Sunday, July 31, 2011

Full Days

Oh my goodness this weekend was great... and I didn't really leave my house so even better.

Things accomplished this weekend:

  • Hit up the local consignment shops semi-annual 50% off sale - got exactly what we'd had our eye on for a month, more to come on this later.

  • ALL the Laundry done - with four adults and one poop-tastic baby this is an accomplishment.

  • Groceries.

  • Canned bread and butter pickles

  • Canned apple butter, which is more like canned apple strudel filling because of my lack of the ability to purée at the moment... so yay! 5 pints of strudel filling!

  • Cut my second batch of oregano and crumbled the first batch into a jar!  I'm rather shocked how much this little plant is providing.

  • Picked more little tomatoes and a few peppers, still waiting for the big ones to turn red

  • Made my favorite broccoli, spinach, bacon and cheese Quiche

  • Made my favorite Quiche again after the pie plate exploded and got glass everywhere, including the Quiche mix.

  • Realized that was my only available pie plate and MADE DO with a deep dish round casserole dish... Deep Dish Quiché is now our favorite.

  • Got caught up on Dr. Who - have said goodbye to Mr. Tennant and will begin to adjust to Matt Smith's goofy face in the coming weeks (months really as it took me a year to finish the last half of the last Tennant season... mainly out of denial)

  • I'm about 50% done with the sleeves to my Sweater... hopefully blocking will happen next week and I'll be able to sew it up with a few days to spare on my deadline!

  • Finally found a Church to attend and am getting things lined up to finally get the kiddo baptised!  Hallelujah and "Praise Jesus" (this has to be said in a deep East Texas drawl and is really more of a family joke now that my husband has people say it to him all the time when he saves them money on their car insurance).


Full days are the best... you know the ones - the kind that keep you busy, but are anything but busy.

Needless to say, we're a little bushed here... time for a nap...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

{Weekend Wonders}

{Weekend Wonders}  – A little something to read while drinking your coffee Saturday morning in the hopes that it will give you something to think about, talk about or the inspiration to do something!

Today we have a {Weekend Wonders} foreign language lesson:

Kummerspeck - German, defined as the weight gained from emotional over eating.


Literally -


GriefBacon.


mmmm.... Grief Bacon....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tomato-pocalypse

Ducked outside for a moment just a few minutes ago and found this...



What the h- okay I won't disgrace myself by sharing the colloquialisms that came out of my mouth in rapid fire succession.

I did quickly find the culprit, who looked something like this...


(not the real "you know what", as I wasn't going to give him another second to munch at my hard work while I got my camera)


That is before I chucked him into the yard where he will hopefully fill the belly of an obliging bird.

I have to say I got pretty good distance and it was more than satisfying seeing his smug little green body sailing through the air.



There seems to be damage one of my other tomato plants, but I couldn't find anything.  However I'll be back tomorrow morning with - as Mad Eye Moody says - constant vigilance!

We've survived the great strawberry slaughter of 2011 and the powdery mildew epidemic... we'll get through this!

p.s. that's not photographic ambiance or my inability to focus - it's so darn humid out I couldn't keep the lens from fogging over for more than a few seconds!

Tomato-pocalypse

Ducked outside for a moment just a few minutes ago and found this...



What the h- okay I won't disgrace myself by sharing the colloquialisms that came out of my mouth in rapid fire succession.

I did quickly find the culprit, who looked something like this...


(not the real "you know what", as I wasn't going to give him another second to munch at my hard work while I got my camera)


That is before I chucked him into the yard where he will hopefully fill the belly of an obliging bird.

I have to say I got pretty good distance and it was more than satisfying seeing his smug little green body sailing through the air.



There seems to be damage one of my other tomato plants, but I couldn't find anything.  However I'll be back tomorrow morning with - as Mad Eye Moody says - constant vigilance!

We've survived the great strawberry slaughter of 2011 and the powdery mildew epidemic... we'll get through this!

p.s. that's not photographic ambiance or my inability to focus - it's so darn humid out I couldn't keep the lens from fogging over for more than a few seconds!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Molly Makes {A Thrifting Score}

Oh, thrifting how I love you.  You've provided us with the majority of our clothes and furniture and now you give us this!



I was doing a quick check at my local consignment shop (checking up on a couch we're waiting on to drop in price) when I did a quick check of the housewares.  I've been on the look out for new-to-me tableware for about two years now as the chipped and dwindling set I have left over from college is no longer cutting it and there, after years of waiting was this.



A Vintage Turquoise and Gold Pyrex Tableware set.  Now, it's not complete - I need to find myself some bowls and another cup, and some salad/desert plates would be nice - but I haven't gotten to the best part.  The entire set was marked at $14.99, a steal for vintage anything and a further steal that I didn't have to pay a cent because of the store credit I have from selling items.  But here's the sweet spot.  I came home and jumped on eBay to find that $14.99 is what most people are asking for one or two plates, let alone a good chunk of a complete set and why?  It might have to do with the fact that the Gold part of "Turquoise and Gold" is real gold, possibly 22K gold according to one source.



Well, now I know what I'll be asking for birthday's and holidays for awhile.

Anyone else struck thrifting gold recently?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Update

A quick little update.  Above you'll now find "The Make Do Library" - selection of books I've found informative, entertaining and useful in areas like simple living, crafts and cooking!

Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite resources?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I am Simple.

I've tried writing post after post on how I discovered Voluntary Simplicity (Duane Elgin and Your Money or Your Life) and homesteading skills ( one part renaissance woman, one part environmental/economic skeptic, with a hint of I-was-born-in-the-wrong generation and liberal helping of introverted homebody).  Other people on more focused sites (see my links bar) can give you more information on the details of these movements or you can shoot me a message whenever if you'd really like my rambling two-cents.  However, this blog is mine and it's my spot to shine so this is what I've got to share with you.

I believe more is less and less is more


I am not afraid of bug bites, bruises and farmer tans


I am proud of my well-being, my accomplishments big and small, my family and my home


I welcome the traditions that come with the seasons of nature and the seasons of life


I am more comfortable with dirt under my nails than with nail polish on top of them


I am prepared because life is full of surprises and big or small I like to know we could get through it a bit better


I am believe handmade things are not just things; they become something more, something special, because someone has spent the time and energy to create them


I believe the best knowledge comes from hard work, good books and first hand experience


I am not insulted to be called practical, resourceful, frugal or quaint... these are not four letter words to me


I probably don't know what T.V. show you're talking about


I am certain I've never seen that commercial either


I am definitely not fashionable


I am know there is a difference between what I want and what I need


I believe everything I've been given from the clothes on my back to the water in my glass to be a gift and gifts should be cared for, thanked for and passed on


I am nothing new;


I am Simple.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

{Weekend Wonders}

{Weekend Wonders}  – A little something to read while drinking your coffee Saturday morning in the hopes that it will give you something to think about, talk about or the inspiration to do something!

A Liter of Light - please follow the link below to see how a soda bottle of water and bleach is bringing light to the poor!

http://www.reuters.com/resources_v2/flash/video_embed.swf?videoId=216968892

Some Days


  • Some days it's just too darn hot

  • Some days you go a little DVD happy with the new BBC collection  at Target

  • Some days you kind of half - a** redoing the fence around the garden

  • Some days you take a lot of naps just because the brown-out gives you a good reason to

  • Some days you take a few more naps even though the power is back up

  • Some days popcorn is the best option for dinner

  • Some days are just better spent as they come


 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8akvxDJQVc&w=560&h=349]

 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Molly Makes {The Front Page}

Bonus Molly Makes today! I made the front page...

well kind of...

sort of...

in my mind...

Anyways I was tickled pink to find a message waiting for me when I logged into Ravelry yesterday.  Someone wanted to make a photo of one of my knits a feature photo for the patterned.  I'm thrilled to be a featured photo for the Montse Beret, which happens to be my favorite hat pattern (with close second being the Purl Soho Simple Pleasure's Hat).  It's a fantastic pattern that is quick to knit and easy to complete with one skein - perfect for a holiday present.  As you can see HERE I've done just that ... and knit myself a few because of my uncanny hat-loosing ability (really, I'll mourn the loss of my 1st Montse Beret for years to come).

Speaking of my 1st Monste and how much I miss it... I give you the 2009 Christmas Card featuring my favorite, long lost hat...

okay, yeah, you can barely see the hat... but I love this picture!  =D

Molly Makes {A Deal Part II}

A few months ago I came across a Test and Sample Knitters group on Ravelry.  I've had sample/test knitting in mind for a while as a make-do sort of way to fuel the crafting bug.  When in Oregon I would take on work - knitting things for others with a few caveats 1) they purchased all needed supplies except needles, etc. 2) I got to keep the pattern and any leftovers and 3) I got to make it on my time.  I made a few things this way and have kept it in mind as I moved, yet again, across the country.

It wasn't long before the perfect test knitting opportunity came up.  A fellow ravel-er wanted people to test knit vintage patterns that she was selling, offered with free pattern was free recycled yarn and as an added bonus, in exchanged for nice pictures and words on a blog I got to keep my finished pattern.  I got a 2 month from receipt due date and have knitting consistently in all my (copious) downtown time since mid-june.



I'm pleased to say so far  I've completed the two fronts and back.  The arms are started and on their way.  With a little elbow grease and a late night or two I think I should be able to get this finished by my August date.

So far it's a great little pattern.  I chose it because I wanted a nice fall weight and style sweater, perfect for throwing on for chores or quick trips to the store.  As a vintage pattern it's not geared toward the real beginner, you need to know your increases and decreases as the pattern on tells you to do so, but is lack on what type to use.  You also need to be able juxtapose instructions as complete instructions are only given for one side and then with the instruction to reverse for the other - with plenty of "work as for back" thrown in there for good measure.



The yarn she chose for me was fantastic too, I was given an unraveled XL sweater and she even thought to include the tag for care instructions.  Now, recycled yarn (as seen here) does not look like yarn from a fresh skein of yarn, however it's a great way to make-do with what you have and I haven't found that it takes any different type of work to use.

As a test knitter I will be making this sweater exactly to the specifications of the instructions - no changing gauge, # of stitches or details so I'm preparing myself for the reality that when it's done it may or may not be perfect for me, but so far I love the pattern and can see myself knitting it again with little bother.  Just remember when using a vintage pattern that they are written with the aesthetic and average body shape and size of the time in mind.

I'm excited to share this and other opportunities as they arise in the hopes that others can see that there are ways to fuel our creative interests without breaking the bank.  Combining your crafting pursuits with charities, the holidays or doing things just for others who can't (or don't want to) are all fantastic ways to keep your fingers busy!

Please visit the SweaterGirlKnits recycled yarn store HERE and the pattern store HERE.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Haul 2

I plan on giving a regular tally of what the garden produces this year, I'd like to see (approximately) the amount, in dollars, the garden has saved us.

So far the crop is small.

3 Strawberries

2 yellow peppers

3/4 lb of zucchini

1 1/2 lbs of cucumbers

1/2 of small red and orange tomatoes

 

1 bunch of radishes

Basil - amount to be determined

Oregano - TBD

Cilantro - TBD



 



 



 

We just got back from our first road trip with Little Bear to visit so relatives, we're beat and while I was gone all the pumpkin plants decided that they wanted to take over the garden.  Lots of work to bed done - probably will need to get up early tomorrow to beat the heat.

I'm loosing hope in my cucumber and zucchini plants, I think the powdery mildew is winning on the cucumber and we're not getting a lot of pollination on the zucchini.  I've come to realize I'm not too upset about the later as I'm not much of a zucchini eater, in fact I might just skip it all together next year along with making sure I buy PM-resistant cucumbers.

I did plant a few string bean plants in the garden last week for a late harvest/nitrogen refueling attempt and I'm just hoping I can keep the pumpkins from sprawling across the white onions and carrots long enough to get a harvest.  And if I had been here this weekend I could have gotten a few more strawberries of the vine before heat and birds did them in; oh well, the runners are still going strong so I'm hoping for lots of strawberries next year!

In a few weeks we'll be in tomato and pepper overload.

Over all, with all the successes and failures so far, not too bad for my first real attempt at a garden!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

{Weekend Wonders}

{Weekend Wonders}  – A little something to read while drinking your coffee Saturday morning in the hopes that it will give you something to think about, talk about or the inspiration to do something!


Seriously folks... you are what you see.


;)


What are you reading this weekend?


I've got the second Game of Thrones book, Grit Magazine and National Geographic to keep me occupied on our road trip.


Found here

Financial Expectations

Wow!  Hello visitors from Notes From the Frugal Trenches... I don't know what I said, but I hope a couple of you will stick around.  Since it was my comment on financial expectations that gathered such a large migration I thought I'd take a  minute and expand a little.  Pardon if I don't give exact facts and figures... I'm just not that kind of gal ;)

You can catch up on our current living situation Here.  and Here. To expand more on our plans since that post we are working under the idea that (unless we find another offer too good to pass up) we are going to buy the house we're sharing with my folks when they retire.  Hopefully in the next year or so.  Housing prices in our area are kind of ridiculous - what my parents paid for a duplex in the mid-90's will get you a really shabby condo/apartment today - so the deals are few and far between.

So here are my Financial Expectations

1) Housing - Having a good roof over our heads is incredibly important.  It's why were living the way we are instead of just paying too much money for an apartment or shabby condo.  With the idea that we are taking over this property in a couple of years we are helping with repairs and updates.  We also exchange general chores and maintenance for rent.  Since we moved in we've been able to save about half of what I'd like to have for a down-payment and that with not working for almost 3 months because of pregnancy and about 4 months of myself making minimum wage.  Sometimes it's hard and feels like we're so behind everyone else our age when the "I should have"'s strike, but you can read here about my realizations that the modern idea of having the house, the car, the everything before you're 30 is really quite a new idea and not necessarily good for our generation.

2) Bill Paying - Here you can read about how we're almost out of consumer related debt, except for those pesky student loans.  Since I've been back to work we've put the equivalent of a good mortgage payment to finishing paying off this lump and when it's done it's done.  We've decided any future cars will be paid for in cash, along with furniture, vacations, etc.  While we do keep a credit card open it is truly just for emergencies and the limit is low enough to pay off in about a year or less of penny-pinching.  The rest of our bills always come out direct deposit so they're always on time and I keep a calendar of the due dates and amounts to check against my checking account balance.  We  are big proponents of "if we don't have it we don't spend it" and it's amazing how much that frame of mind keeps you out of trouble.

3) Investing - While food and the essentials are on the list, this is what I'd rather share.  I'm all about investing in our future.  This comes in many ways.  One way is new to us do to better jobs this last years in investing in terms of insurance and retirement.  Both my husband and I have retirement accounts now - I can't remember his specifics, but my employer puts in 10% for my 5%, this means 15% of my income each year gets put in a retirement account.  We're also insured, not just health insurance though I'd be lying if I said the reason I got into the place I work wasn't due in part to their health insurance plan (for the first time, I don't have to pay for my family's health insurance) to throw out a number that means we get about $400 a month back into my husbands paycheck.  Between that number and the number we'll no longer be putting towards debt is our housing payments - mortgage and utilities.  The other way our jobs help us to invest is by offering us insurance in case of emergencies.  We are now covered so that if anything were to happen to me, my husband or both of us the remaining members of our family (the one spouse and child or just child) could live comfortably without the income we give.  It's comforting to know that if something tragic were to happen to my husband and I that Henry would have access to money that we'd spend on him anyways and not be a financial burden to his guardians.

We also invest in what comes into our homes.  This is the part that always seems to go against frugal living, but we're not afraid of spending money if the money is well spent.  While we're always on the look out for a good deal, we invest in the things that fill our homes with the hopes that each couch, dresser, plates and cup that we buy will live a long and useful life.  In the last couple years we've made it a point to only buy furniture with longevity in mind - a $150  quality (often vintage or antique) bookcase or dresser will often cost less in the long run than multiple $30 cheap versions of the same thing.  While we are big proponents of consignment store clothing, we still look for quality and often wait for end of the season sales to stock up on things for the next year so that we won't have to run out and buy a $25 swimsuit for the kid because we got one for 40 cents, bare or never worn, at the consignment shop the previous year.  Purchases that cannot be thrifted are bought with forethought and reason and usually after months of searching for just the right thing - take for example my $40 leather satchel purse; I looked for this for about a year until I found exactly what I was looking for at the price I wanted.  It's a quality piece that I intend to use until it falls apart and is reincarnated into a new cow and then I'll probably wait, track it down and use it again ;D.  Even things that fall into the "want" class are bought on considered basis - movies, books, music are all considered for their longevity, purchasing only the ones that we feel we'll enjoy for years to come.

In a nutshell our financial expectations are fairly basic - a roof over our heads, basic needs always taken care of, etc.  We take care of these things first, don't beat ourselves up if an expense comes up and takes a chunk out of the account or we don't stick to our budget 100% all the time.  We take care of the needs first, but don't deny ourselves the occasional want.  And while sometimes it's hard to shut off the voice that tells you "you have failed because you don't have a fancy job, a huge house and your kids does have a million toys and never will" we are 100% that we are setting the stones for a really good life down the road.  In fact it makes us more secure in our marriage knowing that we are working toward similar goals and have a trusting relationship with our money and how we spend it since financial troubles are one of the largest reasons for marriage failure.  Just like FT and her friend we have things that are more important to us (security, a desire to grow our family, etc.) than having a fashionable wardrobe and all the latest gadgets and so far it works for us!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Molly Makes {Jam}

and a mess - mess not shown due to the "I don't quite know what I'm doing, I'm learning this out of a book" panic of this first batch.  Word to the wise, when buying can supplies with in the intent of jam making, buy an old fashion potato smasher.



The haul here - I went a little over board with the strawberries I think.  But the smaller boxes were sub-par and I only managed to get about half a box of usable strawberries out of each.  One of the larger boxes went to strawberry pie and the other is waiting for today (Wednesday) to see what becomes of it.  The cucumbers are for pickling, more on that to come!

For my teacher I used the classic Ball Blue Book and found it an amazing resources.  Really, it's full of great information and easy to follow diagrams.



If you think canning looks complicated, it's really not so bad.  It's about timing and planning that's for certain, but I managed to make and cleanup after this batch in about an hour and half (not counting the half hour-ish I spent cutting up the strawberries earlier that day).

The true test of this first batch is yet to come, the remains that were cooling on the stove were delicious, but I've decided to wait a little bit to make sure I sealed them right and nothing rots/spoils.

The most important thing I've learned in this years strawberry adventures (with the store-bought and my few precious berries from my backyard) is that the store-bought have been fooling me for almost 30 years!  Yep, I'm kind of naïve for a native  Iowan, but I never realized before this year that strawberries are not meant to be hallow and white on the inside.  Real berries are ALL berry and you'll never want to go back to the imposters after you've realized that.  So now I have very high expectations of next years backyard strawberry crop.

Dill Pickles were attempted yet, and still on the list is perhaps one more batch of jam, apple butter and bread and butter pickles.  Honestly, this will probably be the extent of my canning this year (start small), but I still have plans for some freezing in the future.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How does your garden grow?

I have to say, strawberry massacre and powdery mildew aside, I'm quite impressed at how the garden is going this year.  Honestly it's my first time really trying to grow a large amount of things and I seem to have a good instinct for it all.  That being said I do come from a long line of farmers and my great-grandfather on the non-farmer side was said to be able to grow anything!

Here's the view -

Tomatoes ripening or just growing, and growing.





Cucumbers on their way.



Zucchini, of course, zucchini.



Peppers.



Radishes popping up.



A carrot forest.



My impromptu squash trellis -  not to bad for five minutes research (i.e. "okay, I'm not crazy for wanting to give them vertical room") and about 10 minutes search for scraps in the basement and garage.



Last, but not least - the most amazing thing in the world (you know aside from Little Bear and Dr. Pepper) the Bug Bag, particularly the Japanese Beetle Bug Bag.  This thing is amazing and it attract a swarm of beetle within 5 minutes of opening.  I mean it, I had beetles following me as I set it up and it was a quarter full when I came home 8 hours later.



Things are looking good - suggestions on how to keep the powdery mildew from destroying my zucchini and cucumbers welcomed - and I'm planning on putting a few bush beans in around the corn to help with any nitrogen depletion.  Still on the docket - weeding, so much weeding on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

{Weekend Wonders}

{Weekend Wonders}  – A little something to read while drinking your coffee Saturday morning in the hopes that it will give you something to think about, talk about or the inspiration to do something!



From Root Simple

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Uncouth

Forgive me, I know it is uncouth to speak of money and finances, in front of friends.  However I'd like to take this moment to bask in our bank account.

Please, before I continue let me point out, we are in no way wealthy or really even well off.  What I'm about to confide in you have come from just under two years of determination and sacrifice.

October 2009 after being inspired by "Your Money or Your Life", and by my husband getting a promotion, I decided we were going to get out of debt... completely out of debt and the sooner the better.  We had two types of debt, school loans and consumer.  The school loans I knew we'd have until we didn't have anymore, but I could do something about the consumer loans.  The CL were a combination moving expenses, wedding expenses, and a car - the majority was the car, about 75% - luckily I can say that very little to none of our CL was just a racked up credit card of "just because I NEED it" purchases.

So here's my moment... currently in our bank account we have more money saved than the total of the CL two years ago and we have about three months left until we have no CL at all.

That's right in two years - with job changes, moving cross-country, purchasing a second car and baby - we will have managed to not only pay off our CL, but save an equal amount of money.

Currently I'm basking in the glow of my bank account and damn proud.

Let me reiterate - this was not accomplished without sacrifice and the majority of the money we saved was due to our current living arrangements with my parents - but it can be done and once you've cleared those debts and realized how much extra work went into it it'll be that much hard to "just spend" in the future.

Now I feel like we're that much more on our feet and prepared for the future - student loans will continue to be paid off, daycare costs will go down with age and our paychecks will get larger.  We might not have everything we want, but we have what we need.

Now to continue to plan for the future - the biggest hurdle is home buying.  We live in an area that is not cheap - what my parents paid for their first new duplex in this area almost 20 years ago will get you a rather cruddy condo and being that Iowa is a mainly rural state the cheap country housing is often negated by fuel costs.  Even if we get to follow thru with my desire to purchase my parents home when they retire there's still a large chunk to be saved.

So there's still a long ways to go and sometimes I wish I could throw in my fiscal responsibility towel along with my caution into the wind and go out and purchase the first house I love even if I can't afford a good down payment or if they mortgage will make me house poor for twenty years.  But for now I feel proud and accomplished and who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Molly Makes {Dirt}

I'd like introduce you to the newest member of my family.  This is Bob, my compost bin.



He's like a big, plastic member of the family.  He enjoys lazy afternoons in the shade of the defunct apple tree and turning garbage into food.  Originally Bob was a couple of plastic storage bins under the deck,



but we upgraded him when we found Bob 2.0 at a tag sale for $30 bucks (most composters hover around the $100 + range and it was high on my Christmas List).

Starting a compost pile is relatively easy.  Collect stuff, let it rot, feed it to plants.  Of course there are many ways to go about it - compost bins, vermicompost, compost tea, but the end result is great - fewer bags going to the landfill and readily available nutrients for your garden - veggie or flower!

Things that Bob likes to eat include -

  • Small sticks and twigs

  • Dead Leaves

  • Weeds from the garden

  • Veggies Scraps from the kitchen

  • Egg Shells

  • Basic paper, cardboard and egg crates (except for egg crates I try not to put any paper in that I can't verify the type of ink used)

  • Grass Clippings - great for compost as they decompose quickly

  • Cotton dishrags that are past their prime - I went thru a stack of old towels and dishrags that were old, full of holes or to scratching to be chosen post-bath and ripped them up and fed them to Bob last week!


Things I need to remember Bob can eat -

  • Coffee grounds and Tea bags

  • Plainly cooked pasta & rice

  • Stale (not moldy!) breads, crackers, etc.

  • Old herbs and spices

  • Spent Toilet Paper rolls

  • Animal Fur

  • Freezer burned fruits and veggies


More lists can be found Here, and Here

One thing I haven't seen on any lists are crafting waste - I'm assuming if I have thread/yarn/etc. leftover that are 100% wool, cotton or other natural fiber Bob would be happy to munch on them!

I swear we put at least one bag less of garbage in the garbage bin each week just by composting the basics and with the amount of "waste" Henry produces each week one less bag makes me happy.  Once the garage gets a good clean out this summer I hope to kick my recycling habits back into high gear and really make an impact on how much landfill garbage we put on the curb each week.

Does anyone have advice for composting dairy products like expired yogurt and moldy cheese - I'd like to add this to my pile but am worried about encouraging molds to to spread or insects to multiply.  Any advice?

The Haul

I plan on giving a regular tally of what the garden produces this year, I'd like to see (approximately) the amount, in dollars, the garden has saved us.

So far the crop is small.

2 Strawberries

1/2 lb of zucchini

Basil - amount to be determined

Oregano - TBD

On the way soon peppers, more zucchini (if I can get more fruit to pollinate), cucumbers and radishes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Busy Weekend


First off - Happy Fourth of July to all my USAmericans!  Sadly, though I had the weekend off, today is just another day back at work!

Speaking of the this weekend, boy was it busy.  Not crazy hectic busy, rather just full and productive.  We did a lot of cleaning, gardening and shopping.  We have quite a few containers of things for the Goodwill and the consignment shop and nice organized closest again.  We hit up the farm supply stores for some essentials as I'm turning my mother on to the benefits of bulk buys for essentials.  We also got our canning supplies!  I'm so excited to be starting down this road in the next week or two!  I also harvesting my first bunch of oregano (drying in a dry basement closet) and basil (chopped up and mixed with a little olive oil in the freezer)!

One little sidetrack - can I just say how much I love home/farm supply stores.  While they're just as jam-packed with things as any Wal-Mart I love the feeling of being surrounded by goods that really serve a purpose when shopping.  I like that I can ask the employees for things like stakes, fencing, pickling lime and zip-ties and not be given a blank stare.  I like seeing that people other than me buy clothes to last more than a 4 month fashion season and raise animals that would never fit in a handbag.  I ::heart:: farm/home stores!  Do you?

The coming couple of months are going to be busy!  The garden is really starting to come alive.  I'll have my first zucchini by the end of the week, and we seem to be winning the powdery mildew battle and I should have cucumbers still!  Except for a strawberry plant slaughter by a friendly deer everything is going so well! There are going to be things to harvest, family to visit and a Little Bear (aka Henry) to encourage.



As you can see he started on mushy foods this last week and there's no turning back - he loves the stuff and while we have a nice little supply of organic baby foods my goal is to be making most of it.  So next week I'll be in the kitchen pureeing carrots, sweet potatoes and peas like a mad woman.  I can't get a graphic to post so please go HERE!!! for a great list of foods that are low/high in pesticides!

We're also in the market to get a chest or standing freezer and were out pricing the  other day and came across this failure in product description.  It made us laugh, perhaps a little to loud.



 

How was your weekend?

 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why?

Because it's late and I got the baby to sleep using mommy magic and he's still asleep and I had time to surf pinterest a little more and did I mention I'm magic?



Here's to what will hopefully be a productive first foray into a new skill!  You know... just in case of solar flares, zombie apocalypse or The Change.

 

 

{Weekend Wonders}

{Weekend Wonders}  – A little something to read while drinking your coffee Saturday morning in the hopes that it will give you something to think about, talk about or the inspiration to do something!

 

A little whimsy for this weekend - via Pinterest - because I just ran out of time to find something really relating to the 4th.  Have a happy, safe holiday and