Hear me laugh and roar?

A few weeks ago Erik with the Root Simple blog interviewed me for their podcast.

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We mostly talked about the road issue around here, which lead to some discussion of gender and expectations. We also talked briefly about gardening and art. It was really fun (and relieving) to have the opportunity to share my experience with an empathetic ear. If you have some free time, go on over and give it a listen! 

Also, I owe a huge thanks to Misti for making this happen, and to Erik for sharing my story. 

Homemade Bone Meal, a Crunch Feely How-To

We are a meat eating household, but after my long-term veganism I'm still not entirely comfortable handling meat. I also find myself extremely aware of meat use and waste. Bone broth is a natural follow-up to a meat heavy meal, and a great way to further value a meat purchase. It wasn't until last week though, that  during a bone broth making session, I had a huge DUH moment. Usually, after the broth, the bones would go in the trash. Rarely, if I'm especially organized and on top of hippie chores, I'd get another batch of bokashi going.

Why not take the bones and make bone meal for the garden?

I felt like it was great way to further honor the meat-eating choice we make. I'd see what the process is like and maybe add it to the arsenal of Permaculture approaches we use. The bones are high in calcium and phosphorous, so "waste" seemed to be a terrible fate for them. Plus they come out after a long broth simmer so much more brittle than before going in, so I figured it would be easier on the blades of the blender. 

One more way to use what we have. 

I looked homemade bone meal up on the internet, and apparently I'm not so brilliant. Lots of search returns came up. I followed the instructions on Chiot's Run since I've been reading her blog for a while and know she knows what she's doing. 

Here's the long and the short of it:

  • After making bone broth, separate the bones from the meat. I made another quick broth for the dogs to really clean the bones, but I think a quick rinse would be fine, too,  
  • Dry the bones in the oven on a low temperature. I think I did mine on about 200 F for about 2 hours, mixing them around in the pan once or twice to make sure they all dried. 
  • Throw them in a not-too-precious but hardworking blender, put the top on, and pulse away. I used the ice setting. It took a while to get them to powder form because these were wild hog bones and were stronger than chicken bones (which I find usually just fall apart after making broth). 

Grow Curious: A Gardener's Creative Activity Book by Gayla Trail and Davin Risk

It's hard to imagine my life without gardening. It's an activity I half-heartedly dabbled in through my early 20s, and after college, when I moved back to East John St, I became interested in learning to care for the plants my grandparents planted. I *think* I picked up Gayla Trail's book You Grow Girl t the now defunct Borders Books (RIP) and immediately absorbed it and the companion website. Gayla taught me just how to organically care for the greenery around and convinced me to try my hand at growing veggies!

I've followed her work ever since. To say she's formed and informed me is an understatement; her work has been instrumental in introducing gardening to new generations.

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Now Gayla, and her partner Davin, are working on a new project called Grow Curious. Check out their kickstarter and let's help get this new project off the ground! #growcurious

Homemade Witch Hazel

Sometimes I buy plants because I want to try my hand at using them for the mainstream product associated with the plant name. Well, maybe just one time I did that? I don't know how long ago I bought a witch hazel tree (H. vernalis), but I put it in a big pot when I got home and never got around to making the skin astringent I'd intended.

I {finally} put that sucker in the ground (it outgrew the pot a looong time ago--oops) and decided I should prune it a little. Since I had a branch I might as well make witch hazel, right?

After a few hours on the internet (over-research much?) I settled on the second set of instructions in this post.