URBAN TRANSITIONS' blog

The Sleeping Garden

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Our garden is now officially put to rest with a blanket of snow.  We had an amazing year and I learned so much from our time in the garden.  We were able to harvest the garden right up until the big freeze. 

Now I’m thinking about starting a kitchen garden so we can have some fresh herbs and greens during the winter.  We’ve sprouted beans before, and may start sprouting again as well. 

I’m still in awe with nature, and I think I always will be.  I feel very grateful.

Written by urbantransitions

12/16/2010 at 9:28 am

Posted in Gardening

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Unschooling Links

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I’ve been meaning to post some links for the past couple weeks, but haven’t gotten around to it.  As my kids are both cuddling around (and on) me, and listening to a book on tape, I’ll quickly post them now. 

http://sandradodd.com/respect/dodd   How to Raise a Respected Child

http://sandradodd.com/rules  Rules vs Principles

http://sandradodd.com/yes.html Saying “Yes” to Children

http://sandradodd.com/typical Typical Unschooling Days

http://sandradodd.com/balance  Balancing in the Middle Ground

I would love to hear what you think.

Written by urbantransitions

08/20/2010 at 7:40 am

Beauty in the Vegetable Garden

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Borage

Zuchinni

Raspberry and sunflower patch

Cucumbers

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06/26/2010 at 12:50 pm

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Ooooo, Slime Mold

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My kids and I are learning something new in the garden just about every day.  It’s so much fun being able to share in the experience together.

The other day, we discovered some slimy yellow stuff surrounding one of our corn mounds.  It was bright yellow, and when I touched it, it felt smooth and frothy. 

It is nicknamed dog vomit because of it’s rather uncanny resemblance.  It’s not supposed to damage the plants unless it covers the majority of the leaves and inhibits photosynthesis.  The slime mold feeds on rotting organic materials, and I suspect it liked our raised bed because of all the sticks and leaves under the topsoil.   

We kept it there to see what would happen because we were all so fascinated.  It crusted over and then Liz scraped it off.  Now, we’re waiting to see if it pops up again.

Here’s a couple of pics of our garden so far. 

Front garden, 

herb spiral,

and view from the front window.

Who new gardening could be this much fun?

Written by urbantransitions

06/19/2010 at 8:36 am

Curly Willow Trellis

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On the weekend, my dad and I built a tomato trellis for my folks raised bed.  There are 11 tomato plants, and they are all lined up against the back of the deck. 

We decided to make it out of curly willow branches and twine. I think it looks pretty gnarly. 

CLEANSE UPDATE:  I am still going strong, but man do I miss my coffee.  I didn’t think I was this attached, but it’s been rough.  Also, I have decided to change my perspective about lettuces and leaves.  They do not taste like styrofoam; they are crunchy and juicy.  Crunchy AND juicy.  Crunchy and juicy.  It’s all about perspective.

Written by urbantransitions

05/25/2010 at 9:39 am

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Guilty Gardener Dreams

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I walk up to my childhood home to find a garden in the front yard.  The beans are huge and full of pods, and there are several mounds similar to a herb spiral.  When I walk up closer to take a peak at what is growing, I find a horrible discovery.  There are cookies growing in one spot; pasta in another.   A few herbs sprinkle here and there, but the garden is mostly barren of healthy nutritious foods.  The soil is compacted and clay-y, similar to the farmer’s fields that plague our countryside.  How could this happen?!?!

This was the dream I had last night, and I woke up feeling guilty.  Why was I feeling guilty?  Because even though my children eat decently, I do not.  I tell myself every excuse: “I want to save the good food(fruits and veggies)  for the kids”, “The cream and sugar is just for my coffee”, “It’s a special treat, I deserve special treats too damn it!”. 

It is now time.  It is finally time for myself to take the leap and plunge into a complete healthy lifestyle.  It is the path I have been on, but I keep side tracking, and eat emotionally (horrendously) when I am at my weakest.  But I shall be weak no more! 

A couple of my amazing friends have inspired me to start a 6 week cleanse to jumpstart the process and help eliminate all the yuckiness that has built up over many many years of poor eating.  I am following something similar to the Community Wide Spring Cleanse in Windsor from last year.  No dairy, wheat, soy, sugar, coffee, or white foods.  Lots of leaves, veggies, fruits, nuts, beans, brown rice, and water.

It is very expensive to eat healthy, and I find it’s hard for me to  eat an apple rather than to cut it up and give it to the kids.  But I am setting an example, and not eating the apple myself is not good  for them either. 

Maybe the cleanse will push us farther along, and we will sprout more, ferment more, and forage more.

Written by urbantransitions

05/21/2010 at 8:17 am

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Urbanite Rainbarrel Stand

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Alright, I know this is a bit of an overkill, BUT I wanted to learn how to create a rubble trench foundation using urbanite, and saw an opportunity to try out the technique before tackling a larger project. 

One bonus of using natural materials and rubble is you can make and test things without having to spend a dime.   

First I dug a hole 2′ x 2′ x 1.5′ deep, and filled it with gravel we had on hand.  Then I tamped it down using the flat end of a sledge-hammer.

Next, I created some cob mortar using equal parts clay and sand, and enough water to acquire the right consistency.  The clay was soaked over night to soften and create a more even mortar.  I used my hands to mix the mortar in a wheelbarrow, but would recommend mixing with your feet on a tarp.  My hands were feeling it afterwards.

Finally, the hard part.  Urbanite is broken up pieces of concrete, meaning they are not uniform in size and quite a few of the pieces I had to work with were wonky.  I first spread a layer of mortar over the rocks, and then started piecing the urbanite together using ample amounts of mortar in-between.

It was difficult to fit the pieces together and create a level surface for the top.  Small pieces came in handy to fill the gaps in-between the wonky ones.   

 

I learned a few things while working on this project.  For one, my mortar was too sandy.  Also, it would have been smarter to use a chisel to create a better fit, instead of only using smaller and smaller pieces of urbanite and rocks.

On a sad note, I think I mortared my iron ring to the rainbarrel stand.  😦

Written by urbantransitions

05/17/2010 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Gardening, Urbanite

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