Archives for August 2017

Aug 24
2017

A Lasagna Garden

The summer is coming to an end, and I’m exhausted….in a good way.  We planted a fairly large garden, and spent a lot of time fighting the weeds.  Despite the set backs, we were still able to reap the rewards of harvesting our own fruits and veggies throughout the summer.  I also got a lot of experience/wisdom, peace, work ethic, and most importantly….toned arms. Ha! However, I honestly don’t have the time to devote hours on end to keeping my garden free of weeds.  Something has got to change.

It’s time for a LASAGNA GARDEN.

My personal favorite harvest item.

The garden we planted this year might have been a bit too large.  We tend to bite off more than we can chew at times, but I don’t mind a challenge. Knowing the hard work would definitely pay off when it came time to feed my family.  I loved getting outside, and didn’t even mind the sweat!  However, the weeds brought me to a state of despair.

“Is this how I’m going to spend my time every summer?  Flipping weeding?!”

 “How am I going to do this when I’m older?”

 “ugh….my aching back…..(wide eyeballs…OMG I am turning into my mother!)”

MEH!

The Wizard and I did some research into alternative gardening methods.  He found some great stuff and so did I.  Conceptually coming to the same conclusions in each method.  More produce, better soil, and less weeds.

The new method we are going to use is called lasagna gardening.  Ever heard of it?  Its genius.  Just like most things in life, it brings simplicity back around to thump you on the side of the head.

“Hey dummy, why don’t you quit making things harder on yourself and just do it the way God designed it to be done?”  (That’s what it said to me anyway…….)

Derrrrr (just awful)

A lasagna garden is a system that makes perfect sense in organic natural environments.  Read the testimonies of the thousands around the world who have been doing it for a while, and you will see some converted believers!  The system includes recreating the organic strata of materials that are found in undisturbed soils and ecosystems.  For a visual example, just go for a walk in the woods.  Debris drops to the forest floor and without any help from man kind, creates a dark rich humus where the seeds of flowers and trees grow!! Simple and amazing.

Basically, you’re layering organic materials to grow your garden.   No tilling, or digging required!

Here’s a play by play for a lasagna garden:

  1. Pick a flat area with adequate sunshine throughout the day.
  2. Start with a few layers of newspaper or cardboard spaced out on your garden area.  (Do not use glossy paper….it will not decompose) Place this stratum of materials directly onto the grass or in our case, weed infested garden.  Yep, right over those rotten pumpkins (squash bugs…grrrr).  This will smother the grass/weeds and allow everyone’s bff, the earthworm, to do it’s thang.
  3. Next, add 1-2″ of peat moss or compost
  4. Add any of the following, but make sure you alternate carbons and nitrogens.  You can add peat moss between each layer.  Hence, the whole lasagna theme.
    • CARBONS (A.K.A. “da Browns”):  Peat moss, straw, fallen leaves (not oak), newspapers, cardboard, pine needles used sparingly, and wood chips.
    • NITROGENS (the greens): Manure, grass clippings, and kitchen waste/compost (see composting rules)
  5. Let this cook or decompose for a few seasons, watering regularly (late summer or fall would be the optimum time to start process)
  6. When the time comes around to plant seeds, don’t till or dig giant holes.  Simply drop seeds in your rich and fertile soil.
  7. Mulch with small wood shavings or chips to further hinder weeds
  8. Watch it grow!

Now doesn’t that sound nice?  No more tilling the ground, or weeding!  Aching backs be gone! Put in this extra hard work upfront to create the right environment, and hopefully we will all reap bountiful rewards.

Lasagna gardening!  Bada bing!

Side notes:

The Wizard and I were thrifty about collecting our materials…..surprise, surprise!

The lollipop guild helping.  Notice we are saving the okra, which is the Wizard’s favorite item.

We got newspapers end rolls from the local newspaper office.  They were nice to have, and made the job go much faster!

The Wizard

We also called a local sale barn where we knew there would be lots of cow manure.  Best part, it was free!! We had to load it up in our truck, but other than that it was pretty painless…… for manure!!

 

I also pulled a crazy, and pulled over anytime I saw some tree trimmers working.  I would ask if I could have their wood chips, and they said yes!  Just call and ask, or if you want to join club crazy…. just stalk them like me.

(****Make sure you ask tree trimmers if wood chips came from any diseased trees!  If so, you do NOT want!!)

 

Here is the method the Wizard found.  I absolutely love it.  This guy is great and so inspiring.  I definitely encourage you to make and take some time to watch this video.  It won’t disappoint.

http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/

 

Here is the method I found.  Same concept, but different method of achieving results.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/lasagna-gardening-zmaz99amztak

I hope you find this helpful.  Like usual, do your research, and see what you think.  I hope we can share success stories soon!!  Good luck!

 

For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

 

Aug 8
2017

You CAN do it

DISCLAIMER:  I do not know everything about building houses!  This is our opinions and experiences.

 

If you want something done right, ya gotta do it yourself.

  This statement didn’t really ring so true until we decided we wanted to build a house.  Like I have mentioned, the quotes we got from builders were just absurd.  You would have thought we were asking them to build a rocket ship to take us to the moon!  It was a rude awakening that we couldn’t afford what we really wanted in a house.  Boo Hoo right?  Well, we got to thinking, what about the home makes it so expensive?

  • Unfinished attic space  that can be USED (shocking thought concept)
  • Custom kitchen cabinets (not just for royalty)
  • Porches (draining the builders bottom line)
  • REAL anything (wood doors, etc.)
  • Anything involving craftsmanship  (Cinderella wishes)

 

WHY?!?

 

It shouldn’t be this way.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  The answer?

Do it yourself.  Skip the builder.  You become the contractor.  You actually get to make decisions and control how the money is spent on your project.  A builder might say they will build your house for cost plus 10%, but in reality let’s just say you could be getting A LOT more for your money if you did it yourself.  You will be paying for the builders convenience, and what will make their job easier.  Do you really think a builder is going to search the U.S. for the best price on the flooring you picked? Very very doubtful, but I did and saved thousands.  You can too!

From what we got quoted by multiple builders, to what we ended up paying by doing it ourselves on the exact same project, using the exact same blueprints, with OUT taking away from our wants list???  We saved $200,000!!  YES.  It is true.  It happened.  This is why I’m passionate about getting what you want with your money that you have worked so hard for.  If I can do it you can too!!!  I have a biology degree with zero experience in the construction business.  Don’t get me wrong.  It was very very beneficial to have someone like my husband, the Wizard, on board.  He’s an engineer by day, and a semi-genius when it comes to building things.  However, like I said he has a day job.  He wasn’t here nailing all the pieces of our house together.  We contracted this thing out.  We did do some minor things in the building of the house, but it was usually me and the Lollipop Guild here during the day making sure contractors were coming as promised, and that things were coming together as planned for the day.  We also called and got quotes for the different stages of our project, and collected materials……wanted and needed.  (Craigslist and  Ebay will be your best friend.)

The Lollipop Guild doing a daily check!

 

So what is it you need to get your project going?   No, not tequila shots………

A recipe book on how to be your own contractor!

There are a lot to choose from out there.  I recommend reading reviews on all of them.  See what people have had the most success with.  We made a mistake and went with an outfit that gave us the recipe book along with some “promised” help in the inspection and budgeting department.  Long story short, we got a recipe book.  Also I can’t mention their name because we fired them…..get used to that too.  I am not good with telling people I don’t think they are preforming up to snuff.  Makes me feel awkward, and I haaate hurting people’s feelings.  As Dave Ramsey says, buckle up buttercup.  It has to happen when building a house.  Sometimes ya gotta give people the boot.  It will help save you money in the end.

A firm foundation. One of life’s best lessons in theory and reality.

Just a side story ………An example of builder logic:

We personally didn’t want a garage on our home for multiple reasons….mainly because I am a werido about aesthetics and authenticity, and we were shooting for a Victorian farmhouse.  So, we told the builder this and he said they would deduct $1,000 from the overall quote.  Logical conclusion, a garage cost more than $1,000 to build.  So shouldn’t the price come down more?  Nope.  Not in builder world.  They will corner you into building the house that they want to build.  What materials they already have, and what building systems they already have in existence (ex: “standard three car garage”, arched doors, ten foot ceilings, tile here, wood there….blah).   Waiver from their pattern and ya better have a fat wallet.  It will cost you for custom.

 

Good news for you.  Now you know it doesn’t have to.  Pray about it.  Think about it.  Do your homework, and ask yourself where you want to spend your money when building a house.  Maybe its not worth the hassle to save a few thousand or hundred thousand.  For us there wasn’t an option.

Yea……I’m a geek. This was my face throughout the project. Lord help us.

 

Just another lovely side note.  We ended up having the most fun as a family going on trips to get items for the house.  We would map out our path and take off on a Saturday to hit our different Craigslist pick ups in the most efficient way possible.  We found a set of five old doors from a Victorian farmhouse with hardware attached for $150!  A brand new stainless steel farmhouse style sink that had a tiny scratch for $20…..still in original packaging!  Almost every light fixture in my home came from a lady redecorating her almost new house.  A Pottery Barn double vanity with marble top and matching mirrors for $300!  And my favorite…..a shoe box full of “old” door knobs that contained 12 perfect glass knobs for $20!  It IS out there folks.  I live in the middle of no where USA and found it.  Just imagine what could be found in more densely populated areas!  I get all giddy thinking about it.  Can I do this for a living?

One of our Craigslist finds for the house. Side note: Gather items BEFORE building begins!

I hope you find the courage to at least explore the options.  Like I mentioned, pray about it and do your research.  Tequila optional.

Good luck!!

 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear & timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7