Straw Bale Garden Transplants and Seeding

We headed over to Home Depot today and bought several large bags of organic fine seeding soil for direct sowing seed to the top of our straw bales and some seedlings.  Per my granddaughters request I bought four strawberry plants, they already have strawberries! I read you can transplant your old plants to new bales every spring and the new runners that are produced through the year.

I decided to plant oregano, thyme, broad leaf culinary sage, cilantro, french double dwarf marigolds, and nasturtiums as bedding plants. I spent most of the day digging up beds in our front yard for my herbs. I also will plant some of my tobacco seeds, humming birds love them and they make a lovely very tall bedding plant.

I will be planting carrots, beets, cucumbers, pumpkin, Turkish Turban Squash, Blue Hubbard Squash, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, collards, Kale chard, cabbage, water melon, musk melon, pole beans, bok choi, and some more tomatoes in my straw bales. I will use the extra seedlings in other areas of my front yard….I have so much to plant I am going to use up the front yard, I am turning it into one big garden.

I had a lovely next-door lady tell my daughter she wants to buy fresh eggs and produce from us. I will give our neighbors free produce and share what eggs we have. This will be a nice way to introduce gardening and backyard chickens to our neighborhood.

Straw Bale Garden – Rain

It’s raining! Oklahoma has suffered from drought and because of the drought, finding straw bales has been difficult. A local feed store owner told me wheat production has suffered from the drought and that was why I had a hard time finding straw bales. Plenty of hay bales around, but they are too seedy-weedy-buggy for my first straw bale garden. I’ve read some people have used hay bales with success, however I found more negative comments than positive when reading about people experiences with hay bales.

The lovely rain has helped sprout all my grass and flower seeds….thank you…thank you…thank you!

Some pictures of my Calendula Flower seeds from my Oregon gardens have sprouted! I planted a good part of our lawn in beautiful hardy medicinal flowers. Calendula will grow just about anywhere. I’ve grown them in full shade, partial shade, and full sunlight. They seem to grow well in any kind of dirt and handle draught conditions very well, these hardy flowers grow from early spring until first frost.

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From Oregon to Oklahoma -1

Pictures taken from my car as we traveled from Oregon, through Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. I will not be traveling through Texas again, probably never visit the state unless they change their revenue gathering habits. The State Police are worse than the TSA at airports when it comes to harassing travelers. We were stopped because our license plates were not put on correctly per Texas rules, although our plates were just fine by Oregon rules. We were given a warning, however, each state is different regarding these stupid rules. Traveling without harassment is part of our legal contract with our government. Looks like our contract with this government is broken…

Anyway, my pictures will be heavily Photoshoped, I am getting to know this editor through pushing buttons and seeing what happens.

I’m not going to label where the photos were taken, you can guess if you want.

Straw Bale Garden Update – 1

My Husband helped me move our straw bales to a sunnier part of the front yard. Pictures of straw bale gardens … The straw bales are heavier now because I soaked them with water for the last 10 days to help the bacteria in my fertilizer and in the straw break down the straw into usable elements for my plants.

The reason I moved the bales, I had a dream last night that my tomatoes had become leggy without enough sun, nothing worse than leggy tomatoes. I will plant some shade loving flowers and salad stuff where the straw bales used to be. I am also keeping my neighbors entertained. I am sure they are thinking, “What is that crazy Oregonian doing now?”  I think I will plant more calendula and wild flowers too. Maybe I will make my front yard one big wildflower meadow, no need to mow or weed!

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Suburban Straw Bale Gardening and Backyard Chickens

We have finally settled down with my daughters family here in Oklahoma. The move went smoothly and I am getting along very well with my two grandkids and my daughter. Her husband is overseas working and we moved into her home to help out while her husband is away.

The best part of living with my family? Cooking big dinners and lots of laughter over dinner meals, I really missed that living up in the woods with just my husband these last five years.

I’ve met all my neighbors whilst setting up my garden. They all wanted to know what I was doing. Gardening is an easy way to meet people. You are outside in a natural setting and accessible. It gives the neighborhood an intimate feeling too. I tell everyone gardening and taking care of the yard is a cheaper way to stay in shape, cheaper than a gym membership and I get to eat the fruits from my work too!

We also ordered some chicks from Cackle Hatchery. We can keep up to 6 adults and 14 chicks under 8 weeks old. We bought Easter Eggers, Barred Plymouth Rock, and Black Sex Links. I will build my own little chicken coop per city ordinance,it’s going to be an A-frame, I am so excited! We will keep six hens and the rest of the pullets we ordered will be sold to other backyard chicken fanciers.

Straw Bale Garden

Strawbalegarden
Bales are ready for planting. I need to buy support wire and netting to keep the squirrels out. Check out the link I provided for straw bale gardening.
A friend of my daughters helped me get my straw bales. Oklahoma people are so friendly and helpful. I love them!
A friend of my daughters helped me get my straw bales. Oklahoma people are so friendly and helpful. I love them!
Instead of a green thumb I have a green palm. Blisters from breaking up dirt for the lawn. The green came from some kind of emulsifier that goes with the grass seed.
Instead of a green thumb I have a green palm. Blisters from breaking up dirt for the lawn. The green came from some kind of emulsifier that goes with the grass seed.

My 300 Happiness Jars

I only have a hundred more to go…

Packing my canning jars has filled me with nostalgia. Lots of memories, I spent almost five years figuring how to live off my gardens produce and chickens. This year I was able to fulfill my dream and totally live off of what I grew without having to go to the store! Now I have the skills to grow my food and I found my health along the way.  I am healthy after years of fibromyalgia symptoms, bad back, and sciatica. The best medicine is organic food, lots of hugs from good friends, clean air and water, and natures quiet equanimity that gives you room so you can find yourself. Time to go back out into the world and start another garden!

My Happiness Jar

I was the first one up in our house today. The first person up in the morning takes our dog Mina out for her morning run, poop, and pee. I was walking our property line which a drainage ditch runs by and it was almost dry after a weeks worth of heavy rains. It’s been very warm and dry here in Oregon for the last couple days and the ditch dries up fast.

I saw something move in a small puddle and thought it might be a fingerling that came up from the creek. Straddling the ditch and squatting down to get a closer look, I almost fell into the ditch and squashed a bullfrog tadpole!

I found my balance and scooped the tadpole into the palm of my hand. I ran over to my garden shed and found a clean bucket, filled it full of ditch water and dropped the tadpole in the bucket. Mina had finished her chores and we went inside.

I found a clean gallon jar, added some algae, plants from our swamp and dead leaves. Bullfrog tadpoles eat greens like pond plants and algae.

I used to do this as a kid, keep the tadpoles until they got their legs and turn them loose. This little guy is about to get his legs. I will give him fresh water daily and enjoy watching him grow, just like I did when I was a kid.

Bullfrog Tadpole Bullfrog Tadpole

We are Moving and Packing Up the House

Sold my Chickens, but not my canning jars! I really miss my chickens. I am constantly looking out the windows checking to make sure no hawks are trying to grab a snack. Every morning for the last 4 years I would get up in the morning, feed the chickens and let them out to free range. I miss that routine. I would be starting my first incubator batch of chicks right now. It takes 21 days for the little ones to hatch. This is a little Buff Brahma chick. They are heritage chickens and on the watch livestock list. http://www.livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/brahma

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The beginning of March we will be on the road and heading for our new home. We are using a moving Pod and I love moving this way. You can pack and move at your leisure, added bonus we saved thousands of dollars. With a big family with lots of stuff I don’t know if this would work as well. We used a moving company that packed up everything and took a month to move our stuff two thousand miles. With a Pod it only takes 10 days to move our house two thousand miles. We do the packing the Pod company does the moving.  We started packing early, packing our stuff just a bit at a time. Now it’s getting to crunch time and I won’t be able to post much. As you have seen I haven’t been very active on WordPress. I will get back to writing and posting sometime in April.

I won’t completely stop, anything interesting that comes up I will post something.

In a couple more months I will be planting a new garden and teaching people who to grow their own gardens.

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My Happiness Jar

I could hear this bullfrog calling all evening several springs ago. So I yelled at him to come and visit me and I will give you a kiss. The next day my Husband ran into the house and told me there was a huge frog in our garden and it wouldn’t move. I went to take a look and there was the big old bullfrog I heard the other evening. He just sat there, we looked at him for a couple of minutes, I reached down and picked him up. He just sat in my hand looking up at me. He was waiting for that kiss I promised him.

I kissed a frog and I liked it.
I kissed a frog and I liked it.

Detox Diet – Update

It’s been since the January 1st, and I have no food cravings with this detox! I don’t even crave Scapa Scotch whisky, which I never drink but once a year. I am not hungry either because I can eat as much veggies as I want. Most detoxes I get odd cravings like a good scotch whisky neat. I went off sugar, coffee, meat, wheat (most grains), processed food and drinks, fruit, and alcohol. Wasn’t too hard for me, I ended up with 2 low-grade headaches that went away in within a couple of hours. No problems with digestion, stools look great too! What a good poop looks like…

What has changed? I can breathe through both nostrils when I wake up! Through this fall into winter weather I’ve woken with a plugged nose and stuffy sinuses. This condition has disappeared, I am pretty sure I was over doing my wheat intake even though it is organic and I am hand milling, so the flour is fresh.  I still feel disoriented like my brain is kinda of foggy. I am having some problems concentrating and I didn’t eat that much crap during the holidays. This last week I was pretty grumpy as well.  I eat pretty clean throughout the year so the detox isn’t that harsh for me.

For those who are detoxing from the industrial food grid, be aware detox may not make you feel better your first couple detoxes. My detox is for 30 days, I don’t even take the first week to transition of caffeine like a lot of folk do. I do prep for detox, research what I need for physical and mental symptoms I am having and stock my kitchen with everything I need.  I do this prep-work and research so I won’t have any excuses to go off my detox. I know my weakness very well after years of working with my habits.

I’ve done a lot of root and vegetable stews and soups. I’ve been using buckwheat flour to make some yummy biscuits. For tea this years herb garden yielded lemon balm, minty tasting oregano, and sage. These 3 herbs taste great together and I will be drinking this tea forever! Best thing about this detox, it is super cheap to do and it’s easy.

Turmeric tea – Buckwheat Pancake –

Homemade Chicken Feed

Every other day I cook up a bunch of squash and pumpkin for the family and our chickens. I add flax seed and oatmeal or other bulk grains. I also cook up legumes like field peas and cow peas to mix with squash. I used to lose chickens to the flu or Mereks disease, the first two years we lost a lot of young chickens to Mereks. When I started feeding my chickens organic bulk grains and legumes plus the squash, pumpkins, and greens from my garden no more illness. I may lose 2 or 3 pullets out of a hundred during the year.

It’s easier to buy bulk feed but it is very expensive to buy organic. I would rather take a couple hours out of my week and make my chickens feed. I feel my chickens are healthier, eggs and meat are clean. Most feed unless labeled organic is full of toxins just like the food we buy in our grocery stores.

Chickens will not eat GM Corn

Grown in our garden.
Grown in our garden.
Flax seed and squash
Flax seed and squash
Pumpkin, Flax seed, and oats
Pumpkin, Flax seed, and oats

My Happiness Jar

Dusk is my second favorite time of the day and it only last a moment. The smell of the woods changes just before dark. When the fog settles in up here in the foothills of the Cascades sounds become muffled and scents are amplified. I have imagined the woods talks to me through my nose. If I stand there quietly and still my thoughts I can smell the woods thinking and talking.