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Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all postsShowing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts

Saturday, March 22, 2014


3 uses for citrus peel {that you can start doing now}

Long lists intimidate me. I’m skeptical of their fancy promises. 101 places you can hide your elf on the shelf! 500 uses for dryer lint! 28 ways you can improve your routines!

More like 28 ways you didn’t know you were doing it wrong all along.

A few years back, I heard I wasn’t supposed to put many citrus peels in the compost. I’ve since learned that old rule isn’t true, but it sparked my interest in finding other ways to use the peels. I looked for how-tos on the interwebs. One suggested I should keep my peels in a giant bag in the chest freezer. Good idea! But wait, she wasn’t finished. Then, when the bag was full, I should put all the peels on a baking sheet and dehydrate them in a warm oven for many hours. THEN, I should grind those dehydrated peels into powder, and only after all those steps could I turn them into a scouring scrub. Ain’t nobody got time for all that.

I’m not making any promises or offering long lists today. I’ll just tell you the three ways I store my leftover citrus peels right when I’m cutting up the fruit. It will take you thirty seconds longer than tossing them in the garbage, and I promise (okay, one promise) you’ll be glad you have them on hand.
Read more »at2:19 PM7 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Cleaning,DIY,Gardening,Real Food,The Three Rs,Top 5 list

Saturday, May 11, 2013


soak it up

A break from all the fun with the film Robots. It’s a cute one!

Most days I love staying home with my kids, but I admit the little stinkers bring with them a fair amount of absurdity. Sometimes I find that my cup overfloweth with nonsense. But the great thing about having a grandpa visit is that grandpas are nonsense sponges. They ooze their own fun and silliness while simultaneously absorbing all the excess foolishness around them. Hence, Nate and I managed to squeeze in an actual relaxed adult conversation on a walk down to the hardware store, while the tomfoolery ship trailed behind us with Cap’n Grandpa at the helm.

Sorting, playing with, and keeping track of Legos is another of a grandfather’s many talents

Along our route, I noted that there were many edible plants, and I thought of Elle. I have been wanting to make salad from the greens that grow in public spaces, but what about dog pee? It seems to me that with all the dogs in our neighborhood, any leafy edible not growing in my fenced-in back yard would be anointed with animal urine. Perhaps it is a given that one should eat their own backyard weeds, but we seem to be lacking in them, possessing minimal dandelions, no violets or chickweed, nor any other weed that I can find. I’ll check back in a week and see how it’s going back there with the weeds.

In other backyard growth news, we have some seedlings at work now, and Vivi’s fairy garden is looking splendid, as our our lilacs. They really are the best of flowers, so fragrant and hopeful.

Our entire fence line looks like this. Thank you previous owners!

Tomorrow is the raising of the big playhouse, and I have pinned all my hopes of relaxing out of doors on its ability to entertain/babysit the girls, so I’ll let you know how that works out for us.

Strawberries, lettuce, future fennel, and mint. We will also do tomatoes, carrots, and maybe potatoes.

So, tell me, how does your garden grow?


at8:47 PM5 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Family,Gardening,Photos

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


methods of conserving water: a gardening season primer

I’ll never forget my first lesson in conserving water. I was at summer camp, and our head counselor stood in front of the group and explained how we could use less water when brushing our teeth by turning off the water when not using it. As an adult who has been doing this practice most my life, it seems so elementary as to require no explanation, but I remember feeling astonished at this news as a child. Oh, right, I don’t need to run the water when I’m not using it!

Read more »at8:52 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Canning,Challenge,Crunchy Mama,Frugality,Gardening,The Three Rs,Tutorial,Urban Homestead

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


your neighbors are probably right {a garden update}

On July 1st, I surveyed my garden’s progress after just returning from a long vacation. Some plants didn’t fare well without being watered (hehem, poor strawberries), but luckily it rained a good bit while I was away so most plants looked good. My neighbor behind us saw me eating a cherry tomato (yay, tomatoes already! was what I was thinking) and said “Yawh gettin’ one or two now, but you won’t have enough for a salad until August.” Pish posh, said I. I’ll have tons of tomatoes before then.
Read more »at2:48 PM7 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Gardening

Thursday, May 31, 2012


how our garden grows

Vivi’s patient pursuit of four-leaf clovers can consume an entire afternoon.

Much like Mary, we are contrary gardeners around here. Despite dire warnings from neighbors and strangers about critters eating the whole lot come harvest time, our seedling adventure is still chugging along. I’m unflappably optimistic about the venture, figuring all the exercise and dirt therapy is worth whatever food we must eventually offer up to the tiny garden gnomes or whatever other earthly creatures lie in wait.

Offering the kids plenty of occupying activities: house, bin o’toys, tub o’water, and a branch fort


“Digging in” my garden with compost, peat moss, and fertilizer


A few of my trophies. “Rocky” doesn’t begin to describe this patch of soil.


Peonies, thanks to the lady who used to live in our house. Aren’t they lovely?


Drooling over my neighbor’s sweet tomato set-up. Can you believe the upside down thing really works?


Hybrid bell peppers, squash, zucchini, and a tomato (not pictured)


Three more tomatoes, raspberry, and Vivi’s sunflowers


This is some kind of weedy flower that is apparently impossible to get rid of. Luckily I like it, and so do the bees.


Strawberries! I’m sad we are going to miss most of the picking season while we are on our southerly vacation.

We are making progress! This week was the biggest output of energy yet and involved lots of digging of dirt, rocks, and roots, and multiple trips back to the local farm for fertilizer, compost, and pots. Ultimately, we ended up with a 4’x8′ plot in the ground (minus a spot for the tiny maple tree I couldn’t bear to dig up) instead of raised beds. I couldn’t find salvaged wood or cinder blocks in the time frame I wanted them, and it occurred to me I didn’t mind putting in a bit of extra labor of digging in the soil. {Note about supplies for digging in: for our 4’x8′ plot, I used 4 40lb. bags of composted cow manure, 1 cu.ft. of peat moss, and about 3/4 c. of organic fertilizer}. We’ve also added a bunch of pots in the sunny spot next to the garden plot that had too many roots to plant in the ground, and a few random pots of strawberries, herbs, and flowers here and there.

Having given you my nonchalant spiel, do you green thumbs out there have any tips about keeping away unwanted critters? Some sort of {gulp} fencing I should put in? Or {double gulp} fox urine I should spread around? Even without the garden, we could use some protection anyway against whatever omnivorous nocturnal creature is eating our garbage, be it raccoon, possum, or skunk.

Vivi’s flower pot: lantana and some unknown vintage hybrid mix. Somehow they managed to make those flowers all co-exist in the same plant. Don’t ask me how, but isn’t it cool?
Front porch herbs: sage, thyme, and parsley (back porch has rosemary, oregano, and basil)


Update: A few hours after I posted this article, Tom Ashbrook hosted a great hour of NPR’s On Point called Garden Fever. Guess his show ain’t called “On Point” for nothin’! I enjoyed the discussion and learned a lot–I highly recommend it if you’ve got some time.

Editor’s note: This post is part of Real Food WednesdayFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways The Homestead Barn Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, and DIY Fridayat7:30 AM9 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Gardening

Sunday, April 22, 2012


fostering a love of the Earth

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival
This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction.  Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!


Happy Earth Day! I’ve been looking forward to Earth Day this year because it’s the first time Vivi–at almost four years old–understands the word Earth and what it means to protect it. I’m certain my children’s understanding will grow and change with age, and I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge and passion for environmental stewardship with the girls over the coming years.
Read more »at7:30 AM16 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Blog Carnival,Gardening,Holidays,The Three Rs

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


recession-era gardening

I invited some fabulous bloggers–and fellow home rangers–to write guest posts on The Lone Home Ranger for this entire week during Vivi’s Spring Break (called “April Vacation” in Beantown). These lovely ladies will be bringing you features focused on healthy, natural, and simple living. Enjoy!

Today’s post comes from Sheri over at Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt. Be sure to read through to the bottom of the post to see her bio and link to her blog. I’ve also written a few of my own thoughts about her post.

Coconut lime echinacea

As a professional landscaper and a homeowner, I understand the challenge in figuring out where and how best to invest in your home and property. It may be tempting to let those overgrown shrubs go for another year.

But keeping your property in good shape is critical to maintaining (and even increasing) its value. Landscaping is an investment that actually improves over time as plants and trees grow and mature. And if you are in the process of selling your home, creating “curb appeal” is essential to attracting interested buyers and reducing the amount of time your home is on the market.

Proper landscaping has other benefits too:

It lowers your energy costs – strategically placed trees can shade your home and reduce the need for air conditioning – lowering your electric bill in the process.

Read more »at7:30 AM8 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Frugality,Gardening,Guest Post,The Three Rs

Thursday, March 08, 2012


dirt therapy: sowing seeds to plant roots

Yes, that is a camping shovel. Don’t judge me.

I just filled out Vivi’s summer camp paperwork. I can hardly stand it, I am so excited for her. To be honest, I’ve been mentally making plans for her to attend camp ever since I got pregnant. I remember thinking, “How old can she be when she starts camp?,” and when I discovered I had to wait a whole four years, I was crestfallen. But now the wait is over! The time is upon us…

Read more »at7:30 AM12 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Boston,Gardening,Kids

Friday, February 24, 2012


Ungardening and Pickled Green Tomatoes

Hi everyone! This is Emily from S.A.H.M i AMand I’m super excited to be writing a guest post for Justine today. Thanks Justine for letting me share a little bit of our life on your fabulous blog. It’s a privilege!

Let me start by saying there is something that feels inherently wrong with digging up living, productive plants. I consider it ungardening.

But that’s exactly what we did today. We dug up our winter garden.
Read more »at2:19 PM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Farm,Food,Gardening,Recipe

Monday, January 16, 2012


a post about compost

I have always wanted a compost bin, but apartment living or having young babies (i.e. good excuses) have stopped me in the past. Last year I finally got my compost bin; our progressive town offers them at a steep discount, along with rain barrels, which I have yet to buy. This is my bin:

Read more »at10:38 AM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Farm,Frugality,Gardening Older PostsHomeSubscribe to:Posts (Atom)


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