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Homestead Tour Spring 2017

Homestead Tour Spring 2017

Hello lovelies! Today I am going to share with you our Spring 2017 Homestead Tour video! I feel I have to warn you of a few things first though: I am a beginner with all the video making process so please be patient! I filmed […]

July Celebrations Turkey Chili

July Celebrations Turkey Chili

Are you looking for a super simple, healthy meal to make for your July celebrations? This yummy turkey chili is easy and delicious and just as good when you reheat it, making it perfect to make ahead and then reheat and serve this Canada Day […]

How to Create a Zen Garden

How to Create a Zen Garden

Sometimes we just want to get away from the homestead life for a little while, don’t you agree? But sometimes it can feel like there’s just not enough time to really get away, especially during those busy summer months full of building, gardening, preserving, animal husbandry etc. That is why I think it is super important to look for ways of relaxing and enjoying some downtime right on the homestead. What better way to do that than to carve out a little space and create a totally different “world” with a Zen Garden?

A Zen garden can be used to help you meditate, find quiet and solitude. You can also enjoy a Zen garden for its simplicity. Traditionally, a Zen garden is comprised of sand and stones. Depending on the scale, you might also choose to plant a few trees or small plants.

Why not design a mini getaway on your own homestead and create something totally different, like maybe a  Zen Garden?

Step #1 Decide on the scale.

Zen gardens come in all shapes and sizes. You can create a desktop Zen garden. You can also convert your entire back yard into a Zen garden. The choice is yours. Keep in mind that there is some maintenance involved in a Zen garden. (You’ll need to water plants, weed, and rake the sand to remove debris and animal droppings. Kitties love Zen garden sand.)

If you’re not up for maintaining a large scale garden, you might choose a smaller, portable size. Your garden’s location will help determine the size. For example, if you choose to create a desktop garden, how much space do you have on your desk?

Having a Zen Garden to escape to can be soothing and relaxing.


Step #2 Gather your tools and equipment.

For your Zen garden you’ll need:

* Lumber. For indoor use you’ll want a piece of plywood for the bottom of the garden. For outdoor use you simply need to create a frame for your garden. Plastic sheeting will work for the bottom. The sheeting helps protect your garden from weeds.
* Wood screws or nails and wood glue
* Plastic sheeting
* Sand. (Two inches deep. Determine the volume of your frame, length x width x height, to determine how much sand you need.)
* Rocks of an appropriate size for the garden
* If you’re creating an outdoor Zen garden and you want plants, add your chosen plants to the list. Consider:
* Moss
* Evergreens
* Shrubs
* Xeriscape plants like Mountain Laurel which doesn’t require much water.

Step #3 Design your garden.

Before you start hammering and nailing your lumber plan how you want your garden to look. For example, a simple rustic Zen garden might use old railroad ties for the frame. You’ll want your frame to support at least two inches of sand.

Simplicity and structure are key components of a Zen Garden
Step #4 Prepare the area.

If you’re creating an outdoor Zen garden, prepare the area. You might want to remove any plants or grass. If you’re building an indoor Zen garden then find a flat surface and cover it with newspaper or plastic to help contain the sand while you work.

Step #5 Build the structure.

Glue your corners together. Reinforce with nails or wood screws. For smaller gardens wood glue may work just fine.

Step #6 Fill the garden with sand.

Decorate with your chosen rocks and plants.

How to Make a Zen Garden

Step #7 Enjoy.

Enjoying your Zen garden is easy. Sit down beside it and simply enjoy the peace and simplicity. Rake it to create pattern and lines. Meditate, relax, enjoy.

Creating a Zen garden is a nice way to landscape your yard or adorn your home. It’s also an effective means of calming your body and mind. You might make visiting your Zen garden a daily ritual to “get away” from the homestead, without going anywhere.

How to create a Zen Garden so you can get away from the homestead without going anywhere.

Bucket List ~ Anywhere!

Bucket List ~ Anywhere!

Some bucket list items can really be done just about anywhere, don’t you think? Today I’m going to share with you MY “anywhere” bucket list. Adventures to Have Anywhere: Go Skydiving Hike on a Glacier Ride in a Gondola in the air and on the […]

5 Ways to Get to know the Animals that Share our World

5 Ways to Get to know the Animals that Share our World

  Kids of all ages – and quite a few grownups – enjoy meeting the local wildlife, and summer is a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with some furry four-legged friends. An afternoon at the zoo or a walk through a nearby […]

How to Make Homemade Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent

How to Make Homemade Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent

You might be surprised to learn that you can make your own laundry detergent. What a great way to save time and money! Even better, you can make your own eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Good for you. Great for your family. Wonderful for the planet.

Here’s how to make homemade eco-friendly laundry detergent.
First, you actually have two options here. You can make powder detergent or liquid detergent. The instructions for both are included.


Liquid Detergent Ingredients:

* Cheese grater (Sturdy food processor with a grating attachment or a blender can work well too)
* Large saucepan (needs to hold at least six cups of water)
* 8 oz. soap (glycerin or other natural soap works best.)
* 2 cup washing soda – you can find this at your local home store or supermarket
* 2 cup borax
* Large bucket. Needs to hold approximately two gallons.
* Water
* Storage container


Step One: Grate 8 ounces of your soap (about one cup)
Step Two: Turn burner on to medium low. Heat six cups of water in large saucepan. Slowly add soap flakes. Let them dissolve before adding more.
Step Three: Add washing soda and borax. Continue stirring. Mixture will thicken. Remove from heat.
Step Four: Add four cups of hot water to your bucket. Pour soap mixture into the water. Stir to combine.
Step Five: Add another gallon of water to the mixture. If you’re using a two gallon bucket simply fill the rest of the bucket up with water. Stir well. Let sit overnight.
Step Six: Pour mixture into your storage container. When you’re ready to do laundry, use ¼ cup of detergent per load.

Borax and Washing soda are some of the key ingredients for making your own eco-friendly laundry detergent!

Powder Detergent Ingredients:

* 1 cup borax
* 1 cup washing soda
* 2 cups soap flakes (use glycerin or other natural soap grated with a cheese grater or food processor)
* 1 Large bowl or bucket for mixing
* Storage container


Making powder eco-friendly detergent is easy. Simply combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Store in your container of choice. When ready, use approximately 1/8 of a cup of detergent.

Note* The ration for powder detergent is one borax to one washing soda to two soap flakes. So you could easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe. Just keep the proportions equal.

Making eco-friendly laundry detergent is easy. You can find all the ingredients you need at your supermarket. You’ll find the ingredients at a much lower cost than buying a jug of manufactured detergent. Plus, a homemade batch will last you quite a long time. It’ll save you money and it’s much better for the environment.

Don’t forget to pin this image for later!

Here are 2 excellent recipes for eco-friendly laundry detergent

Father’s Day Burgers

Father’s Day Burgers

What better way to celebrate Father’s Day, than with a bunch of burgers on the BBQ? This Father’s Day make sure you try these delicious, juicy, slightly peppery burgers with the yummy creamy sauce (we like it on an onion bun with sauteed mushrooms, paired […]

Rejuvenate Your Body and Your Mind with a Weekend Getaway

Rejuvenate Your Body and Your Mind with a Weekend Getaway

There are so many pills, diets, and fads that claim to rejuvenate your mind, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned weekend getaway. A weekend getaway does not have to be expensive or far away; it can be something as simple as staying in an old […]

How to Teach Your Kids to be Eco-Conscious

How to Teach Your Kids to be Eco-Conscious

Teaching children to be eco-conscious is important. It helps them develop an appreciation for their earth. As homesteaders we have an innate feeling of wanting to preserve and appreciate our earth. When children are eco-conscious, they grow to become responsible adults. The good news is that teaching your kids to be eco-conscious is fun.

Seven Tips to teach your kids to be eco-conscious

#1 Be a good role model. This is perhaps the easiest way to teach your children to be eco-conscious. Children pay attention to what you do. If you recycle, reuse and pay attention to how you consume, your children will grow up with that example.

#2 Discuss. Look for learning moments to discuss why you are eco-conscious. For example, when you’re shopping you might choose to purchase an item at a flea market. Explain to your child why you’re buying used instead of new.

#3 Help them explore nature. Nature is what you’re trying to preserve and protect. If your child doesn’t get out and enjoy nature, they won’t have an appreciation for the earth. Take nature hikes. Enjoy the beach. Head to the mountains or take bike rides. Just get some fresh air and sunshine.

#4 Field trips. Some recycling centers, landfills and water treatment plants offer tours. Check out your local facilities. What educational experiences are available? If they don’t commonly offer tours, consider visiting them on Earth day. Show your children what happens to our trash and waste water. Help them learn the cycle of consumption. It’ll help them appreciate what they use.

#5 Garden. Gardening is a wonderful way to appreciate and experience the earth. If you don’t have space outside you can create a windowsill herb garden. Use recycled, reused and organic material to create your garden. For example, tin cans to plant your herb seeds in. Compost to fertilize the soil. Rainwater to water the plants.

#6 Make it a game. Show your children how much water or electricity you use each month. Make it a game to lower your consumption. Turn off the lights when they’re not in use. Use water sparingly. Turn off all appliances. See how much you can reduce your electric, gas or water bill during the month. Then reward children for their efforts.

#7 Volunteer. Become active in outdoor clean-ups. If your community has a “clean up the park” day, sign the family up. Volunteer at your recycling center. Or assist the recycling program at community events.
For example, many running events have recycling volunteers to make sure all those paper cups from the aid stations end up in the recycling bin rather than the street or the garbage. Show your children that the Earth is important and enlist their help in keeping it clean.

Most importantly, follow through on your words. If you tell your children that being environmentally conscious is important to you then follow it up with rules. Limit television viewing time. Ask them to turn off the lights. Make sure they don’t take twenty-minute showers. Create a recycling center in your home.

When it comes to teaching children, follow through is important.

How to teach your kids to be eco-concious


Dad’s Delicious Bean Bake

Dad’s Delicious Bean Bake

If you are looking for a super simple, easy to make, side dish that won’t take hours, then this delicious bean bake is perfect. It would be especially excellent at a Father’s Day BBQ (or any BBQ for that matter). I know this would also be […]