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Are you serious about living a life of freedom? Then you need to invest in yourself. Yes, I mean spend money to learn what you need to learn to achieve that freedom.

The resources I have to offer you

If you’re in debt and/or want to be able to retire much earlier than the mainstream tells you is possible, buy my book Hatching The Nest Egg: Achieve Super-Early Retirement Without Gambling, Side-Gigs, Or An Above-Average Income.

If you know you’re not eating right, and need a nutrition/diet book that culls through all the confusion in the nutrition world, buy Simple Diet, Beautiful You.

If you want to get into a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle, I have two books that will be up your alley: Crazy Simple: 307 Ways To Save Money, Your Health, And The Planet, and Simplicity: Finding Freedom From The Inside Out (this is a book and course in one).

Need a step-by-step guide to achieving a particular dream? Buy Simple Success: Eight Steps To Dream Fulfillment. (Also an e-book course.)

Still looking for your soulmate (finding the right person is a critical part of living a free life!)? Buy my book, No More Broken Hearts: The Low-Stress, Joyful Way To Find Your Soulmate.

Want to get more food freedom? Buy How To Grow Vegetables Without Losing Your Mind. A related, and even more popular book, is The Ultimate Guide To Raised Beds.

You will not pay more than $6 for any of those books. If you bought all of them, you would pay under $40.

$3.99 would save you hundreds, even thousands, in future medical bills.

$2.99 would save you untold amounts of money when you apply the frugal living principles in the book.

$2.99 would help you leave the work force and live most of your adult life on your own terms – with more money in a nest egg than many people have even by the time they finish a 40-year career at a job they don’t like.

$5.99 would lead you to the life of your dreams.

If you’re serious about changing your life, you will invest money in books that will help you to do so.

Thanks in advance for checking out those resources! 🙂

Blessings to you,

Emily

 

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The Lazy Way To Cure And Store Sweet Potatoes

If you want to know how to cure and store sweet potatoes and search for the answer online, likely as not you’ll come across an article telling you that the only way to cure the tubers is to stick them in a room that is 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 90% humidity, for an entire week.

Maybe if you do it that way, they’ll last all year at room temperature. But if you either don’t plan to keep them for that long, or you just don’t have the ability to create that high of a temperature or humidity, they will cure nicely at regular humidity and between seventy-five and eighty degrees. It may be better to keep them warm for a week, but I do it for four days and it works.

What I do is spread out all my cleaned and dry tubers, with all the little skinny parts and roots broken off, on the floor of our Tuff Shed. Then I set up the space heater in front of them, turn it on, and go away. Halfway through the process, I rotate the tubers, putting the ones in front and vice-versa to make sure they all get an even exposure to the heat.

Since I generally do this at the end of October, and we live in southeast Oklahoma, the shed will get as hot as ninety degrees during the day. But I’ve cured them as late as mid-November when it was colder outside and thus the space heater wouldn’t get the red on the thermometer past eighty degrees. The tubers still lasted for several months at room temperature before they began sprouting.

Curing does three things:

  • It helps heal the skin where you’ve broken off parts and exposed the meat under the skin.
  • It helps increase the sugar content of the tubers.
  • It increases the tubers’ longevity.

Which leads us to…

…After the cure.

After the curing period ends, the tubers will last longest if you can store them between fifty and sixty degrees. If not, room temperature will work. Just understand that after about three to four months, they will begin sprouting.

I’ve read that storing apples with them helps to inhibit sprouting, but in my experience it does not. Or, you need a lot of apples for it to work.

Pro tip: don’t eat the sweet potatoes until about two months after curing them, or they’ll taste like cardboard.

Now you know the easiest way to grow sweet potatoes, and how to cure and store them without any fancy footwork.

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The EASIEST Way To Grow Sweet Potatoes, EVER!

If you’re wondering how to grow sweet potatoes, you’re probably interested in knowing how to grow them in the least labor-intensive way. What is the easiest way to grow sweet potatoes?

The usual way.

There are two typical ways that people grow sweet potatoes. The first is, after all danger of frost has passed in the spring, they cut up pieces of sweet potato that have been sprouting inside and bury them in several inches of dirt, one piece given about one square foot.

The other usual way is to get some sweet potatoes seriously sprouting indoors a couple of months before the frosty weather ends by placing potato halves in containers of water, about third of each half submerged in the water. Eventually, the part of the potato above water is covered with baby sweet potato plants. Supposedly, if you carefully remove these, taking care to dig down into the potato underneath each plant, and then stick these babies into the ground, they will eventually produce tubers.

I tried it one year. It didn’t work.

And then I learned about…

The easy way.

What if you could grow sweet potatoes in such a way that you didn’t have to dig up dirt to plant them, never had to water them, not even during a drought, never had to fertilize them, and hardly had to dig down into the soil to harvest them?

You can. I discovered it several years ago. All you need are some sweet potatoes and a bunch of wood mulch, which is relatively inexpensive and easily available at any place that sells garden supplies. I use sweet potatoes from the previous harvest if I have any. Otherwise, I just buy sweet potatoes from the store. They don’t always sprout, however, because the non-organic ones are sprayed with an anti-sprouting chemical after being cured. So if you want to be sure of a bumper crop and don’t have your own seed potatoes to plant, buy some seed sweet potatoes from a seed company.

You need a spot that gets full sun, at least six hours per day. You’ll plant the tubers a foot apart, so plan accordingly.

Here’s the awesome news: you don’t need a garden bed. You can do this right in your lawn if you want! Just understand that if you do, and there are night critters around that dig like we have, you might lose some of your crop that way.

All right. So, you have your space. About a month before the last frost, place a whole potato on the ground. Just on the ground. Not in a hole. On the ground.

A foot farther away, place another. And so on, until you’ve planted them all.

Finally, cover the entire area with eight to twelve inches of wood mulch. In a few weeks, you’ll start seeing little stems and leaves emerge from the mulch.

If you get absolutely zero rain within a three-week period, you might want to give each plant a half gallon of water. Otherwise, plan on not needing to water.

By mid-October to mid-November (depending on how warm your climate is), the sweet potato area will be a mess of vines. And the tubers will be ready to harvest. Cut back the vines to where you can find the base of each one, and start pulling back the mulch.

Some of the tubers will be sticking out of the mulch. Some will have grown down into the dirt, so you will need a shovel. But you won’t need to dig nearly as deeply or as much as you would planting sweet potatoes the traditional way.

How big will the harvest be?

I can’t say exactly, but I can tell you this: five pounds of sweet potatoes per tuber planted is on the slim side. In the past, I’ve had a mere three plants fill two large boxes with the harvest.

No cutting up tubers, little digging, little watering, no fertilizing. Yep, I’d say that’s the easiest way to grow sweet potatoes, ever!

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My Measly Attempt To Fight Off The Fungi

How do you keep fungus off your garden vegetables? With anthracnose, the various blights, and powdery and downy mildew that run rampant in the summer, sometimes it doesn’t seem your precious crops have a fighting chance.

Especially if, like me, you live in an area where the average annual humidity is 74% and even the native trees and plants get some sort of fungus every year.

My gut reaction to all the dismaying garden failures was, of course, to just give up growing. But with Walmart being the best option for decent produce for us, and it being a forty-five minute drive away – not to mention the more than occasional abysmal quality of lettuce since the pandemic – I want to continue growing at least some of our vegetables, and as much of the greens as possible.

So I hatched a plan to, if not prevent, then at least slow down the progress of, the various fungi.

Step 1: Give the beds a sabbatical.

Anthracnose, for one, apparently only lives about six months in the soil if there aren’t any susceptible plants growing in it. So except for the kale and lettuce that are in one bed now, I’m going to not grow anything in any of my high-raised beds again until next fall. Then I’ll be growing greens, which don’t get fungi.

I’m sure I won’t mind a year off from watering in the heat and humidity of the summer. 😉

Step 2: Get serious with fungicides.

As soon as my young plants are established in the beds, I will begin spraying them all every five days, alternating copper with neem oil. Every two weeks, I will drench the roots of all the plants with a neem solution.

I’m not thrilled about doing that, as I know it will kill earthworms and microbes, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Step 3: Rotate and clean up.

I’ve been doing well about cleaning up and disposing of infected plants (which is usually all of them!), but not so hot with rotation. I now have a plan in place, however, that will ensure that plants that are susceptible to the same disease won’t inhabit the same bed two years running.

It’s the best I can come up with, aside from religiously spraying toxic fungicides that require a haz-mat suit to apply.

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Hate Exercise? Me, Too! Try This Instead

“I hate exercising!” If that’s you, join my club, then read to find out how to stay fit without exercise.

God created us to be active throughout the day. But modern life discourages movement on many different levels, and it’s making us get sick and die before our time.

No, I don’t mean exercise. I don’t like to exercise. To look at me, you’d think I do a lot of exercising, because I’m underweight, and have been most of my adult life. But exercise is tedious and boring.

I figure most people feel the same, which is why I’m avoiding the “E” word.

Movement, on the other hand? That can be productive, fun, or both. And study after study has shown that a sedentary lifestyle is equally at fault for people being overweight and obese as is overeating or eating the wrong foods. The more overweight you are, the greater your risk of  developing coronary and related diseases, as well as diabetes.

In addition, physical activity boosts the immune system and reduces stress, both mental and physiological. Reducing stress also reduces the risk of developing all manner of disease, including cancer.

If you have to sit down all day for your job, make time before you go to work and after you come home to do a total of an hour of physical activity. That includes housework, walking the dog, playing with your children, or standing and lifting weights or stretching while watching T.V.

If you don’t have to sit down all day, don’t. Spend ten minutes of every hour on your feet. If you are disabled to the point that you can’t do that, move what parts of your body that you can.

Engage in more intense movement that you enjoy at least three times a week. If that includes either biking or swimming, make sure to balance that out with walking, dancing, or weight training. The reason is that biking and swimming have been found to have a negative impact on bone density; that is, if that’s all you do, your bones will gradually grow more brittle. Activity that pushes your feet against the ground, however, increases bone density. This is critical for women who have hit their forties, because as estrogen levels drop, bone density drops, unless they intentionally work to prevent it.

That’s why, even thought I despise exercise, I do a bit of it. As minimal as I can. I do some weight lifting three times a week, and do interval training five times a week.

If the word “exercise” makes you want to crawl into bed and throw the covers over your head, you’ll like the idea of interval training. In ten minutes of exercise, you can get almost all the same health benefits that you would from a forty-five minute jog. And only one of those minutes is intense. It’s called “interval” training because the actual intense exercise happens in just a few short bursts, interspersed with more leisurely movement.

If you have any history with heart trouble, talk to your doctor before trying this.

I’m going to explain how it looks if you want to do a walk-run, because it’s the easiest to explain in writing, but the principle works for other kinds of activity, too.

**1. Walk at a leisurely pace for two minutes.

**2. Break into a hard run for ten to thirty seconds. If you’re already panting for breath after ten seconds, stop then. Eventually you’ll be able to go for twenty or thirty seconds, if you so desire.

**3. Walk for another two minutes as you catch your breath.

**4. Run as fast as you can for ten to thirty seconds.

**5. Repeat steps three and four, perhaps twice.

**6. Finish by cooling down with another two-minute walk.

The weight lifting (arms only) and interval training are the only exercise I do. However, I am on my feet much more often than I am sitting down. I take a few short walks outside every day, do the laundry by hand, walk around while listening to audio, am on my feet around an hour per day just doing food-prep, work a little in the garden on nice days…I am active most of the day, even though I don’t exercise much.

Before you have a giving-up-exercise party, however, you should know that people who consume a 90%+ whole foods, plant-based diet can get away with less exercise than those eating animal products and/or junk food.

Sorry to burst your bubble. 😉 Then again, why should I apologize for trying to steer you into healthy eating habits? It’s one of the things I do here. LOL.

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