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How to Grow Curly Carrots (by accident)

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My carrots are beginning to be ready for harvesting, so I’ve dug a few up.
The first thing I noticed was just how curly the root is!
After thinking back to when I sprouted these extremely normal carrot seeds, I realized how this curly phenomenon could have happened.
So here’s how you can do the same! (it may also work on parsnips and other similar root vegetables)

1. Soak your seeds in warm water for a few hours if you want. It can aid in sprouting them faster.

2. Find shallow seed starters (I used an egg carton).

3. Plant 2-3 seeds in each cup.

4. Wait until the seedlings have 4 true leaves (true = not counting the first two to come up).

5. Plant the seedlings as you usually would and thin out the weaker, smaller plants, if needed.

6. Care for your plants as you usually would.

7. Wait until harvesting time (this varies with each variety of seed).

8. Pull up your curly carrots and wash them off! They’re ready to eat!

Pros of Curly Carrots:
-fun to eat
-kids would probably enjoy them
-they look plain awesome

Cons of Curly Carrots:
-they are a tiny bit more difficult to wash than conventional carrots

Obviously the pros greatly outweigh the cons, so go grow yourself some curly carrots!!

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Written by Star

24 January 2012 at 12:52 PM

Posted in Green Living, Life

Building an Eco Friendly Chicken Coop for 3 Homeless Hens

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You know how I have that New Year’s Challenge of creating less waste and contributing less to landfills?  Well I’m actually doing all right with it!

1. I changed the cat litter I was using for my two cats from clay to pine pellets.  It’s so much better in so many ways!  NEVER GOING BACK.  (No odor, easy cleanup, compostable, poop goes in toilet not rubbish bin, etc)

2. I am reusing non-recyclable containers as planters and selling some of the new plant arrangements at a local artists’ shop.

3. I am buying less packaged foods and making sure to bring my canvas shopping bags with me!

4. I am composting obsessively (all food scraps and bones that are not edible to my other animals)

5. I am preparing my garden (still harvesting carrots and broccoli) for an early spring season of vegetables so I can eat healthy and well without spending money on expensive food and packaging to be thrown away into the landfill. (By the way, three growing seasons in a year!)

6.  Oh, and I’m going to build a completely eco friendly chicken house and run for three chickens that my parents are getting rid of!
So, free chickens, free healthy, organic eggs, free pest control in my garden!
(Oh, I won’t actually build it alone.  Daly needs to be there to work the heavier, more dangerous machinery since I have a habit of accidentally hurting myself.  Today: Weeded garden.  Came inside with a bloody knuckle FROM THE DIRT.)

Details:
Eco friendly chicken house = A chicken house made out of reused, recycled, or found materials.  No new materials can be purchased.  Used or old materials can be purchased, but only when found materials are unavailable/will not suffice.

I am basing the design after the several designs on this website:
http://greenchickencoop.com/Our_Coops.html

I’ll be using the style of mostly “The Alexandria” but making several changes to the interior, such as a higher roof for extra roosting space, a birdcage-like floor for easy cleaning (either wire bottom with removable trays, or just removable trays, not sure yet), two nesting boxes with hinged outer roofs for easy egg access, and a tin roof, because I do not have shingles, but I do know where I can acquire some tin roofing.  I also want a round door.  Round like hobbits have.

My sources for supplies will be: Daly’s house, my parents’ house, my Grandpa’s house, the dump, the Habitat for Humanity store, and ReStore (similar to Habitat, but bigger).
If I need to, I will also make use of the internet like Craigslist and Freecycle for last resort things.

And in other news, I have reached my monthly goal for January of emptying the trash every 9 days (except I’m currently on the eleventh day!)
I also think I’ve very nearly completely gotten over my fear of phone calls.  I’ll be calling someone tomorrow!

Not many days left in the month, and I’ve still not optimized my Etsy shop.  I will hopefully work on that a bit tomorrow!

Written by Star

23 January 2012 at 9:11 PM

I want to build a Co-op Kitchen.

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I’ve had this idea for a while.
I want to pool money and supplies with some other people and build a kitchen that will be certified and licensed properly to make, package, and distribute/sell food legally.
I want to do this in Pittsboro, NC.  I  chose this location because I have a feeling there may be other people in that general area that want to do the same sort of thing, or are wishing they had a separate kitchen for their food business idea because they have pets.

I have pets.  Two cats, a dog, and a rat.
All of them are considered “pests” for a kitchen.

My apartment is also not owned by me, and the kitchen area size is not sufficient for a food preparation area on a large scale.

So I thought perhaps I could rent an already certified kitchen, or I could start a co-op kitchen.

To successfully start it, I would need five people to be a part of this.  That includes me.  More are welcome, but five is the minimum.
I do not know if there would be a monthly fee for using the kitchen.  That may have to be decided after the co-op is established.
It actually may be easier to have a monthly fee, though, because there will be electricity and water bills and such.
Oh, and I want it to be as eco friendly of a kitchen as possible.  It’d be awesome if we had money right away for solar panels, but if we don’t, we can save up for that later.
Well water would be ideal.
Heating and air conditioning can be a combination of windows and thermal ceiling.
And hey, if someone in the group has an awesome idea, I would love to hear it!  I want our kitchen to be the BEST.

We would pool our money for awesome appliances.  (This is part of the great bit of having a co-op.  We get to have nice things!)
We may be able to get some support and donations from people who like the idea, but don’t necessarily need a co-op kitchen.

We would have fun, make friends, try each other’s food experiments for feedback, have food parties, and generally have a great time.
I expect there will be squabbles once in a while, but hey, we can deal with those as they come. :)

So if you find this blog post and you live in North Carolina and want to be a part of this co-op kitchen I would like to start, please leave a comment with the area you would like it to be located and any other ideas or thoughts or questions you have.  I will email you and we will start planning!

-Star

 

Written by Star

23 December 2011 at 1:59 PM

Posted in Green Living, Life

20 Things I Learned in 28 Days of Barefooting PART 2

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Here is the continuation of Part 1 of this post:

I remember the year before last when I went barefoot at my school (technical college) and one of the security guards told me I had better put my shoes back on. I had only done it 2 or 3 times (not knowing the great stuff about not wearing shoes), but for some reason, I have managed 20 days at my college barefoot and nobody has told me to stop. I think the main reason back then was because I had been carrying my shoes in my hand. Now I don’t bring shoes with me. I keep some in my car just in case, and if I think it will be tricky somewhere (like Walmart), I will wear some leather around my foot so it looks as if I’m wearing sandals.

I did get “kicked out” of Walmart for not wearing shoes this past weekend. One of the elderly greeters spotted me. Why she was looking at feet is beyond me. But she told me it was against Walmart’s policy. Funny, I didn’t see a sign outside. So I walked out, grabbed my shoes from the car and stuffed them in my pocket, then walked in a different entrance with barefeet still. I made sure to leave from a door other than where the greeter had spotted me.

Now I know that there is no policy (not to mention no sign on the door) against barefeet in Walmart.

Knowledge is so empowering.

If she catches me again, I will probably protest and not give up without a fight. And probably end up having to leave and enter in another door (that is, if she doesn’t call for the manager’s backup (the manager there is actually quite intimidating)).

We’ll see, though.

I have gone into Southpoint mall (large mall), the post office, Barnes & Noble, the Apple store, Walmart, Lowe’s Foods, Food Lion, Tractor Supply, Lowe’s Hardware, Umami (Japanese restaurant), Panera, the Food Court, Subway, my college (and each class many times), on escalators, elevators, a bathroom, the woods, down the road, the grass, gravel, hot pavement (running makes it painless), many parking lots, and probably other places that I’m forgetting.

The only time I stepped on glass was in my own driveway.

Don’t worry, it was a very minor cut that healed completely in two days.

Yesterday I stepped on a thorny leaf on my arch on my way to my door that caused a little bit of pain.

The only other time I’ve stepped on something that punctured my skin was when I was walking through the automotive repair shop I work at and stepped on a tiny piece of metal. It may have been wire. But whatever it was, it poked me and it hurt enough to notice.

None of my minor injuries have bled. None have visually remained for more than 2 days. And none have hurt once the problem was removed.

Worthy of insurance coverage? Don’t think so.

Also, a lot of these things wouldn’t have happened if my skin was more developed. I read it takes about 6 weeks for the skin on the bottom of your feet to thicken enough to walk on gravel without it being painful. By that time, I probably wouldn’t have been bothered by the little piece of metal, and perhaps not even by the glass (the thorny leaf was on my arch, so that was unavoidable).

All in all, not bad for my first 4 weeks barefoot. And if the first 6 weeks are the most difficult, then things will only be getting better from here on out.

Oh, one thing that some people have asked me (namely my best friend and my parents) is what I am going to do with the sandals I just bought 3 months ago. Well, I won’t WEAR them, if that’s what you’re asking. Sure, I know, they were expensive. They are also very nice and handmade.

But let’s say you were a Catholic that converted to Buddhism and you had JUST bought a beautiful handmade rosary 6 weeks before, more expensive than any you’ve ever owned. Each wooden bead hand carved. The cross made of handwrought silver. Well you’re now a Buddhist so that rosary doesn’t mean anything to you. You may keep it because it was so expensive and beautiful, but you won’t be using it. You don’t need it.

And you won’t feel bad for not using it. It is not important anymore.

That is how I feel about my shoes.

I will likely use them for formal occasions, but 98% of the time, they will be stored in my closet.

Here are some great resources for aspiring barefooters and people just curious about all of it:

Pretty much the barefooting headquarters. Information on just about everything barefoot and links to anything they missed.

A detailed bit of literature on going barefoot (available in PDF for free (it’s 12 pages)).

Letters to the Health Department for each US state.

Everything you need to know about going barefoot medical/health wise.

Why denying barefooters from establishments is discriminatory.

Debunking the illegal barefoot driving myth.

Barefoot FAQ

A free simple moccasin pattern.

What do you think?
If you had no fear of what people would think of you, would you go barefoot everywhere?

Written by Star

22 September 2010 at 9:23 PM

Posted in Green Living, Health, Life

20 Things I Learned in 28 Days of Barefooting PART 1

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janchan

Well, today is the 4 week anniversary of me going barefoot. I thought it was worthy of a blog post.

I have learned a LOT in the past 28 days.

  1. My feet got softer. I expected them to become more calloused. Instead, they became thicker but softer. Kind of nice. Also, they did not lose ANY feeling. They are more sensitive to texture now.
  2. Driving barefoot is NOT illegal. I researched this one a lot recently.
  3. Walking around in public barefoot is in no way illegal, against any regulations, or policies.
  4. There is no health department code against barefeet in restaurants or grocery stores.
  5. The common sign “No shirt, no shoes, no service” started in the 1960’s to prevent hippies from entering establishments (they were protesting stuff at the time and deliberately going about in public with no shoes or sometimes no shirt). However, no one knows why they have this sign up anymore. Ask a restaurant and they’ll likely tell you it is a health department thing. This, however, is not the case.
  6. Walmart does not have a policy against barefeet. The greeters will tell you they do. But they don’t. People have contacted Walmart headquarters and found out the truth. (Employees are required to wear shoes in places like the deli/bakery and in places where dropping dangerously heavy objects on feet is easily possible.)
  7. No one can legally throw you out of public places when you’re barefooted. Like the post office, library, DMV, parks, etc.
  8. It is extremely healthy to go barefoot. Some people call their feet God’s shoes. The skin on the bottom of feet is extremely adaptable and will thicken right up when exposed to rough surfaces. Likewise, they become delicate and fragile things when we keep them cooped up in shoes and house shoes or socks all day.Also, wearing shoes makes your feet and lower legs weak. The ligaments and muscles become quite tiny because they are not used. A bit of barefooting and they will grow how they are supposed to and maintain a healthy strength.
  9. Your chances of getting sick because of barefooting is EXTREMELY slim. You won’t get Athlete’s foot, ringworm (but do remember it is technically able to infect any part of the body in humans and animals), roundworm, hookworm, the flu, AIDS, or virtually anything else (except maybe a certain kind of worm that lives only in South American jungles) through having barefeet. Skin is designed to keep bad things out. Thick skin on the bottom of your foot does an even better job. Also, Athlete’s foot and roundworm are impossible to contract if you’re always barefooted. They thrive in warm, humid conditions, like in shoes and socks.
  10. It is discrimination to make rules that require you to enter places with shoes on. What if I was going barefoot for religions purposes? Or because I didn’t have enough money for shoes? Or what if the sign on the door said “No barefeet, no high heels”? Or “no skirts”? Or “no Caucasians”? Discrimination, I tell you.
  11. Insurance won’t cover injuries to barefeet. It is true. But to be honest, it is rare that a regular barefooter hurts themselves bad enough to need insurance coverage. The most feet injuries come from wearing shoes. Especially running shoes.
  12. Running barefoot is awesome! And effortless! I think I can even run farther with barefeet. I’ve been running on the road, sometimes through grass/gravel (I slow down for the gravel) 5 times a week. My feet have gotten no blisters. They have never been sore with all my walking/running. And they even clean themselves off if you walk through grass enough. Or mud, then grass. That’ll do the trick too.
  13. Dirt you can see is better than dirt you cannot. One of the most common things I hear is “Don’t your feet get dirty?” My answer is, “Yes, but don’t your hands?” Silly people. You wash your hands. I wash my hands AND feet. They do need maintenance just like everything else.
  14. Feet are not gross. I used to think my feet looked terrible. Probably because I didn’t see them enough. But the past few years I’ve gotten used to them, and now that I’m actually caring for them, I’m almost fond of them. :)
  15. Most people just don’t notice you’re not wearing shoes. Not very many people look at feet. I can count on my hands how many people I have caught looking at my feet. I am fairly observant, but I’m sure I missed some. Still, it is a pretty low number.
  16. Feet don’t stink when you’re not wearing shoes. It is kind of like underarms. It’s all the same sweat, really. But when the area is warm and humid, bacteria grows, causing a bit of an unpleasant smell. Don’t wear shoes, don’t worry about smelling funny. (The underarm thing is not cured by commercial deodorant which merely covers up smell. Mineral crystal salt deodorant kills the bacteria leaving you odor-free. Great, isn’t it?)
  17. If you must wear shoes (no excuses!), moccasins are the way to go. The plain leather ones without hard soles. You can make them yourself for a fair price (a lot less expensive than those Converse or Clarks!). They come in kits. Or you can buy yourself some leather and look up a pattern. That’s what I’m doing. I’ll be wearing them on the really cold winter days.
  18. Going barefoot is so misunderstood. It really is.
  19. You will become known for your barefeet. I once met a guy known as Hobbit. He walks around barefooted the majority of the time. He wears shoes in restaurants (poor fellow doesn’t know about fake shoes (leather wrapped around your foot to look like a sandal but still allow you to walk without shoes)) but is still known for what he does 85% of the time.
  20. People WILL ask you why you don’t wear shoes. Or if you’re a hippie. Or if you forgot your shoes at home. Or if you realize how “unhealthy” it is to not wear shoes. Always be ready to answer. Who knows, you may start a trend and create a following.


Part 2 of this post will come along in a few days.  When I wrote out the original draft, it was pretty lengthy (4 pages!) and I thought it best to split it up a bit.

In the next post, I have included more information, a few stories (like the time I got kicked out of Walmart and when I stepped on a piece of glass!), and some great resources for your perusal.

They really are great.  Stick around!

Written by Star

22 September 2010 at 8:02 PM

Posted in Green Living, Health, Life