I feel like the last several weeks have just been a wild ride of revelation and ducklings and craziness. I want to invite you over to have a big piping mug of coffee or an herbal cocktail, and I want to just talk, because everything is happening faster than I can reasonably chronicle it on this blog. If I had you over, all these ideas and anecdotes and stories would tumble out of my mouth faster than I could contain them and I would be a very bad host, hardly letting you get a word in edgewise.
In the blog world, jumping around is very bad form – it’s better to make tiny bite-size, stand alone posts that Google can conveniently index and that are easy to share on Facebook. But hell, some of you have been reading for years – you are virtual friends. I think I can bend the rules this once. So come on in, let me get you a drink and catch you what’s been going on.
1. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Holy Mother of God, people, go buy this book. My life actually changed. I first heard about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – a tiny tome of tidying – from Kelly and Erik of Root Simple. They’re the cool LA kids of Urban Homesteading, and personal heroes of mine.)
The wait list at the library for Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was something like 600 people long, but I had a few Audible credits so I downloaded it as an audiobook. This was a great choice.
Over a whirlwind week, I listened to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up on my phone on repeat while decluttering according to author Marie Kondo’s simple mantra: if an item doesn’t “spark joy,” out it goes.
I could write a dozen posts about the process, the emotions, the practicalities and more of this method. Realizing many of the things surrounding you do not bring you joy brings up its own mess of emotions.
I had to let go of not just stuff, but of careers and interests I’ve moved on from and will never revisit. I had to let go of the ghosts of half-a-dozen aspirational lives.
I had to confront a strange, confusing sadness when I realized my home – a home I love, connected to gardens I’ve built for over a decade – is simply more than I need. What I need is far less than what I have, and what I want is somewhere in between.
See what I mean? It’s not just organizing – it’s this life changing introspection when your entire relationship to stuff shifts.
But for now, some numbers:
Nick and I set aside items of moderate value through this decluttering process to sell. Depending on the item, it went on Ebay, to the used bookstore, or to a big community garage sale.
Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up “Get-Rid-Of-Our-Stuff” Sales Numbers:
- Garage Sale – $463
- Ebay Sales – $585
- 2nd Hand Bookstore Sale – $22
- Amazon Rebate Book Credits – $96 (Paid in Amazon gift card credit)
Total Sales: $1166
And we aren’t done. There are more items to sell and donate. But for the moment we are taking a breather.
2. We Became A One-Car Family
Out here in suburbia, the expectation is that you should have N+1 cars, where N is the number of licensed drivers in your domicile.
So when Homebrew Husband told his coworkers he was “selling his extra car” most of them assumed he was getting rid of a third vehicle. Nope. With life arranged so that both Nick and I do most of our work from home, having a dedicated commuter car didn’t make sense any more.
We sold the commuter car, kept the more versatile kid-and-chicken-feed-and-straw-hauler, and I tuned up my bike and 7 year old bike trailer for those days when Nick has to take the car all day and I need to run local errands.
Becoming a one-car family in the suburbs has been slightly inconvenient once in the month since we sold the car. Other than that, we haven’t really noticed. There’s been no big crisis that required an extra vehicle, no emergency that required Nick and I both be on the road at the exact same time. It works.
The money we got for selling the extra car went straight into savings, and immediately lowered our expenses on insurance. All in all, it feels really awesome only having one car.
3. Duckling Drama
See Wednesday’s post for the full story. I’ll just reiterate here that ducklings have taken over my life.
Oh, and the little black one? He’s doing great and back out with his family with no sign of problems.
4. Can We talk about Money?
Look, guys, there’s just no way around this. I’ve tried to put it off for as long as possible, and I’ve tried to invest in alternatives, but I had to smack traditional shitty third party ads on this site. This was the hardest blog decision I’ve ever made, and truthfully I’m still really unsure about it.
The reality is, this website costs several hundred dollars a month just to run, and I had to find a way to pay those bills that didn’t require a ton more work for me.
Something like 3-and-a-half million people or more will come visit NWEdible in 2015, and most of them aren’t part of our community. That’s fine – they don’t have to be. They can show up for a jerky recipe or some info on canning and go on their merry way.
Just think about how many sites you visit once and never return to. It’s the nature of the internet.
All those “Wam, Bam, Thank You Ma’am” visitors cost money. Not a lot, individually, but it adds up. And for the most part, they don’t stick around to leave comments, engage, buy a garden planner or be part of our community.
I never wanted to subject our community to those third party, Google AdSense type ads. I find them irritating as hell, to be honest, and I am uncomfortable selling your eyeballs to companies I probably don’t support at all. But realistically, ads were the best way to recoup the cost of people who are one-and-done in their relationship to this site.
I could give you a long list of expenses that have grown as the site has, but I fear that would just be justifying what is, even to me, and ethically iffy decision.
The bottom line is – this site was becoming financially unsustainable. It just wasn’t going to work long-term. I’d rather compromise my ideals a little bit and hopefully make the whole package more sustainable for everyone (including my family) than abandon this space by making the perfect the enemy of the good.
It’s a terribly hard call. Honestly, I have a number of ideas on the back-burner for how I might move away from these ads in the future while still keeping the site financially viable, but all of them require a lot of work I just can’t do right now.
So, for now, it is what it is. I hope you understand, and if you don’t – well, I get that to. That’s why AdBlock is so awesome.
I’d love to know if and how the placement of third party ads on this site impacts you – I suspect most people honestly just don’t care, but if most of my regular readers feel like this is a huge betrayal, I want to know.
5. Eat From The Larder Challenge
Despite the lack of updates, I’m still doing it! No grocery shopping and still using up what we have. This time around has been far easier than last time, but I fear that’s because I’ve been far less hardcore.
I have to admit I slipped. After the exhausting garage sale where I spent all day hawking wine glasses and decorative kitchenware for 25 cents, I left with a car full of donation items and about $500 in cash in my wallet.
We stopped and got burgers. I’ll admit – not cooking was absolutely delicious.
Full post with food photos soon but one thing I’ve really noticed this time around is how nice dietary flexibility is when eating from a rapidly dwindling cache of food. Some days we eat full vegetarian, some days it’s paleo meat and salad, some days it’s a big hunk of whole wheat bread and some simple soup, some days no gluten or grains pass our lips.
None of this is out of some dietary identification as vegetarian or paleo or gluten free or whatever. We just eat all the things, in whatever combination seems to work that day. No one in my immediate family has allergies or severe food intolerances or ethical issues with meat consumption, so there are no practical impediments to eating this way.
I gotta say, in the natural living blog world, people often define themselves by what foods they will and won’t eat. Sometimes I feel like I’m a radical omnivore. Like I’m making some kind of statement by liking both steak and chickpeas, bread and broccoli. Weird, huh?
So, that’s the last several weeks of my life in one giant nutshell.
Barbara Christensen says
you are by far one of my most favorite bloggers, so if you have to do those idiot ads…Do It! I am happy to put up with that for all the wisdom, humor and knowledge I get from you. Fair deal IMHO. Good on ya with the tidying. I got the book too and it has produced much positive organizing in my home. The drawers are amazing now. Thank you for staying with us.
Thank you Barbara! Congrats on your tidying!
Katie Newcomb says
I’m not really part of the community, I’m a reader rather than a commenter, but I do read often and thought you should know that I had to scroll back up to see that there were even extra ads on the site. I tent to just “tune out” sidebars, so it makes absolutely no difference. I’ll still continue my weekly “its the afternoon and I can’t concentrate on work” check ins as happily as I always have.
Also, I’m going to have to read the book because I have major guilt associated with getting rid of stuff if its still “good”, sounds like it would help me. Then I go into a mental tail spin about why I have all the stuff in the first place and I don’t actually get rid of anything.
Ditto for me! I never actually noticed that your site didn’t have ads. (Though I would have noticed if they were the annoyingly distracting, flashing kind. Ugh.) You’ll get no judgment from me. I’ll still read you regardless. You and Smitten Kitchen are my staples!
Ditto! YOU are amazing! I can not wait to read your posts.
As a long-time reader, I would say do what you need to do with the ads. I would rather have your website smack-full of ads than have no nwedible.com to come to at all.
Seconded. I ignore the crap out of ads all over the internet. As long as they don’t pop up and make me restart my browser and they are helping you do what you do so well, bring em on.
I loathe pop-over ads, auto-expanding ads, and ads that start playing music. Ugh, ugh, ugh.
Side bar ads, while annoying, are a fact of life for bloggers, and I don’t have an issue with them, since I ignore them with massive skillz. Glad to hear you aren’t allowing some of the more intrusive ad schemes, ’cause they suck. I’m glad you’re doing what you need to so that you can keep me and the rest of us entertained and challenged and informed.
P.S. so glad the little black duckling is thriving!
Here, here! As long there are fuzzy ducklings and boozy drinks and garden updates, I’ll be here no matter the ads!
Fuzzy duckings and boozy drinks are my favorites!
I’m with Sam. Would much rather you keep the disliked-but-needed ads than have to end this blog. “Keep on keepin’ on” as someone said.
I’m trying to avoid “smack full” – the goal is more like “smack enough” I’d say. My tolerance for third party ads is probably lower than most people’s so I’m trying to follow the “does it make me hate visiting my own site?” rule. 🙂 Thanks for your support.
Nancy Sutton says
Your blog is near priceless, and yet.. free!! We should complain about the ads we have long-ago learned to ignore, on sites worth much less of our time? Cut yourself even more slack…you’re going to make us feel guilty pretty soon 🙂
Under one of my hats, I do a lot of work for free. Actually all for free for a non-profit institution. Work that, if I was working for a corporation, I would be very well- compensated for my thousand of hours. That’s my choice.
Under my other hat, the one I consider my true contribution to the world, people have to pay for that. There are no freebies. It’s my work; it’s something that requires my perspective; and it is hard. Everyone, including clients who are friends, pay for the service.
What separates the two is only how * I* feel about them. One is a public service; the other is *my work*.
Your work is good. It is not a community service project even though it is helping your community. You should feel good about being compensated.
Thank you very much, Kyle. I really appreciate that.
All this sounds awesome. I am 7 months pregnant and feeling smothered by STUFF. There is a load of compost in the driveway right now. But I promise as soon as it is dumped into beds I will go through each room and just start filling up boxes!!
Babies and kids have SOO much stuff. And we bought more than we ended up needing for the garden. I want an empty garage, an almost empty family room, and almost empty house. We went through our kitchen by taking out 3 cupboards and removing everything and only putting back in what we use often. We spend so much less time on dishes and pick up. I think our next big clean out will be clothes for myself and my 3 year old girl- and she has A LOT of clothes. I’m ready to make some $$$$$ to pay for the new furnace we had to put in last week.
Good for you! Sounds like you are in a great headspace for tidying. It’s hard with kids to get to “nearly empty,” but I bet you can move past “feeling smothered.” I hope you can get the excess out before your new baby arrives – I bet that would feel calmer going into the newborn stage.
Good job on the garage sale. That’s pretty bad ass.
I personally don’t mind the adds at all. Additionally in terms of ethics I feel like ‘blog culture’ if it’s a thing tends to make readers without blogs (ie ME) act sort of greedy. I want to know what’s going on in your garden & world but don’t share my own and as such am oblivious to costs, time demands, or stresses associated with running a high quality blog. From me personally THANK YOU for all hat you do and share with us.
Thanks very much right back to you! I don’t blog about blogging very much, but to do a high-quality site, with high-quality posts that people actually read is a shockingly involved process.
Stuff you try to get right as a blogger: the right images, the right content, the right social media mix, the right keywords, the right search engine optimization.
Essentials on the backend include: full mobile compatibility, secure and up to date plug-ins, blazing fast site speed with a hosting plan that can accommodate surge in traffic from viral posts, a robust email list with a good open rate and minimal unsubscribes (My email list costs $75 a month, and that will increase to $100 a month in June most likely), and that you aren’t unwittingly pissing off Herr Google with poor links.
If you want to pay for your fatty email list, you do some or all of this: manage sponsors, product reviews and affiliates, develop e-books and other downloadable products, run membership sites, offer classes, and host third party ads.
And then there’s the actual point of a blog: sharing valuable info in a fresh, authentic tone that represents YOUR perspective. Follow-up on that typically “requires” appropriately and authentically engaging with your readers who are spread out across 5 or 6 different social media channels, responding to direct emails and comments.
Let’s not talk about podcasting and video-blogging and forum tie-ins…
If I did everything with this site that I WANTED to do with this site, it would be a full time job for probably 3 or 4 people. So, I put in the hours I can (and many weeks it a full time job just for me) and let the stuff slide that I can’t worry about right now, because I also have to go live my life in a way that makes for something to actually share, and not just sit behind a computer all day.
But in my head I always have a zillion ways I could make the content better and more helpful to my readers and to make the community a better place to be.
I wrote way too much. Sorry!
Ha! Erica, you just convinced me that I’m WAY too lazy to have my own blog. 🙂 Thank you for all you do. I am most appreciative!
Zenais Buck says
Thank you for finally pushing me to buy the tidying book. I am about 1/3 of the way through, and already have a car full of items to donate- items that I have not previously been able to let go of. Hallelujah!
Secondly- I would financially subscribe to a monthly garden to do list- the one page one with check boxes. Let me repeat: I would pay good money to have a monthly subscription to this service, that’s how much I love not making my own list! Just a thought for future development. For now, though, I am fine with ignoring the ads:)
Thanks for everything! You are one of only 2 blogs that I actually read. 🙂
I know – the spark joy thing and saying goodbye to your stuff is magic.
The idea of a subscription model (similar to the Survival Podcast’s Member Support Brigade) is at the top of my list for how I’d really love to monetize. In my head, it’s like $5 a month for premium content – extra downloads, video tutorials, maybe a forum, the one page list, that kind of thing. I figure if 500 people were willing to pay $5 a month, I could keep this site fully ad free and pay for all the expenses AND actually make some money. At 1000 people at $5 a month, I don’t even know – I’d freak out at how amazingly successful my business is. 😀
Please do whatever you need to to keep the site at its current level of awesomeness without breaking the bank. It makes me sad to think that not only are you not making money from it, it’s actually costing you. That shouldn’t be. I would absolutely do a $5 a month subscription. And I love the idea of you hosting a forum. As for the ads, I’ve got Adblock so I don’t see a single one…
Thank you! It’s good to hear that you like the subscription idea!
Please let me second the above comment from AGinPA. I absolutely love your site, and missed you horribly when you didn’t post last winter. As a former PNW resident, now a SW Florida resident, I am able to keep in touch with all the things I miss about your area through this blog. While my growing season is essentially opposite yours, I always come away with something I can use, be it a delicious cold beverage, appetizer, or duck info to store for a future life away from the HOA. I’ve also been one of the dreaded lurkers because I assumed that I couldn’t offer anything to the conversation. Is anyone else out there dealing with sandy soil, nematodes and bugs the size of your palm? Do what you need to do, I’ll still come back.
If you set something like this up, don’t forget us international types… Be sure you have a system that allows for payments from, I dunno, just as an example… Portugal. 😉
Cool! Wow I can’t imagine the gardening advice I can give has ANY relevance to Portugal – thank you for reading despite the dramatically different climates!
I grew up in Seattle, so I read mostly for inspiration and a little bit for nostalgia… And then google california or ask my (portuguese) MIL for advice on timing! 🙂
Ole Ange says
I would pay $15 especially if it gave home maintenance detail too. Drain your water heater. Prune the roses. Pressure wash the patio for pollen. Degunk the AC unit. Schedule the heater tuneup. Plant new thyme.
Like a flylady concept but on the whole home and garden level and monthly rather than hourly! And comprehensive whereas MS Living mag only hits incidental items each issue.
I actually tried to find this online. Can’t SOMEBODY teach us how to be grownups? We bought a “big boy / big girl” house and started panicking. We didn’t know what needed doing and felt we were in reaction mode constantly.
And I tend to miss things that are really predictable and have to do with rolling through the seasons. Like remembering to go berry picking at the right time or to schedule a pumpkin farm visit. With a roving focus between domestic and corporate life, the domestic rhythm gets lost. I get in “the zone” and feel so non top of my life, and then stumble off again. I would totally subscribe to a “Time to be a grown-ass grownup” manual.
Emailed you. If you find that “how to be a grown up manual” I want to download it, too!
I, too, have interest in learning how to be a grownup! It seems hard
Nicole S. says
I was inspired by your FB post about that book by Marie Kondo; I am currently working through it. I am enjoying it a lot, actually. I’ve already gone through all of my clothes and then folded everything as she suggests in her book. AMAZING. I’m ready to tackle all the closets and drawers in the house now, but am holding back until I finish the book. I ended up buying it, since the wait for a book through the library was hundreds people long.
That’s why I bought it too. I suppose the local library system can’t be expected to keep 1000 copies in stock. 🙂 I fit ALL my workout clothes in one drawer when I folded her way. I’m sold on it forever.
Jennifer Arrow says
congrats on doing the one-car thing! So cool.
Also, the ads don’t bother me one tiny bit. I even click on ads sometimes to support blogs I really love. 🙂
PS turn on ads on your YouTube channel too (monetization under edit video) for more $$$. 🙂
That’s really cool of you to support your bloggers! I don’t have many YouTube vids so I haven’t monetized them but I love the way 50 Ducks in a Hottub says at the beginning of every video, “The Youtube ads feed the ducks!” It makes me feel like I’m helping by sitting through them. 🙂
Whoa! Thanks for alerting me to the existence of 50 Ducks in a Hot Tub. All I could think of while watching the massive horde of ducks waddling along was… is this a glimpse of the future for Erica & Nick?
Oh my, Erica!
I learn so much from you and I would LOVE to sit and have a beverage (of any sort) with you. I live in Idaho, but if I come that way, I might just have to look you up! Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for sharing the bad along with the good. Makes you more REAL for all of us. You accomplish so much and make it look easy, but more important, you make us know that it is a LOT of work and depends on what you value!
I am delighted whenever I see a new post from you and I will just work around the ads. No worries! :0)
Thank you so much! I just feel like I’m trying to do the best I can inside a sometimes messy reality. That’s really all we can do, right? 🙂
I found your blog a few years ago as I was looking for resources to help me with my small (3×8) vegetable garden. I follow so many of your gardening tips and have enjoyed reading about your homesteading adventures. While not a homesteader myself, I do enjoy growing a little bit of my own food for my family. I have now graduated to a 10×20 community pea patch! It’s fun work plus everything tastes SO much better!
I am intrigued by this new book that has changed your life. Even though I just moved into a bigger house, it sounds like there are some important things I should think about before I just shove something that doesn’t bring me joy to the back of the closet simply because I now have more room. I also have a sister-in-law and a mom who desperately need to read it, I think. 🙂
Keep up the great work! I will absolutely put up with 3rd party ads! As far as I’m concerned, you provide a valuable service and should be compensated for it!
Thanks for your kind words. My experience having lived in a big-ish house for 11 years now is that the stuff swells to accommodate the space available if you aren’t careful. I think reading Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up before you start unpacking and furnishing might be a great idea. And if your relatives tend toward hanging on to everything, having some of the tricks and tips about how to say goodbye to stuff they foist off on YOU might be really good, too.
I am a religiously regular reader here, and I couldn’t care less if there are extra ads. I am so used to seeing ads on every site that they don’t even register in my field of vision most of the time. If a bit of adspace is what it takes to keep this awesome blog up and running, bring it! The die-hard anti-ad folks can always just block, as you point out. You deserve to at least break even on the website, or even turn an actual profit.
Thanks very much for reading! So glad the ads don’t bother you, Mara. My goal is to find that sustainable balance.
Dude, I didn’t even notice the ads. Thanks for what you do!
Don’t let the ads trouble you, because they sure as hell aren’t turning off your readers (who I suspect are mostly internet-savvy enough to cope as needed.) I tell people to check out your site at least once a week and they always, always love it. In fact, I currently owe someone a promised email with the link to your recent clean eating satire!
And about “Life Changing Magic”– I heard about it on the radio, had it recommended by friends and neighbors and husband, but resisted jumping in. But if you recommend it, that’s the final nudge. I’m getting it today and soon I’m sure there will be lots of grateful people here in NC sending you good vibes.
Please keep up your awesomeness as long as you can in whatever way works for you!
Thank you Bea – I really appreciate you sharing the site with your friends! I hope you like the Life Changing Magic book.
I feel like every day I am using up jars and bags from the freezer but it just doesn’t seem to be making a dent! I have 8 weeks til the movers come, not sure what’s going to be left (they’ll take my bins of flour, etc, but apparently not home-canned items in liquid. Hoping to convince them to take the jams, as they are more solid.) We, too, are now a one-car family. As of this morning our 2nd is on its way to Guam. The house has been on the market for a week, and it’s HARD to make dinners from scratch without making ridiculous messes. But it’s strawberry season here and I am dehydrating a ton of them, as the movers WILL pack dried foods. Hoping the smell of wafting strawberries is enough to convince prospective buyers they want to live here!!! Don’t worry about the ads, I personally ignore them. You gotta do what you gotta do. I’m thinking that Tidying book might be what I read on my 24-hour long journey to Guam… might help me get started off on the right foot in a significantly smaller house than the one we’re in now (i purged and purged and still not sure I purged enough!) Now, go get yourself another cup of coffee because I’ve talked YOUR ear off!
You are making the most incredible memories! What a grand adventure. One thing you can do with the jams is dehydrate them for fruit leather. Or, you know, don’t worry about it cause you are moving to Guam! 😀
Erica, what a great idea! Do you have to thin them out at all? (mine are all pectin free)
I must have Ad Block because I don’t see any ads. I see things for Amazon which is for your affiliate and I see the things you partnered with, but no annoying ads. I must say, I recently unsubscribed from a garden blog I loved because the ads had gotten out of hand—at the top and on the sides, blinking, blinking, blinking. I guess Ad Block didn’t work on that.
Blog appropriate ads do not bother me (ie: tools, seeds, chicken stuff, whatever), but ones pitching P&G stuff or something similar…blargh.
Here’s to many more years of successful blogging from you! 🙂
The ads don’t “fill” 100% of the time, so you may not see them every time you visit. I have them set to “roll over” to less annoying options so if they don’t fill with 3rd party things what you’ll see is pretty inoffensive – my recommendations for good books, mostly.
Unfortunately I don’t have too much control over what ads are served from the 3rd party place – so for example I’ve seen a few Target ads. I’ve blocked things like RoundUp, but you will most likely see some pretty consumerist stuff. It’s the nature of the beast.
I don’t know which garden blog it was but I have a few that I literally cannot read without enabling Ad Block because it’s like being in a digital disco and I loathe it. One thing you might consider is installing Ad Block and then “white listing” ads from sites you want to support and that aren’t too bad with the ads. I hope my site would qualify for white listing! 🙂
I must say, with all the blogging you do and the service you provide to the rest of us “homesteaders” – you should get paid for it – and without a huge effort on your part! I can easily scroll past the ads and focus on the meat of your post. This site is one of the few that isn’t taken over by ads, and it is refreshing because I’m not missing what you are saying by being distracted by animated ads or bright flashy text. Keep on keepin’ on.
I love reading your posts, and I can tell from the writing that you take your time with each post and give us your most honest opinion and your best advice.
And now, I must go cleanse at least one small nook of my home because I feel buried under stuff. Hopefully, an episode or Hoarders won’t come on – because that lulls me into a sense of comfort because I am not and have never been THAT bad.
Oh, I’m totally the opposite with shows like hoarders. That stuff totally inspired me to declutter! Sometimes I put a YouTube video of something on in the background on my laptop while I’m working on cleaning. It’s like when I used to watch The Biggest Loser years ago – I would run up and down the block every ad break.
Thanks for your kind words, I do try to offer some value to me readers with the posts.
I have nothing against ads (except for those new obnoxious ones I’ve started seeing that are overlaid over photos in blog posts, ugh), if I like a blog, I definitely feel like seeing some ads in a sidebar is the least I can do to support the writer’s hard work.
Thanks Ingunn. I also hate the pop-overs. I don’t even like pop-over email list sign-up boxes. They bug me.
You’ve told me about the ads, but I still don’t see them. I must be desensitized…
Would love to hear more about eat from the larder challenge, when you’ve got time. Also all the duckling take over of facebook and the blog is enjoyable, keep it coming!
I’ll do a full post on that next week – have a few really yummy dishes I’ve really enjoyed the past couple weeks. Tis the season for ducklings! Thanks Mimi.
Barb Stork says
Ha! You started talking about the ads and I actually had to go and look for them, on purpose, because I didn’t even notice them on coming to the page. I’m honored to call you my virtual friend, although it gets a little awkward when I’m telling someone that I’m experimenting with something that my friend Erica, who I’ve never met, and who I only chat with occasionally on the internet, has suggested. Some folks look at you a little funny when you talk about your “blogger friend”.
I got the tidying up book on my Kindle a week ago and haven’t had time to even start it…the story of my life. Me and the youngest were both down with a bad cold this week…..he gets to watch a marathon of Star Wars movies while I try and still get in my 40 hours/week from home. Sucks! Need to read the book, need to fill some boxes and get rid of crap. Wish I had 40 hours this week just to myself.
Anyhow, my blogger friend, keep up the good work!
I love this blog! No worries about the ads. (:
We had been one car for s long time. But we did it so we could afford the payment. I totaled it this past January, and we had 11k left to pay. Thank the earthworms for gap insurance! We now own two vehicles out right and pay less in insurance for both that. We did on one plus no 4oo$ a month payment!!! The truck is used to haul since I no longer have a hatchback once a month and the 1-2 times a month hubby and I have conflicting schedules.
And the ads, well, don’t click on them if you don’t want to. It’s kinda awesome to not worry about the click power but I would rather keep seeing posts if the other choice is no blog.
I’ll have the Columbian Fair Trade blend with a bit of cream, please.
Yes – that book IS fabulous. I’ve heard about it from a few different places and wedged my name in early-on on our library wait list. What I’ve found amazing about applying the principles is that when I clear space by ditching items – they don’t leave a void. They’re not missed at all. Life isn’t about the stuff.
Kudos on getting rid of the extra car! Would love to do the same once our kids have moved out. Can easily see that it’s quite doable. We had 3 cars for 3 drivers until the oldest of the cars died (after 18 years and a mere 225k miles) and we decided to not replace it. I started taking the bus regularly to and from the train during the week and coordinating schedules on the weekends has never been an issue.
Don’t lose any sleep over the ads. It’s 2015. It’s just the cost of using the modern ‘interwebs’. 🙂
Your blog has helped me grow from a SE Portland city girl to a rural wannabe-homesteader. A lot of what I do and try, I owe to your blog- it’s the first place I go to when I need tips or inspiration. My husband and I are putting in raised beds (long-term goal is about 20!), and before we started, I pulled up around seven of your blog posts for him to read, so he’d have a better idea of how to best start. “Just some light reading for tonight, honey.” 😉
The value of what you contribute to the gardening world far outweighs any irritation people may feel when they see ads. Thank you for the time and effort you put in for us all! 🙂
Sam M. says
On the subject of ads, I barely register them so if a few adverts scattered around is the price to pay for something I like to read, then I say go for it. I
I never even noticed them. Keep up the good work.
You might not see them. They only “fill” about 1/3rd of the time because apparently most advertisers don’t think I’m a very good bet. 😉
I guess they can tell that your readers aren’t the sort to buy a lot of crap they don’t need. 🙂
Putting a question in here for next time answering odd questions appeals to you. We bought a house we could afford where the soil turned out to be fill. 11 years later, shards of glass somehow still make it to the surface. Oh, that’s not all folks! Infested with moles and ground squirrels just 5 miles south of the Canadian border here in W Washington. Have done most of the usual remedies for terrible clay soil, compost piles, chop and drop. generous applications of coffee grounds, coir etc. But here is what gets me down. We have a southwesterly wind that sweeps across our postage stamp yard all summer long. On a day like today, the kale and potatoes begin to wild from the wind. Even the Melissa is wilting in some sunny spots.Some of these are in pots or raised beds so it is not new varmint tunnels that are taking them down, and they have been watered – yesterday and today heavily- any ideas on this one in the the future? Thanks to you!
Thanks for the questions Susan, I’ll try to work it into the rotation.
Some initial thoughts: are you sure it’s the wild wilting your plants? Check to make sure there aren’t root maggots or similar pests damaging the root systems of your plants. Potatoes might be wireworms, kale could possibly be cabbage root maggot. A healthy root system should be able to pump enough moisture to the leaves to prevent desiccation, especially this early in the year when it’s not that hot.
If you can confirm it’s desiccation from the wind, then you should set up a wind break. Even some window screening propped in the right direction might buffer the plants and help them, but my best bet is you have a root to leaf imbalance and you should figure out what’s hurting the root system of your plants. On the other hand, I could be wrong, because I have no idea what could possibly hurt lemon balm. That’s a new one to me.
Stacy Green says
You are hands-down my favorite blogger and come up regularly in conversation, as if you were an old friend. Whatever it takes to keep you doing what you do so well and so many enjoy, let’s go there! I would seriously contribute to your financial, mental, or physical well-being by donating to this website or gofundme if it came to that. You share your life so openly, and we, your community, are here to appreciate and support you.
Thank you Stacy. Nah, no GoFundMe. It’s not like we are in need – we are blessed, actually – but the site itself has to stand on its own feet financially. It’s like when you finally tell your college kid it’s time for them to move out of the damned basement and make their way in the world. That’s me, to my website. 🙂 I am so relieved at the support I’ve gotten here. I think my “kid” will be ok! Thank you.
Kat Starnes says
Stacy, I am just the same! I often say to my husband “Erica says,” and he knows exactly who I am talking about. 🙂
This, your website, is very valuable to me. I like the information you present and your perspective on gardening, cooking, and life. In addition, i like you.
Please do what you gotta do to keep the site going without messing up your families life.
Thank you Woody, that means a lot. The site is very important to all of us, too. Even my kids understand that it’s part of the fabric of how we live now, trying to share what we are doing and help other people. Even if that means they have to wait to eat until after I take a picture of their dinner. 😉
Kat Starnes says
Looks like everyone is on the same page–do whatcha gotta do! You provide information, entertainment, and the grateful feeling that a real person is helping your readers along in learning useful life skills. I’ll buy your books (assuming there will be more than one!), garden planner, “Erica-endorsed” garden clippers, grow-lights, or cocktail muddler, cheerfully, if that means you are able to keep doing what you do so well. (Of course, I’d buy any book you wrote anyway, because I trust you, and books are especially “sparkly.”) 😉 If Google needs to throw some ads in the sidebar to make NW Edible possible, so be it. There would truly be a void on the Internet if you weren’t here.
Thank you so much Kat.
Truthfully, I would prefer to play matchmaker only with things I only totally believe in. ALTHOUGH – I just saw some clippers at Costco that are dead ringers for Felcos. I think they are basically the same. I’ve A-B’d them and there is almost no difference except the price. So I might have to change my clipper recommendation. If you are a Costco member, look for the Felco-look-alikes next time you are in and tell me if you agree. 🙂
I have seen them and COMPLETELY agree.
Kevin Wilson says
I got the Marie Kondo book from our library when I saw you recommend it, Erica. But unfortunately it doesn’t speak to me at all… I already have few clothes, so that whole piece is a non-issue, but the vast majority of my stuff comes under her “miscellaneous” category and the “brings you joy?” question just doesn’t work for much of it. Do my pipe wrenches bring me joy? No (I actually don’t much like plumbing, so they may even be anti-joy!), but they have saved me $$ in the past and will do again, so it makes no sense to get rid of them.
I prefer the William Morris quote “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Re ads: do what’s necessary to keep the site going, please!
I’m glad you didn’t have the hassle of returning the book and could just give it back to the library! Another reader told me the same thing – it just didn’t have the right tone for her. Definitely the messaging feels geared towards an urban, female crowd, with a possibly emotional relationship to stuff.
The folks I originally learned about this from did a great post about interpreting it for homesteaders and DIY types: http://www.rootsimple.com/2015/02/de-cluttering-for-diyers-homesteaders-artists-preppers-etc/
We Kondo’ed the garage, where we store a lot of practical tools that do not inherently seem “joy sparking”. After really sitting with all the CRAP piled in that garage, my feeling was, some of my crap makes me really happy! My huge-ass collection of mason jars DOES spark joy in me. I didn’t get rid of a single jar. The hammer that fits right – we kept that thing. My husband has this insane love of one screwdriver where you can put different heads into the handle so it’s versatile. I don’t know what it’s called but he loves that thing. It’s a joy sparker. I think you can have tools that do, in their strange way, give you that joyful confidence that you CAN fix your own plumbing.
It’s a bit interpretive, I’ll admit. I love that William Morris quote, but I found for me that “know to be useful” in my head rapidly became “might be useful in some way, at some point in the future.” That could lead to me justifying hanging on to stuff I didn’t really need or even like.
(We have the same screwdriver-my husband loves it as well. No idea what it’s “officially” named, but we call it “magic screwdriver” because it can turn into so many different screwdrivers….) 🙂
I think all your good readers understand you need to take care of you! One thing that may be an alternative in the future is a subscription to the site that takes away the ads. A website called penny-arcade.com started this awhile ago and have struggled with similar moral/ethical dilemmas with online ads. I will keep reading either way! 🙂
you made HOW MUCH!?!? holy tomatoes! great work! and i love that you had such a score from amazon – i sold a bunch of books at 2nd Hand Books and found out i should have sent them in the amazon. bah! oh well. and the ads? no biggie! barely noticed – of course i’m eager to find out how it works out for you. yay you!
I will never sell at Half Price Books again. We got totally screwed. That $22 would have been probably $50 or more through Amazon with no 90 minute long wait or major pissy attitude from the staff. I was selling boxes of mint condition fairly recent release hardcovers. I was seriously pissed about it for like an hour, then, you know, got some freaking perspective. But still, never again.
That happened to me too. Pristine, read once popular hardback books, $.25 a piece. I then started to sell on half.com and going to the library.
Rediculous. I would have felt better about giving the books away – to the library or just through my local Buy Nothing site. Isn’t it weird how that happens?
I haven’t seen an internet ad in years, thanks to AdBlock. But even if I could see them, I just ignore them. They’re everywhere, almost background noise. Basically, I think you should do what you need to do to keep the site running and if that means ads, then more power to you.
I am very anti-accumulation and anti-clutter, but I’m the only one in the family that feels this way, so the sheer amount of STUFF that grows is staggering. I purge every once in a while, but I still was able to take away so many good messages and tips from that book. Now to get the kids to read it … .
The ads don’t bother me in the slightest, do you girl. That’s the way things work these days and I’m on the side of letting some ads come in to keep the content accessible rather than hiding it behind a pay-wall. And I much rather a sidebar ad than a weird “look how me and my family had an amazing time at this resort last week SPONSOR SPONSOR SPONSOR” post. That feels more disingenuous/bizarre to me.
I tried to do to the KonMari but I had a really hard time reading it. It was just really repetitive and not in a “do you understand what I’m saying packrat” but in a “let me tell you for the 100th time how I liked to clean things as a child.” So while I can see the value in the lesson, I just couldn’t get through the book! Did you feel the same way? Maybe it’s easier to get through on audio? I would LOVE to hear more about your experience.
Once in a while someone writes poetic words that speak straight to my heart. I never know where I will find them. You have joined the ranks of those few with this line, “I had to let go of not just stuff, but of careers and interests I’ve moved on from and will never revisit. I had to let go of the ghosts of half-a-dozen aspirational lives.”
Boom! right in the solar plexus. You captured what needs to be done. Thank you
My vote is for ads and you keeping your finances and sanity!
Jessica Mott says
I would say the ads are a necessary evil. I’d rather get to follow your ducks, gardening, cooking, and general awesomeness and deal with ads than not at all. I don’t comment often but I do read every post and I have come to use it as special coffee time when you have a new post up. I’m buying that book as I type as well. Thanks Erica!
Thank you Jessica! I’ll try to keep the necessary evil to the necessary minimum! Thank you for reading and making this site part of coffee time!
We come for the jerky recipes, and stay for posts like this.
There is no other blogger I’ve found who is so informative, while also being inspiring, yet still feels so honest. And no other community where the comments are so completely worth reading– as opposed to just people saying over and over how amazing the writer is (which, obviously, goes without saying in your case!).
My day job involves the mainenance of a website, so I have a feel for just how time-consuming SEO and social media and everything else can be…
Thank you for all the work you do, Erica!
Thank you Austin. That’s really kinda humbling praise. I’ll try to live up to it. My readers are (in my humble opinion) really smart, cool people. That’s why I want to do a good job for em, you know? And they keep me honest – like this one time I wrote a post about figs without fully understanding one thing about the ripening and in the process got some major points wrong. Within 2 comments my readers were like, “Uh, that’s wrong, yo. It doesn’t actually work like that.” How awesome is that? I mean, I get to learn new stuff from my readers all the time and they help make the content even better and more useful! The best thing to me is when a good conversation is sparked, so everyone can learn something new.
I have been visiting your site weekly for at least the past year and appreciate all the work it must take to maintain a blog of this quality. You really do an awesome job, Erica. I have yet to come across another blog that incorporates so much and in such a professional, thoughtful, creative way. Thank you so much for what you do. The ads don’t bother me a bit!
Thank you very, very much Karen. That means a huge amount. I take my job as your friendly local blogger pretty seriously, and it’s really wonderful to know the work is valued by my readers.
I am a regular reader, I just don’t ever comment (which I suppose means I’m not a community member). I love, love, love your blog and reference it often for recipes and general insight into keeping my home productive and my sanity intact while raising two energetic little boys. Wanted to let you know that if you ever go to a subscription model, I would be more than happy to pay for your content. Though, like many other people, I didn’t notice the ads until you mentioned them.
Thank you for all that you do!
Of course you are part of the community – you’re just part of the quieter contingent. 🙂 If you are a regular or semi-regular reader, you’re part of the team as far as I’m concerned. I’m talking about folks who literally read one post because it pops up at the top of a google search result and then never come back. They just need the info and they are on their way. Totally fine, but they don’t have the context of regular readers
Sanity AND two little boys? Sounds like a tall order. I’m very impressed. (Aren’t they wonderful when they FINALLY fall asleep, though?)
David (thegoblinchief) says
3.5 million? *low whistle* Regardless of whether that’s hits or uniques, that’s damn impressive.
Do what you gotta do. I don’t mind ads at all. Have you looked at taking impressions rather than relying on 3rd party serving? Or is the salesmanship just too time–consuming?
Hopefully the CPM is high enough for your “genre”. I know it varies widely by site content. I used to have my EIC refusing to let me write on certain topics because the ad rates would be so abysmal.
On the decluttering, I’ve never needed help. My problem is getting rid of something and then cursing myself later when I needed it again 😛
Page impressions, not uniques. 🙂 Maybe I’ll get past 2 million uniques this year – was at 1.725 million last year. I can switch from impression based advertising with my sponsors instead of time-based, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing, you know? I don’t have it in me to start a custom ad agency on top of everything else. Although, honestly I searched for months for a green living/organic focused full service third party ad hosting type service and didn’t find one – it’s a market opening, I swear. It’s an experiment at the end of the day. Hopefully it will be worth it. 🙂
Victoria Zink says
I understand the need for having ads as there is unavoidable overhead in any business. I am not fond of the ads on the sites especially the garbage adds and off color trashy adds, but there is one question I ask of you regarding the advertising. Do you have a say in the content and presentation? The ads that flash off an on while trying to read believe it or not can not only annoy the hell out of your readers but actually can induce migraines for me and many sufferers of this malady!!! So if you can have some say in content and presentation that may minimize some of the negative impact for your readers.
I do read your posts and sometimes comment. Thanks for sharing your talent with your readers!!
I have very, very little control. That is a major reason I have been so hesitant to do this. What you see is, in large part, determined by your browsing habits. Your entire internet history is tracked and sold and companies bid for the right to target your eyeballs. It’s really gross. Again, why I’m uncomfortable with the whole thing.
In terms of what format of ads you see, I have specified nothing video (although graphic ads are so close to video now I’m not sure what that really does), nothing with sound, and nothing that pops up or gets bigger. All these things are the “money makers” because they DEMAND that you look at them. But I hate them, so I disabled them as an option. I don’t know what format causes that flashing thing. If I have the ability to disable it I will.
What you should see are a few spots around the site where random companies throw their best pitch your way. I can’t anticipate what companies will target you, but if you ever see anything obscene or offensive, or if an ad ever grows or plays music at you or covers content, please screen capture the ad and email me at nwedible at gmail dot com and I will add whatever company slipped that ad in to my custom “block list.”
Oh, speaking of the block list, a ton of “gardening” companies like Ortho, RoundUp, etc. are on a custom block list I implemented with a huge amount of help from my friend Margaret Roach so you shouldn’t see those here either.
Didn’t even notice any ads. I bought the kindle version of the tidying book after reading about it on Root Simple and hearing their podcast. Along the lines of you not going to Half Price Books again, I took a bunch of very high quality clothes and other home goods to Goodwill that I was getting rid of as a result of tidying. The guy who unloaded my truck treated my things so horribly and carelessly that I will never take anything to Goodwill again. He was rude and made me a little depressed that I had given them my nice things. Even though I was ready to let them go, they were still in excellent condition and I didn’t want them treated badly. It put a damper on the whole experience. I’ve never had an experience like that at Savers (boys and girls clubs of America) or Salvation Army , so i’ll go there from now on when I tidy.
And if that weren’t bad enough: Goodwill is not a charity, it’s a for profit company that pays its disabled workers less than minimum wage due to a loophole. It’s a good thing you are going elsewhere! I love freecycle, but I really love a freecycle group that is not hosted by freecycle.org, but rather one that’s been around long enough to have a YahooGroup associated with it, instead of the main company’s servers. Just a thought, FWIW.
Rachel – I don’t know if you live in my area, but I had exactly the same experience with Goodwill. I had carefully packed up a number of items so that someone else could use them and they were just tossed around like garbage by the Goodwill employees. When I reported it, they didn’t seem to care 🙁
Melinda, I’m replying long after your reply so you’ll likely never see this. Others may though…my husband is a driver for a local recycling company and goes to Goodwill regularly to take away ‘scrap metal’. The people at our local GW routinely throw away perfectly good, often brand-new items simply because their back room is full or they just don’t want to deal with whatever the item happens to be. I had stopped donating to them long ago but hearing about the things my husband sees thrown away by them convinced me I was doing the right thing.
Erica – Your blog is the greatest – and you should do what you need to do to keep it going at no cost to you – ads, subscription fee, whatever. I love living vicariously through your adventures (the shade in my yard and our local farm animal ordinances prevent me from urban homesteading the way I’d like to…). Thanks for the wonderful update – nice to read with a glass of wine on a Friday evening!
Thanks Melinda. Happy to be your vicarious, full-sun, wine-drinking partner in crime over here! 🙂
Thanks, I definitely need one!
I’m pretty new to your site; I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 months, maybe? I love your duckling stories. I’m not a homesteader; I’m a knitter and I like making jam and pretty food.
I don’t usually see ads; I do most of my blog reading in feedly, so I don’t see the full site unless I make a point of going there.
We’re a one car household, too. We live in Portland, which has the fabulous Car2Go. Like ZipCar, but you don’t have to return it to where you got it. For 2 people working from home, one car plus the occasional Car2Go trip is enough.
You and many other blogs are tugging me over to get Marie Kondo’s book. At least I can read it on my kindle!
Thanks for reading! But wait, is it legal to live in Portland and NOT be an urban homesteader? 😉 Just kidding – but PDX is such a hotbed of local sustainability.
There are so many ways to read now! Feedly, Bloglovin, Flipboard – it’s great. It makes it easy for people to keep in touch in the way that works best for them AND skip the worst of the ads.
Car2Go sounds perfect. We figured out that with the insurance, tabs and maintenance savings (not even considering gas) we could hire a taxi twice a month to take us wherever we’d reasonably need to go and still come out ahead. I’m not anti-car, but I think they are more expensive to have than people think.
Erica, I love your blog. Read each new post religiously and immediately. I also agree with you about ads: I hate ads; I hate the bouncing, blinking, singing, pop-up behind, noise making, dancing ants ones the worst! But you are not a charity and you cannot have your blog cost YOU money. Your content is exceptional. For you, I would buy a subscription and I am sure others would too, but that might not be enough to support the blog/website.
I am pretty internet savvy, even though I don’t have a blog or website, and I cannot think of a way for your to be remunerated for your time and efforts besides ads (and your advertisers will change their minds very soon, you just watch!) Say, I just thought of something: Did you think to ask your sponsors (high mowing seeds, right?) if they might compensate you more to be the exclusive ads on your site? Except for that, I can’t think of any other way that would be as seamless as ads would be for your one-off viewers. So I too say “go for it!”
One more thing: Just FYI, we are dealing with a major health-challenge in our house right now. Due to the lack of time such things mean, I dumped about a hundred blogs and other such subscriptions. I kept somewhere between 5 and 10… and yours made the cut! One of two gardening / homesteading type blogs. I could not imagine not hearing from you even for a few months (I was constantly jonesing for another post during your book-writing period, it was sooooo pathetic!) and no one knows how long our problem will last… could be years. 🙁 But you will keep me company when I have enough time for email. xoxo!
Thank you so much for your kind words – I’m thrilled to have made the cut, and I hope your health issue resolves positively and sooner than you think.
High Mowing is incredible. reCAP and Mantis (current sponsors) – both incredible. Companies that make products I really use. I have been blessed to be able to partner with really great companies. High Mowing only advertises seasonally, and smaller, non-Com-Huge-Co type companies tend to be the same – they have an ad budget and they spend it in the season where it makes the most sense for their sales.
I’d be happy to sing High Mowing’s praises year round, but they have financial realities they need to consider for their own business and I totally get that. I have approached a few other companies I really believe in for seasonal sponsorship, but it can be a bit slow going when you are interested in working with companies that are smaller and kinda strapped for manpower themselves.
New reader here. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks buried in the archives. I really enjoyed watching your garden grow over the years, and all of the things I’ve learned about growing food from your blog.
Today, for Mother’s day, my sister and I planted a couple new plants (a lily & a white lavendar), moved a sad lilac from it’s shady spot to one where it should flourish and get much more sun, and planted a potted lilac close by so they could keep eachother company.
Now I’m must resist the temptation to buy ALL the plants. We have the challenge of a HOA, a greenbelt with very tall maples directly to the south right behind the house, and everything that gets sun is on a nice steep slope. I believe some careful planning is in the future. Thank you for the inspiration! Also, being that I believe you’re a short ferry ride away (I live in Kitsap County), I have a wonderful source of what to do & not to do up here when I start to garden. Thank you for that.
Welcome and thank you so much for reading! Depending on what part of Kitsap you’re in, you are a very short ferry ride away indeed! 🙂
It’s funny to me as a blogger to think of someone seeing my garden and homestead evolve over the 4.5 years I’ve been blogging in the span of a few weeks of reading – it must be like time lapse!
I can’t offer much advice in the way of HOAs but there is a lot of potential in south-facing slopes if you are allowed to utilize the space. I also want to buy all the plants, all the time. It’s a sickness. What’s the saying: “I’m frugal in 99 ways, but plants ain’t one of them”? Something like that. 😉
Quick aside on the ads: I don’t mind them, and I think you’re doing the right thing–you’re just trying to recoup your costs, not get rich.
On to getting rid of stuff: I feel like you are where I’m hoping to be within a year or so. Great job! For us, we’ve finally come to the realization that we have too much stuff, too much space, and do more driving than we would like. The ultimate goal is to downsize our stuff to downside our house to relocate and need to drive less. It’ll be a long journey, but based on your experience (and others I’ve read), I’m sure it will be worth it.
I think it will be totally worth for you, as long as you end up in a place you love. I am trying to just be ok with being unoptimized right now. I know our home is too big, but in every other respect, it’s perfect. Love the location, the town, the neighbors, it’s highly walkable, etc. So I’m trying to “downsize” without actually downsizing – and it’s working!
Good luck on your journey – I love what I’m seeing on your blog, by the way! The layout reminds me of No Sidebar – a really great for your topic of blogging.
No worries! Ads don’t bother me, at least, not too much. Another website I used to frequent more (it’s political and I made a decision to spend less time being angry at “bad guys” and more time making the world a better place by doing cool shit) had a membership option. You could get monthly or yearly or a lifetime membership, and all it really meant was that you got an ad-free version of the website.
This is not as much a commitment towards providing premium content as the TSP membership idea, of course also not as much money per membership. When it came up, I sprang for a lifetime membership, and I still feel good about that, even though I don’t go there as much.
Anyway, that’s another path to monetization. Your fans will gladly pony up a bit of cash to get the ad-free site, and the viral visitors will pay their way via being exposed to ads.
Put up as many ads as you want. I use Feedly so I don’t even see the ads. Even if I did, I don’t think it really matters. We all have expenses.
Just keeping posting duckling updates. Please.