House of Paula

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While it’s been fun having the blog on, I’ve decided that I’m taking this blog and several others that I maintain and merge them into one Big Blog at

The great thing is that I’m still using WordPress but will also have added flexibilty and control over the presentation of my writing and pictures.  So come visit me and check out the new digs. There’s still some construction going on, but it’s all good!


When I was attending college for the second time and focusing on my English degree, I worked for the Center for Indigenous Knowledge for Agriculture and Rural Development (a.k.a. CIKARD). I set up the initial web site for them and also wrote abstracts on sustainable agriculture and Somali Camel Herders. My experiences working with CIKARD along with growing up in rural Iowa on a fairly self-sufficient acreage, exposed me to the ideas of sustainability long before the concept was a buzz word in main stream media.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the last two months to find two magazines that show me how sustainability has hit the main stream as a life style choice. OmniMedia’s Whole Living, and LifeTime Fitness’ Experience Life. These magazines are a pleasure to read and offer practical solutions to living a more balanced, sustainable lifestyle. 

Maybe it’s the gardening and the decision to live a more purposeful life. Maybe it’s the magazines. But I’ve found myself going back to my sustainable roots this last month and really thinking about the resources I am using and what kind of impact my choices are having on the earth.

I’ve taken a plate, bowl, cup and flatware to the office, so that I’m not using plastic flatware or pitching styrofoam cups and paper plates into the garbage.  I’m eating way more locally since I have a garden now and I’m growing basil and chives in front of my apartment. I’m recycling more and looking for ways to further reduce the amount of trash leaving my home. And I’m looking at the kinds of products I’m using and how they are packaged.

This afternoon was spent working on getting some of the trees cleared away from Mrs. B’s Water Tank

If you look at the picture below, you can see that there are all kinds of trees in this little area where the water tank is.


This next picture is the end result (I got to the point to where I couldn’t do much with the other trees because they have poison ivy in them)


Most of the damage was done with bypass lopers. Although there was a sledge hammer and crowbar involved to remove the wooden casing around the steel pipe for the gate – there’s a tree blocking the gate and the crowbar was the only way to get that sucker so we could lift the gate off. It was too windy to lumberjack and get out the either the of chainsaws. Not to mention that I don’t feel comfortable running a chainsaw without R being around – especially when it involves his mom. But there’s already a big difference in the amount of light that reaches the far end of the garden.

But even with the lumberjacking. I did get time for pictures this weekend.








[Mrs. B grows some serious Kohlorabi there was one that was bigger than a grapefruit and it wasn’t woody at all).


Katie is going to hate what I’m about to say – I’m going to be moving this blog again soon.

There’s a good reason for this though – I’m in the process of learning more about WordPress and I want to integrate some of my individual blogs into blog with multiple areas of interest. OMSH has really stimulated my desire to learn more about this platform that I write on so that I can understand the technical side of it. If I can get my brain wrapped around Sharepoint, I can do this. I know the basics of good web design. Now it’s time to expand that knowledge with blog design.

There’s a couple of blogs – 70×7 Project and Pig E. Bank Adventures that won’t be integrated into the new site since they are more project driven than my other musings.

But I just wanted to let you know that this is in the works

If you look carefully in the upper left corner of the picture below, you can see the corner of my office space here at home.

While the desk has served me well – thank you Ikea for building cheap yet sturdy furniture – it is time for it go buhbye. With the couch, there’s just not enough room for the exercise equipment, the desk area and the dining room table. And because the dining room table matches with my Billy bookcases and couch better, it gets to stay and the desk gets to go.

The good thing is that I have a friend who needs a desk so I can give it to her. So the desk isn’t going to end up in a landfill somewhere. Now if I can just figure out what to do with the ugly vertical blinds that cover up the 9 foot wall of glass that leads out to the back porch.

This afternoon Rooms-To-Go delivered my new sofa. And if the picture below is any indication, Simba is very happy with the new sofa as it provides him a place to sleep and clean himself.


I got a sweet deal on the sofa and it’s not expensive enough that if Simba decided to claw, that I’ll feel guilty about it. Plus now R and I have a nice place to watch movies (once I get the living room rearranged appropriately).

The biggest reason I got the sofa is because I’m tired of having the TV in the bedroom and sitting on the bed to watch movies.

Garden ToesMy nicely groomed toes have become a casuality of gardening – they have become Garden toes. Garden toes is the singular condition where no matter what kind of footware you wear, you end up with dirt all over your toes and spending time soaking/scrubbing  in the tub because you’re so tired from working in the garden that you can’t stand up.

But you know, repeated cases of garden toes are completely worth it. There is nothing more rewarding than eating fresh produce that you grew yourself.

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