Topics for Fall 2021

Fresh topics for fall 2021

After the big hiatus in 2021, I hope you are excited for some fresh topics in fall 2021.

I am so ready to get back into it here.

These are some of the things on my mind and in the garden as the growing season draws to a close. Let me know what you think, and if you have other topics you’d like to see!

Here are the topics already in the works.

In the garden

  • Apple trees: what, where, how they are doing, and more general thoughts on selecting fruit trees and maximizing yield with intensive planting
  • Pear trees: in the works, with elaboration on some of the strategies we are using to protect them
  • Plum trees: CAN IT BE DONE? I really don’t know, yet.
  • Blackberries: mainly an update on how fabulously hardy they are, and how much kids and adults like eating them straight off the branched-out second year canes, also tips for keep away from deer, squirrels, birds, and bugs.
blue berries close up photography

On the homesteading front more generally

  • Quail: how amazing they are for urban homesteading, how cool their tiny eggs are, garden benefits, but also some of the drawbacks and difficulties along the way
  • Home-making: another year in pursuing being both frugal and green (sustainable) while also making home improvements, working, participating in society, parenting, living, and learning by trial and error along the way
  • Resilience: My take on the myth of self-sufficiency. I love this myth. I’ve also come to love the reality that we are inherently social creatures. Interacting with our wonderful neighbors, being able to do church online, and keeping in touch with friends and family made all the difference in our pandemic/ 2020/ quarantine experience. Having a network of people you can count on is absolutely vital to weathering crises.
brown leaves photo
Photo by Lina Kivaka

Request topics for Fall 2021

I am so excited for this season, partly because it is still pretty warm and pretty humid. Just can’t wait for the crisp, cool weather. Partly because I am planning to plant some pear trees in October, and you know how excited I get about things like that. Partly because the deer demolished my summer garden and it hasn’t been a very productive season.

Hopefully, fall and winter 2021 will be great for everybody. Realistically, these are likely to be tough seasons for a lot of people. Working in healthcare, I am concerned about the evolving pandemic situation. All the more reason to find fun and positive things to plan and pursue.

What topics would you like to see here? Does anyone have good tips for perennials for herbal teas that work in zones 4-5? (Yes, we have peppermint and echinaceae already. LOVE those indestructible perennials.)

Let’s keep it cozy.

sliced apple on clear glass saucer
Photo by Polina Kovaleva

Top 3 Favorite Apps for Health – Spring ‘21

These were the top 3 favorite apps that helped me stay sane in 2020. I am continuing to use and enjoy them here at the start of 2021. Initially, I wanted to make a longer list, but while there were other apps that I used, these are the winners.

When we try to make healthy habits, it helps to have accountability and tangible results. Another key part of healthy habits is our community. In 2020, for many of us our community became our immediate household, and online interaction.

man in gray shirt looking at city buildings
Photo by Norbert Kundrak on Pexels.com

Zombies, Run!
Running app with audio narrative, fitness

All the features of a running app such as Nike Run or Strava, with an exciting and interactive narrative! Zombie apocalypse chic. Excellent audio. Similar to a radio show with a new episode every run. Includes home workouts. Also features side quests and additional features and stories. I find the basic episodes provide a lot of mileage, but it’s nice to know I won’t run out of material any time soon.

Looking to gamify fitness? Look no further.

I went for the paid subscription because, without going to the gym in 2020, I was spending a lot more time with this app. To get my money’s worth, I will continue to use it up through 2021.

faceless person jogging in empty park
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

365 Gratitude
Simple and secure daily journal (favorite apps)

This one I started during a particularly low point in 2020. The customizable features let you decide which features you want and when. Do you prefer reminders on a schedule? It’s all up to you. There is a paid subscription, about $30 USD for one year. A lot cheaper than therapy.

You can trial it for free, too.

It is supposed to be very secure and saved on your phone. If you are not much of a journal person, you may find it helpful to have specific prompts that are easy to fill out as brief or as lengthy as you prefer. (Mine were brief, but it is still a healthy habit.)

Another feature of 2020 for many of us was doom-scrolling. The stressful side of social media was maximized. This app is a good alternative.

crop woman writing down notes in diary
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Plant Nanny
Simplest and best app for hydration (favorite apps)

Specifically for people like me who are trying to drink more water. The graphics are cutesy and cartoony. I turned off the sound. This is a cheap app with settings for your body and activity level.

shallow focus photography of yellow lemon near glass mason jar and glass decanter
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Digital Minimalism

Minimalism, eco-minimalism, sustainability, and zero-waste/ low-waste, are all having a moment right now. Really encouraging to see this trend. In seeking to live in a more conscious way, let’s consider our digital footprint and digital clutter as well.

How many times do you look at your phone? How much time do we spend with our screens? Paring down the apps can be almost as satisfying as paring down the wardrobe. Something to consider.

What favorite apps are you going to use day to day in 2021?

Off-Grid Video: 11 years living off-grid in an earthship house — Vox Populi

Have you ever considered going off-grid?

This off-grid video shows you how, or at least one version.

Off grid living comes in many shapes, sizes, and places. If you have ever come across the portrayal of someone living in a bunker or geodesic dome and found that way too out-of-bounds… Consider the independence. There are many alternatives to traditional construction and complete grip dependence.

With an increased interest in self-reliance as well as obvious stress on supply chains in recent times, this video shows one method that does not require an all-or-nothing, crunchy granola approach. Non-traditional construction can be aesthetically pleasing. Not only is this sustainable, but clearly it works.

Hélène Dubé and her partner Alain Neveu from Es-Cargo have lived off-grid in Quebec, Canada for 11 years in a self-built earthship style home made of recycled tires filled with earth and large south-facing windows.

Video: 11 years living off-grid in an earthship house — Vox Populi

Off-grid can happen step by step

If you have been thinking about sustainable living, remember the big picture. Living off-grid even in some ways makes you more prepared if the grid runs into some hiccups. The more that you can produce–as opposed to consume–the more you conserve resources. This has a side benefit for the budget as well.

Even if you are limited in your ability to practice a self-sufficient lifestyle, remember that every little bit is just that: practice. The first time I tried to grow container vegetables, I learned A LOT. Mostly about what didn’t work. Now that there is a yard to play with, I have the biggest tomato plants on the block. Everything has a learning curve.

I hope that like me, you get inspiration from seeing the off-grid lifestyle “all out” and thriving. Seize the day and plant something. Even if it is just one potted tomato.