Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

Archive for May, 2011

Boy in dress on rope swing and other photos

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Epic Rap about Mothering for my oldest son and all you Mums, because I’m cool like that.

Hey lil brotha, listen to this motha

I get rap.  I say- Yo.  I get rap.  It’s just a little poem with a lot of rhyming.

Boy- I get poems.  Son- I get poems.

I get rap.  I AM RAP!

Let me lay it down, so we’re on the same ground, listen to my story, it ain’t boring

Can I get a scritch scratch?

Scritch Scratch!

Take out the trash, check the butt rash.  I’m gonna plant a tree ’cause I’m green like that

and my neighbors APP says green’s the new black which makes me wanna rap ’cause I’m green like that.

Can I get a Hip-Hop?

Hip Hop!

I got myself some new Mum jeans at Wal-Wart because I’m poor like that.  They have got a wide elastic to hold in my Mum fat.  I’ll plug that.  Just 20 bucks and they survived hot at the laundromat.

Boy look at me hit that rhyme, lay on the mic, double time.

My mind is a strange and exuberant place to be

Even I have trouble keeping up with me

Imagination Wild and Free

Can I get a Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeen?



Sunny Night

Darling, it’s a sunny night with all the stars burning up like favors

you and I, heads back laughing like new lovers

candle light and body heat

days of rain settling down like dew

into the earth which will steam when it’s sunny

human children are hard to please

you say half asleep

smelling like soap and dirt

I agree

you breathe in rhythm with night

The gift horse of video games, parenting boys

Once upon a time I bristled at video games.  6 years and 3 sons (and a husband) later and I have a video game shack in the yard.

I’m okay with this.  Really.  When Mr.T set out to build the man hut I was truly offended, I mean, after all we have a ton of stuff we need working on in the yard.  Do we really need 100sq foot cabin with loft?  The answer is yes.  I love the Hide Out.  It’s my favorite room in the house.  But I rarely go into it.

This is where weapons are sent, noisy toys go to die and where my trifecta  snuggles into blankets, busts out the popcorn and gets into LEGO video games.

The oldest is particularly die hard in his gaming love, but I know it is just time before the others follow suit.

The following is the genius of Mr. T and is working so very well I need to brag.

Labor = video game minutes.

Coach Rapper will do anything for video game time.  He comes and ASKS me if there is any thing he can do.  He takes out the compost AND washes it down and returns the pail to the counter.  The play loft has never been cleaner!  He picked up wood for Mr.T ALL afternoon.  He cut grass.  He is the garbage and recycling patrol.

And we are stingy.  2 minutes, occasionally 5 minutes or more offered.

For example- I have a standing offer for 30 minutes of screen time for picking up a wheelbarrow full of rocks from the yard.  He has accepted the offer, but he is only about 10% done.

So step back for a second.

He is counting ALL the time amounts up.

“So if I pick up all the playmobil I’ll be at 47 minutes?”

We’re too broke to pony up for allowance.  And 2 minutes of gaming is a WAY bigger incentive than 25 cents!

And, the best part?  I would have let him play anyway.

*note- this method does not work on ornery 3 yr olds.


Mid May Photo Gallery

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Never take your dishwasher for granted

We all had baths/showers today.  The kids all smelled great for about 20 minutes, as soon as we got home they had a swim in the pond in the garden.  Now that it is hot out, we’re just going to keep Coach Rapper at home for the summer.  He’s too dirty for school anyway.
We’ve been working hard on all the free things we can do around the property.
Main projects include:
moving a ton of lumber so it doesn’t rot and so the propane truck can come up the hill
#3 proofing everything- I swear that this is about 3-4 weeks worth of work
garden prep

Tonight while I did dinner clean up, #3 lounged on the kitchen table for a good 30 minutes.  Well, actually alternating between crowing and lounging.  He is becoming such a mountain boy.  The other day he walked up and down the “old road”.  Which was about 20 minutes of hard core hiking, for a baby.  He walks easily up to the garden site and down.  Doesn’t seem that far, except- 2 short weeks ago I was short of breath walking up the garden site.

I’ve been tearing out all of the thimble berries and black raspberries from in front of the yurt, with a pitch fork, rake and shovel.  I have a serious of Kitchen Garden garden beds going terracing down the hill with some stairs dug in now.  It’s been my Work Out(doors) for the last 2 weeks and I can definitely tell the difference in my upper body strength, especially when shovelling rocks.  I’ve had to halt progress on Magician Creek in the upper garden ever since my promise to Mr.T that I wouldn’t mess with the gravity fed lines.  And I really like having water in the yard.

A lot.

Now I am dreaming about an outgoing grey water hose for the sink.  It just sounds so luxurious to not have to take and dump the grey water when doing dishes.  We ran out of paper plates yesterday, so tomorrow I really have to get into gear with figuring out a sink set up.  I have the sink- the hose- an rv pump, a very large blue water barrel and a small propane on demand water heater.  I need a faucet.  Probably some fittings.

Oh yeah, and some mad plumbing skillz.  Which I don’t have.  But might in a couple days.  I hope.

Today we burned 3 large piles of brush right below the Kitchen Garden and the Bird Tree.  It really is opening up the “front yard” a ton.

Tomorrow we also need to get the washing machine going.  We’ve got about $20 worth of laundry and well, I hate the laundromat.

I’ve got the Evil Wizard and #3 in the van and there are starting to be protest noises, and I’m not willing to risk someone waking up.

Until next time- enjoy your dishwasher for me.  Never take it for granted.

“Just pull it in half and suck on it”; Ginger Beef with Curried Veggies

And so I did.  Tentatively at first. Nothing.  I filled my lungs and sucked for all I was worth, afraid my throat would fill with a choking gush.  I pulled away.  Nothing.   Then.  There. It. Was.

Water.  My water.  Sweet, clear, cold, quick water.  I laughed at the cleverness of myself.

I have scars for this water, don’t give me water?  I’ll find my own dam water! I crowed to myself.  I was beginning to think my survival instincts were a little more fine tuned than I had previously thought.  My pond is doubling, tripling in size.  My garden is erupting around it. Water drips down newly exposed rocks and roots washing away clay and pebbles to the pond below.  Unpretentiously moss blooms puddled gently among the stones.

Later the same day the water is still not flowing.  I can’t get the gravity fed to work properly, even though everything looks the same to me as when Mr.T sets it up.  I admit it is the third time I have taken it out.  I like to dig.  What can I say?

I am making a public promise to not take out the water line so I can dig there.  There are lots of other places to dig.

Dammit, and I was feeling soooo goooood and sooo cocky about my mad water skillz.

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BBQing last night was an epic fail.  I made a propane fire in the BBQ.  After I had burned off the grill I returned to find the third knob blown off the BBQ and opened it to find one of the burners had dropped down, I am assuming from the heat?  And fire was pouring out of it because it was stuck ON.  I ran up the hill calling calmly for Mr.T to run down and fix things.

Later he asked what the first thing to do when having a problem with a gas sourced appliance.


No.  I did not turn off the propane tank when I ran away worried it might explode.

I should complain about him less.  He is pretty useful.

I’ve enclosed some shots of the Yurt on the day we arrived.  Things are looking pretty different now, I’ve moved the kitchen around and it’s much greener.  I’ll post new pics as soon as I pick up the box of stuff we left behind when we moved from the Bus Station in Nelson.

The cool of the morning is now respite from the heat of the day.  It takes until mid afternoon for the Yurt to heat up, and then the warmth of the hot afternoon sun is a gift for the cold mountain night.  This morning I could see my breath in bed.  This afternoon I sunburned my shoulders.

Despite having just a single burner on a Coleman stove right now (need to go harass Wild Bill soon) and a cooler I feel like I’ve been making fantastic food.

Ginger Beef

1lb cooked roast beef cut into thin strips.

Pan fry in a 2tbsp butter until well browned.

Add a couple knuckles of finely grated ginger; I use a rasp.

2 good sloshes of Tamari.  A glop of honey.

Serve to admiring crowd.  Everybody (as in all 3 kids too!) loved this.

Curried Veggies

Again, 2 tbsp of butter in the frying pan with a bit of grated ginger to make the air fragrant.

2tbsp Thai Kitchen Mild Green Curry Paste (hey, busy mama here!)

1 family sized sweet potato- peeled and sliced in rounds- pan fry in the butter, ginger and curry paste until toasty brown.  Flip.

top with 1/2 a large cauliflower, cut into pieces

cook until veg’s soften, turn heat down

add a dash of Tamari, 2tbsp peanut butter and 1/2 cup of heavy cream.

Top with chopped fresh cilantro.

Mmm.  His Lordship, whom by formal request will henceforth be known as The Evil Wizard (way more fitting anyway) wouldn’t try it but Coach Rapper and #3 loved it.

I added cashews, but those were not well received by my taste testers.