Mom Squad: On Sustainable Gardening and Getting Kids Involved

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From Laura: Getting Kids Involved

Kids love working with animals and learn both compassion and responsibility when doing so on a regular basis.

We have a hobby farm: chickens, mini goats, bunnies, horses and a steer.

The chickens illustrate recycling and a sharing cycle better than any other animal we have here. Our food scraps an eggshells go to the girls (the hens), and they in turn give us fresh eggs daily. 

Our middle son, Thomas, showed one of our chickens at the Maricopa County Fair last year and placed third in his age group. Our Oldest, Sam has raised and shown a pig for the MCF for 3 years in a row and it's an excellent experience to teach the kids about responsibility, ethics, business and teamwork.

We raise our own beef and take pride in eating beef that is totally healthy- without steroids, antibiotics or hormones, and treated with kindness while alive.

The kids help with taking care of our animals with regards to cleanup and feedings. We have done birthday parties for kids and petting zoos for schools and the boys always love their paycheck from "just sitting with" their animals at the few events we do every year.

All of my boys know how to ride, and we take our horses out for trail rides when the weather is nice. Usually Troy and I try to steal a weekly day date/horseback ride while the boys are in school during the cool weather months.

Overall, we feed these animals, but they give us much more with the rich family experiences that we gain from them.


From Janet: Sustainable Gardening 

The main focus that is hugely beneficial to Arizonans is using Grey water. Empty your washing machine hose into a grey water barrell that you can attach a hose to, to water plants. Plants do not have a problem with the soap. You can visit www.greywateraction.org for more information. 

Here's the website for the permaculture guild where I learned so much about having a selfsustaining property in Arizona. http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org

The Tour de Coups is coming up which will teach you a great deal about having backyard chickens.There is a bit of a nack to raising them.

If you're planning on starting a basic herb garden at your house, remember to start small and it can be completely enclosed and safe from animals and pests.