Posted by & filed under Permaculture.

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There are many misconceptions about living a self sustainable life as well as lot of daydreaming for most people.  I remember growing up, working in the garden, moving irrigation pipe to grow food for the horses and to sell to our neighbors for their animals.

I use to dream how someday, all of this would not be necessary.

That I could just do….

what I wanted….

when I wanted to do it….

and I would not have to “work” at all.


What Are The Benefits Of Living A Self Sustainable Life?

There were always chores to do, horses to train, fences to mend and other work to do so that I could pay for the equipment I used and wanted to keep working well to cut down on the workload I currently had.  The problem I had back then, was the fact that I was not awake to the life that I enjoyed and was living.

Do you know what the benefits of living a self sustainable life are for you?  How do you know what that looks like for you?

I could ride one of our horses to work, especially in the winter, bareback, because it was warm and enjoyable to be outside with my friends coming to work with me.  That is the horses I am talking about.  At that time I took care of a boarding operation, cleaning stalls, feeding the horses when the owners were away and letting the horse whose stall I was cleaning go run around the indoor arena while I finished cleaning their stall.  I enjoyed the entire process.  I got to work with animals, met some great people and their animals during shows, as well as learned from all sorts of different horse trainers.

Sustainability as defined by Wikipedia, is the capacity to endure.

For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship or Caretaking, the responsible management of resource use. In ecology, sustainability describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time, a necessary precondition for the well-being of humans and other organisms. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems.

When I look at my life then, I realize that it was a sustainable life for me if I had been awake enough to see how blessed I was.  I never really thought about money, because I always had more than I wanted to spend.  I enjoyed what I did each and every day, and the only boss I really had was God and the people who were my customers.  I had the opportunity to meet great people who loved life, and the rest of the time I was working with horses.

What do you need to realize the benefits of living a self sustainable life?

Answer these questions:
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What do you envision your perfect day,

  1. What and what do you do to make a difference in the world to serve others
  2. What do you see when you wake up
  3. Who is there with you
  4. Why do you live where you live
  5. What makes you happy and brings you joy
  6. What do you do to keep your lifestyle sustainable
  7. What do your surroundings smell like
  8. What do your surroundings feel like
  9. Who works with you to help you keep your life sustainable
  10. And for all of these things, how do you show gratitude daily

Answer all of these questions, and you will know the benefits of living a self sustainable life.
I have chosen to live my life on purpose.

To live a life with direction, passion and gratitude.

You can join me and others in discovering your own journey that leads to a sustainable life with the TallTrees from How to Live on Purpose in their course The Miracle MindShift Month.

Sign up for this now because living sustainably requires a mindshift.

Turning your dreams into the Life Of Your Dreams

Chris Downs —————— The Caretaker

Posted by & filed under Plants.

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To germinate properly, ghost pepper plants require moderately moist soil between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and full sun. The plants require regular watering; soil should never dry out entirely or become soggy. The germination process for ghost pepper plants can last as long as 35 days. That is a  long time to wait for them to pop up and out of the soil, so do not become inpatient.  Digging them up to look at them will not speed up the process.

Since I live at 7,000 feet elevation in Colorado,  I must start the peppers indoors. So here is how I do it.

  • Germinate the seeds by placing them in individual small cups.
  • I place them near a window that gets great sun exposure.
  • Keep them moist, but not dry
  • Once the seeds germinate and pop out of the soil, I prepare a larger container for each one that starts.
  • I continue to do this until they are about 4 inches tall.
  • I then start bringing them outside into my mini-green house to get them acclimated.
  • Once they are acclimated (Hardened) and the temperature is stable we plant them in the garden.

When they grow up, Ghost pepper plants range in height from 17 inches to 4 feet. The peppers alone are between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 inches, with widths of about 1 inch when ripe. The peppers are bright red and conical to subconical in shape. The skin of the peppers is particularly thin, with a dented and rough texture. The stems and foliage are green in color; the leaves are approximately 4 to 5 inches long.

At one time, the Ghost Pepper Seeds were considered dangerous.  In 2007 the Guiness Book of World Records claimed this as THE Worlds Hottest Pepper!

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As the Guinness Book of Worlds Record holder in 2007, as the hottest chili pepper plant on the planet, this thumb-sized pepper was named “ghost pepper” due to the fact that, upon consumption, they might easily end up as an apparition due to the immense heat of their flavor.
The Guinness Book of World Records certified that ghost peppers are over 401 times hotter than one of the most popular hot Tabasco sauces, at more than one million Scoville units — the system used to measure chili peppers. Jalapeno Peppers by comparison, range from about 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units.

The Ghost pepper has been a common food staple in India for centuries, but are also found in Sri Lanka. Apart from food, Ghost Peppers have also been used to help with stomach aches and to help people cool off.

I do not know how that would work for me, unless the stomach pain was worse than the stomach ache so you forgot about it.  As for working to cool you down, it would probably be from sweating profusely while the air rushing around you as you walk evaporates the moisture.  That would act like your own perpetual swamp cooler.  That is until your body finished processing the pepper.

Organic Gardening and Organic Farming is fun and enjoyable, especially when you know what you are doing or have friends that will help you when you have questions.  I have always enjoyed the relationships that farming and gardening have provided.  Everyone likes food, just some of us do not care for the real HOT stuff.

As you find new challenges and want to know how to grow something that you have never tried to before,  you can usually find the answer here at  It I have not written about it yet, ask me, and if it is new to me, I am sure to know someone who has the expertise.  The great thing about farming and gardening is that it has been around for thousands of years.

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Turning your dreams into the Life of Your Dreams.

Chris Downs ———– The Caretaker

Posted by & filed under Composting.

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Worm composting works by recycling food and yard waste which is then put to use for your house plants, herbs or garden to feed your plants. The worms eat the compost and turn it into food for your garden or farm. This is what your plants need to live healthy and bring you enjoyment.

We had moved to a small trailer park in Colorado.  Our goal was to grow a garden and not only feed ourselves, but also share the expense and workload with two of our neighbors.  Our problem is with the soil.

It is hard as a rock, full of weeds as well as gravel.

We found no worms in the very small sections of the lawn that we could get a shovel into.  We have usually always had a garden of one type or the other, even if it was a small container garden.  We also always had hardy small plants in our camper when we traveled around.  So how to overcome the challenge of our newly acquired garden bed.

How Worm Composting Works?


Our problem was two fold.  First we do not have a usable yard for growing much as you can see.  Secondly there is no place for worms to live to keep our garden area aerated and fertile with worm castings for food for the plants.

 How Worm Composting Works?


The great advantage of worm composting is that this can be done indoors and outdoors, which provides for year round composting. It can  provide apartment dwellers with a means of composting. So to summarize,  worm compost is made in a container filled with moistened bedding and redworms. Add your food waste for a period of time, and the worms and micro-organisms will eventually convert the entire contents into rich compost.

How many worms to you need for worm composting?

  • First off, how much food waste to you have in a week?
  • Weigh your household food waste for one week then provide one square foot of surface area per pound.
  • The depth of your container is best if it is between eight and twelve inches deep.
  • You can purchase plastic containers for worm composting, in either large size or a bunch of smaller ones that are stackable depending upon the area you have for composting.

We started off with only a couple of pounds of worms for our composting needs.  Worms will multiply and grow in numbers.  There are several books available for you to decide what you need.  There is only two people in our family, so that is why we only purchased 2 pounds of worms to start.  We produce about 1 pound of food waste per day during a week.

You also want to provide damp bedding such as straw or shredded uncolored newspaper, dead leaves from the fall, dead leaves from your plants, etc.  Just make sure that it is not contaminated with any toxic substances.  It is a great idea to add a bit of soil or sand to help the worms digestive system.  Keep the compost moist, but do not drown your worms.

Since we are new to this area, we purchased our red wiggler worms through a local gardening supplier. Purchase locally is our motto, it saves time, money and provides for local abundance.

How do you maintain your compost worms and bins? 

  • It is best to keep the compost warm usually between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • For indoors anywhere that is warm, moist and dry.
  • For outdoors, in a shop, barn or shed that will keep that temperature range but also allow you to keep the compost moist.

Make sure that you separate the worms out of the finished compost and into the next batch of compost material so that they thrive, and do not die. My recommendation is to move the finished compost to the side of the container, place in new bedding and allow the worms to migrate on their own.  That saves a lot of time.  Use the completed compost by taking it off the top of the finished pile as needed.

Some people will lay all of their finished compost out on a plastic sheet and pick out the worms,  this can be a great family event for you and your children on an afternoon.  It teaches everyone involved how great of a planet that was created for us!

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Turning your dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs ——————-  The Caretaker

Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

Ever since I could remember, I associated as the name of some smelly fish like substance instead of the end result of growing green onions.

 What Do Scallions Have To Do With Growing Green Onions?

I was very resistant to eating or event tasting scallions.  I did not like fish growing up, unless it had breading and tarter sauce.  In my experience everything else just smelled like it was moldy.  But I did and do love green onions!  They are a great food, taste great, and are easy to grow!  I have changed over the years, and I will eat fish now, but not as much as many people.  I believe all of the studies, and know people who are really healthy that eat no flesh, but do eat fish.  It amazes me how stubborn I can be if there is a misunderstanding and my mind is already made up that I do not like whatever it is.  My question has always been how do I get over the difference of the wording between getting scallions and growing green onions?  I should be a simple thing right?  Do you have children or husband or wife, who will not even try to eat something because of the same thing?

Here is the problem that I found for myself:

  • Scallions sounded to me as a bad thing
  • I continually reinforced it with incorrect thinking
  • I associated the smell and texture of a different item to the word scallions
  • I had made up my mind that I do not like scallions and I was sticking to that mindset

Even though I was told later that they were the same things, when I grew up and I was not going to attempt to prove anything else.

I am sure that you have run across someone else in the state of de-nial as I had been for many years.   The name scallions still to this day first brings a gag reflex to me even though I eat them nearly everyday.  I still mostly only refer to them as green onions though.   How do we get over our mis-conception of food and what it is and how it tastes?

Experience has taught me that information and experimentation is the best solution for me and my family.  We have the internet now, so the information age has arrived and with the use of computers, we can now have our children, or spouse, look it up themselves.  That leaves the experience portion left over. The solution to the problem is this:

  1. Have an authority give the definition.  I have included the Wikepedia definition for scallion/green onion here.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Fresh scallions tied into bundles
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
various, see text

Scallions (also known as green onions, spring onions, salad onions, green shallots, onion sticks, long onions, baby onions, precious onions, yard onions, gibbons, or syboes), are the edible plants of various Allium species, all of which are “onion-like”, having hollow green leaves and lacking a fully developed root bulb.


  1.  Experimentation.   I was given a package marked scallions with a picture of green onions on the package.  I planted them myself and grew them indoors near the kitchen window see what really popped up.  To my surprise,  up grew green onions, I mean scallions.

Knowing where you food comes from, and the quality of the soil and care taken to make sure that it is the best fuel for our bodies has been the best thing for me and my lack of being a culinary adventurer.  Try it, it should work for you.

One of the best ways to change yourself is to change your mindset.  I can attest to that from my own experiences.  I have some friends named Robert and Terri TallTree.  They are Masters at helping people overcome their fears and misconceptions that hold us back from living the life of our dreams.

They have helped me to see that I can be awake and aware of my own mindset and what to do to change it to what I need to do to reclaim my life.  I have gone through their training called the Miracle Mindshift Month.  Click on that link or paste into your browser and help either you or someone you know to be able to free themselves from misconceptions.  I highly recommend it for those also building a successful Organic Farm or Organic Garden.  Healthy mind equals a healthy business.


Turning your dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs —————–  The Caretaker

Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

When looking for the crops or type of business most people will ask the question of “What is the most profitable type of small scale farming?  The answer is Organic Vegetables, but you need to ensure that you grow what your customer wants. You still need to research  what your customer wants.

profitable small scale farming

In the report  “4 ways to increase your organic farm profits”, I told you about my Grandma Nettie. She loved Okra, but not too many people where we had started our grocery store had even heard of it before. We carried local produce from reputable farmers that we knew, and most had not heard of it. So we ended up placing all of the okra, except what grandma ate, and ended up selling a little bit, canned some, and the rest became compost. The failed crop had also taken up our own time, and a good portion of our garden.

So the problem of NOT doing your research first and going only on what you “think” is a great plan for small scale farming may not sell at all where you are at.

So here are some of the concerns when you have a Passion to start Small Scale Farming.

  • You do not have the growing season for the crop you are passionate about
  • Your local customers do not know about the product you are passionate about
  • You do not have a lot of money to get started
  • Your space is limited in where you can grow, or you need to lease land
  • You may not have the experience or knowledge on how to grow the crop and are not sure where to get information about it.
  • What if you have never started a business before?

I have failed at enough things over the years, to know that I need help. Every one of the above challenges can be overcome, but it is wise to get some help. You do not have to go out and get a huge loan to start your business. You do not always need to have a huge farm either! That is the good news!
When I started our restaurant, we did not have much money, but we do have creativity. I will share about that on a later post. But one of the best things that I learned from starting, building and managing a small restaurant, is that Any business needs a few important things to become profitable.

Whether it is small scale farming, a mechanics shop, or a computer manufacturing company, these are the things that I have observed and shown to be critical in success.

One of the best ways to become profitable, is research.   The USDA has shared the following list of successful types of small scale farming.


This a list of businesses that are the most profitable small scale farming options for you.  I want to share some information with you first.  This will help you decide what will work best for your choice in the area you are located.

To become a profitable small scale farm you need a combination of  two or more of the following options.  Your flagship plan is to build a great organic farm that incorporates a multitude of the list. Do not forget about the opportunity to find an internship opportunity.

  1. For farming, first of all, is the passion and the vision to stay with it while being prepared to change your course by a little bit.  An Airplane is off course 99% of the time on its way from one location to another.  The rest of the time,  the Pilot in command is changing course back to the correct flight path.  Do the same thing with your business.
  2. Your Pilot does not ever work alone.  There is an entire group of people that works with him or her, and they communicate regularly.  They all work together to ensure that the customers on the plane are there to go to the destination that they had paid for
  3. Apple computers started in the garage of a home.  You can be creative, do not let anyone quench the passion for your purpose, but be strategic
  4. If after all of your research, and you do not have the room to grow the crop that you are driven to produce, you can either purchase the land, if you have the money, or lease it.  Even better yet, work a deal with a farmer that you know to where you do all of the work on his farm, and share in the profit.  A great way to start.  It is called a Joint Venture.
  5. I am going to address the last two challenges together as one answer.  If you do not have the experience or knowledge for what you are about to undertake, or have never started your own business before, please learn from my mistakes.

You need to get some help.  I finally took the plunge and decided to get as much help as I needed to get help from people that have been there and done that.  I have been blessed by having the best mentors that, in my opinion, are caring, want success for me and are passionate about helping others while making a difference in the world.  I had been so focused on doing whatever I thought I needed to do to become successful, I had lost my passion and purpose for my life.  I had no real direction, and my health was failing fast.

Then I met Gina, my mentor who has helped me to rediscover my passion and continues to mentor me on a regular basis to keep on track..  Through her, I have also regained my Passion for my purpose, which is also aligned with hers.  I too have become a mentor to others who are passionate about increasing their profits with their Organic Farms and Gardens. To make a difference in the world and help others build the life of their dreams in a sustainable manner.

In the spirit of giving I would like to share with you  4 Ways To Increase Your Organic Farming Profits .  If you apply the techniques shared  inside with positive action, I am sure that your farm will do better. I will be sharing more information soon.  Share what has worked for you, I enjoying helping others.  It is a part of being a Caretaker.


Turning Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs   The Caretaker

Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

Being concerned about sustainable food system and your life  is a good thing.

I remember the first time that I had really thought about sustainability.  I had just become “qualified” as a submarine sailor.  It is a rigorous time of learning everything on board the ship, knowing how it works and being able to operate it.

In addition, you had to be able to know how it works and be able to repair it to a usable state, or bypass the system in case of an emergency to ensure the continued survival of the ship her crew and to accomplish the mission of the ship before going back to port.

This was a very good lesson for me that though I was a bit claustrophobic kept my mind occupied as I focused on the ability of the last portion of that statement:  getting back to port successfully!  But what does that have to do with sustainable food system?

The life cycle of our mission was in excess of 3 months per patrol.  Our food system had to to be sustainable for at least the patrol period, but really, we would prepare for a much longer time in the event that we were required to remain on station for longer periods of time.

The problem was this:  How to prepare a sustainable food system for an extended period of time in which that you are not permitted to surface or to take on more supplies once we were on station.

How do we prepare for unintended extensions of the patrol, and what can we do in the environment that we were in to create the successful outcome we all desired?

How does that relate to you and me now, in the natural world?  A naval submarine is not very diverse, and it has a limited life.  It does not eat, but the crew on board  needs to be healthy and energized to thrive for the purpose of maintaining the life of the ship.

What is a sustainable food system?

What are the challenges in your life right now?  Your environment can and will provide a sustainable food system if you look at all aspects of your surroundings.  What is your Purpose and your Passion?  What is it that you have a deep desire to accomplish in your life?  A sustainable food system provides the energy needed to accomplish your purpose and passion.

If your passion is to have an Organic Farm or Garden, you will need to look at all of your surroundings to discover what the flow of





that you will be working with.  Also, what are the assets that are all around you to help you achieve your passion.  If you do not see them,  ask for them and know that you can find them.  They might even just show up on your property that you are taking care of

What about all of the other items listed in the definition of Sustainability for your sustainable food system?

In the Bible,

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the book of Genesis chapter 1:29,

Man was given the job of Caretaker of this world: 29 

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. ” And it was so.
While wikipedia describes  Sustainability as the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use. In ecology, sustainability describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time, a necessary precondition for the well-being of humans and other organisms. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems.

There is a rich heritage that has been passed down from generation to generation by the native peoples of all lands.  Most people have just been too busy to be able to ask the questions or hear the answers that have been all around.  One of the first things that need to be sustainable is your mindset.  To truly have a successful sustainable food system, you need to ensure that you have a sustainable success focused mindset.

To start on your journey to your dream life,

I highly recommend that you start with the 30 day Miracle Mindset Month program provided by Robert and Terri TallTree.  They have both helped me to remember my heritage, as well as the tasks that have been placed on my heart.

My passion and purpose is something that I can no longer place on the back burner of my life.  I must do my best, and I am here to help you as Robert and Terri have helped me to Live my Life on Purpose.

Sign up here now, so that you to can start your journey to your Purpose and Passion for your Life.

I am looking forward to helping you achieve your dreams and goals as we journey through this life together.


Turning your dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs  —————–  The Caretaker