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Garden Starting & DIY Fertilizer Recipe for your Garden & Homestead


Bonjour sweetpea's! (pardon the pun)
                                                  petits pois:
Today we are getting down to some serious homesteading/gardening prep, there's a lot to go over, important information you need, and I am including a great DIY garden fertilizer recipe, for all you intrepid homesteaders.

I am posting this because when I began my gardening & homesteading journey last year, on a whim really, there was a steep learning curve; and I thought, "Meh, what's the big deal?
I can totes do this, no problem!"
Believe me when I say, that was a dunderpaint move.
Turns out most of us city dwellers know squat about gardening, simple living, less consumption, and true homesteading.
R-E-A-L-LY????? You don't say?
Hey, most of us can order a mean Latté with a lovely chocolatine or snooty Earl Grey cup of tea easily enough, but ask us about dirt PH, seed starting times, and things like diatomaceous earth, we are pretty much out of our depth.
The great news is, it is NEVER too late to learn!
One of the first things I would highly recommend is getting some books, buy or borrow from your library but DO IT!!!! Seriously, the information I got was invaluable and it saved me time and money. Double win!
These were the one's I started with & I added Amazon links if you want to check them out:

                           Herb Gardening: How to Prepare the Soil, Choose Your Plants, and Care For, Harvest, and Use Your Herbs (Countryman Know How) by [Snyder, Melissa Melton] 


This last one my Poppa Bear bought for me as a Christmas gift, which I got to choose! I like it a lot because it covers a vast array of topics in homesteading, which includes gardening, farm animals, bee keeping, growing and preserving food. It's a great book that has a simple layout and concise information for the budding,(pardon the pun) enthusiast.


Second thing you need to do is get yourself a nice journal, it shall become you gardening journal, and YES, you need it. I started mine late and regretted it, the reason it's important is because you will need to reference it for things you have learned along the way; advice you have received, recipes you come across, and important discoveries and cool stuff that your fellow gardeners will share. Believe me, you will lose track and writing it down, along with drawing some cute pics in it will feel good. I enjoy reviewing what I wrote and will stick to it. I have noticed that Chef Jamie Oliver does it, along with many other gardeners I have spoken with, so I enthusiastically suggest it to you. I went and got a pretty and inexpensive journal from Peter Pauper Press, it looks exactly like this:
I have been using this companies journals for years, simply because they are very affordable, have beautiful covers, come with that wonderful elastic to hold my book and findings I stuff in, and my journal even has a cool little flap space to hold something special, like a pressed flower. I paid around $15 for it at Indigo book store. However, I am including the links to their website, so you can buy

This is the link to the journal in pink above, it has foil colours that don't show well on here, and you can get it in different colours. Happy hunting! 

Third thing you need to do is figure out where you will be gardening, how much space you really have to work with, how is the lighting, shade, soil quality, are you allowed to plant there-ask your landlady or landlord before hand, if you rent? Also, take note of the animals that trundle through in your neighbourhood, yep, these will become pesky food thieves; and are very likely to cause damage to new growth seedlings, or dig viciously in your lovingly tended to pots. Man do they LOVE to dig! We have a lot of squirrels, cats, aggressive blue jays, and the night owl skunk family that makes the rounds. It has meant some losses the first year but now I know that nets and protective items are part of my to get list.

Fourth thing to do is sit down and make an achievable list of what you want to plant, what kind of garden and materials will be needed to achieve those goals, and budget it. I highly recommend starting with organic, heirloom, and local seeds, whenever possible. This is how you will be feeding you and yours, cutting food costs, saving the planet, and protecting your health can be made very easy; all you need do is start out right. I know it is a few dollars more but plant less, plan better, and reap, (literally) the rewards of doing it right from the start. This year I stopped at the health food store and they had organic and heirloom seeds out early, I bought:
-Rainbow chard mix
-Redventure celery (super excited about purplish celery!
-Mixed heirloom carrots
-Mixed lettuces
-Snap peas
-Parsley root
-A bunch of different herbs, including a gift of organic lemon balm seeds my PB got me but I seem to have misplaced recently. Hopefully I will find them soon. Sorry booboo.
I also was gifted a pack of scarlet runner beans, these one's are not organic but I will be using organic methods for growing. I thought it rude to look a gift seed in the mouth and was very happy to be given such a pretty bean seed. Yes, you will start to get excited about things you never even knew existed before. It's good, earthy, geeky fun-just go with it!
I am also hoping that my Black currant plant has survived and will come back/flourish this year.
We shall see.
I still have to get my hands on some pretty beets and radishes, as well as some Bok choy.
Here are some links to happy, organic, and heirloom seed places. The first one is in French, it's where my health food store gets their seeds here in Québec, apologies if you cannot understand it, mais bonne chance!

This next one is well recommended, feel free to search the internet for the best sites with heirloom seeds/organic. 

I have also kept seeds from some seriously good batches of local tomatoes from last summer and some seeds from some cute little bebe organic tomatoes I have been eating. I figure, the seeds are there, why throw them when mother nature has given me the perfect way to recycle. It benefits my pocket book and puts less stress on the planet.

***Important tip***

I was told by Lady T last summer, when I was getting a bit down about not having accomplished all my gardening goals, something very important; and I quote, "With gardening, you will have the best of intentions but the reality is that what you think you can do and what you will end up being able to do, are two very different things. Learn to make peace with the season's of your garden, what time, weather, pests, soil difficulties, too dry or too wet summer days offer, and what life curve balls that will come between you and your best laid garden plans. Summer is a busy time, vacations come up, weddings and parties need attending, you work, people get injured or sick, time is not always yours, and then there is always Mother Nature to respect. And believe you me, she don't care about what you need. She's already taxed and overwhelmed with all the damage we are causing to her, be patient and kind. Gardening is a lifetime experience, and you should plan to approach it slow, small, and steadily.

Fifth thing that I suggest is starting a Pinterest gardening/homesteading board. There is a lot of knowledge floating around out there on the web, use it to advantage.

Sixth thing, please be extremely cautious about what products you use, what you plant, and the impact your pesticide choices are having. We are on the verge of losing bee colonies at an alarming rate, poisoning them and local wildlife is not an option. There are V-E-R-Y effective natural and organic alternatives that you can use. Don't go cheap and easy, go environmental, I give a crap, take the extra steps, and I do care approach. here's a list of bee friendly plants btw, you need to think about adding these in. Bumble bee's were placed on the endangered species list just recently, not good. Einstein warned us that if we lose the bee's-you know the food pollinators, our food collapses.
This IS important. No toxins, no Monsanto, bee Helpful, not harmful.

     Since I got a bee hive kit for Christmas I'd best be planting new & special plants for them!:

Lastly, get organic soil and make your own fertilizer, as well as making and using compost! I am including the recipe that I use for making my own liquid fertilizer, I got it from one of the above listed books, I believe it was the compost city but I may be mistaken. See why you need a garden journal? I will also be adding some seed starter charts-I am a bit late for a few but I was ill, injured my back, and started a new job. You will have to forgive the post delay.
There's pics to follow in the next blog posts of my own seedling adventure from last year and I am beginning this years batch next weekend! As this has already been a lot of info, I will get into real seed starting in an upcoming post. Enjoy.

(not for ingesting,this is for PLANTS!)

6 Cups coffee grounds1-2 Cups used tea from tea bags5 Gallons of clear water4 Chopped,organic banana peels4 Cups chopped weeds/pruned foliage leaves1 Cup seaweed chopped1 Cup crushed organic egg shells (or regular, do what you can)1 Tbsp Molasses (feeds the good microbes)
-Place all in a bucket, stir well.
-Cover with cheesecloth and secure with an elastic
-Keep in a cool place and stir vigorously every day, for 3 days.
-Strain into another bucket, leave no big bits in liquid.
-Store in containers,I keep mine in the fridge and give a lot to friends and neighbours.
-To use*, 2 Cups liquid fertilizer concentrate in 1 Gallon of water for a small garden. Double and triple depending on the size of your garden. Medium size 4 Cups to two gallons water, 6 Cups to 3 Gallons for larger, and soon.
-Use weekly in your garden and watch it flourish!
*Please note that this is a concentrated fertilizer, you need to dilute it in water or it can harm your plants.


                               Image result for organic banana peels

                                    Image result for used tea bags 

                                       Image result for used coffee grounds
For more info on fertilizer ingredients and options check here: 

                                           Five things you will need if you're planting seeds for the first time:    

                                                                                                                                                Check out this handy gardening chart to know when to start growing your seeds indoors and when to transplant them outdoors.:       

                     A Typical English Home: When To Plant Vegetables Guide:
Take care, be well, love freely. God bless!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

To mark this special day which is always on the 17th of March, I am putting a cute, not too long post with some Irish inspiration. Btw, the Irish really don't like it when people call it St. Patty's day, they always say St. Patrick's day. 
Now pass the Colcannon with some of that lovely stew & soda bread!
I am also going to send a shot out to my girl Kelly, she is definitely all Irish. So much so that she decided to be born on the 17th. Happy Birthday sweetpea, sprinkling some extra green fairy dust on you, for all the best for the year to grow on!

We do have some Irish in our family tree that originally hails from Scotland and trickles down to Ireland thanks to emigration and some other sordid details. This really adds to my mutt status but a melting pot with extra seasoning makes it all taste nice!
You'll need to forgive the lack of recipes, I had this whole Irish series planned but I have not been feeling well this week and that means kitchen time has been very limited; however, I came across these very ingenious Instagram posts from Wilton's feed and decided to share these sweet treats with their Irish celebration theme.
I adore the cute shamrocks and the rainbows! The next two pics are from Instagrammers that have their own baking businesses.
I liked how they decorated their cupcakes and wanted to share some fun inspiring ideas:

                   Look at these:
If you're wondering where I got the fun holiday stickers, they are from my photogrid app, which I use way too much. It allowed me to play with a pic of our fur baby which I am going to use, along with a prayer to sign off and wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick's day from our family to yours!
                I know, it's too cute indeed!!!!

Paleo Sunday Morning Pancakes

Bonjour my loverlies!

Breakfast foods are my favs, particularly all things brunch. I woke up wanting some good pancakes with a bit of a crisp edge and fluffiness in the middle but they had to be gluten-free and Grain-free, as well as bad sugars-free. I have tried several Paleo crepe, pancake, and tortilla recipes, and the one thing they had in common was that they all tasted so strongly of egg whites that I gagged every time I ate them. I ended up throwing away too many and getting pissed about the money I was losing.
I decided today would be different, so I played with what I had on hand and got a decent pancake. Non-Paleo peeps did not like the coconut/nutty taste but I can't change white flour, gluten- loving, white sugar inhaling, addicted to bad carbs, individual's, and I am not trying to convince those who don't want to know. 

I actually enjoyed them, ate 4 pancakes, which is a lot for me. Now before you think I inhaled 4 pancakes the size of the plate, I always make smaller rounds, leftovers from culinary school and working brunch kitchen days. I miss the big griddle, there's something so satisfying about flipping 15 or more pancakes at a time. 
Anywhoodles, I am posting the recipe as is right now, I think I may tweak it a bit but it was yummy and sustaining, as is.
Here you go... 

1/2 Cup Coconut flour
1 Tbsp Potato starch
1 Tbsp Arrowroot starch
2 Tbsp Tapioca starch 
1 tsp Baking powder 
Pinch pink sea salt
3 Tbsp Organic honey
1 Cup Almond milk soured with 1 tsp lemon juice and stirred
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract 
1 Egg large
3 Egg whites
1/4 Cup Grape seed oil

-In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients, reserve. (keep aside) 
-Buttermilk almond milk with lemon juice and stir well. 
-In a separate, dry, clean bowl, whip whites until soft peaks for. 
-Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in buttermilked almond milk, add whole egg and vanilla, mix well. 
-Gently fold in egg whites and honey. 
-In a pan on medium low heat, heat 2 Tbsp grape seed oil and check if hot by dropping a dot of batter. If it sizzles around the edges of batter, it's hot enough. 
-Cook each pancake for about 2 minutes and flip, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Must be golden on each side, these pancakes do not bubble like a regular batter, so you must watch closely so they don't burn. 
Makes 8-10 pancakes. 
Enjoy with maple syrup and remember to share with someone you love. 

Unicorns & Things I Love on a Saturday

Allo World!

Woke up feeling pretty happy and totally loving life today, I am grateful for the blessings in my life. When I wake up feeling this good I usually get silly and want to put aside all the difficulties and have some youthful fun! 
My first thing is to send my beloved a silly wake up text with one of my favourite things, a unicorn pic of moi. 
He's gotten used to the sparkly, bubble heart, puppy loving, environment protecting, cookie baking, all things pink liking, panda obsessed, Appa wanting, Spongebob watching, anime, Harry Potter and documentary adoring, Unicorn nutter that I am; which is how I knew he was the unicorn for me! I am sure we'll end up being the cool cosplay couple wearing this at a Comic con someday in the future. 
My geekery knows no bounds but it's all gravy because I am happy with it, it's a glorious expression of my youthful heart and an appreciation of some cool stuff life has to offer which I am taking full advantage of, while God grants me the time. 

I have a pressing need for blowing bubbles, it's windy, cold, and still depressing winter here, if you look outside, but why do that when you can blow bubbles? 

I seem to be wearing down the soon-to - be permanent roommate to a point where this just might be a bathroom reality! 
You laugh but this has been a 3 year, wearing it down process, I think this was one of the first things I discussed us having in our home together at the 4 month mark of our relationship. Think it was too soon? Nah, he knew he wanted to marry me the first month and I couldn't help but fall for his handsome, sweet, funny, delightful, Jesus loving heart. Plus when your man knows you and texts this kind of stuff, I say:
I have found some other fab geekdom items for our home, check it out:
                               Shut up and take my money:  
                           Panda speakers! How do I not own these already?:
Panda speakers!!!!
                  Nerd DIY! How to make a Rubik's Cube coffee table, by Better Homes and Gardens. '80s forever.:
This lamp for my PB, and seriously, it's awesomness will be appreciated by geeks everywhere, who come to visit.
      My lamp:

And who doesn't want a S'mores pillow on their couch?
                       S'mores Pillow Warmer - Always Room for S'mores. Make these your new warming pillow companions.<p>Smores-shaped oversized plush heated pillow-Soft Plush Fabric<br>-Large oversized:  
That's all for today folks.
I am off to do something that most likely involves sparkles, bubbles, my booboo, baking, and movies. Have a wonderful start to the weekend lovelies!

Maple Blueberry Muffin Raw Cereal

Awwww yeah!

In keeping with sugar shack/cabane a sucre month, and the Bien Confit! gf maple giveaway, I believe a maple goodness recipe is in order.

I am gearing up for spring and that means stocking up on all things raw, vegan, whole food, and uber healthy. I like to do a major cleanse between April and May which involves, raw vegan, juice fasting, colonic irrigation, and yoga with plenty of fresh air and tea. It's pretty intense but I notice a huge difference from before & after. So, I start making my raw vegan cereals, crackers, protein snacks, and anything else that needs dehydration in March. Being prepared makes the whole experience much less stressful and enjoyable. I had loads of blueberries, almonds, and maple syrup, and I wanted a Muffin. This cereal was born out of cravings & it was amazing! We really enjoyed the flavour and I am amazed by that blueberry muffin taste, minus the fake and unhealthy ingredients. So many people eat store bought or fast food muffins in the morning, not realizing they're eating glorified cake with tons of sugar and bad fats. 
It's not fuel, it's fumes that leave your tank running on empty. This recipe is gluten free as always, satisfies the craving, is chock full of good fats with fiber and protein, and because it's raw vegan, there are enzymes waiting to help you digest. I also made sure to keep it soy free, corn free, refined sugar free, & dairy free(no duh, it is vegan). 
You will need an Excalibur dehydrator set on 105 degrees, raw food setting, for this recipe and it takes a full 24 hours to dehydrate but it's well worth the effort. 
Hope you enjoy it as much as we have and I may add a small bag to the draw, if people are interested, leave a comment down below.

(vegan, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, refined sugar free) 

Ingredients :
2 Cups Almonds, raw and soaked overnight then rinsed well. 
2 Cups Almond milk 
1/4 Cup Maple syrup 
1/4 tsp pink sea salt
2 Tbsp Golden flax ground
3 Tbsp Tiger nuts ground
1 Cup frozen blueberries or fresh

-Soak raw almonds overnight and then drain and rinse thoroughly before using. 

-In a good blender, blend almonds & milk until smooth. Put in large bowl. 
-Add maple syrup, flax, tiger nuts, and salt. Mix well. 
-Add blueberries last, mix in quickly but do not over stir. 
-Spread out on parchment or liners for Excalibur telex sheets, this recipe makes 2 trays. 
-Dehydrate the spread for 10 hours, check the cereal, should be dry enough to peel the paper off and flip. If not, wait another hour or two then try again. 
-Once flipped, (Do not be concerned if some parchment paper sticks, it is easily removed when the cereal is completely dry.) place back in dehydrator for 14 hours more. 
-Gently break up the cereal into bite sized pieces, it should break and be crisp, if not the cereal needs to dry a bit longer. - Store in an airtight container, will keep for several months. 
-Serve with almond milk or crumbled over yogurt. 

Remember to share with someone you love & let me know how this recipe turned out. I love to hear from you.

Take care, be well, love freely...