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Saturdays in the Garden: Tiny Insect Inhabitants & Organic Care for the Ecosystem

Venture inside the organic garden gate and you’ll find a bustling world of tiny inhabitants.  These insects create an ecologically diverse community, giving to and receiving from various plants what each needs for survival.  Sure, an imbalance of pests can threaten a crop. That’s why integrated pest management is the ideal aim of organic gardeners. […]

Continue Reading By on May 31, 2014 in agriculture, environment, environmental health, family, farm, garden, gardening, organic, outdoor, parenting, pesticides, safer chemicals, toxic, wildlife

Bat Conservationist Keynotes Discover Life in America Conference in Smokies

Start with some of the globe’s most ancient mountains, give them special protections, and you’ll discover tens of thousands of life forms, some not easily found anywhere else these days. That’s why East Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains are designated an International Biosphere Reserve. Scientists are still discovering and documenting different species of plants and animals […]

Continue Reading By on February 26, 2014 in Appalachia, biodiversity, climate change, Great Smoky Mountains, outdoor

Built Family Garden with Raised Beds

We’re nearly ready for planting, after two weeks of rebuilding our little gardening corner in our backyard. The fence is up to keep out our family dog. My husband constructed raised beds from cedar, making use of our slope. We’ve filled the beds with four different types of soil and amendments: Sandy loam soil Mushroom […]

Continue Reading By on April 30, 2012 in garden, organic, outdoor

Berries and Blooms

Unripened Blueberries Instant gratification it’s not.  I doubt we’ll be picking enough blueberries for a pie this year.  It was satisfying to see the first few, unripened, unseasonably early berries on the little plant that made its home with us a few weeks ago.  It seemed encouraging that the young bush had taken root and […]

Continue Reading By on April 15, 2012 in eating better, garden, natural, outdoor

Ozarks Watershed Center

Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park Nearby resident Judy Cousins was walking her dogs at the Watershed Center when she encountered Executive Director Mike Kromrey.  She’d been wondering what those interesting chains were that hung down from the new building, and Kromrey was able to explain how they carry water down to filter boxes […]

Continue Reading By on March 26, 2012 in clean water, education, environmental, green, Midwest, outdoor, Ozarks, sustainable

Growing Cabbage and Kids

Growing Cabbage and Kids How about an all-natural family project for $2 or less? That’s what I reassured myself after noting that I’m probably a few weeks late this time getting the red cabbage seeds planted from Sow True Seed. They are perfect for late summer, per the package. I’m not so sure about early […]

Continue Reading By on October 1, 2011 in family, garden, grow, outdoor, parenting

Saving Zinnia Seeds

The waning days of summer have included some gorgeous late afternoons filled with enough sunshine to lure us outdoors.  The girls and I made a project of collecting seeds from our eye popping zinnia flowers.  These flowers are encouraging because they grow so prolifically, even though other things in our garden might struggle. We tried […]

Continue Reading By on September 16, 2011 in frugal, garden, green, grow, outdoor, seed, thrifty

Picking Grapes in the Vineyard

The girls each had their own gallon-sized bucket to carry along the little vineyard.  We’d been invited to pick all the free grapes we could carry.  This was an enticing offer from our friend and neighbor, Marcia Fisher, in the hills of rural East Tennessee.  She generously picked off entire bunches of Concord grapes for us, […]

Continue Reading By on August 29, 2011 in farm, garden, grow, outdoor, vineyard