Living Naturally

About this Blog

Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.

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April 14, 2014

I’d always considered daytime napping a slothful time-waster.  I also remember reading popular articles that pronounced daytime napping would reduce the quality of nighttime sleep. A friend gave me a ratty recliner for recuperation after my knee-replacement surgery. It doesn’t match the decor, takes up way too much space, but man, is it comfy. I found it a perfect place to nod off. Is napping a no-no? It turns out that napping is actually good for your health. Good-quality sleep: essential for... more

April 8, 2014

Everybody’s seen the articles suggesting that eating a lot of vegetables—the more the better—can improve general health, reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, stabilize mood, and sharpen mental powers. But eating more and more vegetables (and fruits) places increasing strains on the family food budget, so perhaps your mind turns to growing your own. You’ll find plenty of magazine, newspaper, and website articles suggesting you’ll save big bucks with a vegetable garden. You begin dreaming…... more

March 24, 2014

I live on a secondary road, and of necessity my daily walks often take me along the road. Someday I’ll catalogue the items of trash I’ve found on the roadside over the decades, a book-length exercise for sure. But for now: A battered left-hand rawhide glove protruding from a mound of dirty snow. The lid from a flimsy plastic deli container that once held olives. An antique metal vegetable peeler. A pair of black tights with runs in them. I’ve written about multipurpose living and my fondness... more

March 19, 2014

After years of warning consumers not to eat eggs (or at least the yolks) because of their high cholesterol content, research has prompted the medical/nutrition establishment to bring the “incredible edible” back to the menu. One physician wrote,”Egg reduction or elimination [with a few possible exceptions, including allergies*] must now join the list of urban myths from 20th-century medical care.”  Yay! I’ve always eaten eggs liberally. Seems as if half the households in my town raise at least... more

March 12, 2014

The new equipment at my local gym sure looks good. Rows of sleek, ergonomic cable machines, a matching set of free-weight stands and platforms, and a bunch of cool new aerobic machines: bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, stair climbers—even one that mimics skate-skiing—many of them with programmable screens that let you select and pretend to cruise along through workout environment. I've had a membership there for 30 years. I love the place, with its warm, welcoming environment that attracts... more

February 19, 2014

I’ve made homemade pizza nearly every Saturday night for many years. What’s more, I’ve (unscientifically) calculated that the process of making my scrumptious pizzas actually consumes more calories than they deliver. So, you probably want the recipe, right?   It all starts in late September. Collect fall leaves and pine needles to replenish supply of garden mulch; store large stacks of cardboard hauled home from town dump (to keep weeds down under the electric woodchuck fence).   ... more

January 30, 2014

Shortly after returning a long showshoe hike in the woods near my house a few days ago, an online news headline caught my attention: Noise is No. 1 quality-of-life complaint in NYC. The caption under a photo accompanying the article read, “In 2013, the city’s 311 hotline got more than 260,000 calls about excessive noise, up 30 percent in two years.” I flashed back 20 years or so to a public hearing in my small town over a proposal to install a small sawmill on a road about half a mile from any... more

January 15, 2014

Public health officials tell us the “portion size” in American meals is way out of whack. It's out of whack with our metabolic needs, that plate size, bowl size, cup size, muffin size, restaurant serving size, and movie-popcorn-bucket size have expanded dramatically in recent decades, and along with that, the size of our hips and tummies. Some experts suggest shrinking the size of our plates and bowls, or eating healthier meals from a large plate and calorie-dense, less healthy choices on... more

January 13, 2014

Looking for an alternative to those lofty New Year’s resolutions you always abandon long before Valentine’s Day rolls around? Try self-trickery. It often works for me. Here’s the dilemma: I know I need to change (something). I’m also aware I don’t want to do the work that seems to be required, or I would have changed already. Escaping an established habit or routine feels uncomfortable, and I’m likely to slip back into the comfortable, well-worn grooves of habit. The kind of trickery I’m... more

January 9, 2014

There’s a lot to love about a good old-fashioned blizzard. But first, let me dispense with the caveats: There’s a lot to love, if you don’t have to travel by car or plane, you have a safe, secure home with emergency provisions for water, heat, light, food, and means of communicating with the rest of the world in case of a power outage.  We’re in the final hours of the appropriately named storm, Hercules, which dropped more than a foot of snow in a 24-hour period, during which the temperature... more

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