Sunday, November 20, 2011

Anonymous-Message to Occupy the World

This is the transcript from the latest video released by Anonymous. For anyone who believes in Occupy Wall Street I would encourage you to watch the video. The transcript is below if you have difficulty understanding the audio.

Transcript of video:
Greetings citizens of the world. We are Anonymous. Since the occupation of Wall Street began we have been watching closely as countless people in cities around the world have taken to the streets in peaceful support of the movement. A show of support for a humanity free from the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Free from corruption in our political and financial institutions, and free from the injustices caused by corporate personhood and the oppression of others. This is not the Arab Spring, Egypt, Greece, Tunisia, nor The American Autumn.
This, is mass global awakening.
The lies and corruptions that have attached themselves to our system like a parasite have been exposed.
A way to rid our world of this parasite uncovered. The cure lies in all of us.

This is only the first wave of our brothers and sisters to awaken to the lies and corruptions taking place around them. You, my brothers and sisters bear the weight of carrying this message to the masses. You must continue to hold your ground and stand up to help educate others to these injustices. The practice of active non participation in the things we deem evil, peaceful protests, and large scale community education efforts are things each one of us can continue and teach others to help aid in the fight. This will assure us victory against tyranny in our world.
We have already seen signs of this process beginning to take hold. With the successful transfer of 4.5 billion dollars on Bank Transfer Day, and 690,000 new accounts created at credit unions in the U.S. alone, we have taken the first strike against the banks.

This will not be the last.
Occupy protests continue to grow despite the puppet media, who is bought and controlled by politicians and corporations continuing to lie about numbers involved in the protests. They have said there is no clear message and otherwise down played and belittled the protests as a whole. Yet our message has still gotten out.
Political and corporate backed entities continue to try to adopt and corrupt the movement. Trying to turn it into a tool for their own purposes, yet they fail.

Worse yet, incidents of police brutality and the revocation of the rights of our citizens are growing more common place. Corrupt elements hidden within police forces around the world have begun to inflict terror and beat the otherwise peaceful protestors into submission. Mayors, and governing officials in cities around the world have begun to send in their dogs in an effort to stamp out the growth of revolution. They have taken notice of our actions and they are scared!

These crimes against our citizens do not go unnoticed, and must not be allowed to quell our efforts in seeking freedom. We must maintain peaceful despite these atrocities and not feed into their efforts to bring us down to their lowly level of existence.

The instigators of these actions are unaware that they are defeating themselves, for we are already at the third act of the famous quote; "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you. then you win."
There has never been a more exciting time to be alive in all our lives.

It is important that we not be bored or let idle time pass, for the seeds of revolution against worldwide injustice have been sewn. Yet without enough nourishment they will not survive and grow to full fruition.

Citizens of the world, the power for change is in our hands. We must continue to expose the truth to the masses.
Know your own power; inform others of the immediate threat of corporations, banking institutions and the growing takeover of world governments. Maintain true to the foundations of the Occupy movement. Fight greed, corruption and corporate control of our democracy.

Continue to denounce the involvement of entities with political and financial affiliations in the movement. Express your free right to assemble via global, large scale peaceful protests.

Our efforts must not simply continue.
Our efforts must grow.

Corrupt governments, police, corporations, banking institutions and those who oppress others. You cannot kill, or buy an idea.

You are the parasite, not our citizens who gather in peaceful protest against injustice in our world.
You are outnumbered, and surrounded.

The revolution has begun, and the end of your reign is near.

We will not stand for your atrocities and injustices any longer.

We are Bradley Manning, we are Scott Olsen. We are your brother, mother, and best friend.

We are people.
We are free.
We are one.
We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
You should have expected us!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Earthquake vs Tornado

I have always said that I would take a tornado over an earthquake any day and that was before I had experienced one! Now I can absolutely say that that statement is true! Friday night we had an earthquake that measured 4.7. Now, to those of you who live in areas prone to earthquakes this may not seem like a big deal. To us however, it was a very big deal! We have never experienced an earthquake before even though they have happened here before.

The Friday night earthquake was actually early Saturday morning at 2:12 AM. My husband and I sat straight up in bed as the shaking started. We heard a loud boom that sounded a lot like thunder and then the heavy shaking started. He grabbed me to protect me and as soon as the shaking stopped we were out of bed and yelled at the kids to be sure they were ok. Surprisingly enough, they slept through it! Several of the 2 liter water bottles we had put up in the loft fell as well as other items that we had on shelves. Two of the bottles broke when they hit the floor so there was a good bit of water all over the place.

To say the least we were very shaken and scared. We scrambled for some towels to clean up the water and grabbed some clothes so we could go outside and check the animals. The animals were actually handling it very well. The geese were awake and squaking in low tones but they weren't frantic. The chickens didn't seem to bothered either. The poor cat was hiding under the bed however. Everything seemed ok so we tried to go back to bed but to say the least we didn't sleep very well after that.

Last night, which was Saturday, at 11:00 PM we had another quake that registered as a 5.6. This is offically the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the state. The epicenter for this one was about a mile south of us so of course we felt it as well but it didn't seem as strong as the first one. We found out this morning however, that one of our neighbors sustained some significant damage to their house.

At the top of the picture you can see where their chimney broke off and some of it fell on the ground. The rest of it fell through their roof into the living room. Pretty much everything fell out of the cabinets in their kitchen and there are broken items all over the house.

This is the downstairs bathroom. The glass on the floor was the mirror that was glued to the wall. It was a 1/4 inch thick and as you can see, it didn't come through the quake very well. Hopefully we won't have any more. We have felt a few aftershocks but so far no more major quakes. So, its offical, earthquakes suck and I will definitely be looking forward to tornado season.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Finally! A harvest!

It has been a tough growing season but we finally got a harvest of one of our crops. The weather has been turning colder and we decided it was time to dig up the sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes thrive in hot weather but should be dug up before the first frost. The colder temperatures can damage the tubers. We were pleasantly surprised by what we found.

The picture above is of all of the potatoes that we dug up. It may not look like much but there is enough there for 2-3 meals. Many of them were larger than we anticipated and they don't seem to spread out like white potatoes do. Even though the plants sent out long roots, the tubers were at the base of the plants. Each plant produced around 3-4 potatoes each.

This was one of the largest potatoes. It had gotten so large that it was already slightly uncovered! You can imagine how excited we were over this one! Sweet potatoes proved pretty easy to grow and definitely something we will do again next year. They are definitely a summer plant so if you live somewhere with high heat, this plant should do well. One thing we did learn was that even though it likes heat, the plants did seem like they were beginning to suffer under the intense summer heat we had this year. When the temps climbed above 100 degrees on a regular basis they did not look to happy. We ended up providing them with a little shade so they didn't cook and they seemed to do better.

One thing I had not really considered before this year was selecting plants that can tolerate drought and heat for a summer garden. Many of the plants that we think of for the garden actually prefer cooler weather. This includes, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, peas, etc. When the summer temperatures moved in sooner than expected, the plants definitely suffered and affected our potential harvest. Next year I plan on having three garden plans. A spring garden, a summer garden, and a fall garden. The summer garden will be comprised of plants that can tolerate our hot summers and the drought that doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

These summer plants seem to be a little harder to come across than those that we plant in the spring. As I develop my list I will post it here to hopefully give you all some ideas for your own summer gardens.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Finally! One of the hens has started to lay eggs! She has been laying for a week now and we are hoping the others will begin to lay soon. My youngest was the one to discover the first egg and he was so excited! Now the kids look forward to going out every day to see if we have one yet.

The eggs are a little small but I'm hoping they will get bigger as the chickens get older. Even if they don't, once all of the hens begin to lay we will have plenty of eggs. The chickens are also beginning to develop some interesting personalities.

One of the roosters that we call Big Red is apparently the head rooster. He chases off the other roosters when they try to get frisky with the hens and he does NOT like the geese. If they get to close he will chase them and jump on them trying to pull out their feathers. It's actually quite funny to watch. Of course he doesn't let the fact that they are bigger than him deter him at all. He will often take on all five at once. Of course the funny thing is the geese are scared of him!

One of the funnier things we have observed is that one of the hens looks to my husband as her protector. If he is outside and a rooster is chasing her, she will run to him so the rooster will leave her alone. She also likes to hop up onto the fence when he is there so he can pet her. The funniest thing however, is when he goes out to feed them. They have learned where the food is and what the bucket looks like that we carry it in. When he goes out to feed them she wants him to pick her up so she can eat out of the cup or sit on his lap and eat. Tonight, he was standing up while he was feeding them and since she couldn't sit on his lap she decided to sit on his shoulder instead. Apparently she has decided that she is a pet, not a source of food.

The geese still are not laying eggs but I am not sure when they will start. It will probably be spring before we see them begin to lay eggs. My guess is one day they will come wandering up with some little ones trailing behind. Spring should prove to be very interesting. In the meantime, stay tuned because I'll be putting some pictures up soon of our sweet potato harvest as soon as we dig them up!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TPH Episode 30

Today we take a look at some products that can help us live a little lighter on the planet. We also take a look at the Belted Galloway Cow in the Ancestral Animal segment and as always there is the Gardening by the Moon segment.

Belted Galloway Cow

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC, 27312, (919) 542-5704,, 

Belted Galloway Society, N8603 Zentner Rd, New Glarius, WI 53574, (608) 220-1091,,

TPH Episode 29

Happy Anniversary to me! I'm back after a few technical difficulties!  Fukushima Video  "We've been warned: The system is ready to blow"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is it?

Apparently, when I bought the zucchini and squash plants in the spring we got something a little extra. When they are small they are kind of hard to tell apart. Now that this one has grown and spread all over the place it is pretty obvious that it is NOT a zucchini or a squash plant.

At first I thought it might be a cucumber plant but that does not look like a cucumber. It has gotten fatter and is starting to develop a rough exterior similar to a cantaloupe. We suspect it may be a type of melon but to be honest we have no idea. So if anyone has any suggestions as to what it is, let me know!

This is a better picture of the leaves which may help with identification.

Even though we are still having a heat wave we have gotten a little relief. We have gotten a little rain which has helped the garden immensely and the temperatures have backed off of the 110+ mark. We are still having triple digit temps but the plants seem to be doing a little better. The sweet potatoes are doing pretty well and one of the tomato plants has decided to put out more than one tomato. Even though I got the watermelon plants in late, they have started to produce some female flowers and looks like a couple of them have pollinated. Hopefully we'll get at least a couple by the end of the season!

If we are going to have a fall garden I have to get off my duff and get things started. The fall seed potatoes still have not come in at the feed store but I'm hoping to get some of those as soon as they do. I have to admit that this year was not the best year to try your hand at a first time garden but I think we have done as well as we could given the heat and the drought. We have learned a lot this year so I'm sure we'll be able to do better next year. Now, if we can just get that chicken coop finished...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TPH Episode 28

Welcome back Homesteaders! Today we take a closer look at how we came by the idea of the perfect lawn and how we can change it. Today's Creepy Critter is the Big Eyed Bug and we have a real life tale from the Appalachian Mountains.

Big Eyed Bug

Hot Hot Hot!

Can I say that again? Oh my gosh it's hot! We have been suffering with 100+ temperatures since the middle of June and it's really beginning to take its toll. The garden isn't looking to good due to the heat and the lack of rain. The zucchini plants and the squash have given up but the tomatoes are hanging in there.

This time of year it may seem impossible to grow anything but we do have a few plants that seem to be doing well despite the baking temperatures.  Being new to gardening we are still learning a lot and one of the big things we learned this year is we need to start earlier and we need to learn which plants do well in the heat so we can still have something growing in the summer. Sweet potatoes do very well in warmer temperatures and ours have taken off. They love the heat and have been growing quite well. Maybe we will get a decent sweet potato crop this year.

Several of the herbs seem to be enjoying the warm weather as well. The sage plant had taken off when it was cooler but its growth seemed to have slowed as the temperatures got warmer. I harvested the taller stalks and now it is growing vigorously again. Despite the temperatures the mint is doing great! One of the plants in particular is well shaded and has been growing like mad. I have already had to harvest some so it can continue to grow. Some of the other herbs that are thriving include the thyme, marjoram, lemon balm, and bee balm.

Recently we went to a feed store that we had not been to previously. We found tendergreen bush bean and wando pea seeds. Both of these are supposed to be heat tolerant so this may be something we go ahead and try this year. If we plant them soon, they could be ready by fall. If we don't try them this year we will definitely put them on our list of summer plants for next year.

I can honestly say that we have learned some valuable lessons this year with our garden. You can read all you want to, but by getting in there and doing it you will learn more than any book can teach you. Hopefully we can take our lessons from the spring and have a more successful fall garden. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

TPH-Episode 27

Welcome back Homesteaders! Have you melted yet? We're doing our best not to but the heat is taking a toll on the garden. In today's show we will be discussing the element of Fire and we cover Tennessee Fainting Goats in the Ancestral Animals segment. To start with though, I touch on the issues with the debt ceiling and rant on for a bit about gardens in the front yard.

Grow veggies = Go to jail

Wood Cook stoves

Masonry Heaters

Rocket Stoves

Ancestral Animals

International Fainting Goat Association John Savage 1039 State Route 168 Darlington, PA  16115  USA Office phone: 724-843-2084 Office fax: 724-891-1440 Office email:

Myotonic Goat Registry Tara Lawrence 3174 Valley Ford Road Adger, AL  35006  USA Office phone: 205-425-5954 Cell: 205-451-9442 Office email:

Permaculture: A Designers Manual by Bill Mollison

Earthbag Building by Kai Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer  ISBN 978-0-86571-507-3

TPH-Episode 26

Finally! After getting through some technical difficulties I finally was able to get this episode up. My apologies for being late but hopefully the next one will go a little smoother. In today's show I talk about wind turbines and introduce today's Not So Creep Critter, the Assassin Bug.

Not so Creepy Critters

Book Review
The Foxfire Book: Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining by Inc. Foxfire Fund and Eliot Wigginton

TPH-Episode 25

Life interferes once again! This is another shorter-than-usual show but I plan on recording again this weekend to attempt to get on a better schedule. This week I wax a little philosophical about the Summer Solstice and Pagan values. Also, I did manage to put in the Gardening by the Moon segment. And don't forget to check out the news headlines in the shownotes!

Headlines Colorado snow pack What happens after Greece defaults?

TPH-Episode 24

Despite the fact I had no shownotes ready I still managed to get a show out! So enjoy today's ramblings about chickens, worms, and whatever else comes to mind!

News Links

TPH-Episode 23

Welcome back Homesteaders! Today we will be looking at the Earth element and discuss how to build and use an A Frame Level and a Bunyip Water Level. Today's Ancestral Animal is the African Goose.

Song: The Earth is My Church by Freedom People from Peace, Love, Music


Bender, Marjorie; Sponenberg, D. Phillip; Bixby, Donald. 2000. Taking Stock of Waterfowl: The results of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's Domestic Duck and Goose Census. American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Holderread, Dave. 1986. Breed Bulletin #8623, "African Geese."

Holderread, Dave. 1981. The Book of Geese: a Complete Guide to Raising the Home Flock. Hen House Publications. Corvallis, Oregon.

Johnson, Willis Grant, and George O. Brown, eds. 1909. The Poultry Book. Doubleday, Page & Company.

Malone, Pat; Donnelly, Gerald; Leonard, Walt. 1998. American Standard of Perfection. American Poultry Association, Inc. Mendon, MA.

Breed clubs and associations: The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312, (919) 542-5704, email,

American Poultry Association, PO Box 306, Burgettstown, PA15021, email,

Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, Dr. Charles R.H. Everett, Secretary, 122 Magnolia Lane, Lugoff, SC, 29078, email

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Who needs TV?

I have said that animals are often more entertaining than TV. The chicks and the geese are proving to be a constant source of entertainment. The chicks are fun to watch as they go about their usual business and I find it amazing at how quickly they are getting their feathers. Being a city girl, this is all very fascinating and the kids are having a blast.

Plymouth Rock about one week old.

Rhode Island Red about one week.
 They have now been moved outside into the chicken tractor so they can have more room and get used to being outside. We have started construction on the coop and I plan on buying the fencing this week so we can get one paddock put up. If we can buy materials every payday, then we can have the entire system set up in just a couple of months. They have actually gotten a lot more feathers since I took these pictures so I will have to take new ones soon. They are almost three weeks old now and it is becoming more apparent which ones are the males.

The chicks in the chicken tractor.
 Right now it looks like we may have about four male Plymouth Rocks and 2-3 male Rhode Island Reds. It's still hard to tell but they are beginning to challenge each other. One interesting thing I've learned is that 5 goslings can out eat and drink 20 chicks. They are also noisier and smellier. Within the first week the geese were going through as much food in 24 hours as the chicks were in two days. That doesn't count the water! We have gone to letting the chicks out during the day so they can eat grass in addition to their feed and they now have use of the 1 gallon water container. They are going through at least half of that a day plus what we put in a large dish for them to splash around in.

We have also started taking them to the creek once or twice a day to let them take a dip and cool off. The temperatures have been pretty warm the last couple of days and they enjoy being able to get in the water to swim around. We will wait about introducing them to the pond until they are bigger. They actually have done very well about staying by the house when we are not outside with them. As long as they have shade and water, they will stay around the house munching on grass. Of course the funny part is how they will follow us around. We have taken to calling them our fuzzy children.

Let's go for a swim!

The garden is hanging in there and I plan on harvesting the Romain lettuce soon. The potatoes are growing like mad and we added some soil to them today. We are beginning to think about what we may want to plant for a fall garden. It's almost June so we have to start planning now. We are also thinking about ordering some berry bushes so we can get them planted this year. It will be a slow process to get all of the trees and bushes that we want but we just have to take it one step at a time.

As we make progress on the chicken coop I will post pictures and keep you updated on the progress of the chicks and geese. In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day!

Potatoes before we added more soil.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Finally! The chicks and goslings have arrived! And I have to say...they are so cute! They all arrived safe and sound and have been making plenty of noise since they arrived. We ordered 11 Rhode Island Reds and 9 Plymouth Rocks. We also ordered 5 African geese.

The geese checking out their new home.

All 20 chicks.

Plymouth Rock

Rhode Island Red

African Goose
The cat isn't too sure what to think about the whole thing. So far she has just sat and looked at them so we are keeping the boxes covered with a wire mesh. I just wanted to share the pics and I'll be giving updates as the grow!

They think the blue bowl is a pool.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Garden Update

Now that the garden has been in for a little while I thought I'd give you guys an update. So far just about everything is doing well. We actually have a few tomatoes  and more blooms are coming out everyday. The romaine lettuce is doing pretty well as you can see.

Here is a picture of one of the marigold flowers.

There are four raised beds that we have planted. We have one more that I think we are going to use to experiment with growing corn. The zucchini and bell peppers have started putting out flowers as well so hopefully we will see something developing there as well.

The potatoes are going crazy! They have popped up all over the place and growing by leaps and bounds. Before much longer I will have to add some dirt to them so they can keep going.

The Potato Bed

I planted some garlic about a week ago and it's coming up already. We have some more that can be planted by we may wait and do that as a fall crop. As the garden continues to grow I'll put up some new pics so you can see the progress. Hopefully our chicks will be here tomorrow. I'll post some pics of them soon so you can see how the little fuzz balls are doing!

TPH Episode 22

Welcome back Homesteaders! This is going to be the first of a 4 episode series centering around the elements and a mundane activity that may help us to develop our relationship with that element. Today's element is water and we will look at rain water harvesting.

Formula for finding amount of rainwater from a roof:
Multiply the square footage of roof space x 0.6 gallons per square foot per inch of rain.

Not So Creepy Critter
Ambush Bug

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Wonderful World of Poo!

And no, I'm not talking about Winnie the Pooh.

Before we ever moved here we had discussed getting a composting toilet. I had looked into the commercially available toilets and thought that was what we would end up getting. I liked the idea that the compost bin only needed to be emptied once or twice a year but I knew the cost would keep us from getting one for a while. Once we decided to move here, I knew that we had to come up with another solution that would be much more affordable since we wouldn't have running water for a while. That's when we started to seriously look at sawdust toilets.

For the last several months we have used a sawdust toilet but we had been placing a bag into the bucket and disposing of the bag. A few months ago I finally finished reading The Humanure Handbook and we were inspired to get to work on our humanure composting bin. Using some scavenged lumber, my husband has gotten one bin completed.

And yes, the posts on the left are taller on purpose. Eventually there will be three bins total. The next one to be built is the center bin which will have a roof over it. Hence the taller posts. This bin will store the hay and probably the sawdust as well. The hay is used to cover the humanure so there is no odor. The third bin won't be used for about a year. Deposits will be placed in the first bin for a year and then we will switch to the other bin. The first one will be left to age for a year and then we should have some rich compost that can be used in the garden.

 We also dug a hole in the bin and filled it with about 12-18 inches of hay. This forms a biosponge that will absorb liquid and help keep it from running off. We have only been using this for about a month but so far it is working very well. Our clothes line is pretty close to the bin and I have never smelled anything while back there.
The hole before we added the hay
Once there is a roof on the center bin, we will add some guttering that will lead to a rain barrel. This will collect rain water that can be used to clean the buckets every time they are emptied. Overall it is a pretty efficient system and not very hard to manage. We have decided that we will continue to use this system even after we finally get running water. Eventually, I want to build a nice box to encase the bucket so it looks a little prettier and not so obvious.

If you would like to see a well established system, check out this You Tube video. If you do a search I'm sure you will find more. I'm also providing the link to The Humanure Handbook website.

If you're thinking about a composting toilet don't discount a sawdust toilet. You may find it's your best choice after all!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

TPH Episode 21

Today you will be treated to a topic that you won't hear on any other Pagan podcast. We're going to talk about humanure! That's right, we're going to talk about how to deal with our own waste safely and sustainably!

The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins

News headlines Killer Combo Gas, Food

Monday, April 11, 2011

TPH Episode 20

Welcome to Episode 20! Today I am going to give you some spring cleaning recipes to help you make your home cleaner and healthier! Today's ancestral animal is the Rhode Island Red chicken and the usual Gardening by the Moon.


Danbury Fair by Dave King

Main Topic


Ancestral Animals

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312, (919) 542-5704,,

American Poultry Association, PO Box 306, Burgettstown, PA 15021,,

Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, Dr. Charles R.H. Everett, Secretary, 122 Magnolia Lane, Lugoff, SC, 29078,

News Links  Banks at risk   Oil prices and Peak Oil
/wall_st._stands_at_the_pinnacle_of_5,000_years_of_human_exploitation/  Toxic Dollar

Thursday, March 31, 2011

TPH Episode 19

Today's episode is a little free form so I talk about what we have been doing the last couple of weeks, Japan, Nuclear Reactors, Potassium Iodide, and Spiral Herb Gardens. I also give you your two week forecast for Gardening by the Moon.

News Links  Very interesting video, well worth 30 minutes of your time.  Food issues in Japan  Google maps of radiation Socioeconomic impacts from Japan  Texas Drought

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spiral Herb Garden

I have finally been able to implement a project that I have wanted to do for some time. I took a Permaculture Design course before we moved here and part of the class was to build a spiral garden. We did this during the class as a group but I have wanted to build my own ever since. When we moved last summer I just didn't have the time or the materials to do it but now that it's getting warmer I have finally been able to build one!

First I placed some hay on the ground to help serve as a weed barrier and it will compost and add to the soil. Then I laid out four bricks in a square that measured one foot square and filled in the rest of the shape to form the spiral.

Once you have the initial shape it is simply a matter of continuing to stack the brick to build the walls. You can start in the middle and build that area up first to get to the height that you want and then finish the walls. As you finish the outside walls, you will want them to taper down allowing sunlight into different areas of the spiral. By doing this you are creating microclimates for various plants.

3 courses of bricks

Getting closer!

It took about 3-4 hours to rake and clear the area and then to build the spiral. I have put some old hay in the spiral that has already begun to compost and will finish it with some fresh straw. Once the new straw is in, all I have to do is move the hay aside to place a couple of good handfuls of soil in a hole and put the plant in place. The idea is that the plants will get the the nutrients that they need from the soil and the roots can spread out into the hay in search of water. As the hay composts I can add more until eventually the entire spiral will be full of soil. I would like to build some more with stone just because I think they look prettier. You also don't have to build them this tall but since I was working with brick I knew this was out it would turn out. Here's a picture of the final product.

If you look on You Tube you can find some videos of various spiral gardens and how they were made. I will put a picture up when I get all of the plants in so you can see how it looks. In the meantime, happy planting!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Fever

The temperatures are finally getting warmer and we are beginning to see signs of spring. Not only are we seeing signs outside but the garden centers at our local stores are bustling with activity and new shipments. Spring Fever has set in and we are getting busier since it is finally getting warm enough to tackle outside projects again.

In the last couple of weeks my husband has built three raised garden beds and a cold frame. Yes, I finally have my cold frame! And it does look good if I say so myself. We have also been gathering the compost, peat moss, and vermiculite we need to make our soil for the garden. We are going to use the Square Foot Gardening method this year and see what happens. We will probably buy some plants that have already been started from local nurseries and others we will try to start from seed.

One of the garden boxes
 I may have mentioned it before, but several months ago we came across a door like the ones that are used on refrigerated cases in convenience stores that had been set out to be thrown away. The door was in excellent shape and that is what we are using on the cold frame instead of windows. I can't wait to really put this thing into use! I'm not sure but I think it is almost 5 feet long. A cold frame is built on a slant to catch the sun and work as a mini greenhouse. It is 18 inches tall in the back and 12 inches tall in the front. I also love that the door has the handle intact so it will be easier to open.

A view of the cold frame from the front.

A side view so you can see the slope.
 Our seed potatoes also arrived this week. We ordered German Butterball potatoes and I hope to get them planted soon. Hopefully we will get something from them but we'll see. We ordered these from Seed Savers Exchange and they are certified organic. This particular type is supposed to be a good all purpose potato.

Our bag of seed potatoes

And last but not least, we finally have a grain mill! I am so excited! I know, I'm crazy. It is a manual mill but that was what we wanted. I didn't want to get something that I had to rely on electricity for. It will mill from a coarse consistency to a flour consistency. I can't wait to give it a good try but I still need an oven so I can do some baking! Ah well, everything in time I suppose. From what little we have tested it, it seems to do very well. We wanted to get a mill so we can mainly mill our own flour. To me this is all part of creating a simpler life.

The front of the mill

The back
 As we continue to work on our projects here, we are keeping a close eye on what is happening in Japan and the Middle East. To be honest, I don't think things look good but all we can really do is wait to see what happens. If all of this doesn't re-emphasize the need to be prepared, I don't know what does. I hope everyone is getting started with their own spring projects and hopefully I'll be back with some new updates soon!

TPH Episode 18

In this episode I have the usual bi-weekly update, I discuss urban homesteading otherwise known as citysteading, the tiger beetle, and of course gardening by the moon.  Path to Freedom website

Tiger Beetle

News Links  Japan Shuts Down We're Told Not to Breath the Air  Concern About Food  Rolling Blackouts to Start Monday   Rice Crop at Risk   Oil Supplies Might Drop   Japan Refiners at Risk of Lasting Flood Damage   Era of Constant Energy Ending - UK  Hawaii as a Microcosom in the Study of Peak Oil

TPH Episode 17

Today I respond to some concerns about my show that were voiced to another podcaster, I go over the basics of composting and discuss today's Ancestral Animal which is the Silver Appleyard Duck.

The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin
ISBN 978-1-58017-702-3

Ancestral Animal

Book Review
Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal
ISBN-10: 1-60239-701-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-60239-701-9

News Links
/14/the_coming_misery_that_big_oil_discusses_behind_closed_doors Big Oil discusses future shortages

utm_campaign=Feed:+businessinsider+%28Business+Insider%29 South Carolina wants state currency

 Bank of America expects Libya to shut down oil production

TPH Episode 16

In this episode I share some sad news with the listeners and we discuss bug out bags and storage options. I also talk about the soldier beetle and some Valentine's Day lore.

Bug Out Bag


Pennsylvania Leatherwing
Downy Leatherwing

Book Review and Link
Great Garden Companions: A Companion Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical Free Vegetable Garden by Sally Jean Cunningham

May the Road Rise by Cross the Border

TPH Episode 15

Today I prattle on about my thoughts about Collapse and what is bringing us to that point.

News Links

   Look for The Lifeboat Hour show  52 week food storage plan

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fire and Ice

We knew there would be challenges when we decided to move to the country but last week we found out it can be a little dangerous too.

We have been in a drought for the last couple of months which lead to a burn ban. Last weekend someone thought it would be a wise idea to burn some trash on a windy day. Well, I'm sure you can imagine what happened. A grass fire started on the far side of the field that is across from our house that quickly spread. We were fortunate that the wind was blowing the fire away from our house but it still got a little too close for comfort.

The local fire department responded pretty quickly but because we live so far out in the county, there are no public water works, therefore no fire hydrants. The fire department has tanker trucks that would go to a nearby lake to fill up and then take that water to the fire. It may not be as efficient but it does work. There was another flair up of the fire that night around 11 PM but again, the fire department was able to get it under control. Fortunately, no homes were damaged but it showed us that we need to examine how we would handle such emergencies in the future.

All of that happened on Saturday with highs in the 70's. Just a couple of days later we were hit with the massive snow storm that was moving across the mid-west. We ended up with about 12 inches of snow and 2-3 foot snow drifts. To say the least, the kids loved it and so did the dog. I'm not sure who was having more fun. The husband wasn't too crazy about it though because he was trying to dig us out.

Enjoying 50 mile per hr wind gusts.

Snow lovin' dog

We discovered rather quickly that we need to invest in a good snow shovel even though we don't normally get this kind of snow. Everyone sold out of snow shovels so we ended up getting a feed shovel which works very well. We would probably still be trying to dig out if the county had not been nice enough to clear our driveway for us due to a family emergency.  Now we have buckled down for another snow storm that is supposed to dump as much as the last one. Since we don't really have any livestock we only have to look out for ourselves but this experience shows us that we will need to think a little differently about how we manage things here during these types of events.

Snow drifting against the house.

Now that we have settled in for another round of winter weather, I think I'll sit back and enjoy some hot chocolate and the pretty view outside.