Master Gardeners Program

PutnamCountyTNMG
Three weeks ago, I started my Master Gardeners class. So far, I’ve learned about the history of the program, soils, and pruning. I have another nine classes to go and 40 hours of service to complete before getting certified as a Master Gardener.
I had a friend a few years ago who took the course in another county and loved it. When we moved to our farm, I really wanted to start growing out own food, so I took a few free classes with the Rutherford County Master Gardeners at the local library. Continue reading

Growing Potatoes

I’ve tried twice to grow potatoes inside. My first attempt was a total fail. I got stalks and no potatoes. My second time I was a little more successful. I had a crop of a whole two potatoes. Not exactly enough to keep my husband and and me fed!
Before the last year, I was pretty convinced I had a black thumb, but I’ve discovered it’s ignorance and not my thumb. 😀
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m starting a Master Gardner’s class next month. In the meantime, I’ve been learning from one of my favorite YouTube channels. I’m going to give potatoes another shot before Spring.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF0C_vAvr8g]

Reducing Our Waste

One of our main goals in living a more sustainable lifestyle is reducing our waste. We’ve started with trying to be more conscious of buying products that reduce packaging. We also try to recycle and reuse as much as possible.
We took a big step this week in getting our compost bin up in the yard. We have a small compost bin for the kitchen that we use for our every day compost (cooking scraps, paper towels, etc.). We empty it into our outdoor compost bin every few days.

We’ve gone from a traditional 13 gallon kitchen trashcan that gets empty every 2-3 days to a smaller 8 gallon trashcan that gets emptied once a week. We’re not at zero waste, but we’ve made a significant improvement, going from over 30 gallons of trash per week to 8 gallons or less.
Like most Americans, we occasionally partake in online shopping, which comes with cardboard boxes, but we can now shred the boxes and add them to our compost.
Continue reading

Homesteading 101

As we’ve worked on renovating our farm and making plans for the future, our major focus has been to learn to live with less. We’ve spent a lot of our time learning new skills like gardening and upcycling. When we started, we had no idea that what we were doing was homesteading!  Of course, now that we know, it makes Google and Pinterest searches much easier.  😉
I’m pretty sure I’ve read every list out there on the top 10, 12, 15 skills you need to start homesteading, so I wanted to share with you some reasons to homestead and some places to get started.
Once upon a time, homesteading referred to the granting of public lands to families for farming at little to no cost. In recent years, the word has taken on a new meaning and refers to a life of self-sufficiency. There are as many ways to homestead as there are people doing it, but the gist of it is to reduce your footprint and consume less by using your skills to grow, to create, or to recycle what you need to live.
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Stewardship of God's Creation

I am so often disappointed when I look around the world and see the way we treat God’s creation. When God left us in charge of things, I don’t think God intended for us to abuse his creation. I think God intended for us to love and to care for his creation as God loves and cares for us, which we are most certainly not doing. I have several friends who are in the rescue business, either canines or equines, and their Facebook pages are continuously filled with sad stories of abuse and neglect. Don’t get me wrong. I understand what it means to fall on hard times and have to re-home your pets, but the volume of animal abuse and neglect in our so-called Christian society is in no way consistent with Christian teachings.
I witnessed a disturbing incident on the way to work the other day. I was driving my usual 5 miles over the speed limit when–as always happens–60 miles per hour just wasn’t fast enough for some hotshot in his supped up, lifted Chevy truck. Just as he came barreling around me and the person behind me, a squirrel darted into the road. I can’t be sure, but I would swear that the driver intentionally hit the squirrel, who realized his error in judgment and tried to retreat. The poor squirrel rolled under the big truck tires and was thrown into the other lane. He clearly did not die on impact. It was heartbreaking. I have no great love for squirrels or any other of God’s rodents, but I could never imagine being so callous as to not care that I took a life–any life. Continue reading

It's Time to Listen

ListenWell…  President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate change agreement.  Dems/Progressives are ticked off.  I get it.  I do.  When you passionately support something, and it doesn’t go your way, it’s a tough pill to swallow.  But I’m bothered by the shallow nature of the discourse.  Several of my friends on Facebook have made posts implying that anyone who disagrees with the Paris climate change agreement is greedy or uncaring or not really Christian.  Fill in the blank.
Unfortunately, that eliminates the possibility of real discourse about a very important subject.  I didn’t vote for President Trump, and I’m not a fan.  I am also not a fan of the EPA or the Paris climate change agreement.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m a passionate believer in being a good steward of God’s creation, so maybe taking a few minutes to find out *why* I oppose such governmental efforts would be worth the conversation?  Maybe listening to what I have to say with an open mind and an open heart would be useful and educational?
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You're Here for a Reason

It’s very easy in today’s world to forget that we each have a purpose.  Not some of us, but all of us.  I save reminders of this to my phone and my computer.  I jot reminders of this down in my journal.  One of those reminders is a post on Ignatian Spirituality by Vinita Hampton Wright:

Your life makes a difference in the universe, whether or not you embrace your God-given power.

Take a minute to soak that in.  You make a difference.  I make a difference.  The only question is what kind of difference do you want to make?  What kind of difference would God like you to make in the world?
Another of those reminders is the Ashes Remain song Here for a Reason.  Take a minute to watch the lyric video and really soak in its message.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb9Y_3O2tlQ]
When you’re having a bad day and it feels like nothing is going right…  When you look at your Facebook feed and it’s full of hate and fear and ignorance…  When you’re surrounded by unhappiness and everything is going to fast…  Slow down.  Remember.  God calls you his own.  You were made for more.  God knows you, loves you, and wants you to live abundantly in love, peace, and understanding.
Why this message on this day?  Because sometimes I need to hear it as much as you do.  Because I am a mere mortal who has bad days and forgets.  Because I too push God away and try to live in isolation.  Because on my worst days I am NOT alone and neither are you.  😀

US and State Codes

The most important part of exercising your rights as a free citizen is knowing your rights.  The best way to really know your rights?  READ THEM! Below are links to the US code and the codes for each state. Get to know the US Code and your state’s codes. You may be surprised what you find!
Did you know that a vehicle and an automobile are not the same thing?  The term vehicle in most states only applies to a car or truck used for commercial practices.  In most cases, you family’s car is not legally defined as a vehicle!  In fact, codes have a specific definition for a lot of things we assume are common items.  Only by knowing the definitions can we know how the laws really apply to us and our activities.

Do You Know Your Presidents?

Below is a list of all 44 of our presidents. Each includes a link to more information. Test yourself! Who was the first president to die in office? What president served so many terms that we added an amendment to limit presidential terms?

  1. George Washington 1789-1797
  2. John Adams 1897-1801
  3. Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809
  4. James Madison 1809-1817
  5. James Monroe 1817-1825
  6. John Quincy Adams 1825-1829
  7. Andrew Jackson 1829-1837
  8. Martin Van Buren 1837-1841
  9. William Henry Harrison 1841-1841
  10. John Tyler 1841-1845
  11. James K. Polk 1845-1849
  12. Zachary Taylor 1849-1850
  13. Millard Fillmore 1850-1853
  14. Franklin Pierce 1853-1857
  15. James Buchanan 1857-1861
  16. Abraham Lincoln 1861-1865
  17. Andrew Johnson 1865-1869
  18. Ulysses S. Grant 1869-1877
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes 1877-1881
  20. James A. Garfield 1881-1881
  21. Chester A. Arthur 1881-1885
  22. Grover Cleveland 1885-1889
  23. Benjamin Harrison 1889-1893
  24. Grover Cleveland 1893-1897
  25. William McKinley 1897-1901
  26. Theodore Roosevelt 1901-1909
  27. William Howard Taft 1909-1913
  28. Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921
  29. Warren G. Harding 1921-1923
  30. Calvin Coolidge 1923-1929
  31. Herbert Hoover 1929-1933
  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933-1945
  33. Harry S. Truman 1945-1953
  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953-1961
  35. John F. Kennedy 1961-1963
  36. Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1969
  37. Richard Nixon 1969-1974
  38. Gerald Ford 1974-1977
  39. Jimmy Carter 1977-1981
  40. Ronald Reagan 1981-1989
  41. George H. W. Bush 1989-1993
  42. Bill Clinton 1993-2001
  43. George W. Bush 2001-2009
  44. Barack Obama 2009-