Building up old Garden beds

If you are a die hard gardener and believe in reusing you might be interested in this blog, take time to get your beverage.

Moving to my new space I was excited with a clean garden slate. There was some dread in building new beds. It can be expensive with wood prices up. I started to source things on the free and cheap online groups in my area.

To my surprise there were (3) 12 feet long by 4 feet wide garden beds and a foot deep. Being the crazy avid gardener I am, I was like we are driving 30 minutes to get them! (If you have been reading my blog sometime you will know I drag my family in to a load of adventure)

Our vehicle is not 12 feet in internal length that we would need to get the beds in. So equipped with ratchet straps and a white pillow case. (Just in the off chance my family needs a white flag to try to end the battle) We get to the front of the place and assess how we are cramming those beasts in the vehicle. Then said we would need a truck.. Bah! All the logistics are in place to make this as safe as we can, white pillow case on the wood sticking 3 to 4 feet out from the back of the van.. We only could fit 2. I messaged the person and told them I would be back. The 2 trips were made and the beds sat a day or so along the side of the house till we were ready to lay them down. 

Standing up by the house

I measured the spot that previously had a very large above ground pool. We laid them down on the blue tarp that laid under the pool. It gave us room for 3 foot walkways in between. That is very good spacing for weeding and harvesting.

Before the tarp was pulled up when we were testing placements.

Another family member and I relooked at the bed and decided to put them on cinder blocks that came with the house. We ripped the tarp off the ground and re-laid the beds. They need to be fine tuned this weekend. 

In between all this I had a friend tell me about a horse farmer selling bags of poop for 50 cents a black garbage bag. So we loaded up 4 bags. When my roller compost bins came I opened the bags and dumped the poo in. Soon we will order 6 or 7 yards of dirt to fill them. I have laid down cardboard as a base and the poo will go next then a foot and a half of dirt. You never want fresh manure near your tender roots. It will burn them.

This is the gardens as on Jan 25 2023 on the blocks with the cardboard lined. the wood around is old fence boards that would have been tossed out. We still need to screw them to the bottom.

Hope your gardens grow beautiful, and you can find relaxation. soon we will be out of winter and in to spring. I have my tomato plants started in the house.

Meals for a small fridge aka hotel living

Many times in my life we are away from home, jobs, conferences and pleasure. We are forced to use tiny hotel fridges to store our meals.

The cooler I bring full for 4 days away.

Being someone with food challenges, I need to bring food with me. This is quite the task. Lugging a huge cooler with me is something that gets me through. Writing this I can’t imagine going abroad.

Hard boiled eggs keep very well as long as you don’t break the shell. I do mine in the instapot. It holds 9 eggs. Not ostrich eggs (rolling my eyes). I cook them on high pressure for 7 mins then get them right into cold water after they are done.

I brought Teff flour wraps, mixed greens, whole tomatoes, 2 avocados and dressing spreadables in a small glass mason jar. Tip to keeping your avocados very fresh after they are ripe. Put them in an air tight container (uncut, don’t do this after cutting they will hold the bacteria) of water and fully covering them, they will last very nicely a week out of the fridge. As a bonus they will not get bruised in travel.

Hardy muffins will last nicely for three days or so, so I brought banana ones. They are better than banana bread, once the bread is cut it can become dry.

My banana muffins

I can make pizza. I make a ground flax seed crust and let it cool, cold is not as nice as hot but when you have no way to heat it, it is nutritious.

Quesadillas on rice, corn or teff wraps or whatever grains you enjoy. 

A tub of cottage cheese can be part of three meals. I added that with my canned fish.

Cheese and crackers are wonderful. There are some lovely non-dairy cheeses out there. 

You can bring a trail mix or nut free granola. Oatmeal in packets. The hotels have coffee pots, run one batch of water through then toss that water, use the next batch. Less likely to have coffee residual taste.

I get fruit smoothies from Costco. They are about 16 dollars for 12. They fit well in the small fridges and your cooler. 

Fruit cups and fresh fruits and veggies are a good thing for shacks.

I always bring my favorite teas.

From the internet

If you have things you enjoy bringing when you are going away I would like to read what you bring and how you preserve what you bring. Hope your week is bringing you many good moments!

After holiday inflammation

Many of us enjoy the holiday foods and beverages. Sometimes our bodies say this is not working for our best. 

More coffee, alcoholic and carbonated beverages, excess  fats and sugars, lower fiber and the things we overindulge in over the holidays with our homemade or store bought foods.

If you’re one of the many that has one of the many inflammatory conditions such as IBS, arthritis, pancreatic conditions, crones, gastrointestinal disorders, heart conditions, migraines or asthma this time of year can lead to flare ups. Some are very disciplined thus avoid tempting foods, I’m not fully that person.

When we have inflammation our brains can have a lower ability to think and regulate our moods. 

It also puts stress on our immune systems. Our bodies are trying to fight off the inflammation when our body is in a state of war with itself we can come down with viruses, fungal and bacterial infections.  

What is inflammation? It is part of our body’s defense system. It brings signals to the brain to protect us, some inflammation is helpful to say “slow down I’m hurt”. Other inflammation is a trigger from other influences. It can become chronic. Cytokines are little proteins that affect the growth of all blood cells.

Inflammation can interrupt our sleep due to painful flare ups because of the chemicals being formed in the body where the inflammation lurks. It sets our body in a state of a stress response. It is a cycle that goes around, and each wrap around the loop gets worse. It can take weeks to recover when our body is overloaded. 

Ways to comfort your body that wants to kill you. Drink more water if your health conditions allow. Go back to your fodmap eating  (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) Anti Inflammatory diets can really help but this does not happen overnight.

You might need to be on your pain meds more or taking anti inflammatories such as Ibuprofen (advil). I try hard to stay away from this option, it often can make a gut hurt longer.

Baths with Epsom salts or dead sea salt, compresses on your joints, Castor oil compresses for your gut. Caraway seeds for bad gas.

Turmeric (polyphenol curcumin) It has been used in many parts of the world in cooking, drink and topical applications, treating everything from acne to inflamed organs. 

Chili peppers are also anti-inflammatory. Now as much as I love hot food and hot peppers… When my intestines are inflamed, one of the last things I want to do is fill it with spice.. I mean a nice fire after a rich meal can be relaxing till one is sitting rolled up in a pain ball with the feelings of flames rolling around in your guts. I have no use for the joint pain flaring in the first place but adding gut pain is counter productive!

Smaller healthy meals can make a difference. Non jarring exercises with gentle movements can help to heal the problems by lubricating the joints and elongating the muscles and ligaments.

If you are still suffering from the hauntings of holidays past, be kind to yourself, take breaks if you can. Put some non caffeinated beverages together and read a good book, watch a show, game or take a nap to let your poor body rest and heal. Hope your New Year has started with good ideals.

Moving in a snow storm

Have you ever had the adventure of moving in a show storm? I don’t recommend this but sometimes we have to do things that are above what we would normally do. This is a longer read, you might need a bigger beverage and drink slower. 

This 26′ truck got stuck getting out of the driveway, it is not on fire that is just the lighting.

So the adventure started with taking a ferry to spend time with family before the intended move. That was nice and relaxing, it started to snow while we were there. We had come this far and spent more money in total than I wish to think about.

So we left the family before 8 am and did some errands before picking up the truck. At about 9:40 AM we picked up the truck and got to the locker. It was -9 degrees celsius or 15.8 fahrenheit, so anyone that does not understand that it was darn cold..

The ice from clearing out the 12″ of snow.

We were loaded by 4PM and then we drove to the ferry for the 7pm reservations. It had been snowing the whole time. We got to the other side at about 8:40 pm. By this time the roads on the other side were white and the snow still was coming down at a steady rate. We had 3 vehicles going over. Our family van, a family member’s Suzuki and the 26 foot moving truck.

The roads were being sanded and salted as we were moving, this helped some but not enough. I was dreading the one hour and 25 min trip(in good weather). Something I forgot to mention was that the Susuki did not have the right type of tires for the mountain pass we were going through and had a damaged windshield, so extra danger. 

Towels down in the crate so we did not slip.

The trip went very slow 40 to 50 km per hour (24.85 mph 31.08mph). Visibility was not horrible until the snow melted on the windshield. There were streaks of ice on the windshield and ice forming on the wipers! I drove as carefully and white knuckled as any human could.

My family member driving the moving truck drove slow and steady. They ended up being pulled over by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspection police (just to confirm the truck had proper tires). My other family member and I were a bit behind. I was watching them from my rearview mirror sliding a bit now and then, I slid a bit too when changing lanes.

So we come up to where we see the truck and see our family member out of the truck with the emergency vehicle. We panicked thinking something was wrong. So we found a safer area we could pull over and hope to not get stuck. Called to see if they were ok.

Once we knew they were safe and on the road again we continued on the track home. The last stretch might have been the worst. I saw the suzuki behind sliding as they went up the hills and around the roundabout. We got home at almost 11pm. We unloaded the Van before it was covered in snow and had a hot tub and then went to sleep.

Next day we woke up to a foot of snow. Oh joy! For the first part of the offload there was no snow falling, but late in the afternoon it started snowing again. So we get it all done, sweep out the truck, wipe off the headlights then go to take the truck back. Well it got stuck. We discovered it was rear wheel drive! It got stuck just out of our driveway, we did not clear enough of the road! We thought we had. So 3 of us had shovels and my neighbor came over with her shovel and helped us. What a blessing for good neighbors! We dug it out and the Suzuki hooked a tow rope on and pulled the back end in one direction. We got the blasted thing out and went to return it. I realized in the craziness I had forgotten my glasses. I did not get far before I realized I could not see well (raving squirrel brain), stopped about 3 houses from home, put my hazard lights on and walked towards home. The family saw me and I asked for them to grab my glasses. On the way to where the truck needed to be returned I saw the truck in an odd spot and was not sure if they were waiting for a break in traffic or if they were stuck again. They told me after they were a bit stuck but made it out. 

Seen this going to get the truck it only got worse.

Truck was dropped off and my human walked across to where I was and this move was done.

I hope you have a safe and happy winter holiday and that you never have to move in the snow.

Pop Pop Fizz Fizz or Soda

Do you enjoy carbonated beverages? What do you call that sweet drink? Pop, soda, something else?


Have you ever wondered where the term came from or what inspired the fizzy beverages?

The term soda came about in around 1767 with carbonated water.  It was carbonated with Co2 otherwise known as carbon dioxide. It was bottled in glass jars closed with a cork.

It was originally made by pharmacists. They had this job due to their experience in chemistry and medicine. Torbern Bergman was a Swedish chemist and mineralogy. He became a professor of Chemistry at the University of Uppsala. You might wonder what Chemistry has to do with carbonated drinks. Carbonic acid dissolved with water becomes CO2, you will see bubbles and hear a fizz sound. Phosphoric Acid, is a chemical that can add sharp flavor and burning sensation when consumed. Most of the acidic flavor comes from this. Caffeine was added due to its stimulant effects.

The word Pop came from a British poet in 1812 because of the sound it made when the cork was pulled out.

Dr Pepper is the oldest American Major soft drink. It was sold in1885 in a corner drugstore in Texas.

1951 and 2018 Photos by Fred Marlar and GH, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

Soft drinks were defined between hard drinks like distilled spirits, liquors and non alcoholic drinks. To help curb the heavier drinking. It was thought to be healthier than hard drinks. 

Depending on where in the world you are from might be what you call your non alcoholic carbonated beverage. In much of the United States it is called Soda, however in some southern states it is called Coke (after the Coca-Cola brand). In some northern states and Canada it is called Pop.

The name Coke is the shortcut of the form of the company that made some of the carbonated drinks Coca-Cola. This company was well known for their dark Caramel-like soda that contained cocaine. In 1894 a bottle contained 3.5 grams of cocaine. The pharmacist used the drug in many medicines so they deemed a small amount in beverages to be safe 

It often amuses me where my blog topics come from. We where talking about soda in my home and before I knew it is was suggested as this weeks topic. If you have a topic that you would like me to cover feel free to share and I will do the research. Take care of yourself as we come up on the holidays. If you need tips for holiday stress. Holiday Self-care has some good tips.

Painting An Art Supply Board

My adventures in the new house bring me to creating a crafting room

I had a peg board I was using for my workbench tool storage. At this time I don’t have a workbench so I watched some Youtube videos on how to make your craft room more organized and user friendly. I really want to have a silver and black place to hang my stuff up. I went to the Dollar Tree and found some great silver acrylic paint. 

I normally prime most things before trying to paint them. This time I did not, I think the pegboard is some kind of press board, it just soaked up my acrylic paint. I tried a small roller that was not working. Then I tried a brush. That too was not working. I was giving myself heck for not just taking the time to prime the board. So I sent out my family member to buy some metallic spray paint. Took the board out with large cardboard to spray on and still it misted on to our walking stones. At this point I’m frustrated and it is close to freezing temperatures. So I did my first coat that was not very even because I was getting cold. I left it outside to air out and dry some.

When it was brought in the house it smelled so bad, I didn’t even want to use spray paint. It did get in the holes of the board and covered it. I will need another coat of paint and maybe it will look better. 

If you’re new at crafting then you will do a lot of learning and make handfuls of mistakes. I will take some paint thinner to the walkway and hope I can get the silver paint off. Here is a painting pegboard link, I found this while working on the blog not before the project. I was in to much a squirrel brain to stop and do things right.

Keep learning, keep trying. If you learn new tips, it might be worth writing them down in a journal so you can look back on it. Have a great week. 

Laughing and Jokes

Have you had one of those weeks where things felt heavy and grim?

Friends came to my rescue after a particularly hard week.  I’m trying to recall some to share. 

Laughter is very good to help you get out of a sad or rough emotional state. It helps flood us with oxytocin (it is an empathy hormone) and dopamine. So much so that the cortisol in the blood gets overrun causing it to decreases leaving us feeling better. 

Although we all have a different sense of humor most of us release powerful happy healing hormones. Laughing can help open your airways. Expand blood vessels and add oxygen to the blood. The benefits of laughter.

There are times when laughter is not advisable, such as after certain surgeries. If you have had surgery, grab a pillow a hold the pillow over the incision and then try to laugh gently. The hormones are still good for you, laughter helps to change pain, still might hurt but might be just what you needed.

If you’re having a hard emotional time or you just need a quick pick you up, find things that make you laugh is good for the soul. Taking care of yourself can be hard but if we can make life more fulfilling or help a smile turn into a laugh, that is the sparks of joy. I find humor in some really dark places.

Used house problems

Have you ever moved? Whether you bought or rented, I’m sure some of you have run into some kind of challenges being in a new space.

Common things that can be easy or more complex can happen. The plumbing has a block or leak, mold on walls or mold on window sills, an appliance stops working or is not working well, flaking paint.

Pests making your home theirs, the free loaders! Moving in getting the benefits of free warm living. This is unless you get to your new space and the temperature drops below freezing only to find out some or all your heating is not working. Better get cozy to the rat that moved in because you both are going to need warmth…

3D rendering of a smiling cartoon mouse in a mugshot.
By Sarah Holmlund

What do you do when things have water where water should not be? Find the closest water shut off. If you’re in an apartment and renting you might need to call the landlord, and hope you don’t have a slumlord. 

3d render image of an interior of a flooded laundry.
By tiero

If you have a leak in a washer, toilet or sink there is likely a shut off around the unit. Older ones don’t always have a designated shut off. So you will need to know where the main water shut off is. Turn off the water and call in the right people for the job. If you have the skills and you own your place go ahead and fix it. If you rent and know how to do the task at hand call the landlord and get verbal permission. I prefer to get written permission. Then you have something to show if it comes about that this person said this.

Read manuals to things in your home or search them on the internet. You will likely have makes and models on many things in your home. Test out your fuse panel, you might need to cut power to something quickly , that is so hard when things are not labeled or miss labeled. You really are better knowing what to turn off, the time before your dishwasher needs electrical troubleshooting. Getting zapped really sucks.

The other problems you might run into is service backlogs, it could be winter and you could be without heat for many weeks. Have an emergency back up plan. You could also have appliance or parts shortages. It is not as easy as “oh the appliance is not working, let’s buy a new one”. Somethings like hot water tanks will have a business name and phone or other contact incase repairs are needed. You can also call the manufactures with the make and model they sometimes will trouble shoot with you.

Things to know where they are in your place are water shut off points, gas shut offs and the fuse panel. Have emergency contacts for your gas and water companies. Know who to call if you have any problem. Have your home insurance papers in a safe place above floods, have a small book with your policy numbers and makes and models in it. Makes it faster to share information. 

Photo credit: Malgorzata Surawska/Shutterstock Squirrel

Hope your week is not filled with things not working, know this too should pass, if it does not you can move to the woods and move in with a squirrel. Think they would be as shocked to see you in their tree as you are to see them fall into the house from the chimney? Make the best of this long weekend.

The calm of nature

Moving to my new area and comparing notes with friends. I found that many of us find things in nature very calming. 

Raindrops on roses, cool air on your cheeks, the sound of the birds. Have you ever questioned what it is about nature that calms and clears our minds?

It lowers our heart rate and encourages our bodies to make calming hormones. Provided they are not annoying or sounds or sound that scare us. I love to hear the owls and frogs at night. Someone I know loves the sound of rain on the tin roof.

We become less hostile and we start letting go of anger. Breath in though your nose and though your mouth nice a slowly.

If you have the availability to get out in nature it will amplify the benefits nature has on your brain. Breathing in fresh air and taking time away from your electronics will let you shut off. It slows our neurotransmitters down. When that happens it relaxes us.

Binaural beats was first scientifically proven in 1963 by Gerald Oster. This happens at 10 hhz and causes the brain to release beta endorphins, growth factors gut peptates, acetylcholine, vasopressin, serotonin. This helps us heal, relax and sleep well. You can also get tracks with alpha waves, can protect the brain from the effects of aging and increase the brains ability’s in studding. They could help you in learning 5 times the content.

Enjoy the sounds of nature. Learn to bring happy neurons together.

If you want to share what sounds in nature you enjoy, I would enjoy reading it.

Farmers markets

Have you enjoyed a farmers market, I have been to many. So many fresh and wonderful things. 

I love the ones that have live local musicians. I feel that it brings a community together.

There is a farmers market near where I live every Saturday from 9 till 3 I think. The sign said earlier I think that is so the vendors can set up all their wares.

Tips on going to your first farmers market. Bring about $40 cash.(I have a little more of a stash  with me. I will use the remaining money next time) Modern times many of the sellers have the chips that hook to their phones but some are still cash only. 

Get there early as the fresh produce goes fast. 

Having time to spare, talking to the people is what brings a sense of community. Some of them are quite the story tellers. Smell the air, so many wonderful things have been brought there to sell. Pet the pets, smile at the old and young. Bring in a bag or basket to carry out your finds. Be prepared to walk about the market and the parking is sometimes far. Photo taken by myself (Their make your own bag or food wraps)

Look through the whole market if you can before buying, different people sell things for different prices. Some have things I enjoyed more than others and don’t mind paying more. Photo by myself

Things I have bought from farmers markets.

  • Cheeses
  • Fresh produce
  • Gluten free baking.
  • Neck coolers to help keep you cool on hot days
  • Hot sauces
  • Jams and other canned goods
  • Coffee and organic tea blends
  • Plants
  • Snacks
  • Local honey
  • Wax sealed produse bags
  • Flax pain wraps

Other things that you can find at different markets, gin and other alcohol, meats, fish, wooden crafts, leather crafts, handcrafted jewelry, toys, microgreens and pet outfits and treats. Care products, handcrafted soaps and lotions, clothes, mushrooms, oils, Gluten baking. Soups and other prepared meals. Fresh candy and fudges. Some very fun creative art. So much more. 

I would love to read what you enjoy about Farmers Markets.

Supporting your local crafters and farmers helps your neighbors and people around you. It helps to have sustainable communities. Hope your week brings many smiles.