Is your heart fonder?

“I was court-martial in my absence, and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.” – Brendan F. Behan

Does absence make the heart grow fonder? I certainly hope so my dear friends because, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been gone a very, very long time. It’s been on a wild roller-coaster for Mr. GrubbyFungus and me over the past couple of years – how did two years go by? There have been many changes, most very subtle (but changes, none-the-less) at the ol’ homestead; and the blog is going to shift focus a bit to reflect this – don’t worry, there’s still going to be gardening, homesteading and various (hopefully humourous) tales of life on this little 1.3 acre plot.

Before we get started with all that though, I am VERY excited to announce that the blog has its first (and permanent) sponsor:
Kate Kilmurray, your independent Norwex consultant


I’m sure you’re like me: concerned about your health, the health of your family, and the health of the environment. But whether we’re “stay at home” managing the home and chasing children, running a homestead or farm, on the corporate ladder, or any of the other thousands of way we have of making a life for ourselves, the simple fact of the matter is that our lives are just plain busy. No doubt you want to clean your house and yourself in the most environmentally friendly, least toxic way possible. If you’re like me I bet you would love to make all your household cleaning and personal care products yourself so that you knew exactly what’s in them. But at the end-of-the-day when the house needs cleaning or there is a mess to pick up what we really want/need is something that we can just grab and get the job done, and sometimes we make compromises that we’re not 100% comfortable with to get that job done. For me, using Norwex products means I don’t have to make that compromise any longer. In addition, the Norwex products make cleaning faster and more cost effective than traditional cleaning products! I’ve been cleaning all morning and I can’t remember the last time my kitchen looked so good!

It all began with bugs on a windshield. In 1994, Bjorn Nicolaisen was introduced to a miraculous cloth that could effectively clean a very dirty windshield with the use of simple microfiber and water. Norwex was born from this simple idea of “cleaning without chemicals” and 20 years later they have a full line of eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products. These unique, innovative products support the mission: to improve quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes.

I’m very excited to use and promote Norwex products because the goals of Bjorn Nicolaisen, Norwex Founder and Chairman: “striving to create a legacy to achieve a better quality of life for present and future generations” are the goals I strive for in my own life, and in no small way, are one reason I love writing this blog (even after a very, very long absence) and sharing my adventures and discoveries with you!

If you would like to learn more about Norwex products please check out Kate’s site. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area Kate would love to introduce you and your friends to Norwex, you can reach her at KateKilmurray @ .

That concludes the message from our sponsor, now on with your regularly scheduled blog!

Tis the Season

The weather here in North Central Texas is doing its best to convince this Northern girl that it’s anything but late autumn heading toward winter (it was in the 80s(F) last week and is dry as a bone) but that’s not stopping anyone from stringing up lights and setting up inflatable snowmen and reindeer in their front yards, so it must be the time for parties, gifts, good food, family, friends and season’s greetings.

If you’re still searching for cards to send to family and friends check out the Hubble Site, actually check it out even if you’ve already got your cards, they’ve created some truly beautiful and unique cards for download and printing — and better still they are free!

And the award goes to…

Hello dear friends, it’s time to do a bit of housekeeping on this little blog of mine, blow out the cobwebs, throw open the windows and start spending some more time with you.

A couple of months back Diane at GardenSunshine honored me by nominating me for both the Beautiful Blogger and the Sunshine Awards. Thank you Diane!

Diane describes the The Sunshine Award as a bit like the Oscars – you need to give a little acceptance speech thanking the person who gave you the award followed by a short interview by way of 10 questions and finally you nominate 10 bloggers for the award and let them know they’ve received it. So if I could have a drum roll please…


  1. Favorite drink?
    You can’t beat a Bloody-Mary
  2. Dream vacation?
    Touring around New Zealand in a camper van.
  3. Favorite dessert?
    Hands down the best dessert I’ve ever had is Lavender Cheesecake.
  4. Has an animal ever attacked you?
    Yes and I still have the scars to prove it.
  5. When you wake up, what’s the first thought that runs through your head?
    Who let the dogs out? No, seriously, the first thought that runs through my head is “time to take the dogs out.”
  6. Do you actually believe Alaska is covered in snow?
    Having been born and partly raised in Alaska I can say with great certainty “no, no it’s not.”
  7. What would you be doing right now if you were kicked off your computer?
  8. If you jumped out your bedroom window right now, how injured would you be?
    Not at all as it would be more accurate to say I’d step out rather than jump out.
  9. Do you dance even without music?
    Yep, I’ve been caught more than once or twice, or thrice… oh heck I’ve been caught many times dancing to the music in my head.
  10. One word to describe yourself?

My 10 Sunshine Award nominees are:

  1. Romancing The Bee: The beautiful blog of Deborah DeLong  “an urban beekeeper and English gardener in Cincinnati, Ohio.”
  2. Croft Garden: One of the more exotic blogs I’m a fan of, Christine Johnson shares her adventures in gardening in the Hebrides.
  3. The Pyjama Gardener: A lovely blog that makes me miss life in England
  4. Fariegarden: Stunningly beautiful garden photography and whimsy at its best.
  5. The Zambia Diaries: The contemplations of some dear friends of mine from the UK as they prepare to move to Zambia in 2013.
  6. Arignagardener: My virtual friend Bridget lives in the Arigna valley, about two miles from Arigna village, Ireland. She has three acres of land which she and her partner work in an earth-friendly and sustainable way.
  7. In The Light of the Sun: From the blogger “In the Light of the Sun is an eclectic mix of photographs of Gardening, Backyard Birding, Nature and Wildlife, from an island in the Pacific Northwest.”
  8. The Garden Roof Coop: Another visually captivating gardening blog, this one with chickens too.
  9. Roses and Other Gardening Joys: In her own words, “a garden full of roses and companion plantings in Texas, zone 8. Like other gardeners, I am working to make my garden the paradise of my dreams.”
  10. Southern Rural Route: One of my most ardent supporters in the blogoshere, she shares her gardening journey with veggies, herbs and flowers.

Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden. ~Orson Scott Card

My dear friends please excuse my long absence. It was a long hot summer in which we faced many challenges and changes at (what a dear friend of mine has dubbed) Fungus Ranch, and I am long overdue on a “catching up with MsGrubbyFungus” post, it will come I promise.

One of the changes is that I am now officially unemployed but allow me to allay any concerns. We are very blessed, privileged, lucky, fortunate, however you interpret it in that MrGF makes an excellent living that keeps us safe and secure (especially given our mutual squirrel like nature). That said, I have a number of friends who have struggled with job loss and underemployment over the years, including my now former boss. So with that in mind I wanted to share this post from The Morris Tribe.

Until we meet again, I wish you health, happiness and success.

The Homesteader’s Guide to Unemployment: 11 Steps to Take Control

Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden. ~Orson Scott Card

Being unemployed, underemployed or laid off is no joking matter.

Millions of Americans are out of work today, many with few prospects for work without moving their family or retraining for another career.

While we are blessed to be not only employed, but also an employer, I never get too far in my thinking about how we could make it without an income.

The worldwide economy is suffering right now.  When and if we’ll see a recovery is anyone’s guess.

Yet, there’s another economy out there.  It’s the economy of the homesteader and there’s no recession going on there.  That’s because we play by a different set of rules.

The homesteader’s employer (besides God) is the soil and the weather.  While these two can be harsh employers at times, much of the time they can be modified and adapted to.

The soil and the weather do not lay people off, nor do they require much in the way of credentials.  Further, once you get the hang of how things work, you’ll be on your way to providing your family with nutritious food and cheap energy!  

If I can do this, so can you.

Plant a Victory garden:  Regardless of where you live, there is something that you can grow and put in the ground now.  A few packs of seeds and you can at least grow some greens for salads.  Get a little more organized and you can start growing your own food!  I cannot tell you how fulfilling this is!  Fall is a great time to plant perennials as well, for free!

Learn how to pressure can:  Canning is a skill that will enable you to preserve the food that you come across, without using the freezer.  Look on Craigslist, thift stores, garage sales, etc. and find a decent water canner, pressure canner and jars.  They will pay for themselves in no time.

Call your local deer processing plant:  Many times, you can put your name in for venison that hunters don’t want.  I scored two deer last year, enough to feed our family much of the year.  For just the processing fee, I got the venison for free.

Start hunting:  This is how our forefathers did it.  You want meat, you go hunt for it.  Check your local laws and ordinances, but think of all the fresh meat you could bring home.

Get rabbits and a hutch:  This is easily done by looking on Craigslist, for little or nothing.  Rabbits can serve as meat for your family as well as give you excellent fertilizer for your garden!  Learn how to raise your own meat here!

Barter your skills:  Skills are just as valuable as product these days.  Use your skills in exchange for goods and services.

Get chickens:  Urban chicken keepers are cropping up all over!  Check here for your local ordinances.  While many counties won’t allow roosters, to have a few laying hens could be perfectly acceptable.

BIG cities, like San Fransisco, are allowing chickens in town, with limitations.  How can a city deny a family’s right to grow some of its own food?  We’ve done it for centuries, even encouraged to do so by our own leaders during WWII in terms of a Victory garden!

Consider wood heat:  Do your homework, but if there’s anyway you can make good use of your fireplace or get a woodstove on the cheap, you should consider it.  I see free firewood all the time.  Save the money from your electric/gas bill for something else.

Get Your Goat:  Goats are cheap (even free!) and hardy animals.  Buy a dairy goat, who is currently milking, and you now have your own milk source.  Learn all about goats, A-Z, right here!

Glean:  I love gleaning.  It’s a skill that all homesteaders love!  We thoroughly enjoy bragging about what we got for free. Read here for tips.

Forage:  Once again, homesteaders relish in the joy of foraging food that we didn’t even plant.  Free, organic, nutrient packed food.

In remembrance of Neil Armstrong


High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

Oh, clever!

I was reading a recent post from cyber friends at Milkwood Farm and this handy little diy gadget caught my eye; I thought it was just so clever (definitely came as one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments) that I just had to share.

“Nifty aid of a piece of cutoff re-bar has squares of precisely 10x10cm, which makes planting without a seeder possible while ensuring the rows don’t wiggle or the space between pea plants truncate.”

See the full post at the Milkwood Permaculture Blog

This makes me wish I had “too many” Zucchs…

This recipe comes from one of the original “Urban Farmers”.  I met Benny in 2005 if I was to guess his age at the time would say he was probably around 72.  My husband and I had been married a few years and had just moved back to Minneapolis from Indiana. We were poor and my husband was finishing his internship.  Benny and his wife lived in Minneapolis and had a huge garden and some bee hives.   Benny used to give us all kinds of fruits and vegetables from his garden from Apples to Zucchini and I appreciated all of it…except the zucchini.  That is when Benny gave me the following recipe.  This recipe is perfect for those times when you forget to check the zucchini plant a few days and the zucchinis have grown to the size of baby watermelons.  One of those will be enough zucchini for 4 pans.  Anyway, I LOVE these brownies, the zucchini just melts into the brownies…

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Lest you think I’ve fallen off the face of the Earth, here’s another great DIY project (a nice way to add some water to the landscape as well).

Hip House Girl

We made this:

Well okay, we didn’t throw that pot. I just mean that we made this pot into a fountain. It’s a little subtle and hard to tell from pictures, but the water bubbles up in the middle and runs down the sides. It makes quite a pleasant noise. I’ll show you how to make one too, if you want.


  • Ceramic pot of your liking (base of pot must be smaller than the diameter of a 5-gallon bucket)
  • 5-gallon bucket (we used plastic but are now thinking a metal one would be better)
  • Aluminum L-brackets
  • Screen material cut about 4-5 inches bigger than a 5-gallon bucket, and with a hole in the middle
  • Submersible pump
  • The kind of hose that goes with a submersible pump (technical term). It’s sold right next to the submersible pumps.

Step one: find an ugly spot in your yard that needs some beautification…

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Canada has given us John Candy and Martin Short and Bill Shatner…

and some really cool garden gadgets. (borrowing from Jamie Farr)

So I was wondering the web, as I do, and I had the serendipity to stumble across Canadian Gardening. I came across some really clever ideas that I hadn’t seen before. I particularly liked the The GARDENA Spiral Hose Box.

Now if you, like me, find yourself drooling over this little number you’ll be very happy to know that I found it available on Amazon.

Canadian Gardening also pointed me in the direction of aHa! Modern Living where I found these great bird houses:

They also directed me to Alice Supply Co., which has far too many drool worthy garden gadgets than I can do justice to.

Now I just need to find a Molson to properly toast our Canadian gardening friends. Cheers!

One Misty, Moisty Morning…

One misty, moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment, and I began to grin,
How do you do, and how do you do?
And how do you do again?

It’s been a misty, moisty day here, (though the sun has just broken through) so this old tune my dad used to hum to me has been going through my head all morning.

Yes it’s been raining again, and I’m very happy for that. I “should” be cleaning the house, but… well, I’d rather chat with you, dear friends.

As promised a couple of weeks back, I’ve updated the Cast of Characters page with some better pictures –I love the new camera. In addition to the regular motley crew we have a canine house guest at the moment. This is my dad’s new dog Alex. Isn’t he just the prettiest thing? And such a sweet-heart too.


I’ve been in love with Alex for over a year now but I can hardly keep up with the pack I have right now. So I’m very happy that dad adopted him; I think they will be fast friends and hope they have many happy years of fishing together.

Dad is heading back up north for the summer, so we have a few months to catch up in the remodeling projects he’s started for us. I’m really pleased with how it’s all turning out; it’s nice when you see your vision come to reality. I have a functional laundry room once again, yippee! There is still a lot to do though – onward and upward.

On the gardening front, spring planting season is fast coming to a close in this part of the world and (as usual) I haven’t got all the plants I wanted to in the ground; so time to plan for “over summering”.

On the blogging front, I have a number of draft topics simmering away in my brain; I just need to find some quiet time to put them to paper. In the meantime I have run across a number of items that I wanted to share with you. My cyber-friend Deborah at Romancing the Bee wrote an excellent post on the nitrogen cycle (sigh, another post someone else beat me to). She’s also posting some excellent recipes (but I’m trying to ignore them so that I can continue to fit into my new smaller clothes).

For those of you who have/are considering chickens I also have a couple of “for the birds” items you.  First, I found another article on feeding your flock – how to make your own chicken feed; and I found this interesting post on Nesting Box Herbs – Chicken Aromatherapy. If you need housing for your feathered friends I may have found the perfect coop for you. Isn’t this the cutest thing? (I know you’ve been racking your brain on what to do with that old playhouse!)

Little Tikes Chicken Coop from:

If this isn’t quite up your alley I have some other interesting ideas posted on my Pinterest; and if you just have to experience real coop envy then you’ll have to visit BackYard Chickens.

Ok, the house isn’t cleaning itself.

I hope you have a great weekend!