Today Marlon picked up our first bulk food order. I started with just 10 items & I'm excited about simplifying our diet and being more cost efficient with our spending. I'm also checking out some delicious Mediterrean dishes that require ingredients I can buy in bulk --if they turn out well, I'll post a few recipes here :-)
What It Is, How It Started: There is a movement afoot that is sweeping the United States. It's called "Urban Homesteading". People are turning their city lots into tiny little farms. They are growing organic food, and sometimes even animals. Not since the "Victory Gardens" of WWII have so many people been so intent on feeding themselves. What they can grow all depends on what their particular city allows.
Whether an urban homestead is started to grow healthier food with organic gardening, save money and be more self-sufficient, or to reduce the carbon footprint of your family, there is not much of a downside to this way of life.
The whole urban homesteading movement started with the Dervaes family in Pasadena California, who grow 6,000 pounds of organic food on 1/10 acre of their city lot every year. They started an urban homesteading website, to encourage others who would like to learn to be more self-sufficient on a city lot.
In bad economic times, people look for ways to be more self-sufficient. There is also the issue of the dangers inherent in eating commercially grown food. Chemicals, contaminants, pollution, genetic engineering -- all these things make taking a bite of food something to dread. Organic gardening is growing in popularity every day.
The internet is a smorgasbord of sites and videos by urban homesteaders all across the country. They are proving that you don't have to own acreage to be self-sufficient. The amount of your self-sufficiency is entirely up to you. Even apartment dwellers are getting into the act, growing container gardens on their patios or vegetable gardens in their courtyards.
The Basics - Food and WaterUrban homesteaders often start out by simply growing organic vegetables and fruits, and as time goes by, add more self-sufficiency resources. Water catchment systems are usually the first thing that is added after the gardens. Water catchment is especially helpful in places where there is a lot of annual rainfall. In places with wet and dry seasons, they can be tricky, because they require a way to refill the rainbarrels in the dry months.
Rainbarrels can be purchased on local sites like Craigslist for as little as $25 apiece, already fitted with all the plumbing necessary. You can also purchase the barrels and easily add the fittings yourself very easily. Plans and instructions are available at several sites online. Using a water catchment system can save hundreds of dollars a year over city water. Since the sewerage charge is usually based on your water consumption, you will be saving there as well.
As far as drinking water is concerned, there are some urban homesteaders who utilize distillation of rainwater to provide their drinking water. Plans can be found online for building your own water distillation system, although a small used commercial distiller can be bought for under $100.
Moving Off the GridMost of the more advanced urban homesteads have some sort of alternative energy system. Whether it's solar or wind power, they have found a way to generate their own electricity, and at least supplement what they buy off the grid. Some use manually powered electrical generating systems, such as a bicycle that charges a battery, which can then be used to run the computer. There are a myriad of alternative energy possibilities available, and whatever amount you generate yourself saves you that much money on your grid power usage.
Some urban homesteaders just grow their own food, but some actually make a living off of their homesteading. They sell organic produce to local restaurants, grow and sell ornamental or edible plants, or sell the very systems they build, such as homemade windmills and solar panels. Some make a living off of writing about their homesteading efforts, and selling affiliated products.
Whichever path you choose, you too can become more self-sufficient and reduce your carbon footprint with urban homesteading.
It's herbal studying season for me again! Usually around the Fall/Winter, I get the itch to spruce up on my Herbal studies. Honestly, incorporating herbs is NOT as difficult as it seems, (if you have an open mind.)
Here is one of my favorite sites that gave me a good boost with my herbal endeavors --You'll find LOTS of free resources: http://www.learningherbs.com One of their most recent freebie is a 58page book on Healing Herbs. You can receive this by signing up on their website. Thank you Gallagher family!!
First ,let me state that I recognize I'm never to old to learn something.....this journey is FULL of learning opportunities and I'm so grateful for them.
Earlier this week, I was completing my learning coach orientation about computer safety and I'm still amazed at just how naive I've been. WARNING: The internet has serious potential for danger!!! (Obviously, this is no surprise for many, and I even have blogger friends who are very cautious when posting.)
Just as I have done, please take time to do your research (your eyes may be opened to MUCH more than you realized):
I have often wondered just how technology driven our society will become in the future. Although, I am comfortable with many new developments, there's still a whole world of advancements popping up everywhere.
Recently, our family has embarked upon one of these advancements in the form of Virtual Education. We have enrolled two of our children in an online school program that has proven to be a real peak into the future. The initial process was very comprehensive, including over 3 hours of "learning coach" orientation. Now, the more we discover with this program the more I'm anticipating learning as much as the children (lol)
Aside from the wealth of knowledge provided through their studies, there are also multiple "live-lessons" in which the children can remotely interact with their educational guide as well as other students. This is a really exciting feature & reminds me a lot of the free video conferencing service: SKYPE (http://www.skype.com )
Ultimately, there is much to be learned from this experience, especially in the area of organization and discipline :-). It's not been too long since I was in grade school, yet I can definately see how Virtual Schooling may become more prevalent in our society. The possibilities abound!
ma·ni·cot·ti[man-i-kot-ee] –noun Italian Cookery . a dish consisting of large, tubular noodles stuffed with a mild cheese and baked in a tomato sauce
My dear friend in Tennessee originally exposed me to the delectable taste of one of my now favorite Italian dishes, manicotti.I enjoy it so much & wanted to share a VERY easy recipe that is a big hit with our family, (I’ll also throw in a really easy Spinach Salad to compliment the dish)
In a large bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, onion and egg. Season with parsley, pepper and garlic powder. Mix in 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan. In a separate bowl, stir together spaghetti sauce and water.
Spread 1 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Stuff uncooked manicotti shells with ricotta mixture, and arrange in a single layer in the dish. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until noodles are soft.
Spinach (fresh bunch) Mandarin Oranges (1 can) Slivered Almonds (handful) Olive Oil (a few drizzles) Sea Salt (dash) Directions: Clean & Rinse the spinach.Tear apart (remove stems) and put in salad bowl.Drain out the juice from the oranges and pour into bowl.Add about a handful (more or less) of slivered almonds.Drizzle some olive oil & toss.Shake a little sea salt and toss.ENJOY!
The season is changing & there’s potential harmful bacteria & viruses around. As always, I’m amazed at just how simple and effective home remedies can be. The more I study the human body and how to support its systems, it has been quite rewarding.
Last week one of our younger children had a high fever.In my health studies, I’ve learned that fever is one of our bodies alarm systems.Viruses are delicate in hot temperatures, so having a fever is actually helping your body battle the enemy intruder.
At the same time, it is VERY important to monitor the fever and not allow it to get out of control.LOTS OF REST, VITAMIN C, REHYDRATIONare also key to successfully overcoming a virus.One new remedy I learned was to make a cold compress and add a few drops of essential oil (peppermint is my preference, but I’ve read that tea tree also works well.)Simply pour some cold water to a bowl and add 2-3 drops of essential oil. Dampen a wash cloth in the water, ring out and place on the back of neck and forehead. CAUTION: you don't want the MAJORITY of essential oils to touch directly to the skin (tea tree is okay for this, but still dilute in the water.) Continue to apply the compress as needed.
Keep in mind, this isn't to replace common sense or your preferred health practioner (some high fevers can be REALLY serious and immediate medical attention is necessary.) Overall, I hope you will really begin to take your health seriously and explore your options :-)
I'm a Joyful Blogger with hopes of encouraging others by sharing a bit of our journey
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Our family is so Blessed!
" Trust in יהוה, and do good; Dwell in the earth, and feed on steadfastness. And delight yourself in יהוה, And let Him give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to יהוה, And trust in Him, and He does it. " Tehillim (Psa) 37:3-5