Happy Friday, everyone!  Spring has sprung! It is time for News from Around the Bend where we provide some picks to some good posts and podcasts from the Homesteading, Gardening, Self-Reliance and Simple Living Communities.  As I mentioned in the latest Small Scale Life Podcast, I apologize for going silent for a bit on the blog.  We bumped into some website hosting and e-mail hosting issues that we resolved, and then I was traveling last week down in the Big Easy for work.  While it was an interesting visit, I had a lot of observations and thoughts about the state of our urban areas that I will write about soon. 

News from Around the Bend
Flooding is happening all over the Midwest. This is a flooded field near Gaylord, MN – March 2019

The weather has been gorgeous here in Minnesota, and those deep snow drifts have been melting like crazy.  With the melting comes flooding, and I know places in Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota and all over the Midwest are underwater.  A USA Today article today was summarizing the extent of the flooding and predicting that approximately 200 million Americans are in danger of flooding this spring.  The flood could be worse than floods in 1993 and 2011, which were pretty amazing.  With the flooding that has occurred so far, there has been tragic losses already:

  • Four people have died
  • 2000 homes destroyed
  • Livestock lost
  • Fields, towns, farms, roads and railroads underwater
  • Estimated 1.5 billion is losses and damages so far

Remember: you don’t know how deep that water is on the flooded roads; don’t leave it up to chance!  Be smart and be safe!  Take the long way around.

While Small Scale Life is not a charity, we want to help build our communities.  If you have any suggestions for reputable charities, please send us a note at realsmallscalelife [at] gmail [dot] com or leave a comment below.  We need to be there for our fellow citizens and lend a helping hand in times of need.

Now, let’s get on to this week’s posts, vlogs and podcasts that make up the News from Around the Bend – Happy Spring Edition!

Featured Posts of the Week

Gardening, Homesteading, oya, self-watering
Oya propducts can be used in container gardens as well. This picture from Growoya and mikes_homegarden on Instagram is exactly what I was thinking for green beans this year!

Growing Easy with Oya at Dallas Half Acre Farms

Tom Domres and Michael Bell – Small Scale Life Podcast


Michael Bell and I catch up and talk about several improvements he has made to the farm including installing new tunnels, increasing the number of seedlings he needs, improving his seedling growing processes and growing easy with Oyas!  For those of you who don’t know what Oyas are, you should head over the Small Scale Life and check those out (while you listen to the podcast and how Michael is going to test them this season). 

Our podcast essentially kicks off Garden Season 2019, and there is a second part of this podcast that I will post next week.  In that second part of the podcast, we will discuss my garden concept and what I will be growing in 2019. 

How to Separate Seedlings and Plant Starts

Roots and Refuge Farm

I asked my Team if they had any posts, videos or podcasts that they really enjoyed this week.  Mr. Tactical Jay provided this link to Roots and Refuge Farms. 

Many of us started seeds over the past few weeks, and we are coming to that time when we need to thin and/or transplant seedlings.  Unfortunately, seedlings get tangled up in those small cells in our trays and containers, and separating them can be a delicate operation.  Separating seedlings and planting them are two pretty critical steps in the growing process, and you need to be careful to not damage the tender seedlings.  I follow their advice and try to separate the seedlings when the first true leaves pop, but I have also broken up root balls and gotten plants to grow. 

This is a good video, and Mr. Tactical gets a big thumbs up for his recommendation!

Julie’s News Picks of the Week

Sunset in North Minneapolis, MN – March 2019

Julie has been pretty busy this week at her job.  Tax season is in full swing, so she has been working hard on numbers and paperwork.  She had a little time to pull some podcasts and posts, and the following are Julie’s News Picks of the Week this week.

Dear Homesteaders and Preppers: Get Real

Amy Dingmann – A Farmish Kind of Life


Julie really liked this podcast because it is common sense.  A lot of people (ourselves included) thought that we could go to the country and buy a big property or a farm and make it all happen.  I don’t know what Julie is talking about since I am awesome, but she makes a good point: homesteading is a lot of hard, physical work.  If you are crippled up, out of shape and naive, you can get yourself in trouble in a hurry. 

Amy has an excellent take on this as well.  In her own words:

“But friends, you cannot run a farm or run from zombies if you’re eating more junk, processed food than not. You cannot run a farm or run from zombies if you lounge on a couch or sit at a desk for the majority of your awake hours. You need to move your body. Or in other words, you need to walk the walk instead of just talking the big talk.”

Amy Dingmann – A Farmish Kind of Life

Time to get back on it, Lifers.  You can’t run from the zombies fast enough!  Maybe you should check out the Health and Fitness Renew You Kickstart and make a commitment to yourself to improve your health.  Just a thought….and Julie and Amy said it so it must be true.

We are excited to connect with our neighbor Amy….more about that in my section below!

Heritage Cooking Crash Course

Jill Winger – The Prairie Homestead


Jill Winger is releasing a new cookbook in he near future.  In the meantime, she is launching The Heritage Cooking Crash Course where she will provide simple, actionable plans so we can start enjoying the fruits of our labor right away!  This is a free course, and she is providing a series of lessons you can complete at your own pace. 

In this world where we are swimming in a sea of sugar and preservatives, it is great that there are some great options like this course where we can return to our roots and cook some really great tasting food.  My friend Harold Thornbro talking to his Homestead Front Porch Facebook Group about this class tonight, and I am encouraging all Lifers to take this course as well!

How I Failed – FMOOD 324

Tom Merlino – Follow Me Out of Debt


It is one thing for podcasters, Vloggers, and bloggers to show constant success; it is something else to talk about failures.  Tom Merlino is a fellow traveler on the Path to Financial Freedom.  He has gone down this path a few times, and while it would be great to talk only about all of his success, he is human.  He has made mistakes.  He has gotten out of debt and got back into it again.  This is his third trip out of debt, and he shares some lessons learned from his journey so far. 

Tom’s News Picks of the Week

gardening, news from around the bend, seedlings
Welcome to the start of my 2019 Garden Season! Tomato seedlings look good! March 2019

Where has the week gone?  Man, it flew by!  I had a lot of great content to choose from, and next week’s News article will be loaded as well. Here are my News Picks of the Week for this week.

Urban Homesteading: What I Really Think

Amy Dingmann – A Farmish Kind of Life


Amy Dingmann is a fellow Minnesotan and a homesteader.  She also blogs and has a podcast over at A Farmish Kind of Life.  Julie has been listening to her podcasts lately and mentioned it to me early this week.  Julie said that we needed to connect with Amy and see if we could develop a relationship with her.  I smiled since I had heard of Amy on my friend Harold Thornbro’s Member Forum on smalltownhomestead.com.  As fate would have it, I actually had an opportunity to chat with Amy this week through a post she had on a Podcaster Facebook Group.  It was a great conversation, and I think we will all get along nicely!

Amy started her podcast in 2018, and she is doing a really good job.  I was canning the list of podcasts and my eye fell on the Urban Homesteading: What I Really Think podcast.  I smirked because I figured it would be a pretty solid shot to the jaw for us who are languishing in the urban areas and dreaming of rolling hills, creeks and lots of space (an outbuilding and greenhouse too). Amy has some really kind words for us urban homesteader types that are creating a new world out of postage-sized lots and smaller, manageable homes.  I agree with her statement about “bigger is not always better” (ahem, did you see our blog and podcast name?), and we will be creating very productive and very manageable homestead right here in Minneapolis.

Check out Amy’s podcast, blog and books.  We are looking forward to getting to know our neighbors in the near future!

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Basement

Victoria Wilfred –  Hitch Pitch or Flip


Victoria Wilfred is back and writing about a recent experience she had decluttering her basement.  Decluttering can be a really tough project, especially if a spouse or loved one is not on board.  It can be a real struggle, especially when you are dealing with treasures and keepsakes that don’t mean much to you but have a lot of sentimental value to someone else. 
Victoria was struggling with the clutter in the basement, and her husband had a bunch of it.  Julie provided some advice on how a spouse can help and provide moral support without “supervising,” and Victoria took her advice.  Low and behold, some great progress was made, and now Victoria has a spot to grow some herbs and veggies for the 2019 Garden Season.  Nice work, Victoria!

Anatomy of a Team (Spokane Team)

Glen Tate and Shelby Gallagher – Prepping 2.0


Glen Tate and Shelby Gallagher have a really interesting conversation with two gentlemen who created their own team out of an informal 299 Day Book Club. This was a fascinating conversation about finding people for a team, expectations for team members, diversification of skills and training.  The conversation was fast and furious, and the two segments flew by!  I was actually disappointed when the show ended and they went to the after-podcast show for their Patreon members! 

Take a listen to this podcast; it has really inspired me to get my Operation Outreach 2019 going!

52 Meads in a Year – #7 Dum Dum Sucker Mead

Michael Jordan – Underground Meadery and A Bee Friendly Company

Michael Jordan is back, and this time he has an expert to help him along!  Michael’s son joins him in the Underground Meadery to create Dum Dum Sucker Mead! Believe it or not, you can make fun meads “with awesome colors and wild flavors by using Jolly Ranchers, Candy Canes, Tootsie Rolls, and the 16 flavors + the Mystery Flavor of Dum Dum suckers.”  As always, Michael provides a straightforward and easy to follow recipe and how-to video.  It always makes me want to make wine, but I scratch that itch with Dombucha Kombucha!

I met Michael and the Jordan family at Doneil Freeman’s house in 2018.  They are a great family, it was a really fun to hang out with everyone.  That trip was definitely a highlight of 2018, and I really should post some video and pictures from that trip.  Hmmm!

This was a fun video, and it is so fun to see father and son doing what they do best: hang out and have fun together.  Cheers, gentlemen!

Join the Lifer Movement!

As I mentioned in this week’s podcast with Michael Bell, Julie and I are going to be starting a newsletter e-mail.  We have seen how social media platforms have limited the reach of posts to our followers and friends, and we want to keep you in the loop about what is happening at Small Scale Life.  We will be sending out regular e-mails to subscribers about news, posts, and of course links to important content like this popular News From Around the Bend article. 

At the same time, Julie and I are planning some other events and content for 2019.  We are pretty excited about what is coming this year, and if you subscribe, you will get the news first, be in the loop and won’t miss a beat.  To subscribe, head to the Resources page and sign up!

Putting It All Together

As always, if you have a great post or podcast that you would like to include in these weekly news updates, send me a note at realsmallscalelife [at] gmail [dot] com or hit the Small Scale Life Contact Page.  There is a lot going on, so check out these content providers as you get your Weekend 3 Things done and enjoy some downtime. 

Next week should be interesting, so stay tuned for that.  Have a great weekend!  Go get em, Lifers!