Category : Being Green

July Garden Update-2013

July Garden Update

It’s already July and I haven’t told you anything about our garden this year. Shame on me! So here is my July garden update. Come take a tour with me!

July Garden Update

We planted five Zucchini plants, this being the largest of them! Thus far we’ve harvested 5 zucchinis and I can’t wait to use them!

July Garden Update

We planted 7 potato plants and they are doing great! I’ve never had potato plants look so healthy. It will be interesting to see how the potatoes turn out.

July Garden Update

These are our bell pepper plants. They aren’t very big and has only produced a funny shaped bell pepper. We did get them planted late and I saw quite a few blooms today so I still have hope for them. They haven’t withered away yet so that’s something!

July Garden Update

These are our cantaloupe. They are looking healthy as can be though they haven’t produced anything let, though when they do I think its going to be great! We are training them to grow towards the corn so they are all going one direction.

July Garden Update

Our corn isn’t as far as everyone else’s but it’s doing ok. This was the last to be planted and we had “help from Emma so a couple of the places have two stalks coming up instead of one. I also think the squirrels helped themselves to a few kernels as well as we had at least five spots where nothing came up. It will be a late harvest but I’m still excited to be growing corn. There is sweet corn and popcorn shown in the picture.

July Garden Update

This is our yellow summer squash. I harvested our first  one yesterday morning and there are several growing. I think they are not going to disappoint!

July Garden Update

These are our green beans. We didn’t order enough netting and keep forgetting to order more so they are all over the place. Every time I go in to weed the girls seem to create some crisis and I have to stop. You can’t get much weeding done when you’re only at it less then 10 minutes. We’re working on it though and despite the way they look they are healthy!

July Garden Update

These are our cucumbers. They are just starting to grow babies, so give it another week and I think we’ll be harvesting cucumbers. I believe I planted pickling cucumbers so I guess I better get on finding a good recipe for pickles!

July Garden Update

These are our Pinto beans. They are doing amazing! It’s been wonderful watching them grow and yesterday when I was watering them I found beans growing along the bottom! These are experimental. We use a lot of pinto beans in our house so we are curious to see how many beans we get and figure out if it’s worth it for us to grow our own right now with out limited space or if we should just buy for now.

July Garden Update

And finally the tomatoes. We are growing three kinds of tomatoes, though don’t ask me specifically what since I don’t remember at this moment. We didn’t get tomatoes or peppers started in the house this year and due to the weather staying cold longer this spring it was too late for us to start them from seed outside. So we hit up the farmer’s market and got some plant at a pretty good price. I prefer putting our money into the local farmer’s whenever I can. You can’t see them very well but they are doing pretty good. The tomatoes in the center are paste tomatoes and are determinate, though when we bought them we thought the were indeterminate. The tomatoes and either side are determinate and are vining up the twine we ran for them. I didn’t do a great job of suckering or wrapping them around the twine in the beginning so some of them got a little unruly, but over all they are doing good. There are several tomatoes starting and yesterday I found our first ripening tomato!

There you have it folks, our garden in all it’s glory. We are using the Back to Eden method which I will get around to blogging about one of these days. In the mean time you can go here to learn more.

I’m linking this to Homestead Barn Hop!

2013 Seeds for the Garden

2013 Seeds for the Garden

We purchased our seeds for the garden quite a while ago, but I’m just now getting to sharing with you just what we got!

We ordered from two places-Annie’s Heirloom Seeds and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. It may seem like a lot but some we purchased for the fall so we could guarantee that we would be able to get them, and so we could save on shipping. Below is the list of seeds for our garden.

From Annie’s:


Danver’s Half Long Carrots


Kentucky Blue Pole Beans

Golden Bantam Sweet Corn

Early Prolific Straight Neck Squash

Chicago Pickling Cucumber

Black Beauty Zuccini

Pinto Bush Beans

Strawberry Popcorn

California Wonder Pepper

Amish Paste Tomatoes

St. Pierre Tomatoes

Victoria Rhubarb

Tropeana Tonda Onions


Heshiko Bunching Onions

Giant Winter Spinach

Endive di Rufec

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach

Vit Corn Salad (Mache)

Rocket Salat Arugula

Red Russian Kale

Tom Thumb Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce Blend

From Baker’s:


Snap Peas


Tomato Riesentraube “Giant Bunch of Grapes)

Bonus: They also sent me a packet of melon seeds that we may or may not plant this year, we’ll see.


We’re trying the back to Eden method for our first year out. We’re very excited to try this out. I believe it’s a very viable and practical method. I’ll share more about that later. For now, if you’re interested you can check them out here!



I’m linking this to Monday Barn Hop!

Making drop cloths out of curtains

While Joel and I were painting our house in Nebraska getting it ready for sale, we were lamenting how we wished we could afford nicer drop clothes. We have always bought the cheapest plastic stuff you can find and have gotten what we paid for-rips, trips, and constant readjusting because it won’t stay in place. We have done enough painting over the past 8 years of marriage that an investment in the beginning would have paid for itself by now. Alas we were poor back then and sadly we are not too much better off eight years later.

As we were getting the dining room ready we took down the curtains that had been hanging in there for the last 6 years. They were cheap cotton loop curtains from Wal*mart we had purchased to cover the windows after our house was robbed. Looking at them now one could tell they had better days. The sun had bleached all the folds that were facing out towards the sun (they were south facing windows, so those curtains had no chance of lasting long term). I decided that I’d keep them for some project like totes or something out of the good parts.

Then I got a brilliant idea. Why don’t we use the curtains as drop clothes! The plastic that we had wouldn’t fit the whole room and the curtains we had would do great fitting into the odd spots. They also worked great in the bathroom as pictured above.

We can chalk that one up to making do with what you have!


What creative things have you done to get what you need/want without having to spend money?


I’m linking this up to:

The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival     

‘Making’ Christmas Special 2011


I’m starting a new series that hopefully I will see through. This year I am planning to make most of the girls’ gifts plus various gifts for friends and family.

I have been taking a hard look at what’s important to me and with every day that passes I am drawn less and less to things. It is more important to me that my kids are fed well, are warm, are learning to love and respect others and the what’s around them, and that they learn each day new ways that Jesus loves and impacts their lives and how to turn around and do the same. Now if I come across an item that can help me do that (for instance the 10 cup food processor that I bought myself with birthday money-yea for homemade apple sauce!) then I will ask for it or buy it with birthday money.

In the same way, if there is a particular item that I know someone would really enjoy or appreciate I am more than willing to get it for them. However, I don’t like just picking up something shiny and new for them just because. I would rather save them the hassle of returning it or finding a place for it and make them something they can use or something that I know will hold sentimental value for them.

Giving gifts is about showing someone how special they are to you and blessing them beyond expectation (don’t read $$, read thoughtfulness).

That’s enough of my ranting. Here’s a rough list of the gifts I am making my girls:

A winter scarf-I’m crocheting them

A bear bankMade from recycled Animal cracker containers

Building blocks- made from recycled cardboard egg cartons

Baby doll clothes and diapers-made from old clothes I’ve kept because I liked the fabric

If I can get all of that done in the next month and a half I will be delighted.

Wish me luck!

Here’s a couple of links to gifts I’ve made or assembled in past years.

Canning and Other Such Things


I want so badly to start canning. I had big plans this year of all the different things I was going to can. But as I shared here, the garden didn’t go as planned. I do plan to do some canning this fall. I make tons of apple sauce in the fall and it gets consumed within the first few months. Usually I freeze it but this year I want to try canning some of it too. I need to at least double what I bought last year (which was three bushels!) so that I have enough for the whole year. Plus I want to make some apple butter and can that as well as some apple pie filling. Maybe some tomatoes if I happen to find someone with an over abundance of tomatoes that they’re trying to off load. We’ll see.

I’ve been looking for canning jars at garage sales but the only ones I’ve found were antiques that A. they wanted $2 a piece for (which is a very fare price for antique canning jars but when you can buy them new in the store for under $1 a jar it’s not such a good price) and B. you don’t actually want to can with them, they really are for show. Enter my aunt J. She had been following my sorry garden attempts via Facebook and my blog and thought I might be interested in some of the canning jars and paraphernalia that she was no longer using. Oh boy was I!

Yesterday I loaded up the girls and headed over to her house. She had three full shelves of canning supplies and I could have whatever I wanted. I got jars that were my grandmothers and jars that were my great grandmothers. I haven’t even taken the time to count how many I got, but got quite a few in all shapes and sizes. She also gave me her small and large pressure cookers as well as the large pot for warm bathes (those that are high acidity and don’t need to be pressure cooked). What a huge blessing! Just the jars alone would have easily been $50 new from the store and I won’t even get into how much it would have cost me for the pots.

Growing up, aunt J. was the aunt who made her own bread, grew her own garden and canned what she harvested to feed her six kids (four of which were very hungry boys) and knew practically every plant and it’s use in the surrounding forest. Visiting her house was a blast regardless of the fact that I was always out numbered 6 to 1 (her 4 oldest boys and my 2 brothers). I aspire to be as self sufficient as she is!

I left that day with the open offer that if I needed more jars I knew where they were and I was welcome to them. And since I don’ think I even took half of them there are plenty more should I actually get good at this gardening and canning thing and find myself running out. Though I probably won’t get very much canned this year, I am excited to practice this year and hopefully be a pro by next year!

I’m linking to:

3 Natural Cleaning Products You Already Have

In my house we are moving away from conventional chemical cleaners and are using more natural products that do the job just as well and don’t leave you with a headache and feeling like you just had years taken off your life. The bonus is that they are all things you have in your house already!

  1. Baking Soda-Baking Soda is a great mild abrasive, meaning you can use it to scrub things without worrying that it will scratch it. It also makes a great deodorizer- think, trash cans, diaper pails, shoes, the carpet where the cat peed, in the washer, you get the idea. You can pour one cup down the drain followed by one cup hot distilled vinegar to safely unclog your drains without the worry that it will eat through your pipes. Just let it sit for five minutes and rinse with hot water.


  2. White Vinegar– White vinegar is a jack of all trades. You can use it at full strength to disinfect countertops or used with old newspaper you can clean your windows and mirrors, just mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. You can also use it at half strength to clean shelves, cabinet doors and such (think surfaces that aren’t going to have food prepared on them or in the bathroom). If you are worried about the smell fear not. Though there is initially a strong vinegar smell it quickly dissipates as it dries. I have actually come to equate the smell of vinegar to the smell of clean! Pouring it into your laundry works as a whitener as well as helps with static in the dryer.


    Go here are more ideas on how to use vinegar!


  4. Salt– Salt is a rougher abrasive. It works well to clean out your coffee pot. Just add salt, ice and then swoosh it around. The ice applies pressure to the salt since you can’t actually get your had in there to do it yourself. It also works well to get blood out of the clothing. I learn this trick from my dad who used to be a lab tech in the army and always had to have pristine clothes. You want to use cold water on the back side of the fabric (if you scraped your knee while wearing pants, rinse from the outside of the pants in. If you picked up your kid who just scraped their knee and got it on you rinse from the inside out.) Apply salt to the same side that you are rinsing on (you are basically working the stain back out the way it came in.) If you want to you can use the salt on the opposite side as well once you’ve used it thoroughly on the first side. You may need to rinse thoroughly and repeat several times depending on the amount of blood. Then you should just wash as normal. If you are really worried you can use a stain remover before washing if you want to.



Lemons– Lemons are great for whitening. According Martha Stewart Living via the following is how you would go about whitening with lemons “To whiten cloth napkins, linens, and even socks, fill a large pot with water, and drop in several slices of lemon. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add the linens, and let them soak for about an hour. Then launder as usual”. They are also great for freshening up your garbage disposal. Just quarter a lemon, toss it down your garbage disposal, turn on the water and let her rip!

All of the above are very inexpensive and easy to keep extras on hand. So next time you go to clean, try using one or all of these and see for yourself how they compare to your favorite cleaners!

I’m linking this to:


 Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

Resting Beds


So like I said last week, I didn’t get anything planted this year. So we are making the most of it and are piling the grass clippings to prep the beds for late summer. I’m hoping to put in some radishes, onions, lettuce, turnips and the like.

I also put grass around the asparagus, rhubarb, and the strawberries that managed to live through grandpa tilling them under. Plus I think that I found a blueberry plant. Grandpa transplanted the bush last year but apparently he didn’t get everything.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos. I took the camera outside and it was so hot out that it fogged up the lens. I had to wipe them off and take the pictures as quickly as possible before it fogged up again.

I am linking to Homestead Barn Hop!

2011 Summer Garden Update

    Well, something’s go as planned, and others, like my garden, don’t go as planned. And when I say not as planned, I mean in the worst way possible. It all started out when my seedlings died while I was gone over Easter, then it kept snowing. The ground had thawed enough to plant, but me, being a newbie gardener, was too afraid to plant seeds in snow. I then had the great idea that I’d wait until my mom was done with school for the summer so that she could watch the girls for a couple of days while I hit it hard. That would have been great had it not started raining the same week and just kept raining and raining. The ground was so soaked for so long that by the time it dried enough, the weeds were half my size and it was too late to plant seed.

    So now I have scaled way down. This year my garden has been reduced to planting pots. I ended up planting 2 roma tomato plants, 1 large tomato plant, 6 pepper plants, and 1 dill. I did manage to plant some lettuce from seed. It wasn’t much though, only enough for 1 salad.


  For now we are tilling under the planting beds and laying grass clippings on top to kill the weeds and put nutrients back into the ground. I am hoping to plant another round of lettuce in late summer in a bed as well as onions, radishes and turnips. We shall see.

Anybody else singing the garden blues this year?

I am linking up with Homestead Barn Hop over at New Life on a Homestead!