Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lenten Sacrifice

It's been a long time since I gave anything up for Lent. A really long time. So this year, I decided to give up buying new things. Obviously groceries are OK. But other than that, nothing. I have to host Bunco next month, so I'll have to buy prizes for that, but it will be the only exception. Wish me luck, haha.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Seeds and Succession Planting

So now that both of my boys are a bit bigger (and therefore less work) I'd like to try to start some of my own seeds this year, and try to be more organized for succession "farming". The idea behind succession farming is that you start and plant things in waves, so that different things are ripe at different times, and some things (like root vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce) are planted more than once in a season.

Like I've mentioned before, I am someone who tends to go big or go home. In an all or nothing kind of way. One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to try not to do that so much. Bite off what I think I can chew. And be OK with it if the journey is not quite what I wanted it to be.

Ideally I would have a little green house in my backyard and I would start all of my garden from seeds at exactly the right time and I'd transfer them at the right time and I'd harvest and preserve and none of it would go to waste. And then I would plant cover crops for the winter and work in compost in the spring.

And if all that happened I would have no time for anything else. Literally. I am not a homesteader, even if part of me wants to be (another part of me really enjoys vacations).

So, it's that time of year. Time to buy seeds for the garden. Last year I pretty much bought ever plant from Shop-Ko. I would love to not buy any from them. But in reality I don't have a place in my house to do that, and I've honestly not been that successful in starting my own seeds before.

So this year I decided to start small. Try to start a few things inside. Try to do it well. Set up a good place with good light and feed them like I'm supposed to. I decided to use Johnny's Selected Seeds this year. I bought the stuff that I often sow in the garden (peas, pole beans, carrots, parsnips) and a few things that I will try to start inside first (cucumber, squash, tomatoes). As I'm writing this I realize that I probably bought too many things to start inside, but it was a fraction of what I wanted to buy, so I'll call that progress.

I'm also using a book that I got for Christmas years ago and have never used - Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardner's Handbook by Ron and Jennifer Kujawski. In it they break it down for me, week by week, starting many weeks ago (I'm behind already!).

The succession farming is going to consist of hopefully doing more than one planting of carrots and parsnips. Because that has ever happened before. I always just do one really big planting. Then I pull them all at the same time. Then I have so many carrots I have no earthly idea what to do with them. One year I made them into baby food. Last year a lot of them went bad, unfortunately. But I also made some into carrot pickles. Which I haven't eaten many of yet.

That brings me to another tidbit. I'm going to try really hard to note what I plant, how much, and how much we used. And if you look into my pantry, it turns out we don't eat that many pickles. Or relish. I make it, we don't eat it. So, stop making so many pickles. Be honest with yourself that you don't really like them. But, the curried zucchini pickles? Need to make more of those. Many, many more. Because there is nothing that tastes better on a pulled pork or beef sandwich than a curried zucchini pickle.

So, seeds are ordered. None of the ones I bought need to be started yet. So that gives me some time to figure out the logistics.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Washing Dishes...

So, I thought I'd post a quick post about the dishwashing detergent I've been using. I got the recipe on Pinterest. There are about a million of them on there. Some more labor intensive than others. I knew that I needed something that I could just mix together. I wasn't going to have time to be pressing them into ice cube trays, straining out lemon pulp, or cooking it on the stove.

So, in a quart size mason jar I mixed 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of borax, 1/2 cup citrus acid granules, and 20 drops of lemon essential oil (or maybe 30, I can't remember). I put a lit on it. Shook it up really good, and voila. I was done. I pour it into both of the little slots in my dishwasher (main wash and pre-wash), and hit go.

We also have really hard water, and I usually use a rinse aid to prevent hard water stains. I wanted to try to find something more economical and with less waste, so I had heard of using vinegar. I have a lot of that around lately, so I thought I'd give it a try. Some will say to put it into your rinse aid dispenser. I heard from others that the acidity of the vinegar will eat up the rubber in the dispenser and ruin it, so I decided not to test that. I just put a tiny glass of vinegar in my dishwasher on the top shelf when I start the cycle, which is what I read recommended on another blog.

So far, I'll be honest. The vinegar is not as good as the rinse aid. But it's not so bad that I'm going to abandon it just yet. The detergent, however, seems to be working just as well as any other dishwashing detergent that I've used.

I'll count that as a win. And way cheaper than the tabs. And no plastic waste. Win-win :)