Simple Living

What is a simple life?

A simple lifestyle is an opportunity in life to test the waters of your imagination and capabilities. It takes a little getting used to especially if you were a city-dweller for most of your life, as I was. One of the biggest challenges is leaving the convenience and services that a big-city area offers. There are no drive-through fast-food places here, nor are there big-chain grocery stores.

You learn to buy your supplies in bulk as you limit the number of times you do travel to the city. You manage, you learn, and then you appreciate. Waking up in the morning to a crisp breeze and hearing all the birds that have been up for hours exhilerates and brings renewed energy for whatever the day will bring. You waste nothing in your new life and finding new ways to use "old" things is definitely par and parcel out in the wilderness.

Your basic interests, ambitions, and goals have not changed. They are just put up a little higher, with a lot of side trips to enjoy where you are and what you have. You are the same person outside but inside - a whole new world has opened up in your life. People ask if we ever get bored or stir-crazy out here. The answer is an emphatic-NO WAY. There is always something happening - there are plants to be taken care of, animals to be fed, repairs to be done, and a gorgeous sunset to see.

The smells and sounds of nature are captivating and habit-forming. Even a storm is seen through new eyes. There are never enough hours in the day to see, hear, taste, touch, and feel everything that nature has in store. You try and contain yourself or otherwise you would be awake 24-hours out of the day just to take it all in.

Simple Living - You Bet!
By Arleen

Living with Black Bears

When you think of bears, do you envision that sweet, cuddly teddy bear that you used to take to bed with you? Or do you envision a growling mass of claws and teeth? Both images are far from the truth. While there have been instances of bears that have gotten out of control, the statistics prove that they are very rare indeed.

There is a Native American saying: A pine needle falls, and an eagle sees it, the deer hears it, and the bear smells it. The ability of the bear to sense its surroundings by smell is phenomenal. This is their strongest sense. However, they do have excellent close range vision, color spectrum, and an ability to discern different shapes and sizes.

Bears love to eat. Besides ants, their favorite food, they are very fond of larvae and nymphs of ground nesting hornets and beetles.

Most bears are out and about from mid-April until October. This can vary in different sections of the country, due to the warm temperature or an early snowfall. Cubs are born and nursed in the months of January and February. The little ones weigh about 1/2 to 3/4ozs. at birth and are hairless.

Bears do try and stay away from humans. However, at careless campsites, they will take advantage of the free food that people leave behind. They then become problem bears. Usually the people who left their food scraps and containers behind, instead of property disposing of them, will never know what happens to the bear that came to their camp. In most instances, the bear will be destroyed beause he had become a "nuisance" bear.

That is why it is so important that we take the first step in protecting one of the most wondrous animals to inhabit our woodlands. Of course, ordinary caution in any forest setting is mandatory, but most animals will leave you alone if you leave them alone. If you try and bait an animal to come close to you so you can see them, the consequences are usually not in the best interest of either you or the bear.

So, please remember, when you are vacationing, camping, or hiking, notice your surroundings. Please remember that the animals are wild creatures and should not be fed or baited. These free living animals do not make good pets. They usually die in captivity become of lack of proper care.

The wildlife is beginning to prepare for the upcoming seasons. The bushes of berries are so well picked over by bears, deer, etc. They are definitely putting on that extra weight for their winter-time activities.

Bird migrations have started - here in the Northland - loons, geese, ducks, and herons are banding together, eating their weight in grass and fish, and definitely preparing for flights to warmer climates.

Most insect eating birds migrate at night. With the full moon of Autumn, it is always a breath-taking sight to see the shadow of flying birds across the round bright moon!

Hummingbirds are getting few and far between - the last ones are always a treat and a sweet remembrance of these charming "trinkets" of nature.

The deer fawns are beginning to lose some of their "spots" and a few bucks have been spotted with might impressive racks. They are regal and very proud of themselves! The bear cubs are tall and gaining a lot in weight as well as strength. When they jump out of that big oak tree, the "thump" does vibrate the ground so!

Swallows and martins are already gone and robins are not as visible. Our beloved blue jays, and sparrows that stay with us all winter long are becoming more brazen at the feeders and bird bath.

The fish in the lake are seeking deeper water with the cold nights and the morning fog. The days, however, still can be quite warm but in the evening that breeze is most definitely "fall." ENJOY!

By Arleen


Is hunting right or wrong?

That is a very good question. Millions of words have been written on the subject from both perspectives by people a lot more intelligent than me. However, here are a few thoughts on it including my own.
I believe in evolution, and a strong point of that is survival of the fittest. At the dawn of man we were hunter, gatherers so for some I think there is a base need to hunt. Personally I am not a big fan of guns, to me it feels like cheating. I love the concept of bow hunting but due to a disability cannot use one. That is why I love using a crossbow. You can read more about why I love using them and a breakdown of which ones I think are good here:


My Thoughts

Unless you are a vegetarian or vegan, meat is an important part of your diet. In fact vegans require supplements to give them the nutrients they need due to not eating meat. So I guess what I am trying to say is that humanity still needs to kill animals in order to survive.
I know a lot of modern ways of killing animals can be very humane. However, battery farming is still prevalent and they are probably not as well treated as they could be.
There are certain members of society who use the word barbaric when it comes to hunting. I think that if done correctly then hunting is OK. I’m not sure I could go so far as to say good but I am happy to say OK. If it is done humanely as possible without threat to the ecology of the local environment then I don’t have a problem. If the carcass is used after hunting for eating or clothing or even to frame on walls then I don’t have a problem.
I do have a big issue with over hunting to the point of extinction. There has been a lot of that during the history of humanity and sadly animals have become extinct due to this happening. It is sad to think that we will never see animals like dodos alive ever again.
So, personally I have never been hunting and it is something that I do not think I ever want to do. However, I can understand the desire to hunt and as long as it is done under strict regulations, I do not have a problem with it.
Personally, I think it is more sporting to use a weapon like a crossbow as opposed to a high powered rifle or bazooka! It just seems more fair to me and I imagine more satisfying to the hunter.
If hunting is something you are interested in or crossbows in general a good site to look at is:
By Arleen

Rustic Golfing?


Dave Himley is an avid golfer and runs the website

“Golf is a waste of a good walk” or so the saying goes. To those people looking on the outside that statement can be very true. They see allegedly grown men driving around manicured courses using silly little carts and wearing unflattering colourful clothing!

However, to lovers of the game this is far from true. For one thing, not every golfer drives around in a cart. Actually a lot of my middle aged friends and I love walking courses over driving carts. It does make our games slower but we like to call it being more leisurely. We like to take in the beautiful landscapes around us, talk and laugh with each other and yes, whack a small white ball as far and as high as we can.

The health perks of walking are well documented. It boosts mobility, proprioception, coordination, blood circulation and lung feature-- and also enhancing your mood as well as capability to rest comfortably. If you want to begin walking when you play golf to help shed weight, you may finish up frustrated.

Have I encouraged you yet to begin thinking about abandoning the cart and stroll the course instead? Did you know the pros like to walk? They are trained athletes that profit from walking the course to continue to be loose throughout their round. They say that they get a far better feel for the training course they are playing when strolling. They see various things on the course when strolling from tee to green. They are consistently gathering info as well as evaluating the course for their next round.

The truth is I personally find walking boring and I absolutely hate exercise. I tried jogging in my twenties but found myself getting bored. I tried to join a group but trying to talk whilst running meant I got out of breath quicker. I much prefer golf because it gives me a purpose to exercise. Read more ...


By Arleen

Why I floss for a simple life

I was recently reading an article here  about all the different Water Pik Flossers that you can buy. I have been using them for years and upgraded to the Aquarius two years ago. However, I was reminded of an eventful trip to the dentist many years ago.

I used to hate dentists

I have a confession to make. There was a time in my early teen years when I did not look after my teeth. I absolutely hated going to the dentist for fear of having to wear braces and look uncool in school. My parents would drag me kicking and screaming in my early years and then force a sulking teenager to go years later.

Finally we moved and ended up going to a different dentist. He was lovely. He was such a lovely guy and always made me laugh. He was kind of like the funny Jewish uncle I always wished I had. He was the one who got me over my fear of dentists and got me into good oral hygiene.

Years later and I thought I was doing a great job with my teeth. I was brushing twice a day and using a branded toothpaste. However, my dentist said I needed two fillings and I was disappointed with myself. It turns out I was missing out on doing two vital jobs.

1) Brushing for two minutes
2) Flossing So you know that you should be flossing but hate dental floss.

You have read this lovely post and want to find out more about water flossers. Check out this page here:

Why I Floss

Good brushwork will get you so far but for the rest you absolutely have to floss. You see, that your toothbrush cannot get to the bits in between your teeth. Flossing is so important from removing food debris and especially plaque. Without it, you can still get cavities as I discovered. The dentist recommended dental floss so I gave it a go …. For three days and absolutely hated it!

It felt like my mouth bled every time I did it and I really hated the feeling of string between my teeth so I gave up. Fortunately someone told me about water flossers and they completely saved my life. Whilst I hated dental floss I loved the feeling I got from high pressure bursts of water between my teeth. I had one of the first ever Waterpik flossers and since then have upgraded to the next model every few years.


Helpful Links

If you want to know more about water flossers, you should check out this site that I recently discovered called I hope you find it useful and it motivates you to look after your teeth. 


I also found this article helpful as well. It shows you how to use an oral irrigator properly. It does take a little while to get used to but for the sake of your oral hygiene, it is totally worth it:

I currently use the Aquarius oral irrigator by Waterpik but previously used the Ultra model before that. While I like the Aquarius I adored my Ultra model and rather sadly miss it. I am very tempted to revert back to this model when my current Waterpik eventually dies. You can read a great review of the Complete here:

By Arleen

Rustic Cooking - Induction Style

When the expression “rustic living” one of the first images that comes into people’s heads is cooking in a traditional country way. Maybe they have an image of a nice aga cooker constantly on and warming the kitchen on a cold but crisp autumn morning. You stick your best circulon pans on the stove and cook up some nice pancakes and bacon before moving onto to cake baking in the late morning.

I love those type of cookers but I have absolutely fallen in love with induction cookers. I think they are a wonderful way to cook and really environmentally friendly. Although not popular in North America they seem to have taken off in a huge way in Europe.

I was first introduced to them when I went to visit a good friend of mine in Great Britain. She had one and I was memorised with it. I don’t know all the details but it had something to do with magnets and I know that you couldn’t use any old saucepans. In fact you need recommended pans for induction hobs.
It was definitely a very different way to cook compared to traditional methods but watching her work her magic was wonderful. Another pleasant surprise was how safe they were compared to regular cookers. We were chatting away and she said watch this before slamming her hand onto the stove. I screamed and covered my eyes and she burst out laughing. I opened them to see her lift her hand up without a burn mark.
 I watched as she did it again and couldn’t believe it. Then trying to save face I did it and sure enough stayed burn free. Apparently, the heat doesn’t transfer unless there is a magnetic connection. If you have children or grandchildren who like to put their fingers in and on things they shouldn’t then this is certainly gives extra piece of mind.
Anyway, I started looking for one as soon as I returned home and eventually settled on a max induction top. Like I said earlier in the post, they do take a little getting used to, but once you do, you will absolutely love them.

More on the wonderful world of induction hobs soon …..
By Arleen

Loving your Garden

Fall always brings its own "color" spectrum with it. The leaves are very definitely changing into their "autumn" clothing and nature itself is getting ready for the chance to rest, relax, and rejuvenate.

Now is a great time to check out those garden tools, clean them up, hang them in a safe place, and repair what can be repaired or make a list of what will be needed next season. In the same thought pattern, check out those rakes, brooms, snow shovels, snow blowers, etc. Dust them off, oil if necessary, and place them where you can get to them when the need arises.

Fencing should be also checked over and repaired or removed, depending on where you live and how heavy your snowfall amounts are. Patio or deck furniture, padding, etc. should be washed in warm soapy water and dried on a cool fall day. Any cracks or tears should be mended. There are kits available that make this an easy task.

Docks, boats, swimming pools and all the accessories should also have a once-over or removed and stored, once again depending on how fast autumn turns into winter in your "neck of the woods." Caulking of doors, windows, siding, eaves, etc. will keep out those nasty "unwanted" guests from finding a small entrance way and making themselves at home in your home. Screens should be repaired and storm doors and windows washed, checked and painted if necessary. When the nights get a bit too cool for comfort is a great time to replace the screens with the "storms" and keep that precious "warmth" in the house.

Lawn mowing should definitely be slowing down, but keep those clippings. They make great cover-ups for plants, shrubs and perennials. Also raked leaves should be kept for covering up precious plant life or using as mulch. This is not to mention the fun of jumping into that pile of leaves and remembering your childhood just one more time!

Scarecrows and other fall decorations are ready to be hung out and as the Holiday approach; it is not a bad idea to put up those Holiday Lights on roofs, so that you need not get out there when the weather is nasty, slippery and dangerous. Bird baths, houses, and feeders should also be cleaned, repaired and washed with hot soapy water, rinsed thoroughly, dried, and new seed and feed replaced.

Winter bird houses can be put out and boxes as well. Those fine-feathered friends that stay the season will appreciate these small kindnesses.

In Your Garden

When you plan your garden, remember that birds are fantastic for controlling insects that attack your fruits and vegetables. Plant some flowers, such as sunflowers, that will attract them into your hard. Some of them even eat their weight in bugs daily. Not only is that a safe form of controlling insects, but it doesn't cost a cent!

Floral arrangements from your garden flowers:

Cut flower stems at an angle to maximize the flow of water and absorption.

Remove all leaves at or beneath the water line.

They will create bacteria and cause your flowers to droop a lot faster.

Recut the stems slightly each time you change the water to add new strength to your garden treasures.

Try not to place your arrangements in direct light or near heat - the strength of the flowers will diminish and they will fade very quickly.

Using scissors to cut stems seals some of the porous fibers, choking off some water lines. Use a sharp knife or garden shears instead.

If you have only one or two blooms and would like to display them, use clear tape in a crisscross pattern over the top of your vase, leaving 1/2" openings. Your blooms will stand tall and they will look great.

Weeds are also having a great time this season-when they push their heads up between brick walls and sidewalks, try a very environmentally safe method - pour boiling water on them for instant success. But please be careful.

Outdoor lighting tracks, bulbs, etc. should be cleaned and repaired if necessary. Also replace those bulbs if needed.

This is also a great time to check your Smoke Detectors and change those batteries. With winter fast approaching, its always best to be prepared and ready!

If life gives you a lot of rocks, plan next year's rock garden. When you mow or garden, keep all those rocks in a bucket or pan. Then next year plan a spectacular rock garden with forget-me-nots, phlox, thyme, etc.


By Arleen

Natural Beauty

Natural Beauty with a little help

The is nothing that makes a girl go all girly than a compliment on her looks. That could be a slight blush in the cheeks, a big beaming grin or a coy little look. Even the beautiful people like being complimented. It is something that you can never tire of.

We talk a lot about natural beauty and some people are blessed with that. It could be a beautiful complexion, gorgeous straight hair or even curly ringlets. Like I said, some ladies are blessed with natural good looks. For the rest of us, we have to cheat! For example, if you want hair with great volume and shine you need to invest in a good quality hair dryer. The top of the list for me is the ionic GHD air hair dryer which offers lots of great features and dries your hair very quickly.

Now I appreciate that this is an expensive item and not everybody can afford to pay $100 plus for such a vanity item. Fear not though, there are some good alternatives that do the job nearly as well but for half the price. For example, there is an excellent range of parlux hair dryers that are really good. The 3800 model is particularly good and received a lot of rave reviews.

The question is, if you enjoy the natural rustic lifestyle living outdoors and loving nature, does that mean you have to go au natural on everything. I think the answer to that is no. I think you can love a simple life and still take pride in the way you look. The key is to keep makeup and hairstyles simple. It doesn’t mean that we can’t use a few technological advances to help us with it.

Now one of the more popular looks at the moment is the return of curls. I recently discovered a curling device by the company Babyliss. You feed your hair into it, wait a few seconds and then it comes out curled. It sounds complicated but once you get the hang of it, you can produce some wonderful curls. Read this babyliss pro perfect curl review I found to see what I mean.

Let’s hope no men read this article because they might discover the truth about the effort that it takes most women to achieve the ‘natural’ look.
By Arleen