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Friday, May 27, 2016

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Growing Healthier Fruits and Vegetables - Just like "they" did before the soil was strip mined

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I moved and started my current garden 9 years ago. All of the top soil had been removed from our property and my soil was 100% clay subsoil. It was a struggle to get anything to grow, but I was determined to improve my soil naturally.

The first 7 years were hard. Really hard... Crops struggled, not even weeds would grow, and the digging was intense. When I grew root vegetables, I had to dig them out all the way to the bottom or they would break.
Cherries are forming on my Northstar Cherry tree...isn't it a beautiful thing?

Insects decimated my crops. Blights, infections, viruses. I'm telling you these plants suffered.

But I was determined to do it naturally....

Each year, I added compost, manure, leaf mould, organic mulches (pine straw, hay straw, shredded maple leaves, and cocoa bean mulch mostly). Each year the carrots and beets were easier to dig out. But I still had to dig. It wasn't until I started using Fish Rich Fertilizer that I started to get real growth and quality produce.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't understand why and I turned my direction toward "sustainable" gardening and started ONLY using products I could source on my own property. I had the worst garden year ever. The tilth of the soil had improved considerably but the growth and quality of the plants was at it's worst and the insect pressure at it's highest. Years of organic material had made the soil quite workable and almost "soil-like" but it was still infertile.

It was around this time I first read The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient Dense Food. This book was an eye opener. The author, Steve Solomon had tried to get most of his diet from his organic garden and he became unhealthy. His teeth came loose! When he ate conventionally grown food full of pesticides...but full of minerals....his teeth tightened up (not US grown food, he was in another country at the time, in a mineral rich valley.) You'll have to read it for yourself to get the full story. I rented this book from the library and later bought it because of all the great information contained within.
Chives are one of the most gorgeous edible perennials.

Why did his teeth start falling out? Because his soil was not well mineralized. Yes it was full of organic material....but there is so much more to the story. Any good book on "real food" or holistic gardening will tell you that you don't feed plants, you feed the soil. We are soil farmers.

I thought that meant providing the soil with plenty of organic materials to feed the microbes. It does, but it means more than that. It means getting the fungal relationships right. It means having the right mineral balance. That's hard. At least at first, but there are pretty good shortcuts to doing a mostly good job, versus having perfection. If you want perfect, then read Steve's book and do some googling about fungal/bacterial dominance in plants to get your environments right for the plants you grow.

But if you are okay with "good enough" then here are the  cheats I use - If it is a tree, it is most likely to be fungal dominant. If it is an annual vegetable, it is most likely to be bacterially dominant. If it is a fruiting shrub or bramble - it will be a mix of the two.

What does that mean?

It means if you are growing something that requires a higher bacterial biome, then you will give it more compost, less bulky organic/forest like mulches. If it in need of fungi, then you will replicate the forest environment and provide it with fallen leaves and other forest materials to provide the right diversity.
Rhubarb I grew from seed last spring. Sharing space with garlic and black raspberries.

Here's an example. I have been growing blueberries for 9 years. I have fought with them for 5. They struggled to hang on, even when I had the pH right and babied them like crazy. Then....I started mulching them with pine straw. Something about that pine straw (which I sourced from multiple locations) created the fungal situation those plants needed and now they grow like they were always meant to be here.

Pulling back that pine straw reveals nice dark, rich earth teaming with life. And the blueberries are happy.

I compost into the garden directly and I reserve my composting behavior for my annual vegetable beds. Why? Because most of my compost materials are food scraps or green garden waste - those are bacterially dominant.
Asparagus growing on the edge of my forest with raspberries
I treat my raspberries like forest dwellers that occasionally step out into the prairie - lots of maple and oak leaf mulch, straw, and occasional compost.

Things improved greatly.

But this is the first year I have put Steve Solomon's mineralization into action. I did not do soil tests or any of the difficult calculations in his book. I would like to, but I still have this overall belief that gardening should be easy and free. It has never worked out that way, but I still believe it....

So I have modified his recipes to fit my gardening needs.

Last fall I added a few buckets of llama manure - well composted  - see about that here.
Then I added this mix to all my planting areas early this spring to remineralize my soil and feed the microbiome below.

1/4 cup of this mix per established plant or 1 1/2 cups per 30 sq ft.

1 quart blood meal
1 quart bone meal
1 quart sea kelp
1 pint gypsum

Gypsum provides calcium and sulfur, blood provides nitrogen, bone provides phosphorus, and the sea kelp provides a plethora of micronutrients like iodine and other trace minerals.

Steve's book asserts that plants may get diseased or eaten by pests because that is the role of pests and disease. To rid the world of the unfit; unhealthy plants get destroyed so they can not reproduce. It kind of makes sense. I am going to put that theory to the test.

This mix should revitalize my soil (over time of course) and I should have stronger, healthier plants as a result. I will keep this post updated.

Currants waking up in early spring.
I still add straw mulches, leaf mould, manures when I can get them, and composted yard/kitchen waste.

This year is the first year I have seen rabid worms in any area but the blueberries (mentioned above as arriving after the pine straw).

Digging through the soil was easy and rewarding, and almost gross (because of how many worms were found!)

For the first time ever, weeds popped up in my garden this spring. Lots of them. I am hopeful this will represent great fertility.

Delicious Recipe Ideas for Leftover Crab Meat

Delicious Recipe Ideas for Leftover Crab Meat

When you find a good deal on crab meat, no one would blame you for buying in bulk. All you need is a little clarified butter and some lemon juice to make a dish that will make everyone in your family rush to the dinner table. While some people think that there is no such thing as too much crab meat, you might find that you have a few pieces leftover that no one wants. Instead of trying to reheat that meat in the microwave the next day, find delicious recipe ideas for using that extra crab.

Hot Crab Dip

Crab lovers just can't get enough of this delicious dip, which features a rich combination of cheese and crab. The basic recipe is so simple that you might find yourself making it for every party you throw. Toss the leftover crab meat in a large bowl with softened cream cheese. Add a tablespoon of mayonnaise and a small handful of your favorite cheese. Pour the mixture into an oven-safe pan, scatter more cheese over the top and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese melts and the dip warms through.

Bacon Wrapped Crab

This recipe works best with lump crab meat and the larger pieces that you might have leftover. Chop the crab meat into equal size pieces. Wrap each piece of crab with a slice of bacon. Use a toothpick inserted through the sides to secure the bacon to the crab. Bake the delicious little bites at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the bacon is crispy on the outside and the crab is warm. Make this appetizer even more delicious with a mixture of garlic and olive oil that you brush on the bacon before baking.

Crab Rangoon Appetizers

Crab Rangoon is a classic dish found in many Chinese restaurants, but most of those restaurants just use cream cheese and some spices wrapped in dough without using any real crab meat. To make an even better version at home, mix one pound of crab meat with spices like Worcestershire sauce, garlic, parsley, onion powder and ginger with eight ounces of cream cheese and two tablespoons of chopped green onions. Place the mixture in prepared phyllo or puff pastry cups until hot and bubbly. The next time you find a great deal on stone crab claws for sale, keep some of these delicious ideas in mind for your leftovers.

Effortless Zipper Repair for Workout Gear w/ FixnZip Review

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A while back I received a new product to review called the FixnZip.  I looked at the product in awe. Do you know how many jackets, jeans, and sweatshirts I've used as scraps because their zippers failed?

But....once I received the Fixnzip, there was not a zipper to be repaired. It's not that I wanted my things to break....but I needed to give the product a solid try!

And then it happened. My winter jacket's zipper sort of broke. The stop at the bottom of the teeth fell off and the somehow the lower teeth became bent. There was no way for the zipper pull to fit on the bottom half and make it up the tracks to close the zipper. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The Fixnzip was able to make the zipper work - but in this case crudely because the lower portion of the jacket still couldn't zip and would eventually unravel itself up the top. It still allowed me to use my jacket and make it through the rest of winter.

The idea is genius and simple. I am going to replace the jacket zipper but I'm holding on to the FixnZip so I can solve any other zipper mishaps that come my way.

I received a free FixnZip for review purposes. No compensation was received. This article may contain affiliate links.

I haven't washed my hair in 3 months, worn deodorant in 7 months, and I wear period underwear!

This post chronicles my experiments with going natural - no shampoo, no conditioner, no maxi pads, limited tampon use, no deodorant, cutting my own hair. Read on if your interested in finding out what happens when you stop BUYING commercial products. This post may contain affiliate links.

I recently read an advertisement from the early 1900s that encouraged women to get out and buy xyz shampoo because it would make you "popular." How ridiculous is that!!??? But, of course, advertising was new at the time and people believed what they read.

And that is how the personal care industry was born. Personal razors, shampoo & conditioner, deodorant, perfumes, maxi pads, etc.

Body odor and cleanliness have been issues since the beginning of time, but people had ways to take care of it. They didn't need the commercial products and in many ways they cause more harm than good.

So last November (2015) I started experimenting with the "old ways" of personal hygiene and have been surprised at the results.

Let's start with deodorant. You can click here and here to get more of the story. The bottom line is this - I tried charcoal, coconut oil, essential oils, and magnesium chloride. All of them worked until they didn't. They all had pros and cons.

When I got frustrated and said - "to hell with it" and tried regular deodorant for a day (Secret antiperspirant) I could taste metal in my mouth within a half hour. And I was back to the drawing board.

I have been using Magnesium hydroxide for the past 4 of the 7 months that I've been "deodorant-free". It works great. But there are tricks.
My milk of magnesia deodorant set-up

#1 - only buy MgOH2 (good old milk of magnesia - MOM) that does not contain bleach. I have found it at Walgreens (for expensive) and at SuperValue or Amazon for cheap. Dollar store MOM contains bleach.

#2 - Shake your MOM and put it in a separate container. Refill as it gets low.
Your paintbrush will get "cakey". Wash it every once in a while.

#3 - Use a paintbrush to paint the MOM onto your underarms.

#4 - Make sure your underarms are clean and DRY before applying.  MOM will "mask" some smell but if you are not clean things can go down hill quickly. If your arms are not dry, it will slide right off.

#5 - Put your MOM on FIRST before doing anything else. Then do your hair and make up, dress your bottom half. Basically - allow it to mostly dry before getting dressed or it will end up on your clothes and not your skin where it is needed.

That's it. It actually, really works. This is the bleach-free Milk of Magnesia on Amazon.

By the direction of this post, you may have guessed that I don't shower daily. I found that showering every day dries my skin out and makes it red/itchy. So I shower every 3rd day - and I only wash my armpits and groin with soap, everything else is water only. I wash my face with water and a microfiber cloth. I wash my armpits in the morning on their own with a microfiber cloth. I am a sweaty, sweaty beast. Always have been, always will be....

That brings us to washing hair. Shampoo washes the dirt AND oil out of your hair. Your scalp makes oil for a reason. Maybe you think your scalp makes too much oil? Maybe you've been lead to believe that because somebody wants you to buy shampoo....

Conditioner puts the moisture back into your hair that you just stripped out with shampoo.

So I decided not to use them anymore and see what happens. My hope was that my hair would stop being so damaged and broken.

The last time I used shampoo and/or conditioner was February 9, 2016. Today is May 10, 2016.

Now.....if you decide to follow this road, be aware that the first 3 weeks are grease monkey city. My hair was horrible. HORRIBLE!! I wore ponytails and hid. But I was determined to see this through.

Like anything, there are tricks to make this work.

#1 - Buy a boar's bristle brush. When your head looks a little greasy, just brush through it with a boar's bristle brush and it will redistribute the oil to the lower sections of hair. This is why people in the "old days" would brush their hair 100 strokes each night. It really does take 100 strokes sometimes. As a bonus, boars bristle brushes are pretty awesome for brushing your skin (to improve lymph flow, cellulite, etc.) Double duty products are awesome. And these cost about $6 or $8.

This is the brush I use because it's soft enough to use on your body and hair.

#2 - Wash your hair with plain water (when you're in the shower) about once a week. I do it every other shower, so about once every 6 days, give or take.

#3 - Be ready for the worst hair of your life if you go swimming. can bounce back without using shampoo or conditioner. You will need to rinse and soak and brush your hair like crazy. I went to Mexico over spring break and swam in the ocean. I looked like a zombie the whole vacation. When I got home I soaked in a tub of plain water for a few hours and I combed my hair over 400 times. But within 3 or 4 days I was back to good.  Alternatively, you could just wash with shampoo during your vacation/swimming excursions and then go through the 3 to 4 week grease monkey period again.

#4 - Your hair texture might change. I have found that I am growing new hair - especially around the top of my hair. My hair feels thicker and looks thicker. Maybe it is breaking less? I have always been a hair shedder and I still shed hair, but maybe less? That's hard to calculate. I seem to have less split ends, but I am also cutting my own hair regularly now....

My daughter's hair has taken on a wave (she is on month 2 of no hair washing, she was on the swim team prior to starting so we had to wait until she finished the season.) Her hair is shinier, but also a little stinky. I have not noticed a "stink" with my hair. Her hair smells strongly of "scalp." She probably needs to rinse more often and/or do a better job of rinsing. Everyone is different.

Here is a before and after shot from when I cut my own hair - it was taken 2 months into the whole no washing deal so it gives you and idea of what my hair looks like sans washing. And by the way....if you have straight, no layers hair - you can easily and quickly cut your own hair. It takes me less than 3 minutes and it's FREE. This is a good hair cutting tutorial and the method I use:

All you need is a sharp scissors, a brush,  and a pony tail binder.
Before the haircut and without brushing.

After the self-haircut and using boars bristle brush
I realize I "barely" cut any hair off - but that's what I pay for at the salon too. I cut off what I feel like at the time.

No products, no shampoo, no conditioner, Just WATER.

Then there is female products for that time of the month.....

This is about to get TMI. Turn away if you can't handle the bloody truth. Suffice it to say, I have had 10 day periods of death for the last 6 years. I went to the doctor. I got to experience the wand of glory....and all for naught. They could not find anything wrong with me.

They offered me birth control and I told them to shove it. I have never been back to the doctor and I never plan to again.

Those 10 days include a lot of blood. Like 8 super tampons a day quantity. It's the bomb. So I started researching how to get that crap to stop. The only two possible solutions were stinging nettles and raspberry leaf tea. I happen to be a forager and nettles are something I am familiar with, so I started adding them to my diet.

I grew them in the house and ate them over the winter. I have now had 3 months of only 7 day periods. 7 days you say!!!!? For me that is a godsend. And only 2 of the days or bloody days of doom. The rest are "light."

My raspberry bushes are just coming alive now, so I will be experimenting with "raspberry leaf tea" over the summer. If it works well, then I'll be drying some leaves for winter.
My first cup of raspberry leaf tea - YES, it's GREEN! And it tastes like green tea. Good, not overpowering.
A note about the nettles.... I started out eating a few leaves every day. I was growing them in the middle of winter with low E windows, so their foliage was slow and sparse. Eventually, I started mixing them in with copious amounts of spinach to round out the meal. Then I moved the nettles outside so they would grow better and as they adjust to the transplant shock, I have been eating only spinach. How much? Half a bag once a week. I cook it by steaming in a tsp of water.

The spinach seems to be doing the trick without the nettles and perhaps dark leafy greens are their own cure, regardless of variety.

But as I was focused on my menstrual cycle, I started thinking about pads and tampons. Why? Because I think they suck. They are wasteful and they stink (literally!) I always feel stinky after my 10 days of doom and I thought "there's got to be a better way. Before I get into the products/results - I have to stop and let anyone that has a vaginal odor know that apple cider vinegar and magnesium chloride (mixed with water and sprayed onto the area - also called magnesium oil, though it's not an oil) does an amazing job of remedying the problem naturally.

ACV can be found at your local store but MgCl might be harder to find. This is the MgCl I mix with water to make "magnesium oil."

But I no longer need to use magnesium chloride or apple cider vinegar for smell - because I no longer use maxi pads....

Something about them either changed my ph, gave me an infection, or otherwise harbored a nasty smell.

What I use instead are.... period underwear. I made 2 pair of my own and I bought 2 pair of Thinx.

The ones I made are super absorbent - 3 super tampons absorbent (I tested them with water!) The thinx can hold 1 super tampon. The ones I made feel and look a little diaper-ish. I wear them at night. They are the bomb. I never have to change my sheets, pajamas, underwear, pad... you name it, in the night anymore.

The thinx underwear look and feel like real/normal underwear. They really rock. BUT they only hold one super tampon - max - and I have some multi super tampon days (I tested the thinx with water before using them too!)

And they are expensive - $34 or more for one pair of underwear. (If you buy them through this link, you will get $10 off and free shipping.)

With my 2 homemade pair and my 2 thinx, I am able to make it through my new 7 day cycle with only 2 or 3 super tampons. Remember, I used to be an 8 a day kind of girl with loads of super maxis included. Maybe 20 or more maxis plus 8 super tampons? And lots of leaking. And lots of mess. And lots of stink. Oh...and lots of garbage.

I wash the underwear every day - first thing in the morning. I have a family of 4 so I can do a load of laundry every day without issue. Some days I wear 1 pair, some days I have to wear 2 pair during the day (changed like a pad in the middle of the day, with tampons, and then I wear my homemade underwear at night.

I can't show you MY homemade underwear because they are "USED" but I can show you the two pair I just made for my daughter. She has about 3 or 4 years until she needs them but I was in the making mood and thought I'd get them done while I still felt like sewing.
The underwear were bought on ebay for 99c (with free shipping!) and are waterproof and were brand new. (FYI - if you order period underwear on ebay you will get size xxs no matter what size you choose. The reds were M and the purple were XL. They are both xxs - size 12 girls - just be aware!)
 I sewed an absorbent liner into the center and up the back, because we all know blood goes up the back at night!

Here's a look at what went inside.

A terry cloth towel with 3 extra layers at the crotch. One terry ellipse (scrap from cutting out the main shape) sandwiched between two layers of microfiber towel.
 This was then overlain with a merino wool layer (old sweater I accidentally shrunk in the wash...)
 All the parts laid out and ready to sew.
I do not own a serger so all my edges are rough. They do fray a bit but do not unravel. I have been using mine for 3 months and they have held up well. Mine have an extra terry cloth layer (full length) because I have heavy periods. I anticipate hers will be lighter and these may be overkill but being able to sleep without worry of leaks is priceless.

I also ordered her 2 pair of xs thinx panties to wear at school (using this link to save $10) and 2 pair of the red 99c waterproof pairs for her to wear on super light or "maybe my period will start today" days. I can always add extra layers if needed.

All of my homemade underwear were made from my old underwear and stuff I had around the house - sweater I shrunk, dish towels I hadn't yet used, and a microfiber yoga towel I hardly used.  I could really use one more pair of thinx and another homemade pair. I am waiting for the arms to wear out of one of my wool sweaters to use it in making another pair.

I hope to never go back to disposables again. Of course, since my flow is so heavy, I do still use 2-3 super tampons each cycle. Maybe that will end once I get going on the raspberry leaf tea....

What I've learned from this whole ordeal is that alternative methods can work - sometimes better than the "traditional ways." Sometimes they are more work but worth it because of the chemicals excluded (like aluminum in deodorant). They sometimes save money, usually save on garbage creation, and it feels kind of right to be living more like the way we were made. Of course, people wouldn't have put magnesium hydroxide on their skin in the past - but they did go in the ocean - which is full of magnesium - and they did use baking soda, vinegar, essential oils and charcoal.

My next foray will be into oral health. I still have a lot of charcoal left and would like to get away from the chemicals in toothpaste if possible.

Please leave comments on things you have used/tried/gotten rid of in your life.

Spring Garden Update May 2016

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A few solid rains and some sunny days have brought the garden alive - and the forest! I was able to try out two new wild foods this week - ramps and mustard garlic. 
Wild Ramps - harvested sustainably
I also located wild currants and found wild blueberry bushes for the first time since my childhood - of course the blueberries are not nearby, but gave me hope that I can find them on other excursions. The currants are an easy bike ride away.

Now....onto the garden.

First the bad news - my transplanted asparagus appears to have died. All of my forest plots have put up asparagus and I have eaten two meals from them thus far. The garden plot is in a warmer area with better soil and there have been no signs of life. Sad....
Grow asparagus - grow!

Also: one gooseberry, one grape, most of my strawberry transplants and one new blueberry bush appear to have died.
Squirrels and rabbits ate half of my tulips...
The good news....the forest asparagus is performing better than ever and we have weeds in the garden! Wow! Weeds totally suck, but I have never had them before. My soil is like cement. It's super hard clay and I have been trying to improve it (organically) for the last 8 years. It is now able to produce weeds and I take that as a sign that things are going in the right direction.

The Blueberry dissection went well this winter and both halves of the plants are growing as if they had never been cut.
Blueberry that survived being divided in half
The currants and honeyberries all sprung to life and are growing (slowly, but still growing).
Honeyberries starting to form
Currants in early spring
I found new strawberries at my neighbors to transplant into the area where I accidentally suffocated the others (too much straw mulch....)

My seedlings are growing well and are getting hardened off to be transplanted:

I have chives, walking onions, meadow garlic, and china stripe garlic growing all over the place and they look and grow great!
walking onions

walking onion

onion chives, garlic chives, and china stripe garlic
chives transplanted to a pot
Rhubarbs is growing slowly but surely.
The cherry tree survived the winter and was loaded with blossoms and bees. Maybe it will make cherries this summer?

I also bought a real tree for the inside of the house:
I am excited for the growth to come....

Soil blocking for starting seedlings

This year I started all my seedlings in soil blocks. I mixed up my own "mix" based on a few recipes I found around the web.

I used a 5 gallon bucket and made the mix using "parts" measured with an old drink pitcher.

I mixed up:

3 parts peat
2 parts sand
2 parts compost
1 parts soil
1/2 cup gypsum
1/2 cup all purpose organic fertilizer (I used eco scraps "rose food")

Using a 5 gallon bucket was great for mixing, but not so great for creating the blocks. It would be better in a flat - wide container like a kitty litter box.

But - in all, it was easy to mix up and make the blocks - as long as you are okay with "less than perfect." If you are a perfectionist, it will take you longer to make them perfect and it might be a frustrating endeavor.

As of this writing, I have transferred one set of blocks to the garden - the sunflowers - and they transplanted like a breeze! There was no fighting the soil out of the container, no breaking apart, no mess. I just dug a hole, put the block inside, and covered it up. It was so nice and easy.

I imagine this will provide a lot of extra care for the hard to transplant seedlings like squash and melons.

However....all was not a rosy day in the sun. The blocks dried out like crazy. I had to put greenhouse covers over my containers. Since I only had 2, one of my containers dried out considerably and was delayed in germinating by over 2 weeks.

Germination was great for some plants and spotty for others. I always have trouble germinating melons, squash, and ground cherries. There was no change in the blocks. They took the same long time as usual. I also had some damping off - as I normally do in my smaller seedlings (like basil.) You must spritz the top in the beginning and that was tough on those seedlings. Once they grow roots (and they will!) you can water from the bottom and everything works so much better.

Some of my blocks that took forever to germinate started to break apart. I tried to put them back together but they were not solid as before - of course, these were melon blocks which are already a difficult crop for me.

Hardening off was really easy - I just take the whole tray out and leave them outside. I used to carry individual pots. Also, there is no garbage to throw out! No tags, no pots, no nothing. I will reuse the jiffy pots (I got these in the recycle rack for free at Lowes) and never have any plant packaging waste.

I used the 2" blocks for every seedling - even little bitty basils and ground cherries. They worked great. Maybe smaller blocks would have been better for the small plants, but the big ones do work.

I will definitely do it again next year - but will be prepared with covers for all the plants until they germinate.

Weight Loss

Friday, May 6, 2016

Millions of people are looking for natural ways to lose weight. Regardless of what your diet looks like, you will hit a plateau at some point. Dietary supplements can make it easier to shed fat and reach your fitness goals. If you work out regularly, CLA is a good choice. This naturally occurring fatty acid increases metabolism and promotes weight loss while preserving lean muscle. It can be found in meat and dairy, or used in supplement form. 

What Is CLA? 

Conjugated linolec acid (CLA) belongs to the omega-6 class of essential fats. It's also the main ingredient in Tonalin, a popular fat burner. This supplement has been used by fitness models and athletes for years. When combined with a healthy diet, it helps build and preserve muscle mass, speeds up metabolism, and boosts physical performance. CLA may also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people of all ages. 

This fatty acid has strong antioxidant properties and fights cancer. It's also a potent immune system enhancer and anti-catabolite. CLA can not be produced by your body, so it must be obtained through diet and supplements. Most animal products, including beef, butter, milk, and lamb, are rich in conjugated linoleic acid. 

Research indicates that CLA supplementation can reduce tumors by 50 percent. This powerful antioxidant protects against lung, skin, breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers. It also helps reduce inflammation, regulates blood pressure, and improves insulin resistance. When used along with a balanced diet and regular exercise, it aids in fat loss. If you search for "CLA dietary supplement" online, you will find thousands of studies supporting these claims. 

CLA and Weight Loss 

The slimming effects of CLA are backed up by science. This all natural supplement enhances your body's ability to burn fat and build muscle. It also stabilizes blood sugar levels, which helps prevent diabetes and metabolic syndrome. These factors combined make it easier to lose weight and keep it off. 

Studies have also found that CLA may improve body composition and reduce visceral fat. It works by enhancing insulin sensitivity so that glucose and fatty acids can pass through muscle cell membranes without being stored as fat. Basically, CLA supports fat breakdown and inhibits the formation of new fat cells. Over time, it can improve athletic performance and boost immunity. Compared to other diet pills, this product is safe and has no side effects. It works best when used on long term.

Spring is Here!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring is here and it's time to take a quick look at the garden beginnings. Everything looks so dead in winter and early spring, so any green gets me excited. Here are some tulips I planted near the garden.
 The rhubarb is starting to unfurl. I am so excited to see that it made it through the winter. I have 3 patches of this but only two are up now - the one deep in the forest will probably take a little while longer to wake up.

 The thyme looks like it never even noticed winter.
 The garlic chives look so spindly and weak. They were little all last summer too. Hopefully this will be the year when they take off and become big and overgrowing like their onion chive cousins.
 When I saw this growing near my blueberries I wondered what happened? Since it was in a straight line I knew it had to be planted and not wild. I did plant ramps in this location but that was 3 years ago and they take a whopping 7 years to germinate. I think I must have planted some china stripe garlic here. Yay!
 Onion chives - up and ready to grow. The Egyptian walking onions are up and growing too. I have not yet seen the "new plantings" from last year but the oldies are coming up with gusto.
 This is one of the blueberry bushes I cut in two. Both bushes are budding and I hope they have enough usable to roots to put up new growth and survive. This was my first time cutting a bush in two - it was super hard and back when the world was frozen. Tough times...
 A look at the 3 garden blueberry plants. They look like garbage. I hope they can spur some new growth and lots of it.
 Oh...but the new rescued blueberry plants look worse. They received a lot of foot traffic because of their location and small hidden size. One has no branches left at all! Let's hope they send up new growth.

 Grapes looking like dead sticks....
 Another rescued blueberry.
 Another stick grape
 The Northsky blueberry - a forest dweller that survives well but produces few berries (or they are all taken by forest creatures...)
 The other half of the cut in two blueberry
 This is what brand new honeyberries look like in the spring. They were the first to get swollen buds. They are starting to get ready to leaf out. I hope they put up some new growth and am anxious to see their flowers (and of course try the berries.)

 They are still so little....
 All of the currants have started to leaf out. Phew! Their canes look in bad shape and they are in desperate need of new growth.

 Look at this one - the white currant. It was rotted inside. I cut it down to the ground. This is all that exists of the plant. It is budding. Please send up some new canes!
 I have planted beets, peas, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, all the flowers, and purslane in the garden. I have started everything else in soil blocks for the first time.

I am a little worried about the soil blocking. It has so much promise....but it's difficult and it's hard to keep the blocks moist. I am anxious to see them germinate and to see how well it goes.

I planted the garden, but it was haphazard. I found it very difficult to work around the straw that I put down for mulch. But last year's "no mulch" plan did not work well. I have noticed a lot of straw seedlings. Oh boy.

Everything was planted but it is sporadic and wild. I am anxious to see how the plants come up. I am going to be working the seedlings into the mix by mid May. By then I should have an idea of how things are growing and as my beets, spinach, and peas fade away, the trombocino squash, watermelons, cantaloupe, and cucumbers will take over their space.

I will be planting runner beans near the tomatoes (no bush beans this year, for the first time EVER) and plan to keep the hay straw in place as a mulch. I put down copious amounts of rabbit manure last fall and will be getting Sea Kelp for mother's day (shhh.... it's a surprise!) I am hoping to increase the fertility issues we've suffered in the past.

I know from last year not to look for my asparagus until mid May - plus it was moved last year. I am still hoping it transplanted well and will be successful this year and in the future.

Like always....we'll have to wait and see....
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