Saturday, September 24, 2011

Trying To Make Summer Last A Little Longer

My son and his girlfriend bought me this beautiful annual for Mother's day in May. It has been the centerpiece of our step garden this year and was absolutely beautiful. It just kept growing and producing stunning orange flowers all summer long.

It spread so much that there was little need to weed this flower garden this year. The weeds had no room to move in.

I really hated the thought of the frost killing this beauty so hubby dug up the center of the plant and then carefully pulled all of the runners free. He potted it in a large pot, gave it a serious haircut and then built a new trellis for it to climb on. We put it in the bathroom to see if it will continue to grow.

The plant is called a Thunbergia or Black-eyed Susan Vine. It can grow to be 8 ft. tall on a trellis outside. If it survives the winter inside, we will put it back out in the Spring.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Beautiful Fall Day At The Fair

Every September in Maine we look forward to the Common Ground Fair. It is a huge gathering for folks who enjoy good organic foods, beautiful flowers, eco-friendly products, informational seminars on topics such as composting, gardening, and many other homesteading topics.

This year the fair expects 60,000 people to attend this three day event. We always try to go on Friday to avoid the heavy weekend crowd but Friday is by no means a slow day.

Below are some of the beautiful things we saw today. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Compost Bin

We have lived at our current home for 16 years. My husband built a compost area the summer we moved in and we are just now having to replace it. The old compost bin was about half of the size the new one is.

Being able to put our food and yard waste in a compost area is so nice. Less smelly trash and even your weeds and fallen leaves will be useful in growing your future gardens.

You need to be sure to get a mixture of both brown materials for carbon and green materials for nitrogen. If the mixture is not right it takes much longer to break down.

We rarely have needed to wet down our compost pile. We just rely on the natural mixture of rainfall and sunshine. If there is long dry period you may want to wet your compost pile down. Make sure not to make it too mushy though.

Turn your pile over with a pitchfork frequently. The bacteria need air to survive so turning your pile over keeps all of those organisms healthy and growing.

The leaves are starting to turn color in our area so pretty soon the bagger on the lawnmower will be filled with chopped leaves and not just green grass clippings.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grapes Pack A Healthy Punch

Grapes are full of numerous health promoting phyto-nutrients such as poly-phenolic antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Grapes have Resveratrol and may also help delay and prevent brain aging and associated diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Red grapes have also been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure in clinical studies.

Minerals in grapes include:
Trace amounts of copper

Grapes also contain the vitamins A, B and C.

I am munching on grapes this week because they are filling, delicious, good for me and best of all, red or green organic grapes are on sale this week at my local grocery store for only 1.99 a pound!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

10 Reasons Eating Raw is Healthier For You and the Planet

Article by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead at

At the beginning of the new year I decided to go Raw for 30 days. I’ve always been interested in eating a raw diet, but never had the guts to completely jump in and do it. I would eat raw for breakfast and lunch most days but would break down at dinner time and eat cooked food. I was eating about 60-80% raw, I just needed the extra push to move to eating 100% raw vegan food. I got that push after seeing these amazing before and after eating raw photos.

I decided the best way to know if something is all it’s cracked up to be is to try it. At the very worst if it doesn’t work out you can always go back, right?

What I found is that eating raw is not only easy to do, but makes you feel amazing.

It wasn’t easy to resist eating cooked foods at first. Just like breaking any habit, it takes time and persistence. Most of all, it helps to simply take it one day at a time and focus on only one goal. For the new year I decided not to make any other resolutions or goals, but to simply eat a raw vegan diet for 30 days.

Here are just a few things I’ve learned:

Live foods. It’s common sense right? A cooked seed won’t grow, but a raw seed will. Heating food over 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys much of the nutrients in your food. Cooking food also diminishes the natural life energy. I’d rather put living food in my body.
Enzymes. Cooking food destroys much of the natural enzymes (your body can also create enzymes, but can only do so much) in your food that are needed to break down nutrients. Eating raw eliminates this problem.
Insane energy. You won’t know this unless you try it for yourself, but eating raw gives you an amazing boost in energy. I used to get tired around 2 or 3pm during the day. Now I simply don’t have that problem. When I do get tired, it doesn’t last nearly as long and an orange or apple will recharge me within a few minutes.
Better sleep and less sleep needed. I’ve slept better than ever while eating raw. But most importantly, I don’t wake up feeling tired or groggy anymore. On most days, I wake up feeling full of energy.
Increased mental clarity. Eating raw has helped me focus on the things that are important and made me more emotionally in tune with others. I feel like a wall of fog has been removed in my mind. It’s easier to think clearly and focus for long periods of time.
Eat as much as you want. This isn’t really a health benefit, but it is pretty awesome. I never get that uncomfortable full feeling eating raw. You know where you have to unbutton the top button on your pants and take a nap? I don’t get that. I can eat as much as I want, and while I will feel full, I don’t feel weighed down or tired.
Less cleanup. Simply put, there aren’t many dishes to wash when you eat fruit and vegetables. Although if you do compost (like I do), you’ll probably have to do it more often.
No packaging. Eating raw means less packaging all around (well, I guess you could argue that banana and orange peels are “packaging”). This means less trash in a landfill and more room in your cupboards. Win/win for everyone.
More regularity. You should naturally have around two to three bowel movements a day. If you’re going less than that, it probably means your intestines are unhealthily clogged. A raw diet gives you more than enough fiber to keep you regular.
Connection with the earth. Eating food that’s been freshly picked just feels different. You feel more connected to the earth and more grounded. Eating lots of processed foods — frozen or from a box — makes creates more of a gap and leaves you feeling disconnected from the earth that sustains you.
Want to give it a try? If you’re interested in pursuing a raw diet, here are a few great resources to get you started:

Renegade Health – Great daily videos on eating raw and organic.
Living and Raw Foods – Vast archive of information and resources for eating a raw diet.
30 Day Raw Trial – Steve Pavlina’s introduction to his 30 day trial eating only raw foods.
It should be noted that you don’t have to go 100% raw to see the benefits of eating this way. My transition to a raw diet wasn’t a quick process. I’ve been vegetarian for seven years and in the past two, started eliminating most dairy as well.

You don’t have to drop out and becoming a complete raw foodist right away. Any increase in raw foods in your diet will give you noticeable, immediate results.

This article was written by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind. To learn more about how to reclaim your life, grab a subscription to Illuminated Mind

Zen Habits is an awesome blog, you can find Leo's work here:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Trailer

This is a great film and it is available on Netflix streaming! It is well worth the watch. Joe is very dedicated to helping others regain their health while overcoming his own health and weight issues.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kale salad


1 bunch of Kale - be sure to remove leaf from the stem
1 red pepper chopped
1/4 red onion chopped
1 spring onion chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill
garlic to taste
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tomatoes chopped
250g mixed green salad leaves


1/4 cup Shoyu or Tamari
1/2 cup lemon juice - freshly squeezed
2 Tablespoons agave syrup
1/4 cup olive, flax or macadamia oil (optional)


Tear the kale into bite size pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl.

Gradually massage the dressing into the kale leaves, this will tenderise the kale. Continue to massage the kale until the leaves are limp.

Add all other ingredients to the kale and combine.

This salad can be used as a filling for nori rolls, or simply enjoyed by itself.

Turn the salad into a warm stir-raw by placing it in the Dehydrator or an hour or so to warm it - great for these cold wintery evenings.

Kale is packed full of nutrients.


I found this recipe at:
While you are there, click around on this awesome website, Amanda Gore also has some really great inspirational videos on youtube.