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Steven’s Journey to Backyard Farming

Steven Cornett has the farming bug!! Or rather, the backyard farming bug. Maybe someday, he wants to farm a bigger piece of land in the country. But right now, the farming in the city is fulfilling his dreams.

He happily works many hours to get his backyard farm off the ground.

Until not too long ago, he also worked a regular job – a job he actually liked.

But, he says, he quit that job a few month ago and never has been happier.

It all started 6 years ago when he and a friend decided to give farming a try. Both worked part-time jobs and spend the rest of their time building their farm.

There was no time for girlfriends or parties. Steven and his friend Jared were too busy following their farming passion and loving every minute of it!

Steven tells us about their journey turning the absolute awful San Diego soil into a market garden which provided them with an income.

Hint: It helps to know people who need to get rid of animal bedding from a county fair. Another example how waste can be turned into a valuable resource.

After a couple of years of farming with his friend, Steven went to teach English in Korea. There, he did a lot of reading and found Masanobu Fukuoka’s book The One Straw Revolution.

Mind blown!!

Reading this book and learning more and more about Permaculture set Steven on his path to becoming a soil farmer. His focus is to build soil. The veggies and other products are an extremely valuable side effect.

This is the knowledge base he used in his urban backyard farming adventure.

Backyard Farming

After coming back to the US, it was time for Steven to start his own farm. Married now, he and his wife found a rental in the small town of Lemon Grove which was quite rural until not that long ago. Many remember going to the local farm to get milk and the days when the whole town had only one traffic light.

The dairy farm is gone now and is replaced by a housing development. But there are still plenty of properties with a small house and a big yard in town.

A family friend of Steven’s happened to have such a property available for rent and was enthusiastic about the idea of backyard farming to take place in his yard.

As Steven mentioned, he sees himself foremost as a soil farmer. He started right away to put everything into place to turn the mediocre soil he found into a vibrant fertile growing ground for his market garden.

These are the steps he took:

  • chicken
  • sheet mulching
  • cover crop
  • compost
Chicken

Steven’s first task was to build a predator safe chicken coop. Even backyard farmers have to be concerned about all the chicken lovers out there. The fact is that everyone loves to eat chickens!! The friendly neighborhood raccoons, possums, foxes, coyotes and such are delighted if they can score a tasty chicken meal. And the not so friendly neighborhood dogs just like the idea of killing that squawking thing which runs away from them.

One of his first investment was wood to build a secure coop and fencing to keep the chicken area protected at all times.

Very quickly, the chickens earn their keep by turning scratching and pooping and shedding feathers – all great material to incorporate into a compost. Of course, eggs are also a valuable contribution to the income stream of an Urban Farmer.

A wheelbarrow full of greens for the chickens

Soil – the Key Component of Backyard Farming

Soil is the key component for successful backyard farming. It took Steven almost 6 months to prepare the soil for the planting of the first market crop.

First, he covered the area he was planning on farming with black plastic. This is a process used to eliminate noxious weeds and seems to work for our much hated on Bermuda grass.

Then he sheet mulched, planted a cover crop, defined his walkways, tilled under the cover crop and started planting.

Since the initial tilling, Steven has practiced the no-till method.

Please visit Steven’s website for pictures of this process. It is something we all can use in our own gardens.

Money

How often have you heard the phrase “If I only had money, I would…”

Steven started his backyard farm for less than $10,000. That might still seem like a lot of money to some, but that figure included the purchase of a truck. Many might already have a truck, or can trade in their car for a truck, or have a friend or family member who can supply the vehicle.

Without the vehicle, the startup cost went down to about $ 5000.

Again, much of these costs might be negotiable.

Steven, as of now, is making about $1000 per month of his 1/4 acre backyard farm.

He worked a part-time job until a couple of months ago. Now, with more time to devote to his farming enterprise, he can add more income streams.

He has a partner who is contributing to the household income.

He had saved enough money to cover expenses for one year.

Listen to the podcast to find out more about Steven’s Journey.

Steven can be found online as Nature is Always Right.

Here are links so you can find him easily.

Website

To find out more about Jared’s farm where Steven got his start in farming, check out this website.

If you enjoyed this podcast, you might also like these.

Suburban Farming

Rise of the Small Sustainable Farm

The post How to Make a Living with Backyard Farming appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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Episode 124 New Beginnings

Often, we think of the New Year as a great time for new beginnings. We make lists, create vision boards, set resolutions and get all busy and business like to put the new version of ourselves and our lives into place.

Well, this podcast and post are not about New Year’s resolutions at all.

You might have noticed that for the last few month, it was mostly me, Marianne, hosting most episodes. Jenise had a lot of life events, including taking care of her 80+-year-old mom, which kept her very busy and didn’t allow time for her to participate in the podcast.

To my great sadness, she made the decision to not continue being one of the voices of The Sustainable Living Podcast. This made me very sad. I always was looking forward to our plotting and recording times. But more so, as far as the podcast is concerned, I feel that we complimented each other with having a bit different interests in the wide field of sustainable living.

Jenise was drawn to explore alternative models like Ubuntu, The Gift Economy, The Venus Project and so many others, while I was more drawn to permaculture and farming topics and how individuals are implementing the sustainable living ideas in their daily lives.

I will miss Jenise a lot and the door is always going to be open for her to step back in. I also will do my best to get her to do an interview with me once in awhile.

The Sustainable Living Podcast is creating a new beginning. Share your thoughts. Click To Tweet Some New Beginnings Ideas

After sitting with the news for a bit, my mind started churning. And if I am good at anything – it is having lots of ideas. Actually, I have way too many and need to make sure that I don’t pack 48 hours worth of work into a 24 hour day. So, one of my rules for the New Beginnings of this podcast is to keep it manageable. I need to be able to fulfill the promise I make to you, our listeners.

That is why I promise to publish a podcast at least every other week. I might publish more, but you can expect at least two podcasts a month.

Right now, I am not going to make any significant changes. But I like to hear from you which of these ideas speak to you.

  • Alternate Interview and Solo Shows.
  • Create more regular segments with a variety of “correspondents.”
  • Have a few guest co-hosts – once a month, or a different one for a whole month, or recurring guest host spots.
  • Have shows where a listener gets to conduct interviews with someone they are very interested in or showcase a project and we turn that into an episode.
  • Find a new permanent co-host.
Do you have an idea or a suggestion? Let me know! And also tell me which of my ideas you like. All? A few? They all stink?Click To Tweet

Do you have an idea or a suggestion? Let me know! And also tell me which of my ideas you like. All? A few? They all stink?

Let me know!! Curious minds want to know!

Either leave a comment here on the blog or email me at sustainablelivingpodcast@gmail.com

Of course, you can find me and the podcast on twitter, facebook, Instagram, and Steemit. But email or a comment here is probably the best way for your message to arrive.

Here are someJenise’s great interviews. If you like to find more, go to the podcast tab and use our nifty search feature to find all of Jenise’s podcasts.

The Venus Project

Navigating Turbulent Times

Spreading Freedom Culture

The post New Beginnings – Help create the Future appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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Why are We Talking about the Blockchain?

Why are we talking about the blockchain, you may ask? Here is why. The news is abuzz with the rise of bitcoin. At the time of our interview, the value of bitcoin was around $6000 and by the time the podcast went live, the value has risen to $18,000. That can make your head spin. Especially when most understand that the original price of a coin was less than a dollar.

What a great investment!

But even those who haven’t invested in Bitcoin are starting to pay attention and want to know what this is all about. Well, Bitcoin is an application on the bitcoin blockchain.

Learn about Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency. Listen to the podcast!! So much to learn! Join Steemit.com.Click To Tweet

And here it is. That is why we need to know what a blockchain is. It is technology which is coming into our lives if we want it or not.

So, let’s find out about this technology and see how we can use it to help us in our quest for a sustainable lifestyle.

Who is @taskmaster4450?

You might wonder who our guest is and why we had him on the podcast. Well, I did meet him on the social media platform called Steemit and enjoyed his articles. I thought they were rather informative.

But I let him tell you in his own words who he is and why we can trust his expertise.

Technology is a passion of mine. I am a futurist and a technologist. I am  very optimistic about the future because of all the technological innovations that we will see in the next few decades. We are living in a digital world. Each day more of society enters this realm.

I help others to embrace and understand what is taking place. Managing information is at the core of this transition. Companies/Individuals are best served to step back to take a broad spectrum view.

Some of the exciting developments:

  • Business Process Automation
  • 3D Printing
  • 5G technology
  • Quantum Computing
  • Robotics
  • Big Data Nano technology
  • Solar Energy
  • Electric/Autonomous Vehicles
  • Battery Power
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet of Things
  • Human Longevity
  • Drones

It is certainly an exciting time to be alive and in the business world.

Some Highlights from the Podcast
  • The blockchain is the technology.
  • Cryptocurrency is an application on the blockchain.
  • The blockchain is a decentralized public ledger.
  • Banks are centralized.
  • cryptocurrency is a protocol designed by algorithms that cannot be changed.

I know this sounds rather cryptic if you are a total beginner. I highly encourage you to listen to the podcast – more than once. Each time, you will understand a bit more.

One question I asked @taskmaster4450 – showing very much that I am a newbie: “What can the blockchain do?”

His response was that that is like asking what can the internet do. The possibilities are endless.

Blockchain Technology: The possibilities are endless!! Click To Tweet

If you remember a pre-internet time, you know that at first, only a few people embraced this technology and many thought that it wasn’t necessary to get familiar with computers and the internet.

Fast forward to today, only 20 years later, almost everything is done via the internet. As a matter of fact, senior centers are making it a point to teach basic computer and internet skills. Many tasks have to be done online – things like applying for Medicare, insurance and so much more.

@taskmaster is predicting that it won’t be long until everything will take place on the blockchain.

We mentioned Metcalfe’s law on the podcast. If you are not familiar with the term, read more here.

Earn Cryptocurrency

Many of us might not have any money to invest into cryptocurrency. The advice given over and over by experts is to only invest money you can afford to lose. Of course, that is sound advice for the stock and bond market as well.

But the good news is that it is easy to earn cryptocurrency. Let me share two ways with you.

Bitrad.io

The first one, we also mentioned on the podcast, is Bitrad.io. Basically, you are earning a currency called BRO for listening to the radio. There are many stations to choose from.

Not all seem to be working for me, but I found a few I like and am playing them in the background – earning for listening. Don’t get too excited – BRO is not worth very much right now. But one never knows what the future will bring. And listening to any other stations earns a big Zero.

Please use this referral link to open your own account http://bitrad.io/?ref=97511

If you like this idea, you can find a referral link in your own profile and share it with your friends. You end up with a little extra this way.

Steemit

This is a social media platform which is an application on a blockchain. Steem is the currency associated with Steemit as well as SBD (Steem Backed Dollar).

The way to earn those currencies is to post quality content on the platform. People vote for the content and that is how the earnings accrue.

Earn cryptocurrency on steemit.com and on bitradio. Use this referral link. Listen and earn.Click To Tweet

Recently, the price of both Steem and SBD has been on the rise – it has been as high as $ 20 US for $ 1 SBD. But trading and how to take advantage of those opportunities will be the subject of one of the segments we are planning to bring to you on a regular basis.

To get your own account, go to Steemit.com. If you do, let me know and I am happy to help you maneuver. It can seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning.

But more and more applications are developing on this blockchain. For example, you can listen to our podcast on DTube. Click here to check it out. How cool is that!! I posted it one hour ago from this writing and so far, it earned me $0.31. Not overwhelming, but 31 cents more than hundreds of listeners earn on any other podcatcher.

Other applications are DTube – similar to YouTube. And of course, you can listen (and watch a graphic) to this podcast there as well.

Other applications are Steepshot – comparable to Instagram, and Zappl – comparable to Twitter.

For all I know, there are many more applications. Maybe you are a developer and are ready to develop your own application.

The post Blockchain & Cryptocurrency – What? appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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Episode 121 Matt Duncan

Matt Duncan is an educator and the author of the book called The Upcycled Toys Club. He and his business partner also started an online community by the same name.

Matt was visiting a friend who had recently moved out of the country and had downsized dramatically before the move. That downsizing included the toy collection of his young son as well. Matt offered to babysit for a bit and wanted to keep the child entertained. Before long, they had made all kinds of toys straight from the recycle box.

An idea was born.

The Upcycled Toys Club

Matt and the child had so much fun playing with toys that not only didn’t cost a penny but also prevented a bunch of material to end up at the landfill. As an educator, Matt immediately saw the potential to teach so many skills and an awareness of our impact on the environment through the fun activity of making toys.

Matt enlisted the help of several families to follow his directions and give him feedback and suggestions on what worked and what didn’t. It took Matt and the families he recruited one year to get the book, The Upcycled Toys Club finished and published. It is now available on Amazon and we would love for you to buy it through our affiliate link. Click here to purchase The Upcycle Toys Club

The book shows over 40 toys made from recycled materials, mostly from cardboard. It includes instructions on how to make 10 of them. Of course, by the time you have made 10, you can probably figure out how to make the rest by yourself.

But if you like to receive a full material list to know exactly what you need to make your upcycled toys, you can join The Upcycled Toys Club membership side. The monthly fee is $ 7 and the yearly fee is $ 69. It is so easy to spend much more than that buying toys for your children and I think they have more fun with the homemade creations.

Win a Membership to the Upcycled Toys Club

Yes, it is true! Matt offered us three full one-year memberships to ruffle off among you all, our listeners. How great is that!!

Here is what we want you to do to enter the drawing.

  • Share our podcast with someone who does not know about us yet. If you can, take their phone and show them how to subscribe to the podcast. Again, if you can, take a selfie with the person you shared the podcast with. And let us know if we may use it to publish on Social Media. No problem if there is no photo.
  • Send us an email at sustainablelivingpodcast@gmail.com
  • Use Upcycle Toys Club Raffle as your subject
  • You may share it any way you see fit, email, message, a phone call as long as you directly tell someone. A tweet is not enough.
  • You may enter multiple times but only win one membership.
  • We trust you that you did what you said you did.
  • Entries must be in my inbox by midnight December 15, 2017.

The drawing will be on December 16th – possibly as a live Facebook or Instagram video. Possibly because I have been running into technical problems lately on these platforms.

A Word from Our Listeners

As a bonus, toward the end of the podcast, you hear from our listener Adam Perry, also known as the recycle guy. he lives in Australia and shares that even as a boy, he collected nails and screws and other finds to turn them into “machines.” Kids sure know how to have fun. Today, we might call that recycled art.

You Might Enjoy this Podcast

In the early days, we had San Diego artist Joan Green sharing her experience making art from recycled materials.

She works with children and with adults.

We hope this Podcast inspire you to give making art or toys from recycled materials a try!!

Art From Recycled Materials – SLP23

The post Upcycled Toys – A Family Affair appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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Episode 120 Joel Salatin

If you don’t know who Joel Salatin is, let me quote here a short bio I received from Joel.

Joel Salatin and his family own Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.  Featured in the iconic foodie book Omnivore’s Dilemma and award-winning film FOOD INC., the farm’s moniker is “healing the land one bite at a time.”  A prolific author (12 books to date) and speaker, he promotes local food systems, freedom of food choice, and farming systems that build the commons.

I think he is the most famous farmer in the US alive today and a wonderful human being. As a matter of fact, he has many fans who do not have a farm or even the homesteading dream.

Right after posting the YouTube version of the podcast to a social media site called Steemit, Sharoonyasir wrote the following:

“Joel Salatin was on your show- woww! I am not a homesteader so I don’t follow his work, but I love his inspirational words and his motivational strategies. He has some great stuff to share with everyone.”

That shows you that his reach is much further than the farming, permaculture and homesteading communities.

Joel’s Parents

Before talking to Joel, I had read his book Your Successful Farm Business.

This is a sequel to his book You Can Farm. It is important to note that you want to read both. The information in the sequel builds on and expands what Joel shared in his first book.

While the chapters on the ins and outs of running a successful business, including several on marketing are informative and important, I found the personal history Joel shared throughout the book fascinating. So, I asked him to share a bit of his family history with us during the podcast.

His father and mother had built a successful farm in Venezuela. That sounds simple, but you will hear in the podcast the hard work and long-term planning it took to get to that point.

Joel spent the first four years of his life on that farm – until a political upheaval forced them to run for their lives.

Back in the States, his father didn’t give up hope to be able to return to Venezuela. When they were looking for a farm to buy, one of the conditions was that the farm needed to be within a day’s drive of Washington DC. Joel’s dad wanted to be able to reach the Venezuelan embassy in a day’s drive or less.

Joel’s mom, pregnant and with small children to care for, needed a functioning house after all the turmoil and drama they had been through. That why they ended up at the farm Joel still calls his home. Today, it is a beautiful farm with rich soil able to support several generations of Joel’s family.

When they bought it, however, the house was okay, but the land was terrible.

The Farm

When Joel’s dad set out to work his farm, he asked the experts for advice. He pretty much was told to plow it all up, buy plenty of fertilizer, build farm buildings and go deep into debt. The debt is a natural consequence of investing in so much infrastructure and of course the continual need of buying fertilizer.

That didn’t sit right with dad. He knew there had to be a better way. Probably growing up with a wannabe farmer, tinkerer, inventor and avid gardener stirred Joel’s dad away from the dependence on the almighty NPK fertilizers touted as the savior of the farm community.

Btw. Joel’s grandpa invented one of the garden sprinkler tractors which move along a hose. Joel truly comes from a family of innovators.

Back to the farm. Joel tells in his book and also in the podcast some of the measures his father implemented to bring fertility, and ultimately, profitability to the farm.

And chickens played a big role in the success.

NPK Fertilizer

As with so many other things we use in our everyday life, NPK was originally needed for war. World War I and World WarII. Bombs and explosives needed NPK and lots of money was spend to make that happen. Now, it was available and plentiful. And it seemed the answer to end the backbreaking labor which used to be the reality of farm life.

Joel makes a point that he doesn’t blame the early farmers who chose to give the NPK fertilizers a try. The farmer who didn’t have access to a chainsaw, a front loader and all the other tools which became widely available beginning in the 50s. After that – it is a different story.

Joel Salatin said that if we had had a Manhattan project for compost, we would have fed the world.

'If we had had a Manhattan project for compost, we would have fed the world.' Joel SalatinClick To Tweet Highlights from the Podcast On Soil Fertility:

The deep soils of this planet did not develop under forests and bushes. They developed under grasses.

The deep soils of this planet did not develop under forests and bushes. They developed under grasses. Joel SalatinClick To Tweet On Frugality:

Even though Joel Salatin and his wife lived for many years below the poverty level, they didn’t have much cash but had lots of wealth.

Wealth is resources, friends, knowledge, and skills, according to Joel. He also said that the cows will not look at you any different whether the shirt you are wearing is from a designer outfit or has somebody else’s name on it. So true.

'Wealth is resources, friends, knowledge, and skills.' Joel SalatinClick To Tweet More Topics

We talked about kids, homeschooling, and kids starting their own businesses. Also, what it takes to be a farmer and that all in the family have to be on board before starting a new farm adventure. “It is not worth it to lose your family over the dream of a farm.” Wise words by Joel Salatin.

He pointed out that a farm or some kind of farming activity can happen in the city – even on a balcony or inside the home.

Finally, I asked Joel how to find a good teacher. He gave several tips and I loved this quote.

“The teachers are responsible for what they teach – the student is responsible for finding the right teacher.”

'The teachers are responsible for what they teach - the student is responsible for finding the right teacher.' Joel SalatinClick To Tweet

Finally, I like to leave you with another feedback I got on Steemit.

Kiwicanfly wrote: ” I read his book ‘Folks this ain’t normal’. What an eye-opener! I am a big believer in Salatins’ message. I wish more farmers here in New Zealand would hear this.”

Find more info about Joel Salatin here

Book featured: YOUR SUCCESSFUL FARM BUSINESS: Production, Profit, Pleasure (affiliate link)

 EVERYTHING I WANT TO DO IS ILLEGAL:  War Stories from the Local Food Front

If you enjoyed this podcast, you might like to list to this one

Rise of the Small Sustainable Farm

The post Joel Salatin: Farmer-Author-Speaker appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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One Person Can Have Much Impact

In this solo show, I, Marianne, examine how one person can have an immense impact on the lives of many. Jenise and I recently taught a couple of classes at the Big Bear Yoga festival. I am using this experience to illustrate that we all have the power to impact many people. People we might never even meet in our lives.

But the impact went way beyond the fact that many people spend a day together practicing self-care through YogaClick To Tweet

Big Bear Yoga is run by two women as a love offering to the community. A few years back, they decided to also offer a yearly Yoga Festival.

This year, it was a one-day affair and it was free to the public.

Almost 600 people RSVPd.

We could leave it there. Their impact is that many people got to have a full day of yoga for free. The students also had the opportunity to be exposed to so many different aspects of Yoga. A lot of times people are hesitant to try something new if they have to pay for the class. They want the security or the known outcome. But for free – why not try something new.

Classes ranged from gentle yoga to very vigorous forms. From laughter yoga to permaculture. From nutrition to music. From yoga hiking to yoga writing. So many offerings!!

Here is a link to the Big Bear Yoga Festival in case you want to attend next year.

Impact beyond the Yoga Practice

But the impact went way beyond the fact that many people spend a day together practicing self-care through Yoga.

Many of the participants came from cities several hours of driving away.  The option to spend one or maybe more rights in Big Bear made sense. Of course eating out and maybe shopping is also a part of a mini vacation. All those activities bring a benefit to the local community.

Vendors came too to the festival. Over 30 different booths had all kinds of interesting offerings. From Vegan food to organic yoga wear. From energy healing to psychic readings. From jewelry to non-profits supporting individuals who want to develop a product for sale.

Getting ready for the Permaculture class

Let’s not forget the connections individuals were making. In one of our sessions, a local activist in need of a kitchen connected with a child care provider who has such a kitchen and needed help. A trade made in heaven. Help time was traded for time in the kitchen.

Remember the non-profit I mentioned. They are working with all kinds of people who want to bring their cottage industry item to market – and the use of a commercial kitchen is often required.

The class we were teaching was on Permaculture. It felt like that all these connections were taken from the handbook on Permaculture design. Staking functions! The kitchen provides healthy food to the child-care kids which can be leveraged to get a Healthy Start grant.  Also, the kitchen can provide an extra income by renting it out. The owner can make a product for sale herself from the yield of the land surrounding the daycare.

Please use this graphic to pin this post

If we keep brainstorming, we probably can come up with more ways of keeping that kitchen busy at all times and bringing revenue to the business. For example, a cook could be working during the time the kids are at the daycare to provide meals for families to take home for their dinner. People could drop off their pots in the morning and take them home filled with goodies in the evening.

The positive impact is that the family doesn’t need to stress to get dinner on the table. Or to go shopping for dinner for that matter. The food is healthy and family time around the dinner table is ensured.

What other ideas come to your mind? Let us know!

It felt like that all these connections were taken from the handbook on Permaculture design. Staking functions! Click To Tweet

There are so much more possibilities!

I am sure that many more connections were made during that day who will bring about events in the future.

All this was possible because two women decided to have a Yoga Festival.

Let us know what you think! Give us feedback and tell us topics you like to hear from us. Let us know!!!

Email us at SustainableLivingPodcast@gmail.com

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If you enjoyed this episode, you might like to listen to the following as well

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/podcasting-social-change/

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/organizing-economic-transition/

The post The Power of One – Social Impact appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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It All Began With a Seed

This story of the gourd begins with my love for seeds and for growing things I have never seen before.

That can be a good thing, or not.

One problem of planting a bunch of seeds of varieties unknown to mankind – I mean to this woman – is that she can’t tell if its a weed or if its a plant.

Or which of the many things planted actually came up.

These are the seeds which got it all started.

How they came to me, I don’t really remember. Maybe I bought a seed pack. Or I picked some up at a seed swap. Or someone just gave me some. All of those are frequent events in my life.

To tell you the truth, the seeds you see in the pictures and the ones I used to grow this plant came from a gourd I grew last year and smashed up to get the seeds.

And this is what grew from these seeds.

The Plant

Well, this one is obviously a cucurbit. When I first grew it, I told everyone who asked that it was a snake gourd.

And many asked since the fruit grows very long – several feet – and I had them hanging all over the place.

But when I checked in with my friend google, what I found there does not look at all like what I was growing. See for yourself

Snake Gourd on Wikipedia

This is what the flower of my gourd looks like.

It is a white flower and blooms mostly at night. When I first started growing them, I saw so many flowers developing and got excited about a huge harvest.

Only, not even one flower set fruit!!

Talk about being disappointed! I figured that my night flower just didn’t have the right pollinator around and that it needed help. Good thing that I had plenty of cheap paintbrushes laying around. I stored one in each area a squash was growing.

Then, at dusk or in the morning, I went to work as a bee or moth or whoever is supposed to do the pollinating job.

It only works if at least two flowers are open. Then a quick dip in the middle of the flower to collect some pollen and from flower to flower I go.

Success!!!  We got a baby!!!

Success, we got a baby!!

And the baby grew.

This is a good size to harvest the gourd. The first picture is as big as you want it to grow to be good to eat. If they get bigger, the get hollow and the flesh gets tough.

The plant is a vigorous grower and has no problem to climb into trees or to spread out all over.

The finished length of the gourds I harvested last year was between 3 and 4 ft. They stayed the light green color you see in the very first plant picture for the longest time and later turned a light brown.

I was going to make instruments from them. The seeds were rattling inside and they sounded a bit like a rainstick.  But I neglected to wash them with peroxide upon harvesting and store them on a rack without touching each other until completely dried. They all got some kind of fungus which made them look ugly. That is when I learned what I should have done.

Oh well. I got a lot of seeds instead.

But, I have no idea what seeds I have. They are the babies of a nameless plant. Snake gourd or serpentine gourd is out (and that was such a cool name!)

The wikipedia picture of the squash shows a dark green colored fruit, a different flower, and tells of a different taste.

Whatever I have, it is delicious when eaten young and it is impressive when grown to maturity.

And that is good enough for me.

Steemit

Steemit really doesn’t have anything to do with a garden or squashes or guards per see. But I published this same content on the platform Steemit.com this morning and got lucky. I made over $73.00 so far. This is earned in cryptocurrency.

Here is a link to the post

I am new to the concept of cryptocurrency but I am hearing more and more about it – even in mainstream media.  Actually, I am trying to get a person to come on the podcast and explain it to us all.

In the meantime, why don’t you join Jenise and me on Steemit. It is a social media platform which pays to post and to have fun. https://steemit.com/

The post Snake Gourd – Or is it? appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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Episode 116 From  a 2000 sf House to a 325 sf Tiny House

Can you imagine moving your family from a 2000 sf house to a 325 sf tiny house? Emily Gerde and her husband could. And they did. In many ways, that was a radical act.

Emily didn’t grow up dreaming of living in a very small house some day. On the contrary, she followed what many might call the American dream: Go to College, fall in love, get married, buy a house, and have a child.

Sounds great, right? Can you see the happy family in their big house, relaxing, entertaining and in general having a good time?

Well, the reality for Emily and her husband were working two jobs each, and him going to Grad-school on top of it. They hardly ever saw each other and didn’t have any time to enjoy their house or yard.

Emily’s health started to suffer. Being busy and stressed all the time manifested a hyperactive Thyroid.

Then, one day, Emily’s sister in law introduced them to the concept of the tiny house.

Their ears perked up and right then and there, Emily and her husband decided to find out more.

Luck had it that they were able to visit a tiny house not too far away from them.

That visit sealed the deal. They loved the tiny house from the minute they stepped inside. It didn’t feel small or cramped or claustrophobia-inducing.

On the contrary. That tiny house felt like a home to them. Comfortable. Like a place that they could live in.

The Process of Moving to the Tiny House

Of course, as much as they might have wanted to, they couldn’t just move to a tiny house the very next day. There was a process to get them from A to B.

First, they needed to find a contractor to build there new home. DIY wasn’t an option. Remember, they were working two jobs and going to school and raising a baby.

That part was easy. They got a referral and soon they had hired their builder. Next, they needed a building plan. Again, no problem. Andrew and Gabriella Morrison have several plans for sale. They also offer courses and all kinds of info for anybody wanting to know more about building a tiny house.

Emily even got HGTV on board to film the build of their new home.

Tiny Birch House - YouTube

So cool!!

All of that was the easy part.

Letting Go of Items Holding Memories

The hard part was to reduce the belongings of a 2000 sf home to fit into a 325 sf tiny house!!

Most of us have things we never use but we equally never think of getting rid off. Usually, they came to us as a gift from a person we really love. Or we bought them on a trip we always want to remember.

Emily said that it took a bit of emotional work to become comfortable with the idea that an item we bought on a trip to a faraway place is not really holding the memory. We are. The memory is ours to hold and to keep forever.

The piece of art or furniture or the scarf we brought home from that trip can go to a new home. The memory stays with us.

An item we bought on a trip to a faraway place is not really holding the memory. We are. The memory is ours to hold and to keep forever.Click To Tweet

Little by little, Emily and her husband went through their belongings and sold what the could. They donated what they couldn’t sell. The junk they largely had inherited with the house went to a junk removal firm. They searched high and low to find a junk remover who was dedicated to recycling as much of the material as possible.

As it turned out – the money they made from selling their memorabilia was just enough to pay for the removal of the junk.

That tiny house felt like a home to them. Comfortable. Like a place that they could live in.Click To Tweet The First Move

The first move from the big house was not to their dream home – their tiny house. The build took a little longer than anticipated. Partly because Emily really wanted to bring nature within her four walls and partly because they were part of the TV show, the build took well over a year.

They sold their big house and moved in with Emily’s sister in law. The time there gave them even more time to go through their boxes again and let go of more of their stuff.

The Move into the Tiny House

In March of 2017, Emily’s dream house was finished and ready for them to move in. As they were organizing their carefully selected items into the many built-in storage areas in their tiny home, they realized that they still had too many things to fit.

By then, they were old hands in letting go of “things.” Actually, they already had developed almost an addiction to simplifying. The Minimalist’s lifestyle was calling loudly to them.

Freedom

Emily says that letting go of the big house and all the obligations that came with it,  brought a great sense of freedom to her family. Now, they are free of debt and are free to live the life they want to live. Tiny house living has become their passion and has opened so many new opportunities for them.

Letting go of the big house and all the obligations that came with it brought a great sense of freedom.Click To Tweet

Emily wrote a book about their adventure to be published at the end of this year. They are happy and ready to follow their passion.

Actually, they are going to go even smaller. But for that story, you have to listen to the podcast.

More About Emily in Her Words
Bio- Emily Gerde and her husband Justin, Toddler, Wyatt, 4 cats and 1 dog in a 325 square foot tiny house on wheels. Emily and her family were tired of running on the hamster wheel and being over budget on their holistic and organic lifestyle. Emily, as a former licensed teacher and daycare provider, wanted to homeschool her son and tiny house living provided them with a financially sound way to stay home. Emily and her family have been living in their tiny house for 15 months and are loving the new-found financial freedom, minimal environmental impact and other perks that come with tiny house living. Emily is getting published for her book Minimalist Living for a Maximum Life where she shares how minimalist living, organic food, and mindful practices has changed her life and the lives of the ones she loves.
                                                                   
How to Find Emily

A video tour of their tiny house:  You Tube

A link to Emily’s Social Media sites

Her  Instagram Mindful Minimalist Mama

Emily’s book is going to be available at the end of the year. In the meantime, here are some books we found on Amazon (affiliate) you might enjoy.

Tiny House Floor Plans by Michael Janzen

Tiny House – Designing, Building & Living (Idiots Guide)

Micro Shelters – 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses and Other Small Structures

Emily mentioned our podcast on the Venus project as one of her inspirations

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/the-venus-project/

You might also want to check out this podcast with Colleen Valles

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/moving-to-a-tiny-house/

And this Guest blog by Colleen

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/expanding-family-tiny-house/

The post A Tiny House for a Family appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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Support Artisans All Over the World

We all want to see an end to hunger and poverty all over the world, right? What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about ways to do that? Donating to a charity, right? Or supporting more foreign aid going to a country.

While we need nonprofits and governments to step up in an emergency, Liza Moiseeva believes that social businesses are the way to address the inequality we face all over the world.

Liza and her partners started GlobeIn – a business model we haven’t seen before. To be clear, GlobeIn is a business and as such, is supposed to make money for the owners.

A Business Based on Fairness

But it is a business based on the idea of fairness.

Liza and her partners traveled the world and came across artisans in small villages who produced beautiful products – but were living in complete poverty!

Globe In is a business based on the idea of fairness.Click To Tweet

Why? Because they didn’t have a way to sell their products – at least not for a fair price.

The bigger markets who might bring a better price for their products were often many hours of travel away and impossible for the artisans to attend.

Often, they ended up selling their product for a low price to a middleman who then turned around and sold their wares for a huge profit – leaving the creator in poverty.

Or even worse, an original design might be taken and cheaply reproduced and sold, leaving the artist with no income at all.

Subscription Boxes

Liza and her partners decided on a subscription box as their business model. They curate boxes with different themes. What that means is that each box has several items created by artisans all over the world.

All artisans are paid according to fair trade rules. Actually, they are paid above the minimum wages determined by the Fair Trade agreements. And, get this, GlobeIn pays for their orders in advance!

This makes it possible for the artisans to acquire the materials needed to produce the items to be delivered to GlobeIn. This is huge!!

Also, GlobeIn partners with local organizations and supports their mission to not only provide work for the families in the region but to also provide healthcare and schooling for the children.

Each box comes with a small booklet letting the subscriber know from where in the world the items in the box came from and – this is fantastic – who made them!

GlobeIn partners with local organizations and supports their mission to not only provide work for the families in the region but to also provide healthcare and schooling for the children.Click To Tweet Impact

Even better, on the GlobeIn website, you find a tab called impact. Here is shows you how many hours of work that box provided and how many people were able to make a living because of that box and ultimately, your purchase.

We are proud to tell you that we have become affiliates for GlobeIn. What that means is that you can click on this link to purchase your box. You will support artisans worldwide, including us with a small percentage of the purchase price – with no additional cost to you.

I just opened a box, and I am blown away by the quality and beauty of the items I received. It feels so good to support a business that does good in the world.

If you have followed me a while, you know that I am a very bad consumer – I buy very little. But I do love to spend my money when I can buy something useful that also supports people who really need to earn money to eat.

GlobeIn falls into that category for me.

Get $10 off your first subscription box  and enter code: WELCOME  (for new customers only)

This is one of the October selections.

Follow GlobeIn via Social Media

facebook.com/GlobeIN

instagram.com/globein_world

Here is the video which made me want to talk to Liza and bring this podcast to you. https://www.facebook.com/GlobeIN/videos/1539233029454472/

If you are ready for a deal, click here and get a free box with any 12-month subscription.

You might enjoy this podcast about a social business as well.

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/from-peru-to-a-sustainable-coffee-business-in-san-diego/

If you want to start a social business, you want to check out Julie

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/purposedrivenbusiness1219-2/

The post Support Artisans Worldwide – Social Business appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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Episode 114 Brodie Welch

Our podcast guest Brodie Welch is saying without a doubt in her mind that self-care is a radical act!

Why should we believe her?

Because Brodie knows her stuff! She has studied and worked in the health field for over 20 years and has helped countless people to take that step towards better health.

Here is Brodie Welch’s bio

Brodie Welch is a Licensed Acupuncturist, board-certified herbalist, Chinese Medicine expert, group coach, and self-care strategist. She’s the founder of Life in Balance Acupuncture in Corvallis, Oregon, where she has been treating patients since 2003.

In addition to her clinical practice, Brodie helps caring, high-achieving, women put themselves on their own to-do lists so they can trade stress and burnout for energy, joy, and vibrant health. She has helped thousands of clients improve their digestion, sleep, and mood; dial in a regular bodymind practice, and step into the next version of themselves. She’s also the creator and host of A Healthy Curiosity: the podcast that explores what it takes to be well in a busy world.

Now that you know Brodie’s credentials, let me tell you some about our interview. To get all that Brodie shared, you do have to listen to the podcast. You can click on the player above or subscribe via your favorite podcatcher.

Self-Care – A Radical Act

Why is that a true statement? 

Self-care requires the radical act to care about yourself enough to do it!!

Breath that in and sit with it for a little bit. What does that mean?

Let’s take one example many of us can relate to. Good health requires a certain amount of hours of sleep. Actually, Brodie explains that we need to be asleep at 11 pm for our body to be able to its work of restoring and detoxing. But more about that later.

We need sleep. But there is a pile of work waiting to be done. Maybe there is a deadline looming. A paper or a report is due.

Do you choose your health and go to bed? Or do you stay up until the early morning hours, finish that project and get only a few hours of sleep?

If you are like me, you stay up and finish. Then pay for it the next few days with being tired and distracted.

So, in this case, radical self-care could mean that you go to bed, don’t do the work which needed to be done and deal with the consequences.

That probably backfires a bit. For one, it is doubtful you get a good nights sleep and the consequences might have a long-term effect.

That means we have to approach this differently. We stay up late for this one time and then figure out how to be able to meet that need – sleep – in the future.

I am sure that most of you that the solution is simply time management. And that is part of it.

The Whole System Approach

But how about looking at the problem, if we want to call it such, through a whole system approach.

  • Is our mind functioning clearly so we don’t over commit in the first place?
  • Are we tired all the time and don’t get enough done during our waking hours?
  • Is our body feeling strong and healthy?
  • Do we feel happy about our life or are we overwhelmed?

All of this doesn’t seem to have much to do with an unmet deadline. But it does.

The ancient wisdom system, as Brodie calls them, Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, look at the whole person – not the symptoms or specific actions.

Let’s look into that a bit more before we come back to the missed deadline. If you do a quick google search on the definition of Ayurveda, you might find this:

“Ayurveda’s fundamental approach to well-being is that you must reach your unique state of balance in your whole being—body, mind, and spirit.”

or this

“The foundation of Ayurvedic nutrition is based on the idea that you are the result of what, when, where, how and why you eat.”

or this

“Ayurveda is a holistic healing science which comprises of two words, Ayu and Veda. Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge or science.”

If you google Chinese Medicine you find this:

“Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years. TCM practitioners use herbal medicines and various mind and body practices, such as acupuncture and tai chi , to treat or prevent health problems.”

or this

“TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a profound pathway to create the life you truly want to live, the life you were born to live.”

or this

“Chinese medicine treatments address imbalances using food therapy/diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, Chinese exercise, and meditation.”

Just reading these few statements makes it clear that both systems address the whole being. There is far more to creating the life we want than finding the right pill or herb or getting a better time management plan.

Everything we do, including perpetually being overworked, late on projects or tired, are an expression of something in us being out of balance.

Brodie’s Courses

When I set out to do this interview, I just knew that Brodie’s expertise fits right into our theme of Inner Sustainability and Health as an important part of sustainable living.

Then I found out that Brodie is teaching online courses people can participate in from anywhere in the world.

The more we talked, the more I got excited about her courses, and I asked Brodie if she can offer a discount to you, our listeners and readers. And she did!!

I am so happy that you all can get a 15% discount on her 12 Treasures Qigong and Basics of Chinese Medicine courses.

I wanted to tell you this right now because I know that not everyone is reading to the end of blog posts. 

Highlights of Our Conversation

Let me share some highlights of our conversation with you.

Self-care requires the radical step of valuing it enough to do it. It becomes the solid foundation from which you can stand strongly on this platform from which you can do your work in the world with clarity and efficiency.

Remember that looming deadline? When we function well, we don’t overcommit and can do the work required in a minimum of time and still produce excellent results.

Here is an example which makes this point even clearer. If you cut a tree and have a dull saw, it might take all day to finish the job. But if you take the time to sharpen the saw, or even better, sharpen the saw before starting to work on the tree, the job will be done in no time.

So, spending the time to take care of ourselves is time well spent. It is not a selfish act. It is a necessity.

Here is a hack to become an expert in self-care: Schedule your you time early in the day! Something will always come up if you wait for later.

Sounds easy, right? We can go with the Nike slogan “Just Do It!”

Change and Habits

But change is not easy. Creating a new habit or letting go of one which no longer serves us requires effort and the will to do it.

Brodie explains this in the following way.

Habits have a circuit.

  • A trigger or cue
  • The habit or behavior
  • Rewards you get from doing that behavior

These are the 5 most common cues or triggers.

  • Time of the day
  • Place
  • The Person you are with
  • Preceding action
  • Emotional state

The key to change is finding out the reward or the result. Then ask the question: What can I do instead?

One of the prerequisites to change is a deep desire and being in alignment with the person you want to be next year.

To keep yourself on track to give birth to the next version of yourself requires attention to who you are now and who you are becoming.

This can take a lot of courage! How many of us are making excuses for gaining those extra 20 lbs, or eating food we know is not really good for us. And how many of us haven’t really looked in the mirror for many years.

The key to change is finding out the reward or the result. Then ask the question: What can I do instead?Click To Tweet

Changing habits, giving birth to the self we want to be, requires to really be honest with ourselves. We have to figure out who we are and also who we want to be. That can be so difficult. We are all products, to some extent, of fulfilling expectations others have on us. 

Mediation can be an excellent tool to come to that clarity. To figure out who we want to be. Brodie offers a free breath medication which I did right before our interview and really liked.

Change is hard for the person wanting to change. But for people around that person, it can be outright scary! Often, the best friend or the husband/wife can become the worst saboteurs! Watch out for that!!

Changing habits, giving birth to the self we want to be, requires to really be honest with ourselves.Click To Tweet

So, if you undertake a shift in your life, make sure you surround yourself with a support system. Meetup can be a great place to find in-person support – there is a group for just about anything including self-care.

Social media can be a useful as well. When we did the Gerson Therapy, the daily interaction in a private Facebook group with people on the same path helped me through many difficult days.

Or join a paid in person or online community.

Brodie offers programs like that starting next month. And, as I said, she is offering you a 15% discount (In case you are wondering, we do not earn anything on this. We asked for this for you!)

The discount is offered for the 12 Treasures Qigong and Basics of Chinese Medicine.

Use the coupon code “SUSTAIN” for 15% off

Brodie’s website: http://brodiewelch.com

We also talked about plastic and the impact on our health. Brodie has a 15-minute mini-class on how to help your Liver (from a Chinese and allopathic perspective) which addresses detoxing the xenoestrogens stored in our fat.

http://brodiewelch.com/22-ways-love-liver-sync-spring-opt-page-2/

If you are ready to get serious about self-care, check out what Brodie has to offer us.

More Contact Info for Brodie Welch

Calm and Centered Bundle: http://brodiewelch.com/opt-in-bundle/

Free 5-minute breathing meditation: http://brodiewelch.com/breathing-break/

Podcast page: www.brodiewelch.com/podcast

What’s Your Chinese Element? http://brodiewelch.com/chinese-element-quiz/

Brodie’s website: http://brodiewelch.com

Podcast website: www.brodiewelch.com/podcast

Brodie On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrodiewelchLAC

Podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/a-healthy-curiosity/id1133292360#

A Healthy Curiosity Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ahealthycuriosity/

A Healthy Curiosity Podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ahcuriosity

Projects: 

Eleven Weeks to Level Up Your Life – Brodie’s group coaching program

If you have any questions about any of the above, or if you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact Brodie!

Maybe you want to join us in this endevour to practice better self-care

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/30-day-challenge-daily-exercise/

Some thoughts on self-care in this episode you might enjoy

http://184.154.247.208/~sustajo7/inner-sustainability/

The post Is Self-Care a Radical Act? appeared first on The Sustainable Living Podcast.

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