right now

right now

Apr 24, 2010

You are virtually invited!

I am hosting my annual "Seed Swap" Party this evening and I thought I would take a break from prepping to "virtually" invite you all over to our suburban homestead this evening for a night of seeds, seedlings, campfire in the garden, food & cocktails! While I know that it physically impossible for you to be here, know that if it was possible - all of you who regularly visit me would be first on my list! 6:00 pm... :)

p.s. there may be camoflauge, bb guns, and garden varmint fun late in the evening!

I hope to update you with photos tomorrow if things don't get out of hand, LOL! Some of these gardener types can get a little nuts if the moon is right...

Apr 22, 2010

Garden Now - Think Later!: Laundry Detergent Day

I have had several people ask for my laundry detergent recipe recently, so I am just going to link it here again! Happy Laundering!

Garden Now - Think Later!: Laundry Detergent Day
**note! Step 3 is missing the key ingredient water!! It should read "mix 6 cups of water with the soap to melt"
(for some reason, I can't edit the original post from so far back)

Powder Variation:
** To make powdered detergent, it's super easy! Mix 1 cup grated soap (Zote or similar), 1/2 cup Washing Soda, 1/2 cup Borax... I usually triple this recipe so it will last longer, and have been known to add 1/2 cup Oxyclean if I have it handy. The liquid recipe makes more, but when you need it quickly, nothing beats the powder since you can whip it up in less than 10 minutes and won't be tempted to buy it!

It's not easy bein' green... (I'm such a nerd!)

(Art by Finnegan!)

Ha! What did Kermit know anyways? It can be easy! In the spirit of bloggers celebrating Earth Day with posts, I thought I would chime in with my 2 cents! To be truthful, I didn't realize Earth Day was today, but I did know it was sometime this month - that's because we try our best to do good things everyday, not just today. Preaching to the choir, again, huh?!

We are not militant by any means, and I rarely get involved in huge community green events like turning all the lights off at a certain hour, etc, preferring instead to focus on our family and our life. This may be considered by some to be a little self centered when it comes to being "green", but hey, it's easier to see results from things implemented at home and personally I am really "bugged" by the people preaching green and spending big bucks to do it but not truly getting the whole picture. I think that if everyone worried more about their own little patch of earth instead of the world, the results would be quicker and the end result the same! Aren't we all more apt to do things that affect us personally?

It's always good to reaffirm what we do here at our suburban homestead, and also be able to look and see what's lacking. So here is our list:

  1. We grow our own vegetables. To the point that potatoes, onions and carrots are the only thing purchased at the store, which is only due to the fact that climate prevents us from storing things properly for winter. If it ain't growin outside this time of year, I'm not eatin' it!
  2. Canning/Preserving. This is getting better every year as I become more comfortable with the process and better at carving out sections of time to devote to this.
  3. Composting. We no longer purchase soil that has been carved from someone else's future home site and bagged for our convenience!
  4. Recycling. Any cardboard gets recycled into the garden either as a weed barrier or into the compost, and all other things go into the recycle bin that can't be reused. I am the queen of repurposing things around here, so we have many objects that were originally intended for something else.
  5. Transportation. We drive responsibly. We own two fuel efficient Subarus instead of gas guzzling minivans and SUV's. I combine errands into one weekly trip and hubby bikes to work, even in the winter!
  6. Pets. Pets? Our dogs were rescues (recycled), and I just repurposed their dog hair from their brush into a suet cage for the birds to forage for nesting material, LOL!
  7. Cleaning: I have not purchased laundry detergent in well over a year. I make my own here at home as well as household cleaners. It's cheaper, and contains less harmful chemicals.
  8. Pesticides: I don't spray for anything unless it is absolutely necessary, preferring companion planting, beneficial insects and organic methods and being okay with a certain amount of plant loss first.
  9. Wildlife: We do our best here to plant as many native plants and things for all our friends, forage plants and shelter for birds, nesting materials, several water sources and plenty of plants specific to butterflies and bees. While our surrounding area is devoid of such wildlife, we are rewarded with many birds, hummingbirds, copious mason and bumblebees, frogs, toads, butterflies and lots of ladybugs and praying mantis!
  10. We of course do the standard reusable shopping bags and buying organic products when we can afford to do so.
  11. Meat: we made the commitment to be more sustainable and humane in our eating. For over a year, we have sourced our beef and pork from a local grass fed, humanely raised and slaughtered farm. As of right now, we cannot afford to add chicken to the list, so we have compromised by eating much less of it. We don't eat meat as often, but when we do, it tastes soooo much better! One day we will have our own chickens and that will solve the chicken & egg issue.
  12. Beer! Hubby would be upset if I didn't mention the Family Brewery - by brewing our own we control what goes into it, and we use recycled bottles and he recycled 5 gal soda kegs and built his own kegerator! If that isn't green enough, we are growing a few of our own brewing spices and this is the first year of the Hop Yard. We are growing Cascade Hops and by this fall will be enjoying brew from our very own garden, and I don't care who you are, THAT'S GREEN!
So with thoughts of ale hopped and brewed from your very own patch of earth, I leave you to your own Earth Day musings.... have a happy day! I am such a nerd...

Apr 20, 2010

Where does the time go?

With hubby deploying in less than a month, I honestly haven't been able to fit blogging into my day lately, but I'm still here! Some random pics from the past few days:

Yes, that's TWO dogs... can you find them? The blend together like this every evening, apparently they have plenty of time to relax!

We don't have time to fit a camping trip in before daddy leaves, so when he put a brisket on the smoker early Saturday morning, I woke them up and fed them breakfast outside on a cool morning for a backyard camping simulation, daddy even smeared charcoal wood chips on their faces for camp-dirt effect.

We were able to harvest a salad dinner Saturday evening, I pulled a few baby radishes out since in the absence of fresh tomatoes I needed a little color! The salads were topped with grilled chicken, and the kids didn't complain - score! Of course we aren't used to our summer diet yet so we were hungry again in a few hours!

What's this? A time out? I should probably be blogging right about then, but I couldn't resist lounging with my girls for a few minutes.

Gotta run now, seedlings are calling - and weeds, and oil spray for the apple trees, and birdfeeders, seed sowing, watering, party planning, swim lessons, laundry, and oh yeah- I have to take care of my kids somewhere in there!