Visit the Shaks

  • Shak In Style
  • Shakhammer
  • Love Shak, Baby
  • LoanShak
  • ShakYard
  • WorkShak
  • Shaktronics
  • Shak & Jill
  • Animal Shak
  • Shak & Jill


    Join Jill for savvy Real Estate discussion.
    visit the shak!

    Did you know?


  • Quick test: is it a weed or a plant? If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
  • read all shaktoids!
    January 19, 2015
    Backyard Foraging

    Gardening is hard, especially if you have a gray thumb. Keeping the soil healthy, the plants watered (just the right amount), and keeping bugs and pests away is a challenge. While I love eating garden fresh tomatoes and squash, and seasoning my food with fresh herbs, it can sometimes definitely be a hassle! However, there is a way to get your own home-grown food without all the work: foraging! Leave the gardening to mother nature! There are tons of wild, edible plants that can spice up any dish. Check out this post by Ariana Mullins at And Here We Are to find new food sources in your own backyard:

    -Violets- The leaves and stems can be eaten either raw or cooked, and have a very mild flavor.  The flowers are aromatic and tart– lovely for garnishing desserts with. 

    -Primrose- I love the flavor of primrose flowers, and they do have a rosey smell and taste.  Some people make wine with primroses!

    -Field Garlic- They have the flavor of both garlic and onion.  They are pungent and so tasty. 

    -Dandelion- This is one of the most well-known edible “weeds.” I have used the flowers, buds, leaves and roots– both for food and medicine. You can even use the leaves for a salad.

    Photo Credit: Jenny Downing 


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    January 16, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: Unusual Mushroom Farm
    http://www.dailymotion.com/videox2erkoo

    There’s nothing I love more than fresh, wild mushrooms. Yum, yum, yum! This idea is so unique, I just had to share it.


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    January 12, 2015
    Garden Enemies (Gardenemies?)

    I took a few anthropology classes in college, and learned a bit about the invention of agriculture. I won’t launch into a lecture about the entire relationship that humans and plants have had, but it does require a tiny (pre) history lesson! What is now known as companion planting was practiced by the people who lived in what is now modern-day Mexico. They always planted a trio of veggies together: corn, beans, and squash. The three plants were called “the three sisters,” because they all helped each other grow. However, the opposite can also happen. Some plants just do NOT get along, and if planted together, one may kill the other- or neither of them will grow at all. Check out this post by Mindi Cherry at Mom Needs To Know for what NOT to plant together:

    • Beans and Peas: Don’t plant near chives, garlic, leeks, onions, peppers, marigolds
    • Broccoli and Cauliflower: Don’t plant near peppers, squash, strawberries, tomatoes
    • Tomatoes:  Don’t plant near broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, cucumbers
    • Sunflowers need to be planted at least 12 inches away from any other plant.

    Photo Credit: Lady Dragonflycc 


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    January 9, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: Vertical Gardens For Small Spaces
    http://www.dailymotion.com/videox1egm3h

    This is genius! Sure to brighten up any window.


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    January 5, 2015
    DIY Bird Feeders

    I grew up with my Dad always keeping bird feeders at the house. There was a hummingbird feeder on the porch, and at least two feeders filled with bird seed hanging from trees in the yard. I love watching them (especially hummingbirds- they’re hilarious), and helping them out- especially in winter. For a fun indoor craft you can do with kids, check out this post by Erica at What We Do All Day for some creative DIY bird feeders:

    -Pine cone bird feeder- pour melted suet onto pine cone, hang with yarn or string from tree

    -Hanging orange bird feeder- Step 1. Scoop out orange halves. Step 2. Poke 3 equidistant holes. You need at least three holes to keep it from tipping easily. Step 3. Thread string or twine through the holes for hanging. Step 4. Fill with tasty bird treats. We used bird seed and cranberries.

    -Paper roll bird feeder- coat a paper towel roll with shortening and roll in bird seed.

    Photo Credit: Frederique Voisin-Demery 


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    January 1, 2015
    Happy New Year!

    Photo from Style Me Pretty


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    December 30, 2014
    Orchid Care 101

    I’m a pretty lazy person- so I’m a huge fan of plants that don’t demand a ton of attention to be kept alive. That’s why I love orchids- they’re gorgeous (purple!), and surprisingly low maintenance. They can also make beautiful gifts. If you want to start taking care of your own orchids, check out this post by Annie at Annie Hearts for some easy tips:

    -You would think I was some sort of orchid whisperer. I’m so not! You can do this too and the best part is that it’s about as low maintenance as it gets.

    All I do is:

    1. give it two ice cubes once a week
    2. keep it in a bright south-facing window with no direct sun

    Photo Credit: Rene Mensen 

    Technorati Tags:

    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    December 25, 2014
    Merry Christmas!

    Photo from Christmas Lights Etc


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    December 24, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Holiday Lights

    Photo from My Snowy Christmas Tumblr


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    December 18, 2014
    Plants That Grow On Fences

    I’ve always loved gardens that look a bit “wilder” than the average. Ivy growing up the side of the house, bursts of wildflowers and tall grasses, and hanging vines– I want it all. I like to give Mother Nature some control (there is a fine line between natural and unkempt!), and I love the look of plants that are more untamed. That’s why I was thrilled to find this post by Heather Rhodes at Gardening Know How- it has a long list of plants that will grow on fences. They can cover up ugly chain links, or simply just add more character to your yard:

    -English Ivy

    Photo Credit: K. Oliver 


    Add to: del.icio.us  Digg  Face Book  stumbleupon  technorati
    Top