Morning Coffee & Garden Update

Hello Lovelies,

During my morning coffee outside enjoying our beautiful garden, I discovered that I now have flowers!!  Oh…if you could see me jumping for joy and then spilling my coffee on my foot, you’d laugh like hell.  Seriously, it’s coffee abuse!  Coffee to me is like air.  Despite this little mishap and delay in admiring my garden, I realized that two plants have flowered.  I’m so incredibly happy!  I’ve been stalking my garden since planting hoping that by doing so I can catch anything that may go wrong and quickly fix it.  Or am I being paranoid?  I don’t know. But for now, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.  After so many failed attempts I’m determined to bear fruit.

My soil is doing well.  I see no bugs or insects crawling, no white spots on the leaves of my plants, no yellow leaves indicating that they are over watered, just happy and healthy plants! Phew!  I have noticed that they’ve grown taller too.  It’s amazing what a 5 days can do in regards to their growth.  Here’s a peek 🙂

everything seems more beautiful from a different view

Beauty on the Homestead

Hello Lovelies,

Spring is finally here!  This means….take 4 or 5 or I can’t even remember what season we are on with our adventure into gardening :P.  We try so hard to deal with our environment the best way we can and make the most out of it.  Sometimes that involves doing things in a way that you really didn’t originally intend.  Environment is so important and I read it all the time among homesteaders that adaptation is the name of the game.  I had my heart set on in-ground gardening. But seeming we cannot alter our landscape and after numerous failed attempts I decided to go above ground.  Most recently, my darlin babydoll built me a raised garden bed out of cedarwood.  You can view the post here. He did such an amazing job! I created a small area near the garden where we can easily water plants and grab our compost that we also made ourselves. Easily accessible from all four sides and large enough to house what our environment currently allows. We positioned the bed in a way that only allows 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.  Being in North Texas, we can get temperatures over 105 degrees.  In past attempts, our garden was at the furthest point in our yard and in direct sun light 12 + hours a day. See the problem? Now, the garden gets the sun it needs yet around 5pm is shaded by the roof of our house. Problem solved! Although, I’m thinking about adding yet another 4′ x 8′ raised bed along side of it in the fall.  Making half of our yard a garden.

I spent most of the day Sunday arranging the garden, paying much attention to the “flood zone” in our backyard and also where the sun hits.  We have a good size yard for where we live which is a stone’s throw from a huge city.  Our lawn is in the shape of an L, around a concrete patio, and is slanted, uneven, and floods.  Thank God we rent!  Otherwise this mama would be gutting the yard LOL! Our goal in just a few short years it to get on some good acreage, about 10-15 acres.  So I’m trying to find inexpensive ways to get around the obstacles we face because our time here is temporary, but long enough where I can do “something”.

This year we planted:

  • Brandy Wine Tomatoes
  • Early Girl Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Purple Bell Peppers
  • Orange Bell Peppers
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Comfrey
  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Purple Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Italian Oregano
  • Cucumber

In due time, I will have the garden of my dreams.  We eventually want to plant every vegetable and herb we consume.  Until then, my dream is get one plant to bear fruit.  The compost is doing very well and much better than expected.  I almost have dirt!  I’m so glad I tried it and made the bin myself.  Almost nothing goes to waste in our home and especially during canning season.

I’d love to see photos of your gardens!  Please post a photo of your garden in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moveable Raised Garden Bed for Less than $75

Hello Lovelies,

I’m so damn excited to finally have our raised garden bed built! I’ve wanted one for quite some time now and finally got around to doing it. Our soil is very poor where we are and mainly solid clay. After two years of failed in ground attempts, opting for a raised garden bed was the best option. Plus, we moved the garden to another more desirable part of the yard. Our prior garden was in the direct Texan sun for about 12hrs a day and burned everything planted. Now, as the sun sets, a shadow is cast from the house leaving about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. 

We built the bed 4ft x 8 ft out of untreated Cedar wood. Cedar is a good insect repellant. 

You will Need:

  • Six 8′ long 6″ wide boards of any untreated wood (cedar is the more pricey option)
  • Two 2″x 2″ x 8′ boards

Lowes offers wood cutting services to any size. So no need for expensive tools. Yay!

Cut the following measurements:

  • Leave four 8′ x 6″ boards for your long sides. 2 boards on each side so that your long side walls are 12″ high. 
  • Cut two of those same boards to 4′ lengths for the shortest sides and 12″ high. 
  • Cut the 2″ x 2″ 8′ boards in 4′ lengths. 
  • Cut one of the 2″ x 2″ 4′ boards into 1′ pieces. These will be your corner pieces. One piece per corner. 

Take one 2″ x 2″ x 1′ piece, one 4′ board and one 8′ board and screw or nail together making two holes in each board. This will strengthen the corners. Do this to the other three corners to create a box. 

Now do the second level, drilling into each corner 2″ x 2″ x 1′ piece. Now you have a 12″ high 4′ x 8′ raised bed. 

Take two 4′ 2″x 2″ boards and screw in the very middle to make two 4′ x 4′ wide sections. This will stabilize the bed and help prevent bulging sides. 

This took the following to fill 3/4 of the way up:

  • 22 bags of soil
  • 1 bag pebbles
  • 1 bag mulch

Total cost with tax was less than  $75 to build. We chose untreated cedar wood and cut all of the wood for free. We had screws already and chose screws because we are still renting our home.  We can move this later. 

Total build time about 30 minutes with an electric drill. 

We found this to be a much better way to do a raised bed.  A lot of the online kits we looked at were extremely expensive and were flimsy looking or didn’t get rave reviews for being durable. This way, we built ourselves, built it strong, and learned a new skill. 

Life Among the Roses…

Hello Lovelies,

Spring is coming quick! I cannot wait.  I’m nearly jumping up and down wishing it was here right now.  But all in due time, God’s patience is such a blessing.  Look at what he creates! This morning I noticed that our roses are finally blooming.  This is our first rose bush and it grew out of control last year making it very bushy looking.  It was quite the feat to cut down all of the branches especially seeming the stems were really thick.  I was quite surprised.  Now down to a manageable bush, I am very thankful we got flowers.  I had never cut a rose bush before and it was really a cut and pray type situation.

Halfway through, I noticed plastic.  What!  Who has plastic in a rose bush.  I began to just grab it and quickly noticed that it was the same plastic we covered our garden with last year and about this time of year too.  I had to cut numerous branches to get to where the plastic was, but oh my gosh! It was a small birds nest. Very well constructed and quite elaborate for using twigs and plastic. Don’t you think?

Hey! It kept me amused for a few. 😛

Our rose bush is beautiful when fully bloomed and the thick thorns have no mercy. So why would a small bird build a nest among thorns? It was beautiful and I had to stand back and just admire it.  The home was built among something that was strong, painful, yet beautiful.  A mom going to great lengths to protect her children.  We may be different creatures, but it melted my heart to see how intricately placed the nest was.  Protection. Just like you and I.  I love that we have small animals around our home and that I’m able to be blessed to see such things.  I often watch the squirrels from my office window who walk along the outside window sills and the rabbits scurrying across the front yard in the early hours of morning.  Nature always makes me smile. In some way, we are all the same on some level. At least I’d like to think so.

Happy Friday Lovelies.  May your weekend be blessed.

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What Do You Do With Over 100 Canning Lids?

Hello Lovelies,

I have a TON of canning jars and they drive me nuts because they take up space.  I came up with a really cheap, nearly free way to hold my lids, make them easily accessible, and in an area where it isn’t in the way, can’t get bumped, and is really out of sight and out of mind.

A coat hanger.

That’s it!

Take a wire clothes hanger and unwind the curled hook end.  Straighten the hanger as much as you can and clip the hanger in to two pieces.  Mine broke when unwinding the curled hook end naturally so I didn’t have to cut anything.  Put the previously curled ends together and twist.  This is your middle so it hangs nicely almost like a hinge of sorts.  Now take each end of the hanger and make a loop around the worst looking lid as this will be a small foundation for this DIY contraption.  This loop stops the rings from falling and the other loop enables you to hang it. I put mine beside the fridge in a low traffic area.  It’s out of my work space and there when I need them.  It also is very frugal, re-using what I already had, and does the trick!  For me, I have more than one.

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Suburban Homesteading & Frugal Living with a Twist!