Hunkering Down for Winter

In an unseasonably warm November, there has been a lot of extra time for outdoor stuff. Spreading mulch in the garden. So much mulch. Splitting and stacking firewood. Clearing the gutters. A lot of trees means a lot of leaves. Cutting down dead trees. Garden rearranging to prepare for spring. Setting up new raised beds and a straw bale garden, piling on so much ash and compost and wood chip mulch to percolate for next spring. I like to take down some of the fences and let the deer eat the dried up plants. The return to our regularly scheduled … Continue reading Hunkering Down for Winter

We Got a Woodstove!

This was a home upgrade some time in the making. We really wanted a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove when we were looking at places to live. In our corner of the world, firewood is readily available. Winter is not usually a serious affair here. One idiosyncrasy of the home, though, is that all of the heat is electric. No natural gas furnace to fall back on. Big storms are uncommon, but like to show up with a vengeance once in a while. There is more to it than just throwing some logs in the fireplace. Too low of a … Continue reading We Got a Woodstove!

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

Top 5 Steps to a Cozy Autumn

First, comfy clothes. As I write this in November 2020, we are all experts on lounge wear, athletic wear, and pajamas. Even for those of us who are still working, there is nothing much to do the rest of the time. I most enjoy getting into comfy clothes after a good run or work out, but a lazy Saturday from start to finish has its place too, especially after a long shift or when it’s your first day off in a long time. Favorites include: Flannel pajamas. Leggings. Thermal shirts. Sweaters. A little something called “cabin socks,” which were a … Continue reading Top 5 Steps to a Cozy Autumn

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

Wildfire Scenario

Finally, the kids are staying in bed. Finally, the dishes are washed and put away. Finally, the tired adults go down the hall. Stan takes off his glasses. Mary sets her alarm and puts the phone down. The night is quiet. First one cell phone buzzes, then the other. Mary silences her phone. Stan’s phone keeps buzzing and he knocks it off the nightstand in the dark. On the floor it is much louder and he groggily picks it up. “Hello?… Phil? What’s going on? …Yes, we’re all fine here… What? No, I don’t think that’s near us… Geez, Phil, … Continue reading Wildfire Scenario

Tinder and Kindling

Less of a project, more of a habit. This post is NOT in reference to the dating app, although that could be interesting. To start a fire: If you have a wood burning fireplace like me, or you just appreciate the fun of a campfire or backyard fire pit, here are a few free ideas for fire starters. Lintbox. Save lint from the clothes dryer and stuff it into an old Kleenex box. I did this growing up. We don’t really buy boxes of tissues very often but this idea gets one more use out of two useless things. (Reduce, … Continue reading Tinder and Kindling

Hypothermia Scenario

Road closed? Is this a joke? Sarah cranes her neck, trying to read the blinking sign. Not a great time for a detour, but it’s not like she was super excited about spending eight hours straight with all her crazy relatives anyway. Sorry, guys. At least benevolent dictator Google Maps always has an alternate route ready. GPS leading the way, she takes the next exit. If she’s super late, everyone will notice but only her mom will really give her a hard time. The two-lane road is plowed, but still slick, and she’s never driven it before. A deer appears. … Continue reading Hypothermia Scenario