Why a Houseboat is Ideal for an Adult Getaway

Adulting is hard — that’s why it is important for adults to book vacations to get away from it all. Sometimes, a group of friends wants to reconnect and live like they did in the old days. Other times, a couple wants to spark the flames of passion once again. For all types of adult travelers, a houseboat vacation is the perfect option.

Here’s why you should book a houseboat for your next adults-only trip:

Houseboating Combines Unique Accommodations with Authentic Adventure

When you book a trip on a houseboat, the journey and the accommodations are one in the same. You get to enjoy the amenities of your houseboat with your entire travel party, all while traversing across the lake to see new sights and explore the region around you. Houseboating is an experience — one that is different from any other type of travel.

Houseboating is an Affordable Way to Travel

For many adults, a vacation is a luxury and budget can quickly become an issue. Luckily, houseboating is an affordable way to travel. All members of your travel party can split the cost of the boat rental. In addition, there’s plenty of opportunity to save more money by bringing your own food on board, sharing meals and choosing free or low-cost excursions during your trip.

Houseboating Allows Travelers to Relax and Reconnect with One Another

Many times, adults just need time to slow down, have conversation and enjoy the view. Luckily, houseboating makes it easy to enjoy all of those things throughout the duration of your entire vacation. Imagine yourself surrounded by your friends or the people you love, and all you have to do is sip your favorite beverage, talk about the good old days and enjoy the 360-degree waterfront views.

With marinas in Arizona, California and Nevada, Forever Houseboats

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The accidental homesteader – Backwoods Home Magazine

By Terry Hooker

Everyone who homesteads has hit that point where they decide to be more self sufficient. Sometimes it’s from life circumstances and sometimes it’s a conscious choice. For me the moment came after my husband left me and I lost my job. I had a four-year-old and was hanging on to the house by the skin of my teeth. My neighbor was aware of my circumstances and after long days of job hunting or picking up substitute teaching jobs, I would come home to find fresh eggs or vegetables left on my doorstep. Yes, I was grateful, but I also knew then that I really needed to be able to grow my own food.

Even though eggs and the meat from chickens provide a lot of food, I was not ready for chickens even though that seems to be where a lot of people start. I didn’t think I could afford the chicken food since I couldn’t really afford food for us. I was also concerned about where to keep them. I have a small barn on the property but I was not ready to convert it to a chicken coop. Then there are the predators. We are located in a rural area between two large nature preserves. We hear the bull alligators call at mating season, have seen large bobcats as well as panthers. Coyotes roam the cattle fields close by and there are black bears in the woods. No, I was not ready for chickens, even though the fresh eggs from the neighbor were feeding us.

A garden

I decided to start with a small 5×5 garden bed. I was so proud of building my first raised bed. I painted the boards purple and started to plant. But the soil here is sand. I mean sand! We call it sugar sand because it looks just like sugar. So that was one problem. The second problem was that I grew up in the Northeast where I learned to garden, but I am now in Central Florida. Big difference in planting seasons! My garden was not successful at all. Nothing grew, not even weeds.

So I started to watch my neighbor since she was born and raised in the area. She brought in soil and composted the chicken manure. She planted year round and made sure to water regularly and use pest control. Also if the seed packet said the plants needed full sun, she often put them in partial sun. I got up the nerve to ask her for help and she taught me how to grow a garden in Florida. She taught me how to find plants that would grow in our climate and soil. She read every seed packet to see if they would grow here and would only buy plants from local nurseries, none from the large box stores. I followed her example and the next planting season I had a beautiful garden. Many of the plants I grew that first year were not…

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The Ecological Gardener Explores A New Kind Of Gardening

Title: The Ecological Gardener: How to Create Beauty and Biodiversity from the Soil UpAuthor: Matt Rees-Warren

Cover Price: $24.95

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing The Ecological Gardener coverChelsea Green

For home gardeners interested in making their growing practices more regenerative, The Ecological Gardener promises to be an indispensable resource. Although there are now numerous books on the market about regenerative practices for small-scale farmers, most of them describe machinery or techniques that can’t be scaled down to fit a home garden. 

The Ecological Gardener fills this void.  

Gardens & the Natural World

Unlike most gardening books I’ve read, The Ecological Gardner doesn’t deal much with planting dates, seeding strategies or pest mitigation. Rather, the essence of the book is about integrating gardens into the natural world that surrounds them. 

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Throughout the book Rees-Warren argues that making your garden part of the local landscape is a kind of win-win. Improving habitat within your garden helps local mammals, birds and pollinators. And in turn, your garden becomes more diverse, resilient and healthy. 

Rees-Warren provides numerous examples of what this integration can look like, including inviting wildlife into the garden, turning lawns into wildflower gardens and planting as many native species as possible. 

(A quick note to U.S. readers: Rees-Warren is British, so many of the species he mentions are particular to the U.K. The same principles obviously apply anywhere, though).

Read more: You can use ecosystem design principles to improve your garden.

A New Kind of Garden

In many ways, Rees-Warren is advocating for a kind of new understanding of what a garden is. As he observes at one point, many public gardens and parks contain few (if any) native species. 

With the average home gardener drawing inspiration from these places, it’s no wonder that so many gardens contain no native species.  

According to Rees-Warren, however, a garden should be more than a collection of plants with no connection to the natural world that surrounds it. Rather, by blending the garden with the local landscape, both can be strengthened. 

To this end, Rees-Warren advocates for a redefinition of what weeds are. Invasive plants should be treated as weeds, and native plants should be seen as wildflowers.

A Practical Guide

Although The Ecological Gardener does spend time considering philosophical questions about things like the nature of gardening, it is also deeply practical. Throughout the book there are numerous one- or two-page instructionals on how to perform various practical tasks like taking a soil test or laying a hedgerow. These instructions are simple and concise, providing new gardeners with a valuable blueprint to follow. 

The “Soil” chapter of the book is especially laden with helpful advice, including instructions on how to set up a bokashi bin, brew compost tea and make biochar.

In short, The Ecological Gardener is equal parts philosophical treatise and how-to manual. And these two elements work well together to…

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1868: U.S. Senate votes against impeaching President Andrew Johnson

On this day in 1868, the U.S. Senate votes against impeaching President Andrew Johnson and acquits him of committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.” In February 1868, the House of Representatives charged Johnson with 11 articles of impeachment for vague “high crimes and misdemeanors”. (For comparison, in 1998, President Bill Clinton was charged with two articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice during an investigation into his inappropriate sexual behavior in the White House Oval Office. In 1974, Nixon faced three charges for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.) The main issue in Johnson’s trial was his staunch resistance to implementing Congress’ Civil War Reconstruction policies. The War Department was the federal agency responsible for carrying out Reconstruction programs in the war-ravaged southern states, and when Johnson fired the agency’s head, Edwin Stanton, Congress retaliated with calls for his impeachment. In more recent years the Democrat leadership of the U.S. Senate has used impeachment for political grandstanding, forcing votes even when they have no chance of a successful conviction.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 94 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. The photovoltaic power specialists at Quantum Harvest LLC  are providing a store-wide 10% off coupon. Depending on the model chosen, this could be worth more than $2000.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any of their one, two, or three-day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three-day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (a $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, that have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
  4. An Israeli…

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10 Tips for Developing a Permaculture Orchard

There’s no better time than now to start developing your plans for a permaculture orchard. They are perfect if you want to make money with less work than a traditional farm and live sustainably.

Permaculture orchards take some work initially, but the reward is a piece of land filled with a variety of trees, shrubs, smaller plants, and animals that work harmoniously to bring in revenue. The goal is to mimic a natural ecosystem within the orchard to maintain an eco-friendly and profitable environment.

You don’t need a large plot of land to develop a permaculture orchard — all you need is the right mixture of organisms.

Here are 10 tips for developing a permaculture orchard.

1. Choose a Good Location

As with any planting, you want to choose a good location. Make sure it’s a place that is easily accessible, gets ample sunlight, avoids erosion, and can handle a variety of foliage.

You’ll likely be visiting your orchard often for tasks like pruning and watering, so ensure you have all the resources you need to develop it in that locale.

2. Plant the Right Size

It’s vital to consider the size of your orchard before you begin planting. If you have limited space, you can only grow certain types of trees, shrubbery, and vegetables that will fit and not get crowded.

Additionally, only plant what you can manage. Not having enough help to take care of your trees will result in a loss of money and plants.

3. Amend Your Soil

The key to productive trees is healthy soil. Before you begin planting, check the soil quality, and take necessary measures to improve and strengthen it to prevent erosion.

When choosing an amendment, decide on the soil type you have and add organic materials to boost the soil’s ability to retain moisture, improve structural integrity, or allow for better drainage.

4. Have a Variety

Variety adds biodiversity, which in turn creates the natural environment that is necessary for a permaculture orchard. Some trees need a pollinator to produce fruit, while others are self-pollinating.

Having a variety of trees and other vegetation brings in more money since you’ll be able to sell additional items. For the best results, make sure that whatever you plant can thrive in your climate.

5. Add Vegetables and Nitrogen-Fixing Plants

Perennial vegetables come in many forms, and it should be relatively easy to find one or more that successfully grow in your region.

Nitrogen-fixing plants are another great additive. They help keep your soil rich year after year, making it sustainable. Trees and crops depend on nitrogen to grow to their full potential.

6. Attract Beneficial Insects

You’ll likely attract insects with a permaculture garden — so plant vegetation that draws beneficial ones. Pollination is essential for any crop to grow, so insects that do the work for you make it thrive.

Nectar-rich plants are always a good option, but herbs and other profitable plants work as well.

7….

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Regenerative Practices for Animal Agriculture

Regenerative agriculture has made its way into mainstream farming practices. While regenerative farming focuses primarily on crop practices, there are plenty of ways to integrate it into animal agriculture.

The practice of regenerative farming focuses on rebuilding the health of the soil to reverse climate change or at least slow it down. Additionally, it adds biodiversity back into the ground. This both sequesters carbon and improves the water cycle.

Primary practices within regenerative agriculture include minimizing tillage, planting cover crops, adding nutrients back into the soil, and managing livestock grazing. Therefore, it seems like utilizing animals for regenerative agriculture is only one part of land stewardship.

However, multiple other practices involve animals in restoring soil health and capturing carbon. Here are regenerative practices for animal agriculture that you can implement on your farm.

1. Control the Grazing

One of the most well-known methods of regenerative agriculture is managed grazing. Before livestock was domesticated and bred on an industrial scale, wild herbivores would naturally move across land to graze. There were no fenced-in areas to keep livestock in one space. This would give prairies and grasslands time to restore before another herd of animals would pass through.

Conventional grazing practices today don’t allow the land to regenerate. Herds are confined to a certain amount of space. Over time, the ground beneath them depletes, and it can be challenging for new grasses or plants to grow again.

However, controlled grazing solves that issue. Controlled grazing mimics the wild animals that would continuously move from field to field. Livestock only stays in one area for a short time before they’re forced to the next, allowing the field to recover.

Since plants can regenerate, they’re able to fully mature again, which more effectively sequesters carbon. Plus, the soil remains healthy and is less prone to erosion.

2. Use Animal Waste for Fertilizer

While this is an apparent regenerative practice, it shouldn’t go without some explanation. Manure produced by livestock provides one of the best natural fertilizers for plants, trees, and the soil. This benefits vegetation and is a regenerative practice for animal agriculture.

Animals naturally roam fields and the farm. Rather than ordering manure or other fertilizers for your plants and trees, strategically let livestock in your fields and orchards. As they graze, they’ll leave behind a safe and natural fertilizer.

If you use this fertilization method, ensure you’re providing your animals with the right foods so when they drop manure, it’s safe for the plants and further human consumption of fruits or vegetables. Animal waste should never come in contact with produce that’s ready to harvest either.

Using animal manure that’s already on your land eliminates the need to produce chemical fertilizers, and zero carbon emissions will be released through transportation of those fertilizers or other waste. Both reach the goal of reducing and sequestering carbon in regenerative agriculture.

3. Feed Livestock the Right Food

When fed with nutrient-rich food, your livestock and the environment will benefit. Not all cattle, horses, goats, or…

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Simple Ways to Reduce your Daily Waste

Each year tons of trash get dumped into the ocean or pile up in the landfills. We all saw the negative impact this has on the environment, animals, and humans. Even though it looks like a tragedy, simple acts of love from every individual towards nature will RESONATE. This doesn’t mean to go into a ZERO WASTE lifestyle all at once; after all we all started somewhere. So here are some easy breezy ways to get you started.

1. Rethink

Take a deep breath; sit back with your coffee and think of what are the things that you throw away the most. Depending on your lifestyle the answer will vary. It can be plastic water bottles, coffee cups, menstrual pads, junk food wraps… As a rule of thumb avoid any single use items and get your own alternative that can last you years and save you money.

2. Compost

Instead of throwing kitchen waste and organic material into the garbage and adding more of solid waste in the landfills, we can simply compost them. Starting a compost system at your home is not only easy, but also serves as a great soil fertilizer. Another way is to check with your local community and see what kind of composting program they have.

3. Reuse

Think twice before you throw something into the garbage or even the recycle bin. Most of the things DO NOT get recycled even though we have been told the opposite. Make your own DIY or donate the items you don’t need (even if they are broken or too old) to give them the chance to have a second life.

4. Keep extra bags

We have all been there; you go out shopping and ending up with a pile of plastic bags at your house. Make sure to always keep in your car or back pack some extra bags even if they are plastic. Plastic bags were first invented to avoid cutting many trees in the process of manufacturing paper bags. The moral is whatever type you prefer keep on using it while it still works.

 

Related posts:

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Why You Should Spend Money on Family Vacations

Getting away for a family vacation is never easy. These trips often require a lot of advanced planning to coordinate everyone’s busy schedules. Parents must start to save months, and sometimes years, in advance so that they can afford the experience. They have to consider the likes and dislikes of each individual child, as they try to find the perfect destination to enjoy together.

All of this work can be exhausting and expensive, but it’s well worth the effort. These are a few reasons why you should spend the money on that next trip without a second thought:

Family Vacations Give You Time to Connect and Bond With Your Children

Most families describe their lives as busy and chaotic, and time never seems to slow down. One of the best ways to reconnect as a family unit is to escape to a new destination, and enjoy life at a slower pace while you are on vacation. This is a time to unplug, enjoy a new adventure and bond with one another.

Some of the Best Life Lessons are Learned While Traveling

Depending on the type of vacation you book, you’ll find that you and your family have the opportunity to experience something new together. For example, if you book a houseboat, your children will learn the art of living life on the water. This is something that they cannot learn while watching YouTube or while sitting in a classroom.

The Memories Made on Family Vacations are Priceless

Sometimes, it’s easy to predict the memorable moments of vacation. Everyone is captivated by magnificent monuments and iconic museums. But sometimes, the best memories occur from the most unexpected moments. For instance, no one is going to forget the time dad fell off the tube while cruising on the lake. In these fleeting moments, both parents and…

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How to Grow a Successful Garden in (Almost) Any Climate

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by Joanna Miller

Growing a successful garden can be hard to achieve depending on where you live. I began gardening in the Chicago suburbs, a wonderful place in which to grow things. The seasons were regular, the rain was abundant, and the soil was fertile.  

However, much of the country is not like that.

When I lived in the Houston suburbs, the summers were too hot for fruit to set. On the High Plains in Colorado, our weather is wildly unpredictable. May can bring 80-degree weather or snow. It’s not unusual to have both. To deal with this, I’ve learned to love season extenders. As we’ve discussed on this website, becoming productive is more important than ever.

Successful Garden Tip 1: Keep your plants warm with straw

Commercial growers in my area have hoop houses, the kind you buy from places like FarmTek. I flip through their catalogs and dream about future projects. But I’m also a fan of simple, and for simple cold protection, you can’t beat dirty animal bedding.

I usually plant peas, potatoes, and leeks in April because the very hard freezes are generally over by then. However, last year, in mid-April, we had a week of January weather. The highs were only going to be in the 40s, and the nights were dropping to between 10 and 15 degrees.

I didn’t want to lose my seedlings. So, I buried them in about a foot of soiled straw from my goats and alpacas. Then I topped it off with some pine needles I’d gotten from friends living in the suburbs. When the weather warmed up a week later, I uncovered the plants, and they were fine. They were definitely ready to see the sunshine again, but they survived. I only lost a few days of growth, rather than three weeks, if I had to replant.

Successful Garden Tip 2: Cloches

Not everyone has access to soiled animal bedding. A technique more popular with suburban gardeners in my area is to use cloches. Cloches are any small, transparent covers you can use to protect young plants from frost. You can probably buy them.

In my area, people reuse gallon milk jugs as cloches. Take an empty gallon milk jug, cut off the bottom, and then partially bury the jug around each plant so it won’t blow away (I live in a very windy area, so this is important).

It’s not unusual to see milk jugs all over people’s properties this time of year. The nice thing about milk jugs, too, is that you can leave…

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Family Survival: The Spouse – Survival Cache

When thinking about “Family Survival” it is important to have your spouse on board with the emergency plan and emergency preparedness. Here are some ideas to get you started talking with your spouse about emergency preparedness

Common Themes Among Non-Preppers

Over the years I have discovered several things about the non-survivalist by talking with friends, relatives as well as my wife her and network of friends.  Male or Female, there are a few common themes among people who do not prepare.

  • Ignorance
  • Selfishness
  • Despair
  • Fear
  • Arrogance

Ignorance

emergency-preparedness-survival-familyemergency-preparedness-survival-family

This is a trait that is hard to believe in this day and age post 9/11 and Katrina but it does still happen.  It usually takes the form of “They” will take care of us.  “They” are usually the government (Federal, State, Local) but it could also be international groups or charities.

I know a gentleman who never thought about preparedness until FEMA said to have a 3 day supply of food and water on hand for emergencies.

Now he has started doing this but won’t hear of having more than a 7 day supply of preparedness products.  Unfortunately Hurricane Katrina was not enough to prove to him that the government cannot always be there to help you and everyone should take emergency preparedness a little more seriously.

Selfishness

This trait is perhaps the most difficult to overcome. Grasshopper and the Ant tale; The Ant works all spring, summer, and fall to prepare for the winter while the grasshopper spends his time in the sun enjoying every minute of it thinking the good weather will last forever.  “I won’t sacrifice today’s pleasure for the possibility of future return.” This often results in denial of the coming shortage or disaster.

Despair

This trait takes a unique form, I saw it in adults when I was just a kid. The world would be so horrible after a “Nuclear War” that I wouldn’t want to survive, therefore I won’t. This is a tough nut to crack since despair often doesn’t respond to reason.

Fear

Fear often looks like despair but is much easier to deal with because all hope has not been lost. People are often afraid to put together a plan or talk things out with their family or spouse because they afraid to think of the possibilities and don’t have answers to the issues they will be facing in a “Family Survival” situation.

The truth is…none of us have all the answers.  We can only prepare so much and the rest will be left up to being able to improvise during a disaster or TEOTWAWKI.

Arrogance

This can often takes the form of “It can’t happen here because this is the United States (or Canada)”  or “Things like that only happen in 3rd world countries.”

But it could happen here and because of our society’s reliance on electricity & oil….things could be much…

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