A Garden for the Bees

I use to be so afraid of getting a bee sting since I have a pretty adverse reaction. My Mom carries an epi-pen since she has an even worse reaction, so I learned to fear these little bugs early on. Needless to say I would swing and bat at the bees when I would garden.

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Three bees are in this flower!

Flash forward to now many years later and in the middle of our bee crisis (thank you Monsanto) I have developed a much different relationship with these creatures. It began with sitting at my pond and watching my turtles and fish. I guess because I was in observer mode I wasn’t fearful of being stung and I watched just how many bees came to drink from our pond. Hundreds of them come at the end of the day and if can be scary if you let yourself go there. We made our pond for turtles from the pound and its very natural, murky, full of plants and logs and things turtles like. The plants make it safe for the bees to land and drink. They actually drink the water from the roots of the plants that are above the water level. They are not interested in people, they are bees and have a mission and usually it does not involve you!

At about 6:00 if you are lucky enough to be sitting at the pond you can watch the bees one and two at a time fly off in the same direction home. Within 30 minutes hundreds of bees fly home and they are all from the same hive. I totally understand the meaning of bee line, until I witnessed this I never really knew what that expression meant! These bees have become dependent on my pond and since I know that without bees we would starve to death I have changed how I garden and plant many extra bee-liscious things to keep them near by.

This year purely from my compost I have begun to grow pumpkins I think. I composted so many different kinds of squash, pumpkins and gourds that I’m now sure yet just what is growing but I tell you what the bees love these! I am fascinated and more in awe each day and have pretty much lost my fear of getting stung.

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Down under the leaves its cool and there are so many bees flying from flower to flower

 

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Creating workouts that fit with my busy life

I have a lot on my plate I have 40-ish animals, 2 kids, 1 husband, a new career and I cook nearly everything we eat each day starting at 5:30 making my hubby breakfast and lunch to take to work. I sometimes don’t stop until 5:00 and by then I am tired and its time to start to think of cooking dinner and locking down the farm and feeding the rest of the animals their dinner.

I do not want to stop exercising and yet I find myself wanting to put that last on my list of things to do especially in the winter with the shorter days, cold weather etc. Most often I succeed and run out of time to get in a workout and my lazy self wins. Inside my head I am doing two dances; a celebration for the lazy winner and a sad dance of disapproval for the high energy side of me that loves to move and sweat.

Today however I have figured out how to accomplish a few tasks and combine them. I do not consider this multitasking I will call this being fit and focused with prioritizing my to do list. Each day on my farm there are things that need to be done but its cold and dark in the morning and by the time I get outside to feed my animals I leave little to no time for yard or garden tending.

breathe and get through tough times

So the breakthrough was simple; pick one task in the yard/garden that requires repetitive movements and that can keep me active for 45 – 60 minutes. As I looked around my yard today there was so much I could do since I have been neglecting my yard since….um December (gasp!) I picked the most urgent, my leaf covered roof. I lugged my rake, shovel and a broom up a ladder to my rooftop and proceeded to work myself into a nice elevated cardio just with raking and shoveling. To add to my workout I had to climb up and down the ladder to stomp down the leaves in the green bins I had place below. I have 3 green bins so I would climb up and down 2 times per bin and jump and stomp the leaves down so I could cram more in. When my bins were full and placed out on the street I walked down to my neighbors and borrowed two of theirs and played repeat. So with two more bins came more raking, shoveling, ladder climbing, bin stomping and lugging them to the street.

All in all I worked out for 45 minutes and worked up a nice heart rate. I know I could have done more but for today I was able to accomplish working out and getting one thing done on my farm that needed to be checked of my to do list. Tomorrow will be a new adventure and I think I will now look at my chores around the property as my daily exercise routine and really work at getting fit while enjoying my farm and garden chores.

10 Ways to save money and eat healthy organic foods!

1) Go with home-made.  Americans today spend 49% of their food budget on eating out at restaurants.  When you make it yourself, you know what’s in it – and you can save a lot of money, too.

2) Use bulk bins. Buying beans, whole grains, and other non-perishables from bulk bins will save you an average of 56% over buying the same items pre-packaged.

3) Cook in quantity.  Whether you live alone or are part of a big family, making big sauces, pots of soup, casseroles and other meals saves time in the long run.  You can freeze extras for convenient instant meals, or create meal-sharing arrangements with friends or co-workers.

4) Grow food. It takes time, but gardening is the most economical way to enjoy the freshest possible food.  In urban neighborhoods, community gardens are a great way to grow food and build community at the same time.  There are an estimated 18,000 community gardens in the US and Canada.   For resources to help you start one, visit this the American Community Gardening Association.

5) Buy direct from farmers.  When you join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), you enter into a direct win-win partnership with local farmers.  Farmer’s Markets are a fantastic way to support farmers while enjoying fresh food straight from the source.  In the US, the number of farmer’s markets has more than doubled in the last decade.  Click here for more info on Farmer’s Market and CSA opportunities near you.

6) Use what’s in season, economical and nutritious.  Some of the most budget-conscious starches include beans, whole grains, and potatoes.  Some of the most affordable and nutritionally potent vegetables often include cabbage, carrots, and onions.

7) Use – and stick with – shopping lists.  Maintain an ongoing shopping list.  Conduct a quick inventory of your kitchen before you shop to see if you’re missing anything important.  By thinking your shopping through in advance, you’re more likely to get what you actually need, and less likely to waste money on impulse buying that you’ll later regret.

8) Cut down on animal products.  As Dr. John McDougall has pointed out, approximately one-third of the calories consumed by people living in developed nations are from animal sources.  Animal foods — like meat, poultry, fish, milk, and cheese, are usually an expensive source of protein and nutrients.

9) Eat before shopping.  Grocery stores know the power of delectable smells. Everything looks good when our stomachs are screaming, “feed me!”, and that can lead to more impulse buying.

10) Join Green Polka Dot Box.  This is a natural and organic buyers collective that makes healthy ad GMO-free foods available for great prices, delivered straight to your door, anywhere in the United States.  Find out more and sign up here.

Healthy food is a fundamental building block to a healthy life.  It’s an investment worth making.  And in many cases, we can even save money in the process.

And most importantly and always love life, yourself and remember

EAT……HEAL…….LIVE!

 

 

Some Good Ole’ Farmers Advice

Old Farmers Advice
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* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered…not yelled.
* Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
* Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
* Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t botherin’ you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
* If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
* Leave the rest to the Creator……..

Gardening is my Religion

The word gardening for me does not simply apply to working in my “garden” it is a term I use loosely for any yard work I am doing. There are days when I cannot wait to get outside and grab a pair of clippers or a shovel and get to work. As I walk through the farm to the back to feed my animals first thing in the morning I take an assessment of what project I might be able to get done today either before or after work. Now the funny thing about that is by the time I finish feeding and tending the critters then find my gloves and tools I have often found yet another “project” that I wind up doing instead! I always have a “wish” list of things I really want to do and sometimes when I think about them all I can get a bit overwhelmed and then I put on my gloves and grab my tool of choice and like listening to the choir sing my attention becomes focused to one task and becomes a job of pure delight. The world around me disappears as I listen to the birds chirping, see the kitties playing all around me and I joyously trim, weed or plant.

Multitasking is greatly over-rated in my opinion; when one uni-tasks the mind becomes quiet, the world is manageable and you are able to let stress dissipate  because the job in front of you if your only focus. When approaching my ever-growing to-do list and pick just one thing and make that one thing impeccable, I feel accomplished and good. I feel whole and worthy. Then when I walk through my yard later on I see that one improvement that looks amazing and it makes me want to do the next little item.  My gardening is my meditation and my ME time. I believe that gardening is my grounding force and by nurturing and tending my land I absorb the good strong and earthy energy it provides and in return I put my love, sweat and happiness into it and viola! The creation is a relaxed, centered and earthy Jen (me) and a piece of property that exudes love, happiness and beauty.

One of my projects that really must get handled soon is to tie up the long new growth on the grape arbor. I planted these little tiny plants 3 years ago with dreams of producing a shady spot to sit under in the heat of the day. I had no idea how to grow grapes or prune them nor did I realize how much I would enjoy the enchanted grape arbor. This is my outdoor classroom and I take my iPad and books under here and study! I must say it is the best classroom to relax and learn in that I have ever experienced and to see the hundreds of bunches forming this spring is such a treat!