Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All the peas are gone... and the skies are gray...

Blank spots don't stay empty for long in my garden. Now that the peas are completely finished, it's time to put in the beans. The ground is warmer, which is good for pole beans.

The stakes and twine I used for the peas ended up being kind of messy and undesirable. For the beans I found some square tomato cages that seem like they're just the thing. I've planted two beans on each side, for a total of eight bean plants per cage. I hope it fills up and gives me lots and lots of beans! We all LOVE to eat them raw here.

The weather has been weird; gray skies, kind of humid weather, yet the ground is bone dry. I can water twice a day out back and still end up with parched earth in all my pots. Yesterday I went out and dug around, poking holes, raking/turning where possible, and then soaking all the plants. Then I cut back a few that were pretty straggly so that the overall effect looks more maintained instead of "what happened?"

Working all weekend at the swap meets and festivals takes a toll on the amount of time I can spend out back. One drawback of standing on my feet all weekend is that my back needs at least all day Monday to recover. Squatting and kneeling are OUT!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Finally... a dull moment!

My new business venture has kept me out of circulation as I sell, sell, sell. So far, so good! Spent Saturday at the swap meet hawking my wares and Sunday working my regular job (which I'll soon quit so I can spend more time at the swap meet).

So... I was very happy to be home this morning, puttering in my garden. I pulled up all the old peas and found a colony of snails happily chewing away at whatever they could get ahold of. They now live... elsewhere.

Once the peas were gone, I could see the onions more clearly :o) Pulled a few and chopped them up for our enchiladas tonight and took a few more over to a friend who has just downsized from a large tract home to a very small apartment. We chatted about ways to incorporate some vegetables or fruits into her patio, but concluded that it's just too shady. She may be growing tropical plants instead.

Don't forget to check out my site: -- hair clips, necklaces, badge holders and bracelets -- all beautiful and all affordable.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Business Opportunity!

Just as pioneers did in days long past, I take odd jobs here and there to help ends meet. I've just started something new: I bought into a jewelry company that makes beautiful hand-crafted beaded hair clips.

Now, you can see by my profile picture that I'm not the most likely candidate for a hair clip. However, the little mini clips look great on me -- they provide a little "bling" that's perfect for dress-up hair.

When my hair was long I put it up all the time. Invariably I had a headache within about two hours. Those "claw" clips dug at my head and regular barrettes and ponytail holders fell out of my fine hair (and there's a lot of that fine hair). These clips don't move! Professional ice skaters use them, and that's recommendation enough for me.

I'm going to try selling these clips (and the associated jewelry and accessories) at swap meets and craft fairs. More moolah from Mama means we can keep homeschooling!

Check out the link to my website and surf the site. I hope you'll find things you like -- and buy them!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Handy Dandy Kitchen Tip

Every now and then I hear about a tip that makes me slap my head and shout "D'oh" like Homer Simpson. I had such a moment at a friend's house and I thought I'd share it with you.

Some background... I like powdered soap for my dishwasher, but dislike pouring it from the box (even though it has a handy spout). Nine times out of ten I pour too much, or the box is heavy for my hand, or I don't want to stoop, or...(you can fill in the blank). I don't like those boxes.

While staying for a weekend at a friend's house I decided to run a load of dishes for her and looked around under the sink for the dishwasher soap. She had it in a large coffee can with a little scoop for dispensing just the right amount.

"D'oh!" What a great idea! I didn't have a coffee can, but I did have a giant can from an industrial-sized can of tomato puree. It was easy as pie to peel off the label, wash and dry it well, then pour in about 2/3 of a box of Kirkland dishwasher soap. I popped a tablespoon off an old measuring spoons set and left it on top of the soap.

For an effective wash I use two scoops. It doesn't quite fill the soap dish, which is okay -- I don't think a full soap dispenser is actually necessary. My dishes get clean, which is a priority, and I'm not irritated about soap loss from spillage. If you don't like to stoop, put the can on the counter instead of under the sink (wrap it in a cute Con-Tac paper to match your kitchen). You'll still have to bend over to hit the soap container, but at least you will have eliminated one bend!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Water Features

In a small garden or patio, a water feature isn't always an option. I've investigated wall fountains and bird baths, but my heart is really in having a small pond. In my patio, it's hard to imagine how it can be feasible.

Well... Skipper (the larger of my bullfrog tadpoles) just sprouted his little frog legs. Even though I've read that it takes up to two years for the tadpoles to fully mature, he's going to want to stretch those legs at some point and crawl around (Darwin is alive and well in my kitchen! I should have named one of the tadpoles "Darwin".)

Creating an outdoor habitat for the frogs has now become a priority for me. I have time, as Skipper and Gilligan are still firmly tadpoles, but I want to incorporate something that will accommodate my pets without looking really out of place (or taking up too much room).

I'm considering the area by my compost pile. First, there are always lots of bugs around it, which will be a boon for the boys. Second, it's partly shaded, which will be nice when we get to the summer heat. My cement patio, bordered by a garage wall and a house wall, gets H O T.

So now the next step is to research the type of small pond that will work for the boys. Fortunately they like slime and dirt. I doubt I'll need a filter. I think if I just spray it out every few days we'll be fine.

Once school is out I'll send my big boys out with a shovel to create an environment. I'll post pictures as we go along!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Going Up!

If you're like me, you have more gardening ideas than room to display them. One way I've been able to fit a few more blooms into my patio garden is by going up -- vines, flowering trees, and my "tipsy pot".

I found the tipsy pot on-line while surfing for small garden ideas. Its stackable pots are ideal for strawberry plants and petunias, which is how I've planted mine. It resides in an unused corner of the garden, where it adds a splash of color and the ability to grow a few more pieces of fruit.

I created mine with terra cotta pots. If I were to do it again I would definitely get plastic pots; they're just lighter and easier to work with. I tried using a regular garden stake for my first attempt, but it snapped immediately. Real rebar was required for heavy clay pots.

Here's a link to the site where I found my inspiration and how-to. Have fun building your own tipsy pot and enjoy planting it with a variety of colors!