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  • Quick test: is it a weed or a plant? If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
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    November 19, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: I Want A Lake House

    Photo from Nest Egg

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    November 17, 2014
    Basil In Winter

    I love growing my own herbs. I use fresh oregano and basil in my cooking, and I use lavender and eucalyptus in homemade bath products. The best thing about herbs is that they’re easy to grow, and easy to transport, meaning you can grow them indoors during the colder months. Check out this post by Melissa at Melissa K. Norris on how to grow basil during the winter for some tips:

    Buy one or two bunches of basil (usually about three plants are inside each package). Growing basil in water during the winter months is actually preferable, as you don’t have to worry about your soil molding.

    Choose a planter, and add a bit of water.

    Place your basil plants in the water. Find your warmest and sunniest window, usually this is a southern exposure side of the house. 

    Photo Credit: Isaac Wedin 

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    November 12, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Gorgeous Tile Path

    Photo from Hometalk

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    November 6, 2014
    Homestead Idea: Soap Making

    I love the idea of homesteading- learning skills that let you provide for yourself and your family. Now, I don’t live on a farm. I don’t raise any animals, or grow my own food- yet. Eventually, I hope to have a huge garden and a flock of chickens. But, I do try to learn things that make me more self sufficient. I know how to crochet, and I’m learning how to knit. My current obsession, though- is learning how to make my own soap. I love the idea of choosing the scents and colors that I want, as well as knowing exactly what I’m using for my bath products. All you need is lye (found in hardware stores), and oil (olive oil from the grocery store works just fine)! You can also add herbs and plants from your garden for fragrance (rose petals, oats, seeds, lavender- the list goes on and on). I’m going to try my hand at it soon, and here is a recipe by Tracy Ariza at The Things We’ll Make that I’m going to try. (Note- lye is extremely caustic and produces strong fumes, and can cause chemical burns. Keep it far, far away from children and pets, and always wear gloves and safety goggles when handling it.)

    Mix your lye into your water (Not the other way around!!!) in a heat safe bowl outdoors. Let it cool.

    Mix your oil.

    Mix the cooled-down lye water with the oil mixture.

    Let it thicken, then add your fragrance or essential oils- then pour it into molds

    Let set for around a month, turning every day or two at first, and then every week later on.  This is to let your soap dry out and harden.

    Photo Credit: Kim Becker 

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    November 4, 2014
    Cheap/Free Gardening Tips

    One thing I love about plants is how they take our waste and turn it into something useful. Animals breathe out carbon dioxide- plants “breathe” it in, and “breathe out” oxygen for us. They use animal manure as fertilizer, and thrive on things that we need to get rid of. What I’m getting at is- you can make stuff that your plants will love by using scraps from your kitchen and other trash (that is basically what composting is). For some frugal gardening tips that recycle (what we consider as) garbage, read this post at Eliving Today:

    -Line the bottom of a clay pot with a coffee filter to keep soil from leaking out the bottom hole.

    -Want to test your seeds to see if they’re still viable for this planting season? Do what kids do. Place a wet paper towel inside a zip top bag, drop in 3-4 seeds and wait a week to see if anything grows.

    -One way to prevent weeds is to line your garden with a layer of newspaper. Just top two or three sheets of newsprint with a layer of pine needles, grass clippings or dried leaves.

    - Place several cardboard toilet paper rolls inside a clean plastic clamshell, like those used for supermarket salads. Fill each cardboard tube with potting soil and plant. Once your seedlings grow too tall for the clamshell, simply tear off the top lid. 

    Photo Credit: Jessica Spengler 

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    October 31, 2014
    Happy Halloween!

    Photo from Yes-Iamredeemed Tumblr

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    October 27, 2014
    Cheap Landscaping Ideas

    Having a well landscaped yard will do wonders for your curb appeal, but many people are often intimidated by the idea. Landscaping your yard doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive ordeal. And, while hiring a professional will certainly save you time, you can do it yourself for much less. But, if you have no idea where to start (I don’t have an eye for outdoor design)- this article by Kristia at Family Balance Sheet will be extremely helpful:

    -Take ‘before’ shots

    -Take measurements of your space

    -Plant foliage that is native to your area

    -Look for inspiration in books and magazines

    -Add interest with color

    -Don’t overcrowd

    -Always follow planting instructions

    Photo Credit: Rachel Kramer 

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    October 24, 2014
    Friday Fun Video: Garlic Growing Tips

    I LOVE garlic. I could eat chunks of it whole (I’m very popular on dates, of course.) Lucky for me, now is almost the time to plant your own! This video has some great tips on late Fall planting.

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    October 22, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Perfect Garden Shed

    Photo Credit: Esther

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    October 20, 2014
    Too Soon To Prune?

    Pruning trees is necessary for their health. It helps them grow larger and faster, while also preventing the branches from getting too heavy. Usually, if a tree branch falls and it’s not because of a storm, it’s because it hasn’t been pruned properly. Fallen tree branches are extremely dangerous- and can cost you a lot if they fall on your home or car. So, to help both you and your trees, here’s a guide on pruning, from Kathy Woodard at The Garden Glove. It tells you when and how to prune your trees:

    - Most trees will come out healthier on the other end if you wait until after the coldest part of winter has passed, but before vigorous growth starts in early spring.

    -For large trees, leave the job to a tree trimming service

    -Here’s what to cut on small trees: rubbing/crossing branches, dead or broken branches, water sprouts, and anything awkward or unattractive.

    Photo Credit: Rosewoman 

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