Thursday, April 03, 2008

growing naturally

Well -
How to begin?

Maybe I should begin with Julie's gorgeous forest of plants.
Then maybe I should say that I started checking into urban homesteading last year, and ran into those folks in Pasadena (online, not in real life).
I want chickens. Maybe I can thank Teri for that, or maybe I wanted them long before then. Our neighbors have them, and I love hearing the roosters, it makes my heart so happy. And I learned around three years ago from my father-in-law that poultry manure is one of The Most Desirable fertilizers.
Recently, ladybugzen and her beautiful boys joined a "Green Hour: No Child Left Inside" project, as I mentioned.
Very recently Tara posted about Sustainable Living, and has joined Urban Homesteaders -- reminding me.
Yesterday Sheri posted of her latest project, a tree swing.
Eric (dh) and I have been talking for a year or three of tearing out our second driveway (we see ourselves as a single-car family permanently) and putting in tomatoes and sunflowers and and and.

All these things, friends -- all of these things have made me take notice the last few days.

I wandered around my front yard today... making plans.
Take that out.
Put that from here over there.
What can I put here? There are tree roots, and it's always dry.... maybe yarrow and mullein (native plants).
This pine tree, with the limbs so high.... aaah... would be perfect for our tree swing.
For our science fair project, we are studying, quite literally, our own back -I mean front- yard.

All of this has made it apparent to me that we are certainly interested in living and growing in a natural direction.

I am forging ahead with my Growing Naturally project.
To me it means growing vegetables organically, learning organically, making good use of what we have, being ourselves, eating naturally as we are able (as un-processed as possible - hopefully ever-increasing), being in tune with our environment, being familiar with our surrounding habitat, maybe getting certified for a wildlife habitat (a dream of mine), canning, freezing, stepping lightly, being eco-conscious, world conscious, and conscious, too, of our fellow man.

It will also include nature studies, nature journals (at least one for myself, the babes can make up their own minds), learning about tracks, scat, dens and burrows, symbiotic relationships in our area, and learning about all native wildlife and plants (I think dh has us covered on that one).

This isn't about being hardcore, it isn't about great sacrifice, and it isn't about not living our lives as best suits us.

It's about learning. And being. And loving, and living, and thinking, and even representing ourselves and the people we are naturally.
It's about our interests, our selves, and our environment.
It's about growing.


Stephanie Ozenne said...

Cool! We had chickens running free in the yard when I was little. Mostly hens, but now and then a rooster (one who was MEAN to everyone but my sister). We also had 2 white ducks, and believe it or not, a great horned owl. She was injured, rescued, but unable to fly normally due to poorly healed broken wing so we kept her. Supermarket eggs (and even the eggs I get at the local goat farm) are no comparison to fresh eggs from your chickens. It will be awesome!

ladybug-zen said...

sounds wonderful. i've been thinking along those lines for a while now myself.

ladybug-zen said...

just out of curiousity, what is going to be your first step?

Stephanie S. said...

Well - some of it I feel like we've already started - we're nature lovers around here.
The babes always love turning over rocks and investigating how things work. Madd walks around with the binoculars for days at a time. :)

Our garden is organic - our property is organic. We haven't used any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers (only organic fish fertilizer) since we bought it five years ago.

I guess the first thing to do - which I plan to do today(it's sposed to be near 60 degrees!)- is to get outside and start moving stuff around.
I have some baby raspberries in the back (new ones come up every year) that I'd like to transport to the front where they'll get enough sun. I also want to dig up some vine and plant it at my front fence, for privacy. I want to move more of the yarrow to the really dry spot, near the tree.
Move some of my herbs to the berm, where they'll do well.
Just transporting.
When I go to HOme Depot I'll check out how much to rent something that will help us to break up that asphault that is our driveway, or maybe I'll ask one of our neighbors.

I'll begin with what I can do right this minute. :)

Stephanie S. said...

I think I'll pay a visit to my neighbors around the corner and ask them about their chickens, too.

lerend zonder school said...


A woman I know is giving a free "urban chickens" class through the wasatch community gardens if your interested. Her and her husband have a huge organic garden (they sell to local restaurants) and they raise chickens and bees. She gave me the name of a great book that she said was the most comprehensive book on chicken raising (whether for eggs or meat), I'll have to locate where I wrote it down.

We are serious about getting chickens this year, the boys are really excited!

If you need more yarrow, just holler, as I need to dig up about 6 or 8 of them this spring (they re-seed like crazy).

ladybug-zen said...

that was well said..."i'll begin with what i can do this minute."...and then when move on to the next thing, right.

that's a great personal motto. i just might steal it from you if you don't mind:)

Stephanie S. said...

Julie - I'm interested!
I keep sayin' chickens, and Eric keeps sayin' "What?!?" but I really want them.

LadybugZen - :)

Cid said...

this post makes my Inner Being sigh with happiness. I'm so glad that you stopped by my blog and left your thoughts there. I'm overwhelmed with life right now and looking forward to getting back to blogging more regularly :) You have inspired me to "begin with what I can do this minute".

I'll be back! Blessings, Cid in CA

Stephanie S. said...

Cid -
thanks for visiting!
As I said, I'll definitely be back to your blog, I liked it very much!

If we forget about the "right now", there is no other moment.

"We walk around living like a dead man." as Thich Nhat Hanh says.

whimsigal said...

This is exciting! I have been wanting to do some of this also. There are restrictions on having chickens where we live but I would love to have fresh eggs every day.

I'm definitely going to keep up with this, what a wonderful idea!


piscesgrrl said...

YARROW! Ah, d*mn yarrow... spreads like weeds. Ok, I'm better now.

We had chickens for the past few years! There's a great blueprint for a moveable coop somewhere online. It has a mesh floor so the droppings fertilize the yard beneath it. You move it every few days. (Of course, you can let them out too, they love that!)

Having our own eggs was wonderful. Be warned, though, that they scratch like crazy! They dug up all my perennials and garden seedlings when I wasn't careful. On the flip side, they "raked" out all my beds in the spring, too!

How exciting for you to be moving in this direction. Can't wait to see pictures of your progress.