25/75 Easy Meat Loaf + NEWS

I strive for meals that are 75% vegetable and 25% protein .

And of course locally grown – or grown yourself is even better!

This meat loaf is simply 25% locally grown protein and 75% vegetables + 2 small fresh green eggs!



300g ground local beef

1c grated carrot

1 cup grated butternut (or courgette)

1 cup peas

In your little food processor finely chop 1 onion and 2 cloves of garlic

Mix with 2 small eggs then salt and pepper to taste.

Topped with cheese (you know I love cheese right?) then drizzled with a sweet chili sauce.

Cook at 375 for around 45 minutes.

Serve with a Skinny Green salad and you are good to go!

For the skinny salad I roll all kinds of green leaves up into a cigar shape and finely cut into ribbons. No dressing.

Sometimes I muggle (massage) ripe avocado into the salad and add a little lemon juice.

Totally off the subject but if your little glasshouse is suffering in the cold add a fan on low – it keeps that layer of cold air from settling into your plants. It is always the coldest around your ankles! The fan lifts the cold and mixes it with the warmer air above.

Planning your food purchases ahead makes a huge difference to your leftovers and to your wallet. It is one thing we all have total control over: how much food we allow to go to waste.

We can control that at least.

*Behind the scenes in The Kitchens Garden green room, a wonderful upscale is being engineered. Duane and I are working on the landing page this week. It is going to be simple and elegant!

Although the layout will be different our beloved TKG blog since 2011 will essentially be the same. I will be posting two or three times a week just the same!

Did you realise that since 2011 The Kitchens Garden farm blog has generated

2,777 posts


And 571,953 visitors

And I cannot even begin to imagine how many pictures.

There is a lot of work to be done upgrading so much data. I am not surprised some of the plug ins have broken. Duane has his work cut out for him dragging all of that weight into 2023.

Once the Landing page is finished and TKG blog is loaded then The Sustainable Home pages will be created.

It will be super easier to navigate though. You will arrive at the landing page and then you can choose to click to The Kitchens Garden to read the blog and leave me comments.

OR click to The Sustainable Home to read about designing a robust, resilient mindful lifestyle, using minimalism to maximise our positive impact on the planet – with all the calls and workshops and courses and more direct ways to get in touch with me there. Newsletter. Maybe retreats? Sustainable Boot Camp? What do you think?

Have you read the ABOUT page lately? It was written twelve years ago and STILL MAKES SENSE. I still feel exactly the same. I am not changing a thing.

The Fellowship of the Farmy was ahead of its time. We still are, right?

And guess what!? THE NEWS!

Do you remember Jude?

The two day old piglet I rescued from the slaughter house. Do you remember? He went to live on a teaching farm. Well – he is coming home to retire.

He is bringing FreeBee with him. And neither of them are teensy wee pigs anymore!

(Another reason to monetise the blog so I can feed all these PET PIGS!)

FreeBee and Judes return is still in the planning stages, so fingers crossed.

You just never know what is going to happen next!

The Lounge of Comments is OPEN! Come on in.

Tell me what you have been up to these last few days.

Have a lovely day!

Miss C – yes … I think Miss C is BACK!

Ice and Frigid Air

It is fiercely chilly out here on the deserted rural midwest this week. Out on the tundra.

Fierce chilly.

But it does make for some incredible shots.

Just photos today I think.

They speak for themselves.

I am cold everywhere and would like to curl up somewhere cosy – like bed.

The coop (where I work) does not stay warm in the deep cold. It is designed for sun warming and when there is no sun it gets cold in here.

I am thinking.

Thinking that is is wild to be starting a new business at my age ( The Sustainable Home) but if all goes well I will have the time at last – to wind the farm back up a little. Working full time and farming full time just did not work.

I have made enquiries about a couple more calves and piglets in the spring. John’s family is growing and they all need feeding. With all these roosters I may grow some meat chickens in the late summer so I can send the roosters off too.

And I look forward to a decent garden this summer. In a new spot.

I was away all last summer – but I had to go away. I had to give myself the time. I was very close to breaking this time last year. I will be going to NZ and Australia this June, but not for as long – maybe 6 weeks. I will fold in Canada and California visits too.

But I am back now! If you have posted a great blog post this week tell me about it in the comments – leave the link so I can catch up! So many of my favourite blogs have disappeared in the last few years!

Have a great day!

Take care


Easy Homemade Dog Food

On Sundays I prep as much food for the week as possible.

Dogs are omnivores. They need vegetables and greens along with their proteins. Like humans they need diversity in their diets.

I do not trust the highly processed, colored dry dog foods. What the hell is in them? They smell like a lab. Plus they are diabolically expensive.

To be fair I don’t trust any processed foods. They are simply not sustainable. 🦋💦

Ton is getting old and prone to urinary tract infections so he needs the extra vegetables (particularly leafy greens) in his wet food to mitigate the inflammation in his intestines.

BooBoo runs to fat so he does a lot better on home cooking.

And both spend way too much time lying about while I am working at my desk.

Keeping your dogs lean is super important to their health.

Now I know cooking up a pot of dog food is not for everyone but I cook pots of pig food so it is not too big a step to cook pots of dog food too.

Pig food!

Throw everything in a large pot or crock pot or slow cooker or even pressure cooker.

My Dog Food recipe:

3 pounds of meat

1 cup of rice

1 cup of oats ( whole or rolled)

1 cup chopped carrots

2 apples chopped up or sweet potatoes

Bag of frozen peas

1 cup flax seeds or chia seeds

2 cans pumpkin ( or a chopped whole pumpkin skin seeds and all)

2 tablespoon crushed garlic. (Some dogs can be allergic to garlic so if in doubt leave it out).

Cook until cooked.

🐕Use ground beef or cheap stew meat. Not too much fat if you can help it. Chicken, venison and mutton is great too. Not pork. Talk to the butcher in your supermarket. Many butchers will have bags of dog meat out the back. Same with your fishmonger.

🐕As you are prepping your own food for the week throw the potato peelings, diced broccoli and cauliflower stalks into the dog pot too.

🐕This recipe feeds two old dogs for the week. adjust as you see fit.

🐕This recipe is more of a guideline than a recipe. I keep the percentage of protein/carbohydrates/fruits and vegetables about even.

🐕Chopped spinach and leafy greens are essential foods for dogs so chop and throw those in towards the end of your cooking time.

Cool. While you get done other work done.

Get out all those sour cream and cottage cheese containers with lids that you have saved and ladle 1 heaped cup of feed into each. Label, date and freeze.

I usually place the first three days worth of food straight into the fridge.

Additions – fish and mushrooms.

I serve the dogs a cup to a cup and a half of home made food twice a day.

I serve the dog food in the containers. The dogs will pre clean them for you. 😂

Dried unsweetened bananas or apples are the perfect fat free treats.

When in season: add 4 fresh blueberries, a strawberry a day to your dog bowl.

I add one egg two or three times a week. (Only because I have tons of eggs).

Don’t forget your cats.

Cats are carnivores so they will benefit from a feed of raw meat or fish a couple of times a week.

In the winter grow a pot of oat or wheat grass for your cats!

Simple zuchinni pancakes

From the ORIGINAL Moosewood cook book (I am sure I have blogged about these before but with so many new readers I think I can return to them!).

I eat these pancakes so often that the book is showing wear!

These are my fav pancakes when I have extra veg in the fridge.

If you are using frozen grated zucchini from your summer garden drain them well first.

I eat them as a dinner then eat the left overs for the next couple of days as lunch.

The clouds are getting that leaden sinking lid feeling.

I think there may be weather afoot.

Living a sustainable lifestyle is 90% about managing waste: by not bring stuff into the house or onto the property that we will have to throw out. So, using up the last of the veges before buying more is critical.

This zucchini pancake I heated up for my lunch today!

I think this is taking ice in ones drink just a little too far!

Have a gorgeous Tuesday!


This day in 2012 : https://thekitchensgarden.com/2012/01/25/maybe-the-coyotes-just-want-to-be-friends-making-music-for-us/

And still I hear the coyotes on the night.

A little Sunday Story

It has rained and rained. Now it is snowing!

Honestly it feels more like New Zealand than Illinois right at the moment.

The cows are locked up off the sodden fields and have no patience when they see one of the ‘good’ bales come out. Not even waiting for me take the strings off and throw it into the feeder.

I wrote you a story from when I was really little:

They found me in the ditch.

I was three years old.


We were driving from the beach to the mountains for a family day playing in the snow.

I liked to ride standing tucked behind my Dad’s shoulder as he drove the car. I had to be able to see, I still do and I did not like to be tied down, I still don’t. So when Dad was driving I was allowed to stand in the front seat as long as I was wedged in behind him.

We were heading up the mountain when a car coming down the mountain hit ice and spun headlong into our car. My mother (who was not wearing a seat belt because she was writing music), was propelled through the windscreen and into the road.

I was ejected straight out after her, twisting and bouncing like a little rag doll through the broken glass and bent cars. No-one knows what happened to me really but they believe that, being tiny, I bounced off the cars, through the glass, across the road and rolled into the ditch. Out of sight.

Miraculously my bothers and sisters were fine. Bruised and shocked. But no major injuries.

My mother and father and me did not get off as easily.

Once the ambulances got up the mountain, Mum, who was smashed to bits, had slipped into a deep coma. Dad was trapped behind the wheel of the car fading in and out of consciousness. Passers-by had taken the other children out of our VW Beetle and were keeping them warm in their own cars.

The two men in the other car were bruised and drunk.

In short order my family was piled into the ambulances and driven away.

The police took the drunks.

No-one knew a child was missing. No-one knew to look. I had rolled out of sight into the snowy ditch.

I was told that a passing car going in the other direction that afternoon saw me in the ditch, my face lacerated and bloody. Lying silently in the snow. They took me to a hospital where it was discovered that I had a broken jaw, dislocated shoulder and needed stitches in my face.

But it was not the same hospital as my family. No-one knew who I was. And of course I could not speak. I was almost four years old.

I was fixed up, cleaned up and laid in a cot. With no name on my chart.

My Grandma and Pa arrived at the family’s hospital, about 100 miles away, the next afternoon, to find a mess. Kids were stashed all over the place. Dad was just coming out of surgery and Mum remained in a coma; she had miscarried, not woken up and was receiving the last rites.

Apparently it was not until Dad surfaced the following morning ( on Day Two now) and counted his kids, that I was discovered missing.

Dad demanded they bring him a phone. The hospital beds had phone jacks beside them and the nurses carried the phones in and out. Dad called Mum’s cousin. Black Jack Stevenson. He was the Chief Detective Superintendent of the NZ Police Force. The best man I ever knew.

I am not sure if he was the top guy yet – he may have been a detective still but he set out to find the lost daughter.

It is a long story really – too much for here but it took a couple of days (no computers, no cell phones) for Uncle John (they called him Jack but we always called him Uncle John) to track me to a little country hospital on the other side of the lake.

When he arrived to collect me he found that I had been screaming at the nurses which seemed understandable.

He thought it would be trauma from being in a crash then having my whole family disappear.

But they told him that eventually they worked out that I was mad about being put in a cot when I was a BIG GIRL and should be in a bed!

I got the bed. And settled to wait.

No name. No words. Just don’t treat me like a baby.

Uncle John said later he was not sure he had found the right child until he saw my wild hair. Full of knots because I would not let the nurses brush it.

Like many old family stories this one was pieced together from the retelling of Grandma (who maintained that they brought back the wrong child), Uncle John (who portrayed himself as the hero galloping in on a horse to save the lost princess) and my Dad (who had to brush all the knots out of my hair).

All these people have died now. So there are no more facts to be mined.

I have three visual memories of the time. Peering through the cot bars at yellow gloomy hospital walls. Playing some kind of slap hand game with Uncle John in the ambulance bay waiting for the ambulance to collect us and drive us to Mum and Dad. And the memory of Dad on crutches reaching down to greet me.

They said they took me in to visit Mum but I did not recognize her.

My Mum remembered nothing of that time.


Sexist Farming

No. Not sexier farming.

Lordy – get your mind out of the gutter!

Sexist farming.

The hens and the roosters have been separated!

All the boys have been left outside.

And all the girls are in the hen house.

I do not want those huge roosters in with my hens for the winter. When they cover them their claws pull out the feathers on their backs and often (as well) the rooster will hold onto the hen by grabbing the back of her head with their beak. To hold them still.

It is a violent affair. Cover is a nice word for breeding on the Farmy.

So, sorry guys.

🤭But you are living outside.

They have two barns to shelter in and without any hens to fight over the barn yard is a much nicer place. All up I have counted thirteen roosters. Though – honestly – they are hard to count so there may be more!

The chook house where the hens are living is large and has a deep litter of straw and pine shreds and dry autumn leaves. it will make wonderful compost in the spring!

Later in the winter the hen house door will be opened in the early evening and shut again after they all go in at bed time. (If all goes according to plan the chickens will take themselves back inside the chook house in the evening because chickens always roost in the same place. This is why I leave them inside their home for at least a month to re-home them).

️I expect there to be reckoning with roosters again though!

These shots were taken yesterday evening when the sun was out!

Today is overcast and blustery. Nobody’s favourite!

Have a lovely day!

Remember we Live Simply so the Planet can Live Long. We can but try!


I am Three Rivers

I started writing this a while ago but the idea would not blossom. So, like one of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I put the idea in the bottom drawer to ferment a while.

It makes sense to me now.

I am Three Rivers.

🪜One river is in Full Flood.

🪜My Second river weaves Full and Gentle with total confidence in and out of the flood.

🪜The third is a Determined Trickle across hot stones veering off course searching for a chance to wreak mayhem.

But water always finds a way.

We are curious creatures – us humans. Curious as in nosy. But also curious to observe. We can have a whole world of thoughts running just below the surface but nothing will show on our faces.

An unmoored raft of ideas, history, disappointments and guilt twirl about our brains as a dance or a dirge. Both sometimes.

It is hard to keep up with everything in our heads.

How about your head? What is going on in there? Anything you feel like talking about?

I had friends to visit during the week. They always take over the kitchen and play Chopped. You know, like the television show. They walk about the gardens, and trees, foraging, tasting. They pull jars of interesting things from their bags then pour a wine and talk about things. Then they cook!

Invariably this is three meals ending with breakfast.

And after they have cleaned up and packed up and driven off with arms waving out the car window I have food for three days left in the fridge!

Business as usual – back on the farm.

My tutoring portfolio is growing fast!

My sustainable spaces writing is developing slowly – there are a few tech challenges with starting a newsletter, workbook and course with a tiny subscription. And a private way for everyone to talk to each other – building community is so important! I need to get my head around it all.

But the scaffold is almost there –

🌳Little steps.

🌟Live Simply so the Planet can Live Large.

☀️Maximise Minimalism.

✨Create Resilient Sustainable Spaces.


Thoughts? As usual feel free to chime in. We are the Fellowship of the Farmy after all. All thoughts welcome.

Today I am bringing straw into all the animal and bird houses. Although it is not cold yet we need to prepare the shelters for winter.

And these naughty birds need to be retaught to go back in the duck house at night.

Plus all those chickens roosting in trees! They will not survive a winter out there.

Time to get to work!

Enjoy your day.


Warm Muddy Midwest Winter

It is Wednesday – the weather is grim here on the Farmy. Not freezing though – not yet anyway.

But how much mud do we really need?

The dogs are heartily sick of having their feet washed so frequently.

The weather occasionally drops below freezing but mostly it is a drab grey January.

Eerily warm actually.

Here is a shot of the pig food. Grains from the fields cooked overnight in the slow cooker with all the kitchen scraps of the day. Plus I drop in some eggs to boil in there as well. For the protein. As you know our pigs are all vegetarians. We only have one plonker this year and he is having the time of his life with the run of the barn.

I don’t often photograph him though – him being a plonker and all.

We still collect buckets of kitchen scraps from the local restaurant. So even though things look drab they all still get lots of greens. Recycling the restaurant scraps instead of having them throw the food in the dumpster always makes me feel good.

Third son in California tells me he is taking all his light bulbs down to Home Depot this weekend. Did you know they recycle lightbulbs? Nor did I.

I have a friend who is researching these things for me (and tracking the journey of the recycled stuff) and he also told me that Staples recycles your dead devices, like old laptops and things. They fix what they can and re-use parts or something for the rest. I think they take batteries too. I need to find out more.

I wonder if they take old printers that mice made nests in?

Maybe not!?

I placed the bird bath (with local seed in it) outside my office window for amusement during my day. I have two cardinal pairs here this winter and I figure if I see that damn cat sneaking up on them I can rap on the window. Cats are no good for the native birds!

Do you feed your birds?

What a nice ordinary post!!

I hope you have a great day!


Hang In There

You know the rule!

I have to write the first thing that comes to mind INTO the header.

And Hang In There was the first thing that came to mind.

I have engaged a very talented young man to clean up The Kitchens Garden (TKG) site AND join The Sustainable Home (TSH) with its workshops and newsletter and swag and all that good stuff) TO The Kitchens Garden.

So everything will be on one site. It is going to be WILD!

(The cows are getting too fat on John’s good hay so I am putting them on a crap-bale diet. The last thing I need is a cow too heavy to get up).

So, at some time in the very near future (by June I hope) we will all be dragged kicking and screaming into – well – a more streamlined look with TWO awesome sites working together.

I have neglected you all lately. Time to change all that and LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Get this show back on the road! All that stuff!

🦋 I really, really want to empower our people to make real resilient planet-friendly changes that they can sustain.

💦I really, really think that small changes to a complex organism (like our lives) can activate massive change. Especially if we work as a team to create a movement.

🎶 And I really, really love that you are along for the ride.

The Kitchens Garden is a fertile breeding ground of ideas and trials. The Sustainable Home will share that knowledge.

To do all this I have to be able to make a little money from TKG and SSH so I can go back to working on the farm and running the trials and workshops and blogging with you all more often. We need to get back to basics!

🌼I need to get back outside!

Duane (who will be building our new look TKG and adding The Sustainable Home (TSH) ) has told me that my pictures are way too big and not loading fast enough for you. Hmm.

Say Hi to Duane!

So can you tell me if you think TKG is loading faster for you today? They are too big still but at least I have optimized them a bit.

(The blog is going to load super fast after Duane is finished with it!)!

It won’t be long now. Soon we will be back in the barn full time.

And The Kitchens Garden meets The Sustainable Home will become my full time job.

God the relief after I made this decision!

Have a gorgeous day!


ALL Those Things

The holidays have always been a difficult time for me and for many of you all too.

I tend to either Clam Up or just turn into a mumbling grump. This time I think I just got on with it and dealt with the fallout once the children were gone.

I was out in California with children so there were Christmas Carols! God help me. I put on a brave face.

But it’s not all about me! I don’t want to be a selfish old curmudgeon.

Though I did escape the cold !

I have been talking lately with a scientist based in the UK about sending soil samples from around our farms for testing. This group is particularly interested in carbon capture. I am not a scientist so I am playing catch up on all the latest vernacular but it is a fascinating study and I hope they allow us into the trials.

It would be especially interesting to me to see if the soil in the Fellowship Forest registers any significant numbers.

I am also getting our well water tested.

It takes years for water to get to a tap – (the average about 25 years but up to a thousand or more years) but this varies drastically with the variables of soil, rainfall, the level of the ground (we are actually the lowest around here because this is a drained swamp), the flow of the groundwater – all that stuff – so water can take from a year to a thousand years to reach my glass.

But I am positive that the water here on the farm, from our well, twice filtered: tasted and smelt different when I returned after my summer traveling. And again after returning from California.

Taste buds adapt very fast so in this case first impressions are the most reliable.

I boil my drinking water but still:

💦I am going to send a sample off to be tested. For the record the test costs $265US so this is not a flippant decision.

And I vowed a long time ago not to buy water in plastic jugs so I hope the results are not dire. I will keep you posted.

Quiche and Salad!

I always have a big pot of salad greens growing. Or two or three! And parsley pots – I have loved parsley all my life. D

id you know that parsley has 196% more Vitamin C than an orange. Plus iron!

The chickens are actually laying well in their chook house. We get around 8 eggs a day – in the middle of winter! I think the young ones have started laying- you remember – those chicks that were hatched in the barns!

Most hens will start laying around 6 months old. Many of the new eggs are green!

TonTon is now officially The Old Dog. No one knows why he has chosen to start sleeping in the washing basket. Least of all BooBoo.

Boo watches me work from the couch.

The food scraps from the restaurant have been very tasty lately. Wai is doing well on them. Tima still spends a lot of her day in the fields with Mr Flowers and his old rooster.

After an exceptionally warm period following a cold snap the temps seem to be settling in around freezing. I hope it stays cold a while to give the fruit trees and the wheat a good chilling.

I hope you all are having a great day.

The Pilot Sustainable Home Workshop is keeping me busy!

Take good care.

❄️Live Lightly so the Planet can Live Long.


Escaping the cold for the Holidays!

Good morning everyone!

I am back in California for a couple of weeks to spend time with the children!

Wow, the end of the year was so busy! All of a sudden we are singing Christmas Carols. And my son surprised the kids with a store bought gingerbread house that they spent all morning decorating.

I am also sliding headfirst into Season One: Winter, The Kitchen’s Garden Sustainable Homes Course! (TKG Sustainable Homes). Kick off around January 10. I am writing like crazy!!

The first course will be free because I will be working out the kinks as we go along! It will be a bit of a think tank! Join in!!

There will be a private slack channel for us to stay in touch during the 6 weeks of the course. And a weekly video chat.

So much to set up – with my Paddington Bear Brain!

It is desperately cold this morning out on the farm. -9f But John has reported that everyone is alive and well, though the cold, cold wind is keeping them all inside.

The snow that was forecast did not eventuate thankfully. Just an inch or so he said. Probably too cold to snow.

This is how I left it!

The chill will have frozen the green wheat to the ground. I can’t believe that the weather turned so brutal just as I left for these few weeks.

And by the time I return, on the 29th, the temperatures will be back in the 50’s and raining. Quite mad!

This is why we are designing sustainable lifestyles that are robust, resilient and ready for change.

My portrait – drawn by Kora.

So much has changed in WordPress world and today I need to begin watching utube videos and cleaning up this blog. There are a few obsolete bits and pieces. If you have any tips – let me know!

Don’t forget to tell us what books we should be reading this holidays. Just pop into the library and leave a message!

Let me know in the messages if you would like to sign on for the first TKG Sustainable Homes course. This one will be Fellowship, Friends and Family and Free and I am so looking forward to it!

There will limited space so let me know asap!

Breakfast Bars with my Muesli Cookie recipe. more raisins – less sugar!

I hope you all have a lovely holiday week.

Talk soon!