Earth Day – Every Day

I think it’s great that we take one day a year to celebrate Earth Day, but I think we can all do better than that and do our part Every Day!!! There is so much more that every single one of us can do on a daily basis to make things better on our beautiful planet. This includes the obvious such as “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. Today, I would like to share my thoughts on this very important topic.

Unfortunately the obvious 3 R’s are not enough and this being proven a little more every day. There are other key things that we can each put into practice which are really not that difficult to achieve, considering the impact they have.

The first thing I would like to mention is part of the “reduce” but it involves choices that are not made by everyone and it involves reducing our carbon footprint. My suggestion is to carpool wherever and whenever possible – this just takes a bit of networking and planning. Another option is to walk more and/or ride a bicycle (we could all use more time outside, more exercise, and some fresh air). Another thing is to grow our own food. There is no doubt it is a healthier choice for our body and soul, it eliminates plastic and packaging and also less pesticides. And since we are what we eat, it would be a good thing to care about what we put in your body! Now I do believe there is some limits here depending on where people live, but here is a case of “thinking inside the box” because it is easy to create a garden in even the most restricted spaces by using boxes or pots, and even a herb garden on a window sill brings down our packaging (which means less plastic) and has many health benefits – fresh herbs are filled with nutrients!

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Another one of my favourite ways to do my part is to not support “fast fashion” or disposable items. This means thinking about where we put our money. And it’s really no that hard to do. Here are some questions you can ask yourself: Do these items define who you are? (NO). Do you really need them? (NO). Fast fashion equals slave labour, pollution, and a ton of waste that ends up in landfills. It also mans cheap goods that break down in the laundry and barely last one season. The alternative is to buy quality clothing that is well-made, and to choose timeless pieces that never go out of style, that you can store appropriately for each season to enjoy for decades to come. Another option is to buy recycled and upcycled clothes.

And now for a biggie and a no-brainer: disposable items! This includes getting a new TV every couple years or just having to have the latest smart phone! When appliances are concerned, buying a cheap version means they will break down as soon as the warranty wears out instead of lasting for years like they could. Other habits to watch for include buying new and unnecessary house items for one season which are mostly made of plastic, as well as such items as swiffer mops, coffee pods, disposable diapers and cloths, unrecycled toilet paper and paper towels, non-biodegradable soaps and detergents, and any of the things that give us a quick fix of instant gratification that will just end up tossed in some landfill, and that we never needed in the first place, or for which sustainable, and environmentally-friendly alternatives exist.

These are just a few thoughts that I think everyone of us can put more in to practice, and this goes for me too. Let’s all work together to help create the Earth we want for the future. I believe if we all do just a little more than the obvious, and make a conscious decision to think before we buy, as well enlist the help of our friends and family to make this choice together and keep each other in check, these few simple changes can make a big difference. Of course there are many other ways but for now I will leave this for the curious mind…

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The Art of Growing Food

There’s something to be said about growing your own food. And that something is, “Do it”!!!

To me, growing a vegetable garden is a form of art. It is a well-known adage that “we are what we eat” and that we are all walking canvases. I also have as soft spot for yard art and let’s not forget that when we cook, all our wonderful produce becomes part of our culinary art… So when you put it all together, growing food is indeed an art form!

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It is also one of the ways in which I contribute and give to my family, since the more food we grow the less we need to buy, and the more money we save. Growing your food also saves the planet by bypassing any need for packaging and no gas is used to bring it to your home, and of course you know where your food came from and the love that went into producing it.

 

My process starts with the seeds; some of which I have collected from the previous year and some I buy from a trusted source. Then my man preps the garden beds, and then when the soil – which we build and nourish throughout the year – is thawed and the weather is warm enough, the garden gets planted. All of this is very exciting to me as I love to watch everything grow as I water it throughout spring and summer. By the time fall comes around, all the preserves have to be done and the shelves and freezer get stocked… total gratification is how it feels. I hope to encourage everyone, no matter what size of space you have to give it a try, whether you live in an apartment, have a patio herb garden, a backyard garden or, like us, a farm. The picture above is the seeds I have recently planted; they include lettuce, peas, basil, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, watermelon, and cantaloupe… and there is so much more on the way. Stay tuned to watch my garden grow!!! xoxo

Garden to Shelf!!!

As you may know by now, I have a thing for growing and preserving food, to say the least! This past gardening season was no different than the previous ones except that I grew my food with more intention. I took notes over the last two years of all the things I bought that I actually had growing in my garden and that I could stock my own selves with, and there were a lot of items! I saw that with a bit more work (or a lot!) I could shop less, use less packaging, and eat even more organically directly from my garden.

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I have already shared a few items, such as my Rose Hip Skin Oil and my Fresh Garden Tea; today I will share my All Spice Blend that includes dehydrated tomatoes, lemon balm, sage, oregano, parsley, hot peppers, and lavender. This blend can be used on basically everything you wish – even though I recommend you keep it for savory dishes! – and you are welcome to adjust it to please your taste buds and, of course, depending on what is growing in your garden. Herb gardens are the best because you can pick your herbs fresh when the weather permits and preserve them to use in many different ways from tea, spices, oils, and tinctures.

So the recipe is very simple. I use a food processor to grind equal parts of each herb then toss in a bowl so they’re evenly mixed and voilà!!! My organic, simple All Spice Blend straight from my garden!!!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Transformation

There has been some Transformation to our bathtub and boat vegetable garden beds!!! After a seriously good harvest season that went until mid-November, the beds are now totally asleep for the winter. Mulched with rabbit droppings, dead leaves, and a final layer of seaweed that will completely yet slowly break down over the next few months to create fertilizer and soil just in time to start planting again in mid Spring. Sleep well little beds and dream of plump produce!

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From Garden to Shelf

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Today I would like to share the story around my Fresh Garden Tea, which I created, you guessed it… from my garden!!! If you follow me  on social media, you may remember that I spent a lot of time in my garden last summer with the intention of dedicating a portion of what I grow to be dehydrated. Not only because I am committed to following my 3-step-diet and preserving food to see us through the winter until next garden season, but also in order to create more items that I tend to buy when they are actually growing in my garden. So this year I did just that!!!

One of my favorite teas that I came across in the last two years is a cucumber-mint organic tea (I can not remember the brand but it’s delicious). Well, guess what I have growing? an abundance of mint and cucumbers! So I made my own version of the tea, with a twist: I dehydrated some mint leaves and thinly sliced cucumbers, seeds and all. I also harvested and dehydrated some lemon balm, which also grows abundantly in my garden. Once dried, I placed each ingredient into its own bag and crushed them to a medium crushed state. Then I mixed equal parts of all 3 ingredients in a bowl and stirred until the mixture looked even. I then put the tea into one of my nice vintage jars and voilà! Fresh garden tea ready to steep in boiling water to your desired taste (I steep mine for about 3 mins and add a bit of honey!) It’s fresh, light, crisp, and part of my 3-step diet. And you can make a lovely iced tea version from this blend tooo!!! Remember though, this is a loose tea and you will have to use a strainer, or you can buy tea bags (reusable ones are the best!) and fill with approximately one tablespoon per bag or per cup. Enjoy a taste of summer all through winter!

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Mint
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Thinly-sliced Cucumber
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Lemon Balm