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Happy Dirt Rich New Year!

2018 is a fresh start for many people to concentrate on their New Year’s Resolutions and these an involve healthy eating, losing weight, exercise and improving finances. All of these are important personal resolutions that help us get off to a great start in the New Year. Here are two additional resolutions that can help us all…Recycle and Re-Purpose….just a thought to start your year….

Recycle – Reducing the amount of waste that goes in our Landfills is a great goal. Landfills have trash that takes a very long time to decompose. For example, here are items with their estimated shelf life in a landfill:
Plastic Water Bottles – 450 years
Disposable Diapers – 550 years
Plastic 6-Pack Collar – 450 years
Extruded Polystyrene Foam – over 5,000 years
Foam Coffee Cup – 50 years
Aluminum Cans – 200 to 500 years

Here is a great article to read on items you can recycle to help you get started: http://www.wm.com/thinkgreen/what-can-i-recycle.jsp

I found this great poster below that easy to print off and show your kids to encourage their recycling from this site https://justforkidsdental.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/recycle.png

 

Re-purpose – Help the future generations by re-using or modifying items that commonly go in landfills. Examples can be found all over Pinterest. Get started here: https://www.pinterest.com/leighfunderburk/products-i-love/

Items that are commonly used in re-purpose projects:

Pallets
(all types of furniture, art projects, outdoor projects)
2 Liter Plastic Bottles
(vertical planters for fences, greenhouses)
Shipping Containers
(sustainable housing or workshop)
Food Safe Barrels
(potato grow beds, rainwater capture)
Old Windows
(art work, bulletin boards, picture frames)
Gallon Milk Jugs
(planters, water storage, watering plants/trees)
Plastic Grocery Bags and Bread Bags
(non-food storage, small trash can liners)

Check out our video on food safe barrels being used for growing potatoes.

Great article on how to build a vertical garden out of soda bottles: http://www.dietoflife.com/do-not-throw-your-soda-bottles-make-a-vertical-garden-with-them/

I hope your New Year is great and that you are able to add Recycling and Re-Purposing to your New Year’s Resolutions!

Check out our Book for more sustainable ideas in the New Year:  Dirt Rich

Sustainable Christmas

More Meaning and Joy – Less Stress and “Stuff”

While growing up in Humboldt, TN on a small farm we rented from Aunt Joyce and Uncle Brance, Christmas had so much joy and meaning. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we always had food on the table and tons of love. My Mom was the oldest of 11 children, so there were always lots of cousins to enjoy at Holiday gatherings. On Christmas day we visited my grandparents home place with all the aunts, uncles and cousins and received thoughtful gifts…some of them, I still have. Aunt Elaine made me a cross stitched pin cushion, because she knew I liked to sew and I still use that same pin cushion today.

After I graduated from college in 1982, holidays were much more materialistic. I wanted so much “stuff” and the more I bought, the more I “needed”. Then family wants came into play and the cycle continued for years. One day in my forties a lightbulb when on in my head and the realization hit – all that “stuff” was temporary and didn’t have a lot of meaning. The latest gadgets were discarded after 6 months and some gifts didn’t even get used.

The real meaning of the holidays is found in being with family and friends and enjoying our time together. So make your holiday memories count this year and here are some ideas to keep the season significant and worthwhile.

  One Gen Away food distribution
http://www.onegenaway.com

Serve or Give to Others in Need
Giving to people in need is really what Christmas is all about and it gives your children a wonderful example of what generosity is all about. I know of families who have given their Christmas budget to other families who are not as fortunate. We give to OneGenAway, the Nashville Rescue Mission, GraceWorks, Angel Tree, Samaritan’s Purse and as many as our budget will allow. We have sent Christmas boxes to the Military oversees who are keeping our nation safe. We have friends who serve every Holiday at soup kitchens to help our homeless, but receive more blessings than they give. What can you do this Holiday to make it special for those in need?

Angel Tree Donations

Useful Gifts that are Homemade
My friends and family have told me that some of the best presents they receive during the holiday are the basket of homemade goodies from us. I make jams, jellies, canned green beans and tomatoes, and sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls for them to eat over the holiday season. Sometimes, if I’m real industrious, I crochet or knit cotton dishcloths and scrubbies and include those too. The gifts are a piece of our sustainable life and very useful to the recipient. One of my favorite gifts every year is a bag of haystack cookies that our friend Linda gives us…it’s my favorite treat and I even freeze some of them to savor past the holiday.

Make and Decorate Christmas Cookies (or any special recipe) together
When my daughter Allison was little, her older cousin Carey would invite her over to bake and decorate Christmas sugar cookies with her every year in December. She would come home from that afternoon with all these tasty adorable decorated cookies that she could share with others. What a special memory that made for both of them and I’m sure Allison will continue that with her kids someday.

Play Games Together
Get off the video games and turn off the TV! A board or card game is fun and makes memories. Here is a site that has plenty of unique Christmas games to enjoy: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/christmas-party-games/?lp=true
Another fun game is to list the alphabet on a sheet of paper with lines next to each letter and guess holiday words that begin with each letter. Give each person or team 5 minutes to complete it. The winner is the person or team who has the MOST AND BEST answers. You will be surprised by the hilarious answers!

White Elephant Gifts
A white elephant gift exchange[1] or Yankee swap[2] is a party game where white elephant gifts are exchanged during festivities. The goal of a white elephant party is usually to entertain rather than to gain. Each participant supplies one wrapped gift. The gifts are placed in a central location, and participants determine in which order they will take turns selecting them. The first person opens a wrapped gift, and the turn ends. On subsequent turns, each person has the choice to either unwrap a new present or to “steal” another’s. When a person’s gift is stolen, that person can either choose another wrapped gift to open or can steal from another player. To avoid never ending circles, each gift can only be stolen once per turn. The game is over when everyone has a present. Generally, it is recommended to have at least six participants for the gift exchange party. With a larger group, game play may be more protracted. (source Wikipedia)

The white elephant gift should be something that you did not buy or something very inexpensive. An appropriate gift is something that you already have that you don’t want…the crazier, the better. One year I wrapped up a James Dean plastic mug set that I won at another White Elephant Exchange and I received an Ear Wax Candle Kit. The more laughs, the more fun you have!

Drawing Names for Gifts
Why give a gift to everyone in your entire extended family? Drawing names and concentrating on that one person to get them a special, meaningful gift can be a great way to celebrate the holiday. There is a more room in the budget when you only have to buy for one cousin…and not 10 of them.

Christmas Letter instead of a Card
I started sending a Christmas Letter each year instead of cards, so we could share information and updates about the family to extended members and friends who we don’t see on a weekly or monthly basis. A one page letter is sufficient, since most people won’t read more than that. I either use Christmas bordered paper or I create a letter and print it myself. It gives a personal touch and you can include photos of the kids and fur babies.

Christmas/Holiday Movies
Every year we watch several of our favorite Christmas movies together like ‘Its a Wonderful Life’, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, ‘Christmas Vacation” …to name a few. Of course the Hallmark Channel has wonderful (sappy) movies that get you in the Christmas Spirit too. Watching as a family or in a group of friends, making popcorn and enjoying more home made goodies makes our holidays very memorable.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Happy New Year, and enjoy a Sustainable Holiday that emphasizes memories and joy…the real Spirit of Christmas!
Leigh and Olin

 

 

 

 

    What I’ve learned from Bees

    Michigan State University has an interesting article that states, “It has often been said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat.”  Bees are the main insect pollinators for vegetables and crops.  European honey bees are the largest managed pollinators, but their are hundreds of other species of solitary bees that are extremely important to pollinating our world.

    As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, we use a Solitary Leaf Cutter Bee to help pollinate our U-pick Summer Garden and Rental Plots, but this year with the help of Cathi Clarke (who did ALL the work), we added two honey bee hives to the farm.

    Cathi Clarke, Stoney Creek Farm Beekeeper

     Our two honey bee hives have taught us invaluable Life Lessons that we didn’t expect to Learn!  Here are some of those lessons:

    1. Ego is not important
      Everybody in the hive knows their job and they do it to the best of their ability for the good of the hive.  Yes, there is a ‘Queen Bee’, but she has a purpose, just like the rest of the hive.  So don’t let jealously about position or title in an organization make you discontent or unhappy…do your job to the best of your ability by making a difference in the world around you.
    2. Working together is essential
      A dissatisfied or weak bee colony will swarm (mutiny) from the hive or collapse (die).  So it is important for all the bees to support the hive, keep out the predators, and set up the colony for future success.
    3. Plan for the Future (to be sustainable)
      Since this is the first year of our two bee hives, Cathi is leaving the honey flow in the hives to support the bees for the coming winter.  Bees need to survive the winter, so food is essential.  She may have to supplement their food supply, if that amount of honey is not enough.  By leaving the honey flow, we will have stronger and more vigorous hives next year…THEN we can take a good bit of honey after the hive can sustain itself!
    4. Defend your family against outside forces
      Predators are notorious for killing honey bee hives.  Mites, beetles and wax moths are only a few of the evil forces that can kill the hive.  Bees are great at defending the hive against predators, but sometimes bee keepers have to help keep the hive safe as the number of predators grow.  Just like bees, sometimes we have to enlist help of others to keep our family safe and protected…so don’t hesitate to get the help you need.
    5. ‘Bee’ the best you can, for the time you are on Earth
      Depending on the role of the bee, some have lifecycles of only 3-4 weeks.  During that time, the worker bees are literally working as hard as they can to gather as much pollen for the hive as possible.  Their time on earth is limited and very important for the health of the hive and producing new replacement workers.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all looked at our lives with that kind of urgent purpose?

      So in conclusion, if we all lived our lives with the simplicity of purpose that bees use in their family (hive), we could improve our world …one day at a time.

    To read more of the fascinating Michigan State article (cited above), simply click this link    http://www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants/pollination/

    Olin and Leigh, Stoney Creek Farm

    Fall Gardens are pretty short lived, so you have to choose seeds that have a quick growing cycle. Otherwise, you can buy plants at the garden center to have bounty before frost.

    My favorite publication site is:

     https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Pages/default.aspx

    Just enter “Fall Garden” in the search bar and all sorts of relevant information will pop up.  Great site with great resources!

    Here are the seeds I plant for Fall:  turnip greens, kale, collard greens, lettuce, spinach, radishes, mustard greens and carrots.

    I plant them in a raised bed that we convert to Cold Frame (made with recycled old windows to let the sun in) when the weather starts to get cold and frosty.  I will share more about Cold Frames another blog.

      Dirt Rich

      Here’s the story of a couple who jumped off their corporate ladders into a small farm…finding a more peaceful and joyful life.  They want to share their journey with you, the difference it made in their lives and how you can live sustainably too, whether that’s in your backyard or on a few acres.

      Dirt Rich Reviews

      “In Dirt Rich, Leigh and Olin Funderburk lay out a beautiful plan for a simple, sustainable life style. Not one that strips the joy and beauty from life, but one that enhances those very characteristics. They guide us through their model of enriching their lives and those of the people in their community, and how you can do the same.”

      Dan Miller

      Dan Miller, New York Times Bestselling Author of “48 Days to the Work You Love”

       

      “Before making the jump to homesteading, you should definitely get the inside “dirt” on how to turn your dream into a profitable reality.  In this charming and insightful book, Leigh and Olin Funderburk, owners of Stoney Creek Farm, share their journey towards a sustainable lifestyle.  Teachers at heart, you will learn (and laugh) as they share what worked for them, and what didn’t, and the (sometimes surprising) lessons they learned along the way.”

      pic of Cindy

      Cindy Shapton, Herbalist, Speaker, and Author of the “The Cracked Pot Herb Book”

      “If you are interested in a practical guide to sustainable farming, begin with this book.  Nothing beats hands-on experience, and in Dirt Rich, Leigh and Olin Funderburk, owners of Stoney Creek Farm, effectively and succinctly share theirs.  Dirt Rich is one of those rare books that simultaneously stakes out an engaging read filled with useful, real-world content, one which is sure to have you out searching for a farm of your own!  I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a jump-start on the journey to sustainable living.”

      Clark Gaither

      Clark Gaither, MD, Bestselling Author of “Powerful Words”

      To get your own copy of “Dirt Rich”, simply click on the link below:

      Buy “Dirt Rich” Now

      Melinda Hadaway is a good friend and sustainable-minded gal who makes many of her own cleaning and personal products out of all natural ingredients.  I asked her to share some info on herself and the reasons she is living a more sustainable life…

      Melinda Hadaway

      I am currently a homemaker. I enjoy sewing, cooking ,gardening, and creating watercolor art. I am also passionate about healthy living….including exercise, healthy eating, healthy relationship building. My goal is to live to the age of 100 ( and beyond ) and do that the healthiest way possible. I am a wife, mother, grandmother and friend. I embrace simple , sustainable living. Above all I am passionate about living everyday to serve God, and put a smile on someone else’s face!  

      Maybe 5 years ago, I started being interested in sustainable, simple living. I guess mostly I was intrigued with the idea that I could make some of the everyday products that I use around the home using products that I had on hand or could purchase less expensively . I liked the idea that I could simplify my days and create a clean, chemical reduced environment . Honestly, I feel good about using more natural ingredients in and on my body as well as for cleaning. It began as more of a hobby and interest, and now I like the way we feel and hope it contributes to a long happy life. Hand sanitizer, hand soap, all purpose cleaner, shave cream, bathroom cleaner are some of the products I make. I have several more recipes I will try as time permits. They are easy enough for me to make. Once you get the basic ingredients it takes little time to put together.

      melinda hadaway toilet cleaner melinda hadaway shave cream

      It does save some money, but I think the best thing to do is weigh the cost: that means think about the amount of time you want to spend and the cost of purchasing the products.  If you can save time and money….homemade is good. 

      Sustainable Farm Conference at Stoney Creek Farm

      I went to the Stoney Creek Farm Sustainable Conference on April 14-15 this year.  I loved the fact that it was on an actual farm right here I the city I live in, and hosted by two amazing people my husband and I have come to love and appreciate .?  I learned a lot from the conference and here are a couple of “take aways” I got from the : herbs – so many more uses than I had known about before, the book is a great tool for reference.  (The Cracked Pot Herb Book by Cindy Shapton  www.cindyshapton.com).  Because I really like honey, the lecture on bee keeping from Jay Williams, Williams Honey Farm https://williamshoneyfarm.com/ was informative and interesting as well. 

      bee 3

      The most important reason I want to live and share my ideas with others about sustainable living (repurposing, recycling, taking care of the earth) is…for me it makes sense and it’s all connected: simple, more minimal living, creates space, I like to call it margin. You see, even though life is full for me and my husband right now we are not “busy” this life we live is full, full of happy times, simple living, and beautiful relationships because we have created that “space” we call margin.  And here are a few more…

      1. I want to share this with others because I want them to experience the same contentment we have found.
      2. I believe I have found a healthy balance in using natural products, repurposing items around the house. I don’t like to think that I will ever plan to go overboard in any one area just learn the balance and keep it simple. I have recently began reading Joshua Becker’s new book “The More of Less”. He is known for his becoming minimalist initiative . I would highly recommend this book as he explains how to find the life you want under everything you own. Less stuff to manage means more time to learn and share what God has blessed me with.
      3. Also, I find in the kitchen as far as cooking, using foods that are not processed, cooking more at home vs eating out, planning meals ahead( which I have been doing for 39 years), preserving herbs and other things I grow are among the things I do to keep us healthy and hopefully live longer .

      Melinda and I are kindred spirits about sustainable living.  If you would like more information about Melinda and how to contact her…see her card below:

      melinda hadaway business card