Thinking Woman’s Weblog

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Books I’m Reading/Have Read January 6, 2009

Currently Reading:

Conversations with God Spiritual. All the answers are in this book! I didn’t know all the questions. Good things have started happening since I started reading this!

Square Foot Gardening I’ve got a square foot garden all planted up! Now to learn how to maintain it! I love the ideas in this book. I have always wondered why plant a whole packet of seeds only to thin them down; I’ve always “cheated” on that and saved most of the seeds. I love it when people can “think outside of the box”. Ha ha. Mel puts himself into a box by thinking out of the box!

Hands of Light/Light Emerging I hope these books hold some answers for me. I don’t intend to become a healer to others, just myself and my family.

Nourishing Traditions Learning to eat in the ways of many traditional cultures. How to prepare our own foods naturally and get the nutrients/minerals. The beginning was a bit dry for me but there are loads of great tips and other cool shorties interspersed with the recipes. I’m learning tons!

Favorites

Unconditional Parenting By far my most favorite parenting book.

The Highly Sensitive Person

The Highly Sensitive Child

More later!

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Biking and Guilt January 5, 2009

Filed under: unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 4:46 pm

In a perfect world, I would not use my car. I’d bike everywhere and do most of my shopping using the bike.

I bought a huge basket for the rear wheel and did actually go grocery shopping a few times. But then I tried putting a trail bike on with the basket and it is not compatible; the basket sticks up too high so it’s one or the other. And the basket needs to be installed so it’s not like I can just take it off.

I know! Panniers! Only the ones at the bike stores are crazy expensive.

I know! Ebay!

I found some great ones from Holland, snapped them up and got a rack.

Only…the measurements were not at all what I thought. Well duh. Holland is metric and we’re um, not. So what I got is some very cute but tiny little panniers.

I am so disappointed.

I installed them anyway and put the trail bike attachment onto my bicycle so now I can actually go places with my two girls. While this is very freeing, I am deeply disappointed that I can’t really take much of anything with us. I wish this had worked out but I’m getting pretty tired of the whole thing.

Plus both the baskets and the panniers come so far forward that I wind up having to bike on my heels instead of toes to keep them out of the way.

 

My new garden! December 17, 2008

Filed under: organic gardening,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 11:12 pm
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One week ago, I had three 5′ X 8′ raised garden beds installed and planted them about half full with baby plants using the square foot gardening method.

All the babies look lovely and today it was time to start harvesting the lettuce. My older daughter and I carefully picked  lettuce leaves  and then some of each spice. We’ve got soft mesclin lettuces and something like bok choy, plus sage, oregano, parsley, cilantry, chives, and dill. When it’s a little warmer, I’ll plant basil and make pesto.

I also squeezed the juice of one of our citrus fruits over the freshly washed greens and added some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was a very flavorful and fresh salad. The girls didn’t care for it so I’m going to have to work on figuring out what salad dressings appeal to them but my husband found it very interesting and it made him really happy to have some of this first salad from our garden!

Soon, the lettuces will be much bigger. I know I’ve got some mesclun salad mix seeds around here somewhere. They are probably 5 years old so I do hope they still work!
I’ve also got basil, dill, and a few other things plus what I think is scallions from a workshop I attended a few months ago. I can’t wait to get every square filled in.

Many of the plants are broccoli, which is a favorite of the whole family. We also have some cauliflower which will challenge us to expand our horizons as well as some collards which are downright scary. We’ve also got a few red cabbages which will also be a little challenging but I’ll juice them if I have to! I can’t remember what all else is planted. I do hope I recognize everything as not everything is labeled.

 

Please Help Me Reduce Junk Mail! November 29, 2008

Filed under: environment,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 7:29 pm
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Help! I am in the USA. I moved 9 months ago and those suckers have found me again! I have tried so many reduction plans over the years including sending letters as described on websites – most of those letters came back to me as undeliverable. I have popped the trash magazines into the mail. I have called places and sat on hold for long periods of time.

I am only human! When a lovely Pottery Barn magazine shows up, it is possible that as I rip off my name/address for shredding, I might happen to catch a peek at something and start flipping through and wanting stuff I never even knew existed but now must have. No need for all this in the first place!

Make it stop! Help! Send me legitimate information on how to get this to stop! Things you have personally seen work, not just links to websites. Thank you in advance!

 

Dehydrator Blues November 26, 2008

Filed under: health,organic food,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 10:11 pm
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My dehydrator and I haven’t made friends yet. I am still being nice. Well, polite, anyway. Poor thing got shunted to the back of the cabinet when we moved and has only been out for the first time last week. Although I tried to make something seemingly easy, and the dehydrator dutifully chugged away for days, nothing came of the effort. Now said machine is mostly in a sad wreck on my counter and sink. The trays are too huge to fit properly in the sink and so both my husband and I have been ignoring them for two days.

All my efforts are currently focusing around this vision of living fully off our own land. To that end, I am trying to learn to store food and make a choice on whether we’ll be going back to raw food or wind up going with Traditional eating. Or maybe it will wind up to be a combination of these philosophies. Who knows.

In consideration of the future possibility of raw food, I tried something I thought my girls would love: potato chips. I used red potatoes and also sweet potatoes or yams (I am never sure which I am getting, and yes, I realize they are not actually potatoes at all). These both seem like things I might try growing as they’ll work well in my climate.

It was a disaster. I used a low temperature as is recommended universally by raw foodies and wound up, as I have before, with chewy chips. I checked periodically but never got anything edible. I am feeling demoralized on this whole storing raw food thing. And this foolish $100 huge contraption. I’ve tried fruit rollups, dried fruit, and other veggies. It’s getting annoying. I particularly do not enjoy tossing out what had been perfectly good food, now ruined.

Dehydrating sounds so simple in recipes. I need a tutorial!

Is there really a way to do low temperature dehydrating?

 

Storing foods without destroying them November 21, 2008

Filed under: organic food,organic gardening,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 5:23 pm
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Thank goodness for the Nourishing Traditions book. People have been raving about this book for so long and I have not been opening my copy. Finally, I am having more of a dig through it and finding amazing answers. I was so turned off in the beginning because the book was so heavy and rather boring, but the recipe section has short helpful blurbs in bite sized chunks.

Not only can I now easily start making my own yogurt starting with raw milk, but I feel confident I will be able to store excess bounty from my future garden. My garden is going to be installed in just two weeks and I know from experience that once things start coming, often there is much more than can be used all at once. And then it’s gone! You can’t give away zucchini when everyone has watermelon sized ones already. Weeks later, you’re back to craving the sweet gentle flavor.

Breaking news! As I’m in the middle of this blog entry, I come across more info on how to store garden produce! Ah, more research to do to get the puzzle pieces to all fit together! Mrs. Green is recommending a book called How to Store your Garden Produce. There. I’ve added it to my Amazon Wish List. Once I get $25 worth and qualify for the free shipping, it’ll be mine! (Gee. What I should really do is get it from the library if available and if not, request that my library order it. Do I really need my own copy? Some books are must haves, but many on my shelves are one-time reads.)

 

Kombucha again November 20, 2008

Filed under: organic food,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 12:29 am
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I am stunned. Today my older daughter bounced up and down and shouted “Yea!” when I told her, “Sure, I’ll get you some Kombucha.”  You’d have thought I was surprising her with a big old bowl of ice cream! And yesterday the floaters (bottom of the batch) grossed her out but today she was able to ignore them! And she got her little sister to have some too, just by being so excited, I guess. I turned around and mine was gone! So unexpected!