Every Minute, Every Hour, Every Day

Hi everyone!

Last time I posted, I talked about what I had been through since mid November of last year. Things were extremely difficult and I went to a very dark place for a while. Thankfully, with the love and support of my friends and family, I was able once again to return to the light.

I began thinking about my life. Literally from day one. If I wanted I could chronicle it, I have every diary I’ve ever kept since I was 8. What would I call it? I don’t have an answer for that yet, but I do have a revelation.

No one wants pain. No one wants to have to go through emotional, physical, or legal battles. However, every choice we make in this life is part of something bigger. You can call it God’s plan, you can call it fate or destiny. I like to think of it as a fortress of sorts, every stone placed by a Great Architect.

Ever since I was little I dreamed of a sort of pioneer life. Nothing too rustic, I will never give up running water, but I always saw myself in the country. A garden, since I’ve always had a garden, chickens, maybe even some goats. Working land has just always been in my mind. As I grew older the desire grew with me, but the reality of actually attaining it grew dim. These things cost money and in this day and age, even just a livable income can be difficult to come by.Growing older meant prioritizing. I never forgot my dream but more important things had to come first.The other night I was sitting on the couch and I realized…I’m here. I have it.

I actually have everything I dreamed of.

I live in a little brick house in the country on a half acre. I live with a man I love deeply that I met in high school. I have a garden started, and we have plans to fence in the yard and put in a chicken coop.

We have land to work.

When I look back on everything, there is so much pain and darkness. But every single choice I’ve made, every single one since day one, has put me where I’m at right in this moment. Nothing in life will ever be perfect, and I know in the future there will be ups and downs, arguments and make ups, and I can tell you with confidence that I genuinely look forward to that future.

Why? Because all that pain I went through helped me achieve my dream.

Remember to take pain in stride. It exists to help you grow, and in truth we never stop growing. I don’t want to give the impression that I will never go through pain again. The point I want to make is that there comes a point where the pain makes sense. We stop asking why and instead begin to see why.

Be well my friends. And rest assured, as this little homestead grows, there will be many photos ❤

Stephanie

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A Few Steps Back

Okay, so if you recall, a while ago I decided to go gluten free to see if some of my issues would change. I quit after a few weeks because I saw no difference. Here is where my weaknesses step into play: I can be a little impatient.

It’s time to go back to being gluten free. I fully believe I have at least an intolerance if not a complete allergy. Last Friday I had a night to myself so I “treated” myself to pizza and garlic knots. Lots of bread, lots of wheat. The next day I woke up to pain in my gut, and digestive issues that still have not subsided. I have no other symptoms indicating something more serious, so it’s time to once again adjust my diet.

I will be deleting gluten yet again. This past weekend is not the first time I’ve had issues since I quit, and I’m sick of feeling sick!

Luckily, Justin returned from his trip home with tons of fresh veggies from his grandma’s garden, and tons of home canned goods, all free of gluten (not sure about the jams, but I’m not really a jam girl anyway).

I’m excited once again about the benefits, and am even more motivated than ever! I’ll be updating more about what I’m eating and cooking.

In other news, I turned 26 last Friday! It was a fun weekend full of friends, good food (glutinous food…but I regret nothing!), and good times!

Tata for now!

Why Dandelions are Awesome

The first house I ever lived in was a fairly large, very old farmhouse on a large plot of land in a rural town in Connecticut. Our doctor lived just up the road and our neighbor old man Probst would visit from time to time. It was nice, quiet living for my family of five.

I have a very distinct memory of my dad bringing me outside with a bucket, and he told me to pick the dandelion leaves. I was confused at first but then he popped one in his mouth and ate it! I had no idea, but he’s my dad, so I followed suit. Maybe this is where I got my leafy greens addiction.

I hate when they are called weeds. Dandelions are not weeds. They are a healthy, harvestable edible plant that could save your life if you’re ever lost in the woods with no food! And they literally grow everywhere. Everywhere.

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Roots: You can use the roots to make tea. You just can cook them and eat them. You can also use them to make a tincture. The roots can help to detox the kidneys, alleviate skin problems, fight fever, aid in digestion, and a multitude of other issues.

Greens: SALAD! Of course. Put ’em on a pizza, put ’em on a sammich, you can do anything with these greens. They are slightly bitter but seriously delicious.

Flowers: Yes, you can eat these bright bursts of sunshine. You can use them to make wine. Dandelion wine. It sounds like something teeny little sparkly fairies would drink from a chalice made out of a buttercup. You can make syrup, jelly, or you can just fry them up!

Here is a link to a list of 40 things to do with dandelions:

http://wildcraftvita.blogspot.it/2013/01/things-to-do-with-dandelions.html

Always make sure you are using plants that have NOT been sprayed with chemicals or pesticide!

 

Apartment Homesteading

Part of living more simply is self sufficiency – Growing and hunting your own food, composting, recycling, reusing, etc. When most people think of self sufficiency, glamorous images of farmhouses on acres and acres of land drift into their minds. The exact opposite of city living. But, most people don’t realize that there are steps one can take to start a more self sufficient lifestyle, even if they live somewhere as small as an apartment.

I have lived in Wilmington about a year now, and while it’s not my favorite place in the world, I have done more to increase my self sufficiency here than anywhere else I’ve lived. I live in a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment and have already started making the steps and learning skills I’m going to need when I finally do get my dream farmhouse on acres and acres of land!

So what can you do to start a more self sufficient lifestyle today? Here are six simple changes to make:

1. Porch or windowsill garden. I got lucky and my apartment came with a sizable porch. So I have cherokee purple tomatoes, cayenne peppers, strawberries, thyme, basil, rosemary, lavender, and dill growing a couple feet from my front door! Even if you don’t have a large porch, many plants can still grow wonderfully in pots. My neighbors are even garnering and small orange tree, right in a pot! If you only have a windowsill, herbs are so easy to grow, and will save you money. Fresh herbs from the grocery store can be very expensive! They’re almost $5 here at the local grocery store.

2. Composting. This one may be a bit tricky for an apartment, but it’s not impossible! In a well ventilated receptacle, begin composting eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, and fruit and veggie scraps. This will help your garden, too.

3. Rain bucket. Summers in Wilmington mean brutal storms, so I have a bucket set up on the edge of my porch to collect rainwater. I use it to water my plants!

4. Canning. This is a skill I have not learned yet, but canning in your apartment is totally doable! Research the best way for your living situation, and start preserving your porch harvests!

5. Utilizing local farms and farmer’s markets. Even in cities, sometimes farmland is just a drive away, and farms sometimes sell their goods right from their land! And if not, most cities have a farmers market where you can get fresh, organic produce, eggs, dairy honey, and meat, and you’ll also be supporting local farmers! It’s a win win!

6. Recycling. In my apartment, bottled water is a no-no. But on a recent trip to a farther away beach, I forgot my water bottle and was dying, so I had to buy some at the one gas station during the long drive. While I initially felt bad, I realized I could continue using the bottle afterward. I poked multiple holes in the lid and now I use it as a watering can! Reuse and recycle constantly. I have three bins for plastic, aluminum, and glass that I regularly take to the recycling center.

Here are some shots from my porch:

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Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, and Spearmint

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Strawberries!

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Basil, Goji Berry, Dill and Peppers

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Closeup of my peppers

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Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

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Eggshells are really good for tomato plants!

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This is my recycling area. It’s a bit cluttered right now but we have aluminum, plastic and glass.

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And my rain collector. It’s empty now, we have a heatwave going on and I’m keeping my plants hydrated, but a storm is probably on it’s way! They usually are.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! If you’re in my neck of the woods, please stay hydrated and don’t stay out in the sun too long. Be safe!

 

Detox Water and My New Friend

Hey everyone!

I finally have a chance to post about something related to health and wellness. That’s half the reason why I haven’t posted lately – I’ve been lazy and not eating right and PMSy and emotional. Ladies, you know how it is.

But I today as I was groggy at the grocery store at 7:30 AM because I didn’t have any coffee, I decided to make something that I made a long time ago and A) loved and B) don’t know why I don’t make it all the time. I’m talking, of course, about detox water.

It’s super easy to make and has a ton of health benefits. All you need is lemon, cucumber, mint leaves, and water. What can detox water do for you? Here is a short list, taken from a more extensive list at Healthy Holistic Living:

1. Hydrating: Cucumbers are mostly water, so obviously pairing them WITH water is a huge plus for your body. Water helps nutrients go where they need to go, so staying hydrated is extremely important for optimal health.

2. Relieve puffiness: the anti-inflammatory properties in cucumbers can help with this.

3. Cancer fighting: According to Healthy Holistic Living, “cucumber are known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol. These three lignans have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and prostate cancer.”

4. Aids in weight loss and digestion: This water, with it’s high nutrient content and rehydrating ability, will help flush out toxins and excess water weight.

Here is the super easy instructions:

1. Slice cucumber and lemon thinly.

2. Place in pitcher with mint leaves.

3. Cover with water, chill for four hours or overnight.

And that’s it!

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Not only is it super healthy, but it looks gorgeous too.

My next project is going to be a coffee ground scrub, so look out for that post coming soon!

I also wanted to introduce my newest friend, Smokey Nemo. She’s a teeny little stray cat who followed me home from my neighbor’s apartment around the corner, and she has rarely left my porch since. So I am providing her with food, water, and a little bed while I search for someone who can take her in and get her all the care and shots and vaccinations she needs. She is sweet, loving, and fine with other animals (my dog and cat bolted onto the porch to meet her, she didn’t fight them or get scared at all!)

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If anyone in Wilmington, NC, or the surrounding areas would like to give her a home, please let me know by commenting or emailing me at beunless@gmail.com!

 

Also, I found this thing in the dumpster and had to take it home. I might be crazy, but I think it’s awesome..

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Right?!

Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Whoops!

Ugh! I hate when I accidentally take a hiatus!

It’s not that I forgot about my blog or anything, I just randomly got like super, super busy. Work exploded, the apartment exploded, desperately trying to get organized, cross stitch commissions, binging on Z Nation and being a couch potato… you know how it goes.

Anyways, I’ve had some ideas bouncing around in my head. More ways to live simply and organically.

My whole life I’ve been drawn to plants and herbs. Growing up, I didn’t have very many friends so I usually found myself in the kitchen with my VERY Italian mom while she cooked. I learned a lot about homemade food preparation, safe handling methods, flavor profiles, etc. This came in handy once I was on my own (I’ll never forget the time my older sister called from college asking how to boil water…-sigh-) because I was able to make things last longer, which was awesome during the broke art school days.

Lately the interest has been sparked again. I really want to be able to use plants and herbs for more than just flavoring foods. I want to have the knowledge and know-how to use them medicinally. I’ve been on Pinterest almost all morning, reading about Herbology, and I cannot wait to start learning more!

So be prepared for more posts about herbs and their healing powers and properties. I’m really excited, I want to buy like every single book on the subject. I know I already have some books at my parents house, so I need to hold it together and not spend too much money until July when we make the six hour car ride down there, and I will happily rummage through boxes of my old stuff to find them.

Happy Sunday everyone!

I’m still here!

I promise I haven’t forgotten about my blog – I’ve just been really busy trying to organize my life and money. I haven’t had much time to record everything I’ve been doing, but I’ll report in now!

My porch garden is still small but after a few tribulations, it seems to be growing well. My basil is shooting up like a kid having a growth spurt, and my thyme and rosemary are as fragrant as ever!

I’m trying to use less paper towels and more washable rags/sponges. Sure, it takes extra time but trees are more important than the convenience paper towels give me. I’d rather have cleaner air.

I’m getting back into the vegetarian groove. Commercially packaged meat is gross and dirty and full of fear and hormones…I’m planning of writing a post more in depth about my feelings about meat, but for now, I’ll just say that the meat found putrefying in grocery stores is unappetizing and makes me want to cry.

I’ve been using this website called FreeRice. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not FreeRice actually donates rice to the hungry, but after some research, I personally believe they do the good that they say they do. You answer questions, and every time you get one right, 10 grains are donated through the World Food Programme. Click HERE to try it out! and if anything, you’ll at least learn some new things.

That’s it for now. I’m eating kidney beans sauteed with soy sauce and sriracha. Because I’m poor and I love beans.

More soon! Much love and light,

Stephanie