Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

I read an article by the Huffington Post  about local food.  One of the best foods to grow are spices and herbs.   They stated that:

“A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says sales of “local foods,” whether sold direct to consumers at farmers markets or through intermediaries such as grocers or restaurants, amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008. That’s a number several times greater than earlier estimates, and the department predicts locally grown foods will generate $7 billion in sales this year.


From the farmers, gardeners and forums that I frequent, I believe that these numbers are low.


So why do I tell you that you need spices and herbs to increase your profits?

  1. Herbs and spices are one of the fastest growing sections of the food and health care industries.
  2. There are Billions of people looking to increase their health and vitality with the use of herbs and spices
  3. Spices and herbs are becoming more popular and people want the best organic options for their health.
  4. Herbs and spices are fairly easy to grow as long as you pay attention to details.
  5. The health benefits to you and your family as you eat healthier is a great way to share the benefits to your customers

Seven Spices to Get You Started:


  1. Ginger:  an anti-oxidant as well as helping with nausea and reducing pain.  Organic Ginger can sell between $3 and $5 dollars per pound.
  2. Rosemary: A heart healthy spice as well as reducing inflammation.  Inflammation has a key role in increasing risk of other diseases.  Organic rosemary can sell for $12.36 for less than an ounce and in bulk the cost will be less.  Prices between $62 to $115 dollars and up have been found.
  3. Cinnamon: a spice rich in natural compounds, polyphenols, which may act like insulin in our bodies to help regulate blood sugar levels. Organic Cinnamon sells between $6 and $25 per pound.
  4. Oregano: Considered one of the highest anti-oxidants in dried herbs. It is also very tasty.  Usually only sold by the ounce between $1.80 per ounce to $2.59 per ounce.  That comes out to between $28 to $41 per pound of  organic Oregano.
  5. Cayenne:  Dried Red peppers is a great way to eat cayenne and this is usually a combination of Cayenne and Paprika.  They are reported to increase metabolism, satisfies cravings and possibly stimulate fat burning also.  The cost per pound for organic Cayenne Peppers is between $50 and $60.
  6. Thyme: Usually described not only as an anti-oxidant but also helpful with the respiratory function as well as helping relieve a cough.  The selling price of a pound of organic thyme is between $3 and $5, depending upon if you sell the powder or the leaf in bulk.
  7. Tumeric:  This heart healthy spice has also been found to slow the decline of memory and brain function as we age.  The cost of organic turmeric has been sold between $8 and $14 per pound in bulk.


Will you be able to sell your spices and herbs at these prices?


As you start in the organic spices and herbs, most likely not.  Organic certification and reputation are paramount in the growing “local food” market.

If you choose to not follow the Certified Organic journey, you can still sell your herbs and spices, you will need to start building relationships from the beginning of your plan to add this profitable leg of your farming or commercial gardening business.

Find more ways to increase profits with your farm.

Click here to get your copy.


Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on


Posted by & filed under Permaculture.

The City of Palm Springs California has taken the leap into making their lives and the lives of its community Sustainable!   Congratulations to them for taking action on making this a better planet to live on!

Palm Springs Convention Center

We have all heard the saying “Think Global, Act Local”!  They have even added a section called: “Your Sustainable City” to their government website!

Here is what their stated mission is on the page when you arrive.

“Our citizens and staff make this Your Sustainable City a clean and healthy environment, strong community engagement and a thriving economy. The City of Palm Springs Office of Sustainability invites you to help shape the future of your community. We are interested in your feedback and ideas. Call anytime at 760-323-8214.

Mayor Steve Pougnet asks all Palm Springs Residents to participate in the Coachella Valley Healthy Living Challenge. All Coachella Valley residents are encouraged to participate in a challenge.”


Path to Sustainability

Mayor Steve Pougnet Started the path to sustainable living for the Palm Springs community in May of 2008.  His goals and the goals for sustainability for the community is to include a clean and healthy environment, strong and active community engagement and a thriving economy!

As a leader in this valuable endeavor, the city sees the threats and challenges to their community.  Water is becoming scarcer and more expensive.  Air quality is threatened and waste and consumption continues to rise.  Palm Springs leadership has started with the people ultimately, and the mayor and city government are actively creating a comprehensive plan.  They are making sustainability a priority for the future as the quality of life is dependent upon our ability to build and implement a true community plan.


Steve Pougnet also stated that the quality of life is not just being addressed by the city government, but also by the public and private sector engagement.

They have implemented Certified Farmers in their schools.  They have implemented a program to give grants to local schools to grow food!  They actively promote buying locally and have a certified farmers market at 2300 E Baristo  at Farrell and Camelot Theatre in town.  It is from 8 am to 12:30pm.  Make sure that you go to their website at

Helping Local Businesses Become Sustainable

For local businesses, the city has implemented the City of Palm Springs Green Business Partnership Certification Program.   It is a $150 fee, unless of course you were one of the first 50 businesses to take action to make a difference.  The certification will provide the business with a seal for their website as well as their store front.  It shows that the businesses who participate are part of the network to create a sustainable city.


Here is a list of the items that the city shares with all of its community.  This is something that we can all do, even if we do not live in the City of Palm Springs!


The Palm Springs Path to a Sustainable Community

Steps We Can All Take

  1. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs
  2. Turn your thermostat down
  3. Clean or replace your air conditioning filter
  4. Conserve water
  5. Reduce, reuse, recycle
  6. Use energy efficient appliances
  7. Turn off lights, computers, TVs when not in use
  8. Leave the car at home – bike, walk, carpool or take the bus
  9. Incorporate shade into your landscape
  10. Install insulation in your home
  11. Get a home energy audit
  12. Use low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint
  13. Buy and use local, sustainable foods and food products
  14. Get a water audit and incorporate changes
  15. Consider replacing lawn with low water use landscape
  16. Buy alternative fuel or hybrid vehicle
  17. Use green or sustainable building techniques when building or remodeling
  18. Drink tap water
  19. Get an annual tune up
  20. Full loads for both clothes and dish washer



I just want to take this time to thank the City of Palm Springs California, and hope that we can each bring about a Sustainable solution in the community where we live.


It is not about just using up the resources around us until they are gone, it is about honoring the land, water, air and residents of where we are.  Two legged, four legged, winged, swimmers or even the ones that may seem like creepy crawlers, we are all part and interdependent in our lives.


Join us all in the quest for a Sustainable life.


Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on

Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

WOW…This is a very loaded question if you really think about it. Along with the fact it is VERY important question if you are serious about a more organic life or a homesteading lifestyle.

War Creek

There are many aspects of survival but I am talking about the emotional, physical and spiritual ways to survive this transition. When you are making what is called a “Life Change” of this magnitude there are some things that need to be addressed.


Living organic or a homesteading lifestyle can be harder and harder in the times that we live in. Not because times are harder, it is just harder to wean yourself off of everything being easy and at your fingertips.


There are some things that no one tells you when you are trying to make this transition in your life. Sometimes people do not want to say anything because they feel that it scares others away from this lifestyle or just simply that they will not understand.


Most people do not even take in to account the emotional, physical or spiritual side of what you are about to or are currently experiencing. I want to make sure that you are not only aware of what to expect but I also want to share what I have learned on each piece of this starting with the emotional transition of this process.


If you have read anything about my journey you already know that this process began LONG before our house sold and we were financially able to begin this journey. About 3 years ago my husband and I felt that there was a major shift coming in life as we know it.


No I am not referring to the Mayan Calendar or the 2012 stuff but just everything that is going on in our immediate area and in the world as a whole. Not only things being unstable but the knowledge that most food is man-made not God made and Science has begun to take over everything even to the extent of choosing the sex of your child.

We wanted to get back to living in a manner that not only was honoring ourselves but also honored God and the Earth.


Well it took us 3 years to finally sale our house and we are actually beginning to live out what God put on our hearts. We moved across the country to be with family and look at land in a few states and ended up moving back to the eastern part of the USA.


The moral of this story if you will, is that in order for to actually live out a homesteading or organic lifestyle there has to be desire. With out desire you will never make it!

In Part 2 we will be looking in to the Emotional Survival of such a large “Life Change”.

Keep moving forward,




P.S. If you have anything to add to this about your experience or if you have ideas and comments please leave a comment. Do not be greedy with your knowledge, someone just might need what you have learned to help them get where they need/what to be.


AND…If you want more info on a homesteading lifestyle, how to have an organic garden or just knowledge period sign up to get more info!

Posted by & filed under Permaculture.

Small scale farming is reliant upon water rights.  Without water, it will be impossible to grow your crops, animals or even survive yourself.

There is a growing trend to privatize water rights.  Generally in favor of larger corporations.  Some states the water is owned by the state.   There is a great Explanation of Who Owns Water that is a great Social Studies project for all of us.



The reason that I want to get your attention now, is so that you can prepare yourself for drought, changes in law and in choosing the food that you want to grow.  Do you believe that you own the rainwater that falls on your land and home?  Capturing and using rain water and using it for growing gardens, watering pets and wildlife has been in use for centuries!  I have a friend who live on the Big Island in Hawaii, and that is the only way that she can get water for her home.  Popular Mechanics has shared some great information on “Who owns the Rain”.   Hint,  it is not always the home owner.


We live in Monument Colorado, and the nearby lake, Palmer lake use to be a great place to walk around the lake, go fishing and enjoy a great day outdoors.  The lake has a walkway all the way around it.  It use to be beautiful!  Now it is dry and the bottom is cracked.

During drier weather, the lake could be refilled by a nearby stream, but not anymore, as the water rights were sold to a neighboring city who has outgrown its supply of water.  So the small town that has always relied upon on the water in the stream for a backup has been out bid for water usage.  Taking away one of the most visual draws for traffic to the businesses and residents of this town.    They have enough water for their homes for now, but what happens if the drought continues.


Quite a few more states than individuals own the water.  They give the citizens water rights to pump water out of wells, but most states do not allow rain water to be considered as the home owners.  Some states do have legal ways to be allowed to use some of the rain water.  You need to check with your state to ensure that you do not get a ticket or go to jail for “Stealing” the rain water that falls on your home.


There is one legal word that could help you in your quest to use rain water.  Usufruct is the right to use and enjoy the profits and advantages of something belonging to another as long as the property is not damaged or altered in any way.  This is according to the   Since the water is owned by many of the states, your rights must be considered for health and safety.

Our government was formed to protect its Citizens health and safety.  If they sell water rights to a company trying to get minerals, oil, or uranium, gold, silver or anything from the land and do not protect the water that is being used and replaced into the streams, they are not protecting us as citizens.   This must be a reason for all of us who live to ensure that our right to life is protected.


Without water, we will not survive.  Water has been polluted, wasted, diverted and poisoned accidentally and due to laziness as well as to increase profits for others.  Now is the time to inform yourself and your neighbors on what your water rights are.


Related Information

Small Scale Farming: How Do I Get Started?
4 Ways to Increase Your Organic Farm Profits
What is the Most Profitable Type of Small Scale farming?

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on

Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

Planning properly will keep you from buying useless  tools bring you higher yields and better quality food/products to keep your garden sustainable.

House using Sustainable Gardening plus solar

Sustainable Gardening is part of Sustainable Living: Sustainable Living

Sustainable living is the way of growing food and products that works with nature to produce more while wasting less. It is a long term way of living life that helps create land and keeps the water clean over time. Profits are achieved over time rather than instantaneously.


What do you want out of Sustainable Gardening?  Plan for what you want.

How do you plan for success with sustainable gardening?  First of all, remember that YOU are the one picking what you need and want in a sustainable garden.

There are all sorts of advice, even from me, that may not be right for you.


No one can know your every desire for what you want to grow or what you like to eat.  As far as your growing season, there are also many “micro-weather” parts of each state, county, neighborhood and even areas of the same property.


That is where you come in as THE most important part of planning your sustainable gardening endeavor.

If you are not quite sure what you want exactly,

Seek             To find what you want and how you want to live.

Observe      What others who are successful are doing and build relationships

ACT               On the information that you learned and gain new skills, outsource to Others what you can’t or don’t want to do yourself

REAP           The benefits of your hard work, but always be observing, learning and implementing new ideas.  Test, test, test  all of the time.


  • You can visit friends or neighbors who are living the life that you want to live.
  • Make a list of the foods that will increase your health and strength that you will actually eat
  • Go to the library and look at all of the recipe books to see what sounds good to you, then cook some of those recipes.
  • How hard do you want to work?  Are you willing to “rough it”?
  • What products can you sell that can be made from materials available on your land?
  • Observe the land that you have or want to purchase to see what grows and lives on it.
  • Go to the local markets and observe what sells at different seasons
  • Research greenhouses that may work for you that you can build inexpensively or for a price that is easily affordable for you if needed
  • Find organic ways that heal the land and your body rather than take the shortcuts that many use.


I have learned many different ways to garden, and have failed at many different experiments.  Frost, drought, pests, horses or other animals coming in and making a mess of our garden have taught my wife and I many lessons.   I have also grown gardens with my family since 1968.  I learned about fruit trees first hand, as has Heather my wife.


She use to pick fruit in the fields in California.  I have eaten many fruits picked from the fields from California!   I grew up in Washington state, and fruit trees were all around us.  Sweet tree ripened plums, fresh picked apples and many more!


We have helped other families to be self-sufficient from small farms (less than 200 acres) to owners of a small private island.  Horse ranches, cattle ranches, large wheat farms and alfalfa/hay farms are some of the farms that I have worked on.  The one thing that has stuck with me the most was there was always a garden.


If you do not want to research all alone, we are starting a membership site where you can ask questions of us and an exclusive community where both Heather and I will share our decades of experience. There will be a fee to pay for the technology for the membership site, but in the long run, the value is priceless.


We are looking forward to serving you no matter how you ask us questions, either through comments on our website, or by joining us in our membership area.


Looking forward to helping you live the Sustainable Life that you dream of.


Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on

Posted by & filed under Farm Equipment.

I keep getting this same question about troubleshooting garden equipment.  Whether large or smaller motorized or electrical equipment, I have found a simple way to troubleshoot gardening equipment.

Why Would You Want To Use Old Farm Equipment?

So I have come up with an acronym that I have been using for decades.  It is S.O.A.R, or Seek, Observe, Act and Reap.   Whenever I have been asked to “fix” something, I do the following.


  • What is its purpose
  • How do I think it works?
  • Do they have a manual
  • Can I call the manufacturer or find it online?


Once I know what it is supposed to do, and how I think it works, it is time to find out how it really works.

  • Do I have one that works?
  • Do I need a manual, or can I just take it apart and see how it is built.
  • Can I get spare parts
  • Does it make sense to repair this item, or should it be replaced

So I am observing how it works or doesn’t work.  Then I am looking for manuals or information about this equipment.

Remember, it doesn’t matter what the equipment is, you can look at everything in this way to get it working again properly.

What do you want to learn from observing and asking how it should work when it is working properly.

  • Is this equipment worth repairing?
  • Would it be more cost effective to purchase a new one of better quality?
  • Can it really be rebuilt or repaired?
  • Can we purchase a used one for less money?
  • Is it a unique piece of equipment modified for the owner?
  • Accept the situation and be creative in repairs and options

Now that I have observed and discovered the answers in the observation phase of troubleshooting, it is time to act.


  • Depending upon the equipment, take it apart and discover what failed
  • Purchase replacement parts if cost effective
  • Repair the defective parts by making them yourself.  If the equipment is older and very effective, you can also have someone else make the parts for you, or buy them used.

In 1990 we were living on a private island.   The road grading tractor was a 1958 for tractor.  It has a small 4 cylinder engine and a 3 speed manual transmission.  It was a common tractor and usable by the homeowners.   One day, as I was backing it out of the shop, the transmission would not shift out of reverse.  The clutch worked fine but I could not shift it into first or second gear.

When I finally was able to get the tractor to neutral, I found that the tractor would not shift.  I got some help and we pushed the tractor back into the shop. I removed the gear shift from the top of the transmission.  I quickly discovered that there was parts of the transmission gears stuck in the shift lever.

The solution was to split the tractor in half, and take the broken gears out.  I then found a couple of places that had the replacements at a reasonable price.

I replace the gears, tested them and put the tractor back together.  It works fine even today.  We spent about $250 to repair the tractor.  If we had sent it to the shop off the island, it would have cost $300 for the barge to get it to the mainland.  So for that it was a great deal for the homeowners association.


Reap what you sow.  By sowing the seeds of good maintenance, you reap items that last longer

By learning about what you own and keeping records, you can discover trends and how long certain things last.  The more information you have the better!

If you are unsure about equipment, learn all you can about your equipment. Find a good mechanic shop that will listen to your concerns.  Be wise about spending your money, purchase quality products and keep them maintained meticulously.

An Eagle keeps its feathers in good condition so that it may SOAR high above the earth.  You can keep your equipment in good condition and SOAR in your garden and farm.

Food4wealth is a great way to learn about growing an organic garden without all of the hard work.

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on