faq

How do you pronounce your name? Neecee? Nicey?
My name is Nicole Rae and my parents shortened it to Nici. It is pronounced like "Nicky."

I want to garden/can/keep chickens. Where do I start? Do you have an recommended resources? How do I get my kids involved?
Start small. Pick a few things and stick them in the ground in a sunny spot. Here is a list of helpful books. The three most used books in our home are The Vegetable Gardeners Bible, Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and my Master Gardening Manual that I received when I took our local Master Gardening class. If you really want to go for it, I recommend taking a Master Gardening class through your County Extension Office.

Just bring your kids along with you. Margot loves her little garden tools. She searches for worms. We talk about where a seed comes from and what it becomes. They help me harvest food and prepare it. Kids in the Garden is a great book. Also, Margot has her own garden. It is a small plot and she picks what is grown, plants the seeds, waters and weeds. It is pretty awesome, she has great pride in her garden. 
At the bottom of this page, I have listed a few links to food preservation recipes and a canning tutorial. 
Lastly, join the Virgin Harvest group! In 2011, I will start a flickr photo group where people can share photos of progress and problems. I think it will be a great resource for sharing and learning.

What kind of camera do you use? Lens? How do you shoot? How did you learn how to use your camera? What program do you use for editing/do you edit?
I have a Canon 60D with an 18-200mm lens. This Dreamboat was acquired in March of 2011. All photos from April 2008 until then were taken with my trusty Canon Rebel XT and kit lens 18-55mm. From March 2007-April 2008, I had an ancient Canon Powershot. I studied art in school but, when it comes to photography, I am mostly self-taught. I get as much info as I can from friends whose photos I love and admire. I ask a lot of questions. But, the best education for me has been trial and error.

I shoot in manual mode. On average, I take about 10-20 photos for every one I keep.

I edit minimally in iphoto and photoshop. Mostly cropping and adjusting levels and contrast. I recommend getting to know whatever camera you have. I promise even the $150 point and shoot can do amazing things you might not know about! No need to run out and buy a DSLR if you will only use the auto settings...but please run out and buy a DSLR and learn about ISO, aperture and shutter speed. It's endlessly fun!

How do you get outside so often with your kids? What stroller/carrier/sunscreen/hat/snowsuit etc. do you use?
Getting outside is an essential part of our family dynamic. I wrote a post about gardening and adventuring with my kids. Read it here. Also, my amazon shop (my family earns a small commission from sales from our 'shop') shows many of the things we love when getting outside!

What is you cloth diapering method and why? What do you do when you travel?
We initially chose cloth diapers for environmental reasons (disposable, even chlorine free, stay 500 years or more in the landfill!). We have since happily discovered cloth diapering to be so easy and so affordable. When on road trips, we travel with our cloth diapers. For longer travel or air travel, we use flushable g diaper inserts in our cloth diaper covers.

We subscribe to our local diaper service and we buy the diaper covers. See our favorite covers here.

Who designed your blog? How do you get big photos in your posts?
I designed my blog and am self-taught. Google is fabulous for learning html. One of my favorite sites is blogbulk.com.

I upload all my photos to photobucket and paste the corresponding html code in my posts.

Can I find your writing anywhere else?
I have a weekly column at mamalode: mama digs. It comes out every Monday morning.

What kind of chickens do you have? Do you use a heat lamp in the winter? How many eggs do you get? Is it easy? Are they friendly with your kids?
We have two Rhode Island Reds, two Australorps, a Barred Rocks and a Silver Wyandotte. They all thrive in our climate so we don't have to have a heat source for them. It is very important to have a wind proof, dry hen house. Click here to see our coop. They are so easy and friendly and we love them. And we love the eggs we get, about four per day in the winter and about six per day in the summer.

Where do you sell your clothes? Do you appliqu矇 other states or countries on shirts?
I sell my clothes on etsy and in a handful of shops around Montana. I do all states, countries, continents...click here to see examples.
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