HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR WATER?

A farmer or gardener perspective for decades now has been to avoid plastics as much as possible.  They do not biodegrade which, of course, is not good for the earth.  This was my main concern when it came to plastics, specifically plastic bottles.

no plastic bottles

To-go containers for us are usually cardboard, paper bags, or reusable containers.  Yes, some of the reusables are plastic, but they are the good plastic that gets recycled.  We do love our redo, reuse, repurpose things on the farm, but most of these things are items that will biodegrade.  If they don’t do that then they had better last forever.

Well, my blog buddies at The Whoot.com have found a new danger from plastic, and it has to do with drinking water purchased in plastic bottles.

Plastic Bottled Water Does Damage With Every Sip

They share some fantastic info-graphics describing how the plastics are labeled, what the label means, and what the level of danger is.  I have saved several of these graphics for our own future use, and I hope you will do the same.  They even have a mini-video explaining how/where the plastic danger is.

We found it easier years ago to just purchase the heavy-duty refillable water bottles and carry them wherever we go.  We can load ice cubes in them more easily, and even freeze part on some of them.  Nothing better when working out in a hot garden than a cold drink of water.  We also have the huge advantage of our own well.  Some people don’t care for the taste of well water, but we prefer it.  To us, some city waters taste tinny or sterile.  We have the added benefit of natural minerals in our water, nothing cooked out.

This week my plow-share is all about safe, drinkable, water.  Simple, short, and hopefully refreshing.

good water bottle

You can also check me out at:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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HOW COULD WE HAVE A WORLD WITHOUT THESE?

Those of you have been following me know that I am a “natural” nut.  Our farm and gardens are all grown using natural methods.  We do not like or use chemicals, nor do we care for hybrids (as most will not produce viable seeds for the next year growth), or GMO’s.  We grow mainly heirloom fruits and veggies, and we try to encourage the natural vegetation for our area (Even the bindweed as long as it stays out of my gardens.  It passes that line, and I feel I have a right to use all the salt, vinegar, and soap as necessary.).

I also subscribe to emails from the Smithsonian, and the Health and Science section of the Washington Post. (Nothing with politics as it stops me from sleeping.)  The email I received on 10/12/17 got me all upset.  This was the headline:

BANANAPOCALYPSE:  The race to save the world’s most popular fruit.

had heard about a month ago, the threat of a disease to the crops in South America.  I also know that is where the US gets the majority of its bananas.  I am a self-proclaimed banana-holic.  I love the darn things in so many different ways:

  • Banana bread (the obvious choice)
  • Strawberry-banana smoothies (Grandsons favorite choice).
  • Frozen Bananas dipped in chocolate (These were called “Monkey Bars” at a long-gone little drive-in, in Wisconsin, called the Tinker-Tot.).
  • Bananas sliced on cereal with milk cold.
  • Bananas sliced in oatmeal with a bit of honey and milk.
  • Banana malt (milkshake to most, however, I prefer the malt flavor best).
  • Just plain old bananas.

They have got to be my most favorite fruit, and they help keep up my potassium levels (bonus!).  So I am very saddened to hear of this latest epidemic.  I hope you all read and share the full article, then pray for a natural miracle.

I did not read in anywhere in the article if they have discovered where the TR4-resistant strain (disease) originated?  My first thought was if you know what it is, and you know what it does to the target plant (in this case my lovely bananas), then why wouldn’t you spend the scientific time and money to figure out how to kill the fungus in its tracks?  What good is all their GMOing if it just the fungus just catches on and comes up with its own new tweaked version of attack?

I do not want my amazing bananas to go away completely nor forever, but I also am not thrilled about the method the people in the know are taking to try to help.  I do not believe that in the long run, splitting and splicing, mixing and matching, is not the answer.  They knew that this first appeared as TR1 discovered in the 1950’s, found a unique variety in China and cloned it – why haven’t they been working on a cure for the fungus since then and not just a disease resistant temporary fix banana?

To me, it is like using makeup to cover up acne.  The condition maybe masked but it is still there, and without the proper medication it will continue to thrive.

Then again, we still do not know how to cure a common cold – oh well.

Thank you for allowing me to share my soapbox with you.

silly bananas

 

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You can also check me out on:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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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DO HOW-TO BOOKS COUNT AS READING?

I have never cared for romance novels.  Their stories always seemed too unrealistic or predictable.  My love life has NEVER been that way.  I have tried reading sci-fi because I love sci-fi movies, however, with a mind that wanders as much as mine does, I could not follow their plots.  I do have a passion for all kinds of how-to books.  Maybe it goes beyond passion to obsession.

pinterest-pic-3

I was sitting alone after one of my surgeries and after the fire.  We were living in a trailer that was placed on our farm to use while the house was being redone.  It was a cooler, rainy summer day and the crew had the day off.  I wanted to try to crochet or knit something.  One of our many friends gave me some alpaca yarn to begin to replace all that I had lost.  The problem was that I had no patterns – 50 years of collecting, all gone.  I began to cry.

Here I sat, alone, hand all wrapped up, half my major yarn-holding finger gone, yarn – my passion- in hand and no ideas in my head.  Then, almost as if someone said “she deserves a break,”  I remembered: Knitting Daily TV is on the internet!  (Now they are connected with Interweave.com) They have free patterns, books, and even DVD’s all on “how-to” different knit and crochet things.  They did not have any free patterns, so I went digging!

pinterest-pic-5

I found this: http://www.beginner-crochet-patterns.com/ – thank you, God!  I then found out through doing just the beginning basics; this was not going to be as easy as I thought!  The ½ finger was my yarn guide finger.  I saved several how-to patterns on my laptop.  I was feeling life again!

One of my goals this year is to read at least one book per week.  Now I know that some of you do not consider how-to’s in the “book” category, but I have and always will.  They saved my sanity!  Losing as much as I did in such a fast, and short time was more devastating than I had realized.  Crying on that couch woke me up to that reality.

Decades I had surrounded myself with yarn crafting.  Whenever things were bad or tough (had a lot of those), I could count on my yarn, a project, and someone in mind to give the finished product to as a means of moving forward.  To wake up one moment and realize that my “constant” in life was in a dumpster filled with ash broke me.

*The home was gone.

*Grandson is gone.

* Passions gone.

*Life forever changed.

I learned, at that single moment, just how strong I was – mentally.  I knew what would bring me back to the land of the living again, and it worked!  It took my sister a couple of years to find herself again.  My daughter is still struggling and has not figured it out for herself yet.  Time does not always heal all wounds, at least not for us.  Purpose does!

pinterest-pic-1

I now have a pretty good sized library of how-to’s now.  Everything from yarn workings, to wood working, to furniture restoration, to a multitude of crafting ideas.  I am hooked on several blogs that deliver shared ideas every couple of days on how-to do something or another.  My cousin, bless her agricultural soul, has sent us a ton of ag how-to books, magazines, and hooked me into Pinterest (here is my site: https://www.pinterest.com/gardenglows/)  for millions more great ideas.

I believe that how-to books are real books and I will continue to push on to completing at least one per week.  (Truth be told, I have about 4 or 5 going at any given time and get excited when I actually get to the end of one!  Tricks me into thinking I know what I am talking about on that subject – LMAO!)

pinterest-pic-2        pinterest-pic-4

woodburn-mushroom-2017

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I WILL BE HAPPY – I WILL BE HAPPY – I WILL BE HAPPY??

This is my third draft of this blog.  The first was fear and shock.  The second was major anger.  Then, after I ranted on for over an hour (and over 15 pages – eek), I looked back at my first blog this year.  My promise to myself was to have more fun, a happier new year so here goes:

·         I am 57 years old.  Disabled single mother of a disabled daughter. (strikes one and two – disabled and female)

·         I have worked since I was 12 years old and even sold sweet corn for an elderly farmer in upper Wisconsin. (You never forget your first real job!)  If you count the chores growing up on a farm, then I have worked forever (started young with the responsibility of feeding the barn cats and farm dog). (One for the plus side – low-income worker)

·         I remember when Kennedy was shot.  Martin Luther King was shot.  Nixon did not go to jail for Watergate but got a full pardon from his VP turned President.  Carter, Regan, 2 Bushes, Clinton, Obama but none of them actually scared me – this one does! (strike three – believing in the good in everything idea.)

·         I/we own a gun and believe in our right to bear arms – pretty sure we are going to need it now. (oh, ouch, strike four – believing there will be a war on US soil within the next four years).

·         I believe in my right to voice my opinion, and not to follow any Hitler-type brainwashing scams. (Oh now I did it – strike five, compared to evil from the past.)

Now that I have struck out under the new regime, here are my goals for my/our future:

·         I believe in stocking up our pantry to the point of overflowing.

·         I believe in getting alternative energy on our farm immediately.  This may require starting small – but any start is a good start.

·         I believe in protecting all that we have worked so hard to obtain from any that will try to take it from us.

·         I believe in keeping myself and my loved ones as healthy as possible because the idea of any medical help is now gone.  This will include learning more natural methods and growing more of our own herbs and plants to assist in this.

·         I believe in getting to work on an underground root cellar (or bomb shelter) as soon as possible to store more things for family and friends.

Maybe the resurgence of TV shows depicting the way life was before the 1960’s is an omen.  Women and minorities have just lost all of their battles for at least the last five decades.  The big corporations are going to get bigger, worse, and do more harm than they have already done.  The small business does not stand a chance.  And, of course, Congress will be Congress.

The happy side to all this:

·         Hmmm, let me think on this a bit OH, I HAVE IT – THE ZOMBIE APPOCALYPS IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, AND I BELIEVE THAT RICK, DARRYL AND CAROL WILL SAVE US ALL!

 

zombie

zombie      zombie

I WAS SHOCKED AND AMAZED – WAS I IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE?

I hate shopping! There, I admitted it. If I can’t get to the store by 5 a.m., I don’t want to go. The reason is simple enough – rude angry people. Not just the customers, but the store employees too. When you go really, really early; you usually find a lot fewer people and most of them will smile (part of this may be that we know we are all idiots getting up extra early just to get to the store). However, this time of year is the worst.

Well, I was completely taken aback yesterday at the mega store (yes it is one of the big chain stores). I couldn’t go until after 10 a.m. because I had to pick up my meds, so I just waited to take care of the whole dreaded thing at one time. My visit started with the normal long wait at the Pharmacy, but while I was standing there I was actually joking with the clerk – AND SHE WAS LAUGHING WITH ME!!??

Then, I turned to continue my store assault – defenses up – but there was this guy – also laughing with us. I smiled and cautiously skated around him since I believed him to be not of sound mind. Joining in a humorous moment at a store – don’t be ridiculous!

I proceeded with fear into the children toy area. My safety mechanism’s on full alert owing to the fact that this is just before Christmas. Once again I was taken aback, other customers in the area were responding to my “hi with a smile” back – with the same! I was beginning to feel like I was in a strange episode of The Twilight Zone (for you younger readers – Google it, worth checking into the videos/stories).

twilight zone

(Click on the pic and it will take you to my fav episode – the night of the meek)

Then the most bizarre of all. I was looking for replacement ink cartridges in the electronics department, and an employee approached me with a smile and said “Can I help you find something?” Okay now I was really getting scared – someone actually appeared out of nowhere to help me – I didn’t have to go hunt them down?? I explained to her what I was looking for and the shelf where it is supposed to be was empty, to which she replied, “I think we may have gotten some in, wait here for a moment please and I will look in the back.” I just stood there looking at her in disbelief. I may have shaken my head in agreement but, in all truth, I don’t remember.

dont panic

NOW WAIT A MINUTE – I’m in a large chain store. It is just before Christmas. I am in one of the worst departments of this store during this time of year. And an employee just appeared out of nowhere, requested to help me, and is even going to check the back room stock? I’VE BEEN ABDUCTED BY ALIENS – I KNEW IT WAS GONNA HAPPEN SOME DAY!!! Eeeekkk!!

I couldn’t move. I found I was staring at the numerous TV’s on the wall in a daze and a customer went by me, smiled and actually said “Merry Christmas!” I smiled back and returned the phrase, but I was also pinching my hand now, sure that I was dead. Ouch, nope.

The helpful employee actually came back – and with my ink and another boxed set in hand. She said she found both, and since the set I on sail this week, she thought (yep THOUGHT) I might want it instead.   I could feel tears of amazement welling up as I politely thanked her for her efforts and took the boxed deal from her hand.

I went through the rest of the store, doing my usual round of shopping and encountering more of the same…smile’s, HI’s, Merry Christmas’s , all kinds of people being polite and courteous. I even went to check out and had a little older man and women pull up in line behind me, and I did my usually “You only have a few things, please go first” – and they thanked me?!?

When I was completely done, car packed and sitting in the front seat getting ready to start the car; I pondered the last few hours (yes, it takes me from 2-4 hours to shop now – another big reason for hating it!). I started my car and proceeded to pull back, but admit that I was not completely paying attention – but another driver was. I was looking over my shoulder to the right backing up and, when I came back to the left to check, she was sitting there – patiently smiling and waving me to continue, it was safe!

smile teacup pig

I drove down the aisle to the end and paused. There were no other vehicles coming or even near me, so I took a moment to contemplate the last few hours. It was a Christmas Miracle! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. Yes, wishing on a shooting star makes your dreams come true. Yes, there are angels watching over us. And yes, people can be nice, and polite, and decent to one-another. No matter what ugliness maybe in the news, and no matter what I may have experienced in the past; this was the wondrous thing I had been wishing to see. So I send out a huge THANK YOU to the universe for restoring my faith in the human part of humanity!

Merry Christmas to all!