Designing an Affordable Deer Proof Fence for Your Orchard or Garden

At the end of 2016, we bought a 40 acre farm. We spent all of our time cleaning up debris (sheet metal, old barns, nails galore! and more) and planting trees. We ran out of sun before we could finish the job.

Since the best time to plant trees was 20 years ago, we wanted to get as many trees in the ground as soon as possible. We planted maples, firs, and spruce as a windbreak and pollinator hedge - and this spring we will start with the orchard trees.

But...our land is an animal haven. That's a good thing. It's beautiful to see all the wildlife. Every single time we visit the property, we see at least one grouping of wild animals. We've seen fox, bear, turkeys, ducks, and deer most often. Lots and lots of deer. Beautiful? Yes. Destructive. Ditto.

So the search for the perfect fence began. We have almost 1000 feet to fence, so the prices started adding up quickly. Too quickly!!

But through some design work and negotations - I think we have got the project down to a reasonable cost - about $1600. I'm not excited about that figure, but materials cost money! We will be installing it ourselves and I will update with design photos, in-progress building, and the finished product by the end of next spring. Let's hope we can get it finished in time to plant!!





Saving Seeds: The Joy, The Utility, The Irony

Saving seeds lets you have better control over what goes into your garden and ultimately your body. I have been saving seeds for years and have been able to select for stronger plants that are hardy in my area. I no longer have to buy plants or seeds (saving money!!) and I get the joy of being resourceful.

It's fun to harvest seeds and collect them at the end of the season. Sometimes you get a lot. Sometimes you don't. It's part of the challenge.

But look at the photo above. This year I planted two types of beans. Scarlet runners and a mystery variety I bought from China that claimed to be scarlet runners.

I have grown the "Mystery china" beans for 3 years. They grow on green leaves with a hint of purple, the beans are 100% purple but turn green when cooked. Their seeds are white. The scarlet runners grow on big green vines with beautiful red flowers. The beans are long and fat - almost like a chinese long bean - and as green as can be. Their seeds are purple. CRAZY.

If you were to ask anyone which seeds made which beans, most logical people would match the purple seeds with the purple beans and the white seeds with the green beans. But gardening is ironic like that. It's never what you expect!!

Get started on your gardening plans for spring. We have all winter to prepare!



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Making Liver taste GOOD and my results from 1 month of eating liver, hearts, and gizzards

This,  my friends, is a deer heart. I found many of them lying around my new farm. I also found a ton of other organs, but the heart is one of the most interesting and this one was fresh, so I took it home. Not to eat....though if I had killed the deer, there's no reason not to eat the heart. Unless there is... Fill me in if I'm wrong.

This heart was donated to my son's science class, along with a bunch of pheasant hearts. Other children donated cow's hearts and of course, more deer. Why? Because it's a much more humane way to dissect. Take organs from animals that were already killed and that were going to be wasted. Besides, having a variety highlights the similarities and differences between us. In my opinion, the heart is still one of the most interesting organs.

But back to eating......

Some time ago, I decided to do something about my body weakness and heavy periods. After much research, I decided the healthiest way to treat this issue was to start consuming organ meats. Yes, I went to the doctor....twice. They told me nothing was wrong and I should go on birth control. Thanks doc.

So I started eating beef liver. It was horrid. I ate all of it and had no interest in doing it ever again! Then I ate chicken liver and it wasn't that bad. Then I ate a chicken heart and it was actually pleasant.

So the seed was planted.

The next time I went shopping I saw these babies and whipped them into the cart.
Then I grabbed these:
Completely off topic, I know. But they were $1.54 people! I used these to make more than a gallon of quality - thick - gelatin rich broth. Yums.

And sort of relevant because I used that broth when  I made the tastiest liver dish ever. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I took the livers, hearts, and gizzards and threw them into the vitamix. This was a mistake. Well, sort of a mistake. The gizzards and hearts have "tubes" on them and those babies are hard for the blades to chop. They are hard to eat too. They taste fine, and are edible, but the chewing.....it's excessive.

Did I mention how hard they were on the blender? In any event, I wound up scraping my "Mix" into silicone ice trays and letting them freeze into blocks. Then I packaged them into a ziploc bag and I add them (2-3 cubes at a time) to any meat dish I make. They hide extremely well....minus the tubes. Since mine are full of tubes, I have to fish them out while I am cooking so that no other family members notice. Aside from one "tube incident" no one has ever been the wiser! And they are healthier for it!

**note to everyone** Cut any tubes from the hearts and gizzards before blending. You will be infinitely happier and working with the offal will be easier.

But on to the best part.

Gravy. I love gravy. These organ meats hide perfectly in any "spicy" meal. I'm talking egg rolls, spaghetti, chili, tacos... The list is endless. But they are awesome on their own as a gravy.

All I did was cook them in a little bacon grease (tell me you save your bacon grease!!! It's delicious stuff and so useful!) and some crushed garlic. Then I used the chicken feet broth and a little flour, salt, dehydrated mushroom crumbles, and pepper and OMG....best gravy ever. I made a big batch along with a big batch of mashed potatoes and it was heaven.

I ate this everyday for a week. Then I started putting the liver/heart/gizzard cubes in all of our meals and I have never felt better. My energy levels are so much higher. The periods? Still messed up. But my body is changing. Maybe because of my new eating habits or because of all the work we've been doing at the land, or because I'm getting old. I have not solved the period drama, but I have gotten more energy and figured out a way to eat organ meats without gagging.

Incidentally, if you ever find yourself with a plate of liver and onions (gag) - ketchup goes a long way. It does not make it good, but it does help a lot.



This blog does contain affiliate links/ads. 





Protection - for your phone and your gear at school

Do you own a cell phone? Have you ever dropped it? I went for years without ever dropping my cell phone, then the ONE time I took the case off, it slipped off a beach chair and shattered the screen. Crazy town.

My son has a case but still managed to crack his screen. So we now use a quality case AND a screen protector.

Since using the screen protectors, we have had no breakage to our screens. My son did break the screen protector after awhile, then had to install a new one (thankfully, they come in a 2-pack.)

The best news - the screen was still intact after the damage. I'm going to be honest - if you have kids, especially boys, but kids of any kind - then you will need a screen protector and a bumper case. Cheap cute cases are not going to cut it.

I'm talking backpacks, pockets, lockers, friends, sports, buses, the lunch room, and all sorts of other hazards here. Save yourself a lot of stress and trouble (and eventual cost) and just do it right from the beginning.

Speaking of school....kids have to bring their own locks these days. They have to be a matching set (one for the gym locker and one for the main locker.)

We were fortunate to be able to review this matching lock set. It's so much easier to remember just one combination!! These are great for lockers, suitcases, and more. If you have multiple suitcases, imagine how much better it is to remember just one combination for the whole family.

And they are inexpensive so you can reasonably afford to do so. A small price to pay for security.





I received complimentary products for review purposes. No compensation was received. This blog does contain affiliate links/ads.



Delicious chocolates - found only at Target this holiday season! #BouchardChocolate



Something about the holidays just begs for chocolate --- and egg nog. Not everyone agrees on the nog, but chocolates are a hit with almost everyone. We were fortunate enough to sample the really tasty Bouchard chocolates (sold at your local Target) and I think they were about the perfect size for a chocolate sampler. Not too many that you get tired of them, but just enough that you were able to try at least one of each.

Most of the chocolates were really good and each type found at least one fan in our household. I would have liked more nuts, but I understand not everyone can have nuts these days

All-in-all, they were a hit and I would buy them again.



I received a complimentary box of chocolates for review purposes. No compensation was received.

Staying Warm without bulk - active outdoor gear that works with you!

I have spent my entire life in the upper midwest - just a stone's throw away from the Canadian border. The coldest I remember was negative 65 F in the late nineties. I walked 2 miles to school that day. It was cold!!

My main objective has always been stay warm - wearing layers, big coats, heavy gloves, etc. But then this happened:

Part of our 40 acre farm
We bought a 40 acre farm this fall and have spent every free minute getting it ready for production. That means cleaning up debris, scrapping old equipment, chopping down dead trees,building a dock to the lake, and lots and lots of digging as we have planted 77 new trees so far.

We did all of this over the month of November. Not our coldest month, but still dropping down into the 20s. I admit that most of my winter outdoor life has involved walking or short ski jaunts. I have never really "worked" in the cold.

Once you do - you will find out how important it is to have thin layers, ease of movement, and pockets. You would never imagine that you'd want to take your coat off on a 20 degree day, but when you are working hard, it happens! Alot!

Fortunately, I have had the chance to try out two new products while working hard on the land.

The first was the Extreme Sweater Jacket from RefrigiWear. Extremely lightweight, but able to provide comfort down to 10F, this jacket was pretty amazing. I have a teenage son, and this jacket fit him perfectly. There were pockets for your phone, your gloves, your tools, anything. All of them zip closed (and tight) and are in areas that do not interfere with working. Did I mention the jacket was thin? It is - and that is something my boys appreciate more than anything. They absolutely hate the bulk of big ski jackets.Wearing this jacket was no different than wearing a sweatshirt - in feel. But it delivered in the warmth department too.

We spent Thanksgiving at the land, burning down a huge pile of debris - 25 years worth of debris. The fire lasted into the next morning. We had to stay and tend the fire. The temperatures dropped down to 23F. We basically camped outside.....all night long. My son complained about cold feet but that was it. He actually had to repeatedly remove the jacket while we were hauling boards to the fire because he was too hot. But as the fire burned down to center embers, the rest of us felt every bit of that 23F. Do not attempt to stay out all night without wool socks, quality boots, a tent, and blankets/sleeping bags!  - we will not make that mistake again.

Looks can be deceiving. This pit was over 12 feet deep below the surface and 30 feet wide! I only took photos in the beginning because after that I was too busy working!


Starting the fire with a flare.
 All -in-all, I am super impressed with the jacket and am looking at their women's jackets right now. I'm still putting together my Christmas list and I am definitely interested in the "pure-soft" jacket. We have been behind on all "regular duties" while we pull the farm together.

We have accomplished a lot in the last month. Not only did we burn down 2 barns worth of old wood and heaven knows how many branches, but we rebuild the lake dock and were able to plant 77 trees before the snow started falling.

We were always racing against the sun (which goes down by 5pm here!) and didn't finish all the detail work (like untying the trees and covering the stems with rodent protection) before the snow came. So we had to work in the snow to finish.

Walking in snow is hard work. I have snowpants and boots - all the usual stuff. None of that works well when your property is 1/2 a mile across and the snow is a foot deep. Snowpants are bulky. They store a lot of heat while you're walking....and they are horrible when you need to use the bathroom.

So I started looking into better options. I put snowshoes on my Christmas list and ditched the snowpants for a thin legging layer under jeans plus Armadillo LT gaiters over my boots.

Gaiters keep snow out of your boots and off of your pants, but they don't slow you down. There is no bunching in the crotch, no added heat, and no drama when you need to use the restroom.

My husband has gaiters because he's a bird hunter. This was my first experience with them. I've got to say they were quite freeing. Easy to use, they work as intended, and they are also lightweight.

Lightweight - thin layers - are becoming my best friends.

Once we get the farm up and running, we'll be installing a hunting shack near the lake. This type of gear is perfect for hunting. It's perfect for skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and yes - working in the snow.

Wish me luck as I wrap up our pasture contracts, locate bee equipment, and start ordering trees for the orchard. Winter is a time of winding up to explode with activity in the spring. We are going to be busy!


I received complimentary products for review purposes. No compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. This blog does contain affiliate links/ads at no cost to the reader.


Write out your goals, save your butt, and reach things up high!

This fall has been overwhelmingly busy - but in a good way. We followed our dreams and bought a farm. I've been keeping notes of all sorts of plans, ideas, and budgeting issues. It's been a mess. But then I started using an actual journal.

This particular journal is dedicated to helping you reach your goals. It has places to put your "visualizations" and goals. I've found it very helpful. In fact, I do find it's much more productive to keep track of your goals and write out your plans. It improves your focus and your odds of achieving those goals goes up exponentially.

I've got an entire plan mapped out and things are falling into place. In the meantime, we are still working in our suburban area and starting to clean up for the holidays. I have a lot of things to sort through for goodwill and a future garage sale.

We have stuff stacked in all of our closets - to the top! - and it's time to get them down. I've found this folding stool to be a lifesaver. This particular stool is made for children (but can hold me) and is so lightweight and very portable. It folds flat and stores easily.

I bought the adult size one for my pantry and that stool is strong enough for everyone (even men.)

It's been one of my favorite purchases. It actually makes my day easier - almost every day.

Speaking of making life easier....why are bike seats still so uncomfortable? My children are still growing so they've gotten new bikes in the last year and the seats are still rock hard!  No more of that!

This bike seat cover fits over most seats and makes the seat so much more comfortable. My children both wanted it but my son's bike has the worst seat so he gave it a go. It was a much needed improvement. There's really no reason to suffer with a painful bike seat.





I received complimentary products for review purposes. No compensation was received. All articles on this blog may contain affiliate links/ads.

Beautiful Earrings for #Xmas - #gift for her - turquoise!

The holidays are here! It's time to start thinking about special one-of-a-kind gifts for the people in your life. Check out these beautiful blue turquoise earrings

I am a huge fan of the "boho" style and these earrings fit right in! They could also dress up a little black dress or a chunky sweater on the ski slopes. Very versatile. 

Did You Know That Soap Grows On Trees?

Did You Know That Soap Grows On Trees?
Well for Tree To Tub, yes, soap does grow on trees! Check out their amazing line of ultra-gentle, organic body care products featuring the soapberry, an exotic fruit that makes a gentle, nourishing lather when you rub it!
Never heard of the soapberry? Keeping reading to find out!

Meet the Soapberry, Nature's Most Gentle Soap


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Just give this berry a rub, and it produces a creamy, luxurious lather
Yes, the soapberry lathers, and it's also the most nourishing soap for the human body. For thousands of years, its ultra-gentle and antibacterial properties have been used in Ayurvedic herbal medicine for all skin and hair issues. Its vitamin-packed froth shields and repairs the skin & hair from dryness and damages.
Tree To Tub is the first to make the soapberry available, so you are washing with the botanical lather of the soapberry, not a lather made from synthetic chemicals.
And We Get the Exclusive Deal,
Only On The Suburban Jungle!

I’m happy to announce that Tree To Tub is giving The Suburban Jungle a special 50% pre-sale discount, only 30 available to ONLY our readers here.
This 5 piece collection includes their Organic Soapberry Facial Cleanser, Organic Soapberry Shampoo, Organic Soapberry Body Wash, Organic Argan Oil Conditioner, and Organic Shea Butter Body Lotion.

What the Soapberry Will Do for You

Instead of using synthetic lather that is severely damaging your body, the soapberry will completely transform the health of your skin & hair.


Here’s What We Get!

blog (basic set).jpg

Looks AMAZING, But
Where Can I Get It Or Learn More About It?
The brand launch is taking place on Indiegogo, the global platform for young companies to bring their ideas to life.

To access the exclusive offer, you must be a Suburban Jungle blog reader, go to our unique campaign link here: http://bit.ly/TreeTub-SuburbJungle


You should see the Secret Perk for their Basic Collection, which is listed $79, 51% off their $160 Retail. There’s only 60 left, so get yours now.

Perfect #gift for #crossfit #gymrats and travelers

The holidays are fast approaching and selecting the "right" gift for the people in your life can be challenging! But I found something that is perfect for travelers, gym goers, and well, almost any woman. 

It's called the GLOV. I had the opportunity to test one of these out and it was great! I used it to wash away makeup without using any other products. You can use with your favorite soap, but I used it without and it did a great job. 


It was super simple to use - fit my hand like a glove - and washed up well in the laundry. 

Here are the directions from the manufacturer:

In just 4 simple steps your post-gym routine becomes faster, easier and more enjoyable!
Step 1: Dampen GLOV’s dual action micro fibers with water
Step 2: Wipe away your makeup with ease
Step 3: Hand wash the GLOV with any bar of soap
Step 4: Hang to air dry


GLOV On-The-Go

GLOV On-The-Go has a compact design that is easy to use on a daily basis or when traveling. Inspired to meet the needs of contemporary the woman, it is the secret ally in your daily routine.

Price: $12.99
Availabilityulta.com

It really couldn't be any simpler! Throw this in a stocking, or wrap it up with a collection of "spa" or body care products and you have a very thoughtful and useful gift.


I received complimentary samples for review purposes. No compensation was received. All of my articles may contain affiliate links/ads.


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