Happy Easter, Lifers! It is a gorgeous day here in the Twin Cities, and Julie and I are really excited. The weather is great, tax season is done and we are gearing up for a much-needed vacation. Because of this, you are going to get two News from Around the Bend articles this week. I hope you are good with that, especially since we missed last week for various reasons.

Let’s do a twin spin this week, starting with News from Around the Bend: Happy Easter Edition! Unless I run into connectivity issues, I should have something at the end of the week as well.

Easter Weekend Shenanigans

News from Around the Bend. Easter Weekend, sunset
Beautiful sunset in Minnetrista, MN. April 2019

I hope you had a great Easter weekend with family and friends. We had a great weekend and Easter: we got to hang out with friends, family and lots of furry and feathery friends! Now, Jules and I are pretty everyday normal folks and not into Cosplay or that whole dressing up as a Mascot thing, so don’t be alarmed! We got to spend time with some farm animals, and I am darned surprised we didn’t come home with some!

On Friday, we met up with our good friend Sue and her friend Natalie, and we headed out to the Farm Babies and Local Libations at the Three River’s Park District’s Gale Woods Farm. There was a food truck, local brewery, local kombucha brewer and lots of animals at the event. While none of us suburbanites have livestock, we got to see and hold baby chickens, chickens, and sheep. We also got to interact with the sheepdogs, hog and calf as well. All in all, it was a gorgeous night and a great way to spend time with some friends. Seriously, I don’t know how I left without a chick or 10!

News from Around the Bend. Easter Weekend, chicken
Savannah has a chicken! April 2019

On Easter Day, our whole crew headed west to Julie’s cousin’s place in Kimball, MN. We had a great time with family out there, reconnecting with cousins, aunt and uncle and other family members. At the same time, we got to check out a really nice 2-acre homestead, and of course we got to see chickens! Julie’s cousin has 8 hens and a simple coop, and these ladies are able to free range on their property and the empty wooded lot next door. Savannah got to pick up a chicken, and that was the hat trick of our chicken holding for Easter Weekend!

All in all, it was a wonderful Easter weekend with beautiful weather, and we are so blessed to have great family and friends in our lives. Thank you, Sue, for organizing the night and thank you, Tony and Mel, for hosting and cooking for all of us on Sunday.

Thrifty Thursday Tip of the Week

News from Around the Bend; Financial Freedom, Thrifty Thursday Tips

In the Small Scale Life Facebook Group, we started having “theme days” to encourage members to post ideas, pictures, and questions related to that day. Thursday is Thrifty Thursday, and we are getting a collection of good tips that folks can use to save a few dollars in their budget. Ann from the Suburban Prairie Homemaker LLC has a great Thrifty Thursday Tip of the Week:

You can get by with only using about 1 tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent. With doing laundry mostly for 1 person, my last bottle of All Free & Clear lasted nearly a year. I know some who make their own, but for me a) it’s not cheaper, and b) sensitive skin says “thou shalt use All Free & Clear or suffer the consequences”

Ann from the Suburban Prairie Homemaker LLC

Nicely done, Ann! She earns her gold star for the week, and we encourage all of our members to provide their Thrifty Thursday Tip of the Week!

Featured Post of the Week

From the Field – Curtis Stone
Terrance Leyhew and Curtis Stone
Intellectual Agrarian Podcast

It is no secret that I appreciate the work that Curtis Stone has done to empowering people to take control of their lives, dig into the dirt and start their own urban farms. Think about how many of my friends and podcast guests were inspired by Curtis: Drew Sample, Scott Hebert, Michael Bell, and me to name a few. These folks started something in their own yards, and I grabbed a microphone instead!

When I first saw Curtis’ website years ago, I thought “who the hell is this granola crunching hippy?” Man, I was wrong! Curtis is not a granola crunching hippy dude. I mean, I figured I was spot on when I saw him with his electric bike and trailers full of salanova lettuce heading to a farmers market in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Curtis was a failed musician and planting trees to make ends meet. He fully expected the whole financial system to go down during the Crash of 2008 (where have I heard that before?). He tried SPIN farming on land he didn’t even own (where have I heard THAT before), and began changing his life forever.

Fast forward 10 years, and Curtis is married, has a child and is taking a break from urban farming. From his successful book launch, YouTube channel and consulting business, he has pivoted and has become a content creator.

Curtis started the “From the Field” website and e-mail list this year, and he is creating content for his paid members. That eliminates the “cut” taken by Patreon or YouTube, and it gives him the freedom to produce what he wants for his paying members. That is huge, especially in a digital age filled with censorship, doxxing and deplatforming off of big digital social media companies. This is critical for people who walk on the political edge, and especially for those who tend to think more right wing than left.

If you get triggered easily or don’t like some swearing, don’t listen. I really perked up around the 25 minute mark when Curtis started talking about the membership site.

I am not going to lie: I can see Small Scale Life having something like that in the future, especially as Facebook, Google, and their affiliated websites turn into wastelands for content creators. Just throwing that out there, so start saving your dollars for that day!

Julie’s Picks of the Week

News from Around the Bend. Easter Weekend, chicken
The hen actually fell asleep in Julie’s arms. She did really well! I am surprised we didn’t bring some home! April 2019

Did you have a bunch of candy in your Easter basket, or did tax season get you down? Maybe you need a little shot in the arm to get you moving in the right direction!

It was another busy week for Jules as the tax season wound down and she was busy cleaning up paperwork and getting stuff done. She did have two picks of the week from our friend Kevin Geary at Rebooted Body.

Healthy Food Shopping with Nick Hazelton and Brett Veinotte
Kevin Geary
Rebooted Body

Kevin talks with Nick Hazelton and Brett Veinotte regarding the basics of healthy food shopping. Nick hosts the Anarcho-Yakitalism Podcast and Brett hosts of the School Sucks Podcast. They discussed the following topics:

  • A real food 101 shopping list.
  • The top 4 sources for acquiring real food.
  • The basics of reading a nutrition label—what you really need to look for.
  • Ideas for acquiring more food for less money.

What is interesting is that Nick owns a farm and actually raises yaks. I thought I remembered Drew Sample talking with Nick on The Sample Hour Podcast, so go figure that that is the first podcast I see when I pulled up his site!

Why You Never Binge on Broccoli (The Truth about Food Addiction)
Kevin Geary
Rebooted Body

Kevin Geary is back and talking about food addiction. In this podcast, he covers the following topics:

  • Why do your struggles with emotional eating/binge eating/food addiction always center around processed, hyper-palatable foods? Why do you never binge on broccoli?
  • Why are you able to be successful with “healthy eating” for a short while but can’t manage to stay consistent?
  • Is there such a thing as “addictive foods?” It’s a saying we hear often, but is there any merit to it?
  • Is there any difference between an emotional eater and a heroin addict? Or an alcoholic? Or a shopping addict? (The answer might surprise you).
  • Who else in the health and fitness industry is addressing these concepts? Why is there radio silence when it comes to helping people identify and overcome the root cause of their issues in a way that will give them the tools to be successful for the rest of their life?

Kevin also dismantles some common claims that are out there. If you are still working on the Small Scale Life Health and Fitness Renew You, you should listen to this podcast!

Tom’s Picks of the Week

News from Around the Bend. Easter Weekend, chicken
It’s Easter Weekend; everyone hold a chicken! April 2019

My Easter Week picks are listed below. If you take a minute and look at the list, you can see the general theme of the week:

Townhouse Homesteading
Harold Thornbro an Ashley Dempster
Small Town Homestead

One of the things Julie and I are learning is that “you can homestead right where you are.” Harold Thornbro preaches this, especially as he continues to do great things on his urban homestead in Indiana. It is our reality: we dream about having acres of property in the country, but we are living in an urban area on a small lot, a condo, a townhouse or an apartment. How can you homestead there?

Ashley Dempster lives in a townhouse in Calgary, Canada, and she is homesteading. How can she do that? She is gardening inside her townhouse and outside in her tiny yard. She is knitting, and they are using their resources effectively (fishing, foraging and cooking real food). The key to all of this is working with what you have and maximizing those things (including your skills).

Ashley is also a blogger, and you can find her at the Townhouse Homestead.

You May Be a Homesteader and Might Not Know It!
Alyssa Olson
The Sheep Shed

Alyssa is a homesteader in Minnesota and a recent guest on Harold’s Modern Homesteading Podcast. After listening to the podcast, Alyssa and I struck up a conversation about homesteading. She shared this post with me, and I wanted to share it with you. Seems like we have a theme going on here again, right? Of course we do!

I really like how Alyssa describes what she and her family are doing, “But homesteader’s goals are so much bigger. Homesteading is a life of frugality, managing waste, and being overall self-sufficient.” Absolutely! We totally agree, and I posted a podcast early on about being Self-Sufficient. I really do need to update that podcast….hmm!

Alyssa provides a good outline about what is a modern homesteader and discusses gardening, preserving, livestock, waste management, and self-sufficiency. I really like how she ended this post:

“This is how every modern homesteader is so vastly different. We are not all gifted with a family farm, some even live on tiny city lots. The idea is to strive for your own version of a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Whether you have a small garden, preserve food, raise livestock, reduce waste, or adopt a few self-sufficient strategies, it is all a constant step forward to the old lifestyle. Except we have the advantage of living in the time we are now.”

Alyssa Olson from The Sheep Shed.

Brilliantly stated. Well done, Alyssa! It is a pleasure to connect with other content creators and homesteaders in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Homesteading for Beginners: Start with the Why
Tom Domres, Greg Burns and Mr. Tactical Jay
Small Scale Life

To round out my week’s picks, I have to include one of our podcasts. This podcast was a lot of fun! I hosted Mr. Tactical Jay and Captain Lumbersquatch Greg Burns to discuss Homesteading for Beginners. Mr. Tactical and I were all worked up about our new properties, and we had all kinds of plans to share with each other. As a reality check, we brought in a guy with a few years of homesteading experience. Greg had come from the suburbs to the country and set up his Contrary Farmstead. We figured he could help us with design and strategies.

Oh, he did all right!

After Mr. Tactical and I talked in detail about our plans, Greg talked from his real world experience. His comment that shook our world was:

“Start with the Why.”

Greg Burns – The Contrary Farmstead

Too many times we jump into the thick of things and start one (or more) projects without really thinking about WHY we are doing it. Maybe we got excited over a podcast, video or blog post. Maybe we had an epic failure and want to seriously course correct. Maybe it is just one of those flux capacitor ideas that hit us in the bathroom one day. Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I doing?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • What is the ultimate purpose?
  • Is this working for me and my family?
  • How can I improve myself and my process?
  • Is this working for me and my family?
  • How can I improve myself and my process?

One more thing before you begin:

“Always “check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

Greg Burns – The Contrary Farmstead

This is our most popular episode in the history of the show, and I think it should be. The wisdom here is worth its weight in gold, and this little question and introspective thinking can save us time, money, our relationships and our mental and physical well-being. Of course, it could have been the stuff we were drinking that night too…..hmmmm!

Take a listen; you won’t be disappointed!

Product of the Month

Gardening, Homesteading, growoya, self-watering
GrowOya 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!

Our Easter News from Around the Bend Product of the Month is GrowOyas! We have links to these products in our kit.co/smallscalelife store site.

Michael Bell and I talked a lot about Growoya in our podcast titled “Growing Easy with GrowOya at Dallas Half Acre Farms.”

You might be asking: what is an GrowOya?

GrowOya is another method for watering your gardens using a clay pot that looks like a gourd. The water seeps into your soil and the plants get what they need. It is another method to water your garden without timers, hoses, drip tape or other methods.

Michael lined a tunnel with GrowOya products and experimenting with tomatoes this season, and it is another self-watering system that could be used on any size garden! I am planning to use GrowOya’s in a garden bed this year to test out how it works compared to irrigator beds (wicking bed systems).

For more on how to use Growoya products, check out this video.

To purchase GrowOya products, please visit kit.com.smallscalelife to purchase the following:

Medium Growoya for watering up to 3 feet. A 6’ x 3’ foot raised bed is perfect with 2 medium GrowOyas.

Small Growoya for watering patio or porch pots and planters–small growing spaces of up to 2 feet long and/or wide. But it’s a pretty versatile size and can be planted in any garden space with 6 inches of soil or more.

Check these out and give them a try!

Join the Lifer Movement!

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.

We hope you had a great Easter Weekend. Have a great week! Go get em, Lifers!