Knitting a Cowl

Hello, sweet needlework friends. Let me introduce you to my latest knitting project fresh off the needles. A cowl that also is a little bit like a dickie. While this is not the best photo of me, I just loved the way the tree branches look like part of my crazy hair.

I took the photo early in the morning, right after I cast off the last stitch of this combination cowl/dickie. It was 17 degrees Fahrenheit – that is -9 for my celsius thinking friends.

In San Diego, it never gets that cold. But I have been hiking early in the morning and the temps were close to freezing. I figured a cowl will serve me during my stay here in Northeastern Arizona as well as at home.

A Wall of Yarn

It all started when I went to a store in Windowrock on the Navajo Nation and I saw a wall of this.

many strands of wool in varies colors displayed at a store

A wall of yarn. Imagine how my heart started racing and a big smile formed on my face. Did I mention that I am in love with wool?  All kinds of wool.

Many Navajo people are weaving the most beautiful rugs and are using this yarn for their art. I found out that it is the Lambs Pride from the Brown Sheep Wool Company.

Most of the strands are 85% wool and 15% Mohair. Some are 100% wool. None are superwashed which I love.

The best surprise was that the prices on the Rez were super reasonable. I am sure you can guess what happened. Yup. I did buy a bunch.

The Yarn Choices

My goal was to utilize leftovers yarn from other projects I had already knitted from my purchases.

So far, I have made hats, felted slippers, house socks, and now, this cowl.

different colors of wool yarn and the cowl knitting startedstarted

But after starting, I ended up sticking with two main contrast colors while knitting this cowl.

the finished cowl laying on a wood background.

I threw in a little red since I had started with a dark red leftover and wanted to pull everything together.

Should I Write a Pattern?

I am thinking of writing up a pattern for knitting this cowl. If I do, you all will be the first to know. Actually, I would publish it here.

Here is another way of wearing the cowl.

A women wearing the cowl with her face showing

Are you interested in this pattern? If so, let me know. The best way to reach me is by leaving a comment on our Instagram account or on Ravelry.

There, we are Sustainablelivin – that is all the letters they gave us.

We turned off the comments here since the number of spam messages was overwhelming.


Real Life

As you all know, I have been on an online cleanse. Real-life was just a little bit too real and participating in the online world for the most part caused a negative physical reaction. I know – the power of mind and such.

But one very cold day I decided to check the podcast email and to my pleasant surprise, I saw an email from WAMA offering me to try out their Hemp underwear.

The CoVid 20

How did they know that I, like many others, had gained quite a bit of weight during the Covid-sit-at-home time and had been exploring the world of sustainable underwear?

Of course, I said yes. In no time at all, I received a package of hemp goodies. In the video, you see me unpacking and showing off my new undies that seem quite big. But big is good. Much better than lying to myself and ending up with clothing that might fit the body of my dreams but not the one I have.

Yay to Recycling

The first thing I noticed is that the packaging is made from recycled materials and can be recycled in turn. At this point, of course, we aren’t sure how much of the items we place dutifully into our recycle bin ends up in the landfill anyway but we can hope.

The envelope is also sturdy enough that it can be used for the storage of items in your house to give it a longer useful life. If you are a compulsive seed saver like I am, I am sure you can relate.

The Hemp Underwear

On to the undies. The fabric content is 53% hemp, 44% organic cotton, 3% spandex.

They are designed in the US and manufactured in China. If you go to this article on the WAMA website, you can read all about why they choose China as the country to source materials and manufacture the finished product.

Miss BB

Enjoy the video in which compost, among other topics, comes up. And watch the area around the abandoned yellow bucket in the background for Miss BB to make an appearance.

Miss BB after a successful steal of a sweet potato from the garden.

Stay tuned for my report on washing and wearing my new hemp underwear.





Often, when gardening, the need to tie a plant or support it in different ways during its growth.

I love to be able to use whatever is available and preferably what has grown in the garden.

Poles for beans to grow on are always branches or reeds that grew in a spot where they ended up being in the way.

Check out this berry.


I was gifted an old section of picket fence and put that in my driveway to distingue where the car space ends and the garden begins. 

This fence comes in handy in many ways. You can see nasturtiums growing on it, as well as this Freedom Blackberry. The blackberry turns out to grow too tall for me to push it through the fence and let it be its only support.

I could have found some string to tie it up – but I found something better.

Whenever I trim my grapes and find flexible vines, I make a wreath out of them. They tend to end up all over, mostly for decoration. But they also come in handy to support vining plants.

In this case, the wreath is helping the berry vine to grow upright and stay close to the fence.

Using what I have in the garden is much cheaper – or free. It also is a zero-waste solution. The fence and the grapevine did not land in the landfill – neither will be a rope or string I could have bought and used instead. 

I like the way this looks much better than some string.

What do you prefer?



The other day, I made some Kvaas (I will make a separate post about that) and had lots of beet ends on my counter. The beets had been out of the fridge for a few days – remember, my fridge had broken and I didn’t have one for a few days.

This is what the beets looked like before I started working with them.


I bought these beets and they came in a bag without greens. As you can see, after being at room temperature, the already did a little sprouting.


I added some water to the bowl I placed the ends in. This photo was taken the next morning after cutting the beets. As you can see, some tops haven’t started sprouting yet.



I changed the vessel and placed the ends on a plate. I wanted to give them some water, but not too much. As you can see, after about two days, all the beet ends have started to sprout.


I decided to place the plate outside to give it a bit more light. After 4 days, you can see that the water left a color ring around the plate. I just give them just enough water that they can drink, but not sit very deep in it.

Here is a closeup of one of the ends that started growing late.


This is four days after starting the turn waste-into-food experiment and some of the bigger leaves are ready to go into the next salad. I will keep you posted how long this growing experiment will keep going.




As many of you know, I have been quite active on the social media platforms associated with the Steem Blockchain.h

Videos are something I always liked but I am not professional at all. For me, it is much more about sharing what is going on in the garden or, for that matter, in life.

 I made a short little video talking about my intentions for the blog and also, sharing some of my struggles with technology.

As I was working on uploading my video, this one popped up.

I loved the spirit of the people and also how they are living their lives. He is showing us tools he made, his growing system and such. She is talking about preserving, having birds for insect control and so much more.

It really spoke to me since so many popular videos are full of brand-new and expensive equipment or tons of use of non renewable resources.

To live a sustainable live, we have to learn to use what we have on hand. It saves money and resources and helps to keep things out of the landfill.

Have you made a tool out of something you already had at home? Have you canned something? Let me know in the comments.

Why Colleen Zahradnicek Decided to Run For Office

by Emily Gerde

I had a wonderful conversation with Colleen Zahradnicek. Colleen has lived in Denver for 30 plus years, moving here as a child in 1984.  Her parents moved here from northern Wisconsin for a better quality of life, and Colleen and her husband are raising their daughter here for the same reason. Continue reading

May is Radical Self-Care Month!

Did you know that this month is radical self-care month? No? Don’t worry. You couldn’t know that since I just declared it as such!

I declared it for me. But I want to invite you to come along with me on this journey of taking care of myself. The older I get, the more I see that to truly live a sustainable lifestyle, self-care needs to be a huge part of it!

So many women – and yes, I am going to call out and call on women right now – do not take care of themselves!!!

By that, I don’t mean that they don’t comb their hair or wash their faces. No. Most of us do that part pretty well. Even painting our nails and wearing presentable clothing. That is not necessarily what I am talking about.

Self-care goes way deeper than that.

But we could start at clothing to get my point across. Here are some of the attributes we might look for in our clothes.

  • They are clean.
  • They are made of good fabric.
  • They are appropriate for the office.
  • They are cheap or affordable for our pocketbook.
  • They are in fashion.
  • They aren’t worn out.
  • They get compliments from others.

Do you have clothing which fits the above description? How many of those pieces of clothing make your heart sing when you wear them?

When you buy or make clothes, do you only consider items that feel right on your body and please you? Or are you thinking of the points listed above?

Isn’t it self-care, to take care of ourselves, to only dress in clothing we love – no matter what anyone else thinks?

How often do we do that? And do we even know what we really love?

This question can be applied to all different areas of our lives. So many of us have lost the ability to even know what we need, what we want, and if we do, how to make ourselves a priority.

My declaration is that May is Radical Self-Care month and I invite you all to share what that means to you.

Let me know in the comments if you will take the challenge and if you are on Instagram, Facebook or Steemit – share with us which area of your life you want to examine this month and figure out how to apply radical self-care to it.


Here are some more thoughts around this theme.

Thoughts on Feminism

Reusable Utensils

Schlepping reusable utensils around takes too much effort!!

That is what lots of people say. Or if they don’t say it, at least they think it. I don’t even know how many straws, disposable forks and knives, spoons and paper napkins end up in the landfill every single day.

Add coffee cups and lids and we have a mountain of trash produced every day of the year.

Does it have to be that way?

We at The Sustainable Living Podcast don’t think so. In fact, our Sustainable Travel expert Pia thinks that is a problem which can be solved very easily!

Use Reusable Utensils and cups!

But, you say, I don’t want to carry a huge bag with me where ever I go. I like stylish, small bags!

We understand!

Pia is showing you that you don’t need to carry a huge bag with you to be able to bring your own reusable utensils. On the contrary. Check out the size of her bag in the video.

We all can agree that cannot be called a huge bag.

The Content of the Bag

  • a 16 oz mason jar with a lid
  • a reusable handkerchief
  • a pair of chopsticks
  • a spork – one end is a spoon, the other a fork
  • a wallet bought at a thrift store

Mason Jar with a Lid

We all know that change takes time and sometimes, all we can do is tackle one item. If that is you, chose the mason jar to become your constant companion. Here is why.

  • bring water from home in your jar – no more plastic water bottles
  • if you buy a drink to go at a convenient store, either drink the water or use it to water a plant and use your jar instead of a disposable cup
  • the same is true if a coffee shop does not offer washable cups – ask the barista to fill your mason jar instead of the plastic lined disposable option
  • at an office party or a get together in the park – you know what to do! The mason jar holds hot and cold drinks equally well.

It is a glass jar and for some people, that is a concern.It is very durable glass and it takes quite an impact for the jar to break. If that is a concern, either wrap your jar into a cloth napkin or carry it in a little bag. If it breaks, the glass will be contained in the wrap.

Men don’t usually carry purses but a backpack or messenger bag fulfills the same purpose.

Enjoy the video.

Find Pia’s first segment on sustainable travel here.

Two New Voices on the Podcast


It All Began With a Seed

This story of the gourd begins with my love for seeds and for growing things I have never seen before.

That can be a good thing, or not.

One problem of planting a bunch of seeds of varieties unknown to mankind – I mean to this woman – is that she can’t tell if its a weed or if its a plant.

Or which of the many things planted actually came up.

These are the seeds which got it all started.


How they came to me, I don’t really remember. Maybe I bought a seed pack. Or I picked some up at a seed swap. Or someone just gave me some. All of those are frequent events in my life.

To tell you the truth, the seeds you see in the pictures and the ones I used to grow this plant came from a gourd I grew last year and smashed up to get the seeds.

And this is what grew from these seeds.

The Plant

guard plant

Well, this one is obviously a cucurbit. When I first grew it, I told everyone who asked that it was a snake gourd.

And many asked since the fruit grows very long – several feet – and I had them hanging all over the place.

But when I checked in with my friend google, what I found there does not look at all like what I was growing. See for yourself

Snake Gourd on Wikipedia

This is what the flower of my gourd looks like.


It is a white flower and blooms mostly at night. When I first started growing them, I saw so many flowers developing and got excited about a huge harvest.

Only, not even one flower set fruit!!

Talk about being disappointed! I figured that my night flower just didn’t have the right pollinator around and that it needed help. Good thing that I had plenty of cheap paintbrushes laying around. I stored one in each area a squash was growing.

gourd flower pollination

Then, at dusk or in the morning, I went to work as a bee or moth or whoever is supposed to do the pollinating job.

It only works if at least two flowers are open. Then a quick dip in the middle of the flower to collect some pollen and from flower to flower I go.




Success!!!  We got a baby!!!

Success, we got a baby!!

baby squash

And the baby grew.

squash or gourd

This is a good size to harvest the gourd. The first picture is as big as you want it to grow to be good to eat. If they get bigger, the get hollow and the flesh gets tough.

The plant is a vigorous grower and has no problem to climb into trees or to spread out all over.

Squash vine

The finished length of the gourds I harvested last year was between 3 and 4 ft. They stayed the light green color you see in the very first plant picture for the longest time and later turned a light brown.

I was going to make instruments from them. The seeds were rattling inside and they sounded a bit like a rainstick.  But I neglected to wash them with peroxide upon harvesting and store them on a rack without touching each other until completely dried. They all got some kind of fungus which made them look ugly. That is when I learned what I should have done.

Oh well. I got a lot of seeds instead.

But, I have no idea what seeds I have. They are the babies of a nameless plant. Snake gourd or serpentine gourd is out (and that was such a cool name!)

The wikipedia picture of the squash shows a dark green colored fruit, a different flower, and tells of a different taste.

Whatever I have, it is delicious when eaten young and it is impressive when grown to maturity.

And that is good enough for me.


Steemit really doesn’t have anything to do with a garden or squashes or guards per see. But I published this same content on the platform this morning and got lucky. I made over $73.00 so far. This is earned in cryptocurrency.

Here is a link to the post


I am new to the concept of cryptocurrency but I am hearing more and more about it – even in mainstream media.  Actually, I am trying to get a person to come on the podcast and explain it to us all.

In the meantime, why don’t you join Jenise and me on Steemit. It is a social media platform which pays to post and to have fun.