So, I got this freebie, update.

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So, I wrote about the freebie I got from Supreme Growers– and then, we promptly had the Winterpocalypse.

I don’t have a before shot- but, imagine if you will, poorly transplanted aloe plants, stuck inside all winter long. They were yellowed, droopy and pretty much dead.

I was treating some soil with the mycoblast and had a bit of the mixed solution left over, so, I gave them a big drink.

Here they are today, the day after:

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Chuck and I like to enjoy morning coffee, together- so I wasn’t taking a shot of the aloe, as much as I was him. But….they are noticeably perkier.

 

 

The Winter That Will Not End….

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Here it is, March 24th and I am looking outside on a snow flurry filled day with a light coat on the ground. Probably about an inch or so.

I don’t talk about it very often- but for me, extreme temperature issues are a very real thing. Much less so when I am out in the sunshine frequently enough to rock some natural (And real) vitamin D- but, for perspective, very cold weather locks up the muscles in my legs. Mostly the right one, because the right one’s the one I’ve always had issues with. Heat means a tingly, weird ants biting feeling. You can imagine taking a hot bath would be the very best thing for the sore, stiff muscles…and then, you can go, “Crap, no it’s not.”  Anyway, I don’t talk about it much and I very rarely actually seek out any kind of writing on it in respect to I dunno, a sort of community- because I feel like much of the attitudes revolving around neurological issues and the like are very defeatist. I don’t like being told it’s okay for me to be defeated. People deal how they deal- and I get that: but I can’t do it.

I have relapsing remittent multiple sclerosis.

I made a decision a few years ago to not treat it. At least, not with the nearly $3k in medications my neurologist insisted I would need. I was pretty much inundated with fear- in this case, the fear was that it would progress further each time I flare. That fear is pretty real, but I couldn’t help wondering if the medication really was doing anything for me, apart from a really big negative- the side effects. I have had one flare since as a result of getting shingles. Ironically (And let’s just not go into that- it’s not really the point of this blog post) I got it from a vaccinated child- many kids in his school did for some reason after a round of boosters for the chicken pox vaccine.

Going outside is a huge part of what keeps me sane for a number of reasons, but I also believe that the activity and the sunshine help with my symptoms. For me, spring and autumn are my go times- those are the parts of a midwestern year I enjoy most because, well, I can fully enjoy them. By and large though, since my diagnosis- this has been hard. It has been really hard, because, well, MS sucks and I was a very active sort of person to begin with. Active, upbeat and let me tell you- this will put the slap on that very quickly.

So, when we got the wonderful 50-60 degree weather earlier in the month I was stoked. Now…not so much. It’s not that I dislike snow- on the contrary, I actually love it, but oooooowch. That, and it’s a huge bummer when you’re getting all geared up for garden season only to have a few inches of snow dumped on you: but it happens. This is Missouri, after all.

I’m writing about this not because I think “Oh, everyone should know I’ve got MS” but because, one of the biggest challenges I have in respect to gardening and well, pretty much getting anything done is the self pity and resulting bummer-mindset I do tend to go into. I’ve spent the past few days grumping, grouching and just moping about- and I hate that more than anything. Today, I am sitting here, looking out the window and making what may seem like such a silly choice: I choose to not let it drag me down.

 

 

Intro To Cloth Diapering

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Please punch me square in the vagina if I turn this into some sort of back-to-nature parenting bog. I am in fact, a parent, as evidenced by…belly shot of Sprog 3:

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I suppose those are all right and all, but that’s really not my style and my personal blog sort of went there for a bit. It freaked me out, man. This is the real parent trap- where you go from being able to sit and discuss books, music, travel and all manner of things and suddenly find that the most involved conversations you have involve bodily functions. I love being a parent- don’t get me wrong, I just live in mortal dread of becoming one of those people for whom there is nothing else.

Biological imperative: achievement unlocked, but I’m not dead!

*cough*

I’m not going to get very involved here, it’s just I noticed that many of the Homesteading and Prepper pages don’t address the issue of babies, much and one area of my supposed “expertise”, I guess, is cloth diapering on the very, VERY cheap and sustainable.

If you’re scared of cloth diapering for the “gross factor”: don’t be. I’m about to tell you something that should be incredibly obvious to anyone who has kids, or hell, even if you have pets. This is going to be a profound realization for some, I know, but bear with me and try to suspend your disbelief for a second:

Shit is disgusting.

Sprog 1, prepared for a diaper change.

Sprog 1, prepared for a diaper change.

Whew. That was a tough truth to type out. The truth of the matter is, it is and you can have a huge pile of potty plastic until whenever you dispose of it- which, will then go on to be added to an even BIGGER pile of potty plastic somewhere. If you’re not the environmentally friendly type and that doesn’t bother you: know this- you will have a pile of shit and piss soaked plastic in your home at some point. Mark my words, you will. Also, if poop and pee squicks you beyond all reason: it’s probably not a great idea for you to have children. I am not saying that to be judgmental- I am saying that because kids make a lot of it and it’s really only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the grossness you’re about to endure as a parent. Believe that. I’m not sure that ever ends.

Sprog 3: This does not count as putting a diaper on the baby.

Sprog 3: This does not count as putting a diaper on the baby.

This is not an issue with cloth unless you procrastinate and then end up using your husband’s Rancid shirt for a cloth diaper. I don’t recommend that at all. Mine got really weird about it, but in my defense, I was desperate.

Anyway- the second truth here is this: when you cloth diaper, you never, ever have to have a pile of…anything. You get yourself a bucket or a bag, you put the diapers in there and at the end of your day or even in the middle of your day- you wash and dry them. Now, I’ve always breastfed, so I have never dealt with formula poo and cannot speak to it- but breastfed baby poo is shocking in how easy to clean it really is. It’s water soluble, so, a rinse and a hot vinegar wash is honestly all you need. If you’re not as cheap as I am, well, then you can use the free and clear type detergents- but, I wouldn’t use them every wash. The residue from the detergent hangs out in the diapers and it does build up. Next thing you know, you’re changing a diaper that reeks of ammonia and in some cases, if that gets too bad, it can cause a burn. If I use detergent, I only do it about one load every week. If you have issues with mustard yellow poo stains- pop those babies out on a line to dry in the sun. The sun will also take care of ammonia build up and other baddies you don’t want against your kid’s butt. (And when your diapers get too crispy that way, fluff them in the drier if you need to. I usually do. I honestly don’t line dry my diapers all winter- which for some purists is gaspworthy, but I’ve never had any issues.)

Flats and prefolds- not complicated.

Flats and prefolds- not complicated.

When I started cloth diapering with Sprog 2, who is now 7, I had absolutely no clue. You might take a peek at the cloth diapering prices and think, “Holy shitballs, man, I gotta take out a mortgage!”

Not true- I spent about $50 total on diapers for Sprog 2, his entire life. Sprog 3…well, things are a bit different, now, and I’ll get to that in a later blog. (I am now exceptionally spoiled as a friend gifted me her entire 3-child spanning diaper stash. I still use prefolds, though. Can’t go wrong with a classic.)

How did I spent only about fifty bucks? Ebay and plain old prefolds. We’re talking extremely old school, here, I even used pins. (I use Snappis, now, but don’t be fooled- those hooks can get you, as well.)

I am going to write up a short tutorial in a later blog- but…this was just an intro. Finally,  you will see a good example of what you really should never do with a prefold baby with no cover. When you do prefolds, you really, really want to get some barrier covers- and now, if you’re going exclusively prefold, and trying to go on the cheap: I’d get maybe 5-6 covers, initially. Basically what you’d do is if the diaper’s just kinda wet and your cover isn’t soaked out- just reuse it. If it is, change the kid, rinse the cover, hang it some place to dry and move on to the next. They dry pretty fast because they’re usually made of material for the purpose of keeping pee off of everything else.

This is Sprog 2 and his dad- several years ago:

This is not a good idea because about five seconds after these shots were taken, Sprog 2's dad screamed like a little girl. Why? Because Sprog 2 didn't stop playing to pee. No cover- no barrier.

This is not a good idea because about five seconds after these shots were taken, Sprog 2’s dad screamed like a little girl. Why? Because Sprog 2 didn’t stop playing to pee. No cover- no barrier.

And, for the tutorial- move right along to How To Cloth Diaper a Baby.

So, I got this freebie…

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I’m decidedly not pimping this product, as I haven’t even tried it yet- but, Facebook being as it is, it suggested a page to me one day and I added it.

When I did, it was Friday and it just so happens that Supreme Growers has a “Freebie Friday” promotion.

Credit where credit is due:

Here’s their Facebook page and here’s their site link.

Initially, I went to sign up for the freebie- samples of both the Myco Blast and Soil Blast but they wanted like ten bucks for shipping. Kurt and I looked over the offer and he did his usual logic based pick-a-part. I was like, “Yeah, but ten bucks?! For two little bitty packets of shit? Come on, man!”

Turns out that was a glitch, they corrected the problem really quickly and so, I put in for the offer. I haven’t had a chance to really look into all the ingredients at this point.

The back says: Eco Friendly, 100% Natural, Non-Toxic, Non-GMO. So, sweeeet. I hope.

The back says: Eco Friendly, 100% Natural, Non-Toxic, Non-GMO. So, sweeeet. I hope.

Their prices, incidentally, do not suck. Granted, they’re not cheaper than the used up egg shells, plant matter, coffee grounds and worms- but, you know, sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to give things a bit of a boost. And the price was right, so I figure, I’ll pop these little guys into a container set up. I asked Kurt if we should use the primo soil I made, or, if we should use crappy untreated soil.

Crappy, untreated soil it is.

Then I look at the package and see that it says it can be used on up to a 15 gallon pot. HOLY MOLY MAN. So, a couple of containers. Groovy. Between the quick fix of the glitch and the sheer volume of how much these itty bitty packets can treat: color me so far impressed. The shipping on this freebie was ALSO fast.

Now, comes a critical choice. Do I use it on my tomato obsession or….something else?

Tell me, internets, for the purposes of reviewing these fine products: what container plant should I play with?

Getting the garden going: starting from scratch

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Only…not so much.

You’d think that this would be a relatively simple undertaking- and I tell you, I’m writing at the expense of my own embarrassment here. It’s kind of my hope that people who think they just can’t or that think it’s an awful lot of work will see our progress and nod, feeling totally inspired.

In all likelihood, you’ll probably just nod, feeling my need for a better editor.

We have awesome raised beds here and plenty of space. You’d think with a start like that, we’d have this thriving, amazing garden: but nope. Last year it was pregnancy and drought. I’d step outside and feel like I sweated out all the fluids in my body, and then, my hands, feet and ankles would swell up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It wasn’t pretty, and neither was using that as an excuse.

I kept telling myself that having a baby was actually really good motivation to Get Shit Done.

I have a real problem with those three words: Get Shit Done.

I’m pretty sure that new project ADD is a thing.

I took on this page because I thought it was a great thing- and now I am looking at my measly under 20 likes and my one blog post, here, thinking, “Well, crap.” Looking at the other Punk Rock Homesteaders pages- you get this feeling of overwhelm. Holy shit, surely, surely there’s more interest in a Midwest Punk Rock Homesteaders page!

Yes, I am whining about our social media status. Actually, I am whining about Starting At The Beginning. (Oh god, I’ve got a Disney Mary Poppins’ song in my head. Crap.)

For those of you also just getting started- with anything, know this:

I have about a million varieties of seeds from Baker Creek and Sustainable Seed Company.

I have a seedling tray with little baby onions, spinach and snow peas.

I have a chicken coop plan I am looking at on my bookmarks toolbar.

I have a 3.5 month old baby I am trying to think of a really awesome sling to contain while I get this stuff going and a 7 year old who is lagging a bit on his math homeschooling.

If you’re just getting started, quite technically, so am I.

I feel like I should say something inspiring right now, but all I can think is, “I should top off my coffee.”

 

 

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