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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I JUST HAVE TO BRAG UP SMART FARM/GARDEN PEOPLE!

The fact that these smart people also happen to be some of our dearest friends is purely coincidental.  We love to think- outside-the-box; you know, look at a stick and see a staircase type of thinkers.  Maybe this is why we have the best close friends in the world, we all think like this.

First example, our own greenhouse.  When we (my sister and I) initially thought about our new farm life, one of the things we knew we had to have was a greenhouse.  If you have the money and the space I highly recommend getting one.  It does not have to be as big as ours, but you need a place to grow your own foods. DSCF5121

I picked this picture to show you that we did build it ourselves (you can also check out my posts from 2012 for a lot more details).  This also gives you an idea of just how big it is.  The out-of-the-box thinking here (Kudos for our friend for thinking of this) is why it is 3 feet in the ground.  You actually have to step down 2 steps to get into it.  The friend also discovered a stellar insulated siding to pour the cement into that gives it a triple insulated side wall on all 4 sides.  The reason for this (for those asking) is to keep it warmer in winter and cooler in summer – on its own – with little to know help needed sometimes in the year.

Well the friend that helped us with this is ALWAYS thinking outside the box.  He came up with a couple of amazing simple things to help on their beautiful gardens.

HAIL – a harsh topic for anyone that loves plants.  You can spend days, months, and years working on your plants, trees, bushes, lawn, gardens and in an instant – HAIL – will destroy all or most all of it – grrr!  Fortunately, (knock on wood) we have not been in the path this year (yet), unfortunately our friends have been for the last several years (major bummer!).  So, Mister Think-Outside-the-Box came up with this nifty idea:

knj garden1

He is (they are) just so ingenious!!  (deserve many, MANY more exclamation points here but my writing checker won’t let me do it – boo hoo!)  Take a good look at this pic.  Not the raised beds, not the walk ways but the top and the slanted boards.  They placed wire hog/field panels (like this):

field pannel

The hole size in the squares is about 4”x4”, some have narrower holes toward the bottom to keep baby pigs in)

All over the tops of their garden spaces.  Then covered that with a finer mesh wire like this:

rabbit wire

Some people call it rabbit wire because the square holes are smaller than the holes in chicken wire and rabbit feet won’t fall through.  These are only about the size of a dime.)

NOW HOW BRILLIANT ARE THEY!!!

Then (like the top wasn’t enough smarts), check out the boards that are slanted in the raised bed.  They also have the hog panels attached to them – FOR THE VINING PLANTS NO LESS!  HOW DO THEY KEEP DOING IT?

They just keep coming up with these outstanding ideas.  How many years have my sister and I cried over lost crops to hail damage, but we never once thought of something so simple (almost seems like it should be common sense – LMAO), but so right?  We have hog panels all over our place, mostly for fencing.  There are some that have been damaged to the point of not hanging on a fence anymore, so they are just lying around – OH DUH!?!  (OK, can’t stop giggling at myself now.)

We have seen the panels used for gardening at this angle:

field panel in use

But never once thought far enough outside-the-box to come up with the perfect ideas that they did (yes, a bit of jealousy here – but just a bit because they are dear friends!).

I know that some of you (my Blogging Buddies) have seen some pretty nasty hail this year (maybe in past years also), so I wanted to share their smarts with those of you that have the same issues with your gardens.  I also wanted to brag up how beautiful their work is:

knj garden 2

Makes you want to just grab a lemonade, pull up a chair and watch the bees and butterflies do their thing.  AND THEY DID IT ALL THEMSELVES! WOW!!  This is not the work of a landscape specialist, it’s just them and their marvelous brains (more exclamation points – can’t help it – I’m just so excited for them)!  They work hard but they also work smart.  They deserve this Kudos!

I love my friends

“SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE” – remember the movie? Now this is scary stuff!

OK, now I’m gonna light some people up.  Maybe it is my age; maybe it is my experience, maybe it is just my love of movies?  When I think of the word “Soylent,” I remember a movie from the 70’s with Charlton Heston called Soylent Green (click here if you want to see a trailer-best part!).

Soylent Green movie poster

When it came out in 1973, it was a freaker.  What a great story line, creepy, but great!  Of course, about the same time, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes came out too (see the previous post) which was a really wild freaker movie.   The whole concept of screwing around with food started coming to light.  This, for me, was the first time I started taking an interest in what goes on (or into) with my food.  I was about 15 then, and we grew our own food on the farm.  Some things like sugar, coffee, flour we bought from the store.  But everything that was possible to grow in Wisconsin.  We did and then preserved it for the year to come.  We saved our own seeds, took our own cutting, and knew what we were eating.

Not anymore.  It’s a scary world of food out there now!  Hybrids, GMO’s, can’t save your own seeds because they won’t grow or because you may be stepping on some corporate’s toes.  REALLY??  How did we come to this?

A company has created a food and used the word Soylent in its title.  I don’t know if they are too young to connect with the old movie, or if they just thought this was a really good idea?  Either way, I just don’t know what to make of it.

They sent me a “request to follow” on tumbler.  Before I agree to any requests, I go and take a look at them.  Well, those of you that know me and know about our farming/gardening methods know that we are “natural” promoters.  We like to do things the normal, natural way with our gardens.  Pull our weeds by hand, use companion planting, save our own seeds, use natural pest control measures – no chemicals allowed here!  So for this company to want me to “follow” them is kind of stupid.  They have chosen to follow me, I’m sure, for marketing reasons.  Trying to tap into a bigger audience.  However, I am thinking that they did not read my fine print (which is actually normal size and ALLL over the place) on my/our decision to be natural in our methods.

They are pushing “Soylent” as a way to feed more people (hmm??).  How about if we teach more people how to grow their own?  Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, kind of thing.

scared fishNow, I’m all for live and let live; this is why I do not usually talk about this type of stuff (along with politics or religion), but they contacted me first.  So, they gave me the opportunity to dig into them (something I love doing – research!!).  They have some good products listed on the back of their bag:

soylent powder

HOWEVER, soy is one of their key ingredients.  As much as I love tofu, I also know that a majority of the crops are now grown using GMO seeds (Go here and check out the info for yourselves!).    So I either do not eat it or find something that is organically grown (even this I have issues with, but that’s another story).

So, unless there is some type of zombie apocalypse and I have no other choice to feed my family, I will not eat people, GMO’s, clones or any other type of un-natural type foods.

  • I will dig in my weedy dirt
  • Create my own compost to throw on my weedy dirt
  • Save my own seeds
  • Grow my own food
  • Process it in as many ways as possible to preserve the freshness
  • And enjoy the fruits of all my hard labor.

I also choose to do the following:

  • Share with my family
  • Share with our friends.
  • Teach others to grow this way
  • Help those that want to learn this method.
  • Encourage more to grow naturally

If you want to follow me, friend me, pin me and request me to do it back; you better have your ducks in a row because I will be digging!

ducks in a row

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SO NOW WHAT DO I DO? OVER 50? (-OR- If you have the guts)

Going a bit off topic today.  This is due to several article/blogs I have been reading.   I have some helpful news (I hope) to share with some of you that are interested.  I found out that a ton of people over 50 (and some over 30) do not know where to start if they are tired of the same old job, the same old routine, the same old, same old.  I would love to know if you know of, or at least heard of, the Aptitude Test?

Those of you that have heard of this and maybe have taken it, you can go now if you want.  Stick around if you would like to be ENLIGHTENED (this is where you are all supposed to go “ooohhh, aaahhhh” ).

enlightenment

I have taken the test 3 times.  The first time I was in my 20’s and semi-lost.  The jobs in Wisconsin died.  Uprooted myself (later my family) to Denver, Colorado (just because I one of my goals in life was to see the Rocky Mountains), and took whatever job I could get just to have an income.

Rocky Mountains-lookout mtn

My first job in Colorado was not bad, but it was through a temp agency.  Apparently, it was hard to get verifications off your application/resume’ from another state.  So, a majority of my applications were turned down simply because no one wanted to make the long distance call (now it’s all via internet…ahh the simpler days – lol).  So I went to the work force for help.

LOW AND BEHOLD I WAS SAVED!

 dancing kittens-saved

A wonderful person there turned me on to the APTITUDE TEST!  What a marvel of modern science that was (just a little F.Y.I. – this was in the early 80’s so it was done via pencil and paper – SHOCKER I KNOW!!).  A simple test that you just basically answer yes, no, like, dislike, or somewhere in the middle on most all of the questions.  Through this process of elimination, it spits out results that tell you what your beautiful mind is best suited for – AMAZING!  It doesn’t just look at what you have experienced or learned in life, but it looks at your hobbies and things you would like to do if given the opportunity.  WOW!  What a great idea – actually put people into jobs they would like to do!

So, for those of you searching, wishing, dreaming, or just curious, here are some free sites on the net that you can check out:

https://www.whatcareerisrightforme.com/

http://www.free-online-aptitude-test.com/career-aptitude-tests.htm

http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Aptitude-Tests-Career-Assessment  (this one looks so interesting, thinking it’s time for me to take one again – woo hoo!  Can’t wait to see what it says about me now!?!)

If you are confused about the results – don’t be afraid to ask!  You need to keep in mind that they are generalized answers – for example,  you did the test, and it tells you that you would be great in the customer service industry…so, some jobs you might like would be:

  • Retail Service or possibly Management  (Create the next Wal-Mart)
  • Social Services (Section 8 Voucher Program Manager – help people find decent, affordable housing)
  • Public Servants (police, firefighter, ambulance attendant)
  • Basically, anything that involves connecting to people, usually on an individual level.

So don’t get scared or discouraged if you do not know how to read the results.  You can ask any of these places/people for help:

  • Local High School Guidance Counselor
  • Local Work Force Center
  • Local College or Community College
  • Me, I would love to help you work it out.  It was part of what I used to do when I worked for the Government (yep, I was a Section 8 Voucher Program Manager – I helped people find decent, safe, and affordable places to live).

Good Luck and enjoy it – it is out there to help you!

goforit good luck

 

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