One Minute Latte

Save glass jars with lids. I like Mason jars. I have a good supply of them and the deer decimated our tomato crop so I am not expecting to do a whole lot of canning any time soon. Microwave milk. This is very important: WITHOUT THE LID. Do not microwave metal unless your intent is to ruin your microwave and start a fire in one fell swoop. Shake jar. This is also very important: WITH THE LID. Add coffee or espresso or cocoa or tea and maple syrup or agave or cinnamon or nutmeg or other flavorings to taste. Drink … Continue reading One Minute Latte

Tiny Beginning Summer Harvest

One use of a pantry stock of dried beans is to plant them. If intended for sprouts, the pantry version should actually be used instead of seeds from a seed packet, because the latter are often treated to prevent spoilage and enhance germination. As one of the easiest garden plants to sprout and grow, plain dried beans germinate just fine. In fact, our vines had been pretty well neglected. Yesterday I checked on them. Here are the results! I may pan-roast them or just chop them up and add to a stir fry. I think we will have a lot … Continue reading Tiny Beginning Summer Harvest

Ripening Blackberries

I am eagerly awaiting fresh ripe blackberries from the first plant from three years ago. Last year, there were a couple of handfuls of berries and they were delicious. The two big takeaways from last year? First, the blackberry grows the cane the first year, and produces fruit on it the second year. After the cane has produced fruit, it is important to remove the spent canes. This helps to prevent the plant viruses that raspberries and blackberries tend to suffer from. Second, I have read that if you prune the tips of the primary cane, the plant will put … Continue reading Ripening Blackberries

Flower Pressing

During the lockdown and stay-at-home orders, a lot of us suddenly found ourselves with a lot more time at home. A forced slow down. When it comes to art in our lives, we particularly enjoy art that we made ourselves or that was made by a local artist or a friend. We have a couple of lovely small canvases from friends. We have a large digital collection of nature photos and landscapes from our travels and day-to-day life. This spring, we tried pressing flowers, a catmint (catnip) flower and an iris, with mixed results. Pick flowers Allow the flowers to … Continue reading Flower Pressing

Haircuts at Home

A step towards minimalism, inspired by necessity and the pandemic… My husband has been cutting his own hair for years. We already had clippers. I bought a new pair of hair cutting scissors. I wanted a new, sharp pair. My hair is quite long. I had not had a haircut in at least 6 months. In that time, I had started to trim the ends myself. Then my bangs. But overall, I was feeling more and more shaggy. My hair tangled easily and the ends were pretty damaged. I watched YouTube videos and started gathering my courage. Finally, I convinced … Continue reading Haircuts at Home

Backyard Berries

Raspberry and Blackberry. These are hardy and productive, and they can create large wild brambles. They can be susceptible to viral diseases, especially if they receive too much moisture. I have seen conflicting advice regarding applying mulch. The biggest thing I have found helpful: Know your varieties. Many plants grow by producing a primicane, or first year cane, that just grows the first year, then becomes the productive cane the second year. The deer ate the top off of the primicane last year, which led it to send out a bunch of lateral branches. The lateral branches are the ones … Continue reading Backyard Berries

15 Garden Ideas

I titled this post last winter, but never published it, and now it is summer. Here are the 15 garden ideas that actually were implemented this spring. Put up the fence. Simple wire fence with t-posts that we take down at the end of the growing season. With the addition of an electric fence along the top to keep the deer out. 2. Fixed an old bird feeder and added it to the other two. 3. Added compost to the top of the straw bale planter, and planted onions, garlic, and peppers. (This is where the tomatoes were last year.) … Continue reading 15 Garden Ideas

3 Garden Benefits of Catnip

I planted catnip (aka catmint) a couple of years ago. Popular in landscaping, it produces small purple flowers essentially from spring to fall. As it turns out, the deer leave it alone while demolishing hostess and every other supposedly deer-resistant ornamental. The cat loves it. I have since planted a bunch more, and this is why: It looks nice. A compact, rounded shrub, it does not seem inclined to spread and forms an orderly procession right where it is planted. It is indestructible. While deer eat everything and summer storms alternate with high heat, the plants just keep on blooming. … Continue reading 3 Garden Benefits of Catnip

Tomato Heaven

Late frost. Very late frost. Goodbye, promising young vines planted in too timely a fashion. So, we bought seedlings. Lovingly, I planted those. Plenty of room. Then, three of the original tomato plants re-sprouted from the roots. I planted Early Girl, Best Boy, Better Boy, a yellow heirloom variety and cherry tomatoes. Oh dear. We are going to be in tomato heaven! Next up, summer squash apocalypse. Continue reading Tomato Heaven

Hazelnut Delight

One of the few nuts that grows here naturally, is enjoyed by our family, and forms shrubs rather than a single, tall tree: hazelnuts. Also known by the less catchy “filbert,” the hazelnut bushes will form thickets if allowed. They thrive in the saturated ground here. I planted some rather spindly specimens last year. They never really grew, and presumably spent last summer putting down roots. Then the winter killed them. Then—quelle surprise—in late spring they put out some blooms, and now have fully leafed out! Not dead after all. The songbirds seem to like them, too. For the gardener … Continue reading Hazelnut Delight