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

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

Foraged: Hickory Nuts

In our area, wild hickory trees are abundant. Like many nut trees, the harvest seems to be somewhat cyclical, with a bumper crop every 2-3 years and more modest crops in between. Unlike many other such trees, hickory trees simply drop all the hickories in autumn. We picked them up a handful at a time over the last few months. They have an outer shell that starts out green, then slowly turns dark brown. When there were several dozen, we used the workbench vise to crack the outer shell and remove it. Next we subjected all the hickories to the … Continue reading Foraged: Hickory Nuts

Christmas Captures

This year, the only spending we chose to do for decorations was the purchase of two small, live potted spruce trees. The plan is to enjoy them this year, and with a little luck, keep them alive through future years! Otherwise, it was fun getting the pieces from the past few years out of the attic. I have so much respect for all the parents out there who do things like Elf on the Shelf… Especially and specifically, Elf on the Shelf. I cannot imagine ever having the patience or energy for that particular tradition. Hopefully I’m not the only … Continue reading Christmas Captures