All posts filed under: Sustain.Environment

This Blog is Officially Retired + Where to Find Me

Hi Everyone! This is my last blog post here at How I Sustain. I’m not gone, by any means. In fact, I have SO MUCH to share, that it started feeling too disjointed to continue. So I’m shifting the location of my person blog + the topics I discuss to two different places so that I can truly focus my content and the discussions we’re having into the places that serve your interests. How I Sustain Blog, as of today, will be retired. The archives will continue to be held here, so you can always come back + I will continue to reference this content in future posts. My new personal blog, with everything paper crafting + memory keeping + self-loving will be at JulieLoveGagen.com. My yoga blog, with everything living well + sustainable living + yoga will be at RenegadePowerYoga.com. Both sites are beautiful. Both sites are unique. Both sites truly capture everything that I love about the community that we have cultivated, together, online. And, of course, you can always check out all …

Everything you need to know to start organic gardening at home

Our Garden Today | April Beginnings + A Lesson in Composting + Soil Additives

It’s mid-April and the weather is FINALLY warming up here in our little New England town. In past years, this month marks the point in our growing season when the seeds are started, strong, and ready to grow roots in our garden. But we’re a little behind this year. Of course a lot of that has to do with my aversion to, like, eating (goodbye, first trimester, I won’t miss you!). And part of that has to do with my unfortunately unhealthy pregnancy diet (I want ALL THE CARBS and ALL THE REFINED SUGAR). But it’s also partly because it takes that long for the soil to settle. And partly because it usually takes that long before we’re sure the seedlings are ready to root in bigger plots. And partly because we had three snow storms between March and April. No thank you, mother nature. No thank you. But now that the warm days outnumber the cold ones, and now that the light in the sky has changed, and daylight lasts longer, I’m craving time …

Setting up our home garden. First steps: order organic, heritage seeds from seed savers exchange, prep the soil, start the seeds.

Setting Up a Healthy, Organic Home Garden

There is nothing more precious than healthy food. Cultivating it, caring for it, cooking it, and serving it to people you love. Truly, I have the utmost respect for those that are inclined to cultivate, supply, and share whole foods. I also admire them with a sense of wonder, since the culinary instincts of my family skipped right over me and landed, solely, on my youngest sister. I am a baker, a pretty cupcake maker, and a mediocre cook, at best. With my limitations, it’s especially important for me to work with the best ingredients I can find.   In the past, we have participated in farm shares, shopped at farmer’s markets, and enjoyed weekly trips to our local organic grocery store. We garden every year, even years that we lived in apartments, even the years that we knew we would move, mid-harvest. Because, well, there is literally nothing better than a garden grown tomato, friend. Take my word for it. This year marks our third summer on Parker Street and our third year growing …

I buy my plants from the same supplier as Martha Stewart

Friday Photo + Words: Famous Plants

Every Friday I share a photo and a story. A lighter touch. An easier read for the end of the week. Friday Photo + Words is my best way to end the work week. — I’m SO so happy to have Friday Photo + Words back this month! May was filled with all things My Selfie Scrapbook – and that was an awesome thing – but it’s good to get back to routines. And, as this is one of my more popular series, I know many of you are thinking the same thing. You may not realize it, but these plants are famous. Well, maybe not these specific plants, but the lady that sells them is kind of a big deal. — I have this thing about magazines. And by “thing” I mean, that I love to have them and I hate parting with them. This is especially true when it comes to Martha Stewart Living and anything to do with food. I don’t know what the draw is. I mean, we have Pinterest and …

#100HappyDays-10 Capture the Everyday Joy of your Summer Days with your iPhone

#100 Happy Days | Fall

#100HappyDays is a free photo documentation project designed to inspire people to start noticing what makes them happy every day, be happier, be thankful, be optimistic, and all sorts of good stuff. If there is one thing that all this life documentation has taught me, it’s that the small, everyday moments – routines, habits, meals – are the things that make up who you are. When we acknowledge and celebrate those small moments, we’re celebrating ourselves. You can learn more about the project by visiting the 100happydays.com website and sign up for free! — My #100HappyDays challenge ended last month. It was awesome. And I can’t wait to take the photos and turn them into an album we can view for years to come. But I just can’t get enough! So I decided to one more collage for the Fall. I’m enamored with nature lately. We’ve had unseasonably warm weather mixed in between crisp, sunny fall days and the sky has been a beautiful backdrop to the changing light. Naturally, I’m taking full advantage. WAY …

In the Garden

If you had told me a month ago that our tomatoes would still produce flowers in mid-October, I wouldn’t have believed you. After a cool, dry summer, we were ready to pull the garden plants during the first spell of cool fall weather in early September. Thankfully, we procrastinated. And we have been given many thanks as a result. Every time I think “this is the last tomato sauce of the season” (while silently whimpering), our garden has kicked butt and proved me wrong – three times. We have carrots, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, eggplant, carrots, and potatoes. And if this warm weather holds, we should have edible spinach and kale in a week! Of course, there are losses because of the fluctuation in temperature (from 70 degrees F, down to 40F and back to 60F in 24-hours), especially with the tomatoes. But the remaining plants are holding strong. And I’m loving the extra time – and extra food – that comes with it. Way to go, nature! xoxo, Julie    

Vegetable Barley Chicken Stew

I’ve been on this wonderful cooking and creating kick, thanks to half a month barred indoors with the first cold of the school year. There are only so many days I can lay around resting and hydrating before I need to start DOING things again. And I’ll be honest, it’s been an impressive comeback. Three new yummy recipes in one week? I’ll take it! Vegetable Barley Chicken Stew 1 qt (32 oz.) Chicken or Vegetable Stock 2 cubes Chicken or Vegetable Bouillon 2 large Carrots, chopped 3 stalks Celery, chopped 1 medium Onion, chopped 3 cloves Garlic, minced 6-8 small Red or Purple Potatoes, quartered 1 1/2 c. Barley, dried 1/2 bunch of Swiss Chard (can substitute Kale or other hearty greens), chopped Cooked chicken* 1 t Garlic Powder (or to taste) 1 t Onion Powder(or to taste) Salt & Pepper (to taste) 4-12 c. Water This can be made in a crock pot (slow cooker) or large dutch oven. In both recipes, add water to your preference. I tend to make stews over soups, …

#100HappyDays-09 Capture the Everyday Joy of your Summer Days with your iPhone

#100 Happy Days | Nine

#100HappyDays is a free photo documentation project designed to inspire people to start noticing what makes them happy every day, be happier, be thankful, be optimistic, and all sorts of good stuff. If there is one thing that all this life documentation has taught me, it’s that the small, everyday moments – routines, habits, meals – are the things that make up who you are. When we acknowledge and celebrate those small moments, we’re celebrating ourselves. You can learn more about the project by visiting the 100happydays.com website and sign up for free! — This is the ninth installment of #100HappyDays and I love this project. The middle picture would be more aptly titled “goodbye, summer!” but I’m still not ready to talk about that. This summer was AWESOME. The weather was perfect. The days were long. Everything was easy. We visited historical homes and counted frogs in the Roman-eque garden. We swam in historical ponds. We sought out culture. And bike rides. And smiles. And when we were tired, we rested … together. It …

#100HappyDays-08 Capture the Everyday Joy of your Summer Days with your iPhone

#100 Happy Days | Eight

#100HappyDays is a free photo documentation project designed to inspire people to start noticing what makes them happy every day, be happier, be thankful, be optimistic, and all sorts of good stuff. If there is one thing that all this life documentation has taught me, it’s that the small, everyday moments – routines, habits, meals – are the things that make up who you are. When we acknowledge and celebrate those small moments, we’re celebrating ourselves. You can learn more about the project by visiting the 100happydays.com website and sign up for free! — This is the eighth installment of #100HappyDays and I love this project. Seeing these photos, I see a lot of smiles and happy memories. On a whim of last-minute change of plans, I took the boys to Vermont – a 4 hr drive – by myself to meet up with another mom and her two boys. And not just any boys – THESE BOYS. These crazy little monkeys that want to run, and climb, and jump, and catch, and push their …

#100HappyDays-07 Capture the Everyday Joy of your Summer Days with your iPhone

#100 Happy Days | Seven

#100HappyDays is a free photo documentation project designed to inspire people to start noticing what makes them happy every day, be happier, be thankful, be optimistic, and all sorts of good stuff. If there is one thing that all this life documentation has taught me, it’s that the small, everyday moments – routines, habits, meals – are the things that make up who you are. When we acknowledge and celebrate those small moments, we’re celebrating ourselves. You can learn more about the project by visiting the 100happydays.com website and sign up for free! — This is the seventh installment of #100HappyDays and I love this project. This is our trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. Days spent hiking my favorite national park – Acadia – and evenings spent eating sea food on decks overlooking the ocean. Max has fallen in love with boats, so every activity seemed to involve BOATS! and most afternoons went something like: “mommy? MOMMY!” “yes, Max?” “BOATS!” (points to boats) “yes, I see them. do you love boats?” “ya” (and repeat.. for …