Our little piece of the world

A mother, wife, and teacher aims to make life simple

A wonderful list of organic pest control ideas! Will be putting this to good use 🙂


One Million Gardens can change the world

Start a Garden… why is the garden so important? It teaches us all in what we can do Now! Break free from the dependency from Big Agra, and take out the guest work of knowing that the food you grow will be safe to eat! An organic garden also helps restore and repopulate the bee colonies. In this video noted physicist & recipient of The Right Livelihood Award, Dr. V. Shiva simplifies what we’re all trying to do.

Extensive List of Organic Pest Control Remedies

List compiled by Australian Organic Gardening Posted on Wake Up World


You can make your own organic bug spray from kitchen leftovers! Simply save your onion skins, peels and ends then refrigerate in an empty margarine-sized tub or ziplock bag until the container is full. Once you have enough, place the onion…

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Why holidays don’t have to mean “more stuff”

This past Easter weekend brought with it a visit from my family- my brothers and my parents, to spend some much-needed time together. It was a wonderful time of relaxation, good food, and play. We played card games, tried new recipies, and read books. It was wonderful in its simplicity.

We put a lot of thought into the toys that our son plays with after this past Christmas season, and put together a plan to make sure that the craziness didn’t happen again. Because my son is an early january baby, he is inondated with gifts and toys for a couple of weeks around Christmas time. This year was more than a little bit overwhleming as our brothers and parents inondated him with gifts.

1) Before a gift giving holiday, clean out your house of any toys and clothes that your kid(s) are too big for/ not interested in. It’ll make the wave of gifts a little bit easier to swallow.

2) Be respectful and talk to your family about it first- well in advance of when they might start shopping. Don’t just complain.

3) If you are saying you don’t want certain toys for your child give alternate solutions that people can buy for them! People are still going to want to get your child something for gift-giving holidays, so give them some ideas that you can live with and that compliment the way that you want to raise your child. Books and clothes (both of which my son enjoys) are our go-to requests.

4) Set a good example. If you don’t want people to buy certain things for your kids, don’t get it for theirs either! I love to give kids books because (as a teacher) they’re age-appropriate for almost anyone, and you can never have too many!

5) If all else fails- don’t be afraid to donate your kids toys that you don’t approve of. If it’s going to drive you crazy, it’s not worth it. We’ve also found that the toys that we don’t like also seem to end up being the toys that our son doesn’t like- so he doesn’t mind when they disappear.

I am very fortunate that both my husband and I have very patient and respectful famlies, who consider our requests for more simplified gift-giving for our son. This Easter was great as people got him pajamas, books, money (that went into his savings account), and a little bit of chocolate.

Well said, Jamie Oliver.

Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food.

Jamie’s TED talk on why we should include educate children about the importance of good food.
I’m proud to say that my school does teach a “family studies” class to grade 7 and 8 students about healthy eating and cooking.
… not sure they’re getting it after I see them eating poutine every day, though.

Urban “Vertical Greenhouse”

Today I came across this article about a vertical greenhouse that is being built in Linköping Sweden, set to open in 2013. This concept does away with the idea that you have to live in a rural area to be self-sufficient or self-sustaining.

The future seems so unclear to me. While my husband and I have decided that living rural is the best fit for our family, it does seem to be true that there’s a tendancy among our generation and younger generations to move to urban areas. It’s easy to see why: urban areas are not only more hip and cool, but they also offer more job opportunities and amenities (I would never be able to live without a car here because of that lack of public transit, but in a city that’s no problem for most people.

So if the future is urban centres, it follows that we need to find a way to make these areas more self-sustainable, and ideas like this are exactly what we need. With these vertical greenhouses cities may be able to grow local, healthy, nutritious (perhaps even organic?) foods for its population. Given a city composting program, some planning, organization, and perhaps a little bit of time, seeds could be collected from the plants there and the greenhouse could become, essentially, self-sustaining. Am I the only one that finds this incredibly exciting?

Food is, of course, only part of the discussion of self-sustainability- but it’s a start.

Earth Hour

This past Saturday was earth hour. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it (which is probably not many of you- but I digress), earth hour is an initiative that was created in order to raise awareness of climate change as well as to reduce energy consumption for a little while. It’s a very simple concept- everyone is asked to turn off the lights, tv, and other electronic devices at 8:30 pm local time.

It’s really too bad that it’s come to this… that asking people to turn off their lights and tvs for one day a year is actually asking anything at all.   My husband and I try to make it a goal to do this for a night at least once a week. We light up a couple candles, play a board game or just chat for the night with a glass of wine. I’ve heard of other families having a family board game night or a no-electronics night. Everyone has their own reason for doing this: some want to save electricity, some want to spend some time together with loved ones, some genuinely enjoy having less dependance on electricity in their lives.

For our family it’s a combination of all those reasons. We often talk (on our electricity free nights) about how nice it will be to someday have a firepit outside, or a bunch of lanterns in the house (we’re working on our collection), or a working masonry fireplace. We think fondly about the day that we’ll be able to have electricity-free days, and we’re genuinely excited about the prospect of this happening in the near future.

Did you celebrate earth hour? Did it inspire you to make a bigger change in your life?

Progress is progress, even if it’s slow.

We hit a big step with our house today: we completed some very important inspections for interior partitions as well as electrical and plumbing rough-ins. This means that we can finally get drywall and tile taken care of over the next 6 weeks or so.
My husband and I had a good talk about the progress on the house, and it came out how frustrated we both were with how slowly things have been going. I think I have mentioned that my husband is doing the majority of the work on our house himself, with the help of his uncle and his dad. I consider building your own home to be the ultimate in self-sufficiency- so there’s no question that we’re jumping in with both feet here.
Naturally, since so much of the work is being done by my husband and not by professionals- things are going slowly. It’s actually a miracle that we’ve moved as quickly as we have been.
It’s easy for us to get frustrated- but often doing things yourself from scratch and learning along the way is the slow way.

Love this- couldn’t agree more.


Is meat sustainable? My take.

After listening to this week’s podcast from The Self-Sufficient Gardener I wanted to chime in on this subject. It’s a very interesting subject, but also a very controversial one that many people seem to have an opinion on.

I should start by saying that I used to be a strict vegetarian and now only eat meat and fish that I or my husband personally hunt or fish. In our area this means walleye (usually only once or twice a year), partridge, moose, and deer. The reason I made the switch was because I had no personal issue with actually eating meat, but rather I took issue with factory farming and how we as a society get the majority of our meat. I am aware that this issue exists with poultry and dairy farming as well, but I’ve yet to find success with a vegan diet, personally. In my eyes, not only is the way that meat is raised (the majority of the time) unethical, but it also encourages an unhealthy diet.

So for me and my lifestyle, the real question is whether hunting is sustainable. The real answer, if we’re honest with ourselves, is that currently it isn’t about 90% of the time. The majority of the meat that we eat is moose meat, which comes from a hunt that my husband goes on with some of his relatives about 3 hours away from where we live. Just the gas alone makes it unsustainable, but even with a drive 3 hours each way it’s generally enough meat to get our small family of 3 through the winter and into the summer. The same goes for fishing- we only really go fishing a few times a year but we have to drive a few hours to get there.

Does that mean that it would be impossible for meat to be sustainable for our family? Not at all.

We live on a lake with some of the best fishing in the world, and come winter the ice fishing is plentiful. All that is really required is some fishing gear, and we’ve got all that. In the summer we use a canoe, so that’s pretty sustainable as well since we can walk to some great fishing spots or places to launch the canoe.

As for hunting, while my husband does love going hunting with his family- there’s plenty of sustainable hunting around us if we’re willing to make some changes. Our lot is within city limits, but our city just passed a by-law allowing property owners to hunt in town with a bow if their property is big enough (I think it was about 5 acres). This move, to eliminate a deer problem in the area, has been controversial in our city but presents a new and interesting food source for us. All we would need is a bow since we hang and process meat ourselves.

I’d be interested to hear more thoughts on this- how can we be more sustainable in our meat-consumption? Is it worth it?

Sorry for the unscheduled break…

I mentioned last week that my husband had hurt his hand working on the house. Unfortunately the hand became infected and we’re dealing with a slew of Dr’s appointments and other fun stuff. Hopefully I’m back here soon- stay tuned!

Visualizing a plentitude economy

This is an absolutely amazing video about the ways our economy could change in a way that encourages homesteading, self-sufficiency, a shorter work week and a better economy. I would love to see this kind of society move into Canada and the United States.

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