Holiday Hot Cocoa

First the quick way, then the “real” way. Basic but nice: Hot chocolate mix and hot water Tea spoon of decaf instant coffee Cream or half n half or almond milk to bring it down to drinking temperature 2 drops peppermint extract OR two shakes ground nutmeg Stir gently and thoroughly Whipped cream topping and sprinkles Fancy way: 2 spoons baking cocoa with just enough boiling water to dissolve it Confectioners sugar to taste, gently stirred in 2-3 spoons brewed decaf coffee Cool milk or cream added to desired drinking temp (Optional: Stir in using a milk frother for more … Continue reading Holiday Hot Cocoa

3 Ways to Stay Warm in a Power Outage

From least involved to most involved method. Body heat. The lowest of low tech. In my home, this would mean gathering humans and pets into the smallest or second smallest room and hunkering down. With a goodly supply of sleeping bags, traditional bedding, and perhaps some jury-rigged extra insulation over the window(s), this would be a surprisingly effective method in a mild scenario. For instance, in a power outage of 72 hours or less, with cold weather but not subzero temperatures. Candles. This adds a layer of complexity, but is still very manageable. Even one or two emergency candles will … Continue reading 3 Ways to Stay Warm in a Power Outage

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

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

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

Did you panic-buy dried beans? Here’s what to do with them

Here are some ways to use them: Traditional cooking. Soak overnight, slow cook. There are good recipes online. But a few pounds of dried beans goes a looooong way. Grow bean sprouts. Yes, these are the same as fresh sprouts you would get at a sandwich shop or add to a noodle soup. Takes a few days, and provides a fresh crunchy green vegetable full of micronutrients. Incidentally, you would want to use food grade seeds for any sprouts; commercial garden seeds are often treated with substances to prevent spoilage and enhance germination. Alternate source of greens. I would not … Continue reading Did you panic-buy dried beans? Here’s what to do with them