Tuesday, February 28, 2012

11 Random Things

MLoueez from tagged me in a fun post and asked 11 questions for me to answer! Check out her blog! The rules:

1. Post these rules
2. Post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them.

11 Random Things About Me

1. I am very picky about the coffee I drink. If it isn't an organic light roast and vanilla-flavored, I will drink it to get my morning dose of caffeine, but I won't enjoy it. Also, I have recently taken up grinding my own coffee beans instead of buying already ground coffee. It adds a ridiculous level of flavor!
2. I don't really have a favorite color. I prefer combinations of colors, my favorites being: orange & green; red, orange, & yellow.
3. To me, the sound of chewing mushy food is one of the most annoying sounds in existence.
4. I love baking pumpkin or butternut squash pies. I baked over 3 dozen pies between Halloween and Thanksgiving last year. This year, I want to bake pies made from my home-grown pumpkins and butternut squashes.
5. It disturbs me that we didn't get much snow this winter, even though I don't like it being on the road when I teach my students as a driving instructor. It would be nice to build a snowman with my son!
6. My house is not very organized, and I am working to correct this little by little.
7. This one might be a little obvious, but I love to grow plants! I feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction when I go out to the garden and pick something off the vine to serve for supper.
8. I want to change the world for the better, and I have been searching for a way to do so for a long time. I hope my project will make a huge difference for everyone interested.
9. I love glass, and I love displaying it in my kitchen even more! I recently bought a glass pumpkin jar that I cannot wait to put to good use this fall (not that I'm in any rush for fall to get here)!
10. I steam distill all the water my family drinks. It tastes awesome, and I don't have to worry about weird things being in our drinking water.
11. I love to crochet and have stockpiles of yarn in my closet.

11 Questions from MLoueez

1. What makes you smile?
Seeing my son do something silly or say something silly. He surprises me every day!

2. What is your biggest regret?
Wasting thousands of dollars going to business school just to glean only one useful piece of information: If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't have gone to school for business. I would have become a dietitian.

3. Drink of choice?
Margarita. Definitely margarita.

4. Your goal for 2012 and have you been successful thus far in keeping with it?
I have many goals, and some of them I have been keeping well, while I have fallen off the bandwagon with others. Blogging more often? Check. Regularly exercising? Flop. Starting a thriving mini farm? Still in the works.

5. What is your favorite accessory, besides your wedding ring?
I don't really wear accessories on a regular basis, just a simple hair clip to keep the hair out of my face. I don't know what I would do without it.

6. What is your dream job?
Being a mini farmer on my own land while helping others grow their own food. I'd also love to be a musician, as I've written music and I've played the piano since I was 5.

7. What is your favorite item that you have made?
It would have to be my baked goods if food counts. I love baking zucchini bread, cookies, pies, etc.

8. Biggest pet peeve?
A lack of empathy in our society. If we all had a little more understanding and concern for each other, this world would surely be a better place. Whenever someone is exhibiting a lack of empathy, I have a hard time holding back my frustration and anger.

9. What is your signature dish?
Probably my pumpkin pie. I have invested a great deal of time and love in perfecting my crust-making technique and in discovering the perfect balance of pie filling ingredients, including the type of pumpkin or other squash used.

10. What inspires you?
Seeing what others have done to better their lives, sometimes even in the midst of intimidating odds. Successful mini farmers really inspire me!

11. What is your favorite quote?
"Money isn't everything" - A Lot of Wise People

My 11 Questions

If you could snap your fingers and make 1 thing happen instantly, what would it be?
What's your favorite time of day?
What species of animal companion do you prefer?
What project have you undertaken that has fulfilled you the most?
Are you spontaneous or do you thrive on a routine?
One thing that still scares you from childhood?
If you had to choose between a big house on a small property or a small house on a large piece of land, what would you choose?
Favorite fruit?
Vegetable you eat the most?
What #1 quality do you look for in a friend?
If you could do one dangerous thing without getting hurt, what would it be?

There are my questions; time to tag others for answers! Don't feel pressured to participate; it's just for fun.

Grandma Bonnie @
Bendar @
Zaylyn @
Steamjules @
Megan @
Kim @
My Journey with Candida (Sorry, I couldn't find your name!) @
Heather @
Terri @
Jeanette @
Ideas by Mom @

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Awesome Inspiration

This is my favorite video from the Grow series, because the couple is so positive, and their message is so uplifting! Raising quail, chickens, fruits & veggies, and having beehives on the roof are just some of the things working out for this previous car salesman and his wife. One of the best lines from this video: "The car business taught me that money isn't everything. It's about the people that are around you." 

If you haven't done so already, feel free to enter the Kindle Touch giveaway that I posted yesterday. It can also be found under the Giveaways tab at the top of this page. I will be adding another giveaway later this month for a CASH prize! Giving back to our supporters is what we are all about, and this is one of the many ways we can do it. Teaming up with other bloggers allows us to offer a bigger prize amount, which is why we have opted to do that so far, but we will offer our own Mini Farm Sustainability Project giveaways in the future when we have the resources.

Our Indie GoGo campaign has experienced a lull that I am confident we can overcome. I am spreading the word through various social media outlets and through offline sources, and I am asking that you please do the same if you are able. Regardless of the outcome of this campaign, we will proceed with our plans to help people in any way we can. Our plan this year is to help at least 2 families start their own mini farm in addition to developing our own 24 square foot garden project on rented land, although we are also making plans with 2 additional families to help them begin their mini farming journey. For details on these plans, click HERE. Thank you for believing in our cause and for supporting us in any way possible. 

We have used the soil blocker to start our first seeds (onion and celery), and I am working on a video to document our experience. Stay tuned, as I will post an update once it is completed for you to view. I will also add the video to the Documentary tab. 

If you haven't voted in our poll at the bottom right of this site, feel free to cast your vote! Your input is very important to us, and we want you to contact us with feedback about this site and our project in general. If you'd like to help by posting our button on your blog or website, the grab button is located on the righthand column. 

Again, thank you for stopping by and helping us make this project a success! We hope to inspire you on your own journey to live sustainable, healthy lives.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Greenhorns

While perusing Twitter for other farmers and aspiring farmers, I came across this completed documentary called The Greenhorns, and it interests me greatly, because it's about young, beginning farmers. I would love it if more people knew that it is possible to make a career out of farming. Though the full feature film is not for sale at the moment, I do have a preview that I can share with you. 

I can't wait to see the whole feature! In the meantime, here's the website:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Trip to Menards

On Friday, we went to one of our favorite stores with gardening supplies - Menards! This is the place where I've bought my organic seedlings the past 3 years, but as you know, this year I'm starting all my own plants from seeds. I'll be making my own starting medium and compressing it lightly with my newly-acquired soil blocker, so I need to find all of the ingredients required to make the seed-starting mix. The author of the book Mini Farming gives his recipe for starting medium:

Finely milled sphagnum peat moss, 4 quarts
Medium vermiculite, 1 pint
Well-finished compost sifted through a 1/4 inch screen made from hardware cloth, 1 pint
Worm castings, 1 pint

The author adds that you can experiment with the ingredients and that you do not have to rigidly adhere to these measurements. So far, I have located 2 ingredients in this recipe: the sphagnum peat moss and the organic compost. Menards sells 2.2 cubic feet bags of peat moss for $6.35, which converts to just under 30 quarts per bag. The compost is sold in 11 quart bags at $3.47 a piece. Not bad! This means that to make this starting medium recipe, it would cost about 86 cents for the peat moss and about 16 cents for the compost. As soon as I locate the vermiculite and the worm castings and figure out how many seeds I can start using this recipe, I will give you those numbers, as well. 

In addition to buying starting medium, I bought MORE seeds! Menards has an awesome organic and heirloom seed variety, and I couldn't resist buying a kaleidoscope carrot pack, sweet carnival pepper pack, beefsteak tomato, green eggplant, cantaloupe, and dill. At only $1.19 per pack, I was elated! I found trays to grow the seedlings in at 89 cents a piece, as well.

The last 2 items I bought were soil amendments for the raised beds were the seedlings will be transplanted when the time is right. I found blood meal and bone meal in 3 pound bags, each for $5.98. The blood meal will add nitrogen while the bone meal will add phosphorous. Now, I just have to find a potassium amendment which will be wood ashes, greensand, or seaweed. 

I will go over these soil amendments in a later post, as I do not wish to bombard you with too much info at once. It all seems overwhelming to me at times, but that's how it is when you're starting something new.

My total bill with tax came to $36.07, but I had expected it to cost more. After the seed order from Horizon Herbs, I'm glad to save money on the remaining necessities! Have you started to purchase your own garden supplies for this season? If so, where is your favorite place to shop? I have a few mom and pop garden centers on my list this spring, and I can't wait to pay them a visit!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Hope My Eyes are Not Too Big for My Stomach!

Yesterday, I placed the biggest seed order in history...okay, just my history. Here is the complete list from Horizon Herbs:

There are many more seeds I wanted to buy, but I decided I was going a bit overboard, so I scaled the order back a little for the sake of our wallets! The only two varieties not included on this list that I will have to obtain somewhere else are eggplant and red potatoes. 

Why so many seeds, do you ask? Well, that is because we are going to help two families in the area start their mini farms this year, in addition to starting our own (24 square feet) very small operation! I am so excited to announce this! We get a chance to help others grow food in their own back yards, one of our major goals for Mini Farm Sustainability Project. We will double dig the raised beds, shooting for at least 100 square feet on each family's property. I am hoping we will be able to harvest about 300 pounds from each mini farm, but as  I said, this is the year for learning, and boy are we going to dig in! Of course, we will document the whole experience, showing you exactly how we transformed a piece of these families' yards into fertile, mini farm land.

We are also planning a successive crop as soon as the first one is finished, seeking to maximize the harvest this year. This means we will need to start a second set of seedlings indoor in flats around late spring and have them ready to transplant into the ground as soon as the first crop is ready to be harvested. After the second harvest, we will be planting cover crops to keep the soil intact and replenish nutrients during the fall and winter. 

We are not charging a fee for the families we are helping. We needed a chance to prove ourselves, and we have it. Now it's time for us to show the world what can be done with a small garden and some determination!