This is the season for giving thanks for our families, our friends, our health, our careers and our lives.  As I look back at November, I have to admit it was a barn-storming and fast-paced month, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of time for reflection, deep thought and giving thanks for anything.  I admit: it was a long road home, but I made it in time for Thanksgiving.  Now that that wonderful holiday has come and gone (which seems like a lifetime ago – it was just last week), I am able to look back at where November went and where Small Scale Life’s future is going.

On the Road in November

Little Chute Windmill in Little Chute, WI

You can only see this by exploring backroads. This is the Little Chute Windmill in Little Chute, WI

Since the last Small Scale Life Podcast in early November, I have been on the road.  As many of you know, my real job requires that I travel in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and we decided to get a bunch of work done before the weather turned nasty on us.  It started with a trip to Appleton, Wisconsin, and I spent a half week in that fine city.  I saw some interesting sights and did some interesting things including


  • Having a beer and great conversation at the Fox River House, Appleton’s oldest saloon established in 1870
  • Seeing the full-scale windmill in Little Chute, Wisconsin.

Once I came home, I reloaded and went to Owatonna and Northfield, Minnesota.  I had a great presentation at the Northfield Area Driving School, and it is always fun to get some great interaction from Kris (the owner and teacher) and the students at the school there.

That weekend, Julie and I drove to Winona to meet with our son Ryan to handle some business at Winona State.  Once that business was complete, Julie crushed me in 5 games of Bananagrams and Cribbage as we listened to the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League at Island City Brewing in Winona, Minnesota.  Of course, this was after witnessing a young man propose to a young lady on the Scenic Overlook on the bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley.  By the way, she said “yes.”

On the way back from Winona, Julie and I stopped by the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota.  We got up close and personal with live eagles, and we got to learn a ton about these majestic birds of prey.  They are amazing creatures, and it was so great to see and hear them.

Once we got home from Winona, I reloaded and headed out to Wisconsin once again.  This was a week and a half tour, and I went to De Pere, Ashwaubenon and Green Bay, Wisconsin for a week.  I got to visit the Home of Homebrewing and meet the owner named Doug.  We had a great conversation about kombucha, beer, wine and spirits, and if you are in the Green Bay area, go check out the Home of Homebrewing for all your cheese, wine, beer brewing and spirit-making needs.

After completing that work, I spent the Wisconsin Deer Opener in Oxford, Wisconsin.  This is where we have our land, and I got to spend time in the woods with my brother and my nephew.  We saw a few deer, and even though my nephew did not get his first deer, it was a glorious time to get in touch with the land and spend time with family and friends.

Once my Deer Season adventure was over, I headed to close to the Illinois border to Elkhorn and Burlington, Wisconsin.  I then headed north to Fond du Lac and Black Wolf, Wisconsin.  With big snow storms predicted, I headed east and finally made it back home before the Thanksgiving storm hit.

I got home just in time to brine the turkey, cook the turkey and the ham, make some special cranberry sauce and enjoy the holiday with family.  Giving thanks for my and our family’s safe travels was an essential part of our Thanksgiving meal.

Giving Thanks

beekeeping, Colorado Regenerative Agriculture, Michael Jordan, Doneil Freeman

Working with bees at Doneil Freeman’s with Michael Jordan, Adam, Chad, Doneil and Rob – May 2018

What a month!  It is no wonder I didn’t complete any blog posts or podcasts!

I have to say that it has been too long since I posted an article or podcast, and I am itching to break the 100,000 download mark!  We are getting really close!  You can bet we’ll be giving thanks when we finally hit this awesome achievement!

As I look back on the past year and the past 4 years of Small Scale Life, I have to say that it has been an incredible journey.  For those of you who have been listening and reading for a while, we have really chased down some rabbit holes together.  I have been on hot and cold streaks, and we have had a lot of laughs together.

It really is amazing that we have been doing this podcasting and blogging thing for 4 years.  That is amazing to me, especially since I never thought I would have my own show, have my own set of characters that show up from time to time and have my own video channel to boot!  The fact that you are listening, reading and watching blows me away!

This is the season for giving thanks.  I want to thank all of you for reading, listening, laughing and having some fun with me.  I have met so many good people in our Lifer community, across the world and in-person over the past 4 years.  So many people in our Small Scale Life Community or are friends of the show.  If you want to join our excellent online community, click this link and answer the two or three questions.

The Struggle Has Been Real

 Monday Motivation, quote, giving thanks, update

There is no question that there has been some pushing and pulling over the past year and a half at Small Scale Life.  We have jumped around on topics and subjects that is worthy of my easily distracted, squirrel-syndrome nature.

Even with all the changes and adjustments, I can honestly say that I have learned a lot in the process, and it will help in the long run.  I know the topics have been all over the place, but I can honestly say the pushing and pulling are over.

If you have been to in the past week, you have noticed significant changes to the layout and look of the site.  That was part of my silence during November.  I was deciding how I wanted things to look and what we are going to do to move forward.

So What’s Next?

How to Extend my Garden Season, Big Self-Watering Basin

Peppers, peppers and more peppers in the Big Self-Watering Basin – October 2019

We are getting back to our roots, literally.  I am getting articles, podcasts and videos together that will focus on gardening, simple living, canning and good old fashioned fun.  I am giving thanks for all of you homesteaders and gardeners who have stuck by me and patiently waited for the pendulum to swing back to these topics.  Hopefully this folks will be giving thanks for a return to those topics as well!

There are a ton of podcasts, blogs and streamers out there competing for your time, but I think we offer something a little different.  I mean, does ANYONE have the current and former Presidents of the United States or Tommy Cakes on their shows?  Hmmm?  No, they don’t, so you better stay tuned to our little shenanigans!

On the serious side, we are going to really dig into the wicking beds/self-watering planter systems and other gardening methods this year.  I am going to line up excellent interviews of other gardeners, homesteaders, urban farmers, small business owners and other folks I find interesting for the show.  People have stories to tell, and we can all learn something from their stories, struggles and triumphs.

At the same time, one thing that really occurred to me on my travels around Wisconsin and Minnesota over the past month is that a lot of you are creating really good content, and based on my own experience, it is HARD getting your content out.

There is a reason why I started News from Around the Bend this year.  It is a chance to connect people, topics and ideas with this great Small Scale Life Community.  I know I am violating the rules of SEO, online business and all the expert advice out there when I post those articles…..

Frankly, I don’t care.

I realize that I collect people, connect them, and mix them together to create something unique and interesting.  Dare I say….cool. A friend told me that Capricorns (like me) are Alchemists.  I fully embrace that concept, and I consider myself to be a Life Alchemist.  I will continue to hone my craft and become a master at it.  As a Life Alchemist, I am going to mix together equal parts of my own content, content from people in our community, content I find interesting and some good old fashioned fun.  Stir them together, add some heat and see what happens.

After all, “the experts” always call you crazy at first….

Until it actually works.

Then they ask you HOW you did it and beg for the blueprint.

This is something I have been pondering and struggling with over the past month, and it is a decision I have made.  I am going to do things and write about topics that I find interesting.  Maybe you like it, and maybe you won’t.

If you don’t like it, it wasn’t for you.

Maybe the next piece will be something you like a little better.

No matter what the future holds for us all, one thing is absolutely true about Small Scale Life:

We will continue to learn, do, grow and be a little better everyday.


Giving Thanks, Sunset in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin sunset, building community

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