Aiming to keep my dirt-dwelling life simple, special and sweet

Moved Aboard Again

I've been away from this blog for a while. We spent just a bit over one year in our townhouse before we decided that we wanted to move aboard again.... which we have done! In November 2012, we purchased and began living aboard a 36 foot Catalina sailboat. We were able to rent our house, give all of our things away to friends or Goodwill, and  we rented a storage unit to store the things that we needed to keep. It's been great.

We've installed a composting toilet, we've minimized our belongings, and we're living simply again. I've started up another blog to chronicle our adventures and lifestyle this time around, should you want to keep up with us - Liveaboard Wife .

Thanks for following and reading and hope that you continue on with us!

Picture curtosey of

Good for the Earth and Us Linky Party

Here you can share one of your blog posts that tells how you are living simply, healthy and friendly - either aboard or on land. 

Growing Broccoli

Broccoli seeds are starting to sprout from my newspaper cups. I am also happy to report that my compost over the winter has turned into some really nice soil that I look forward to using in a raised garden bed this spring. It's good to know that I can just trust the compost to move along. Trust in nature... what a concept!

We brought our rosebush inside for the winter, and she has begun to bloom  :) The roses are very pretty and make for a lovely companion this morning. I like working on what I need to get done while taking a second to smell the roses. Makes for a nicer day.

Sprouting Seeds with Newspaper Cups

THANKS Making Lemonade for featuring this post at your linky party :) I do hope that spring is on it's way....

According to Sprout Robot, it's time to start growing broccoli indoors. My seeds have arrived, and I was lucky to find a great recycled way to sprout seeds indoors. 

Pinterest provided a link to Cottage Hill's Recycled Newspaper Pots. Four of them fit nicely into a closed container, which sits comfortably on my dining room windowsill. This is a super-easy, and resource-wise, activity for starting a spring garden. 

Start with taking one piece of newspaper.

Fold the piece of newspaper in half.

Use a canned good and lay it on the newspaper at one end. The can should be about an inch or so from the bottom edge. 

Roll the can until it comes to the end of the newspaper. Roll tightly, but lightly, because the can will need to come out of the roll easily.

Use one small piece of tape to secure the roll.

Like a present, fold in  each side of the bottom and tape. 

I made a few of these and placed them in a planter that I had in the kitchen. Four fit nicely. I put about 1 cup of organic soil in each cup (1/4 cup at a time), followed by a few broccoli seeds, and then an 1/8 cup of soil on top. The seed package called for 1/2 inch of soil to be placed on the seeds. 

I have many seeds left over from this package, so they will go up to Michigan to my sister. When I opened my seed box yesterday, my dad told me that I had enough seeds to grow food on acres.... he is taking a bunch home with him. 

Eddie is very proud of our garden start, so far....

...and I'm excited to see these first seeds sprout! Once they do, I can plant the newspaper cup along with the seeds. The newspaper is a good addition to a garden. For you smart gardeners, is there something different I can do to hold the newspaper together instead of tape? Or is it not a worry to plant with the tape?

Garden Planning

After I read Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, I yearned for a yard and a garden. At the marina where we docked our liveaboard boat, rules prohibited the display of anything on the docks. That meant no flowers or plants that could provide fresh food during the year. Luckily, a farmer down the road from us sold all that we desired, but having a garden of my own is something that I did want to do. Being back on land, the small yard that I do have will (hopefully) provide for us this year.

My friend, Jessica, began posting on Facebook about the veggie catalogs that she was already looking through and it began my interest in whether or not it was time to start thinking about what I needed to plant. I would like to merely supplement our fruits and vegetables this year with produce from the local famers' market because I will have grown more than enough here at home. I went online and ordered from Botanical Interests because of their wide selection of organic seeds.

In Kingsolver's book, the yearly growing calendar - the Vegetannual - is one that she refers to and used when she was living off of food developed within 100  miles of her home. During the year, certain vegetables and fruits are "in-season". It is a wonderful thing to buy and consume in-season produce because it helps to decrease the resources and costs associated with growing, transporting, and maintaining the goods. This is something I would like to work toward doing - not only to stay healthy but also to live more in accordance with nature. When I go to the store, I do think about how much it actually costs to bring strawberries all the way to Maryland in the winter... it's a lot, financially and resource-wise.

On Pinterest I was lucky to find Sprout Robot - a website which tells a person what to start planting and when based upon the growing location.  This has really helped me to start planning my garden. This week, it's time to start growing the broccoli indoors. My seeds arrived yesterday, and the broccoli has been planted.


In my morning affirmation book, Simple Abundance, today's entry said that the day should be budgeted as such.

8 hours = work
8 hours = whatever you want
8 hours = rest

Very, very simple, (and not always that easy) but I like it. Do we each take time for "whatever we want" each day? If not, how can we add more. Life isn't meant to be 100% about what we do - it needs to inlcude who we are and what we love.

Buying Local

My husband and I chose to go to a large local craft store (that starts with an "M") for a discounted framing cost of $458 but in return we received our print back, damaged. There is a long blue line that runs on the print (we assume it happened during the framing process). The manager couldn't do anything to help the situation as the corporation's damage and refund rules nicely protect the business.

Because the corporate policies are super tight (and well planned) the store manager sent us home with a loss of product and money. The manager we dealt with was abrupt, matter-of-fact, and it felt like she was very condescending - it was our problem, not hers. She told us that the print was damaged upon arrival, was recorded by personnel, but she would not show us or give us a copy. Wouldn't that evidence have shown us that she was right? We were really upset and within my husband's and my talk of "fighting the system" I realized a large lesson and it will change the way I do business in the future. 

Our intention to shop at a big store was to save money - to get a deal. Yet, we paid greatly for getting a few dollars off and the experience was less than thrilling. The manager didn't have to treat us nicely, and she didn't care to. The fact is that the M. arts and crafts store will survive with or without me as a customer. They'll probably survive with or without my mom, sister, and other very crafty friends. That's the result of big business - they're big and we're small.

I do believe that it's possible to choose to help instead of hurt when I feel wronged. From this experience I've decided that I can help by shopping locally in the future. Not just so I might be treated better, but the products and benefits of my patronage will be more positive. When I buy big business, where does my money go? It goes to the corporation, which leads to a few having big paychecks. When I buy local, the money goes to my fellow citizens and my community. Big businesses want my business, but my local businesses need me. 

For things like clothing, I have realized that buying local can be a challenge. There are little (if any) locally owned clothing stores in my community. Yet, I've lately been shopping at my local Vintage Values resale store, where the money collected goes toward a valuable community service.  In the past few months that I've bypassed the major stores and headed over to the resale shop, I've found not only great deals on real quality clothing but a sense of satisfaction because I know that my dollars are helping. Also, I realize that I'm decreasing my footprint here on our plante because I'm able to make use of products that have already been made, sold, and distributed. Nothing new had to be created with additional resources. Here's a little taste of what I picked up this past Friday (yes, in one trip). 

1. A nice silver tray for the coffee table ($10)

2. Sweaters for the upcoming fall and winter cold weather...

3. Slacks for work...

4. Shirts for work and at home...

My last trip to the resale shop cost about $90 for all of the clothes pictured above, three skirts, two pairs of jeans, and a few things for my husband. Pretty good deal. Included were brand name items from Ann Taylor, NY and Co., Banana Republic, Gap, and others.

I still shop on Craig's List for my home things, which helps local families. The people I've met (via buying their stuff) have been moving, redecorating, or trying to earn some extra money for important things. I've benefited by gaining the things I felt I needed for my home, and the sellers gain the money they need. And again, the transaction is without additional resources being used to produce or transport the product. I've listed my examples of great finds in a previous post, Convenient Shopping,  but here's the most recent and proof that one can achieve great things by shopping locally. 

New dresser for my dad's winter bedroom ($100)

 Cherry queen-size bed ($200) and rug ($60) for my dad's room

So, I'm turning lemons into lemonade and a disappointment into an opportunity. I will do my best to keep my money going to local businesses who need it and shopping in a way that decreases my footprint and prevents the additional use of resources. With the big businesses, their intentions involve making a profit. With local businesses, their intention is to make a living. That's a HUGE difference and it's one that I need to remember. The lady who runs the local fabric and quilting shop told me that she began her business because she loved quilting and she wanted to help people do it. I doubt that the big crafting stores would have the same type of answer.