WHEN TROUBLE COMES IN THREES WHAT CAN YOU DO?

I started this post but got too wordy. So, instead, I am going to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a young, old woman who loved to garden. She loved the seeds, the starts, the transplanting and even the weeding.

This young, old woman was so into her gardens that she did not mind if a bee landed on her to say hi or rest. It did not make her flinch to come across a spider the size of a silver dollar while working away. Even the surprise toad or snake did not deter her from her daily visits to the natural beauty.
lady and a bee
Then one week she had the terrible three’s visit her.
First: She ran into the turkey door latch and severely bruised her upper arm (which just happened to be right by her first major surgery: Reverse rotator cuff replacement).

Second: She tripped over the mat by the front yard garden gate and fell on her left side ribs. This caused her to take her breath away, and she was very sore, but still able to go on.

Then, late Friday afternoon that week the terrible third struck. While humming one of her favorite songs and weeding the front yard patio, she heard a buzzing sound by her right ear. The dreaded black biting flies had been around all afternoon, but she would put on a bit more bug repellant, and they would leave her alone. She believed it was just another fly, so she raised her hand to shew it away. Little did she realize at that moment she was irritating a wasp!

The monster stung her right by her right ear – on the face. She again did not flinch as she assumed it was the black fly. The evening went on as a normal Friday game night, but she realized that the right side of her face was very hot and kind of itchy.
On Saturday morning, she realized that her right eye seemed a bit blocked. Taking her normal morning trip to the bathroom, she glanced into the mirror and was shocked! The whole right side of her face was swollen. She now realized that it was not a black fly that stunk her – it was her old nemesis the wasp!

Then by Sunday morning, the swelling was growing across her face. Having been stung many times before (mind you there was NEVER a serious allergic reaction – EVER!) she simply took some aspirin, grabbed an ice pack and proceeded to place it on and off her face all the rest of that day.

Monday morning came, and the swelling was still getting worse, so she decided she had better visit her local hospital ER. Upon arriving and being all checked in, the doctor prescribed prednisone – 20 mg which is a type of steroid. She immediately went to her friendly pharmacy and filled the prescription. As soon as she got back into her car, she took the first pill.

Later Monday afternoon her head felt as if it was on fire. She was heating up but chilled, and everything (including her hair) had a burning itch which she was told not to scratch. That night she felt flu-like symptoms: Fever, chills, and a possible need to throw up.

Tuesday morning, she was the size of a party balloon! The swelling was not going down but seemed to be getting worse. Her eyes were so swollen she could not even see her beloved computer to write her thoughts. She took the 2nd pill.

balloon head

Wednesday was, even more, worse than Tuesday, but she took the 3rd of the four pills. Completely miserable, she could not sleep that night. Luckily the ER Doctor did tell her to schedule a follow-up appointment with her regular Doctor within 4-days. She had done so and was to see her doctor on the next morning.

Thursday morning came, and she did NOT take the last pill (by now it had dawned on her that the steroid and she were not in agreement!) and headed off to her doctor.
Once the Doctor took one look at her she knew – this was some type of allergic attack. Her Doctor proceeded to call over to her Pharmacist an order of Claritin and Zantac (prescription level) and over-the-counter Benadryl.

The young, old woman got safely back home and immediately started the routine of meds. By that same evening the burning, itching all over her head had ceased! Saturday morning she would see out of the left eye, but it was still fairly swollen. It took a full 10-days for all the bad steroid reaction to mellow out.

The moral of this young, old woman’s story:

Use the damn head nets you bought three years ago stupid!
(See Plow Share Thursday for more info.)

alergy pic 1 6-10    alergy pic 2 6-15

alergy-pic-3-6-17.jpg    alergy pic 4 6-26 all better

All better!

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Friday Funny: Ballet – OR – Did you catch that mouse?

Once upon a time, there was a little girl with very curly dark hair that loved to run and jump and play.  She had a horse to ride, dogs to run with, and a sister to get into trouble with.  Alas, this beautiful little girl was a klutz!

Her mother was full off cute old-fashioned sayings to explain her clumsiness in a way that would not make her feel sad or embarrassed:

  • “Keep doing that with your eyes and they will stay that way.” (After she would walk into the door because she had her eyes crossed.)
  • “Did you catch that mouse?“ (After she would trip and fall.)
  • “Here, you want to fight so bad, just take this butter knife and do it!” (After she and her sister got caught fighting – again!) (FYI: All they ever did was stare blankly from their mom to the knife, then to each other.  Sometimes it would end up in a mock sword fight.)

Well, that pretty young girl grew up to be a crusty, broken, old lady that still never watched where she was going.  This dizzy broad could not even pick up her feet high enough to get over a simple gate mat. 

gateway mat  (Take a good look at the cinder block in the top center)

Trip – slow motion fall – full body slam into the brick patio, iron arch entry frame, and of course planting her left side ribs squarely on top of a busted cinder block.  Her aim is impeccable!

5-6-17 bruised ribs (2)  Bruised Ribs (never had this before)

6-6 bruised knee Bloody and bruised knee – right by the replacement (because apparently a full replacement was not painful enough!).

 6-6 finger smash n tear (2)Ripped bloody finger from who knows what (thinking I may have tried to catch myself and missed?).

So, today’s lesson kids: 

Is it considered “ballet” if you spin as you fall, or can you use the excuse of “I am trying to catch a mouse” when none is present? 

Of course, you first have to stop laughing at yourself to declare either.  (FYI – not laughing now, hurts too much – boo hoo!)

PLOWSHARE THURSDAY – My new best garden friend!

We are a natural farm. I am pretty sure that the pests – weeds and bugs – in the area know this. The reason I know this is because we have so many on our property. The bugs are controlled via natural methods:

• Salt, soap, & vinegar solution.
• Companion Planting.
• Creative natural habitats to encourage good bugs (bad bug eaters).
The more difficult to tackle is the weeds. Heavy mulch works to a point; then other methods must be enlisted. This week’s plowshare…The Hand Hula Hoe!

hand hula hoe(Handle length is about 18 inches total)
What a God send this little hummer is!
We have had the original version for over a decade:

hula hoe original

This one is perfect if you like to stand/walk and weed around your plants. The blade scoots just beneath the top layer and slices through the weed – woo hoo!
Me, I prefer to get closer to my subjects. I get down on the ground, so I am at about eye level to my plants. The thing is for years I have used the old “hand hoe” and would not feel like I was getting very good control of things. The old ones that we have are like this:

regular hoe
with variations like these:


None of these is a bad method, just not the one that I/we prefer.

I have a dear friend that swears by her garden shears (scissors) and will sit beside her beds and nip off the weeds with them just below soil level. Nice, but tedious. This beauty does the same bit only much faster!

I still use a jar of vinegar for my bindweed as it comes back way to fast. This is one that I love to get right into the root. However, sometimes they move faster than I can keep up and will wrap around my amazing veggies – grrr! This is the perfect time for the vinegar!
It is easy to do:

  1. Find a loose branch of your runner vine or unwind some of it from your beloved plant.
  2. Open your jar of vinegar (we put ours in a mason jar because it is easier to use and seal).
  3. Place the separate vine into the vinegar for just a second or two.
  4. Pull it up allowing the excess to drip back into the jar.
  5. I like to put down several layers of newspaper or a thick cardboard before laying that dipped vine back on the ground (just like to make sure I am not leaking to anything good). Place the vine back down and let Mother Nature do her work.

The vine absorbs the liquid to the root and viola’ – dead vine! Two things to be aware of with this method:

  • Make sure you do not set the vinegar part near a good plant. It may seep into the soil and kill it as well.
  • Make sure you are going to have at least one good dry day to allow the moisture to go into the root. DO NOT WATER THAT AREA THAT DAY! You are trying to make sure the plant absorbs only the moisture you provided.

Hope this helps in your gardening adventures! The hand Hula Hoe can be purchased almost everywhere now. It is carried in most home and garden centers. Happy Gardening!
6-6-17 mock orange ours (2).jpg                               (Our beautiful Mock Orange Bush just two days ago!)

NEED SOME HELP? PLOWSHARE THURSDAY:

Those of you that have never been fortunate enough to live on a farm, plowshare (according to Merriam-Webster definition) is a part of a plow that cuts the furrow.  It cuts through the old stale gunk that may be devoid of any nutritional value and gets to the good stuff.  Starting this Thursday – May 25, 2017 – I am going to try to plowshare with you, my friends, family, and readers.

First and foremost, I want to make clear is I do not get paid for sharing this information!  I have no connection to any of my finds except that I approve of them because I use them and they work.  I only want to share the things that we personally do or use.  If some part of it didn’t work, I would share that too.

The subject today: Tomatoes.

tomato variety 2017

Since my blog is Helbergfarmstories, I will stick to the farm/gardens aspect of these shares. (I am developing a new blog just for human nature/survival items and will let you know when that is ready.)  The share for today is about growing the best natural tomatoes you can do at any place you have.

I love PBS (Public Broadcasting System), and our local station airs a show called Growing a Greener World.  I just finished watching Episode 803- Epic Tomatoes with Craig LeHoullier (dated by GGWTV on 4/29/17, but I tape all of them then sift through what we can use here in Colorado.).  I actually learned several new things and just couldn’t wait to share!

It is spring here in Colorado.  I have already put all of our seed starts from February into the greenhouse and outside gardens.  Since watching this program, I want to go back and do it all again.  I like to think that my sister and I know what we are doing (hahahaha – ok, stop laughing), but there is always something new to learn.  This was one of those “how could I have been so stupid for this long” moments.

The creator of the show, Joe Lamp’L, describes and share all the ins-and-outs of his garden (which, I must say looks pristine!?!), but he also interviews other influential people in the natural and organic gardening arenas.  Episode 803 what a hit and an eye-opener for me!

The first thing that caught my attention what the man he was out doing the interview on, got to name the “Cherokee Purple” tomato, which happens to be one of our most favorites!  Then I saw that he was doing most all of his gardening in his driveway!   WHAT??  Now we use pots, and plots, and rows, and have even grown in straw bales – but a driveway?  Well – IT WORKED!

The setup he has is amazing!  Everything from where and how he sows his seeds, to the layout in his driveway truly surprised me (not easy to do with this old lady!)!  Here we have been meticulously separating all our tiny little tomato seeds to carefully get only one in each little honeycomb space.  Now I see WE HAVE BEEN DOING IT ALL WRONG!!!

I fell in love with this guy’s methods and reasons for them!  However, I have a new problem…I want to do more!

  • I knew about pruning the tomato plants as they grow. Have known that one for decades.
  • I know about the value of the heirloom breeds also from experience. This experience was best proven by the taste method.

One year, about ten years ago, a good friend of ours decided to try his hand at growing heirloom tomatoes.  He builds a perfect setup in his heated garage and then proceeded to plant every single seed in the tomato packets AND about 20 different breeds of them.  This led to tomatoes coming out the windows – literally!  He didn’t know what to do with them all, but he knew we had much more room than he did.   Of course, we said we would take as much as he wanted to toss our way – oh silly us.

heirloom seed packets

We worked rigorously for several days straight to create our first two – hundred foot rows.  It was worth all the effort as we had no greenhouse at that time to extend the harvest.  Everything had to be done NOW – dig and weed the plots, put in the t-posts, hang the field fencing wires, layout the walkways around everything.  They were beautiful!

best tomato rows 2012

It was worth it!  That was the best Pico, salsa’s, and sauce’s that we ever made!  I also took it upon myself to taste-test every single one of those heirloom tomato breeds, and I quickly found my favorites.

  • The Cherokee Purple beat out my Black Krim (both are good, but the purple has a stronger flavor).
  • The Brandywine did not grow many (one more thing I learned, it is a heavy vine plant), but they carried a much sweeter flavor.
  • Then there was the Kellogg Yellow – less acidic so perfect for our friends that love tomatoes but can’t do the acid.

There was just so many different sizes, colors, flavors that I got lost in enjoying tomato salads all fall!  We froze and canned all that we could but gave away tons to others as well.

tomato salad

Episode 803 has now inspired me to revisit that year.  The fire took all my notebooks, but I still have great memories of it all.  This program also showed me some additional steps to help get the best tomatoes I can through the season, not just at the beginning.

I hope you all take a moment or two to watch it – well worth the time! Who knows, you may just learn something new?

never stop learning

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DO YOU STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES?

Bad news.  Bad news.  Then more bad news.  I AM SOOO TIRED OF BAD NEWS!  I have started a new self-help campaign…seek out good news!  Here is one that I came across this week:

Love the smell of spring? Here’s where the season’s odors come from.

It was kind of sad and disgusting.  So I choose to turn it into a good thing.

I like to learn the scientific reason for the smells that I love (which was key to the above article), but I prefer my reasoning…it is because of my past.  Here are some examples:

A fresh cut hay field: This one catches me at the second it hits my nose (and it’s a big nose) and instantly throws me back to the 80-acre farm I grew up on.  It’s spring, and we have started the first of several cuttings to create bales for the winter ahead.  This follows with the families joining to bale the hay.  Kids playing in the hay, the fields, and with the horses.  Parents would gather in the shade of the large garage we had or maybe in the back yard covered with huge trees.  Fresh squeezed lemonade, sun tea, and beer were the drinks of choice (Oh, and the water for the kids always came from the hose.  We had a well with great tasting water!).

new mown hay

The air after the first big spring rain:  Once again I am flung back in time to kids with little plastic (yep plastic, not rubber – that was for city kids!) boots.  They were very floopy (is that a word?  Pronounced like soupy.) so we never bothered to wear any socks with them.  The puddles we splashed in would throw the water up and over the top of the boot, and our feet would float.  This made it even more fun because as you went running up on a puddle, your slippery foot would slide sideways and cause you to fall into the puddle instead of just splashing – laughter all around!

flowers in spring rain

Pine trees, rosemary, evergreens:  These smells are sort of the same and all lead to the same thing – CHRISTMAS!  I have had a few bad ones, but most of my Christmas’s were crammed with wonderful memories!  Once again all about family and friends all smiling, laughing, and sharing. (FYI: This smell always makes me feel better if I am sad or depressed.)

Fresh baked bread:  Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked (or baking) bread?  It never has a chance to completely cool in our house!  As soon as it’s touchable, we slice it up, butter, and eat it!  This one does not go back to my childhood, but it does include family.  Mom hated to cook.  Dad loved to cook.  I just do not remember any baking specifics (except Christmas cookies) until I moved in with my sister – she’s a bake-a-holic!  One of her specialties that I swear I can smell clear out in the barn is her bread.  She loves to make a variety of them and is always looking for a new recipe.  I have resolved myself to the fact that I will never be skinny.  I can blame it on genes, surgeries, no time for exercise – whatever- but I know the real reason is that I cannot keep my hands off her homemade bread – yum!!!

d star bread (This is one of her creations!)

With all the surgeries I have been through, I wondered what would be the worst to lose: sight, hearing, smell, touch?  I have already lost part of my hearing (major ear infection as a kid) and some ability to touch.  Getting older the eyesight fades (can sometimes be corrected), but I think the loss of smell would break my heart!  It is the one sense that can reincarnate good times no matter where I am in life.

Yep, when it comes to smells that float up my nose, happiness resides there not science.  I will continue to breathe deep and suck in all the fun fond memories that I can, while I can!

upclose dog nose

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JUST A LITTLE QUICKIE FOR FOODIE FRIENDS.

Don’t want to bog you all down with too much info.  I found something new for those of you that read me and know how obsessed I am with clean food.  This one comes from one of my email newsletters.  I am always on the look-out for the facts in regard to real food, not chemicalized.

This one, I felt, was worth checking into….

http://safefruitsandveggies.com/facts-not-fears

They are supposed to be answering questions, concerns, and information in regard to better, healthier, eating foods.  They quote their research, link it to where they find it, and why they feel it is relevant.  It is part of the Alliance for Food and Farming.  I do not have any affiliation with them other than believing in their work and enjoying their articles.

Hope you find them informative and helpful in your gardening efforts, I do!

8-27 bounty 1 day

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WHAT SONGS ARE YOUR KIDS SINGING?

Do you know what your kids are singing?  Especially your very young kids?  Now I am no spring chicken anymore, but I know that one of the first things that kids learn is music – specifically singing.  They are taught at the youngest age to do simple rhyming song.

  • Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be?
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
  • One that my sister was taught was Chicken Riding? I, personally, had never heard it before or after she sang it (sometimes I think she just made it up to keep me guessing?!)
  • Itsy, Bitsy Spider – and so on.

The one children’s song that came to mind this morning is about one of my favorite creatures – the Bumble Bee.  “I caught a little baby bumblebee, won’t my mommy be so proud of me.”  (It’s kind of tragic at the same time – stings the kid, gets squashed, makes a mess of the shirt, and in the end, the kid gets into trouble…ahh, kids songs?!)

We have honey bees that are brought up from New Mexico every spring.  A company (friends) has our permission to pull their huge semi-truck onto our property.  Park it there, unload, and distribute over 600 colonies of bees.  It takes about three days to get them all spread out here in northeastern Colorado.  Then in the fall, they do the reverse.  We have extra free great pollinators all summer long.  (They should be here in the next couple of weeks.)

We also spend a fair amount of time every spring adding more (or new) good-bug-friendly plants to our yards and gardens.  The first few years on our little slice of heaven were kind of sad.  A few spots out front with a few flowers in them, but nothing to really attract our good bug buddies.  I can still remember the first time I saw a Praying Mantis.  Got so happy I cried a bit!

Over the years and our continuous work, we have managed to attract all types of garden helpers.

  • More Praying Mantis (green & brown – for those that do not know – female and male in our territory.)
  • Walking Sticks
  • The continued Honey Bees
  • Humming Birds.
  • An ever-growing variety of wild birds.
  • Lacewings
  • Ladybugs
  • Soldier bugs
  • And a variety of beetles.

The one that is closest to me, in more ways than one, is the bees.  We have several varieties here now.  The one that I did not see until just last year was the Bumble Bee.  I didn’t even think about it until I read this email: Mother Nature Network (MNN)

Bumblebee gets a helping hand from Endangered Species Act

I didn’t know they were on the endangered species list?  I know the Honeybees have been declining, so we help them as much as possible, but it never dawned on me that the Bumblebee is was having issues as well.

Maybe they should start teaching kid song to save things like the bumble bee instead of squashing it?  Maybe we could help starting now?

music notes 1

There was a little baby Bumblebee.

So I sat real still as I could be.

The Bumblebee came and sat on me.

Oh, what a wonderful thing to see.

Then he turned and smiled with glee.

Don’t ya just love those Bumblebees!

music notes 2

(Can’t write right now, because I can’t stop laughing at myself!)

Ok, so I cannot write a song, but you get the picture.  The idea of teaching our kids not to be afraid of things like Bumblebees, Honeybees, and Spiders just appeals to me.  I though, have my work cut out for me with my grandson.  He is a big giant panzie!  He can’t wait for summer, but asks every day if the snakes are out yet?  If I say yes, it is time, then he won’t go outside – grrr!

silly friendly snake

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HAPPY DIRT DAY – oops, sorry EARTH DAY!

Yes, it is that time of year again where we all pause for a moment to see the damage we are personally causing to the earth and if we can fix it.  I checked out several articles this last week on a variety of topics, the ones that caught my eye were about an individual’s past.

celebrate earth day

My past has some lumps and bumps in it but overall very few regrets.  I think one of my biggest regrets was not paying enough to my carbon footprint when I was young.  I NEVER threw trash out the window of the car (parents would have slapped me silly for a stunt like that), which is good, however;  I used to trust the bug killers back then, and that was bad.nasty bug spray

I didn’t catch on to the whole “earth-friendly” movement until the late 70’s (boo hiss).  I didn’t care what I ate or where it came from as long as I didn’t have to make it – fast foodaholic!  I also didn’t think twice about the plastic soda pop bottle I threw in the trash.

clean earth

The thinks (yes thinks not things as it took me a while to think of them – another proud idiot moment for me – woo hoo!) I know now are:

  • Reduce, recycle, reuse, repurpose everything I put my hand on. I three two are easy enough to manage, the last – repurpose – is my most fav one.  I blame my mother for this!  She was what we affectionately labeled her “a Dumpster Diver”!! (get out of the gutter for a moment!)  She could not pass up a junk (yard) sale, junk (2nd hand) store, or even an actual dump site.  It was not totally her fault.  She grew up during the depression, and they learned to save everything, just in case you needed it for something at a later date.  So rummaging around at flea markets, garage/yard sales, second-hand stores, and even dumps (trash places) was one of her most favorite things to do.  We three sisters all have this addiction which has also passed on to my eldest sister’s son (in truth he is worse than all three of us girls combined!).
  • NO CHEMICALS! Organic was the big “it” thing from decades ago.  As time and governments passed, the organic certification came about.  The funny thing about getting the organic certification is you can still use up to 15% chemicals on your plants (including food) and are still allowed to be called organic – bummer!  We prefer “natural” because all that we do on our tiny piece of earth is natural.
    • Companion planting.
    • Good bug attraction planting.
    • Weed removal by hand or earth-friendly methods (vinegar works great for a ton of bad weeds)
    • Using other things like feeding birds to deter (eat) bad bugs, setting water out (We have a pond and a creek in our field, and a coy pond in the front yard with easy ways for the honey bees to reach the water.  We also float wood in there during the hottest parts of summer in case they fall in.), allowing our goofy chickens to roam freely (might have to re-think this idea if they don’t stay out of our plots) and eat bad critters (grubs, grasshoppers, etc.), the guineas also get to roam about
  • Water conservation and sustainable farming/gardening practices.

every day earth day

Well, once again my trusted Farmer Almanac has provided  us all with some help:

15 Things YOU Can Do to Protect the Earth.

They have some of the great old standbys like eat green, waste reduction but they are also sharing ways to save with heating and cooling – nice guys!!  Oh, and I love the “Remember Mom’s Advice part – my mom was full of them!  In fact, thinking back now, I do not think there was a single conversation with mom that did not carry some type of mom-ism in it.

earthday chocolate

My final thought on this wonderful Earth Day 2017: (you must sing this…) It’s not easy being green.  Having to be the same color as the leaves and the trees… (Don’t you just love Kermit the Frog!)

kermit easy being green

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HOW LONG SHOULD A PROJECT TAKE?

I don’t think there is any single easy answer to this question.  Then again, maybe it’s just me because I have so many things going on at the same time.

  1. Knitting
    1. More hats for my Etsy shop (also scarves and jewelry)
    2. Personal requests – shawls, throws, and the occasional baby things.
    3. My creations:

4-17-17 my entralac creation

  1. Gardening
    1. Cleaning and prepping plots inside and out of the greenhouse.
    2. Keeping chickens from ripping out my new transplants and seeds.

dancing chickens

(Yes – my birds do the chicken dance every time they tear up a plot-grrr!)

  1. Writing
    1. Helberg farm stories blog
    2. Etsy shop – Rachellenacreations – blog and shop updates
    3. Rlh Creative Virtual Assistant – Yep, new job for me so more time to squeeze in a day (can you say IDIOT?? – but you have to say it really loud!)
    4. Other creative writing jobs – copywriter, author, nut-bag in a pen addiction (this one is the worst to keep up with…it’s all those wild ideas floating around in my head.).

When is a body to find time for the standard day-to-day projects?

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Shopping
  • Farm chores
  • Extra seasonal farm chores
  • Specialty projects (like setting up new plots)

They are all never ending.  So my question goes out to all of you – How long should a project take?

When I have the help of my co-farmer/sister; a simple project can be done in a day or a weekend.  When my Grandson is preoccupied, I can get minor projects done (cooking, cleaning – at least a little, etc.).

nathan hiding

I have a yarn addiction that must feed, or it gets ugly!

cat n yarn

The gardens cannot be left attended for a day without the weeds full-on assault on all my hard work.

scary weed

Where does one project end and the next begin?  Is it the same for everyone?  Am I the only whack-job that has to have several things going on at the same time, all the time?

Do not even start that “list” thingy with me!  I have tried every list and method out there.  Read the blogs.  Listen to the podcasts, and watched the webinars – bah humbug!  You can’t tell me that the people that create all that “helpful list stuff” are completely in control and on top of all their projects?  They must have some help, or they live in a box.  Some days I think it would be great to live in a Tiny House just to have my own quiet little space to thing…and of course, work on a project.

tiny home

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Why Should Something So Red and Delicious be Bad?

Sometimes the email newsletters that I receive provide some very useful insite.  This one is just such a case:   Strawberries still top the Dirty Dozen List.  By mnn (mother nature network)

silly-kissing-fruit

My faithful readers know by now that we are trying hard to grow most all of our own food.  We like to know exactly what’s going into the stuff that goes into our bodies.  Not that we are perfect by any means, but we do try our best.

We also run away from chemicals.  We use companion planting, natural gardening, and natural pest control techniques, and good old-fashioned hard work to keep our farm running.  Every year we like to try some new method or idea that is running around.  If it works great – we keep it and share.  If it doesn’t work bummer – we lose it but will still share why/what went wrong.

The above article from MNN regarding strawberries and pesticides made us sad, and a bit angry.  To us, one of the best and easiest things to grow almost anywhere is strawberries.  So why should anyone (individual or company) need to use anything unnatural to grow them?  We have grown them straight in the ground as well as a variety of pots, both doing equally well.

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I have some friends in both very moist and very dry areas that are using different pot ideas and doing quite well with their strawberries.  So why poison them?  Sad to say, but I think it is all due to vanity!

Yep, we all are guilty of this one!  We go into a store to buy food for ourselves and our families.  What is the first thing you check out?  How good does it look?  Right?  I am just as ashamed as you are on this.  I always flip over anything in containers to see if there is a molded or rotting one in it.  I squeeze my cucs to see if they are firm – if not I don’t buy them.  I smell my tomatoes, melons, and most all fruits.  I should be held accountable for some of this problem.

I allow blemishes and cut off rotting parts on our own homegrown food, but hate to pay for something that has a bruise on it – shame on me!

bad fruit

(Oh, except bananas – they taste better a bit bruised and make better tasting bread that way too.)

I love going to Farmer’s Markets to see all the produce others have to share.  I notice that lots of that are not perfect, but I am willing to pay a reasonable price (as long as they can tell me they did not use pesticides or chemicals) for it anyway.  I would love to see more Farmer’s Markets to choose from in the late summer/early fall months.  Our local small town grocery store allows the backyard gardeners to sell their extras in their parking lot during the harvesting season.  This is a great thing!  So why am I so picky about the stuff inside the stores?

cone of shame

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