{Reader Question} Help! Garden Anxiety!

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Sophie wrote to me a few days after I posted this photo on my Facebook page. She wanted to know if my garden had always looked this healthy. Hello! Quick question! Do you feel like your garden always looked this nice and healthy? Or did it take you time? Time to improve the soil, learn [Continue Reading...]

5 Ways To Save Time In The Garden

Less Time Garden

Ah the simple life. Sounds so placid, doesn’t it? All those simple pleasures: home-grown food, warm earth between our toes, the cluck and baa and buzz of backyard animals, the happy smells of a kitchen much used. So why does this simple life seem so freaking complex sometimes, huh? That’s the part no one talks [Continue Reading...]

Does Solar In Seattle Work? {Reader FAQs}

Solar in Seattle

In early April, after about five years of deliberation, we had solar panels installed on the south and west facing portions of our roof. On April 15th our panels “went live” and since then we’ve had a chance to evaluate what it means to be solar powered in Seattle. We’ve been sharing moments of our [Continue Reading...]

The Time In The Garden Formula

Time In The Garden

I have developed a formula which I think allows us to estimate how much time and labor a food growing piece of land will take. Size of Land x Diversity of Plantings x Intensity of Management = Time and Labor required! Now, there are no units associated with this formula, so it’s not going to [Continue Reading...]

Three Steps To Reduce Your Consumption

Consumption Reduction

I’m not here to shit on anyone’s Target habit, but I imagine most of my readers agree with me that lowing our overall consumption is a good idea. Consuming less lowers our environmental impact. Less consumption usually means less spending, and most folks like having more money or less debt. At a personal level, many [Continue Reading...]

Whole Life Integration: Tips To Simplify Nearly Everything In Your Productive Home

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A reader emailed me this past weekend and in a few sentences got right to the heart of why getting started with productive home- and garden-keeping can be so dang challenging. Hi Erica, I’ve been working on getting a garden going and redesigning my life, but the current life really gets in the way.  Lots [Continue Reading...]

You Absolutely Should Not Get Backyard Chickens

Chicken

I was talking to a friend the other day. She’s a gentle soul, a kind-hearted person who says, “I could never kill an animal” with wide, pained eyes that let you know she’s not talking in hyperbole. She wants chickens. She wants them bad. She wants the experience of fluffy little chicks and she wants [Continue Reading...]

Is Growing Your Own Food Worth It?

Front Bed: August

“Is growing your own food worth it?” When I get asked that question, people are talking about cash-in-hand not harvest-in-hand. They aren’t saying, “Is it worth it to have the very freshest sugar snap peas?” or, “Is it worth it to see your child poke a bean seed in the ground?” because there is, clearly, [Continue Reading...]

Mini-Money Challenge: How Handy Are You?

Scoping out the options at the Big Box Store.

My friend had a leak under her sink. Big puddle of water. They called the plumber, who quoted her $800 to pull and remove the leaking faucet and replace it with a new one. She related the story to me: “$800?! Are you kidding? That’s a lot of money! That’s almost a thousand dollars!” “So [Continue Reading...]

No Spend Month: Week 3 Wrap Up and At-Home Coffee Analysis

Cost of Coffee at Home (3)

The giant canister of coffee beans we keep on the counter clinked empty early this week. Out. Of. Coffee. This is how most conversations before 10 am start in Seattle: “I’m not really up and moving yet. Haven’t had my coffee!” “Hey, do ya wanna go get a coffee?” “Um, could we talk about this…after [Continue Reading...]

Mini-Money Challenge: Plugging Your Little Money Leaks and The Latte Factor

Latte Factor Money Leak Assessment

Everyone who talks about budgeting beats up on Starbucks and people who just want a damn cuppa coffee to help them get through their long, long day. Poor Starbucks. Poor Latte Drinkers. I get it. I live in Seattle, where we love coffee, we love Starbucks, and mostly we love to pretend to hate Starbucks [Continue Reading...]

Mini-Money Challenge: Earn $1440 An Hour With A Phone Call

Internet Bill Before

When the hell did my internet bill become $80 a month? That’s not for some fancy bundled internet-TV-phone combo thing, you understand, although they would like me to do that (oh, yes they would!). No, that’s just for the internet service. We’ve been without cable TV and a home phone line for years. We have just have this one [Continue Reading...]