Feb 132016

These ebooks are currently $0.00 on Amazon.  Click on the links below each picture to be taken to the page where you can download a digital version of the book.  Before purchasing the books, please double check the price to make sure it has not changed.  Before I had a Kindle I read these on my computer.  If you are wanting to do the same, go here to download the free application.  These are not affiliate links.

Here are 10 free ebooks found on Amazon which I thought looked interesting and informative.  Several of them I got for myself, to read either now or later.  While I often read at home at night, I also like to have a selection of books for when I am in the car, waiting at an appointment, or for quiet times.

The books are grouped by similar topics to help you find something that may interest you.  I hope you find something to enjoy and learn from.


Urban Gardening Guide

Gardening 101: Friendship Gardens


Homesteading The Easy Way Including Prepping And Self Sufficency: 3 Books In 1 Boxed Set

Weekend Homesteader: April

Heirloom Seeds: An Introduction to Organic Heirloom Seeds, Growing Them, and Their Benefits

Foraging: The Complete Beginners Guide – 28 Crucial Steps To Foraging Wild Edible Plants And Herbs The Easy And Safe Way!


Herbs, Herbs and more Herbs: A handbook on everything you need to know to use herbs effectively (How to dry herbs at home – How to dry foods 2)

Herb Gardening For Beginners, Planting An Herb Garden Made Easy: How To Grow Herbs And Dry Herbs

Straw Bale Gardening

Straw Bale Gardening: The Complete Straw Bale Gardening Guide How to Grow More Vegetables and Herbs in Straw Bale Garden with Limited Space.

Straw bale gardening for beginners: Ultimate guide to grow fruits, herbs and vegetables in backyard straw bale garden

Straw Bale Gardening: Simple Step by Step Guide to Successful Gardening without Any Digging

Vermiculture (Worms)

Worm Composting: The Ultimate Guide to Worm Composting for Life

Get the Garden of your Dreams with this Composting and Wormery Guide!

Indoor Gardening

Apartment Gardening

Indoor Gardening: The 12 Best Herbs to Grow On Your Kitchen Window. Tips and Techniques to Create Your Own Culinary Herb Garden

Growing House Plants for the Beginner Enthusiast

Urban Organic Gardening Indoors: A Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide to Growing A Garden Indoors


Cook What You Have A Guide to the Lazy Garden and the Lazy Kitchen

Feb 042014

Kitchen waste for compost

I knew my compost pile needed some non-brown items added to it, but I wasn’t sure where I was going to find it in the middle of winter.  Over the course of making lunch, I began to think of where I might get such items.  Then I realized that the food I was preparing resulted in bit of extras that would be great to have.  “But how much can the extras from the kitchen really produce?”  Turns out it was more than I imagined.  The items above were gathered over the course of 1 day.  It was amazing how quickly it all started to add up once I made a point not to throw out the little bits of this and that.  After a few days I started to find more and more “extras” to add and had to get a larger container.

eggs shells from omelette mixes ready for compost pile

I had come across a great deal on eggs.  There is no way I was going to throw this great source of calcium into the trashcan.  Not only do the plants love this, but so do the worms in the compost pile.

orange peels for compost piles

Oranges, or citrus in general, isn’t something you want a lot of in your compost pile.  This is definitely not something I put in my worm bin since I found out the hard way that my warms do NOT like citrus.  The compost pile has enough other decomposers to make this little bit okay.  All in moderation.

adding compost to front flower bedNow that  you have compost that has broken down, what are you going to do with it?  I found a bed that needed some soil added back to it.  It was the perfect place for the compost.

I have composted in place before, when we first moved here and didn’t have a compost pile set up.  It worked out really well and I was able to notice a difference in just a few months (over winter).  I dug a hole, buried compostable materials and covered them again.  I worked my way through the bed one hole at a time.  What made it even better was that this bed was right outside my kitchen door; no having to walk far in the cold or rain.

Jan 222013

Often times the beginning of a new year finds me looking forward to what I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year.  As I was thinking about that, I also thought about where I had been the past year.  Here are some highlights of things from the past year, both pictures and links, that have stood out to me for one reason or another.

Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

I talked about the tulip tree in some detail during a “Tree of the Week” post and gave photos and links to help others identify it.  The beauty of this tree, even with no leaves, still strikes me and makes me pause when I see them.  Perhaps it is the straightness of the trunk or how the limbs just seem to sweep out from it.  This tree is definitely not a wall flower.

Poppy flowers

In May 2012 I talked about growing poppies.  These were a pleasant surprise the spring after we bought our house.  I didn’t like everything the previous owner’s did with the landscaping, but this was defiantly one thing I was happy about.

Some of my favorite posts from this time last year involved a short series about selling at a Farmer’s Market.  Here I talked about the Trials and Lessons I learned along the way.  A few posts later I talked about the differences between your perception of what it will be like and the reality.  I went on to expand on the lessons I learned in two follow-up posts, Part 1 and Part 2. The topic ended with a list of 50 things you could sell at a Farmer’s Market, other than produce that is.

Not only have I talked about Farmer’s Markets, but also about my own produce stand and how it got started.  I went on to talk more about my local produce auction.  Looking back I will have to say that the name of the post (Amish Produce Auction) is not exactly accurate, even though that is what everyone around here calls it.  In all fairness, there are some Mennonite and other sellers that bring items.  It just happen that a very large percent of sellers are Amish.  I also shared a second “Tales from the produce auction” post about  pumpkins and the circumstances that lead to me first started having  pureed pumpkin in my freezer.  Natural Deterrents was a recap of one aspect of having a stand that I never would have thought about.  Looking back I both laugh and get a bit annoyed.  Yes, I still hold a grudge against those beady-eyed squirrels.

Flowers from my front flower bed

 At the end of November I finally tackled a flower garden project that I had been putting off for about 4 years.  This was thanks to the ebook “21 Days To A More Self-Disciplined Life” by Crystal Paine.    Even now I am so happy when I look at it.  Yes, I still need to put down grass seed, but I am okay with that still needing to be done.  Besides, on average it is around freezing this time of the year.  Grass doesn’t really grow in those temperatures.

Tulips in my front flower bed

My composting worms also made an appearance after the surprising find that they were still alive.  I went on to talk a bit more about them and how much I really do love having a worm bin at home.  A few weeks later I talked about a worm’s diet.  During that post I also recorded the amount, in pounds, of food scraps I was sending to the compost  pile.  It was an insightful exercise in that it made me so much more aware of how much household waste we could recycle at home instead of throwing away or sending to be recycled elsewhere.

Food has been mentioned somewhat regularly on here.  At the beginning of February 2012 I posted about using what you have at home.  This included using frozen pumpkin puree to make shakes and muffins. Actually, I need to check to see if there are a few more bags in the freezer.  Pumpkin shakes sound good right now.

Last May I also shared recipes and the results from my Tea Party.  If you were a reader at that time you may remember that I was practicing recipes and prep work for a bridal shower I was helping with.  I have been meaning to do a similar thing (though not for a bridal shower) this winter that would involve coffee and biscotti.  If you happen to have any good recipes you are willing to share I would love to try them out.

Most recently I have been talking about Creating a Garden Calendar to help start off your upcoming garden season.  To make this a bit easier for you I also shared at least 27 different sources of calendars, here and here.  Not all of the calendar are still available for free, but I do know that I have seen more available at local businesses lately.  Even my bank had some that were free for the taking.

There were more things talked about over the past year, but these are the ones that stand out to me.  There were also more photos, especially towards the second half of the year.  For one reason or another these have stood out to me.  Perhaps it is the memory behind them, like the last photo which is of the front flower bed after it was finished and filled with compost and dead leaves.  Or maybe it is the bright colors, like the butterflies enjoying the orange slices on the yellow dish.  This time last year I would not have guessed that a lot of these experiences would have happened.  Similarly I do not know what the upcoming year, or beyond, will hold.  I only know that I will do my best to make the most of the opportunities that come.

May 012012

A few weeks ago I posted about composting and vermiculture.   At the time I hadn’t been adding to my outdoor compost pile for various reasons, but decided that I really needed to get back to doing so.  When I started doing this I also began thinking about my worms.

How many do I really need if I wanted to compost all my family’s compostable garbage that way?

To find the answer to that question I had to answer two more:

  1. How much compostable garbage did my family produce?
  2. How much garbage are a certain amount of worms able to compost in a reasonable time?

To answer these I turned to my kitchen scale and the Internet.  Everyday I either collected my scraps into a container, weighed it, then added it to my pile.  Or, I collected it in a container in my freezer.  When that container was full I weighed it and took it outside to the pile.

In all fairness I only did this for food scraps.  I didn’t even include paper or other household waste that can be composted.  If I had that would have, obviously, increased this amount.

  1. Week #1 – 3 lb 2 oz
  2. Week #2 – 6 lb 1 oz
  3. Week #3 – 5 lb 10 oz

As you can see, I was able to collect more the longer I did it.  By doing it, I became more aware of what we were throwing out.  Actually week #3 is less than it should be because I didn’t complete the whole week.

So now, how many worms?

According to CityFarmer.org, “In Worms Eat My Garbage, Mary Appelhof suggests weighing your household food waste for one week (in pounds), and then provide one square foot of surface area per pound.”

Red Worm Composting agrees, but also gives some steps to make the composting go quicker.  I think this may  have been one of my issues the first time around.  I just added scraps without aging them or freezing them, thereby making the worms do all the work.  No wonder it was taking forever for anything to happen.

So, assuming that I can easily produce 5 – 6 lbs a week, finding 7 pounds of compostable material shouldn’t be too hard.  This will be especially true during the summer months when we eat more salad.  Looking at my notes, most days I was getting at least 1 pound.  This would mean that I would need 2 lbs, or 2,000 worms, to compost that amount of material.

I haven’t weighed my worms as of late, as I was waiting till they ate through most of their bedding before separating them out again.  However, next time I will be sure to do so.  Then I will know how close I am to this goal.  It will also allow me to track if they are multiplying or not.