Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pool Was Draining

It was a VERY difficult decision, but we have decided to take down our 28' swimming pool. In a way, nature helped us make up our mind. One morning after a severe thunderstorm, I walked outside to water the chickens and did a double take. The pool (winter cover still partially intact) was completely hollow looking. Sometime during the night, the weight of the rain had pushed down on the tarp, and somehow tugged at the liner underneath. It was just enough of an opening that the force of the water was able to slip through the side.

(My next door neighbor must of thought it rained A LOT that night!) :) With the pool completely empty, and the tarp ripped at the sides, it was just another example of how our pool was draining our patience and becoming a money trap.

With pool supplies going up in price, higher utilities from running the pump day and night, and with a leaky filter draining water around the pool, we were harvesting mosquitoes like crazy. Then we had the decision to either readjust the liner, fill up the pool again and order another winter cover, or just let it go...

I listed the pool on Craigslist for free and it was gone the next day! The guy kept thanking us profusely for his "treasure" and I said, "No, THANK YOU!"

My treasure is the PERLITE found underneath the plastic liner (The pool was already installed before we purchased our home.)  I went online and haven't seen too many people talk about recycling pool perlite, but upon research, I've read over and over it is non toxic. Perlite is a form of volcanic glass that is mined all over the world. In fact I purchased a bag several months ago to add to my potting soil mix. Now that I have an entire "beach" of perlite, I plan to add it to all my raised beds.

Not wanting to tear down our deck, I'm trying to figure out a creative way to use the space. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Moringa Oleifera - Miracle Plant!

Last year, I had been reading a lot about this miracle plant called Moringa Oleifera. This wonder plant packed more vitamins than anything I had ever heard of. I read reports of it helping hypertension, diabetes, anxiety, and even boosting energy!

I went online and found a supplier on Amazon for organic Moringa seeds and waited. And waited.
Finally, a month later, my pkg passed customs from India and arrived on my doorstep!

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to plant them until 2 weeks ago. I planted 3 seeds and placed the pot on my kitchen window. As you can see 2 have sprouted!

I'll keep you posted on how they like this part of Texas. I'm in zone 8, so they should do fairly well. This is one plant that's got me curious!

Have you grown these, or do you plan to?

Guadalupe State Park

Photo's from my second visit to Guadalupe State Park. Truly a beautiful place, but also a reminder of my camping trip back in 2005. Something strange happened to my family. You can read the story here: Bigfoot or Foe?

Our primitive camping site where the rocks were thrown. Have you camped out there? If so, would love to hear from you!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Worm Farm

Last year I started a worm farm by converting a plastic storage box. To ensure that the worms could breathe with a closed lid, I drilled holes at the top on each side, and another hole at the very bottom in the center.
I had been reading a lot about compost tea, and wanted to collect the drainage from the bin.

For worms, I ordered 1000 worms online from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm ( The reviews were excellent, and delivery was prompt. I added them to the bin and wondered within the first month or so, if many had possibly escaped. I couldn't find but a handful at first.  
I was also concerned that maybe the red wigglers didn't like the Texas heat very much. The worm farm was enduring sweltering 100 degree days, in the shade beside the house.
 Fortunately, over the winter, I noticed that the worm farm had doubled if not tripled in population.
 This spring, I'll be experimenting more with compost tea, and using the worm castings to boost my garden. If you are by any chance making your own compost tea, and have had success, please drop me a line!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Urban Homestead

This is where it's all happening. Currently we have 9 chickens, a garden, 1 cat, and 3 dogs. By next week, we're hoping to have the swimming pool removed. This will free up additional yard space for another garden.

We are also looking to purchase some land! I'd like at least 5 acres, and something near a river. We've been searching for property less than an hour drive from our home. Our goal is to sell our house, purchase a wooded lot, and build a cabin for our retirement --Ideally, with the ability to live off the grid.

What does that mean? I envision electricity from solar panels, a woodburning stove or fireplace, water from a well, huge garden, chickens, goats, a fish pond, with the ability to live on a modest income. Of course, we'll still have our modern conveniences like plumbing, computers, cellphones...

In the meantime, I'm learning about this lifestyle as much as I can.

Let's see what I can do with less than 1/4 of an acre in town.

Now I'm on Facebook!