My Imaginary Garden

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Here I go again, daydreaming of this year’s garden…imagining delicious tasting, perfectly plump, vine ripened tomatoes, crisp hot peppers, large, manageable mounds of fresh herbs strategically placed to ward off invasive insects, beautifully tapered crunchy-sweet carrots with strong tops that never break off when you tug them, oh and loads of summer squash growing on compact bush style plants that respect the boundaries of my weed-free garden paths! I’m dreaming of okra and tender green beans that never hide from me, sun ripened strawberries, those little tiny cucumbers you can make sweet pickles with, oh and sweet potatoes! Lettuce that stays sweet and buttery all summer long, onions and leeks and radishes and beets and swiss chard and pok choy and cow peas!!! A weed never grows in my garden and it’s always 85* and sunny with a slight breeze. There are no squash bugs, no aphids no fungus or blight. Everything is organic and the moon tells me secrets about when to plant and when to harvest.

Five Good Reasons to Raise Rabbits

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Five Reasons to Raise Rabbits:

  1. Low Cost
  2. Great Manure
  3. Easy to Breed
  4. Taste Good
  5. It’s Legal!

If you ask me rabbits are second only to chickens in terms of the best livestock to raise. They are small and quiet and very inexpensive to house and feed. They only eat a ¼ cup of food each day. Another bonus is that rabbit manure is what you call cold which means it’s ready to go right into the garden with no composting time required. It’ll really boost the nitrogen level in your soil too without burning your plants.

Rabbits are relatively easy to breed. You will want to house your does separate from your buck. When you’re ready for them to breed, you just put a doe in with the buck and let them do their thing. Don’t put him into her cage though because does are territorial and she might try to attack. When the buck is finished breeding, he’ll squeal and fall off of the doe’s back.

After breeding, if all goes well, your doe will kindle in 5 weeks. Four days before she’s due, put some bedding in her nest box. She should begin to nest and you’ll know the kits are on the way when she pulls out the fur on her belly for them. This makes the nest nice and soft and makes it easy for the kits to find their momma’s milk.

Rabbits are a great source of lean protein. They should be prepared at about 5-6 weeks old. At this age you can expect them to weigh somewhere around 3 lbs, maybe more depending on the breed. Rabbit tastes wonderful when cooked in the crock pot, stewed with homegrown veggies or pan fried with a mustard wine sauce. I have a great rabbit recipe posted on my Real Food Recipes page.

So if you can’t raise chickens for some silly reason like its against the law or what have you, give rabbits a try. Just tell your neighbors they are your pets. Lord knows no one wants to live next door to a farmer!

This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop

Clothesline of Happiness

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For years now I have wished for one of those expensive umbrella style close dryers  to set on my back deck. The sun really hits that side of the house and its pretty convenient to get to from my washing machine. But alas, I can never remember to order one when I have the money and money’s been getting tighter and tighter around here lately so its not really in the budget at this point.

I did however experience a brief break-from-reality a few weeks ago and purchased several new dresses and tops ALL of which must be hand washed and are NOT allowed to go into the electric dryer. Buying new clothes is something I do so rarely that I forget what it feels like in between times. Almost everything I currently own came from a thrift store of one kind or another. So I must admit the thought of taking care of these precious items intimidated me a bit, especially since I had spent the better part of my retirement (hahaha) on them.

After several wears of each new piece and no washings it became apparent to my husband that an intervention was needed.  No doubt I was in LOVE with my magical outfits but afraid to clean them due to the, “where the heck am I gonna lay out this entire dress to dry without the cat hairing it up or some other tragedy befalling it?” factor. So one day, and not a moment too soon, Dear Husband came home with a clothesline from the dollar store and a bag of wooden clothes pins. I think it cost about 5 bucks for the entire set up.

Hanging those blouses out to dry was like arriving at a point in life I had always longed for; a sophisticated yet simple and down to earth realm in which I found quiet self fulfillment and profound happiness. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the love of my husband, the richness of our life and the warm, beautiful sun.

This post is part of the Works for Me Wednesdays blog hop hosted by We are THAT Family

Works for Me Wednesday 7/21/10

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Last week I ran across this really cool blog called We Are that Family. The host of the site does a blog carnival called Works for Me Wednesday. Today, I am joining this fun way to share ideas on making life easier by linking to an earlier post of mine called Simple laundry powder you can make at home… that really works. Please click the banner and check out all the other great tips on the Works For Me Wednesday page.

Maybe I have flabby thighs but at least I don’t use shower gel

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The other day I was checking out the comments on a post at fakeplasticfish.com. It was a very in-depth discussion about who uses shower gels instead of bar soap and why. The author of the original post, Beth Terry, who created the blog to help herself and others get off plastic, was making the point that using shower gels generates more plastic waste. However lots of her readers, presumably folks who themselves are at least thinking about using less plastic, said they preferred gel over bar soap especially while showering at the gym.

This really struck me. I have never had a gym membership so maybe I don’t know what I’m missing but give me a freekin’ break! People still actually go to those places? And shower there too??? I just don’t get it. Normal people out there, who I am assuming are trying to leave a lighter footprint, get in their air conditioned car and drive to an air conditioned building while their a/c at home is most likely running to use a machine to get their body moving, burn calories and build muscle. This process makes them perspire and they are so uncomfortable with their own perspiration they have to immediately wash it off, there at the gym with their special shower gel? And they leave feeling proud of themselves for a great work out. Meanwhile their hot water heater at home is keeping 50 gallons or so nice and warm for the next time they’re actually there long enough to feel the slightest bit dingy.

To expound  an earlier rant and to shed some light on why I think gyms are so stupid, I’d like to point out something that sets folks like me apart from gym goers (other than flabby thighs). The thing is, as some of you know, I quit TV. Since then, after the initial PTSD wore off, I’ve started noticing how much control TV and advertising has over our daily lives. TV gets people to do unreasonable things like buy into a gym membership which leads to new workout clothes, new shoes, ipods, water bottles and new bags to tote the rest of that new crap around in. You get the picture.

Let’s think about some other ways we could approach this situation. How about never go to the gym again. How about take up jogging or walking or volunteer somewhere. Why not use those calories to do some good for someone else. Eat fewer calories and you won’t have so many extras to get rid of in the first place. Take up gardening. Adopt a dog. Workout at home in your living room. But if you must go to the gym suck it up and wait until you get home to shower or wrap your bar of soap in a washcloth for goodness sake.