Sunday, April 25, 2010

International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day May 1, 2010

According to Wikipedia, "Guerrilla gardening is political gardening, a form of direct action, primarily practiced by environmentalists. It is related to land rights, land reform, and permaculture. Activists take over ("squat") an abandoned piece of land which they do not own to grow crops or plants. Guerrilla gardeners believe in re-considering land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.

Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden. Others work more openly, seeking to engage with members of the local community, as illustrated in the examples that follow. It has grown into a form of proactive activism or pro-activism."

I don't know about all that, I am not a political person, but I think it is a neat idea to grow things in neglected places.  I certainly am non-confrontational, but why not pick a spot and plant a couple of sunflower seeds and tend them to maturity.  Of course, you would need to find a spot where it will not get mowed down.  Perhaps my local fire department? 

In honor of the Fourth Annual International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day, I think I will plant some sunflower seeds in my community.  I also want to plant a couple at my mother's grave.  I think I will plant a few at the community garden and maybe even a few in my yard.  (These aren't guerilla gardening, but why not.)   These flowers will add beauty, as well as food for the bees.

The website is

The website says to:

1.  You will first need some seeds.
2.  Leave home with water, seeds and a tool for digging.
3.  Find a sunny patch of neglected, public earth.
4.  Dig a small hole and drop in your seed, cover and water.
5.  Return to keep weeds clear and to water.
6.  You should get blooms by August.
7.  Share your plans, planting and progress in the geurilla gardening community (

Good luck and here's hoping we see tons of sunflowers, with lots of yummy seeds, this summer.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

How did you celebrate Earth Day?  Did you plant a tree?  Did you begin recycling?  Was a day without electricity?  Or, did you purchase energy saving light bulbs or devices?  I hope you did something in honor of Earth Day.

One of the first commandments God gave was to dress and keep the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 2:15 " And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."  (No offense, but to those of you who don't believe in the Bible, just consider this a good quote from a great book.)

So, to celebrate Earth Day, I dug in the earth and it was great.  My husband and I started about 7:30 a.m. weeding the garden and putting string up for our peas.  I also planted some peppers and cucumbers, and transplanted some Chinese cabbage.

My brother gave me a large rabbit cage.  We replaced the roof and it is in good condition.  So I washed it up and we put the baby chicks in it today.  The chicks enjoyed the fresh air and their new surroundings, but they are back cooped up in the wash tub tonight.  When the nights get warmer, we will leave them in it at night. 

So, Happy Earth Day, no matter how you celebrated it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Additions to the Prepared Household

With my preparedness efforts focused on the easy fix right now, (gardening) I believe I neglected to introduce you to the newest members of the household, right here on the homestead, our new baby chicks.  

For the past month, we have constantly heard the chirping of twelve little yellow puffs and one little black puff.  I know that thirteen is an unlucky number to some, but hopefully lucky to us.  We have six white leghorns, six reds and one black astralorp.  My daughter wanted a black one.  

When we first brought them home, our Jack Russell, Sweet Pea, wouldn't leave them alone.  She crawled right in the box with them and began mothering them.  It was really sweet to see her adopt them.  She never had puppies and I believe she should have since she had a really strong mothering instinct when she saw the baby chicks.  She would growl at our bull dog, Daize whenever she came near.

As the chicks are growing, we are learning they are pretty resilient, thankfully.  Three of the White Leghorns are looking like they might be roosters, but the others don't.  We shall soon see.  The hens we will keep for eggs.  I understand they lay well and will lay good for 2-3 years.  After that, it will be in the food storage.  The roosters, I am afraid, are doomed to the food storage from the start.  Sorry little guys.  This is tough for me, because I love animals and although I eat chicken, I didn't know them.  However, I know that learning how to raise and care for chickens, as well as learning to prepare them for food is an important skill to acquire.  There may be a day that I can't go to the grocery store and pick up a pack of chicken.  I will need to know how to prepare a chicken for cooking.  Hard fact of life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wow-What a Weekend

Since Spring has sprung, I have been so busy taking workshops and going to lectures about sustainability, permaculture, going green, eating local, gardening, gardening, gardening...that I have literally dreamed about it three nights in a row. So much happened thi...s weekend, I don't know how to present it to you. Should I break it up in manageable pieces or just give ya the highlights. goes.

Friday morning, we planted in the community garden. It was great! I am so sore in so many places, I could barely sleep Friday night. (A welcome reprieve from the gardening dream trilogy.) But we accomplished so much, the pain and sleepless night was worth it. We have rows of potatoes, corn, beans, onions, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.  Carrot and radish seeds are lying in beds, sprouting (hopefully) as I speak.  The entire family joined in and we all had a great time. True is the saying that many hands make light the work. The kids (the boys and the girls) even double teamed on "hilling" the twelve rows of potatoes. Great going guys!

Saturday we attended a "Redbud Festival" that had added a Heritage and Folklife program this year. We heard lectures on permaculture, local food systems, heirloom seeds, going green, sheep and goats, and bees. The lecture (or rather discussion) I most enjoyed was Nancy Sleeth's Go Green, $ave Green. Nancy's message is powerful and I hope that one day you will be able to hear it in it's entirety. The message is that the earth is dying and we need to do all we can to replenish the earth and take care of it. For those of you who believe in the Bible, Nancy spoke of Genesis 1:28, "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:..." You know I always combined that thought together with being fruitful and multiplying, but there is a separate sentence there that says to "replenish the earth and subdue it." So, we are to replenish the earth and take care of it.

Ironically, as we spoke of the things we could do to be better stewards of the earth, my thoughts drifted to the natural disasters that are happening every day of our lives. Scenes flashed through my mind of news reports of the tsunamis with the waves crashing over cars, buildings and people and washing them away. It almost reminds me of how a cow or horse will whip their tail, trying to get rid of the parasites and flies that are on their backs. I almost feel like we are parasites, sucking the life out of mother earth by our wasteful ways and she is fighting back, trying to rid herself of the catastrophe at a time.

What are we leaving for our children and our future generations? We know there is a problem and we are the solution. Make a commitment today to change two bad habits right now.
1. Recycle, reuse, reduce.
2. Plant a garden, donate the excess to help feed the hungry: or
3. Plant a fruit or nut tree. Again, feed the hungry. Get your local city government to stop planting ornamental trees and start planting fruit and nut trees to feed the hungry or homeless.
4. Give one thing away to someone who needs it.
5. Wash your clothes in cold water.
6. Brush your teeth or shave with the water off. If you are reading this Nancy, thanks for that suggestion. I had repeatedly asked my husband to turn off the water as he shaves, but he wouldn't, until this workshop.
7. Put your clothes out to air dry instead of using a dryer. We have been doing this for almost a year now and have also saved significantly on our electric bill. And the clothes smell wonderful.
8. Crank your heat down in the winter or your air up in the summer. Only a few degrees will help. Or, you could try to acclimate yourself to no air in the summer. We cover our South facing windows with dark curtains or even blankets during the heat of the day. We circulate the cooler air from our North facing windows that have a porch overhang, to our South facing windows. We were able to tolerate last year without using the air. We did the same thing this winter, by utilizing the heat from our South facing windows and covering all windows with plastic and heavy blankets and all doors with blankets at night. It really made a huge difference and we felt all snuggled in.

I think one of the biggest impacts we made on our electric bill and our lives is the no electricity day we enjoy once a week. We designate a different day each week to not turn on the switches. We don't wash clothes that day, run the microwave or stove, no lights, no TV, no computer (yes, this is hard for me). We enjoy more time together, work in the garden, cook on the grill. Of course, we can't turn off the heat in the winter or the fridge or freezers, but when it gets dark, we use oil lamps or simply go to bed.  It is kind of fun to push ourselves past our comfort zones once a week. Your kids will probably protest, because there won't be any video games, but they get used to it. You can play chess, Monopoly, cards, charades or whatever. It brings you closer. 

Make a game out of it. Be careful when using live fire in your home though, it can be dangerous.    

Nancy Sleeth's book is filled with wonderful suggestions on going green. I suggest you purchase a copy. It is great. Also, check out their website:

Earth Day is April 22, make a commitment to change two things in your life that will reduce your carbon footprint and help mother earth.

I already wash my clothes in cold water and haven't used my dryer in almost a year, so I will try to:
1. I commit to taking more showers and less baths. (I love a hot bath, so this is a biggie for me.) This will save water and electricity.
2. I am going to try to buy my food locally as much as I possibly can.
3. I am going to go the extra mile here too. I am going to call my county and government officials and petition for more sidewalks so we can walk safely on our roads.
Saving money and having better health will improve my preparedness level.... See More
What are you going to do to reduce your carbon footprint or make better choices in your life?

Learn a new skill. Serve someone. Love your neighbor and yourself.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome Kmart Shoppers

I hope you all have been as busy as I have with my gardening efforts to improve my preparedness level.  I will only get busier as summer approaches.  But I wanted to share with you a couple of great deals from Kmart this week.

According to an email I received from Kmart this morning, they are doubling manufacturer coupons up to $1.00, meaning that they will give a total of $2.00 for a $1.00 coupon.  There is a limit of 5 coupons per day per customer.  Kmart has been using this promotion a lot in the past, but never in a store local to me, until now.  See if your store is participating:

Kmart is at the top of the list for me this morning, because they also have a program called Smart Assist Savings Program.  If you are unemployed, go online to, fill out the required information and they will email you a card to print.  According to their website:
"20% Off Select Own-Brand Merchandise for Unemployed Customers
Kmart own-brands give you huge savings versus your favorite national brands every day...and now you'll get to increase those savings by an additional 20% off over 1,500 regular-priced grocery and drugstore items for up to six months!"

This is a great opportunity for those of you who are unemployed, to stock up your pantry with food, cleaning supplies, and health and beauty aids.  Take advantage of it.  You only have to show a picture ID and proof of your unemployment.  I will be breaking mine in today.  Happy Preparing.  

Friday, April 2, 2010

Grow Appalachia

We have really been busy working on preparedness this past couple of weeks.  We are trying our hand at growing our own plants from seeds.  We have had some successes and some failures.  But we are learning.
We have become a part of a program called Grow Appalachia.  This is a community garden project.  Check your local areas and see if there are community gardens in which you can participate.  We will be working on a garden for ourselves, to preserve and use.  We will also be working on a community garden to give to others in the community who are less fortunate.  It is a great concept.  Our director is a wonderful man who works with many other programs to help others.  He is the director of the Laurel County African American Heritage Center.  Check out his site:
Although I am not from African American descent, I do love history.