We had a bumper crop of lilacs this year. My neighbor commented that his trees were so full of blossoms that he couldn't see the leaves. My small tree was loaded, too, so it seemed like a good year to experiment with eating some of them. One of my closest friends has made candied lilacs for her daughter's birthday for years by brushing the delicate blooms with egg white and and sprinkling them with superfine sugar, but I didn't think that would have as much appeal for my boys. They generally prefer volume to intricacy. [Read more…]
Planting and growing peas may not be the most efficient use of space in your garden, but the flavor of home grown peas knocks the socks off most commercial peas. If you want more yield per square foot, grow snap peas so you can eat the pod and the peas inside. Pea plants are also great to include in your garden rotation because they can help add nitrogen to the soil. In this post we'll cover pea growing from planting to harvest. [Read more…]
“Mycorrhizal Planet – How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Fertility” by Michael Phillips provides information that everyone who works with plants should know. The information in this book will radically change the way you look at soil and plant health.
Mycorrhizal Planet shifts the focus from killing insects and fighting disease to building vigorous, thriving ecosystems with plant and fungi partnerships. Strong plants are naturally resistant to attack – and provide more nutrient dense food. Mycorrhizal networks are the glue that holds everything together, partnering with plants and bacteria in ways that are only now becoming better understood. Kill the fungi, and you cut off the plant's access to more nutrients. [Read more…]
I love the smell of laundry fresh off the line – but I don't love having cheap, flimsy clothespins launch themselves off the line in pieces or finding heavy, wet items dropped on the ground below the line. Since our laundry line is on our elevated deck, when laundry drops, it really drops, falling over ten feet down. I was hanging clothes recently and thinking, “It sure would be nice if someone started making heavy duty clothespins again.”
Ask and ye shall receive, because the next time I checked my inbox, there was a message from Hilary of Kevin's Quality Clothespins, letting me know about their heavy duty, American made clothespins. I received a sample set of 10 for review. [Read more…]
My stove gets a workout. Between cooking from scratch and canning and preserving, there are plenty of spills, drips and stains. I wipe up the main surfaces daily, often multiple times per day, but the drip pans and the grates over the burners are usually too hot to clean until later – when I'm on to another task. In the over, things do run over occasionally, so that must be dealt with as well. When I went searching for “natural stove cleaners” and “natural stove top cleaners”, I came up with images of stoves with just minor baked on smudges and smears. I figured I can't be the only one out there with a really grimy stove looking for a non-toxic option, so I decided to share what works for me. [Read more…]
Starting seeds indoors is a must for northern gardeners who want to grow warm weather crops like tomatoes, but it can be a boon to any garden. Many plants do better when placed in the garden as transplants. See “When Should I Start Seeds? Printable Seed Starting Calendar” for a list of which plants to start inside and which to direct seed in the garden.
Sure, you can pick up transplants at your local garden center or big box parking lot, but starting seeds at home gives you access to many more varieties. It’s also fun! More on why I start seeds later in the post, but first, let’s get planting! [Read more…]
- How much help you have
- The level of cleanliness you desire, and
- How much maintenance cleaning you do throughout the year
For some spring cleaning means scrubbing every square inch. For others it means chasing out the biggest dust bunnies, clearing some cobwebs, and donating a few items that are no longer of use.
Even if you don’t enjoy the act of cleaning, the end result – a clean home – will probably improve your mood. Studies have linked clutter with an inability to focus and depression. Clear your space, clear your mind. [Read more…]
I was looking for something a little different to do with the rhubarb bounty this year when I came across a fruited pudding cake recipe in the Favorite Recipes of America – Desserts cookbook from 1968. The original recipe calls for “any fruit, fresh or canned”, so I figured “Why not rhubarb?” Thus, rhubarb pudding cake was born. The recipe is quite sweet, even with the tartness of rhubarb. You could cut back a little on the sugar in the sugar/cornstarch mix if you like. [Read more…]
These Cranberry-Walnut Powerballs remind me of a no-bake cookie recipe that used to be popular when I was a kid, but are even better. I still remember going to see The Jungle Book with my best friend, Emma, and her mom, smuggling in no bake cookies in our coat pockets. We liked to live on the wild side. 😉 [Read more…]
Want to learn how to start a garden, but not sure where to begin? In this post I’ll cover the basic steps of gardening, and provide links to more detailed information so you can garden with confidence and have fun doing it. Get ready to enjoy some of the best tasting fruits, vegetables and herbs you've even eaten.