Saturday, January 30, 2010

Let's Get Some Serious Support for Local Food Growing

Please support the idea of asking our federal government to send some of those stimulus money to promote local farms and gardens.

A Petition to Direct Stimulus Money to Local Food Production
Targeting: The President of the United States, The U.S. Senate and The U.S. House

Started by: Zev Paiss

Given the increasing instabilities in the American economy, rising oil prices, and unpredictable weather patterns, food security has become a pressing national issue. Today a handful of agri-businesses produce the majority of our food. Sadly, the 3,000 mile Caesar salad has become common place, and few Americans know a local farmer.

A combination of one or more external factors, such as extreme weather conditions, global conflict, or trade disputes with oil producing nations could easily lead to crop failure, disrupted food supplies, and widespread hunger -- unless we make fundamental changes in how we farm, process, distribute, and consume our food over the next 20 years.

Instead of sending tens of billions of dollars to the ailing car companies and hundreds of billions to the financial system, we must direct our federal government to invest at least 5 billion dollars to set up tens of thousands of urban farms and gardens so we can be assured to have a year-round source of healthy locally-grown food to eat in the years to come.

Click here to Sign the petition and let's get growing!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I know, that's not much of a confession. But honestly, if you use cloth napkins the reactions of others makes you wonder. As you can see from my picture my napkins are not much to boast about. Heck I made most of them from some well worn old kitchen curtains. I started using them a couple of years ago. Boy let me tell you, whip one out with your lunch bag at work and out comes the fancy, fancy remarks from the coworkers. "Next you'll be eating with china." We'll not even talk about when I started bring a bamboo plate instead of paper plates.

Now when I have someone staying to eat our potluck, I feel like I'm depriving my friends of a napkin. After every meal my plain old faded napkin is sitting by their plate all nice and folded and unused. Come on now, I eaten out at McDonald's with these people and have seen them wipe their mouths with their paper napkins when their eating a french fry, what gives? I asked one of my sons friends why he didn't use my napkins and he stated "Oh mom, I wouldn't want to stain it, we use those at my grandma's house on Thanksgiving."

What do you do? I feel funny insisting a guest use my napkins at my meal. That seems kinda like I accusing them of being a pig. But I want them to feel comfortable at my meals. Everyone should feel like they can wipe their mouth if they want to. Do you reassure them that it's OK. Be quiet and not feel guilty if they never wipe their mouth during the meal. Or buy paper napkins to use when your having company? Put a sign over your front door that says in big letters I use 'old' cloth napkins because I'm cheap and want to save a tree, so sue me and just wipe your mouth with the darn thing! I'm just not sure of the etiquette for this.

Free Pattern - Duct Tape Crafts: Make a Duct Tape Bag

I saw this free pattern over at

It looks like an interesting purse project to make. Hey I've crocheted purses out of plastic bags so why not make a purse with Duct Tape?

Here's what they say about the free project and the book it comes from: Not to be confused with origami — the ancient Japanese art of paper-folding to create delicate, fragile items for the moment — ductigami employs ordinary off-the-shelf duct tape in the creation of functional folded objects that are built to suffer the rigors of modern life. Once you master the art of the tape, you will be able to construct some of the world’s most unique items of function and fashion. And part of their beauty is that if they ever wear out, they can be repaired quickly with more duct tape.

I am sure that you have enough knowledge and imagination to create a purse out of a solid sheet of tape, but here is a twist. We are going to do advanced ductigami: the weave. (Doesn’t work for hair, if anyone asks.)

And remember: A number of companies sell different colors of duct tape, so you’re not limited to just classic gray.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Planting by the Moon Phases

I receive a daily email from the Farmers' Almanac that is a summary of the Best Day Tasks, Gardening by the Moon, and Fishing Calendar for that day. It got me curious about how each phase of the moon is supposed to effect how you should plant your garden. (Hey, I need all the help I can get with my garden)

I checked out the website Gardening By The and found a very in depth explanation of the phases of the moon and how they effect planting.

I also added a widget at the bottom of my blog that shows the current phase of the moon for each day.

The recommendations for Gardening by the Moon from the Farmers' Almanac for the next 3 months

January 2010
26th-27th. Poor Days For Planting. Seeds Tend To Rot In Ground. 28th-29th. Best Planting Days For Above Ground Crops, Especially Peas, Beans, Cucumbers, And Squash Where Climate Is Suitable. Plant Seedbeds And Flower Gardens. 30th-31st. 30-31 A Barren Time. Best For Killing Weeds, Briars, Poison Ivy, And Other Plant Pests. Clear Woodlots And Fence Rows.

February 2010
1st-2nd. Clear Ground, Turn Sod. Kill Plant Pests. 3rd-5th. Favorable Days For Planting Root Crops. Fine For Sowing Grains, Hay, And Forage Crops. Plant Flowers. 6th-7th. Plant Carrots, Turnips, Onions, Beets, Irish Potatoes, And Other Root Crops In The South. Lettuce, Cabbage, Collards, And Other Leafy Vegetables Will Do Well. Start Seedbeds. 8th-10th. Neither Plant Nor Sow On These Barren Days. 11th-12th. Any Root Crops That Can Be Planted Now Will Do Well. 13th-15th. Barren Days. Fine For Clearing, Plowing, Fertilizing, And Killing Plant Pests. 16th-17th. Plant Peppers, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, And Other Above Ground Crops In Southern Florida, California, And Texas. Extra Good For Cucumbers, Peas, Cantaloupes, And Other Vine Crops. Set Strawberry Plants. 18th-19th. Seeds Planted Now Will Grow Poorly And Yield Little. 20th-21st. Fine For Planting Beans, Peppers, Cucumbers, Melons, And Other Above Ground Crops Where Climate Is Suitable 22nd-23rd. Any Seed Planted Now Will Tend To Rot. 24th-25th. Fine For Planting Beans, Tomatoes, Corn, Cotton, Cucumbers, Peppers, Melons, And Other Above Ground Crops Where Climate Allows. Plant Seedbeds And Flower Gardens. 26th-28th. Clear Ground, Turn Sod. Kill Plant Pests.

March 2010
1st-2nd. A Most Barren Period, Best For Killing Plant Pests Or Doing Chores Around The Farm. 3rd-4th. Favorable Days For Planting Root Crops. Fine For Sowing Hay, Fodder Crops, And Grains. Plant Flowers. 5th-6th. Excellent Time For Planting Root Crops That Can Be Planted Now, And For Starting Seedbeds. 7th-9th. Poor Planting Days. 10th-12th. Any Root Crops That Can Be Planted Now Will Do Well. 13th-14th. A Barren Period, Best Suited For Killing Pests. Do Plowing And Cultivating 15th-16th. Good Days For Planting Above Ground Crops. Fine For Vine Crops. Set Strawberry Plants. 17th-18th. Cultivate And Spray, Do General Farm Work, But No Planting. 19th-20th. Favorable For Planting Crops Bearing Yield Above The Ground. 21st-23rd. Seeds Planted Now Tend To Rot In Ground. 24th-25th. Best Planting Days For Above Ground Crops, Especially Peas, Beans, Cucumbers, And Squash Where Climate Permits. Plant Seedbeds And Flower Gardens.

Mother is now on the Radio

Mother Earth News is now on the radio! Tune in every Saturday, or listen anytime via our website. Each week's show spotlights a different DIY project. Browse projects and listen to all the shows on this page. Click here to listen

Why cloth diapers?

My Parents are on their 50th anniversary vacation, driving thru the Southern states. While they're gone my daughter has been painting their kitchen, dining room and bedrooms. I've been babysitting the #1GS. While we've been playing, I've been pondering the genius of cloth diapers. Wish they had diapers like these when my kids were in them. When DGS was born I made him some infant diapers. I found lots of free patterns on the Internet. Here's some links.

How to Sew a Fitted Cloth diaper (on the cheap!)

Free Cloth Diaper Patterns


Once he grew out of the cute newborn diapers I made out of bluejeans and polka dots I began pricing the Waterproof PUL Fabric Since our fabric stores do not carry this I found that buying it online was a pretty hefty price.

We stopped by

The price on new ones is a pretty hefty $17.95 Which is pretty worth it considering that you would not be buying diapers again after your initial investment. But then we found their used diaper drawer. First of all just seeing these used diapers makes you realize how will made they are, they still looked brand new, actually after using the used diapers for a year now, they still look brand new. And the prices of the used diapers are usually less that half price. They often run specials for the used diapers on their website. Click on their logo to check them out.

I don't work for Cotton Babies, even though it kinda sounds like it. Their diapers are just what we found that works for us, Grin. I will say that my DGS has had only 2 diaper rashes in his life, and both of those were when he was really sick and had diarrhea from antibiotics. My daughter lives on her disability income and not having to buy diapers has meant she can buy other things she needs for herself and her kids. And as a nurse I feel that cloth diapers are healthier for our babies. From A Tale of Two Diapers, "the OSHA "Material Safety Data Sheet on Superabsorbent Polymer" states, preexisting skin or breathing disorders may become aggravated through prolonged exposure. A study in the September 1999 issue of Archives of Environmental Health found that laboratory mice exposed to various brands of throwaway diapers suffered eye, nose, and throat irritation, including bronchoconstriction similar to that resulting from an asthma attack. The lead author of the study advised asthmatic mothers to avoid exposure to the chemicals found in most throwaway diapers.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why I think my kindle is living from scratch

For Christmas this year, my only wish was for a Kindle and the loves of my life (my husband and parents) went in on it together and bought me one. Considering the $259.00 price tag, this is one of my most frugal items I own. OK, I can hear you scoffing from here, just hear me out.
First let me tell you about my Kindle.
Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback
Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered wireless in less than 60 seconds; no PC required.
3G Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle; no annual contracts, no monthly fees, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
Global Coverage: Enjoy 3G wireless coverage at home or abroad in over 100 countries. See details. Check wireless coverage map.
Paper-Like Display: Reads like real paper without glare, even in bright sunlight
Carry Your Library: Holds up to 1,500 books
Longer Battery Life: Now read for up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of 4 days
Built-In PDF Reader: Your Kindle can now display PDF documents natively. Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go.
Read-to-Me: With the experimental Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable
Free Book Samples: Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy
Large Selection: Over 400,000 books, including 101 of 112 New York Times® Best Sellers, plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs. For non-U.S. customers, content availability and pricing will vary. Check your country.
Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise. When traveling abroad, you can download books wirelessly from the Kindle Store or your Archived Items. U.S. customers will be charged a fee of $1.99 for international downloads.
That was all the technical details from the Amazon website.
Now let me tell you what I do with it.
1. I read a lot of free books I find on the Internet. Books ranging from the classics, to how to-informational, and books and short stories posted on websites and blogs by the authors. Now I can download the stories and pdf's and transfer them to my Kindle so I can read them anywhere and not be tied to my computer.
2. When I find a recipe I'd like to try or a free pattern to crochet I can download it and put it on my Kindle. Now I don't have to print it thus saying my paper and the expensive ink cartridges on my printer.
3. I live in a small town where the only book seller is the Walmart. I find that my taste in books is not often what the majority of the public wants to buy, or at least what Walmart thinks we should read. When I'm eagerly waiting for a new release odds are Walmart is not going to carry it. So that leaves me the option of driving 50 miles to a bookstore or buying it off the Internet and paying for shipping. Also I have found that most books I read I don't necessary want to own a hard copy of. As I'm trying to live simply I am trying to keep only my most beloved books in my library. Take the new book Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol . I really wanted to read his new book. It came out before I had my Kindle. The Library had a 5 month waiting list to read it so I bought it from Walmart. I paid something like $18.00 for it on the day it was released. I could of got it from Kindle for $9.60 and even better than that downloaded the first chapter for free and found out that the book was very disappointing and saved my money altogether. Now when I want to read a book I can get it thru my Kindle saving the trees and ink that would go into printing it. If it's one I want to add to my library then I can put it on my wish list at (they swap hardbound books also) and get it for free.
4. I even put my presentation for my CPR classes on it. Now when I teach a class I can use this instead of juggling all my notes. I can even load up my grocery and shopping lists on it and since I can add notes right on my Kindle I can keep a price list and update it while I'm shopping.
So this is why I'm in love with my Kindle, and not to lazy to turn the page as my family jokes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

How I came up with the Garden plan

Yesterday I was searching around on the Internet for a free garden planner. I came across this great website with lots of nifty vegetable garden styles. On it they have a link to a free 1 month trial for
I signed up for the free trial and found that the software can't be any easier. I had my garden designed and printed in an hour even while I was babysitting the grand kids. Just click on the Grow logo to go to the free trial.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I ordered our Chickens

Saturday I ordered 5 Light Brahma Pullets from the Cackle Hatchery. They have been family owned and operated for 3 generations and are in Lebanon, MO so my girls wont have to travel far. 20 years ago when we first moved here we kept chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits and pigs along with a huge garden. Since were both retired now, I'm slowly working my husband back into this again. Funny how we started back with the garden and Llamas. Hubby was very resistant about getting a Llama. I worked on him for years with no luck. Then a friend offered us 2 and he's says go for it. Well the chickens are ordered for mid March and it will probably be a surprise for hubby.
That's why I'm starting out with only 5 layers. And boy did I have to pay more to get only 5. I ordered the City-Town Pullet Special 5 - Order any 5 pullet chicks of one breed of offered pullets in our catalog for $41.00. I could of ordered 25 of them for $43.00, but hubby would have a heart attack. They say that the higher cost for these 5 are because special shipping requirements are needed to ship small amount of birds. There is a higher cost associated with properly shipping/packing handling a SMALL amount of chicks to arrive safely to your post office. A number of measures may be used such as a heating pad, extra nesting or padding, special box or boxes, or any special shipping arrangements. It also includes the Mareks Vaccination. Marek's Disease is caused by a virus in the Herpes family, and as such..cannot be cured. Recovery is not impossible, but not likely.
I could of just bought 5 chicks from our farm store this spring. But I really wanted the light brahmas. They originated in Asia and were brought to this country in mid-1800's. Brahmas are exceptionally quiet, gentle, and easy to handle. Their small pea comb, great size, and heavy plumage make them almost immune to cold weather. The hens are good layers of brown eggs, excellent brood mothers and very children friendly for pets. Hens average 9 1/2 lbs.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Living from Scratch Microwave Cake Quick Fix

I really love cakes and brownies. Problem is if I bake it I eat it and I mean eat it all of it. I loved the Betty Crocker Warm Delights. Those little microwave mixes that you just add water to and then microwave uncovered on High for about 1 minute and 15 seconds or until only a few dime size wet spots remain. There great for those late evening I want something cakey to eat. Problem is I needed a way to make them from scratch. Then I was looking at the Easy Bake Ovens in the toy department with my DGD and a light bulb went off. I found some scratch recipes online for the Easy Bake Oven mixes. Made the mixes up and stored them in the pantry. When I need a quick fix I just mix one up in a microwave bowl pop it in the micro, and I get my fix now from scratch.

Recipe: Children's Chocolate Cake Mix Easy Bake

Children's Chocolate Cake Mix - Easy Bake Oven

1 cup Sugar
3 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Vegetable Shortening

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and
salt. Stir with a wire whisk until blended. With a pastry blender,
cut in shortening until evenly distributed and mixture resembles corn

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the mixture into each of 11 small containers
with tight fitting lids or zip-lock bags. Seal containers. Label with
date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks.

Makes 11 packages of Children's Chocolate Cake Mix for Easy Bake style
To Use:
1 package cake mix
4 tsp. water.

Mix together and stir with a fork or spoon until blended and smooth.
Pour mixture into greased and floured 4 inch round miniature baking
pan. Follow directions for child's oven, or bake in mom's preheated
375* oven for 12 to 13 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a
rack for 5 minutes.

Invert onto a small plate and remove pan. When cool, frost with
Children's Chocolate Frosting.

Serves 2 children.

Recipe: Children's Cookie Mix Easy Bake Oven
Children's Cookie Mix - Easy Bake Oven

1 1/2 cups Quick-cooking Oats
3/4 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 cup Brown Sugar -- packed
1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and brown sugar.
Stir to blend. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture
resembles cornmeal. Spoon about 1/2 cup mixture into each of 8 small
containers or Ziploc bags. Seal bags tightly. Label with date and
contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks.

Makes 8 packages of Children's Cookie Mix. Each package makes 9

Recipe: Children's Lemon Or White Cake Mix
Serving Size : 10

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon flavored unsweetened drink powder -- (like
1/3 cup vegetable shortening

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and drink
powder. Stir with a wire wisk until blended. With a pastry blender, cut
in shortening until evenly distributed and mixture resembles corn meal.
Spoon about 1/3 cup of mix into each of 10 small containers or ziplock
bags. Seal containers tightly. Label with date and contents. Store in a
cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks. Makes 10 packages Children's Lemon
Cake Mix.

To use:
1 pkg. Children's Lemon Cake Mix
4 teaspoons water

Preheat mom's oven to 375f. If using child's play oven follow
manufactories directions for baking cakes.

Grease and flour a 4 inch miniature cake pan. In a small bowl, Combine
Children's Lemon Cake Mix and water. Stir with a fork or spoon until
blended and smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 13
minutes in Mom's oven or as directed in play oven. Remove from oven.
Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a small plate;
remove pan. When cool frost with Children's White Frosting if desired.
Serves 2 children.

NOTES : It takes no genius to see that ANY flavor of unsweetened drink
mix powder can be used for a wide variety of flavors. For a White Cake
Mix omit the powder. If you like, a drop or two of vanilla might be
added at the time the cake is prepared.

Easy Bake Oven Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Recipe #275539

A mix you can store for Easy Bake fun!

by yibbityibbit

20 min
10 min prep

12 Portions of Mix

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine all dry ingredients.

Add shortening and flavorings; either cut in with pastry knife or use the whisk attachment on your stand mixer. Mixture should resemble corn meal.

Store in air tight container. If you are really dedicated, you can store in 1/3 cup portions, but I just put it in a big Ziploc bag and measure out when needed.

To Use: Combine 1/3 cup of mix with 2 tsp of water. Roll into little balls and cook, three at a time, in Easy Bake oven that has been pre-heated about 15 minute Bake for 8-10 minute.

Crocheted Dust Mitt

A free dust mitt crochet pattern I found at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Crocheting cleaning aids, Help or Hindrance? Plus another great Free Pattern

My focus for Living from Scratch seems to be my cleaning supplies . As you can tell it was time to replace my supplies and I have been looking at what I can make instead of buy. Now I need to start putting my replacements into actual use. After our deep freeze and all the snow, we have defrosted in the warmer weather. Our driveway and yard has turned into a bog now and the forecast is for rain every day. The trucks sink into the driveway when they sit for a few minutes so now my driveway looks like a bombing zone. You don't want to see the state on my floors, they look like barn floors. I can clean them every night then by noon they look like I never cleaned. Lately my cleaning philosophy has been what's the point? but I can't stand it anymore. So today it's back to cleaning.

I did find this great pattern at

Instead of using disposable covers, crochet an economical reusable cover for your flat mop, sweeper or duster. The cover easily slips on and off for cleaning. Maybe I should crochet this before I start cleaning

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Kitchen Scrubbie was looking Scary

Time to replace it, but I'm not buying anymore. I found this great pattern at Crochet Patterns Only. Judith Prindle created this by translating a knitting pattern to crochet, so there's a link to the knitting pattern if you would rather knit it then crochet. The only changes I made is I used cotton yarn and I cut some netting into a long ½" continuous strip by *cutting the fabric to within ½" of the edge then making another long cut parallel to the first (going in the opposite direction) to within ½" of the edge --repeat from * until all the fabric wanted is cut. Wind into a ball. I then crochet the pattern using both the cotton and netting yarns together. I also found that I like the stiffer netting not the bridal veil type.

For the link to the knitted pattern click here.

A quick note:
When I crocheted the flower dish cloths from my 1/14/10 post, I added the netting yarn to the final rnd. That gave me a nice scrubby edging  for when I am cleaning off the table or stove and I come across those stubborn dried spots.


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