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Showing posts from February, 2015

Winter/Spring Seed Starting without Electricity - Part 1

This year I will be growing all of my own seedlings - outside - without electricity or heat. I live right in the middle of growing zone 4. I keep hoping we might edge into zone 5, but it's not likely.

The plan is to use this mini greenhouse:
Most gardeners who successfully grow during the winter months in Northern climates without a "real greenhouse" or added heat/electricity use a double cloche system - fabric covered by some sort of cold frame or cloche.

So I am attempting to mimic both that system and some of the aspects of a solar greenhouse.

Inside the plastic shelled "greenhouse," my plants will be started either inside a recycled milk carton or inside a large plastic box. The plastic box contains 32 toilet paper rolls that are fashioned into tiny seed containers.

The greenhouse plastic will act as my "cold frame" and the plastic box or milk cartons will act as the second layer - sort of a greenhouse within a greenhouse.

Each set of milk cartons…

MIRA Stainless Steel French Press, Coffee Plunger 12 oz

Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and this article does NOT contain affiliate links. No compensation was received.
I have never made a cup of coffee. In fact, I don't drink coffee. But I feel bad whenever people stay with us and want a cup. So I was thrilled when I had the chance to review this French Press.
It is the perfect coffee maker for visitors because you can make a small amount at a time, and I will use it for coffee when we have people staying with us. But I found out it is the absolute bomb for making tea!! I have struggled with various tea kettles and strainers over the years.
Today I used the french press and had my first cup of tea without "bits" in it!!! I use a loose leaf tea and even with my best strainer, bits always floated around in the cup. Not with the french press!

It was awesome. Plus: it's such a cute, petite little kettle! It holds about 1 1/2 cups but you want to use less bec…

What does it mean when Yellow liquid oozes from your toothpaste

A few days ago, I went to brush my teeth and when I squeezed the toothpaste tube, a yellow liquid ooze came out. NO! I have never had this happen before, so I freaked out and tossed the tube in the garbage.

Then I got to thinking about it, and I really wondered what it was. Did my toothpaste become infected? Was it expired? Was it toxic? I still had three quarters of the tube left, so I needed to get to the bottom of this.

I fished it from the trash and noticed it still had 21 months until expiration. So it couldn't have been "too old."

I quickly called the number on the back of the tube and my received an answer immediately. The representative immediately knew that I was using baking soda and peroxide toothpaste. I guess it sometimes "separates" into it's individual components and that results in a yellow slime drooling out of the cap.

Yuck. But apparently, it's still safe to use. The company offered to send me a coupon for a replacement tube and assu…

Growing food on the edge of a forest

In order to maximize food production, you need to use every sunny spot your yard has to offer. In my case, I have a small 130 square foot, fenced-in, raised bed in the only sunny area of my lot.

The rest of my yard is forest or shaded by forest - except for the "edge."

I have been growing food on this edge for over 7 years. It has been a struggle. If you are thinking about growing along the edge of a forest or even growing among trees in your yard (ala permaculture) then I have some knowledge to share that might save you some time and energy.

What you should know about growing among trees 1. Trees change the microclimate for plants nearby. They not only shade (offering a cooler environment in the summer and blocking out much needed sunlight) but they also increase the humidity levels and may or may not offer wind protection.

2. Trees are hungry and thirsty.  Trees use a lot of water and nutrients. They will constantly draw from the area under their drip zone (basically as wi…