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.


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.


Sunflowers and Tea – 1

Lisa Ryder:

I will be posting less for the next couple months. New adventures on the horizon!

Originally posted on Red Dust Art:

More Kitchen art, first layer of color. I will be posting less for the next couple months. Packing up our house and moving to a new place. The painting of the girl with the flowers is gonna be done before spring hits us.

Sun Flowers and Tea

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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.

My Happiness Jar

Today patterns brought me a moment of happiness.

The smell of the woods here in Oregon, earthy with a hint of cinnamon, the cold watery light of winter. The texture of frost covered deer netting, manmade designs covered by natures cold indifference. Just a momentary whisper of happiness, impossible to catch and hold even for a moment.

▶ Ursula Le Guin’s Viral Video: “We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom”

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Lisa Ryder:

One of my favorite Authors as a child and adult, I watched her lecture on this subject.

Originally posted on Rise Up Times:

Bill Moyers interview with Ursula K. LeGuin about “Lathe of Heaven”

In accepting the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at this year’s National Book Awards, eminent sci-fi writer Ursula Le Guin made a knock-out speech about the power of capitalism, literature and imagination that, as she put it afterwards, “went sort-of viral on YouTube.”

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Mean Vegans and Mean Meat Eaters

Lisa Ryder:

Love this thoughtful article. What a nice person (notice I didn’t say vegan).

Originally posted on Healthy Is The New Awesome!:

For most of my life, I was badgered, insulted, harassed and criticized for my diet.  I became a vegetarian by my own choice at the age of 5…all while living in the beef capital of the world, Rural Alberta.  No matter how hard people tried to convince me that I was unhealthy or wasn’t getting enough protein, no matter how hard people tried to sneak meat into my food, no matter what they said or did – I NEVER gave in to eating meat.  EVER.  There was absolutely nothing anyone could say, do think or otherwise to persuade me to eat an animal because I loved them so much and this value was and still remains one of the most important things in my life.  In Rural Alberta in the 1980s – when and where the word “vegetarian” had to be explained to people and I was a child living…

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My Happiness Jar

Today I had a headache, I am used to headaches. I knew I would get one eating a salad at our local burger joint yesterday and doing detox. Even though I had a headache I found happiness sorting beans I grew this year. I grew Appaloosa, Mayflower, and Tender bean. I find it soothing to sit and shell beans while I listening to an audio book. Right now I am listening to an audio book I read when I was a teenager by Michael Moorcock, The Chronicles of Castle Brass. It’s all about adventures with time travel.

Beans for this years garden
Beans from last years garden

for next years garden.

Detox Month – Dinner

I had a horrible headache today, mostly likely from the salad I ate at the restaurant we dinned at yesterday. Most of the time restaurants unless stated do not serve organic food. I ate a bunch of kimchi  for lunch today with my soup and rice and the headache is finally gone. That is the price one pays when eating clean for so long. Industrial food kicks one’s ass very quickly. I have had absolutely no cravings today. I wonder how long that will last?

For breakfast I made buckwheat and kelp biscuits, I am reluctant to post this recipe because these biscuits are an acquired taste. I’ve drunk sage, oregano, and lemon balm tea all day, yummy!

I first rinsed and soaked brown rice for a couple of hours. Liquid used to cook rice was from this years canned tomatoes I added tomato juice and cooked rice until tender. One cup of rice to two cups of liquid, 1/2 tsp of salt, add lid to cover cooking rice, cook at medium low until liquid is gone, remove from heat, stir rice and let sit. You can freeze or refrigerate and use this rice for what ever meal you wish.

I buy my organic rice in 20lb bags from our local organic cooperative. As I stated in previous blogs buying in bulk saves me 30 to 50% on my food bill.

I added some of my gardens canned hot peppers and the rice I cooked up to the soup I cooked last night. This meal hardly took any effort and is very inexpensive. Soup Recipe

Detox soup