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

Jun 122014

It isn’t always  possible to be outside in the garden.  The next best thing is looking at pictures of gardens or reading about them.  I find I can never learn enough about the things you love.  So, for those times when it is raining, you are stuck inside for a meeting or in a car going somewhere, here are a few books to add to your reading list.

These gardening 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 was able to read these on my computer.  If you are wanting to do the same, go here to download the free application.

Backyard Chickens Guide For Beginners: Easy Steps To Starting A Chicken Coop, Raising And Feeding A Brood Right In Your Backyard (Choosing Coops, Chicken … Raising Chickens, Chicks, Chicken Coops)

Growing Organic – 2-Book Combo: Companion Planting And Pest Control In An Organic Vegetable Garden

The Complete Composting Guide for Beginners: Grow Your Own From Home!

Backyard Chickens Book Package: Beginner’s Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens & The Backyard Chickens Breed Guide (Modern Homesteading)

Growing Herbs, How To Grow Herbs in Beds, Containers, Pots, Baskets, Window Boxes

50 Popular Types of Herb (The Herb Books)

Gardening for Dummies: How to Protect Your Garden

Modern Homesteading – Self Sufficiency. 5 Books Bundle Beginners Guide: Canning & Food Preservation; Raised Bed Gardening; Raising Chickens; Growing Organic … Vermin Control (K.I.S.S Quick Bites)

Growing Herbs: Indoors, in Pots, in the Garden, Herb Recipes And a Medicinal List: Indoors, in Pots, in the Garden, Herb Recipes And a Medicinal List (Vegetable Gardening)

Lavender the Universal Herb (Herbal Amicus Book 2)

The Herb Garden (The Herb Books Book 4) 

Garden Design and Landscaping – The Beginner’s Guide to the Processes Involved with Successfully Landscaping a Garden (an overview) (‘How to Plan a Garden’ Series)

Organic Gardening: Your Guide to Growing Healthy Organic Produce

Backyard Bird Guide: Attracting Wild Birds to Your Yard

grow your own vegetables in small spaces

Apr 042014

Here are some ebooks that 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 was able to read these on my computer.  If you are wanting to do the same, go here to download the free application.

How To Control Garden Pests Organically 

Organic Gardening: 7 Easy Steps to Freedom, Fun, and Fantastic Health By Growing Your Own Organic Food

Garden Design and Landscaping – The Beginner’s Guide to Successfully Landscaping a Garden (‘How to Plan a Garden’ Series)

Global Gastronomic Adventures Presents A Real Taste of Canning & Preserving ( canning & preserving Cookbook): Canning & Preserving Recipe Cookbook

Healthy Living From Your Own Back Yard: 9 valuable vitamins to grow at home

Survival Seeds: The Heirloom Seed Saving Handbook

Backyard Chickens: The Beginner’s Guide to Raising and Caring for Backyard Chickens (Homesteading Life)

Indoor Gardening Made Easy: How To Grow Herbs & Vegetables In Your House

The Ultimate Organic Gardening Guide: Gardening Basics from A to Z for Beginners with Organic Gardening Tips for a Healthy Garden (organic gardening, gardening, organic gardening how to)

Simple Gardening Tips

Survival Seeds: The Emergency Heirloom Seed Saving Guide

Container Gardening Made Easier: The Fun, Easy Way to Grow Vegetables, Flowers and Herbs: a Complete Guidebook

Organic Gardening Book Package: Organic Gardening: Your Guide to Growing Healthy Organic Produce & Seed Saving for the Organic Gardener

Retaining Walls – Plan Design and Build Allan Block Residential Landscape Walls up to 6 ft. High (1.8 m) – A Complete Installation Guide

AB Courtyard Collection Installation Guide – Create Outdoor Patio Walls, Ponds, Kitchens, BBQ’s and More

The Allure Of Chocolate

Vertical Gardening: What You Need to Know to Grow Organic Vegetables and Fruits for Your Family

Worm Farming: Everything You Need to Know To Setting up a Successful Worm Farm

Raised Bed Gardening – 5 Books bundle on Growing Vegetables In Raised Beds & Containers

How NOT to Kill Plants

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.

Oct 012013


84 Days Till Christmas!  When put that way, it seems so close and I feel so far behind.  Yet in my mind it is 3 months away, which seems so much further and allows me to relax.  I’m not rushing time.  Fall is my favorite season and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest while it is here.  After all, it only happens once a year.  Still, I also plan to enjoy the Christmas Season once it comes.  For me, a large part of enjoying it is planning ahead so I won’t be rushing around or stressed.

A few weeks back I had a post showing some items I had gotten at a clearance sale at a second hand store.  Some of those items were for Christmas gifts and cost $1 each.  I’m not saying that I only buy cheap presents, but I do look for things the recipients would like and try not to spend $20/$40/$100 if I can get them for less.  (It doesn’t work all the time, but some savings is better than no savings.)  This is one of the benefits of starting early.

Today I want to share with you some things you may be able to get for free.  If they are no longer available, don’t be disheartened.  Keep your eyes open.  They may be available again or you  may find something similar.

groups of various colored tulips

Here are some examples of things I have done:

  • Request samples – recently Twinings Tea company was offering to send a sample of three bags of their tea.  I was able to choose which flavors.  These will actually be used as a part of three different gifts.  I have seen and requested offers such as this before.  There have also been offers for coffee and hot cocoa, oatmeal and cream of wheat, granola bars, etc.  This is also a great idea if you need something to include in a card.  You could also request a variety of k-cup samples and put together an assorted box to share with someone you know has a machine which uses these.  The cup can be expensive when bought in a store and this way there will be a unique variety for the recipient.  It does take time to receive these items, so start now requesting them if you haven’t done so.
  • Use a free bag as part of your wrapping or gift – Every so often I happen to get a free bag.  Sometimes it is a “free” offer, others were being handed out, or they may have come from point redemption from one program or another.  Use it in place of a gift bag or wrapping, or include it as part of the gift.
  • Worms from your  vermiculture bin – you will really have to make sure that the person you are giving these too loves to garden.  Not everyone will appreciate the gift of worms.  I do not often share my worm, to be honest, because my worms haven’t multiplied quickly in the bin.  (They multiply a LOT more in my raised beds.)  Actually, it has only happened once.  Another gardener gave me a great tip and so I returned the favor with the gift of worms and some vermicompost (which included worm eggs).  When sharing or transporting worms, place them in a box or bag that has air holes, then add moist but not wet bedding.
  • Share a gift certificate – a co-worker of my husbands had gotten a gift certificate to a gardening store but wasn’t planning to use it as he was single and lived in an apartment.  The value of the certificate was large enough that I offered to share it with a neighbor.  We turned it  into a Girl’s Afternoon Out and enjoyed looking at all the plants an items in the store.  In the end we both got things we wanted, never would have bought ourselves, and had a great time looking around,  (Okay, this one did cost some gas, so may not technically be considered ‘free’ by everyone.)
  • There are sometimes ebooks that you can get for free.  The sharing of ebooks can be a bit tricky, legal wise.  In the case where I was able to gift them to others I checked before hand to make sure it was okay.  I also made sure the books I shared were ones I had not read.  If this is something you are thinking about doing, please check with your source first and clarify that the book(s) you are gifting are ones you have not read yet.  This can also be a great idea for a long distance gift with no shipping required.
  • worm found in old raised garden bed box

Here are some ideas, but may not necessarily be things I have tried.

  • Divide plants in your yard or garden.  If you are already needing to do this, why not wrap them in a cellophane bag, add a bow and a note saying what the plant is and how to take care of it.  If you don’t happen to have cellophane bags at home, look for a box or sandwich bag that will work.  You could even plant a bulb in an old coffee mug (just make sure it still looks good and isn’t cracked).
  • Share something you have two of – After calling a company asking about a missing piece to their product I just bought, they sent me the piece … in form of the whole product.  It was only a small piece I needed and in no way affected how the product worked, so I was surprised by them sending a whole brand new replacement.  They did not request I return the product I had bought, so I ended up with two of something I only needed one of.  This product was a nice one and would have made a great gift for someone.  (I wouldn’t have gifted the one with the small piece missing.  In the end I used the product in a different part of my yard.)
  • Autographed postcard from a Disney Character – I have seen mixed review on this, as to whether it has actually worked.  Noting that the expected turn around time is 4-6 weeks, if you are interested in doing this, then you will need to do it soon.  This one isn’t technically free as you will need to use a stamp to mail your letter. It is very close though, and takes some time, so I chose to include it in the list of free gift ideas.
  • If your garden is still producing, find information on how to save seeds from some of your plants.  Right now on my kitchen counter I have yellow squash, watermelon, and tomato seeds from plants this year.  A friend also keeps small sweet potatoes to use for slips.  Once correctly stored these will be great to use for next year.  They would also make a nice variety pack for a gardening friend or someone who is interested in starting out.  You may even swap some with other gardeners you know to increase the variety of plant seeds you have.  For wrapping, use an old gardening catalog.  Make envelopes or rip and glue pictures to the outside of a box.  Don’t forget to label the seeds.  Some can look very similar once they are outside the fruit (think yellow squash and zucchini, or roma tomato and beefsteak tomato, etc.).  🙂

This list is by no means all inclusive.  It’s intention is to get you thinking about ways you can give thoughtful gifts without spending a lot of money.

What are some gifts you have given in the past that were free or close to it?

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.

Sep 302012

Are you looking for some Sunday afternoon reading material?  Or perhaps, like me, are thinking ahead to slower days (winter) when you will have more time to read again?  Or maybe you are already looking ahead to next year and want to get some ideas?  Whatever the reason, here are several books I can across that will currently cost you nothing to “purchase”. That’s right, $0.00.  I’m not sure how long these will last, so go ahead and get them.  Unlike paper books, they will not sit on a shelf and collect dust.

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.

I do not own a Kindle, but am able to read these on my computer.  Go here to download the free application that will allow you to do the same.

Just in time for the cooler weather: 

Fall and Winter Gardening: 25 Organic Vegetables to Plant and Grow for Late Season Food


The Forever Urban Garden: Nine Ways To Extend The Growing Season

Planning for next year:

Home Vegetable Gardening -a Complete and Practical Guide to the Planting and Care of All Vegetables, Fruits and Berries Worth Growing for Home Use


Container Gardening Designs & Woodworking Plans- Ideas for Organic Gardening & Urban Gardening


Container Gardening Ideas Plus Vertical Gardening-How to Produce More Organic Vegetables in Less Space


Worm Composting & Composting Ideas – for use in Organic Gardening & Growing of Vegetables & Herbs

 No Work Vegetable Gardening

Flower related: 

How To Grow Roses


Michael Taggart Photography: The Flowers

Children’s Books:

Things that Fly Big Book (4 Discover Series Picture Books for Children in 1)


The Burgess Bird Book for Children

Fun Reading: 

A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains

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.