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

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

Start Seedlings

This is so easy. Even I can do it! In temperate climates it is well worth starting tomatoes, peppers, and basil indoors to maximize the growing season. A packet of seeds is usually $1-3 and if the seedlings fail you can always buy seedlings, which are usually only $3-8 each. This year I decided on a couple of different tomato varieties, a mild jalapeño pepper, and of course summer basil. The basil will truly last all summer if you cut the tops before it flowers. It helps to have a grow light, but isn’t necessary. If the seedlings get too … Continue reading Start Seedlings

Top Three Priorities In An Emergency

In an evacuation or other unplanned emergency, these are the three things that will make the difference between an inconvenience and a crisis. Certainly many other things could be added, like favorite games or toys to keep the kids entertained and calm. Water. Good old dihydrogen monoxide. For survival, we need about 1 gallon of water per adult person per day. Less for kids, less in cool weather, more on days with a lot of activity. For a family of 4, just keeping a few extra cases of (BPA free) water bottles in the pantry covers this need for a … Continue reading Top Three Priorities In An Emergency