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Foggy morning February 8, 2018

Posted by liajo in fog, good things, life, weather.
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cold-snow-black-and-white-road.jpgI love the fog.  I hate driving in it, but if I’m safe inside, I really do love the fog.

This morning was foggy, but only after I got to work, which is a little unusual.  The fog usually comes early and burns off after sunrise.  Not this morning.

The sun looked like the last full moon.  It was almost perfectly round and white, that’s correct, I said white.  Veiled in the heavy fog it looked white.  It was beautiful but almost spooky, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  The fog would thicken and the sun would almost be gone but in a minute or two it would be back to the white orb.  I won’t forget this morning anytime soon.

Somewhere around 11am the fog burned off and the sun returned to normal, but I have the image in my mind and I’ll hang onto.  I’ll also count my blessings for being lucky enough to witness the white sun this morning.

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No Candy Making Skills Needed February 3, 2018

Posted by liajo in chocolate, comfort food, good things, granddaughters, How to tips, life.
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dark-brown-milk-candy.jpgMy granddaughters don’t always agree on everything, but chocolate is usually something they can agree on.  So yesterday making chocolate bark was the project of the day.

I love baking, but candy making is not my thing.  I’ve never been good at it.  However, anyone, even preschoolers, can make a good chocolate bark.  There is no candy thermometer, no soft ball stage, just some fun.

Here are the very easy instructions.  Melt chocolate chips in the microwave.  You know how, 30 seconds, stir, repeat until melted.  I did put about a teaspoon of Crisco in because it makes the melted chips easier to work with.

Pour into a parchment lined baking sheet and spread to the thickness you want.

Top with whatever.  We did dried cranberries and shaved almonds.  Press these into the chocolate just a little.

Put in either the freezer or refrigerator until hard, about an hour.

Break into pieces and eat.  It is pretty yummy and way simple.

The chocolate bark project was a success!

 

Making memories February 1, 2018

Posted by liajo in crafts, good things, granddaughters, insects, life, seasons, weather.
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christmas-crafts1I love playing outside with my granddaughters.  It’s a great excuse to literally play in the dirt, or sandbox again.  Chasing miller moths, butterflies, and grasshoppers.  But it’s had to do those things in the winter and two little preschoolers shouldn’t be outside too long.

So we make our memories inside.  Craft time is great.  A little glue, some construction paper, and glitter made out of dyed Epsom salt.  Add a few buttons and stickers and popsicle sticks and we can make almost anything.  It’s a lot of fun and their mom, my daughter, gets all these wonderful things to decorate her mantel with.  Each girl has a memory box, and some of their creations go there after being displayed.  Some of them go into moms decoration box for use again next year.

If you haven’t crafted with a preschooler in a while I would suggest doing it.  It’s almost as much fun as playing in the dirt.

Cabin Fever January 30, 2018

Posted by liajo in house plants, life, seasons, weather, wild life.
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It starts to happen every year about this time, cabin fever is setting in.  I need to get outside some, I must get outside.  It’s cold still and there is nothing I can do in the gardens.  The sun is up longer, but it still gets dark pretty early.  But I have to get out of the house.

I can only knit, crochet and sew so much.  My hands need to be in the earth.  My houseplants could use some extra attention.  Repotting some of them would let me play in the soil.  That should relieve some of the fever, but probably not all of it.  I’ll still be inside.

It’s time for a walk.  I’ll dress warmly and walk carefully, there are patches of ice.  Even in winter, there are plenty of signs of life.  We still have birds around and geese flying.  I’ll surely see at least one squirrel.  The Evergreens are still pretty and with no leaves on them, the other trees can show their real form.

I walk just might do the trick.

Funny Story April 11, 2009

Posted by liajo in Bubba & Allie, good things, Greenhouse Gardening, life.
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Wednesday was a beautiful day here so I decided to get in some yard work.  One of things I wanted to get done was some prep work in the vegetable garden.  groupwinter06I can’t go outside without the dogs, Bubba and Allie wanting to come with me, so we all went out back.

I was in the fenced garden clearing out all the coverings I had left on the beds during the winter.  I also had a pocket full of trash that had blown in.  Needing to dump the ground covering material in the compost pile and throw the trash away I came out of the garden. 

There was Allie wagging her tail and running around.  But no Bubba, I didn’t see him anywhere.  So I asked Allie “Where’s your brother, where’s the Bubba dog?”

greenhousesAs soon as I said his name Bubba comes a running, from the greenhouse.  Now at the end of fall I knew I had gotten the greenhouse ready for winter and all zipped down tight.  But somehow Bubba got the front zipper up just enough so he could go inside.  I’m guessing to lay on the warm, dry ground.

After putting both dogs in the house I checked to greenhouse.  Bubba had done no damage, there really wasn’t anything to damage.  I also check the thermometer that I had put in the ground.  It was reading 80 degrees.

I didn’t plant in the greenhouse this winter and hadn’t gotten it ready yet to move the tomato seedlings into.  But it’s being used, as an over sized dogie sauna.

Up dates April 8, 2009

Posted by liajo in Bubba & Allie, crafts, garden thoughts and ideas, good things, life.
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The tree guys are coming today to start removing the old tree.  It’s exciting and sad at the same time.  I’m sorry to see it go but at an estimated 120 years old it had a good life and we won’t have to worry about it damaging our house in a wind storm.

All the tomato seedlings are doing great.  The first pepper seedling popped up yesterday.  Now I’m just waiting for more.  I’ll keep a close eye on them the next couple of days.

Bubba is finally regulated on his insulin and diet.  He has lost about 4 pounds and doesn’t have to go to the vet again for 3 months.  I know he’s happy about that.  He’s such a good boy for the vet techs but we know he hates having to spend the day there.

With any luck I’ll get a load of manure to add to my compost this weekend.  The last several weekends have been crappy weather (pardon the pun) so we couldn’t get it.  Along with the manure I’ll get some straw to use as mulch.  It’s all coming from a local dairy farm. 

Great news, the afghan is done.  I finished it Monday night.  Now I need another project to keep me busy at night. 

And after 13 years in this house we are finally doing something to the kitchen.  Paint, some new cabinets and counter tops and a new floor.  The old floor is from about 1950.  It sucks

Don’t Til the Dirt April 4, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, How to tips.
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This is a repeat of what was about my first blog.  But it’s worth saying again.  Please don’t til the dirt in the garden.2560784473_655051884e

Deep tilling of the garden does damage that won’t be repaired for years to come.  Remember there are millions of living things down there.  Things we can’t see, but that do so much good.  When you til the dirt you upset their homes and lives and sometimes even kill them. 

There is a much better way to plant.  I know because I’ve been doing it for several years now.  And it is so simple.  In a couple of weeks I’ll remove the winter cover from the garden beds.  In my case that’s leaves, other garden scrapes and newspaper.  Then I’ll dump on a couple of inches of my well aged compost on the beds.  I may use a hand spade to work in the new compost a little bit.  I’ll use an old tree branch to make my rows, sprinkle out the seed or place in seedling, cover lightly with dirt and I’m done.

It works great for new beds also.  Lightly break up the existing dirt, dump on lots of compost, at least several inches thick and plant.  I did this with a new strawberry bed last year and they grew like crazy.

If your interested in finding out all sorts or ways to have a garden without tilling the dirt, check out my favorite source, Mother Earth News at www.MotherEarthNews.com.

Proceed with Caution April 1, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, How to tips.
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organic20produceIt seems like everyone is looking for ways to save money, and many have decided that growing their own food would be a great way to do that.  I agree, I haven’t bought a tomato product in years.  But if your new to vegetable gardening please proceed with caution.

One local gardening expert was on the news saying anyone could grow their own vegetables with an investment of $30 or less.  I think the money estimate may be kind of low. 

And besides money you need to consider time.  Watering, mulching, weeding, pruning, staking and even harvesting, it all takes time.  I love doing it but my husband considers it a form of punishment.  He helps with fence building and greenhouse building and then heads inside and waits to eat the fresh produce.

In order for the garden to be sustainable through the winter you need to plant a lot, and know how to store it.  Last year I had about 12 tomato plants for 2 people.  That’s a lot of tomatoes,  and they’d rot if I didn’t preserve them.  My favorite way of persevering is drying.  I dried pounds of tomatoes and zucchini which I then froze in single serving.  Their great in all sorts of dishes.

Trust me, I want everyone that has a yard, patio or window sill to grow a garden.  But I also realize that as fun as I think my growing gardens are, they aren’t every ones idea of fun.  I also want all these new gardeners to keep gardening for years to come. 

So plant your seed, but realize the true cost pay off may be a couple years down the road.

Everything you need to know… March 30, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things, How to tips.
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about starting seedlings you learned in kindergarten, or day care or girl scouts.  Really, I promise.  Think back.  The teacher had a paper cup for each kid.  You made a couple of holes in the bottom and filled them up with soil.  Then you read the story of Jack in the Bean Stalk and each kid got a bean seed which you poked down into the soil with your finger.  Some water was added and a piece of plastic wrap or baggie was put over the top of the cup.  In about a week all the kids had a bean sprout.

seedlings1Guess what???  It still works, and is a lot cheaper than buying seed starting kits at the local nursery. 

I started a bunch of pepper and tomato seeds this weekend.  I used paper cups (with holes in the bottom) filled with a seed starter soil mix.  I made one mini greenhouse out of an aluminium cake bottom pan with a plastic top.  Actually Saturday morning it had cinnamon rolls in it, which I finished off before planting the seeds.

In about six weeks I should have some good sized seedlings ready to go outside.

Naming the garden March 29, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things.
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ffgp133I think I’m going to name my gardens this year.  And with all the additional beds going in this year “garden” just doesn’t seem to cover it.  I haven’t decided for sure, but I think I’ll name it “Park Ave Farms.”

We actually live on Park Ave and the place is turning into a vegetable farm. 

Maybe I’ll have a nice sign made up and put it in one of the new vegetable beds that will be taking the place of the front lawn this year.

What do you think, is a farm name just to over the top?  Or is it carrying on a tradition, all the homestead and farms used to have names.