My Introduction to Angora Shearing

by Lynn at Viggies VeggiesI had a surprise chore this weekend, because I saw the trailing rope of hair on the German Angora that signaled she was ready to be shorn. There was a lot of research I needed to do before I was ready to get started on harvesting my rabbits, but they set the time table here not me. So once again I am learning something new by fumbling my way though it.So my goal for


Organic Straw is in and we will also have organic Alfalfa, Orchard Grass & Timothy Hay soon, all Oregon grown and certified. The organic feeds from In Season Farms are here. All will be added to the catalog. Chicken feeders, waterers and accoutrement are also in stock!

Classics on my Bookshelf

by Sadge, at Firesign FarmI think I'm older than most of my fellow writers here. I lack the fervor of the newly reformed too. I've always pretty much lived this lifestyle. I missed most of the greed and acquisitiveness of the 80's because I spent that decade living in a rather remote mountain town. Back when I was wanting to learn more about a self-sufficient lifestyle, there was no Internet and

Going Meatless - What's Your Reason?

by KateLiving A Frugal LifeThere's a lot of talk on green-themed blogs about vegetarianism and reducing meat consumption. People come to this topic out of many different concerns - health, ethics, environmental degradation, and frugality, among others. All of them are valid motivations. Nonetheless, diet is a very personal topic, and it can be a very divisive one as well. I've yet to meet

The Power and Importance of Our Lives

by Melinda Briana Epler, One Green Generation There is a rift in the sustainable and simple living movement. There are those who believe the most important thing we can do is change the way we live our lives at home. Because it makes our families healthier, our budgets easier, and our lives happier. And then there are those who believe that each of those little changes in our lives do not matter,

Make Do or Do Without

by Chiot's RunI have always loved this quote:What fabulous rules to live by. If you follow this advice you'll save tons of money and not end up with a house full of stuff you don't need. Mr Chiots and I try to live by this rule. When we first got married we didn't have a dining room table for several years, we simply ate on the sofa or floor. We had hand-me down furniture and a really old TV

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

I leave for work a little after 6:00am, and by the time my break rolls around at 9:30 I'm ready for a breakfasty snack. Fruit is good, but having access to hot water made me think of instant oatmeal, the kind that comes in little packets flavored with yummy maple and brown sugar.

The problem is, most prepackaged instant oatmeal is full of junk, and I HATE oatmeal with salt in it. (My mom never put salt in our oatmeal; the first time I had salty oatmeal at a restaurant I gagged.)

So, I decided to try making my own instant oatmeal packets!

I started with this basic recipe (leaving out the salt), pulsing some of the instant oats into a coarse flour and mixing 2 tablespoons oat flour with 1/4 cup instant oats. I added different dried fruits and flavorings to taste:
  • 1 TB raisins, 1 TB brown sugar, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 TB chopped walnuts

  • one package (1/2 cup) freeze dried strawberries & bananas

  • 1 TB date sugar, 2 TB freeze dried apples, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 TB chopped pecans

  • 2 TB dried blueberries, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/8 tsp. orange zest, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla powder (found in the bulk spices section at my local health food store)

  • and (my favorite!) 1 TB finely shredded coconut and 2 TB chopped dried pineapple

I have many more ideas: dried cherries, coconut, and chocolate chips; dehydrated pears with sugar and a pinch of mace or cardamom; dried peaches with sugar and powdered soy milkor powdered rice milk. I could even buy maple sugarand make maple-brown sugar oatmeal.

At work I can put the instant oatmeal in my little mug, add about 2/3 cup hot water, and let it sit for 2 minutes. A perfect mid-morning snack!

Savoring the winter roots

by Throwback at Trapper CreekAlmost weekly during the winter, I dig roots for the kitchen and the barn. Posts about the process are here and here. This post will deal with the kitchen aspect of our weekly winter harvest.In recent history roots have been considered peasant fare, since root crops keep well and are usually root cellared or preserved allowing a measure of self-reliance from stores.

Grow your own Mung Bean Sprouts

Post by Thomas from A Growing Tradition BlogI've been meaning to learn how to sprout mung beans for a long time now. Recently, I was finally able to give it a try. I've eaten them all throughout my life and would keep a consistent supply in my refrigerator if I could. More and more supermarkets carry them these days, but unfortunately, 9 times out of 10, they are already rancid by the time

Cyclone Season

Posted by BelFrom Spiral GardenIn Far North Queensland we're currently on cyclone-watch. This is something which happens at least once each Summer.After experiencing Cyclone Larry in 2006, I became more aware of the need to be prepared for a disaster. There were 13 of us cut off from civilisation in one house (our friends’ place). Compared to most we had it easy - solar power, independent water

Simple & Frugal Ways To Give

By Notes From The Frugal TrenchesThe current situation in Haiti is grave, it is hard to actually imagine what it must be like to see people being operated on by the side of the road, families starving to death, thousands of people dying in front of you and millions or orphans with nowhere to go. Before I downshifted and simplified I often felt overwhelmed by need and struggled to understand how I

Seed Fever, Master Gardeners and Chicks

15 points in this post... 1) SEEDSUprising Seeds are here! Crystine, Brian and their son Rowan delivered them on Monday. They are wonderful farmers and provide a network of other growers' seed from Oregon, Washington and Idaho, too. All Certified Organic, 100% Open Pollinated with many Heirlooms.It is hard to take my eyes off the seed packets, all of their potential and an urge to be outside

Learning to Love Squash

by Badhuman I want to like squash because it's local and it's seasonal and its relatively easy to grow but the reality is I don't really like squash- any squash. I think it's the consistency... I don't like creamy soups which is a common use for squash and I don't like it in big chunks... Butternut squash is okay mashed in with potatoes but not spectacular. But I haven't given up hope and even I

A Sense of Urgency?

by Gavin at The Greening of Gavin


This post is a revamp of an opinion peice that I wrote about a year ago, but it makes even more sense to me today in light of recent world events. 

Since Copenhagen was deemed to have a shallow and listless outcome, I still notice when I talk to people about the seriousness of climate change, peak oil and resource depletion, people still tend to not

Dinner: Cheap, Healthy, Exotic

from Amy of

One of our very favorite soups is an Indian lentil soup. The curry and other spices makes it kind of exotic and the short, simple ingredient list makes it inexpensive and easy to throw together out of things you can stock in your pantry.

1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 coriander seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 TBSP olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 chopped garlic cloves

People's Haiti Benefit

People's Food Co-op is donating 5% of sales to Partners in Health for Haiti ! PIH has "been working on the ground with Haiti since 1985 delivering community based health care to low income families and individuals. Their work is dedicated and extensive making us confident that this is reputible organization that represents our values and will use our donation to the better the largest good.

Healthy cookware

by FrancescaFuoriBorgoall drawings by artist J. Anzalone For years I've been striving to grow, buy and prepare the healthiest foods for my family, but it was only a few years ago that I stopped to consider the safety of the pots I was cooking it in. The fact is, even with the healthiest raw materials, your meals will only be as healthy as your cookware.The main concern with cookware is that it

Crockpot Soapmaking

by Lynn at Viggies VeggiesI'd been planning on waiting to learn to make soap for a while yet, because I'd heard it made to sound so expensive and complicated. But my net.friend Dilli recently tested out a crockpot soap recipe she found that demystified the process for me. It's pretty well fool proof. And while talking to her about it, I realized I didn't need any special supplies or equipment.

A Big Batch of Meatballs

by Sadge, at Firesign FarmI eat meat, but can just as easily do without it. I think of meat as a condiment to a meal - it adds flavor but it's not the main attraction. But Aries is an avowed carnivore. He'd make a meal of meat and bread if left to his own devices. He won't eat salads either, so I sneak veggies into his meals by making lots of soups and stews in the winter (out of the veggies

Hot Potato Trick

by KateLiving the Frugal LifeWe grew 100 pounds of potatoes in 2009. A fair portion of them are still in our garage. We'll continue eating them up over the winter, aiming to have none left by the time the weather warms up and signals them to begin sprouting.With so many potatoes available, you can be sure I feel some urgency about using them up. We eat them often. Anytime I fire up the oven to do

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Learning New Skills

by Chiot's RunMr Chiots and I have been trying to learn new skills to be able to do more things for ourselves, and to save money. Earlier this winter, our car needed new rotors and brake pads. Instead of taking it to the dealer or the local repair shop to get new ones Mr Chiots did the task himself, saving us a bundle. Not only did we save several hundred dollars in installation charges, we

Making making do doable

by Throwback at Trapper CreekThe homemaker has a heavy load to carry these days in tough economic times. When many people reminisce about the Great Depression, a common thread is that they don't remember really going hungry. I am sure though that times were very tight. My family on both sides were farmers, so food was ample and other things were in short supply.But I suspect that the person

Making Candied Kumquats

Posted by Thomas from A Growing TraditionI've always been curious about Kumquats, and can still recall the first time I laid eyes on one. I was probably six or seven years old, the place was Long Wood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. I remember "liberating" a kumquat from a small tree inside one of their massive conservatories. (Some children steal toys, I stole curious foods.) After

Foxes and Heatwave

We are enduring another heat wave on top of a fox problem. In all our years here we have never seen so many foxes or been subjected to so many attacks. The last 3 have been a zero result for the fox but in the process we lost a goosing and a chook both where killed but dropped the birds when pursued by the dogs. The latest attempt was well cut off in the orchard but in this heat you can’t be out on the lookout all the time. This has meant the birds have been kept in their pens more of the time. I only allow a few out each day which is more difficult in the heat as there are lots of cool shady places for them to hang out.
The foxes we have seen are larger than normal and are out and about around midday .Hear say around the district is they are around in large numbers. Being an urban fringe area there are really no control taking place. With a mix of smaller properties and plenty of bushes for them to hide any sort of control is difficult. Quentin mentions getting out the gun but he is only 5 weeks out from a total knee replacement and needs to watch is steps especially on the slopes. (Actually it’s amazing how he has progressed in such a short period)
So now we are on fox, weather and fire watch .During a heatwave all you can hope to do is a few chores not involving any machinery early in the mornings, keep the water up to the orchards, keep a watch on the poultry and go inside. Every half hour I check the poultry. They have shaded pens fitted with misters that run for about 10 minutes every half hour as well as a sprinkler on the shed roof to cool it down in the afternoon.
As a result of the Victorian bushfires there has been much hype over what householders should or should not do in case of a fire. Our plan has always been to stay and defend as result, on serious fire risk day we always stay at home, alert to the possible risks. The areas around our house are kept well watered ,sprinkler in the roof. the fire pumps are all well serviced and ready to go (unlike many that come to Quentin to be serviced or fixed after being left out in the weather all winter!) We also have suitable clothes, pants, boots, woollen jumpers, hat etc all there ready to put on at a moment’s notice. We hope we never have to implement our plan but we are ready

A New Year

Posted by BelFrom Spiral GardenI love a fresh new year. It starts with the clean-up as we prepare for the festive season. We finish up our homeschooling and tidy out everyone’s desks and school books, taking stock of what’s required in six weeks’ time, after our summer holidays.There’s lots of cleaning out the fridge and pantry with all of the extra cooking and food with Summer, Christmas and

Where Do You Want To Go This Year?

By Notes From The Frugal TrenchesIn many ways this is an incredibly exciting time of year, people make plans and resolutions galore and are determined that this new year will be their best yet! There is nothing wrong with hoping and planning, but I recently read that the vast majority of people fall off the bandwagon within 6 weeks and feel overwhelmed with grief and frustration. Looking at

Meat Safety

I'd love to say that I only eat free range, organic, antibiotic free, small farm etc etc meat but the reality is that we usually buy our meat at the grocery store. I realize I'm effectively supporting practices that I don't believe in but my current alternatives are limited. I tried to convince my husband to become a vegetarian and he told me in no uncertain terms that wasn't going to happen. So

Eating Locally

by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

One of my five goals for 2010 is a 100 mile diet, or a 160 km diet as I am calling it.  Our family has only been on it for 4 days, and we are finding it quite a challenge.  It was created by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon who were the first to take this type of diet up in Vancouver, Canada.  To learn more about the 100 mile diet visit

When less is more: pruning

by FrancescaFuoriBorgoWhen I started gardening ten years ago, and I didn't expect this activity to become so much more than just a way to grow our food. The slow, steady pace of tending a garden is for me a constant learning experience, and almost a meditation.Pruning, which in my part of the world starts at the beginning of the year with the pruning of grape and kiwi vines and olive trees, is a