Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Homesteading Means to Me

(scwollcot - Photobucket)

Some might find it laughable that I associate myself with the homesteading movement. That's okay. I find it laughable too sometimes.  I mean really, what does this suburban woman know about roughing it on a farm or ranch? And am I really categorizing myself with people who milk goats and herd cattle while I sip rice milk to the din of my neighbor's mower?

Not exactly.

As rural-agrarian culture gave way to endless strips of shimmering suburbia the definition of homesteading broadened. Sure, there are still those old-time, self-sufficient homesteading Gods whose lifestyle has us wannabes panting in awe. They have acreage. And livestock. And OMG actual crops like wheat and barley. They churn butter and make soap. They are homesteaders with a capital H. Attempting to shamelessly co-opt emulate their lifestyle are we Suburban and Urban Homesteaders.

Suburban and Urban Homesteading get back to the land in ways practical for city dwellers. We grow food in backyards and on porches. We participate in community garden programs that share the labor and its fruits. And boy do we love our local farmers!

Reasons for becoming a Suburban or Urban Homesteader are as unique as the people themselves. For some it is a green lifestyle. Others just want to find their way back to the land somehow. Some are in it to save money. And still others are motivated by self-sufficiency, believing we've become too dependent on multi-national corporations for our every need. For some of us it is all of the above.

I am a Suburban Homesteader. I do not own a farm or a ranch. It is not practical for us to move out to the country because we rely on the city's special education infrastructure, so Louisville Metro and its surrounding counties are my homestead. My goal is to obtain 70% of my family's food from either my backyard or local farmers. This is cheaper, less polluting, and helps the local economy. And for those who wonder why I'm slacking on the other 30%, there are no amber waves of gluten free grains surrounding Louisville. Oh, and the chocolate. Come on people!

Sometimes I think it might be nice to have acreage out in Wendell Berry country but truth is I don't want to do every last thing myself. I still have a family to take care of and a part-time job. Besides I can't even drink milk or eat wheat.

Since I have no desire to make soap I'm lucky Amazing Green Planet sells regionally made products. And why should I piss off my neighbors with chickens when Ralph the free range egg guy supplies the farmer's market. And And AND with Annette, my local farmer, selling year round there's no need to buy much imported produce. Yep, my homestead is the perfect size indeed.

What does homesteading mean to you?


Note: This website is an Amazon Affiliate. That means I earn 15% on anything sold through my store and affiliate links. My profits will be donated to Kiva. To learn more visit my giving back page.

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Tags: Urban Homesteading, Urban Homestead, Homesteaders

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Adventures in Canning (Presto 23 Court Pressure Canner)

I have this crazy dream to obtain 70% percent of my family's food from local and regional sources. Between my backyard and my local farmer that might actually become a reality. This requires my gardening to be purely strategic, forgoing variety in favor of  growing what we eat most year round. Since tomatoes and peppers are imported mostly from Central America during winter they abound in my garden. The tomatoes get canned and the peppers get frozen. Sounds easy enough, right? It is if you actually own a pressure canner when your tomatoes start to ripen.......

Amazon saved the day when my Presto 23 Court Pressure Canner arrived later that week. I chose Presto because of their excellent reviews and reasonable prices. Their canners come in various sizes ranging from the hulking beast you see here to some the size of the small stock pot.


Though it was tempting to pay less for a smaller cooker I didn't want to spend all day canning during times of heavy harvest.


Obviously that's not a concern with this canner!


But if your garden is small and storage space is an issue a smaller canner might be perfect for you.

I don't mind that my Presto is constructed of aluminum since I'm just canning and not pressure cooking acidic foods with it.

By first frost I should have enough canned to supply my family's tomato habit through winter.


I also can soaked dry beans to avoid the potentially BPA contaminated store bought variety.

**Canning Tip: Canners are not slow cookers where you can just throw ingredients in and leave the room for hours while the magic happens. The pressure gauge must be continually monitored so it doesn't dip too low or shoot up too high. So, I plan my kitchen cleaning chores on my canning days so I can adjust the burner temperature as need without leaving the room. By the time the refrigerator is cleaned out and the floor is washed my canning done. PRESTO!



*Note: This post is not sponsored by Presto in any way. However, this website is an Amazon Affiliate so I earn 15% on anything sold through my store and affiliate links. All profits will be donated to Kiva. For more information click here then here.

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Tags: Presto Aluminum Pressure Cooker, Presto Canner Cooker

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 6: The 9/11 Peace Intention Experiment: What's Happened Thus Far by Lynne McTaggart

"Dear Friends

I’ve been absolutely stunned by the extraordinary outpouring
of response to the 9/11 Peace Intention Experiment.

First of all, the is the stunning attendance. Thousands of people from more than

70 countries around the globe have participated – and virtually every corner of the
world is represented. Of course, we have thousands of participants from the
US (even US minor outlying islands!), Canada, Great Britain, and every country
in the European Union, from Germany and the Netherlands, to France, Ireland, Italy,
Spain and Greece, Malta and the northern Scandinavian countries
(Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark.).

But we have equal participation from the Middle East, with
nearly every Arab country represented in the Middle East
and northern Africa: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE,
Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria,
Eritrea, the occupied territories in Palestine and even Iraq,
plus Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, and the Sudan.
Happily, although we centered on 9/11 and a target of
interest to America and the Arab nations, Israelis participated too.

Intenders came from Mexico and many countries in Central
America, such as Panama, Paraguay and Costa Rica, South
America (Columbia, Brazil and Venezuela) and even many
islands in the Caribbean and Atlantic, such as Netherlands
Antilles, Tobago, Aruba, Antigua, Jamaica, Trinidad and
Bermuda. Participants came from India, Sri Lanka, and
also Eastern Europe countries such as Croatia, Macedonia,
Slovania, Hungary, Estonia, Romania and Russia. Other parts
of Africa were represented in Botswana, Mauritania and South
Africa. We also had many participants from the Far East:
Australia and New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia,
Thailand and Singapore. Even citizens of Iceland joined in.

We started on Sunday September 11, and connected virtuall
with One: the Event and many other events, such as the Bhakti
Festival at Joshua Tree. So besides our formal intenders who’d
registered, we had many well wishers at live events amplifying
our effect.

I have broadcast LIVE at One: the Event and through
www.beautifulexchange.com every day immediately before and
after the experiment to offer updates and reactions from
participants. Although the beautifulexchange site did not show
to all participants through our own web pages, by the second
day, after we called in a web broadcasting expert, the broadcasts
have been flawless. We now recommend that participants in the
Intention Experiment keep open two windows -
www.intentionexperiment911.com and www.beautifulexchange.com -
and first watch me and then participate in the experiment before coming back for commentary.

Kuwaiti Peace Activist and well-known human potential specialist
Salah Al-Rashed offered an apology for the events of 9/11 and called
upon all Arabs to work actively to ensure this tragedy does not happen
again. I responded with an apology for the aftermath of 9/11 and the
two wars that have resulted in the deaths, injuries, displacement and
detaining of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

I made a call in my talk for everyone to become a spiritual activist for
peace. Our two apologies (both spoken in English) have been uploaded
onto YouTube with Arab subtitles and seen by tens of thousands.

If you’ve missed them, you can access them from the front page
of the 9/11 Peace Intention Experiment site:

Your reactions
Although it may be too early to discover whether our intention
has changed, participants are reported amazing experiences
before and after the daily intentions. Here are just a few of the
hundreds and hundreds of comments I’ve received (and
Dr. Al-Rashed has received hundreds more in Arabic).

About the process itself:

Maria from the US: ‘I felt a connection moving in and
through my heart, creating a gridlike plane connecting
us all. It felt amazingly powerful to feel plugged into a
community setting this same intention and forward
movement. At another moment it was as if we are all
 sitting on any ever expanding spiral. Our combined
 intention was propelling the spiral forward. I could
feel hearts softening and welcoming connection once again.’

Ze from the US: ‘It was a totally amazing, amazing
experience. It was like a giant round football stadium with
all these layers of people, and we were all connected and
recognizing ourselves as on. And once it was noticed by all
that we were one, we all turned our focus back to the
countries as one unified energy force and brought the peace
and love to the people of that area, flowing beautiful
harmony between all.’

Simona from Romania said: ‘I felt waves and waves of
shivers all over my body...I felt like swimming in an ocean
of good will,love, hope. ..My eyes went wet and I felt to tap
on my heart area...’

Megan from the US: ‘I felt a powerful energetic pulsing
through my spine and core of my body, like healing energy
that was activated and resonating with all of us who are
holding this intention at the same time across the globe.

Most experienced the feelings deepening as the days went on:

Mou├ód: ‘Indeed I felt more energy than yesterday - it was
really good.

Cathy: ‘The feelings in my own body felt very electrified. . .
like I had a white glow around my body yesterday, with a
white cylinder connecting my body (and everyone else’s) to the
target area yesterday. TODAY I felt a more powerful sensation
from my own body, every cell felt like it was turned on and
vibrating. Same white light leaving my body and joining others
and going to target, but stronger sensation from my own body

Many people described out of body experiences:

Saad: ‘I entered a new area in my consciousness. I don't know how
to explain it in mere words, nor do I know what it is! But I didn't feel
my body, I wasn't a body at that very (long) moment. I then felt the
collective collaboration and sympathy.’

Linda from the US: ‘It was like being in the total vortex of prayer
energy of all that were focusing, like an out-of-body experience.
Then it all stopped, exactly 10 minutes later when the screen said
to, but it was a timeless place I was in.’

What the scientists say:

Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, who is measuring the emotional context
of our ‘collective consciousness,’ says he recorded the first effect on
Sunday, September 11. He’ll be analyzing every one of the eight
days in detail after the experiment is over.

If you haven’t participated yet: You still can, and we’ll have a big
finale this weekend. Please take a few moments and register now
and come onto our website: www.intentionexperiment911.com a few
moments before 1 pm US Eastern (5 pm GMT) and participate TODAY,
TOMORROW and SUNDAY. And tune into our broadcast at 12:55 pm
Eastern DST (4: 55 pm GMT) at www.beautifulexchange.com."

Friday, September 16, 2011

911 Global Peace Intention Experiment

Article by Lynne McTaggart

"I’m back from holiday and with fabulous news. The 9/11 Global Peace Intention Experiment has mushroomed into an extraordinary and enormous event. Every day, more organizations are offering to work together to make the anniversary of 9/11 into a day of unity, evolution and peace.

Tens of thousands of Arabs and Americans are joining together for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack on New York’s Twin Towers for a remarkable experiment: to discover whether their collective intention can bring greater peace to an area of conflict.

The experiment is being monitored and measured by a team of scientists from the Universities of California, Arizona and Princeton.

I am partnering with dozens of peace groups, including the remarkable One: The Event (www.onetheevent.org), and three-day live event in Seattle to mark the anniversary, and many other organizations who enlisting tens of thousands of participants in the US and other Western countries and Arab cities in a symbolic gesture of peace in remembrance of the Twin Towers tragedy.

What’s also exciting news is that the eight-day experiment will be broadcast over the web every day. So we will be sending out more news about how to see our LIVE broadcasts next week.

For the experiment, I have partnered with Dr. Salah Al-Rashed, a Western-educated peace activist in the Arab World, whose Salam (Peace) Group has an enormous following throughout the Middle East.

This is a joining of hands between East and West so that the tragedy of yesterday creates a joyous occasion for the future.

The 9/11 Peace Intention Experiment will take place in a 20-minute period every day for eight days. As such it will replicate our 2008 Peace Intention Experiment, carried out on Sri Lanka, which showed a 74 per cent reduction of violence after the experiment and a demonstrable effect when studied through statistical time analysis.
Monitoring the effects will be a scientific team comprising University of Arizona psychologist Dr. Gary Schwartz, University of St. Petersburg State University physicist Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, Dr. Roger Nelson, a psychologist formerly of Princeton University and director of the Global Consciousness Project, and Jessica Utts, a professor of statistics at the University of California at Irvine, widely regarded as an expert on statistical analysis of consciousness research.

The 9/11 Intention Experiment marks the latest of 23 scientifically controlled, web-based experiments carried out by The Intention Expeirment to test the power of thought to change the physical world. Thousands of volunteers from 90 countries around the world have participated in rigorous, laboratory-controlled experiments.

Twenty of these experiments carried out under rigorous laboratory conditions have shown significant positive results. Psychologist Dr. Gary Schwartz and his team at the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health at the University of Arizona reported the results of six experiments in a scientific paper presented at a recent Society for Scientific Exploration conference.

The 9/11 Peace Intention Experiment is part of a larger collaboration between One: The Event, a three day live event in Seattle, and many other global organizations to promote peace and unity in the wake of the Twin Towers tragedy, which will be LIVE broadcast around the world."


In the YouTube video below Lynne explains how The Intention Experiments are scientifically controlled. Sign up to join tens of thousands of us from around the world on September 11th as we hold positive intentions for peace at: www.intentionexperiment911.com

Links to data on previous successful collective Intention Experiments:

The Leaf Intention Experiment

The Germination Intention Experiment

The First Korotkov Water Experiment

The Second Korotkov Water Experiment

The Roy Water Experiment

The Water Germination Experiments

The Peace Intention Experiment

Our New Environmentally Friendly Carpet is Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles


Recently massive water damage destroyed most of our downstairs flooring. Did you know you are supposed to pour bleach into one of the air condition valves every few years or your house will flood? We didn't either.

We wanted carpet in the family room but it had to meet two criteria:

1. It Wouldn't slowly kill us with toxic chemicals

2. Made from 100% recycled materials

Puresque  at Home Depot fit both. It is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute for safety and sustainability. Not only is Puresque low in Volatile Organic Compounds but it is made from recycled plastic bottles. Now we get to feel good about having prevented thousands of discarded bottles from joining that gigantic island of plastic under the Pacific Ocean.. It's win win.

I'm pleased to report that our new carpet does not have that new carpet smell and that it is as plush as any other rug.


Just ask my cat!

I was torn between two great carpet pad options:

1.) Step Ahead with Nike Grind carpet padding is a Nike/Home Depot partnership. Think of sneaker making like cookie cutting. When making cookies those parts outside the cutter get reconstituted into the next cookie. With Nike those scraps become carpet padding instead of landfill fodder.
2.) Healthier Choice uses biofuels and renewable resources. They are a zero landfill operation, which means all waste products are turned into something else. Their carpet pads are low VOC and can be recycled.

We chose Healthier Choice because its specs for mold, mildew, and bacteria prevention are excellent. Since the room is situated between a bathroom and the laundry room we need that extra protection. Who knows - had it been a different room we might be walking on Nike.

The Step Ahead padding looks significantly thicker than the Healthier Choice, so if you are specifically wanting a thicker pad that's worth knowing.


1. Watch out for Greenwashing.  Just because the sign says it is green does not mean the product is as green as it could be. Always look at the back of the carpet swatch. If the sign says made from recycled materials yet the swatch says up to 5% recycled materials that is Greenwashing.

2. Look for the Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label Plus logo on the back of the carpet swatch. This means the carpet, pad, or adhesive is among the safest in the industry.



Shaw Flooring

Green America

How to Shop for an Environmentally Friendly Rug

Tags:  Environmentally Friendly Carpet, Puresque Carpet Low VOC, Home Depot Carpet Pad Nike, Healthier Choice Carpet Pad, Eco Friendly Carpet, Green Carpet, Recycled Carpet, Puresque Carpet Review, Puresque by Beaulieu, Beaulieu Puresque Carpet.
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