Happy Friday, Lifers! Welcome to April! It has been a great week. Julie and I took a roadtrip to go see our youngest son Ryan at Winona State University. It was a beautiful drive, and Julie and I recorded the latest episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast while looking at the scenery, flooding and eagles soaring above the river or fishing on the ice.

Welcome to April, hiking, sugar loaf bluff, news, building community
Ryan, Julie and I on Sugar Loaf Bluff – March 31, 2019

Of course, part of this adventure Julie, Ryan and I hiking up Sugar Loaf Bluff in Winona, MN. With melting snow and ice in the Bluff’s shadow, it was a slippery and sloppy affair going up, but we eventually made it to the top and enjoyed the view. I don’t like heights, but I really enjoyed the view (just stood back from the edge, of course).

Welcome to April, hiking, sugar loaf bluff, news, building community
Sugar Loaf Bluff in Winona, MN – March 31, 2019

Coming down was a dicey affair. We did not have walking sticks or decent footwear for the descent. We slipped and slid down the trail, and eventually one of us did the inevitable and fell flat on his rear. Even with some bruised pride, we had a great hike and enjoyed the trip. You got to love those kind of days!

Minimizing Time Commitments while Maximizing Life, Minimalism, Intentional Living, Surviving the Holidays, eagle moment
One of the eagles from our very own eagle moment on the county road – September 2018

All in all, we saw over 30 eagles on this trip. We saw about 10 on the way down to Winona, and the most of the others were standing on a large sheet on ice near Wabasha, MN. It is amazing to see these massive raptors, and I count how many eagles I see each time I go into the field or on a trip.

Featured Post of the Week – Welcome to April!

Welcome to April, hiking, sugar loaf bluff, news, building community
Looking over Winona, MN – March 31, 2019

Facebook Live Episode: Three Keys to Losing Weight for Good
Corinne Crabtree


I wish we could tell you that after launching our Health and Fitness Renew You Kickstart in January that our weight loss journey was complete. If I told you that, I would also have to tell you that we won the lottery, I am next in line to the King of England and I have some sweet oceanside property in Arizona to sell you for a reasonable price! We are a work in progress, and we are continuing to work on our health, fitness and mindset.

Throughout our Health and Fitness Renew You Kickstart, we referenced Corinne Crabtree at Phit-n-Phat. She focuses on women’s issues, but I find her interesting, a straight-shooter and sassy. After all, “she’s Southern, she’s sassy and she tells it just like it is!” Corinne does a lot of work with her PNP Tribe, which are subscribers to her program. Every few days, she will have a Facebook Live with her tribe, and in 2018, she created extra podcasts out of the videos.

By the way, if you like what you hear from Corinne, you can join her PNP Tribe for a limited time (closes on 4/5/19), so check this out and make your own decisions QUICKLY. Click here to check that out!

As far as Julie and I are concerned, we are re-upping our efforts and dedication to the Health and Fitness Renew You. We have something big planned for the end of the year, and we will be better versions of ourselves than we are today!

Julie’s News Pick of the Week

Welcome to April, hiking, sugar loaf bluff, news, building community
Ryan and Julie on Sugar Loaf Bluff – March 31, 2019

Tax season continues to roll on, and Julie has been focused with gazelle intensity on getting taxes done for various and interesting clients. She did have a pick for the week!

Getting a Mortgage when You Don’t have a Credit Score
Dave Ramsey
The Dave Ramsey Show

We are huge Dave Ramsey fans. We are going to be talking a lot about our own experiences during the Financial Freedom Renew You and using Dave Ramsey’s tips and babysteps to get out of debt. Trust me, fam, we have done stupid with zeros on it, and we are just now making some big progress on some big financial goals.

Julie thought this was a great podcast. So many Americans go to a bank or credit union to get financing for their house purchase. These entities judge your credit worthiness on your FICO score. The FICO score is a method lenders use the scores to gauge a potential borrower’s creditworthiness based on how much credit you have, how you use credit, how many late payments you have, etc.

Dave Ramsey believes that cash is king and encourages listeners to not use credit. How does one buy a house if you don’t have any credit or a FICO score? Dave says that we should not be slaves to the FICO score. Instead, go to an mortgage company that does manual underwriting and who will look at more factors than just your FICO score. I am sure there is much more information in this podcast, so make sure you check it out. Listen to Dave; you will get inspired to take action and change your family tree!

Tom’s News Picks of the Week

Renew You, Introduction to Financial Freedom. Financial Freedom, welcome to april
My favorite trout stream near Maiden Rock, WI – April 2018

Time for my picks! You know you are going to love these picks! They are big, beautiful picks. They are YUUUUUGE! I think you’ll like them…so true.

Enough of that foolishness. Let’s go!

Homesteading and Chicken Chat With Guest Alyssa Olson
Harold Thornbro and Alyssa Olson

Small Town Homestead

My friend Harold Thornbro interviewed fellow Minnesotan and blogger Alyssa Olson about her journey into homesteading and starting a chicken flock. Alyssa has a 10 acre homestead in Minnesota, and she is a fellow kombucha maker!

Ok, she does a lot more than make kombucha. She has a blog over at https://thesheepshed.com, and she has some really interesting content over there. Check that out.

While Julie and I are more than a little nervous about having chickens here at the Small Scale Life Homestead, we love fresh eggs. Hearing Harold and Alyssa talk about chickens, and it makes me wonder if we could have them here. My Instagram friend Charles C. Jolly (another Minnesotan in the Twin Cities area) has some chickens, and he tells me he following about chickens:

“They are like therapy. They are just so fun to have, spirit lifting and just fun to watch run around the yard.”

Charles C. Jolly

Hmmm! So….tempting! We’ll have to think about that some more.

What are the Best Animals for a New Homesteader?
Amy Dingmann
A Farmish Kind of Life

How about that? Another Minnesotan! Could be a theme this week…

My friend Amy over at A Farmish Kind of Life has another great podcast about where to start with animals on the farmstead or homestead. As Greg Burns discussed in Homesteading for Beginners: Start with the Why, people get so focused on starting all kinds of things when they first get on their homestead. We forget the basic fundamental reason why we started homesteading in the first place.

In my opinion (because I am a city slicker), animals add a whole new level of complexity to your homestead or farmstead. I can (usually) keep plants alive, but animals are different. They need food, water and protection from predators.

Amy provided the following advice:

“When experienced homesteaders are asked about the best animals for a new homesteader, most will be cautioned to not fill up too fast. In other words, don’t try all the animals you’ve ever wanted to have all at one time. We’ve all said it, myself included. And it’s decent advice. It’s super easy to get overwhelmed. Since animals are exciting and chicken math is a thing, almost every single homesteader I know has filled their farm up too fast.


While it’s good, sound advice to go slow, the only way to figure out which animals work on your homestead is by having those animals on your homestead.”

Amy Dingmann – A Farmish Kind of Life

Great podcast, Amy. Keep doing great things!

Chickens 101 Directory
Yellow Birch Hobby Farm

Looking through Facebook or Instagram one day, I happened to stumble cross an article for Yellow Birch Hobby Farm, which is a 8.5-acre homestead in northeastern Minnesota.

Intrigued, I went over to Erin’s site, and I found a bunch of really good information there. The website is packed full of information, and I really like what Erin and her family are doing. With all of these podcasts about chickens, I took a look at Erin’s page about Chickens, and I wasn’t disappointed! There are a ton of articles about chicken breeds, roosters, predators, winter breed and fermented feeds. It is an impressive list of articles, and I appreciate the layout of her page. It reminds me of the dead and gone “Garden Gateway” on Small Scale Life, and it reminds me of another project for next week.

If you are living in a cold environment or just interested in chickens, check out the Chicken 101 Directory on Yellow Birch Hobby Farm!

Should I quit daily uploads? | The Grind 425
Scott Hebert
Scott Hebert’s YouTube Channel

And now….time for something completely different.

My friend Scott Hebert announced he was going to start creating a daily vlog on the Small Scale Life Podcast back in January 2018. I was surprised he made the announcement on the show, but lo and behold, he went forward and made a video everyday since that announcement.

Scott has created 425 videos. He is looking at creating better quality videos uploaded less frequently instead of daily videos. He started The Grind videos to build his skills, whether it was to articulate ideas or practice cinematography. There has been some real gold in those 425 videos, including Episode 420 (you can imagine what that episode was all about).

Scott is still kicking the idea around, but based on what he was saying in this video, he will stopping daily videos. He will create better videos: better cinematography, graphics/animations, and deeper thoughts.

Great job, Scott! Nicely done. I support your efforts to slow down and create better quality videos that achieve your goals.

Renew You in Q2: Introduction to Financial Freedom
Tom and Julie Domres
Small Scale Life Podcast

You knew I couldn’t resist talking about our own podcast, right? Of course! In our 136th episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast, Julie and I are On the Road and kicking off the latest chapter of Renew You: Financial Freedom. So many of us are stuck in jobs we hate to make money to buy stuff to impress people we don’t even like. Why not break the chains of debt slavery and start building a life you love and don’t need a vacation from?

This quarter (and beyond), Julie and I are going to focus on 7 core elements of Financial Freedom. We have a lot of fun and interesting things planned, and you won’t want to miss this! At the same time, you have a chance to change your life and the lives of your next generations. The decisions we are making today impacts our kids and grandchildren down the line. What if you were living debt free, living on your own terms and investing in your future, your family’s future and helping others? Doesn’t that sound like a better plan than working in a cube farm and helping some manager or owner achieve their dreams?

Join us to start changing your family tree and your future today!

Product of the Month

Gardening, Homesteading, oya, self-watering
GrowOyas come in all shapes and sizes.
Source: GrowOya

Welcome to April, Lifers. I am sure many of you are looking forward to Garden Season 2019. Some may already be planting in garden beds.

As I mentioned last week, I am kicking off a new addition to News from Around the Bend: the Product of the Month. This is something that we will be offering 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.”

Gardening, Homesteading, oya, self-watering
GrowOya products 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!

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).

To purchase GrowOya products, please visit kit.co/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 Tribe!

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.

Have a great weekend! Go get em, Lifers!