• Gardening

    A July Free of Plastic (I hope)

    The danger of plastic is everywhere right now; National Geographic had a whole issue on it, experts left and right are warning us that we are strangling the oceans, and most stores have some sort of a program rewarding you for bringing in your own bags.  But wow, in the last few weeks, as I have been more aware of this issue than ever before, I am flabbergasted by how much plastic is used on, well, everything. The toilet paper I buy at Costco has 4 packs wrapped in plastic, then the whole case of it wrapped in more plastic.  Trying to find dishwasher detergent that isn’t in plastic is…

  • Gardening

    Homestead Journaling

      Let’s just start this off with a confession, I have an obsession with journaling. I blame the film The English Patient, I have literally dreamt about the journal from that flick…. with it’s leather cover, drawings and journal entries!  I kept a consistent diary from ages 16-21, and I have annual notebooks from every year we have been living off-the-grid (2008-2018).  In those notebooks,  I make life plans, lists, notes from books I’m reading or programs I listen to, meal plan and list the goals I attain.  But the most treasured of all is my homestead journal, one that I have been keeping since 2008.  A homestead journal is…

  • Food

    Easy Summer Dinners

    Every year I have the same problem – summer cooking.  Minnesota summers can get really hot and humid and I am not interested in using the stove or oven!  Add in a kids’ activities and busy days running around having fun, and boom, look who never cooks!  We end up eating out or getting takeout way too much and I really want to put a stop to it.  So this year, I am making a list of ideas that are easy for me to make and won’t heat up in the house in the process.  Some of them I can throw together in the morning and then run around all…

  • Denise

    Father’s Day Gift Guide

    I don’t know about you, but guys are the WORST to buy for!  My husband rarely has any idea on what he wants, or if he does, he tells me about them the day before a holiday!  Too late, buddy!!  And my own dad is at an age where he has everything he wants, or if he doesn’t, he just buys it!  Men. I do have a workaround, though.  I keep a list on my phone, where I add ideas my husband gives me, or if I see something randomly, I will add that, too.  On that note, let me share with you some of those ideas I am looking…

  • Gardening

    Lazy Gardening: Companion planting

    While both my sister and I LOVE to garden, we are at heart, kinda lazy people.  SO… I am going to share some of the best advice out there that saves me from working more than I have to and still get some amazing organic produce from my garden. Plants are like teenagers, they are really clicky and just want to be with their favorite peeps.  This is referred to as “companion planting”.  If done right, companion planting should significantly reduce pests and diseases while also increasing pollination and feeding the soil.   One of the most famous companion plantings is known as “three sisters” and was a method used…

  • Gardening

    Summer Plans for Teens and Tweens

    I don’t know how it happened, but summer is 7 VERY short school days away, and I don’t know about you, but I am not ready.  With three kids home for a lot of days, plus a husband that works from home, this mom has to have some sort of a plan in order for this long break to run smoothly.  And I don’t know if you have tried looking at the holy oracle (aka Pinterest) for help, but there is not a lot out there once your kids pass the age of 10.  I don’t know if it is because a lot of moms have gone back to work,…

  • homesteading,  off-the-grid

    Why We Live Off The Grid

          When we tell people that we live off-the-grid, the first questions we always get are logistical… Do you have solar? (Nope) Do you have running water? (No, we have a well with a hand pump) Do you have an outhouse? (NO, we have an indoor humanure toilet) Do you have propane refrigerator, stove and lights? (Negativo, we have a cookstove and battery-operated lanterns) They stop for a little bit to take it in… and then they ask. Why? Why would you choose to live like that? That is a hard thing to answer…it was a multiyear process that took many twists and turns. Ultimately the husband and…

  • Drinks

    Homemade Mead

      These two sisters have been known to share a libation from time to time, and we enjoy it even more when it is homemade. Dee loaned me a book from her always expanding library called “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz. The first recipe we have explored is T’ej which is an Ethiopian Mead.  Mead is an alchohol made from honey.   The recipe piqued my husband’s interest because  it required few ingredients, all of which we had on hand  that moment the mood struck him to start the process. We used honey, some strawberries (but any fresh fruit will work), basil (again, any herbs will work) and water.…

  • Gardening

    A Micro Orchard in the ‘Burbs

    I love gardening in theory, but I am fairly terrible at it in practice.  I am all raring to go come March, April and May…but once the temps and humidity start soaring, my interest plummets.  Add to this kids being home for the summer, an increase in activities, gatherings and just plain socializing, and any lofty goals I have quickly fall to the wayside. Enter my love of fruit trees.  Growing up, our parents had several apple trees, and I loved picking them in the fall and all the different pies and bars my mom would make with them.  It also seemed like an unusual thing, since not many of…

  • Gardening,  Lindsay,  Sisters

    #1 way to save money gardening: starting seeds

      Starting seeds can be tricky but I live  in the dark and cold tundra of northern Minnesota without electricity….. so if I can do it so can you! Starting your own seedlings is the #1 way to save money gardening. My mom likes to challenge me on the cost efficiency of gardening. If you are buying seedlings I guarantee you are spending more money with a garden than you need to. In most of my life I barely  miss electricity but man would it be a bonus when starting seeds!!!  I’ll tell you how I do it AND how my sister does it with the benefits of electricity. Start…