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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yesterday I trekked to town to pay a visit to the public library. Seeking more information about gardening practices for the Inland Northwest, I picked up the following books:

Gardening in the Inland Northwest, a Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries, Grapes & Fruit Trees, by Tonie Jean Fitzgerald. (This book interested me greatly as living in this area poses many challenges since we have a short growing season). Although not totally organic in nature, there are many ideas to glean from this short read.

The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing A good reference type of book that is reader/novice gardener friendly.

Lasagna Gardening For an easy read ... this book gives directions to plant a garden with "a new layering system ... no digging ... no tilling ... no weeding ... no kidding" I actually tried a similar method two years ago (my own formula) so I thought I'd compare notes.

The Organic Garden by: Allan Shepherd, Green gardening for a healthy planet

Already I've gained an important tip regarding the use of grow lamps ... place the plant tray no more than six inches from the lamp source or your seedlings will grow too leggy/tall trying to reach the light. You should see my lettuce plants growing in the basement ... so that's what went wrong. I'm a learn by doing type of gardener.

Winter is the perfect time of the year to start gathering and learning new skills to practice while waiting to plant a spring garden.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There are a few inside household 'chores' that are required several times a year in a thrifty home. One that is on my 'to do' list is emptying my kitchen's pantry closet; sorting, tossing out, and reorganizing food staples. Cleaning toast crumbs from the toaster ... and the ones that fall through the white wire shelving and land on the floor. Checking for expiration dates, any sign of pests in the opened goods, and rotating canned goods having oldest near the front of the shelf. This plan is in the 'brain .. wait and see .. when the mood strikes ... mode' for now. But at least if I commit it to a blog post, the thought will nag at me until it's completed ... please hold me accountable and ask in about a week or two if I've completed this task :)

Our supply of frozen and canned summer veggies is dwindling. Next year it will be necessary to better judge how much to store away for winter. And, perhaps, I'll try my hand at some garden row covers to protect autumn plants to extend the growing season. My experiment of growing lettuce in the basement with a grow light is still in progress. Some of the plants now have four leaves and look sturdy. We're down to our last jar of basil pesto ;(

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Nathan enjoys eating cookies. Saturday was spent at a little friends home. The two were to decorate gingerbread men. He has a mind of his own and insisted on keeping his undecorated ;) He's truly a plain and simple guy. Perhaps he's Amish :). Come to think of it, his bedroom decor is nothing other than a simple wooden headboard, a dresser and a night stand. Not one thing hangs on the walls ... a simple window shade and a plain red valance dress his window. Plain white or well worn flannel sheets, a soft blanket and a bed quilt. A true 'give me simple comfort' type of fellow.

(Nathan is my 13 year old son that has Down Syndrome.)