.  My mom's boyfriend declared himself the tooth fairy and gave him a shiny Sacajawea dollar and I gave him a paper one.

That's right.  I gave it to him, not the tooth fairy.  Because I am THAT mom.  The one who doesn't play along.  My kids have never had a visit from the Easter Bunny.  "Santa" leaves gifts but they don't sit on any one's knee or mail anything off to ask for them, and mom and dad are the tooth fairy.

This wasn't an easy decision.  There's a surprising amount of peer pressure to conform.  After all, you don't want your kid to be THAT kid that ruins it for everyone else.  And I do try to make sure my kids don't ruin it for your kids. 
But more importantly to me, I want my kids to trust me. Always.  So that when we read about Christ rising from the dead and Jack says (like he did today), "You mean we think that's what happened." And I can answer back that I know that's what happened.  And he can believe me.  Because I haven't lied to him about anything else.  Now, before I get nasty comments, I'm not saying everyone has to do this.  I'm sure your kids will be fine.  I was raised with the Easter Bunny and tooth fairy and I turned out okay.  Actually, that's not totally true.  I left the church when I was 18 because I didn't really believe anything I was raised with and was agnostic for about a year before really sitting down and reading the Book of Mormon and finally gaining a testimony ... SO MAYBE the Easter Bunny really did do me harm.
Hard to say.

I know it's fun.  I know we want to give our kids a little bit of magic.  But the thing is (if you're Christian anyway):  Christmas is magic because it's the celebration of the birth of our Savior, NOT because of flying reindeer.  Easter is the most holy of holidays, not a day for gorging on Cadbury Mini Eggs.  Sweet, delicious Cadbury Mini Eggs...mmmmm.  And as much as I loved the magic from all that as a child, it didn't make up for knowing that my parents looked me in the eye when I asked if it was real and bold faced lied to me.  Maybe everyone else is nonchalant when they learn the truth, but I was really hurt my own parents lied to me.  I really should bring it up with my therapist some time.

We still have fun despite the lack of deception.  We celebrate spring with egg hunts and jelly beans.  We give and receive anonymous gifts from the pseudonym "Santa" while doing a history lesson about the real St. Nicholas, and last week my son told me to make sure I looked under his pillow before going to bed.  He had left a note for the tooth fairy to please let him keep his tooth.  I folded it up and placed the tooth and money inside and in the morning he thanked me.
Because it's fun to pretend!  It's also a lot less creepy than a strange flying woman sneaking into your room at night or diabetes inducing bunnies.  

I'm still debating the whole money part of it, seems to just play into entitlement mentality.  Also, $1 seems excessive to me (I got $.25), but Igloo talked me into it. Maybe with the girls I'll take them to their favorite restaurant or something to celebrate the rite of passage and then be done.  Anyone else out there do things differently that has some ideas???  Does everyone else think I'm extreme?  Did I change your mind?  Are you reporting me to CPS for abuse?