Tuesday, 27 November 2012

What I'm reading right now

Here's a little peak into what I'm reading right now.

All New Square Foot Gardening

Mel Bartholomew’s method of gardening is simple and from what I’ve read about it, it’s pretty effective. He presents his methods in an easy to follow format. His writing occasionally borders on sounding like something from a late night infomercial, but the information he brings offers is something worth sticking around for. If you are interested in growing your own food this is a great way to increase your yield without increasing, and possibly even decreasing, your work load, I would definitely recommend this book.

Crazy Sexy Kitchen

Okay, so you don’t generally read a cookbook, but I had to mention it here. I love Kris Carr and have been following her work for a while now, so when I heard she was coming out with a cook book I was very excited. There may have even been some happy dancing involved. Lucky for me the book lived up to the hype. Kris, along with Chad Sarno and various other contributors have produced a beautiful book filled with mouth-watering, healthy recipes. Another highly recommended book

Life of Pi

I’m not very far into this one yet, but it’s something I have been meaning to read it for years. So far I’m not at all disappointed with it. The writing in absolutely beautiful and the characters drew me in right away.


What's on your nightstand?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Project 333 Update

I can’t believe we’re half way through this round of project 333. I’m still sticking to it, but I will admit that I kind of cheated on it twice. Granted, once was with a penguin costume on Halloween. I didn’t include it because really, how often does a grown person need to dress as a penguin? Secondly, I’ve also added a sweater and a long sleeve top to my work clothes that I’m not counting.
A few other changes that I have made are swapping out my striped scarf for another tank top, buying a new pair of tights to replace the ones I originally included that had worn out and swapping one of my pairs of jeans for a pair with a better fit.
Other than that I have been sticking to the items that I listed here. It’s been pretty easy, but a part of me wishes that I had packed up the other clothes in my closet like Courtney Carver suggests. I’ll probably be doing that next year once I’m in the tiny house. That way there is only what I’m consistently wearing taking up space in what will be a drastically smaller closet.
How is everyone else’s P333 experience going?

Friday, 2 November 2012

Cooking From the Heart


For a while now I have been fascinated with the idea of rituals for daily life (born of on going efforts to start a meditation practice) and after a few twists and turns this lead me to read a bit about kitchen witchery. The idea of people treating their food as something magical and as an expression of love and healing speaks to something deep down in me.
Most people agree that the kitchen is the center of the house so it makes sense to me that it should become a center of people’s spirituality.
I find that I get so much more out of my time spent in the kitchen when I think this way. When I want to make a ritual of my cooking I light a candle and take a moment to enjoy a few deep breaths. When I come to my cooking this way the entire experience is so much better than when I come to it with a sense of irritation and feeling like I have to get this done or that it is just another chore. When I view cooking as an expression of love I find that the sense of peace that I create there follows me through the day.
So next time you are cooking, take a moment, breathe and invite peace into your home.
Do you have any ways that you ritualize your cooking? How about any other household activities?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Notes from the quiet

I've been somewhat absent this week, I think part of it has to do with my gardening season coming to a close. We've had our first frost (bye bye basil) and unfortunately it caught me somewhat off guard and a few of my potted plants on the deck died off. However we still have one raised bed producing and quite a few of my herbs are still hanging in there.
However, I have felt my enthusiasm in the gardens wane somewhat with the winding down of the season. I find that I don't mind it though, it gives me a sense of being in tune with natures rhythms. Instead of being drawn outside I feel compelled to 'put up the harvest' so to speak and find myself making jams and applesauces from the local pears and apples.
Over the next few months I'll probably shift my focus here to linking to information on canning and other forms of preserving your harvest.
Also, as I get closer to the start of the tiny house build you can expect to start seeing more info on it as well as 'homesteading' plans for next year.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Five Reasons You Should Grow a Raised bed

This year we have expanded our veggie garden with the addition of four raised beds (plus two that are waiting for soil). These beds have been very easy to maintain and have produced so much food for our family.
The main reason we decided to go with raised beds is because of accessibility for me. I injured myself a few years ago and now I can’t kneel to work in the garden. So being able to sit on the edge of the raised bed makes it much easier for me. However there are many other reasons that raised beds are a great idea. Here are a few:
1) Weed control – Because you are going to add soil to your raised boxes it is possible to add a weed barrier underneath. I personally didn’t do this, but it would definitely cut down on maintenance. I have noticed that even without the weed barrier maintenance is fairly minimal.
2) Soil quality – Maybe you live in an area with less than fantastic soil. Maybe it’s sandy, or maybe like mine it is filled with lots of little rocks. Anyway, no matter what the soil quality is in your area, you get to decide the quality of soil in your raised beds. Buy a good quality soil and you will be rewarded in the long run.
3) Easy to reach- Provided that your boxes aren’t against a fence you can get at them from four different sides, which means that none of your plants are more than two or three feet away from you. It’s easy to get in to weed, harvest or mulch. No matter what you need to do, it’s never more than an arm’s length away.
4) Longer growing season – Done properly you can extend your season on both sides. The soil will warm up earlier, meaning that you can plant sooner. Also a raised bed is very easy to add a cold frame to, meaning that you can keep growing well into the fall.
5) High yield – a well managed raised bed can pump out an amazing amount of food. When you combine the good soil, long growing season and easy maintenance you get a lot of bang for your buck. Not to mention they are easy to do square foot gardening in, increasing your yield but eliminating the wasted space associated with row gardening.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Herbs

For years now I have wanted to grow my own herbs. I tried once a few years ago but it didn’t work out so well. This year however I finally managed to get it right. I planted up some basil,sage,oregano and thyme in a pot that I keep on the deck. This way it is near the house and easy to get to when I need it. If you’re thinking of planting herbs I would definitely recommend starting with container gardening. As winter approaches I have started a small container of herbs that I am going to grow in kitchen window. In it is some rosemary, oregano and basil (my favorites). Coming soon I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ways to use fresh herbs.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

First Week of Project 333

I feel like I must be doing something wrong because it is almost too easy! I have stuck to P333 this week. I have to admit I have it pretty easy though, I work afternoons (in uniform) and spend more than a few mornings in my PJ's (which aren't counted among the 33). I haven't touched quite a few of my items, mainly dresses and coats, but they were included because of upcoming events (Christmas/weddings). However the items I have been using are very versatile and super comfy so it makes it pretty easy.
And it's forcing me to stay on top of laundry which is always good.
Here goes week two!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well it's Thanksgiving up here in the great white north (it's not so much white right now as a breathtaking array of greens, oranges and yellows) and I have a lot to be thankful for. My family and I are healthy, the critters are happy, the garden is still thriving, the tiny house savings are slowly growing and project 333 is going well (more on that tomorrow).
We're having our family dinner tonight, a rare occurrence that I love, and some of the veggies even came from our garden. Speaking of which, check out my carrots below! We planted them late so they're just little but they are adorable and so tasty!
I'll leave you with just a little reminder to take time today (and everyday) to step back and realize that life is good and you have enough. Happiness is all around you.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, 1 October 2012

First Day of Project 333

Happy first day of P333!
I managed to get my list done last night and I think this should cover everything I’ll need, but I am giving myself the first week to make any changes that are needed (pretty standard procedure) and if anything gets stained/torn beyond saving then I will replace it.
So here it goes…
1.       White tank
2.       Coloured tank
3.       Black tee
4.       Coloured tee
5.       Print tee
6.       Grey ¾ sleeve shirt
7.       Pink blouse
8.       Black turtleneck
9.       Pullover sweater
10.   Grey zip down hoodie
11.   Navy zip down hoodie
12.   Gray Roots Hoodie
13.   Beige cardigan
14.   Green dress
15.   Sweater dress
16.   Fancy dress
17.   Navy pants
18.   Black jeans
19.   Blue jeans
20.   Skinny jeans
21.   Dress Pants
22.   Warm tights
23.   Yoga pants
24.   Green pants
25.   Pleather jacket
26.   Black trench
27.   Tan jacket
28.   Winter coat
29.   Knit hat
30.   Wool cap
31.   Striped scarf
32.   Floral scarf
33.   Mittens

Outerwear
Dresses

Tops
Sweaters/Cardigan

Pants




Others













What's on your list? Leave a link to your blog/site in the comments and I'd love to check out your P333 journey!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Project 333

I stumbled across project 333 a few months ago when I first started taking a serious look at all of the stuff I had stashed around the house. I love the idea of pushing yourself to see just how little you really need. Plus I could honestly use a little help in the clothing department. I love sales and have been known to shop for entertainment and so my rather large closet is rather full (the bar was once pulled out of the wall from the sheer weight of the hangers, ugh). I have already donated at least a bag and a half of clothing and my closet still feels cramped. So I've decided it's time for drastic measures.
I'm taking the plunge.
I'm joining project 333.
If you don't know what it is I suggest starting here. But basically it was started by Courtney Carver and the point is to dress using only 33 items for 3 months. Underwear, socks, in-home lounge wear and exercise wear traditionally don't count. However I have decided to count my exercise wear and instead make my barn clothes exempt. I'm a horse girl and live in the same house as my Dad who is allergic, so I can't wear anything that goes to the barn in the house. That means having doubles of things like jeans and coats that would quickly eat up my 33 items. I have also decided not to count shoes or jewelry this round as I already have them down to a reasonable number. The last exemption is my scrubs; I work at a vet's office and have to keep a few pairs on hand because you never know what nasty things you will be cleaning up. I figure most nurses don't count scrubs, so neither will I. After all it's not like I'm wearing them around for the sake of fashion.
I have my list almost done and will be fine tuning it tonight before the project's start tomorrow. I will post the list tomorrow and will hopefully have a group shot for you at some point.
Anyone else feel like joining in?


Friday, 28 September 2012

Starting a Meditation Practice

Meditation hasn't always been easy for me, but it has always been something I have strived to do regularly. I actually used to when I was a child (what 12 thinks meditation is fun?) and truly did love it but I fell out of the habit at some point and have never gotten back into it.
This week however I have been starting again. It hasn't been easy, the term 'monkey mind' has always suited my scattered brain, but it hasn't felt like so much of a struggle and each time I have been surprised that my timer went off so quickly. So I have decided that I will meditate every day this month, increasing my time by 1 minute each day (I'm at 6 minutes so far). I'm hoping to get to the point that I can consistently meditate for 20 minutes straight. I'll let you know how it goes by checking in once a week and thereby holding myself accountable too.
I'd love to hear about anyone else's practice!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Seeds ahoy!

I've recently fallen in love with gathering seeds and last week I finally packaged up my basil seeds. They seemed to take forever to dry but they are definitely worth it.
I want to grow basil in my kitchen through the winter so I started a handful of seeds on some paper towel and was thrilled to find this morning that they have sprouted. They are just tiny white sprouts right now but they are growing!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

It's fall!

Wandering through the garden this morning it hit me. It is actually fall.
The summer has gone by quickly (don't they always) and in the blink of an eye the leaves have changed and there is a chill in the air.
I love fall, probably the most of all of the seasons. The weather is perfect, not too hot, not too cold and not too rainy. The colours are beautiful. It is a moment of peace before the craziness of the holiday season descends on us. I love it!
What is your favorite thing about fall?


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Confessions of a Garden Anarchist

This is my favorite corner of my garden.
This little raised bed produces so much and asks so little. The very sight of it makes me smile. The plants practically spill out over the sides. It is bursting with life.
I have to confess I am a low maintenance gardener. I water regularly, weed rarely and have yet to mulch (don't worry I will). I have always loved the look of a garden that is bursting with life. Weeds do not bother me, in fact some of them are delicious.
My favorite gardens are the old, English, walled gardens that have been allowed to grow wild. I love the sense of contained chaos in these gardens. I think that is why I love this garden. The structure of the raised box contrasts perfectly with the vivaciousness of the chard and it makes my heart sing.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Tomato Love

'Homemade is better' is something that has been proved to me again and again, whether it's bread, jam, cake, hats, bags, etc, etc, etc. And the message has been driven home yet again by the cherry tomatoes growing on my back deck.
They are easily the best tomatoes I have ever eaten. They taste like summer. They are so good in fact that I practically have to fight the dog off just to get to them. Everyone wants a piece of these tomatoes.
So being the aspiring urban farmer that I am, I harvested seeds from a handful of tomatoes the other day and cannot wait to grow a small army of these fantastic plants next year.
I am loving my time in the garden and the sense of connection that growing your own food gives. What has been your most successful crop?


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Dreaming Big

Here it is. The big one. The pipe dream. The let yourself go crazy, judgement free zone, only thing holding you down is gravity crazy dream.
First let me set the stage. The sun is warm on my back, I can hear birds, I can smell flowers. I've built the tiny house. I've found a piece of land, doesn't matter where. My home is surrounded by gardens. But not just gardens, a veritable forest of flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. I can get to town (or something resembling town) but I'm not in town.
Days are simple. Wake with the sun. Breakfast. Prepare for the day. Maybe I head off to work, maybe I work from home. Lunch. Dinner. Most of my food is grown here. Little flavour is lost when only travelling a few metres from ground to plate.
Chores are done out of love here. Love for the land and for the home. It no longer feels like work, it feels like stewardship.
For me the big dream is shrouded by mist. Sometimes the view changes. The landscape is shifted, the plants are different, the house changes. But dreams are meant to change, the fog is there to allow growth. It is needed. Dreams that stay the same soon grow stagnant. And this is not stagnant, this is warmth and calm, fulfilment and passion. This feels like home.

Hello World!

Welcome to Veggie Fueled!
My hopes for this blog is to create a place to share ideas about food, health, gardening and simplicity. I hope to create a community for like minded people to share tips, ideas and support.
I am very excited about growing this blog and finding a place in the already thriving veggie community. Here we go!