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naturaLiving is a blog where I share my opinions, ideas, and experiences on being one with nature, at peace with yourself and others, and the footprint we leave behind for the generations to come.


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Antique Washing Machine Planter

Posted by Jen on August 4, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)




Do you have a lot of old junk hanging around? Sometimes junk can be transformed into treasure! Today I'm going to show you how to turn an antique washing machine into a planter. I found this old washing machine that was left behind by my late grandfather and decided to turn it into something useful. The easiest and fastest way to transform any antique is to paint it, so that was the first thing I did! I found this beautiful blue exterior paint at our local Aubuchons and covered up the old look.




Before..................................................................After




Before..................................................................After






After the beautiful caribbean blue paint had dried, I filled the washing machine with dirt from our garden all the way to the top!





And planted some strawberries!





You can even use the lid as a stand for more plants or decorations! The old rusty washing machine has now been turned into a gorgeous planter and I am now waiting in anticipation for the fruit of my labor to grow.



Rhubarb Black Raspberry Crisp

Posted by Jen on February 16, 2015 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)



Topping

2c           Rolled Oats

1/2ts        Ground Cinnamon

1/4ts        Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea salt

2 1/2 Tb     Raw Honey or Maple Syrup

1/c          Unrefined Coconut Oil


Filling

2c           Rhubarb

2c           Black Raspberries

2Tb          Raw Honey or Maple Syrup

1ts          Ground Cinnamon

Pinch        Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt




We will begin with the filling. Take the rhubarb, black raspberries, honey, cinnamon, and salt and mix together in a 8" baking dish.






Spread it evenly on the bottom of the dish.





Now for the topping. Take the oats, honey, cinnamon, salt, and coconut oil.





Mix together in a medium sized mixing bowl, it will mix easier if you mash the coconut oil into the oats with the back of the spoon.





Spread evenly over the top of the fruit in the baking dish. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.





Serve and enjoy!!! It's just as good for breakfast as it is for dessert!



Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Posted by Jen on December 12, 2014 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)






One of my favorite winter treats is hot cocoa, but there are so many cocoa mixes on the market that are full of artificial flavors and preservatives that I prefer to make my own more healthy alternative. Here is how you can make my own homemade hot cocoa mix.







1 Cup            Organic Raw Sugar

2/3 Cup         Organic Cocao Powder

1/8 Ts             Pink Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt







Mix together all of the ingredients into a bowl with a cover or a regular size canning jar.







Cover the bowl and shake to mix all of the ingredients together.







Now you have your own cocoa mix, you can store it directly in the container that you used.







To make a cup of hot cocoa with your cocoa mix fill a cup with milk or water leaving a fingerwidth of space at the top. Here I used a 16oz mug. Heat the liquid in the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes or pour into a sauce pan and heat over the stove until it boils.







After the liquid is heated pour back into your cup if you heated it over the stove. Add 1 overflowing table spoon of cocoa mix per 8oz of liquid.







Garnish with marshmallows, soft peppermint candy, or a candycane.




Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Shake

Posted by Jen on August 25, 2014 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

This is one of my most favorite breakfast treats! It will fill you up and keep you going and it is soooo yummy!



Ingredients;



2 cups                 Milk

1 T                      Local Raw Honey

2 T                      Plain or Vanilla Yogurt

1                         Raw Cage-Free Egg

2 T                      Powdered Peanut Butter or Creamy Peanut Butter

2 T                      Cacao Powder

To taste               Unbleached Sugar


Optional:           

1 scoop              Vanilla or Chocolate Whey Protein Powder



Note: Always use organic ingredients that are as unprocessed as possible.





Pour milk into blender and then add the rest of the ingredients.





If you have a high-low button, like my blender does in the picture, set it on high. Blend on 'Grate' for a few seconds until it is all mixed together.





You can drink the whole thing for your breakfast meal or drink half with a meal.




Enjoy!




Make Your Own Scarecrow

Posted by Jen on August 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Whether for nostalgia, Halloween, or to really scare birds away from your garden, a scarecrow is a fun project!


Here is what you will need;


large straw hat

shirt

pants

needle and thread

hay

4-5ft stick for arms

7ft pole or taller

pole digger (you can do it without a pole digger but it would just make life easier if you had one.)





Here I have a pair of blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a sombrero from an old costume!


The first thing I'm going to do is sew all the holes closed, like the ends of the pants and the collar of the shirt. I will also sew the t-shirt to the jeans but leave a hole large enough in the back for me to get hay inside and for the pole to go up through.


I took the 6ft stick and put it evenly across from arm to arm in the t-shirt and sewed the arms closed around it. Once all of that was done I stuffed it with hay.





With the pole digger, I found a place near the garden and started digging a hole that was at least a foot deep.


I took the pole and inserted the top through the hole in the back of my scarecrow, now that the collar of the t-shirt is sewed shut it should sit rather nicely.


With the scarecrow on the pole, I put the bottom of the pole in the hole I dug and straightened up my scarecrow and then filled in the hole around the pole with dirt until it was steady. Be sure to step on the dirt around the pole to make sure it is firmly in place.





Once in place you can put the hat on top of the pole where the pole presses up against the t-shirt. You can secure it in place by using a couple saftey pins if you wish. Also, if you have any old gloves they would be a great addition to the ends of the stick to make hands!


And here, you have a trusty scarecrow to keep sigil in your garden day and night!!


Upcycled Futon Frame Project

Posted by Jen on August 11, 2014 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)




Today, I am going to show you how to take an old futon frame and turn it into a decorative plant stand.




Yet again, I have come across another piece of junk hanging around that I needed to give a new purpose. Look at it...just sitting there...distressing your eyes.




I began by covering the bottom with scraps of wood I had left over from other projects. You may have to cut them to size, I was lucky and found some that were the exact size I needed. If you get new wood, some hardware stores will cut the boards for you to the size you need if you don't want to do it yourself.




I filled the space with planters and garden statues and then I planted them with...dirt.




Just kidding, I planted wheat grass. Then I covered the empty space beneath the futon by placing old cinder blocks in front of it. Some day I may fill the holes with dirt and plant there as well.




For now, I just left them empty and painted over the ugly stains.




I took the bottom boards and painted them antique white and after they dried I replaced them on the base. I also wanted to fill in the empty space along the back, so I found some boards of random shapes and sizes to fit along the back of the futon and painted them a few different colors. Using gold spray paint, I painted inspiring phrases on them with a stencil. After the paint was dry I lined them up along the back of the futon frame to create a dramatic backdrop. TADA! A beautiful plant stand for your garden!


Dream big, live happy, hope always.


Presenting: The Backwoods Grove

Posted by Jen on August 4, 2014 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

You may have noticed the new link above to our sister site, The Backwoods Grove. The Backwoods Grove is a farm located in Windsor, VT where I and my family live. Until recently our farm never had a name, it was just 'home', where we planted our own garden and sometimes raised chickens or geese and played with our dogs.



(An apple tree at The Backwoods Grove and the site logo.)


When I was a child my grandfather and father did most of the caretaking and I took most of it for granted. I wasn't interested in gardening, the one time my grandfather had my sister and I plant our own plot in the garden it was all exciting in the beginning when we got to pick out what we wanted to plant and planted the seeds but when the weeding started we lost interest. We had much more important things to do;  like exercise my stick pony up and down the driveway and make a fort in between the lilac bushes. I remember playing house in cardboard boxes and sliding across the water slide on the lawn next to the kiddie pool. All much more interesting to a little kid than watching plants grow.


After I graduated high school in 2002, I got a job at a party store called Great Party while I tried to decide what I wanted to do with my life. When they closed the store in 2006, I was promoted to a Manager and sent two hours away to one of their outlet stores, called The Paper Factory. I moved into my own apartment and from there life just happened and my dreams got put on hold while I struggled just to make ends meet.



In 2012, a series of unfortunate events caused me to move back to my parents. In retrospect it seems to have been just what I needed to get my dreams back on track. If you had read about me on my About the Author page you might remember that previously I had written that having a garden was one of my dreams. The Backwoods Grove is that dream come to realization, a small farm that is growing every day.



While I had been away the farm fell into disrepair as my father struggled to work a full time job, over 40hrs a week, take care of everything at home as well as take care of my mother who is disabled. Since I moved back home I have slowly been helping put the place back in order and restarted the tradition of a family garden. I even plan on getting chickens next year just like old times.



Every Sunday we bring fresh produce and arts and crafts to the Windsor Farmers' Market and next year I plan on bringing them to other farmers markets. Go to our site to learn more about our products;





Make Your Own Toad House

Posted by Jen on July 28, 2014 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)



In an organic garden you don't want to use chemical pesticides. That's why attracting pest predators, like toads, is essential. A single toad can eat up to 100 bugs a night. Bugs like slugs, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, crickets and more. A good way to attract toads into your garden is by providing a place for them to rest during the day out of the sun like a toad house. Today I will show you how to make your own while at the same time repurposing an old frisbee.



You will need;

1 Frisbee

1 Plastic Plant Pot Insert

Red and White Paint (There are many non-toxic paints available with no VOC's, just do a quick internet search to find what works best for you.)

Glue Gun

Scissors

Sponge



First you will need to cut a semi-circle hole in the top of the plant pot insert. Make sure that it is big enough for a full grown toad to fit through, they can get pretty big. I made the hole in my pot to be about the size of a fist.



Next you will need the glue gun to glue the frisbee to the bottom of the plant pot insert.





After the glue has dried you can paint. The frisbee should be painted red, and the plant pot insert white. (I did this part a little backwards so you might find it easier to paint them before gluing them together.)





As the paint is drying, take the sponge and the scissors and cut out a circle about the size of a half dollar coin. After the paint has dried, take the circular sponge you cut out and dip it in white paint and press it to the red frisbee to make spots. Cover the entire frisbee in spots approximately an inch or two apart.





After the paint has dried you may now place the completed toad house in a nice shady spot near the garden to await any homeless toads that may wander by.




Bathtub Pond

Posted by Jen on July 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Do you have an old bathtub lying around and don't know what to do with it? No? Well who does really? We did apparently. One spring day while walking about our property I discovered this old bathtub. Obviously it wasn't being used for anything other than being an eyesore so I tried to think of a way to repurpose it. I needed a pond for my garden to attract pest eaters like frogs so I decided to use it as a frog pond. I found a spot close to my garden and measured out the size of the hole I would need. Then I grabbed a shovel and started digging...and digging....and digging...



I didn't find China down there but I think I was close. At one point I think I smelled fried rice. Once the hole was big enough for the tub to fit in I had to lower the tub into it. I pushed and pushed and pushed until...it didn't go anywhere. This thing probably weighed a ton because it was made of iron, so I got some help and we finally got it down. The plug was missing so I had to improvise with a rubber ball that I cut in half and shoved it firmly in the drain to keep water from leaking out.



I sorted through the dirt pile I had accumilated and filled the bottom of the tub with rocks. The remaining dirt I filled in around the tub and spread around evenly on the ground.



I made sure to keep the rocks on an incline to one side so that frogs could get in and out of it. Although I didn't quite have enough rocks to get it to the edge.



Later that week it rained and did some of the work for me. Half full of water already! I added wood chips around the edges and left just a bit of space to plant in. But I still needed more stones...



As I tilled my garden plots I found more rocks and finished filling the tub so that frogs could get in and out. I added more water and now I just have to wait. My sister's dog, Sasha, decided she wanted to be in the picture for an added cuteness factor.



It wasn't long before I had a vistor! Lots of pests are about to meet their doom!

Licorice Root

Posted by Jen on June 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)







Sweet Potatoes

Posted by Jen on June 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)







Poison Ivy

Posted by Jen on May 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)







Milk Thistle

Posted by Jen on May 11, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)







Walnuts

Posted by Jen on May 4, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)







Basic Natural First Aid Kit

Posted by Jen on April 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)







Internet Blackout Day

Posted by Jen on April 22, 2013 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)




This site is down for the day


of April 22, 2013 for


"Internet Blackout Day"


in protest of the Cyber Intelligence


Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).




Insomnia

Posted by Jen on April 20, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)







Hawthorn

Posted by Jen on April 13, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)







Black Tea

Posted by Jen on April 6, 2013 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)





Solar Power

Posted by Jen on March 30, 2013 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)






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