Chickens – In the City

Goldie looking for some worms.

One of the highlights for people when they come over to our home is that we have chickens. Many people don’t believe that chickens are legal in the City of Chicago. Yes, they are legal in Chicago, but are not legal in all cities.  Not only are chickens great pets, they provide a lot of services for us and add to our slow dwelling.

Our daughters have named them, Continue reading

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Biking – Her Story

The Joy of Biking as a Kid

The Joy of Biking as a Kid

Have you ever watched a child ride a bike? It is pure joy. It’s pure freedom. It’s as if they are saying “Wow. Look at me go. I can take myself anywhere. What fun!” with every ounce of their beings. They ride as fast as they can and skid to a stop. Do they ever pause to say, “Wait. I’m going to get sweaty” or “How far is it? I’m not sure I can make it.” They just go.

I wanted to follow up Chuck’s last blog post about Biking with my own take on the subject. Unlike Chuck, I am not a year-round biker. I can’t haul anything. However, when the temperature is above 45 degrees and it’s not storming, I generally will ride my bike wherever possible. And this is my story… Continue reading

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I hate driving. Well, hate is probably too a strong word. So, maybe it is not hate. But I certainly seem to have my biggest negative visceral reactions when I think about driving. Ugh. So, I drive as little as possible and it actually suits me well. However, I do have to get to meetings, shop for groceries, take the kids to practice, visit friends, go to the doctor and a lot of other tasks that are not at my home, so I need to get there somehow. I know a secret that most Americans don’t know; there are other means of transportation besides a car! My chosen form of transportation is biking. And I find it very slow dwelling. Continue reading

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Being Calm-Assertive

Our Doggie Corey

Our Doggie Corey

Many years ago, Chuck and I fell in love with Cesar Millan. And while we don’t exactly have the best behaving dog on the planet, we have tried really hard to incorporate The Dog Whisperer’s tips and philosophy into the training of our dog Corey. One particular tenant of his approach stuck with us and is actually a really powerful lesson for life – whether you have a dog or not. Caesar tells us that we should project a relaxed, “calm assertive” energy. You need to show confidence but in a non-intense, non-intimidating kind of way. It will put your dog at ease and at the same time clearly communicate what we want. Continue reading

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Keeping up with the Joneses

The Jones FamilyThere are some great movies and books out there about how stressful, expensive and destructive trying to “Keep up with the Joneses” can be. I didn’t live through the 50’s and 60’s where a lot of today’s social norms began, so I can’t imagine the pressure that might have existed in a community to try to fit in. I don’t know if there was actually a family named Jones or if they were a mythological family that everyone was trying to be. If the Joneses got a second car, everybody else in the neighborhood had to get a second car. If the Joneses Continue reading

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Roof Goals

A safe, durable and efficient home is an important part of Slow Dwelling. Something that will keep us warm in the winter, cool in the summer and is built to last is important. One of the things we are trying to be mindful of as we make improvements to our home, is how to solve as many problems as we can with each project. Get the biggest bang for our Continue reading

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The One Minute Rule

60 seconds

I’m always trying to get organized.  Checking boxes on my ever growing to do list is one of my great joys.  It’s tough to know how much time to dedicate to getting things in order, especially when there are so many demands on my time (kids, work, husband, yoga, cooking, education, this blog, etc.).  In the book “The Happiness Project”, Gretchen Rubin suggests an organizational rule of thumb that was so simple that I almost completely dismissed it.  But, now I think of it often and employ it frequently and it goes something like this, “Never put off anything you can complete in one minute”.  I call it the one-minute-rule.

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Dwarf Urban Orchard

Dwarf Peach, Plum & Apricot in the parkway

I love fruit. I love it for so many reasons. Picking a piece of fruit off a tree and taking a big bite out of it is awesome. You feel like you can taste the sun in the palm of your hand, there’s nothing else like it. It really is some of mother natures finest work. So I wanted to make sure we had as many fruit (and nut) trees as possible in our yard. But while it takes little work for such a great treat, growing fruit can Continue reading

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The Joy of Mason Jars – 25 Uses for Glass Jars

Our Glass Jar Collection

I think it is fair to say that we are glass jar fans, that we are glass jar enthusiasts, that we are glass jar lovers.  In fact, we have a whole counter cabinet dedicated to glass jars and their oh-so-precious lids centrally located in our kitchen right next to the fridge.  At first, it seemed a little silly to keep only glass jars in there, but now, we can’t even fit them all and have had to find overflow locations as well.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I preferentially choose food products  (like spaghetti sauce, jam, and apple sauce) by the type of glass jar they come in… What is the shape of the jar? What is the opening like? What kind of lid?  I’m a sucker for a good wide opening with a standard sized lid.  Who isn’t? Continue reading

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Fertility. The Foundation of Life.

Photo from

One of the big challenges for anyone growing food is the long-term productivity of the growing area. Each time a vegetable is pulled from the ground, it contains some nutrients that now are no longer there. And if nutrients are not replaced through time, future food that is grown their will not be as nutritious.  This is why there is evidence that food grown in mono-crops (single crops varieties) on large industrial farms is not as healthy for you as they were in the past. Some soils have become so depleted that the soil Continue reading

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