Nasty Little Aphids

Gross picture alert! *shudder*

Alright folks. The little bastards have smothered the inside of my cabbages, prohibiting my wee ones from forming heads. I have found a minor amount inside of the cauliflowers and searched the rest of the plants which all look OK. I think I may swing over to the garden center for some lady bugs too.

I sprayed them with a mixture of hot peppers and vinegar. The powdery substance that they produce caused a bit of the liquid to just "roll off" but I hope it still works.

If I spray them off with a high power nozzle (which is recommended on several organic sites) will they just spread to the other plants or die from drowning?

Either way, any help would be appreciated.


Garden Update

I have been meaning to post an update of the garden. Yes, I have failed until now. Better late than never I always say.

Trial and error can be painful, brain racking and can, at various times, downright piss you off. We realized that we over fertilized half of the garden which has caused some minor growth stunt for half of the plants. Annoying doesn't cover the feeling, but we truck on.

Tomatoes: In the last 2 days, two wee yellow pear tomatoes have finally emerged. Yippie! At least there was some success. Now, the other yellow pear plant is in the end of the garden that we over fertilized, so it's a no go. Yet. (sorry for the blur on the photo. I wanted to showcase the little guy)

Sweet Bell Peppers: We have some new sprouts forming even in the sad side of the garden. I guess they are a bit hardier than I originally thought.

Lettuce: You guys were right. It doesn't take much for the lettuce to start, and sure enough we have several little sprouts up and running. I suspect it wont be long before i'm harvesting some greens to eat! Hmmm.. I wonder if the tomatoes might be ready then.

Cabbage: Huge leaves and i'm waiting for the centers to really take shape. Something is getting to the leaves and I have yet to catch the little culprits in the act. I am beginning to keep a watchful eye on these little white butterfly type things that sure seem to flutter around at any given time of the day..

Cauliflower: Looking good. All but one of the 8 plants has it's center formed and taking off. I just came across a cauliflower fritter recipe I tucked away for the first head I harvest.

Peas: They didn't make it. *sound of TAPS in the background* While there are a few hanging on for dear life, it just didn't happen. The space can be used for something else so we plan on pulling them out soon.

Strawberries: *TAPS* Not a happenin'! Poor wee fellas just didn't make it. Again, the space will make a good plot for something else.. just not sure what.

Patty Pan Squash: Not sure if the ground pigs are going to produce anything. But since they are pretty much still alive, we'll wait and see. If they kick the bucket, we'll use that space too. I really didn't comprehend the amount of space they require, and even though they are my favorites, they would have never been planted due to the limitations to begin with.

Herbs: All doing well except my poor rosemary. Makes me mad since that's my favorite one in the plot. For something so hardy, it's not doing well.

Leeks: No sprouts yet. I'm hoping they still germinate, but i'm questioning the quality of the seeds. Either that or it's not liking the over-fertilized side.

For a couple of folks who have never had a garden (outside of containers) I think Bear and I are fairing well. The casualties are less *knock on wood* at this time than expected. I did think the peas were doing great until we went camping. Live and learn eh?

As for other updates - it's hot as Hades here with a high of 95* so I think the kiddos and I will hide inside. We managed a new hot water tank and while I did heat water up on the stove one time, it is nice that it was fixed fairly quickly.

Sweeney Todd was awesome and we had a fantastic time. We snuck over to the balcony seats during the second half of the show since it wasn't sold out. That was sweet!

She was also invited by a friend to the Warped Tour concert that ran through here on Sunday. Her first concert and she had a blast.

All in all, everything here is well. Finances are tight, gas prices suck, but we are all healthy and madly in love and that's good enough for me. :)


Return, Return, Return

We are back from camping and had a wonderful time. Unfortunately, we returned to phone troubles (having a dial tone when it damn well feels like giving it) and the hot water heater is dead. Not resuscitation kind of dead. More like scrap yard, TAPS playing in the background. Dead.

The plummer will be here this evening while I am watching the Broadway production of Sweeney Todd with 2 teenage girls.

Bear braved it and took a cold shower, but I hauled a steaming pot of water into the stall with me which led to little or no chilly squeals behind the curtain.

I'll post a proper tidbit tomorrow, but we ARE alive and kicking.

Off to catch up with your lives... :)


Castle Mountain Here We Come!

We are heading out in the morning for our annual camping trip! All of the gear came out of the shed yesterday, checked over, and checked over again. Everything looks good!

Today, I am prepping food (baking bread etc) and cleaning around the house. Teenager has been packed for 4 days already. How easy is that? I wish I could be finished with all I need to do, but that would be to good to be true.

We'll be back Sunday - the same day Teenager turns 15. Eghads!

Have a great weekend! :)


Free Hugs and Great Fathers

I know this has been floating around for some time, but it always makes me happy with some tears for good measure. Looking through Youtube, it seems there have been Free Hugs Campaigns (visit the official site!)conducted in several major US cities.

I love the little lady who was the first to hug him, how he gets on one knee and then she strokes his face. Just awesome.

Happy Father's Day to all you great fella's out there. I know I am one lucky women to have such a fantastic man with whom we created two incredible kids. Honey, I love you and thank you for all you do for us. Everyday should be your day. Did I mention how damn lucky I am?


A Little Bit of Everything...

I know, I know.. but I just haven't had much blogging on the mind lately. While we have been pretty darn busy, it hasn't been the type of busy that you guys would want to hear about.

Here are some brief things to share:

The garden is looking good, though we had a couple of casualties. Three Roma's didn't make it and had to be pulled up. In their place, we planted three Early Girl tomato plants which are still looking a bit grim but it hasn't even been a week yet. I'm still holding on that they'll make it. The other 3 Roma's and three yellow pear plants are looking fabulous. We have peppers growing, and the snap peas are crawling up the trellis with tenacity. I love watching the feelers curl around each bit of string.

We planted a lettuce bed (thanks for all the advice guys) and i'm watching with a hawks eye for any sprouts. We chose Buttercrunch since it seems to do very well in our climate. We also took advantage of a small patch for some leeks. We LOVE leeks and by the time they are ready for harvest, the weather will be cooler -- though I have never needed an excuse to make a batch of potato-leek soup!

The other day, my awesomely wonderful landlord called and said he had 4 tickets to the Rockies vs. SF Giants game and that they were particularly great seats. He was unable to attend and did we want to go. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite; Heck Yes! Bear managed out of work early so we could go and boy was it fun! He wasn't kidding that they were great seats either. We were right behind the dugout!

You can see the camera crew right in front of us. And that's 3rd base you are looking at. Bear ended up on the mega screen at one point. Teenager, while baseball bores the heck out of her, took full advantage of her brother's binoculars. She discovered a guy on the other side of the stadium without his shirt on, a tan that should be criminal, and big gold chains around his neck. Not to sound stereo-typical, but he reminded me of someone out of some Bronx tale. I pictured him with an accent - the whole bit. I know, terrible of me. *shrugs* The shirtless friend with him reminded me a bit of Anthony Michael Hall (before he became real buff) from Weird Science. Bit out of place. Then there was the girl in the swimsuit top that Bear had to check out for himself. LOL

Little Bear had an awesome time, and that really nice lady next to him talked with him the whole game, sharing her peanuts. She was really sweet. It was great fun!

Last night - we watched (for the first time) An Inconvenient Truth. The kids were outside playing, but Bear and I let it be known that they have to sit down and watch it before I return it to the library. I believe it's a highly important film for them to see. I'll save my thoughts on it for another post, but for those who have yet to see it - what are you waiting for!?!?

We are going on an annual camping trip Thursday - a small festival (capped at 100 people) that we attend with other folks from our Pagan community. The large one in August (capped at 1000 people) is the one we are looking most forward too. Never the less, i'll be MIA from the 19th to the 22nd.

Speaking of the 22nd: Teenager will be 15 that day. Yep, my annual crying fest will begin. I cry every year, and while Teenager teases me about it, I think she secretly gets a kick out of it. We are financially tight right now (isn't most everyone else?) but I would LOVE to get her tickets to see Sweeney Todd - the Broadway show that is here in Denver. It ends the following week and I found that tickets are $20 for the balcony seats. Maybe her and her best girlfriend (who is another Tim Burton fan) would enjoy going. I'll have to run it by Bear.

15. Oh Gods our baby is turning 15. sigh.


Hope For Our Future....

Please Gods, let this man become the next President of the United States of America. Don't we finally deserve a break?

Utterly Sick!

Video Catches Pedestrian Run Over, Ignored

78-Year-Old Paralyzed, In Critical Condition

A Hartford, Conn., man is in critical condition at Hartford Hospital after a hit-and-run incident that was caught on tape. The video shows numerous cars and pedestrians passing by as Angel Torres, 78, lies motionless in the street before a police car arrives on the scene.According to the Hartford Police Department, on Friday, May 30, at approximately 5:45 p.m., Hartford Police were responding to an unrelated call for service when one of the responding officers came upon a pedestrian lying in the road. The pedestrian was found to be suffering from head injuries after being struck by a motor vehicle. Emergency Medical Services were called and transported the pedestrian, later identified as Torres.

For the rest of the article and to view the video - Go here...


What the hell is wrong with us? The video just left me in shock. People literally walk past him, drive their cars around him, and it made me sick to watch. Made me just shudder at the nature of the human race.


A Year Older...

Thirty Four years ago today, I was born in San Antonio to a single mother. Never underestimate the results of a one night stand. A one night stand while on birth control no less... (that probably wasn't a necessary statement, but it's a fact of my life)

I am blessed with an incredible family and love beyond measure. There are many times I feel very undeserving of such love, but that's neither here nor there. I'm forever grateful that I am here and able to experience this ride with Bear and the children.

Cake anyone?


Why Excederin Back and Body Are My Friends....

Sunday was our full blow gardening day. Holy hell... it was exhausting, though satisfying. We were up early and had breakfast before heading out to the garden center. Of course we had to begin our garden with starters so the price was a bit higher, but nothing unbearable.

~Blushing Beauty Sweet Pepper~

I am sore in places I didn't know existed. I know that sounds a bit wussy, but I do not apologize. In fact, the back of my THIGHS are demanding the apology to which I will do no such thing. They deserved the work out from hell. It's what they get for being so out of shape.

~The Herbal Area - All are medicinal plants...~

I have been reading what I can get my hands on. The books that were recommended by you guys will not come easily as we are broke and there is a line of holds at the library. Oh, i'm on there... I just don't know if i'll get them in this growing season.

We were in bed by 8:30 pm and up at 4:30. I had a load of clothes on the line and the dishes washed before 5:30 because I feared I wouldn't get back up if I sat down. My thinking was on the money. Little Bear kept banging on the front door when he could have gone around to the side - and when I finally got the the door, he got a nasty surprise when I chewed him out for making me walk across the house. The nerve!

~Ever-bearing Strawberries~

~The snow peas to the back and the far left are cabbages~

I'll post more in time, but at this moment, I am satisfied and please with the results. Here is a run down of what we planted:


Basil (spicy and genovese)
Lemon Balm
Lemon Verbanea
Garlic Chives

There will be more transplants from our Priestess next week, some of which will be:


and a few others that I can't recall since my brain is fried today.


6 tomato plants (4 Roma & 2 Yellow Pear)
Sweet Banana Peppers
Patty Pan Squash
Sugar Snap Peas

We have a tiny space left and may be able to fit another veggie in there but it's not looking promising. By choosing the patty pan squash we lost some space because they have to be spaced out so far, but darnit! It's my favorite squash!

Ignore my babbling. I am so tired today. Walking in to the bank and 2 stores this morning was something closely resembling torture. Yeah, there's that wussy talk again. I'm off to lay in the recliner and read. Poor Bear is at work hurting as well. He is sunburned yet again. We're a couple of old babies today! Whaaaaaaaa.... :~)


Man, I Screwed Up!

While changing the template, I did something that caused all of my blog rolls to go bye bye. Blogs that I have been reading for a long time will be no problem... It's the recent additions that I will probably pull my hair out over!

What a screw up.... *pout*


Lots of Catching Up to Do and Call for Advice!

OK guys - we've had such a busy few weeks so this is going to be a serious mixed bag.

Last weekend we had an awesome time. We went to Dinosaur Ridge to see the tracks preserved in stone and since Little Bear is a fanatic for all things dino related (besides his insatiable apatite for Titanic history) this was loads of fun.

The tracks are found on the side of Hogback Ridge. It looks like the dinosaurs walked up the side of a mountain causing your imagination to run wild. Obviously the tracks were formed before the ridge but it funny to imagine anyhow. There were water ripples all over the place from when it was an ocean. Such incredible evolutionary evidence, but I won't go there. ;~)

We ended up on a trail (Dakota Trail) and hiked the Hogback (or as I like to call it; a mini-mountain) and had a fantastic time. The trail follows the entire back of the ridge and I was very proud of myself. 6 - 12 months ago, I would have NEVER made it but changing my eating and lifestyle has allowed me to enjoy such things as of recent. It makes it all worth it.


Friday morning I was sitting here checking e-mail when I heard Little Bear get up and head to the bathroom. It's VERY unusual to see him at 6:30 in the morning, but I thought nothing of it. That is until I heard strange noises coming from that direction. I run to the bathroom and find him on his knees saying, "Mommy, I don't want to die.."

He was unable to breathe.

It sounded like an asthma attack. LB doesn't have asthma but the sound was just like it. I called the hospital and they had me check several things with him from the color of his lips to his ability to walk across the living room. He said his lungs felt tiny and his breathing was short and harsh. They advised me to call 911. The ambulance arrived and agreed that it sounded like an attack and asked me his history. They hooked him up to Albuterol and had me follow them to the hospital.

Upon arriving, the paramedic said that oddly his oxygen levels in his blood were "acceptable" considering how awful his breathing was. The Albuterol didn't help, and that told the doctor that he wasn't having an asthma attack. The doc checked him over and then asked him to cough. The cough. I knew what it was the second he did it.

For you parents out there... it turns out he has Croup!

He's eleven years old! Turns out, it's VERY rare for anyone over the age of 6 to develop it. Here's a little ditty from About.com about croup:

Croup is a common childhood viral illness that is easily recognized because of the distinctive characteristics that children have when they become infected. Like most viral illnesses, there is no cure for croup, but there are many symptomatic treatments that can help your child to feel better faster.

Croup, also called laryngotracheobronchitis, most commonly affects children between the ages of six months and three years, usually during the late fall, winter and early spring. Symptoms, which often include a runny nose and a brassy cough, develop about 2-6 days after being exposed to someone with croup.

One of the distinctive characteristics of croup is the abrupt or sudden onset of symptoms. Children will usually be well when they went to bed, and will then wake up in the middle of the night with a croupy cough and trouble breathing. The cough that children with croup have is also distinctive. Unlike other viral respiratory illnesses, which can cause a dry, wet, or deep cough, croup causes a cough that sounds like a barking seal.

Another common sound or symptom of croup is inspiratory stridor, which is a loud, high-pitched, harsh noise that children with croup often have when they are breathing in. Stridor is often confused with wheezing, but unlike wheezing, which is usually caused by inflammation in the lungs, stridor is caused by inflammation in the larger airways.

The pattern of symptoms in children with croup is also characteristic. In addition to beginning in the middle of the night, symptoms, which are often better during the day, worsen at night, although they are usually less intense each night. Symptoms also become worse if your child becomes anxious or agitated.

The symptoms of croup are caused by inflammation, swelling and the buildup of mucus in the larynx, trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tubes. Since younger infants and children have smaller airways, it makes sense that they are the ones most affected by croup. In contrast, older children will often just develop cold symptoms when they are infected by the same virus.

Children with croup will usually also have a hoarse voice, decreased appetite and a fever, which is usually low grade, but may rise up to 104 degrees F.

The doctor said that in his career, the oldest patient he treated with croup was 4, so an 11 year old kid is way out of the ordinary. *shrugs* He feels like shit but will recover. He's bored being on the couch and watching movies. I think he was really getting used to no television which i'm not complaining about...

Let's move on -


My landlord is this really cool guy who I think we are totally blessed to have. I like him a lot and I am pretty sure they broke the mold with this one.

Cool Guy was over doing some work the other day. We chatted a lot about music and concerts, crap issues with heath care, how damn scary McCain and Clinton are, food and veganism.

As he was leaving I asked him a question about a part of the backyard that was a little barren to begin with. I pointed out that the spot would make an awesome garden and would he allow us to put one in. I even hinted that I would share in the organic bounty if he wanted. He walked over it a bit, and said he thought it would make a lovely spot for a garden and to go for it. *double take* Really? I wanted to do a happy dance right there but tried to remain calm.

This spot is no small shakes. We plotted a 20 x 12 patch not including a small space for herbs. Long story short, we got right to work and rototilled the spot yesterday. Now, I know we are starting a bit late, but we'll be using all starters once we add the organic compost and complete prepping the soil. We have done a little gardening before, but only in containers since we have NEVER had such a cool landlord before.

During the day, it does receive the most sunshine so don't let the shade fool you.

The herbs will go here, and we will have a lot of transplants from our Priestess, as well as some new starters, that we hope will take. I'm so looking forward to doing this and I can't tell you how excited I am that my landlord said GO FOR IT!

So my Call For Advice:

Books. Websites. Ideas. Anything you want to shoot my way, I would be forever grateful. Granted, we live in different climates, but whatever you feel will help us on this fun and scary journey, would be much appreciated by Bear and myself. So lay it on me...



This Guy Gives Me the Heebee Jeebees!

Visit The Real Mccain Website!


The Price of Feeling Special

Look. I'm no different than every other mother out there who likes to be recognized for the contribution they make to their families or humanity even, but not at the cost of feeling guilty and so I have decided things will be different next year. What are you going on about Mysti, you ask?

Restaurant's gouging prices for a darn made up government holiday. That's what!

Yesterday was gorgeous. The weather sunny and mild and I enjoyed a short trip to the local nursery to walk among the green and find a new plant for my mother. Lovely.

Bear had to work and so we planned on dinner afterwards. My favorite fare is Indian and we wanted to try a place that we have passed many times, but never been too. They normally close at 3pm on Sunday but generously (tongue in cheek) stayed open for.. yes.. the glorious day of recognition other wise known as Mother's Day. I felt like it was my lucky day. Meant to be even... because, you see.. by the time Bear arrived home and we headed out it was well after 4pm, but they were staying open for ME!

(cheers and applause heard faintly in the background)

The smells, the taste, the utter lack of resistance. It was divine! I made sure I didn't eat all day so I could eat until I knew I exceeded my intake limit.

But then...

The check.

Oh yes folks. The blasted check.

Bear leans in, grabs the little cushioned black check holder, opens it up and out of my mouth was a raised "What the Hell?"

Their price for the buffet is usually $11.99 (dinner) per person. Apparently though, they thought Mother's everywhere would rejoice in paying them an added amount for their generosity of feeding us on our special day of recognition. All this at the rate of $17 per person including an 11 year old boy. Total that up for 5 people. Livid doesn't begin to describe my feeling at that moment. No warning. So sign. Nada. They, in no uncertain terms, asked us to grab our ankles. The table next to us with 12 people were in for a nasty surprise.

But I woke up feeling the need to thank them instead of being pissed. They stayed open a few extra hours for women on the one day of the year when people show that they possibly give a shit for what it is we do..... all the while, having to ask what the HELL it is that we actually do. But I digress.

(Bear - you are excluded from that last statement)

*clearing throat*

Dear Yak and Yeti (I'm not making that up...),

Thank you for opening up your doors for the women in the community who bring life into this world after many months of swollen feet, the incredible ability to pee our pants when we laugh or sneeze, who are poked and prodded by every Johnny who crouches between our legs to see "how things are going", and hours upon hours of tireless labor pains only to squeeze a bowling ball out of our tiny whoo has!

Your generosity in our hour of needed recognition cannot be conveyed in words alone. So I thank you for accepting my husband's hard earned money for more than your advertised price because I wasn't sure I could openly thank you for your caring hospitality.

So I give to you, dear folks at the Yak and Yeti, the one fingered salute. I want you to know just how damn special you are. After all - women from all over the metro area are feeling the same way.. Damn special.

What will be done different next year? I will ask Bear to put his cute butt in the kitchen and cook a wonderful meal for the family and i'll pitch in and make the bread. Yesterday was a not-so-gentle reminder of why I don't take stock in idiotic made up government holidays.

rant over.


Giving It Up

Wendy had a wonderfully thought provoking post about giving up comfortable amenities while being able to keep others. There are several things that I already go without, so it's been hard making a list, but here goes:

A. Washing Machine
B. Hot Water Heater
C. Television / Electronics
D. Computer
E. Dryer
F. Ice Box
G. Dishwasher
H. Microwave
I. Stove and Oven
J. Air Conditioning
K. Car

My list consists of some items I already do without. Sometimes it's tempting to revert back to using some things because it's so damn convenient, but I am choosing to stick with it for the simple fact that I have to live with myself at the end of the day. No, I don't mean it as if I am a horrid person if I use them.. I just mean because I am trying to make a conscious choice to make change and by not standing my my decisions, I let myself down. So lets look at the list shall we?

Washing Machine: I prefer to keep it, thank you. I use the appropriate setting to save water (such as the load size) and I use cold water as much as possible. Could I wash by hand or a electric free machine? Sure. So I want to? That's another story. If I had to I would. I think any of us would if necessary...

Hot Water Heater: Need my hot showers. I agree with Wendy that this is more of a "system" but I added it because it does work in conjunction to several things on the list. This one is a keeper! **See edit below.

Television: Sometimes I wish we didn't have it. Even for movies. I have kept the television off even after the Turn Off the TV Week challenge. Today the cable is being shut off.We do rent movies from the Hollywood video down the street and sometimes I think we do it to often. Television keeps us uninformed, glassy-eyed, and dependent. It takes our attention away from what is really happening in the world and only keeps children anxious for the next-big-thing, the material side of living. I hate it. This one can go! (Other electronics - I like music but actually I can play anything on my computer so I don't technically have to have a stereo.)

Computer: Nope. Must stay. I do research, homeschooling assignments may find the computer necessary, I play music, and keep in touch with to many people to let this one go. Teenager and I did have a conversation about the importance of letters in the past and how valuable they became to people because of the time it took to receive them. We really don't get the concept and while that is sad to think about, I will only give up my computer if pried from my cold dead hands. It stays!

Dryer: I already gave this up for the most part. I have only used it once in the last 3 weeks and so far I don't have any complaints. Everything dries faster, believe it or not, and smells really good. It remains unplugged. Come winter time, I may feel different, but for right now.. i'm doing OK. It can go!

Ice Box: I prefer to keep it but as we don't eat meat I guess it's a lot less necessary that I may think. I'll hold onto it for a bit longer just in case. Stay!

Dishwasher: I wash by hand even though I have one. It's perfectly functioning, but it's easier and faster to just wash as I go so i'm not waiting to fill up the racks in order to wash a full load. It can go!

Microwave: I have it (built into the kitchen) but I don't use it simply because of what it does to the molecular structure of the food. It's not necessary and I have gone years without using one. I get by just fine. It can go!

Stove / Oven: Fact is, I need this. At least I think I do. OK, i'll rephrase that.. I WANT IT! I would like to build a solar oven some day and use it on occasion when it's to warm in the house and frankly, it would be fun. Come winter time though, I think I would enjoy cooking inside. It stays!

Air Conditioning: I have been without central air for years now. It doesn't bother me in Colorado. We have had a window unit before and it's helpful for sure. This new house has a very small one that i'm not quite sure would make a big difference, but regardless.... it will be a while before it's turned on if at all. Either way, I could live without it. It could go!

Car: I always thought it would be quite the adventure to be car-less but with a family it's more difficult to do so. Jim and Peggy over at Earth Home Garden have been car free for eleven years but this occurred AFTER their family flew the nest. Who knows, maybe in the future. We do use our car a lot less than before and walk most places that are close by. We were able to go 2 weeks without putting any fuel into the car. It's getting better. The question is, however, could I give it up? The answer would have to be yes. But that's if I had too. So this one stays!

Wendy would have to comment if I got the basic premise of this challenge. There are several things I have given up by choice, and though her question is more about giving things up because you have to, I guess the honest answer would have to be everything could go. My only concern is my family and so long as we are all together, healthy, and strong I could live without amenities of convenience. Really I don't know if I can say what I would give up in order to keep because I would give it all up if I had too.

And in the end, if I had to give up electricity I would. It keeps us separated from the ebb in life; the cycles. Cities that are lit up 24 / 7 have no concept of regeneration, of connecting deeper to the earth and Her rhythm. We might learn a lot.

**Edit: While standing in the shower I realized that I could go without the hot water heater, which would then mean letting go of a few other things. Just give me an old fashioned copper tub and I think we could manage. It could double to wash laundry in. Ya know, Teenager wanted to do something like Frontier House, Colonial House, or 1900's House all of which were PBS specials. I wonder if we could and for how long. Also, Little Bear is sitting here informing me that under no circumstances am I to write about letting go of the television or his video games. From the mouth of an 11 year old boy....


Happy May Day!

It's Beltane (or May Day for other folks) today. Did I get flowers hanging on my door? Did we dance the maypole? Did we light the fires? Did we jump them for prosperity? No.. no.. dear friends. I am sad to report that we did not... And this is why.

Cold. Wet. Miserable.

Tis OK since we will attend Beltane celebrations tomorrow with the local folks from our community, and again with the good family on Saturday.

Oh. And Bad-Ass-Bear, the hardcore love of my life, rode his bicycle to and from work once again. What a die hard. I love him so...


- good book and a tire swing -

- history at the picnic table -

- my new energy efficient dryer -

- colorful sarongs blowing in the breeze -

Simple things make me happy...

I have a dentist appointment in an hour, but i'll post more tomorrow. I'm bracing for bad news in the tooth department. Two wisdom teeth must go and a molar next to one. I'll be happy to be free of chronic sinusitis and to be able to chew properly would be heaven.

In the meantime, I found some interesting links that you may all draw something from.


"Thoughts Are Things and Words Have Power"

That's a phrase that our Priestess says, and the ring of truth is sometimes louder than bombs!

Bear reads this here blog.. Keeps him up on things i'm certain. He mentioned the last post and my desire to have one of those push blade mowers. Yep, I would. I think they are awesome! Little Bear mentions that the neighbors who moved from the house directly behind us left one in their backyard.

Holy cow batman! Really? Well, go get it boy! And so he climbed the fence (no one lives there at the moment) and he lifted it so Bear could grab it and drag it over.

- It's a Craftsman too! -

It cuts! It really... really cuts! There are some minor adjustments that Bear is hopeful he can fix, but i'm proud that we may have free-cycled a tool that would only be tossed, ending up in the landfill. It still has life, and I hope we can use it. *happy earth-lovin' dance*


Sewing, Cussing, and Eco Related Chit Chat

I can't sew to save my life. Possibly hand sew, but that's only because I would have more control. Machines and I are not compatible, BFF's, or occasional lunch mates. For all intents and purposes, we barely tolerate each other... but I managed to put together the 2 aprons. Cussing, sighs, and grunts accompanied the process of course. I'm just thrilled you can't see any major blemishes.. and if you can - keep it to yourselves. ;-)

- Teenager wanted a basic with front pocket and trim -

- I decided to get a bit fancier and do two fabrics -

- Twall pocket -

Little Bear is mending our gate (found loose nails that need to be hammered in), Teenager is reading, and after sewing and putting up laundry, i'm ready for a nap. Yeah, i'm a dreamer.

So again, Lisa over at The Tardy Homemaker posed a question that made me think of change.

Bear and I have made some simple changes over time that we feel pretty good about. Basic stuff such as cloth bags for groceries, riding Bike to work, recycling, buying only organic, organic fair trade body products, etc.. but there is so many more possibilities of course.

New thoughts:

Clothes line for times of good weather
A push / blade mower (no fuel but elbow grease)
Diva Cup (i'm SO ready for one!)
Hand washing dishes (I do a lot of this already - but make it permanent)
No more papertowels! ( I stopped buying paper plates a few years ago, why not the towels)
Walking and riding the bikes more for transportation

So many different things we can do to change. So many thoughts running through my head!

Comment some more ideas for me to consider. I would love it!

Time for some tea and a good day dream about that nap.


Gas Prices Getting You Down?

Well they are getting us down, that's for sure. But there are solutions my friends. Solutions for those who live in (or close to) the city anyhow.

We own a little PT Cruiser. It's not bad on the gas mileage... oh say around 32- 34 mpg. The tank is 12 gallons and is costing over $40+ to completely fill. That's outrageous! Bear rides a motorcycle and had the nice sticker shock of $17 to fill the tank yesterday. I want to say it's a 5 gallon tank.. give or take.

His solution this morning? Rode his personal bicycle to work! Show them honey.. I back you 100%! I just wish I had the stamina. I really do. I will try and that's all I can promise. I just hate feeling like my heart is going to explode with these blasted inclines and hills! Nonetheless, we live roughly 5 miles from Bear's work and he called me the minute he got there (he was still breathing heavy) and it took him 30 minutes. Pretty darn good!

Bear has been checking online for a very long time for one of these beauties:

He found it on Craigslist for a really good price and snagged it up on Saturday. We went for a quicky ride of 1 mile. I thought I was dying. Literally. You know when you're not sure the next inhale you try and take it going to work or fail? Yeah, that kind of pain. I survived but I felt like a wuss afterwards. I, too, need to try and build my stamina. I have no problem walking several miles, but the cardio explosive kind of stuff makes me hurt thinking about it.

But isn't she a beauty?

We walk to the grocery store when we need a couple of things, backpacks in tow, and I always feel good about it. The library is 1 mile away. Again, backpack is my friend. I envy the folks at Earth Home Garden who are car free, mountain living, bike riding, earth-loving dwellers who have lessened their impact in many way. We just couldn't be car free until Bear and I are alone. To get to that level of living would be a dream come true. Anything is doable. I just have to do it.

I think I have some aprons to make. ;)


Monday Madness

Why did I forget the sunscreen yesterday? I keep asking myself without a definitive answer, and so this morning.. Teenager and I are crispy fried chics! We spent the day at the Mile High Flea Market down the road and lacked the usual protective provisions what one with half a brain might actually remember to pack.*sigh* My morning shower lasted maybe 3 minutes (yeah, I know it's actually a good thing) instead of my typical 5 and shampooing my hair felt like a thousand tiny needles in my scalp, but life will go on.

I became inspired by Lisa over at The Tardy Homemaker to make our own aprons. I was bitching about ending up covered in flour and tiny bits of dough balls and low and behold Lisa posted about an apron swap she was a part of. I was sewing a bag the other day and consequently broke my very last needle, so my crispy teenager and I hopped in the car and went to purchase some at the place hell bent on world domination (only because it was the closest) and we found a few cutesy fabrics on the dollar shelf to play around with. I'll let ya'll know when we complete this wee project.

*Teenager chose the small flower print to the left and I liked the one with the gingham and flora!*

So after my short shower, I treated myself to some left over bread and tea.

*Mmmmm.. Yummy goodness!*

*Fried Oatmeal cakes for the kiddos! (recipe below)*

*Maple syrup is a staple in this house... Just look at how it glistens in the sun light. ;)*

This is my own concoction so the measurements aren't set in stone.

2 C quick oats
1 C applesauce (flavored is fine. This morning was blackberry)
1/2 C milk (I use soy)
1 tsp cinnamon
3 T maple syrup or honey
1 ripe mashed banana
raisins optional

Stir mixture together. It should have a moist / wet consistency. Heat skillet on medium heat. Melt butter and spoon a lump of oatmeal into pan spreading it out with the back of your spoon to make small pancakes. Brown, flip, plate, drizzle on syrup and enjoy.

Another variation is:

Heat oven to 375*

Spoon onto buttered cookie sheet like cookies. Bake 10 minutes! Cookies for breakfast.


Turning Off the T.V. Challenge

We're not huge watchers of the boob tube like other folks we know, but we do have a handful of things we like to watch (besides typical educational shows) such as Ghost Hunters, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, and my all time biggest addiction - Judge Judy! Don't ask me why... Maybe it's because she's crass and cranky, or because there are so many cases where I swear you can hear the banjos playing in the background and they are sadly entertaining.

When the TV comes on, it's usually not until 1pm when the first round of JJ comes on (she is on again at 4pm - blasted!) Little Bear and I also enjoy Deadliest Catch, but the point of this rant is that it's all had me thinking lately about the amount of time wasted in front of the tube.
There are a few great sites around that talk about the TV and all it DOESN'T have to offer.

Kill Your Television

Trash Your TV

Ten Financial Reasons to Turn Off Your Television - and Ten Things to Replace it With

And there are many more out there.. but the first link is full of enough articles to keep you busy for a long time.

So when I came across the challenge of turning off the "time waster", I jumped at it. I put it on the calendar, told Bear about it, and we both agreed it was a good idea. The kids will fuss but I think they'll be OK.

My brother doesn't own a TV. My nephew (5) is rarely exposed to it. He attends a progressive Montessori school and is a smart little guy with a wild and vivid imagination. I was guilty of putting my kids in front of the television as a pacifier, but at what cost? Did a little of their imagination die every minute they sat there? Would they be bigger and more avid readers? Greater in the physically active department? I don't know. Do I feel guilty? Yes. There was a time when Bear and I didn't have a TV. It was many moons ago but we still remember it like yesterday. I wish we could return to that time once again. Maybe. Who knows.

Personal challenge:

Read out loud to everyone (usually do this with Harry Potter)
Walk 2 extra miles a day (go from 3 to 5)
Play more games
Only use computer to check e-mail and blog progress
Be more in the kitchen with the kids
Finish (or start) projects I have longed to do!

We will begin the challenge on the 21st. How about you?


Get a Loaf of This!

Let me give you a back story if you don't mind..

Our family became vegan in the last few months. Bear and I did the master cleanse to "clean out" the system and get on track with proper eating. Bear lost 20 pounds during the fast and I wavered somewhere in the 10 pound range.

I have been staunch about buying mostly organic for some time but now we are more strict. I buy pretty much 100% organic EVERYTHING and the only time we have to deal with conventional is when we eat out.

We both feel so much better even though we had (have) a love of meat and dairy. It's a price to pay, but well worth it in the end.

So basically, my quest to find kick-arse recipes is priority! I have fallen head over heels with several sites, books, and You Tube videos that I think we are set in our mission for now.

In my quest, I came across this killer bread recipe:

5 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups flour
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cups flour

Have ready 3 cups of flour in a large bowl and 3 cups in another.
Put warm water in a bowl with 5 tsp of yeast and the 1/4 of warm water. Set aside and do not stir. Mix the honey and salt with the 2 C of hot water and stir until everything is dissolved. Pour the honey and water mixture over the 3 cups of flour in the large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is incorporated. On top of that, pour the olive oil and the yeast mix. Dump the other 3 cups on the top. I use my Kitchen Aid just to get it well mixed. Then I dump it out on a floured counter and kneed a few times. It doesn't call for kneeding, but I do it for a little good measure.

Make it into a large ball and divide in half. Place each half back into the bowls, cover with warm towel, and allow it to rise for 45 minutes. After the first rise is complete, shape them into loaves for pans or just simple rounds on a cookie sheet will do. Make sure they are far enough apart that they won't come together. Let rise for another 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375* and cook loaves for exactly 23 minutes!

Another way to mix it up a bit that we LOVE is:

4 cloves of garlic - chopped (I like a bit more sometimes)
zest of one lemon
3 T of fresh rosemary

Sprinkle this on when you add the oil and the yeast.

It's very simple for kids of any age to help out with. Teenager and Little Bear helped (OK fought) and there is more rising in the oven as I type. I use it as a homeschooling tool. Kids should learn how to cook and understand some of the science behind it, so we talked a lot about measurements and the actions of yeast.

Tonight it will accompany a wonderful Tuscan Bean dish with Italian Sausage. Yummy!

Considering it's snowing at the moment, I think it's befitting. (Yesterday's high was 83 - Sigh.)

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