Grow Your Own Groceries – Back to the Future?

1917 article about raising hens, from Olympia Washington newspaper
Frugal and healthy ideas from 1917.

I’m about to swing wildly off-topic here.  Blame it on my addiction to old newspapers and magazines.  I cruise through them for cool images for collage, and — the next thing I know — I’m suddenly learning about handmade lace, pea soup recipes, or raising chickens.

When I was a kid, I was convinced I’d grow up, buy a farm, have six wonderful children, and live a very domestic life.

That’s not quite the way things worked out.

However, I find myself saving newspaper clippings.  Lately, they’ve been about gardening and self-sufficient living.  We’re going to need a house for this, of course.  The hens wouldn’t be happy in my apartment, and the balcony is a little small for birds too large for a birdcage.

Still, I read the article at right, and it makes sense to me.  We’re throwing food down the disposal (or into the trash or the compost heap) that could feed hens that would produce eggs… nice healthy eggs that could be a major part of our daily diet.

In my opinion, there’s a lot of logic missing in daily life.  What began as convenience in the early 1950s (or earlier) has wandered down a weird path.  Food my grandmother grew in her backyard, and tasted fresh and delicious, is now shipped to us over thousands of miles.  It costs a ridiculous amount to buy, it’s not as fresh or delicious, and it comes packaged in plastic that contributes to the landfill, big time.

Worse, the cost of shipping food cross-country is climbing due to soaring gas prices, and those plastic containers – which originate as petroleum products – are going to be more expensive, too.


Yes, eat your veggies, but – more importantly – grow your own veggies. 

And, as I re-read this 1917 newspaper clipping, maybe hens are worth considering.

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Journal Your Way to Happiness

Journaling is included in this TED talk about the “happy secret” approach to living a more fun, productive, rewarding life.

It starts with how you feel, and how positive you are.  Your emotional level — how happy you are — determines how happy your life events are.

Click the Play arrow to watch it.  The video is about 12 minutes long, and very worthwhile.

If you’re in a hurry (though I hope you’re not), the screenshot below shows you the point to fast-forward to.  Start at about the 11 minute marker.  (The graphic, below, is a screenshot… click on the video above, to watch it.)

All of those suggestions can help.

Of course, “meditation” will mean different things to different people.

Journal your way to happiness - studies show that it works!They may include things like:

  • Prayer
  • Conscious meditation
  • Admiring art in a museum, gallery or studio, or even
  • The simple act of “being there”… being in the moment.

I believe the more of these elements you can include in your life, the happier you’ll feel.

Journaling each day — making notes (words, images, a recording, etc.) about one happy event of that day — can make a big difference in your happiness.

The studies were based on a 21-day practice of… well, whichever of those choices seem most appealing to you. 

Sometimes, people will become happier the first day.  Others will need to develop the habit, and — somewhere around day 21 — the person will pause and realize that she (or he) is feeling happier.

Colors seem brighter.

There seem to be more opportunities, more fun, and more whimsy in daily life.

Serendipity is in your favor, and life is better.

Maybe you can journal your way to happiness. It’s worth trying.

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Got Snow? Snowman Alternative

Snowy park in winterThe weather has become… odd. Warmer than usual, much of the year. Colder at unexpected times.

Generally… kind of odd.

So, when I was browsing old magazines and newspapers, this article caught my attention.  It’s about a “snow devil” alternative to a snowman.  It sounds magnificent, and ideal for an outdoor art projects.

The article is from the San Francisco Call, published on 4 February 1912.

Snow devil - snowman alternativeHere’s another tip:  When I was little, my mother used to give me the tops of beets – some of the beet, with the green plant to use as a handle – and I’d “paint” the snow and ice with the beet.  The color was a wonderful magenta.

I’m sure you could create interesting effects with this “snow devil” with natural coloring, like from beets (or the water you cook them in).

You could also use food coloring, or diluted Dr. Ph Martin’s dyes or radiant colors, or even some watercolors.

(The problem with the latter might be an environmental issue. I’m not sure that the small amount of paint would make a huge difference, but… well, you can look into it if you decide to add color to your “snow devil,” and acrylics are what you have on hand.)

I think this “snow devil” would require several coats of water so it’ll last for awhile.  When I was little and we made igloos in our backyard, we’d coat the snow with buckets and buckets of water.  Between each “layer” of water, we’d let everything freeze solid, and then add more water, and so on.

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