Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Thursday, February 26, 2009

With the cost of water, soap, and power ... I've been cutting back on washing as many loads of laundry each week. I used to wash about 12 loads a week. Now I'm down to seven. How'd I do it? First, I really had to get after a grown adult child about using one or two clean towels a day. Now she gets one per week. Next, I have been 'pre-drying' damp towels by simply hanging them in the laundry room ... then tossing into the hamper until I have a full load. Washing just one or two loads most days makes the work less demanding on the weekend. To further cut back on electricity, I partially dry everything for 10 minutes in the dryer and hang them to finish drying. Hubby and a friend are helping to install some clothes lines in the laundry room. Plus with the purchase of a rolling laundry rack, it makes it much easier to dry clothes this way in the winter.

My 'oven' proofed seeds have sprouted. First popped up the marigolds. The beefsteak tomatoes are just emerging. A few petunias are sprouting as well. I have taken off the lid of the paper egg carton and placed the marigolds under a lamp for 'sunshine' and a little warmth. With some birthday money I picked up a patio sized 'greenhouse' with about four shelves and a plastic zippered covering. It needs to be assembled. the shelves are far enough apart to grow stacked trays of lettuce all summer long without using the cover. By placing the growing trays on the shelves, water should trickle down from the first tray and water everything growing on the lower trays.

Photo: style of greenhouse purchased at sprawlmart for $38

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Here is the link for the 'newspaper seed starting pots'.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recycling for the garden. I've been collecting odds and ends to use for the garden. Empty toilet/paper towel tubes, plastic take home salad containers, paper egg cartons, yogurt cups, and dryer lint to name a few. Also the compost bin is filling up with veggie and fruit scraps, along with said lint, and strips of newspaper. In another day, this bin will be finding a dumping off spot in the back forty under a tree that has some dirt poking through the snow. The top two pictures show my tomato, petunia, and marigold seeds that I've planted using household 'trash'. I also discovered that my oven's lowest setting for proofing yeast bread makes to perfect temperature for germinating seeds (75-85 F) ... so don't be alarmed seeing my starter trays in the oven :). Let's just hope I don't forget about them and accidentally turn the oven on ;) After they sprout and get a bit bigger, the plan is to make little biodegradable pots from newspaper to plant them in while they continue to grow indoors.

Bottom photo: indoor compost bin. this gets dumped in a old kitchen waste basket mixed with newspapers just out the back door and later dumped again onto bare soil.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

When I confessed about being a spend thrift yesterday, I wasn't referring to extravagant living. Just wasteful living. A mindset of I can afford to not bother with reusing and retooling (mostly in the food/household supplies area) Generally I don't buy just to buy. My wardrobe closet is not bulging at the seams, nor do I spend for all new items. Thrift and vintage stores plus garage sales have been my source to decorate and outfit my home. A few years ago we bought 'new' bedroom furniture. After looking at what was in the stores I wasn't impressed, especially with the price tags. The solution was to buy a nice wrought iron head/foot board and bargain hunt for dressers and night stands at thrift stores which we then painted off white and roughed up the finish with sandpaper, exposing little sections of 'worn' wood. The room came out great without spending too much money. The only other new item was a chase lounge purchased with one of George Bush's tax rebates to help 'stimulate' the economy. Bed linens and drapes were bargain shopped on line at and Country Curtains. Most accessories are items we had in storage ... a wall clock and mirror were bargains at Target and Walmart. The brass metal bed table lamps are bargain Lennox lamps from TJ Maxx. I was brave and evenutally hand painted the solid yellow brass with metallic paint in a oil rubbed bronze finish. This most likely devalued the lamps ... but I like them all the better. Existing yellow brass dresser pulls were given the same paint treatment.

Friday, February 20, 2009

True confessions: I am a recovering spend thrift. There, I said it! Recovering from a super size, Costo surplus mentality, don't think about excess waste, disposable, replaceable, barely used, replace it after a year type of living ... now reflecting on the ways my grandparents lived during and after the Great Depression ... ways that stayed with them until the end of their lives ... a resurgence of my formerly too poor to know the difference childhood is resurfacing ... and just in the nick of time with hubby's retirement, the RECESSION that has been going on for some time that may turn into a DEPRESSION, and the Lord stirring my heart and mind to prepare for the days ahead (waste not want not). It may or may not be doom and gloom just upon the horizon ... but preparedness/thrifty living is something that should NEVER go out of vogue. Now when I examine my pantry shelves and see the two dozen bags of assorted beans I pressure can them or cook and freeze for soup. Or the little bits of egg, veggie and hamburger scraps that once would go in the trash can, I add them to my dog's portion of din-din. The thought of being told, never to give pets people food is ridiculous. With the exception of such tooth sticky food as pasta, or hazard to dogs health chocolate and salmon ... the likes of sliced apples, bits of celery and chicken meat are now going to supplement the dog's food. And those zip-close bags that once got used and tossed with ease are now getting washed and dried to reuse. This week I discovered how to use my power strips to 'power down' the computer, printer, stereo, etc. to not waste standby mode electricity. Some of our mega watt kitchen bulbs have been replaced with compact fluorescent ones. The wasteful years have come to an end. Grandma's ways were best :) What have you done recently to 'power down' your waste?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm going to redirect this blog (once again :) to include homemaking skills along with gardening projects/ideas. In the meantime, there is a lovely blog in my sidebar called "Down To Earth" where you can find so many helpful home and garden ideas.