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Organizing Tips for Busy Farmgirls

I am creative (but sometimes I think someone else should come up with the ideas so I can get back to doing my nails).

I am resourceful (but sometimes I just want to be pampered with the finer things in life).

I work hard (but sometimes I just want a bath and a facial and about 45 extra minutes to myself).

I am focused (but sometimes I can’t decide what to focus on).

I have good intentions toward all (but sometimes it’s all about me).

As you can see, the farmgirl and the diva demand equal time. I want both to be very happy. So the following are my organizing tips for the farmgirl/diva dilemma, an answer to the conflict within. I keep them all in one place with a private intranet site I set up for me, myself and I (Don’t worry! I’ll tell you how in a bit). It lists all the things that need to get done each day, as well as a few indulgences here and there. Why an intranet site? Because my brain can process a full-sized web page better than the teeny app on a handheld device. And let’s just forget about going with a different app for every task I do. And trying to keep track of it each time I put it down somewhere and walk off to the next task. (Now where is that iPod? And my glasses? Hey, did I just sit on them again?)

My intranet loads onto my widescreen laptop that sits on top of my dresser, or the kitchen counter or in my lap in a lounge chair, and I don’t sit on it. Or, it loads onto the hubby’s desktop when I use his computer for paying the bills. I also plan to have a desktop in the kitchen (someday my dream will come) for so many reasons I can’t even list them all! My private site boasts big, beautiful pictures for my viewing pleasure. It provides a form at the end of each page for adding notes/ideas where I can use two hands to type. Perfect! I divided the site into 9 different sections – our daily schedule.

#1 – Farm Work (chore list)
#2 – Body Work (nutrition info and workouts)
#3 – Beauty Routine (with links to Pinterest pics, etc.)

#4 – On The Menu (recipes)
#5 – Housekeeping (chore list)
#6 – Me Time (a 7 day rotation list)

#7 – Put ‘Em Up (canning recipes)
#8 – Project Room (sewing, scrapbooking, etc)
#9 – Date Night/Travel (ideas for the hubby and I)

What this private site does for me, is to help me visualize how all the chaotic pieces of my day fit together. That’s why, of all my suggested organizing tips, a private intranet is my favorite. It does wonders. I grabbed a few of my favorite pictures and photos from around the web and use them as a visual trigger: What needs to get done at a glance.

#1 – Farm Work

First pic in the first row is of my garden where I click to find the schedule of chores. Since I need to be quick about getting out the door, this works out great for me. I am then off to do the farm work at the crack of dawn; cultivating, curating, working my husbandry skills. At the end of the day, I can easily add things to it as they come up like ‘top-dress the corn with compost and chickie poop’, or ‘clean up the crazy mess in the shed’. This section is also loaded with snippets of information from all over the internet about raising animals, gardening and staying organized. I set up a little library to easily recall the good advice posted by my favorite bloggers, informational sites and more. If I tried to revisit each site every time I needed some quick info, well, it would be an all-day task and that’s not good. And there is no guarantee the site will still be there anyway, know what I mean?

#2 – Body Work

The next thing I (try to) do is workout. I’m already stinky from working outside so why not? And it actually gives me energy to keep going the rest of the day. I click on the pic and the first thing I come to is a chart that helps me figure out what “phase” I’m in. Check this out:

Your 28-Day Cycle Breakdown
(originally written by Natural Health Magazine, LOADED with useful organizing tips, and tailored for yours truly)

  Do This: Nutrition: Mind and Body:
Phase 1 – Lay Low Phase (the time of menstruation for those that have a period)

Lasts 3-7 days

It’s a time to rest up, especially after Phase 3. It’s the ‘wintertime’ of the cycle

Grapeseed and Omega-3 are great for this phase

Focus on mental tasks.

Work on emotionally-charged issues held over from the Down Phase.

Avoid feeling low by knowing that you will soon be in the Up Phase.

Talk a lot to friends, family and partner…it is another way to cleanse yourself.

Eat blueberries and raspberries, beans and nuts, and dark chocolate.

Cook comfort foods like soups, stews and casseroles.

(Progesterone is ending, estrogen is beginning – but both are very low. The phytoestrogens in these foods support you through this stage of withdrawal and reset.)

Go easy on the exercise; try gardening or play golf instead.

Crafts, sewing and other task-oriented hobbies are great since the mind is able to focus right now.

Confrontations are easier to deal with during this phase – there is less stress on your body. And your emotions are more evened out.

Phase 2 – Up Phase (when you get your energy back and start to feel like yourself again)

Lasts 7-14 days

You are at your peak mentally, so do the taxes

You are at your peak socially, so maybe do some traveling!

If you have to speak publicly or meet with the boss, this is the time to do it.

If you have research or a lot of studying during the Down Phase, do it now to save yourself the mental stress.

This is an uninhibited stage so stay cool – no regrets about that BBQ social you went to!

Avoid fast food and eat well-rounded meals.

Eat pumpkin seeds.

Take flaxseed oil, dong quai and a regular multi vitamin.

(Eating this way during this phase helps your body find its best estrogen balance while going into the next phase.)

Verbal abilities are at a peak; thinking is sharp and clear.

Mood is elevated.

Sexuality is increased.

Exert energy through regular workouts, adding extra reps. Kick it up a notch!

(Remember, you are in an estrogen dominant phase, you now have girl power!)

Phase 3 – Down Phase (just like it says; it’s a time to clean out the negative)

Lasts roughly 2 weeks

Don’t make big decisions until this phase is over

Do more cardio exercises to offset appetite and metabolic slowdown

Do a lot of reflecting – this is a time when the mood changes (sometimes drastically), causing a contemplative state.

Don’t skip confrontation all together – just wait until the Lay Low Phase when you will be able to work things out with a clear head.

Try to laugh! Watch a funny movie or your favorite standup comic.

Cut calories but eat plenty of protein, bananas and whole grain cereal.

Take an herbal hormone complex and alternate with supplements like Pregnenolone, vitex and a multivitamin.

(Your body is producing more progesterone which increases insulin resistance. These foods and supplements help create a balance.)

Write down your feelings rather than saying them out loud. This is the best way to release the toxic emotions.

Do some deep breathing during an emotional swing.

Keep your mind and body healthy by NOT piling things on.

Pamper yourself with fragrant baths and homemade facial creams. Turn your master bedroom/bathroom into a private spa!

 

This is crucial to me coexisting with the men in my family too. It’s based on a FAB article by Natural Health Magazine and lets all of us know what to expect at any given moment. It’s pretty awesome. So I follow the advice in this chart to determine which workout I do, what to eat and more. It’s a no-brainer.

But this section isn’t only about hormones and workouts. I also keep lots of snippets of health advice from the pros so that at a moments notice, I can whip up a natural remedy for just about anything. Farmgirls gotta stay healthy you know.

#3 – Beauty Routine

Next, it’s the return of the diva! I get all dolled up for the rest of the day, even if I have to go back outside to work. (Have you ever strolled a garden in a long skirt, silk blouse and jewelry? It feels like you’re the star in your very own motion picture!) This is where I like to browse through my closet and visit my favorite online fashion/beauty sites for inspiration. I click on the pic to find links to the fashionistas:

http://www.transitioningmovement.com
http://www.harpersbazaar.com/
http://blackhair101.com/
http://youlookfab.com/
and so many more.

I also store many recipes for lip balm, shampoo and conditioner and other homemade goodies. Somehow, this gives me a boost of confidence that carries me through many off-homestead duties as well. The business encounters, the line at the DMV and if I really must, grocery shopping. I even had a terrific time at the bank the other day when I had to wait for a banker for over half an hour! We ended up giggling about the silliest little things, and then she added that she liked my nails and asked, “Do you really have a farm with nails like that?” Uh huh… that’s the power of the diva! Sure, I could do all of these things in my regular digs – jeans and a t-shirt – but the diva definitely knows better.

#4,5,6 – On The Menu, Housekeeping, Me Time

After taking care of me, everybody gets to eat! 🙂 So the next section is filled with recipes for all meals of the day and helps me put together meal plans. (Although I think I’ll migrate over to Yumprint.com. Pretty cool.) Then I do a quick tidying around the house (which is what the next section is all about) so I can hurry up and get back outside where I love to be. I have a gazillion snippets of cleaning advice articles, recipes for homemade cleaners and the schedule for what to clean that day. It’s all in there and ready for me to just click the mouse. It seems to be working out fine.

Now, at the end of the day, a must-do is a nightly routine I call “Me Time” where the master bedroom and bathroom become a sanctuary and where both girls get to recharge. For at least an hour anyway. I then reintegrate back into the family for a movie or board game, etc. Me Time can also happen outside in the hammock reading a book, or back out into the garden to take pictures at dusk. Whatever is relaxing and helps me focus on recharging. I NEVER SKIP THIS PART. My sanity is involved so I’ve learned to take it very seriously. It would have been nice to know this about myself years earlier (this is why) but I’m thankful that I finally got it. Farmgirls and divas alike cannot coexist without doing this. Trust me (us).

Don’t Be Afraid To Adjust With The Seasons

I have to adjust the schedule for wintertime but it’s a pretty smooth transition once daylight savings time switches things up on us. Here in California, spring, summer and fall are for early risers. It’s winter that gets us all discombobulated and so things get moved around a bit. But we adjust fairly quickly and then all is well again.

#7,8,9 – The Final Three

So that is pretty much it. Organizing tips and tricks for a full day. The final 3 sections are not so much about gaining sanity, but rather holding onto it. Two are for organizing the homesteading projects. (canning and other projects like sewing or making homemade cleaners) And the last one is strictly about how to have fun with the hubby on a date night or where to travel on vacation.

I think that if I didn’t have this intranet site, I couldn’t write for my internet site. These days, we’re all so overloaded with information from here and there and everywhere that I really suffer for it. Because I have this tug-o-war going on inside, I would never be able to complete a task (let alone build a business, run a family, grow food and raise animals!) if I didn’t have an effective way to stay organized. It also helps me appear to be normal to the public! 🙂

How To Set Up Your Own Intranet

(A techie tutorial that ain’t for the faint…)

Disclaimer: You should really know your way around your computer and know the terms/language before you do this. I cannot be responsible for anything that happens! I know from experience that these tutorials work, so if for some reason they don’t then it’s all on you, k? 🙂 Budget permitting, you might even want to hire an expert to create your intranet for you.

Turning your desktop computer or laptop into a server to run a private website requires three different installations. The following tutorials includes instructions on how to install Apache (the server software), PHP (server-side programming/script engine that helps create a more functional website) and MySQL (the database software). You can also include phpMyAdmin if you choose to do more with your database, and then of course there are a number of content management systems (CMS) including WordPress to make it easy and pretty. Sounds like fun!

PDF format

Download setup tutorial for Windows 8 | Download setup tutorial for Windows 7

Here’s a quick run down on connectivity.

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Oh, we are all about…




Make the Most of Mulberries!

by Gail Kavanagh

In many places in the urbanized West, mulberry trees are considered more of a curse than a blessing. Originating in Asia, these trees fruit profusely and drop their cargo with abandon, making a sticky purple mess on whatever lies below. Birds that eat the berries add vivid purple droppings on cars, driveways and outdoor furniture as well.

Mulberry trees pop up anywhere they please and are often classified as a weed. Many people would rather be rid of them and can chop them down with no objections from urban forestry projects. But they still flourish in urban areas because of the ease of propagation, mainly by birds. It would seem that mulberry trees have very little going for them, if it weren’t for the berries.

Mulberries are one of the most delicious and nutritious fruits available. Packed with vitamin C, flavonoids and antioxidants, they are high on the scale of healthy berries. Mulberries are also a good source of iron and vitamin B complex, and provide many other trace vitamins and minerals. In short, these plump berries are powerhouses of concentrated goodness. That’s the blessing side of a mulberry tree in your garden — like having your own multivitamin production line.

The curse of the mulberry tree is often just the result of bad placement. These trees will grow anywhere they can. They grow under decks and carports, alongside brick walls and in the most unlikely places. The root system can be invasive and dangerous to foundations, and the branches spread into a wide canopy that threaten everything beneath it. It must be removed if the tree roots and branches affect foundations and roof structures. But if you want to make the most of this free source of delicious nutrition, it is worth transplanting to another location, or putting a new plant somewhere less threatening.

Try to keep the branches away from neighboring properties, driveways, swimming pools and outdoor clotheslines. Mulberry trees sit well on a lawn or in a field where they can spread unhindered, and drop fruit without the fear of staining something else. The shade of a mulberry tree makes a pleasant spot for picnics.

While the nutritional benefits are best obtained by eating fresh raw fruit, mulberries also have many uses in the kitchen. Mulberries can be cooked on their own or with other fruits into conserve, or added to pies and cakes and cobblers. For cooking purposes, mulberries are similar to other collective fruits (fruits with multi globules on the surface). These include raspberries and blackberries, where mulberries can be a substitution for either or mixed with these fruits. Mulberries can be used in any recipe that calls for collective fruits and can be added to smoothies and ice cream.

When harvesting, ripe mulberries easily pull away from the tree, while less ripe fruit will be harder to pick. Place the fruit in a colander and rinse off under cold flowing water. If you want to freeze the berries, drain off the water and dry them on thick paper towels. You can flash freeze the berries on foil trays in the freezer for two hours, then pack them into bags or containers and store in the freezer for up to 12 months.

If you just cannot ignore the elephant in the room – the lingering purple stain – make friends with it. Mulberry dye is one the oldest known. From the lovely shades of lilac to deep purple that it produces are well worth the effort. The basic recipe is twice the weight of water to mulberries, so one container of mulberries will require four equal containers of water. Bring the fruit and water to the boil, strain into a bowl and add the fabric. Leave overnight to soak. To make a mordant to fix the dye, dissolve one cup of salt in a bucket of warm water, and soak the fabric again overnight before drying naturally in the sun.

The many uses of the mulberry, and its amazing value as a superfood, may help homeowners decide to relocate this useful tree rather than destroy it. Picking the ripe fruit at harvest time is a purple-stained memory shared by many older people across the world. It can be something your children will remember as well.


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