Grow Your Own Awesomeness

Lilikoi flower

Today we are going to be focusing all of our awesomeness on our back-gardens. Have you ever walked into a grocery store, wandered around in the ‘fresh herbs’ section then run out of the store crying because you are poor? No? Well neither have we…*coughs*…but just to make sure that nobody else has to endure this horrible ordeal, please keep reading.

One thing that living on $20 a day has shown us, is to always keep our eyes open for things that will save us money. Wandering round our local home-improvement store one day (as you do, right?), I was struck by an epiphany…Potted herbs are actually cheaper than ‘fresh’ herbs at the supermarket. Literally, a living, breathing, green onion plant was a few cents cheaper than ‘fresh’ herbs at the supermarket! “Aha”, you may gasp, “now I can buy all of my herbs at the hardware store!”. But wait, there’s more! You know if you plant that stuff in the garden, there’s a good chance it will grow right?! So for a few cents LESS than buying some ‘fresh’ herbs ONCE, you can now eat those herbs whenever you want in the future, for FREE!

Habenero Pepper (top), Lilikoi (middle), Thai Basil (bottom)
Habenero Pepper (top), Lilikoi (middle), Thai Basil (bottom)

This doesn’t just apply to herbs, all fruits and vegetables are fair game!

Now, I’m not claiming to be a green-fingered demi-god in the garden, I just plant stuff in the garden wherever I have space and it usually grows! If it dies, so what, you haven’t really lost anything that you weren’t going to spend anyway!

We might have a bit of an advantage, though, due to our location…pretty much anything will grow in the tropics (apart from strawberries it seems)! Right now in the garden we have habenero peppers, lilikoi (passion fruit), Thai basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley, lavender, aloe, green onions, thyme and ginger (although the last one is technically a weed).

Even if you live in Alaska, you can still grow things indoors, in a window-box in the kitchen, a plant pot in the bathroom, an old shoe…anywhere! Besides being awesome, it’ll also make your house smell good (you remember how awesome your house smells when you have a Christmas tree, right?). There’s no excuse for spending a fortune on supermarket herbs, you just need to remember to water.

Anti-chicken warfare
Anti-chicken warfare

“But wait!”, I hear you scream, “Don’t you have chicken-saurus-rexes who will eat everything in your garden?”. Good point. I concede that having chickens and herbs co-existing in the garden does pose a bit of a conundrum. Never fear though, chicken lovers can have their herb-cake and eat it, with a little hard-work.

Introducing the anti-chicken herb-box. Using patented anti-chicken material (also known as chicken wire) you are able to successfully avoid herb-rage!

All you need to do is take a plank of wood, cut it into four pieces, screw, nail or glue it together, and cover it with chicken wire! Voila! The chickens will no longer be able to eat your precious greenery! Note that for my version, I actually included a lid that gives you easier access to the herbs inside.

The finished product - note the confused chickens...
The finished product – note the confused chickens…

All this took was to take another long bit of wood (in this case 1″ x 2″ x 10′) and cut the pieces the same size as the pieces that you cut from the plank. Screw, nail or glue them together and connect the lid to the bottom with a hinge. Easy peasy! You can also use the same patented anti-chicken material to build a mini fence around important plants (like my precious Habeneros). At the same time you are simultaneously saving money, time, and the environment. If you aren’t growing your own food, you aren’t being awesome enough!

Grow a pair, and grow a pear!

Peace. G.

Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves: DIY Chicken Feeder

Aloha again, it’s Geoff here for a second guest blog post! Yes, it’s about chickens again, what self-respecting blog-post wouldn’t be about chickens?

So this blog is about being awesome for little or no money, right? Well I am always on the lookout for something that will either make my life easier or cheaper and I like to experiment. Let me throw some light onto a recent chicken-project of mine, the chicken auto-feeder.

A treadle feeder
A treadle feeder

I’d been contemplating getting or making a chicken feeder that allowed me to stop the wild birds eating the girls’ food, whilst also being easy to use for the little feathered egg-machines. I came across this link one day for a treadle feeder. A treadle feeder is just like the one on the left, and consists of a pedal that the chickens stand on which opens a lid, giving the chickens their secured food. This works on the premise that the chickens are heavier (and smarter) than the wild birds, stopping the wild birds from eating all the chicken food.

However, reading through the plans and description of this feeder made me a little queasy…I would need to buy all kinds of equipment and materials to make one! If I wanted to buy one, I found them to be priced around $80 online but with no local distributors! This called for a ‘Plan B’.

Raw ingredients
Raw ingredients

Watching a few chicken videos and tutorials online, I had a brainwave and rushed out to buy a cheap drill-bit for around $4. Stick with this please…

Take the lid from a large plastic milk container and make a circular hole in it with whatever tools you have at hand. I recommend a soldering iron (one that you don’t particularly use that often) to melt the hole, this way you don’t leave any sharp edges. Make the hole pretty small to begin with, just a little larger than the handle of the drill bit. Then, feed the drill bit handle through the hole, leaving the top of the drill bit on the ‘inside’ of the lid. Fill your milk container up with chicken food and carefully screw the lid back on. Hang your milk container upside down and voila, you have an auto chicken feeder!

Chicken feeder

Whenever the chickens tap on the handle, food should fall out of the hole! If it doesn’t look like the food will come out (should be a few pieces at a time), simply make the hole a little larger!

Click HERE to watch a video of the feeder in action.

Total cost…$4. Awesomeness rating…10/10. This is Geoff, signing off…until next time folks!


Chickens…They’re Cheaper Than Dogs

What are you looking at?

Hi, I’m Renee’s husband, Geoff! Renee said I could write a few guest posts in her awesomely awesome blog about how to be awesome for $20…so here we go!

A few months ago, we decided that we wanted to buy some chickens (as you do). We had heard all sorts of great things about how awesome your life would be if you had your own little “Garden T-Rexs,” so I thought I’d share a few of those with you now!

1) First of all, what does a pedigree dog cost these days? $500? $1000? Probably more than that in some cases! Chickens cost $1.50 each, and that’s not for some run-of-the-mill street chicken. Our girls are thoroughbreds!

2) Chickens do have a great appetite but thankfully are only very small so that means your food costs are going to be pretty small. We buy a 20 pound bag of chicken food for $11 every 3 weeks or so! You can also feed these guys your table scraps for an extra treat!


3) Chickens are awesome!

4) Chickens lay eggs! Our girls produce an egg each every day; that’s 14 eggs a week! I’ve been eating scrambled eggs for lunch for most of this week, for free! Our eggs are also free-range, pesticide-free and taste amazing!

5) Chickens keep control of all of the pests in the garden. We have seen a marked drop in the number of cockroaches, moths, lizards, mantises and other generally creepy-crawly things! This is a great way to keep your garden nice and healthy for free.

6) Chickens fertilize your plants! You know those little chicken ‘presents’ that they leave for you all over the garden? Well, after you spray the garden down with the hose, they drop their nutrients into the soil, making your plants big and strong!

7) Chickens make good companion animals. Beating all of these other reasons, my favorite thing about chickens is that if you are feeling a little down or upset, you can go out into the garden and cuddle with one! They are so soft (like a feather pillow).

Omm nomm nomm

Well, I hope that I’ve given you enough reasons to go out and buy yourselves a couple of little egg-machines. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my guest post and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me again (until I manage to find a job).


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