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How I ended up in hydroponics…

… And made a website about it

farm couple

My name
is Stella, and this here is my partner Simon. Okay, so maybe that’s not
really us in the picture… but sometimes we feel like that! (you’ll get
to see us for real later on). Simon and I are forty-something (well,
okay, fifty-something) back-to-the-land, mother-earth-type Baby Boomers
who have wholeheartedly fallen for this homemade hydroponics thing.

live in paradise: beautiful, sunny Florida; and my internet adventures
pay my bills, allows me to work from home, and is also helping finance
our homemade hydroponics adventure and great escape back to the land. And I’ll tell you how this all came

beautiful Florida

people envy my lifestyle. Seems like everyone I know wants to work from
home these days. They remind me how difficult, tiring, and soul-killing
the 9 to 5 grind is, how expensive gas is, and that they dream about
earning a living from home too. Problem is, they don’t know how to even
get started on such an undertaking. Is it really possible for them to do
what I did?

About 10
years ago, I was also at that point in my life. I am an RN, and those 12
hour shifts in the ICU were taking their toll on my
physical (and emotional) health.  Someone’s gotta do it, but I had paid
my dues. I found a way out, I overcame the
obstacles, and so can you. How? Read my story…

   Our Previous Lives

grew his green thumb as a child, helping his mother grow huge, prolific
gardens in the rich black dirt of rural New Jersey. (You haven’t tasted
fresh corn on the cob ‘til you’ve tasted Jersey corn!)

As an adult,
though, Simon left his beloved “pine barrens” behind and migrated to the
city, where he overindulged his love of cars, motorcycles and boats.
Simon still adores his boys toys and can fix anything. More on him later.

Mother Earth News

(Stella) learned to love gardening during my own back-to-the land
adventure in rural Louisiana in the 1980s. There on 5 acres, I raised
two children, two horses, two dogs, a goat and some chickens.

Over the
next decade, I tried it all…. a square foot garden, a french intensive
garden, many large traditional plowed gardens, mulberry bushes,
pineapple patches, muscadine grape vineyards; I’ve canned pickles, home
brewed beer and made orange wine. I baked bread from scratch, made
home-made butter, froze green beans and canned tomatoes.

Homemade hydroponics existed, but I sure didn’t know about it  back in those days.

tilling a garden is hard work

was oh, so romantic, you know… growing our own fresh fruits and
veggies. But the reality of it is, it took a ton of hard work and
perseverance! To fight the bugs and the weeds. Crop production and
quality was always inconsistent… dependent on the soil, the weather,
and the pest invasions.

life events intervened, as they always seem to do, and by the 90s, I
found myself divorced with 2 kids, and living in the city. My Mother
Earth Adventure was but a fond distant memory.

   The “Project”

and I did not hook up until 2000. But we are now steadfast partners (and now married) in a
most amazing project. We decided long before the current global
financial meltdown that hard times were on the way. So we started
planning how WE could survive the future, no matter what happens.

we bought a 3-acre parcel of land in the Florida piney forest and are
in the planning stages of our own personal “survivalist” project. (Do I
smell another website?) Of course, when we started pondering the food
angle, gardening was to play a big role in our project.

living with the land exhibit

few years ago, we visited Epcot Center at Disney World in Orlando. We
toured the “Living With the Land” exhibit, which is an awesome
hydroponics project in action. Well, that was it… the wheels started
turning, and we were off and running with the homemade hydroponics method of

Since that time, we have
experimented, tinkered and learned with the 6 major hydroponics methods
widely used today. We have planted garden after garden in different
systems, configurations, seasons of the year, inside, outside, and many different types of crops.

prolific hydroponic garden

of our early gardens were inconsistent, as we learned the ropes. But
once we figured it out, let me tell you… none of my previous “outside
projects” can touch my homemade hydroponics gardens.

Simon and I are thoroughly
hooked on this gardening method, and it will play a big part in our
forest project.

We have also built a prototype ultimate food-factory homemade
hydroponics greenhouse, which will provide all the fruits & veggies
our family will need. A reasonably priced e-book with all the plans and instructions is due out very soon.

Update: We did it! Our new e-book is “hot off the presses”! (Not really, it’s an e-book for download). Read all about: 

         Simon’s Super Simple

On-The-Grid, Off-The-Grid Hydroponic/Aquaponic 

Survival Greenhouse

So now you know a little about me and
Simon. Although we are not absolute hydroponics experts, we know enough
to get you started in this fascinating and useful hobby.

Simon is a
great troubleshooter for our gardens, and keeps the units ship-shape.
He is a very interesting man with a wide range of interests. He has a
huge gun collection as well as over 200 antique Coleman lanterns. Here
he is with his favorite toy:

the ultimate man toy

(Nothing like an earth moving machine to keep a man happy!)

I am the organizer, researcher, writer,
and webmaster. Here I am working on one of our homemade hydroponics research projects (a
hydroponic grow-closet):

grow closet

   Leaving the Hospital Was
       The Best Move I Ever Made

hospital center

It was a scary thing, to leave a
top-paying professional job. But I was a burnt-out ICU nurse and I
needed a break! And when I finally quit bedside nursing, I decided I
wasn’t going to trade one miserable job for another. I was dead set on
staying home for a change.

I found a job typing medical reports online.
Although it was a huge cut in pay, it provided health insurance, and I
was so happy working online in my home office, far from the madding
crowd. My mental health was worth it. 

I gradually realized though,
that I needed another source of income in order to make ends meet. If
not, I was destined to return to the dreaded hospital work.

How could I
possibly go back after saying my final farewell to all those other poor
souls who were stuck there? They thought I was crazy to leave the
security of hospital work, and I was darned if I’d prove them right! What to do?

The solution… 

    …was sitting right in front of me!

desktop computer

My computer! And the ultimate answer was so simple, I wonder why it took me so many years to find it: Make a living doing what you love! You can. I’ll show you how I’m doing it.

passion is gardening, but you can do what I’m doing with any other passion,
hobby, skill, area of expertise… whatever it is that makes you happy.
And you can do it in your spare time!

anyway, I started looking at the internet in a different light, and
began to dream of making my own website. But I didn’t know a thing about
building a website! Was it hard? Could I learn how to do it?

I went online and started educating myself. I bought a beautiful page template, and invested in Front Page,
software which automatically turns your typing into html (web
language). I thought I was good to go.

But then I found out about the
search engines, and I learned that it wasn’t enough just to put together
a beautiful web page, you have to get it on page one or two of a Google
search, or no one will ever see it! (Or buy your stuff).

   A Twist of Fate

Hmmm….  more to starting a web business than I thought.
But I was not ready to give up my dream yet. There I was, poised to sign
up for an online “search engine optimization” e-course when I came
across something in a book I had bought about Front Page.

There tucked away in “Other Options to Consider”  was this short entry:

  Site Build It
is a unique all-in-one approach to Web site marketing and sales that
provides considerably much more than the traditional Web hosting
package. It is truly a one-of-a-kind company and system that is worth
seriously looking at.

  Included in this
unique service is a series of automated marketing tools and traffic
building features that are too numerous to list here. Site Build it is
the only service of its kind and should be examined by anyone looking at
Web strategy options”. *

Work From Home With SBI!

I did… I bought… and the rest is

I’ll be honest with you. There was plenty of hard
work in the beginning as my learning curve peaked. But the process got
much easier, the traffic built up, and the profits started coming in,
that made it easier, too.

My grief recovery site came about as an extension of my “day job” as a nurse with grief
counselor certification. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping grieving souls
through this website, and it has proven a much better fit for me in the
nursing arena.

Now Simon
and I have recently created this, hydroponics gardening site, to celebrate our love for hydro and help
spread the word about this healthy, clean and green gardening method.
This site is young, but is already getting lots of enthusiastic
visitors and positive feedback.

You don’t need multiple websites to succeed. There have been many SBI success stories from just one site. You can
get some more ideas from what other SBIers are doing.  Just have a look
at the  Case Studies .

I earn a substantial income from my websites. I probably work on them
an hour or two a day, and I truly love doing it, because I chose niches I
was passionate about. 

Each morning I
brew a big pot of coffee, and start checking my email in my PJs. Mama
Cat keeps an eye on me every day) 🙂

Mama cat

See what I have to deal with?

Have you recently found yourself among
the unemployed, or does your household need some extra income in order
to survive these tough financial times? Or do you just want the freedom
and calm lifestyle that working from home provides? Then give the Site Build It! system a look-see.   

Creating a website could change your life, just like it did mine!

“Never be afraid to try something new; remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.”

amateurs built the ark

: Since we posted this page, it has generated a lot of feedback and questions about SBI. So we decided to put together this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). 

      Good luck to you!

*[Using FrontPage 2003, © 2004 by Paul Colligan and Jim Cheshire, p934].


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