Posts Tagged Garden

Seeing Is Believing

So I was sitting at work today when a co-worker of mine came in to chat about gardening.  It was at that point, I told her about my idea about raised bed gardens.  The raised beds would be about 4 feet tall, just the right height to work the garden, but not have to bend.  If you have ever spent an hour weeding, either bending over or kneeling, it can be uncomfortable if not painful.  I explained how at 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide, you can be situated perfectly in terms of ergonomics.  Raised bed allow you to have perfect soil for what you are growing and help reduce weeds in the process.  Overall you have perfect soil, reduce strain and have a very neat looking garden. She left my office and I began to think how I really wish I could implement this idea today.  But alas I am not quite settled where I am living. I opened up Sketchup and started drawing out what I would like this garden to look like.  I then realized what I was doing….I was using this tool to help me visualize the future, to help cement this goal, to keep me motivated.

Then idea crossed my mind, what are the other way I make sure I stay motivated on an idea while I get to where I need to be to implement it?

Now these tools will not work for everyone and I am a particularly computer oriented, also very visual, so I find these methods work for me.

My Blog

What some of you may not realize is, I don’t yet live in a Tiny House.  The plans are in the works, designs being drawn, research on building codes in my area and seeking land, but no house of yet.  By having a blog I am able to share my passion and connect with others that love the idea or live the dream.  It is an intensely empowering tool.  Now some of you are thinking, I don’t want to start a blog or I don’t know how.  Of course there are really easy and free services such as wordpress.com or blogger.com that will get you up and running in under 10 minutes.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Journaling, plain old pen and paper, is the old school version to achieve this.  The advantage of a blog over this method is that when you have an audience, you are accountable to them in a way.  Some one, or in my case several thousand, will notice when you shirk on posting.  Even if you don’t want to go the full blog route, consider writing a guest post for a blog, I am always happy to review and possibly post your piece.

Google Sketchup

This is a program made by google that is completely free (they do a pay for pro version) that allows you to quickly design things and create them in a 3D environment.  It wasn’t until today that I realized that I have this established behavior.  When I have something in mind that I have aspirations for or dream about, I have time and time again opened up google sketchup to draw it.  What does this do?  It creates a visual representation of my dream.  It takes it from my mind into the real world, one step closer to being a reality for me.  I did this with this garden idea, see below, and I have done it countless times with ideas for Tiny Houses.

43Things.com

This is a really interesting website, it basically makes a lists of your goals, connects you with those who have the same goals and empowers you to achieve them.   What takes this to the next level is when someone achieves a goal, it has them describe how they went about getting there.  People can discuss and share ideas about how to tackle roadblocks.Stop Making Excuses
A while ago I was out to dinner with several of my friends, the conversation turned to travel and a friend and I were asked how many places we have been.  I responded 17 countries all before I was 23.  They were floored.  “How did you get to do that!?”  I am not independently wealthy, I don’t have a trust fund and my parents didn’t pay for it, so how did I do it?  I posed the question to them, why didn’t you travel that much?  They instantly said “no time”, “no money”, etc.  My other friend who had been to just as many places as I, chimed in and said “you’re making excuses”.  It then dawned on me, how many times do we make excuses, stupid excuses, defeatist excuses.  Now there is reality and responsibility, but at what point does that end and the excuses begin?  For most, they would agree it would be unreasonable to think that a high schooler could afford a trip to Europe, but I did.   I did, for a whole month, I went to 8 countries and had a blast doing it.  So it brings me back to the point, stop making excuses and do it, because too often the only thing standing in our way, is ourselves.

One particular method I use for this is to take a goal that seems too out of reach.  Write down your goals, then next to them write the very very first step you would have to do to achieve that goal.  To get a better idea, take this example.  Lets say you want to build a Tiny House, you might start by seeking out a place to purchase a trailer.  You might open up excel and make a rough budget, then go price the materials at a hardware store.  You might email someone who lives in a Tiny House and ask them for advice on how to start.  See how these are really simple things.  See how these these things take 5 minutes, 30 minutes.  See how you can do any of these things right now!

Vision Board

This isn’t my favorite idea, but it works for many folks, so it is at least noteworthy.  A vision board is basically a board where you glue photos of what you want to be.  If you want to be happy, paste photos that conjure thoughts of happiness.  If you want to focus more on family, put your favorite photos of your kids, your significant other etc.  Take this  board and place it in a prominent place that you can view it several times a day.  Perhaps place it in a place that you look at it, but others can see it to.  They will ask about it and by sharing your goals, you reinforce it, but then you are almost held accountable to them when they ask about it later.

So here is my garden idea

Awesome Urban Gardner

raised garden

I found this guy in California who has converted his front lawn into a big raised bed garden.  He has some really interesting fruits and vegetables, some I have never heard of.  Check out the below video and see more at the link at the bottom.

All his videos here

Inspirations For Change

CIMG1187

So I have been inspired by the folks at Path To Freedom.  While I don’t ever think I will go as far as they do, I really want to bring in allot of things that they do into my life.  I have recently just installed a new raised bed, which I planted Lima Beans, Snap Peas, Mustard, Spinach, Rosemary and Lavender.  I of course want to expand this, but I will have to wait till next season.

The next thing I tried to do is to have chickens.  I wanted 3 Hens to get my own eggs, after researching, choosing a coop design, finding out where I can get chickens the Home Owners Association shot me down.

Apparently someone had hatched 50 chicks from eggs for an activity with their kid, then realized “aww crap I have 50 chickens” and let them go amuck in the neighborhood.  Needless to say, the Home Owners Association were jaded and my hands tied.

Just tonight I tried baking my own bread, with aspirations of never needing to go to the grocery store and knowing what was in my bread, I was excited!  As it turns out this excitement was justified!

 

These are the first three loafs I made myself, a lil odd shaped, but they tasted so good!

These are the first three loafs I made myself, a lil odd shaped, but they tasted so good!

Even better, it takes only 4 ingredients, all of which you might already have and are really cheap to get anywhere.  I found this great recipe that is stupid simple and taste great too!  The best part is from start to finish, it took 4 hours including proofing, rising, etc.

 

I actually made this!

I actually made this!

I had a bit of trouble with the dough being so sticky then I found the video below.  So basically use the recipe and directions at this website here.  But incorporate the techniques of the video below to overcome the stickiness.  The final product was below, nothing fancy, but for a first time it doesn’t look bad and it tasted amazing!

 

Living Big Outdoors

One thing about The Tiny Life is that having a small hool4me encourages you to spend for time outside.  This has a huge appeal to me because I love being outside and enjoying various activities such as gardening, backpacking, grilling etc.  I plan to extend my Tiny Home’s square footage with the use of Outdoor Living areas.  I am sure most people can figure out what I mean by this, but essentially it is an outdoor space which uses natural elements to create a room like feel.

The advantages of an outdoor space is huge because it’s very cheap and can be done without permits or inspections (with exception of larger decks and electrical).  You can have a rather large area for very cheap and allows you to spend more of the year outdoors or handle having a large dinner party or cook out.  These things come in all flavors from a picnic table to 40 square feet of granite counter tops with a full on stainless steel kitchen.ol2

I have often thought of owning two or three separate plots of land where I build these outdoor spaces and just tow my house from one to the next.  This allows me to migrate with the seasons (job permitting) so I can go North for the summer, down South for the winter etc.  This way I could maximize my use of these rooms and have the outdoor spaces’ plants geared to bloom when I will be there.

So here are so design ideas and photos for some inspiration in your spaces.

Encourage the winter sun, block it out in summer

With a tree canopy or a pergola with vines, in the summer the leaves will grow to block the sun and in the winter the leaves will die to allow more sun to warm the space.ol3

Outdoor garden screens

To add privacy, define the space or block winds use hedges and boarder plants which are taller than your eye level.  This lets you establish where the space starts and ends, can give the area a bit more “room” like quality and block wind if you are in a windy areas where in others you might want the breeze for warmer climates.

Use vegetation to shelter outdoor living space

The Use of trees to create a ceiling is a great way to soften light and provide cover for when it rains.  A large tree can block allot of rain.  In addition it prevents the need for building an actual roof, which costs more and needs to be permitted.

Consider shade and shelter fabrics

Kent over at the Tiny House Blog did a great post about keeping cool with Shade Sails.  These are simply a triangle of fabric that blocks the sun, are really inexpensive and work really well.  When I traveled to Australia these where everywhere and if you have ever been in the outback, you know it’s really hot and sunny there.

Land Sharing

Part of the issue of tiny houses is figuring out where to put them.  While building codes are so restrictive, it simply isn’t possible to legally place them on land in most states. landshare There is a county in my state of NC where the minimum square footage is 2500 square feet!  I continue to feel that the only viable is to buy a large chunk of land and have your house nestled deep within it.  But this presents a large barrier for some, including me at the age of 25.  Once I do get a sizable piece of land I have often thought of opening it up and sharing with other tiny houses to form a tiny community.  The group would contribute to a community garden, upkeep and improvements.  There would be public areas such as botanical garden, small park, perhaps a pool or swimming hole.  I apparently I haven’t been the only one thinking about this.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a national treasure–a writer, organic farmer, chef, t.v. personality and passionate believer in local communities. His latest venture is “Landshare”–a scheme which puts people with large unused gardens in touch with gardeners wanting space. He calls it a “food revolution destined to be the next great thing.” With more people wanting to grow their own food and allotments being harder and harder to come by, he just may be right.

It is a simple and optimistic idea. People register their interest as a grower, a spotter –someone who has seen land in their area that may be suitable for growing–or an owner. The register, once it is up and running, will put these people in touch with each other.

The facts are that 80% of Britain’s population live in towns and cities, Britain’s food travels 17 trillion miles every year to reach our plates and it costs four barrels of oil per person to feed us every year.

So there is a good reason why the concept is growing and others are proposing variations. “LandFit” is another group that is “encouraging local food production by matching would-be growers with under used land.” They too want to increase opportunities to grow good locally by bringing untended and ignored bits of land back into use. They see it is a way to not only grow food and encourage organic gardening but also as a way to discourage anti-social behaviour. It’s a variation on Jane Jacobs all over again: when you have a well-kept street with local people interested in what is going on then you have a sense of community and involvement.

It is complicated and political because it involves land ownership and the use of private property by others. The group is in the process of discussing matters such as ” governance issues, and developing a model agreement between gardener and ‘lead stakeholder’, and ways in which LandFit style agreements can be supported.”

These are two examples of groups trying to come to grips with sustainability in food production, taking control of food production and the growing numbers of people interested in gardening but without access to land. Landshare and LandFit