Want a coop tour? Oh, I'm so glad you said yes! I am more than a little stoked about my chicks' new digs.
Hooray for Spring! We have been busy working in the garden. Lots of weeding and trimming and turning beds, not exactly fun, but I honestly love any time spent in the garden. Jude loves turning the beds because it means hours of playing in the dirt and making friends with worms. For me, the best part of spring in the garden is the sowing of seeds.
We have started herbs in egg shells. This time we've got basil and borage happening.
Jude and I also planted sunflowers in toilet paper rolls. Last year the birds ate all of the seeds for our sunflower fort. Not this year! Sunflowers don't like having their roots disturbed so I'm hoping the fact that you can plant the whole thing, tube and all, will work in our favor. Oh, and if you need a very mini greenhouse, look no further than the produce aisle, clear plastic salad bins work great!
And the thing I am most excited about: our Eco-Lawn is getting a nice reseeding to return it to it's original glory. I love our Eco-Lawn. The back area of our yard was a big ugly dog run when we bought it. I knew I wanted that space to be turf, but I also knew I didn't want the traditional high-maintenance, water-guzzling lawn. A little online research led me to find Wild Flower Farm's Eco-Lawn. This stuff seriously rules, I especially love how it looks unmown. (I like the no-mow look so much I neglected to mow it twice a year like you're supposed to, thus the need to reseed.) If you are looking for a natural, soft, meadow-type lawn that likes shade and requires little water and even less maintenance, this is the stuff for you. I know I sound like a commercial, but I want people to know that they can have a lawn without hurting the environment. Early spring and late summer are the best times to seed and the seed comes with all the info you need to sow successfully. It won't be long before we are picinicing on a lush lawn once more.
What's happening in your garden this spring?
Full disclosure: The nice folks at Wild Flower Farm gave me a bag of seed for this reseeding (I had already fallen in love with the product) as always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Looking to add to your garden on the cheap? (If you live in the northern hemisphere) Now is the perfect time to get bare root plants on sale. And there is still plenty of time to plant these bare beauties. I have a few fruit trees I planted bare root last year, but this year I went with smaller edibles: a blueberry, three raspberries, one rhubarb, and twelve strawberries (the whole lot cost less than $20).
Can you say pie? Yes, I have been staying up at night dreaming of a pie garden. If I am ever lucky enough to have property, I will have a grand and abundant pie and preserves garden. For now, this little planting is surely a step in the right direction.
I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned about planting bare root plants:
Am I the only one who dreams of growing pie from scratch?
Happy December 1st everyone! Anyone else feeling the Christmas crazies coming on strong? I thought today would be a great day to revisit my 10 tips for a greener, simpler, merrier holiday season. I needed the reminder big time and I've compiled quite a few awesome extra tips from some of my favorite bloggers.
1. Let go. Embrace traditions that make life easier and skip stuff you don't enjoy. I grew up eating one tiny chocolate a day from a $1 cardboard advent calendar. This year, I oohed and aahed over the crafty advent bonanza that is pinterest, and then I let go and stuck with the Trader Joe's advent. Furthermore, if there is a part of the holiday that drives you nuts (cookie baking, cards, caroling) skip it, the world will not end (I promise).
2. Give handmade. But, keep it simple and fun. For example, don't commit to making mini loungers for your eight nieces and nephews; although, might I suggest pencil rolls or crayon wraps? And remember, you can give handmade by supporting other crafty folks.
3. Give less. Would you rather have one special thing or a bunch of crap? Don't make the holidays a race for cheapest-mostest. Give more thought, and fewer packages. Do you draw names for a secret santa? Why not go one step further and suggest that everyone donates to charity instead?
4. Have a signature gift (or two). Have a cute kid? Then you have the perfect gift: photos, framed or in a calendar, for every grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt/uncle, on your list. Other ideas include jam, cookies, affordable wine (might I suggest Prosecco?). You get the idea. Oh, and I've never met a teenager who didn't like cash.
5. Shop local. Perhaps more important than it's ever been, help out your local economy (and environment) by shopping close to home.
6. Avoid the mall/big box stores. Though your tax dollars will help your town, the price you pay in stress isn't worth it. Need the lastest Twilight doll? Go online. If you must go, plan ahead: go once, with a list, at opening or closing.
7. Visit a charitable Santa. The mall is not the only place to find Santa. Check your local listing for Santas who see children for a good cause. You make a donation, your little one tells the big man what he wants, you take your own pictures (sometimes they take one for you) and you're done. No lines, no elves pushing the mega picture pack.
8. Get your tree at a farm. Better for the environment and your local economy. Plus, it's WAY more fun!
9. Wrap with recycled or reusable material. I've been saving Jude's artwork as wrapping paper this year. Reusable grocery bags, fabric, and dishtowels are all great options that become part of the gift.
10. Focus on the spirit of the season. It should be about peace, joy, and sharing; not stress, consumption, and road rage. When it all feels like too much, crank up Christmas With Weezer and dance until there is joy in your heart, then put your feet up and your arms around your loved ones.
- Make giving neighbor gifts easier and cheaper with this great tip from Classic Play.
- Gifting thoughtful simple toys is good for everyone, word play house shows us how.
- And while on the subject of toys, Little Stories has great, easy to follow toy shopping rules.
- Looking for simple, natural crafts to make with the kids? Buzzmills has you covered.
- It's not too late to have a crafty christmas, Curly Birds has got it dialed.
Here's to a greener, simpler, MERRIER holiday from my home to yours.
P.S. - If you are a blogger, why not simplify blogging? I will be taking my annual break, posting only pictures called *merry moments* from mid December to early January. I encourage you to join in with links here or on instagram with the hashtag #merrymoments.
One of my 30 Before Thirty goals was to volunteer. Volunteering is one of those things that sounds great and important, but can be easily forgotten with a few quick excuses. Here's a list of excuses that I used for a while:
Turns out those were all pretty lame excuses. I found a place to volunteer that was extremely flexible, zero long term commitment, and I can bring my toddler! Even better, it is a cause I feel deeply connected to.
For the past few months, Jude and I have been dropping in (I've been aiming for one Friday a month) to help at the Harvest for the Hungry. It is a beautiful organic garden run by wonderful volunteers that provides a bounty of organic produce to food banks and shelters in our area. I believe so strongly that everyone deserves fresh healthy food, and now I'm doing something to make that happen. It is a wonderful feeling. What's even better: I am teaching my son that he can use his own two hands to make the world a better place. We weed and water and harvest, it takes us a little longer than the other volunteers, but we are helping. And having fun.
Tips for Volunteering with Small Children
1. Find a cause you are passionate about. Your time is valuable, don't volunteer for volunteering's sake. You will get so much joy from giving your time if the cause is something you care about. VolunteerMatch and a good old google search are good places to start.
2. Look for something flexible. Places with drop-in hours or single day events (like beach/creek/trail clean ups or neighborhood improvement/tree planting days) are low commitment. Another cool idea is visiting an assisted living facility, toddlers have a knack for bringing smiles to the elderly.
3. Just go for it. Most of the time, the hardest part of trying something new is starting. Go into it with an open mind and realistic expectations. Toddlers can be difficult to wrangle. You might have to take lots of breaks, or leave early. But then again, they might just surprise you and happily pick tomatoes and stack zucchini for hours.
Do you volunteer with your little one? Please share your tips and experiences in the comments.
watching: spring unfold
appreciating: heavy rains and loads of compost
eating: artichokes, broccoli, chard, and lemons
fighting: earwigs, slugs, and crab grass (organically)
planning: for a big summer harvest, drip irrigation, and a sunflower fort
wondering: if the potato tower will work, and what rosemary honey tastes like
wishing: you and yours a beautiful start to the season of green
Here's to the magic of spring!
What's happening in your garden?
Within the smallest of spheres is the largest of sweets,
So easily thriving in fickle August heat.
Eaten alone or with many a flavor,
In summer you’re always our favorite to savor.
Astride verdant vines you never last longly,
So quickly devoured to help us grow strongly.
We love thee, sweet Sungolds, on pizzas, with wine;
Amongst our tomatoes, you’re truly divine.