Cheap and Easy Worm Farm

Composting worms are an easy and rewarding project for the beginning to experienced gardener. Also, makes a great science project and life lesson for kids!

Advertisements
Chicken Eggs

Chickens – Pets with Benefits

Nesting Buff Orpington Hen
Chickens are so much fun to have and so easy to care for. In return they give us fresh, delicious, healthy eggs and lots of laughs.
Brown chicken eggs
Buff Orpington’s lay large brown eggs. The first eggs they lay will be small and maybe even have a soft shell but soon they will be large, with hard shells and bright orange yolks.

Buff Orpington chickens playing in the snow….or not!

Grow A 12 Day Garden Sprouting Black Oil Sunflower Seeds

It takes months to get a ripe bell pepper and with my limited space indoors and a greenhouse still only in the planning stage, I wanted to do something more productive.

Cooking with the Sun

Solar Oven CookingI love my Solavore Sport oven! I have used it to bake multiple meals for our family. Anything you can bake in the oven, you can bake in the solar oven.

This is a marinaded pork loin that I baked recently. I just put it out in the morning and it is tender and juicy by dinner time.Solar Oven Cooking Pork Loin

I have also made cornbread by just following the regular directions. Be sure to preheat the oven first. The oven comes with two dutch oven pans like you see above, the oven thermometer shown and a pasteurization device that you float in water when you want to purify drinking water. I have also baked eggs in the shell, they come our similar to boiled eggs.

This is a great oven to have when the power is out or for camping as well. It is a must have for emergency preparedness and will make a great conversation piece when you use it to cook for your guests. Best of all, the energy it uses is free, clean and absolutely renewable.

Solavore Sport Solar Oven – Portable Solar Cooking Package Complete with All Season Solar Reflectors, 2 Granite Ware Pots, Oven Thermometer, and Water Pasteurization Tool

For days when there is less sun, the Solavore comes with shiny metal panels that attach to the rim and direct sun inside. I have not needed to use these because I live in the Nevada desert where sunshine is not a problem. However, wind is a serious problem here so I was glad to see that there are secure clamps top and bottom that keep the lid on tight.

The unit is made of plastic which may seem cheap to some people. I have seen reviews where people say this. However, I like the lightweight plastic because I can easily carry it out onto the deck and yet it holds two dutch ovens side by side.

Let me know if you have used a solar oven or have any questions about solar cooking. I would love to share recipes!

 

Fresh Free Organic Bell Peppers in January

I am still learning to garden but I am getting better at it. After moving to Northern Nevada it was quite a learning curve. High desert is not a great place for a garden, especially when your soil is pretty much a beach without the water. We also have serious winds and rapid temperature changes. Unless you are growing sagebrush, Russian olive trees or cactus, be prepared for high maintenance or creating your own climate zone with a greenhouse, or lots and lots of mulch like Jake Mace the Vegan Athlete (one of my favorite You Tube channels).

Since I like to recycle and do things on the cheap, I saved some organic bell pepper seeds to see if I could grow them. Using peat moss, azomite rock dust (thanks for the tip Jake), worm castings from my home made worm farm, and some of the abundant sand around here, I accidentally created some really great potting soil! If you don’t want to make your own, my husband and I have had great success with Happy Frog soil.

I had washed and dried my saved seeds, then carefully made an envelope out of a brown paper bag for storage. I shook some out into the soil and placed them in the sunny windowsill.

20170919_120824

Now I had a problem. My bell peppers would never survive the winter outside. So now I had to keep them indoors. Luckily my master bathroom has a huge jacuzzi tub in a corner with east and south facing windows. It became a perfect spot for an indoor garden and hangout for our kitten Sweetie. Although I would not be able to feed my family, it was an inexpensive way to work on my green thumb.

I was so excited at my success, I ended up sprouting about 50 plants. Since I don’t have enough space to grow all of them up, I decided to use recycled plastic bottles to create small planters and give them away to co-workers.

IMG_7566-3620246359-1518059820294.jpg
Bell pepper seedling in a planter made of a recycled plastic bottle.

Bell peppers taste so much better when you grow them yourself, even better than the organic bell peppers I saved the seeds from originally. They do take a long time to grow so I don’t rely on them as a food source, they’re more of a treat. For a regular source of healthy greens, I am learning to sprout sunflower seeds.

 

water filter

Gravity Fed Water Filtration System Made with Food Grade Buckets

Now we have safe, clean water for our family, pets, and plants for less than $70. The system produces more than 5 gallons of water per day at about than 3 cents per gallon.

Some Basic Chicken Facts

Often when I am chatting about my chickens to co-workers, vendors, and anyone else who shows interest, I realize how little the general public knows about chickens. Here are some basic chicken facts that you may find interesting.

Camera in the Chicken Coop – Roost View

As the chickens are turning in for the evening, watch the “pecking order” in action and see how each new chicken changes the dynamic. After claiming their places, the hens and their rooster calm down for a good self-grooming (preening) while tucking themselves in for the night.