Monday, April 16, 2012

Garden, Part 2

Well, the garden is coming along quite nicely!  We've spent the last couple of weekends working on it, and have made some really good progress.

Here's a friendly tip; at the Placer County dump a truckload of composted soil is only fifteen dollars, and they even load it all up for you!  My Dad and I were able to fill all three beds with three truckloads of soil, which was a great deal.  

Last week, Melissa and the kids even got some plants put in.  The garden is creating quite the buzz with the neighbors, whenever we're working on it we have people interested in what exactly we're doing.

I think this is having a good impact on the kids as well.  They are very eager to help whenever we are working outside, and hopefully they will feel a sense of satisfaction as we begin to get veggies and eat them.

By the way, any suggestions on how to keep cats out of the garden?  One in particular seems to be excited about his new litter box...  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Chickens, Part 1

Well, we have a coop!
After a few days of hemming and hawing about the merits of building versus buying a coop, we found a pretty good deal on this little guy.  Honestly I'm a pretty handy guy, but limited carpentry skills combined with our lack of garage would have made this project about a nine hour one, in my estimation.

The builder of this coop advertised that it was build out of "reclaimed redwood."  I'm pretty sure he's a fencer that uses torn down fences to make these and sell on Craigslist.  It is a pretty nice little unit, though, with a hinged roof for cleaning and an access door by the nesting area to grab out the eggs.  Now we just have to fill it with some hens!

My plan is to build a small frame enclosed with chicken wire around the front of the coop, so the hens can hang out outside.  That's something I can make relatively easy.  We are really excited to learn the ins and outs of chicken care and the kids are super anxious to get some chickens, they already have names picked out!

We'd love to hear your suggestions on breeds of hens that are good with kids and, of course, pump out the eggs!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Garden, Part 1

Well, let me start by sharing the plan and purpose of out garden.  Melissa has always had an interest in gardening, so starting a vegetable garden has been one of our priorities since moving.  We had a potted garden last year that was rather unsuccessful, so this year we want to make sure we do it right.

Another thing that's very important to us is reaching out to our neighborhood, and building relationships with the people around us.  We are hoping that the garden will help in that process.  The plan is to make our front yard a community garden of sorts, where the ripe veggies will be in a basket for the neighbors to enjoy.

We're modeling the raised beds after my parent's, which are made of cinder blocks.  This will provide us with a nice raised bed that will last a long time.  The addition of a capstone on top really makes the beds look nice and complete.

I am also in the process of running the irrigation for the garden.  After hand watering gardens over the years, we really think that a watering system with a timer will help with the health of our garden, thereby increasing the yield.  This requires me to run lines under the sidewalk, though, which is turning out to be a bit of a chore.  It's definitely doable, it just requires some time and a little elbow grease.

Hopefully this summer we will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor, and so will our neighbors!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We're back!

Well, after a pretty long hiatus, here we are again! The last year has been a huge season of change for us, including the move, but now we really feel like we are hitting our stride and are ready to start blogging again.

It has been quite a busy year that included moving, getting the kids in a new school, and leaving a church which we had attended for over a decade. All of these things were hard on all of us, but have ultimately drawn us closer together as a family. We really had to trust and rely on each other with so much change going on.

So, now we are finally feeling a little more stable, and ready to really work on some projects at the mobile home. We are planning on sharing those with you, and hope you enjoy hearing a little about us as we get them going.

The first major project is our garden! This is something we have been working really hard on, and will be uploading and posting on it as we continue the process. The ultimate goal is to produce vegetables to share with our community and bless the people around us.

Next, we will have chickens! The coop should arrive today, and we'll definitely be writing about our little cluckers as we raise them in the back yard. We really think the kids are going to love raising chickens, and enjoy the fresh eggs.

Both of these projects are a huge part of our goal to be active in our community, and live a more sustainable life. We are finding that living simply is a great way to bring a family together, and hopefully we can share some of that process with you.

The Babasins

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Planting & Cooking

One of our Non-Vegetarian meals
We are finally settled all in our new place. We have gotten used to our surroundings and they people in our new neighborhood are very nice. We have been cooking a lot of vegetarian dinners and we have gotten pretty creative. Here I made a salmon burger on a sprouted wheat bun, couscous, and a white bean and spinach salad. We have been eating vegetarian during the week and then some meat on the weekends and we feel a huge difference in our health! We are eating lots of veggies, fruit, beans, salad, tofu, rices and grains. We are exercising together during the week.
Do you feel you need a change too? Start small, walk once a day, cut preservatives out of your foods, cut back on cheese or give up something like soda or sugar just to see how you feel. Aram and I feel great now that we are making huge life style changes.

Here are some pics of our back yard and some of our gardening!! I haven't build a garden yet but we decided to plan in pots! And things are looking great! I think sometimes we forget that gardening can be done in pots and you can enjoy the fresh picked tomatoes and fresh picked herbs just out of your front or back yard form a pot?
Easy steps to potting vegetables:
1. Pick a pot that is large enough for your plant. If the pot is too large you can add a small pot to fill the bottom space up and then add a few plants to fill the space.
2. Use organic or soil with some compost in it. Plants love compost!! We plan to start a compost soon so we can use our own.
3. Water daily and make sure you have plenty of sun for the summer plants that strive for the sun!
4. And let the kids be involved in the planting and the picking!
Here are some pics of what we have started in our back yard.... like our Teepee?? It is in the making!
Our tomatoes! 4 different kinds all in one huge pot!

Great Soil from whole foods

Beans!! The kids love these!

Our kids love the little Teepee I created, I will get a cloth cover soon but this works for now!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Getting back to the basics

So we are all still settling in and getting used to our new place. It hasn't even been a week yet but in crazy way it is starting to feel like home.
Kaela drew this at school a few weeks ago and I don't know about oyu but I think it looks just like the original. She is quite the artist. She said, "mom when we move can we become farmers and can we get a cow for the backyard?" I told her that a cow needs more room but we will get some chickens for now and plant a garden and she was so excited. I told Aram that we could probably have a cow in our backyard and no one would complain?? We will start with chickens.

Kaela's beautiful drawing (She is only 6)

Chickpeas soaking
Aram and I have been vegetarians during the week and then we will eat some meat on the weekends but we have been feeling so much healthier. We are eating a lot of tofu, bean salads and couscous. I am starting to soak our own beans and I think it is saving us $, healthier and tasting so much better.
Easy steps on soaking beans: (I soak them the long way it gets me planning our meals)
1. Measure out your beans (Every 1 cup dry bean = 2 cups of cooked) pick out discolored or broken ones
2. Add water & Soak overnight 6-12hrs (Every 1 cup of bean = 2 cups of water) *Tip: You can use the same pot you will be cooking it in
3. Cook the beans bringing them to a boil for 1-2 min
4. Remove them from the heat cover and let them sit for an hour
5. Rinse then use for any recipe

Here is the recipe I used for our chickpeas

Some of our bulk food. Almonds, Cranberries/pecans for oatmeal, Oatmeal, Beans and Couscous.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We're Finally In!

Well, I know we haven't posted any updates all weekend, but the move has us both pretty exhausted. Plus, dealing with getting our internet up and running proved to be more complicated than we expected.

First things first, we decided that removing the carpet, getting the place professionally sprayed, and replacing the carpet was the best idea to remove the fleas. I really think it was worth the expense, and now the place looks really nice. Honestly, though, dealing with the carpet made the move really stressful for us, and we were literally moving in around the carpet installer on Friday night.

Overall, the move actually went pretty smoothly. We had tons of help, and also got to use a friends flatbed truck, which helped tremendously. We are so grateful to have so many great friends, and such a great family. Without them, things would have been much more difficult. The moving process is great for getting rid of junk, though, we are finding ourselves scrutinizing just about everything we own before we put it away at the new place.

So, now we are pretty much all set up. Our stuff is moved in, and the place is really starting to feel like home. Honestly, the more time I spend there, the more I like it. Everyone in that little community has been great so far, and we are really looking forward to doing projects, especially in the yard.

Here are some photos of the living area, before we moved our stuff in.

Living room

itchen/Dining Area