Great Northern Gardening Experiment, Part 2

Gardening Mid SummerA couple months now into our Spring seeding and sprouting, and we are officially in the midst of Summer gardening… and it is OM!  Much of the garden this year was grown from seed and some fruit roots, with a few small berry shrubs thrown in for good measure.  We did see some returning plants from our first year, and things are coming along quite nicely – however, just a little slowly.

Everyone here says it’s been a wet season thus far, though even moving as we did from Texas last year, I find it has been very hot as well.  I will say, 85 degrees with 80% humidity really DOES feel like 105!  Now I understand why the farmers get up so early.   Continue reading

Fairy Forest Cottage with a Side of Jam

Fairy Forest signsWow!  So it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve posted anything here – which is definitely a sign of the season.  With the onset of spring gardening and the end of Mighty O’s school year, needless to say, we have been MIGHTY busy!!!

When we moved in last year, I declared that 2016 would be the year of OUTSIDE – since there was so much work INSIDE  to deal with for 2015… and so it’s been off to the races since the sun came out here.

Top projects over the last several weeks have included handmade teacher gifts (lavender sugar and lavender lemongrass body scrub), tending to the Great Northern Gardening Experiment sprouts and getting them into the ground, clearing and re-envisioning long-neglected beds, planting in over 250 bulbs and roots, and over 30 fruit shrubs and flowering bushes (with a few trees still to go!), turning our “mud pit” off the deck into a huge pebble patio, and – of course – keeping the Elf entertained with plenty of books, hikes, creative projects, and even a few camp days and play dates here and there.

Shew!! So now that I’ve exhausted myself just thinking about all of that… I decided it’s time for a new hobby (of course).   Continue reading

Great Northern Gardening Experiment: Starting Seeds

Starting Seeds CompleteAs a newer gardener – and brand new to growing in the Northern latitudes – there’s a lot I am figuring out… like the necessity of starting seeds early to work with a much shorter and cooler growing season.

Last Spring, my first priority was settling into our new house, so I got a pretty late start on things.  Besides which, a garden plot still had to be tilled out, compost delivered, and finally starting seeds commenced, and somewhat randomly, since I wasn’t really sure  what might grow successfully in our new environment. Continue reading

Sticky, Tricky Fun: Painting a Chalkboard Wall

Chalkboard Wall Final RecipeI’ve yearned for a chalkboard wall FOREVER – admiring them in magazines, *pinning* them, and generally salivating anytime I see a gorgeous wall o’ chalk, especially out and about at restaurants, where they’re often oversized and detailed with the most beautiful  colors, images, and calligraphy.

My yearning deepened last year when I was homeschooling Mighty O in the Waldorf method, where chalk drawing is a central tool in exploring fairy tales and traditional rhymes with young children. We had so much fun with chalkboard artistry involving gnomes, fairies, golden geese, and so many other magical creatures.

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3 Steps to Super Cute Storage: Adding Rustic Style to Glass Jars in Just 2 Minutes

Ribbon Jars 3 FinalMy mantra over the last few years has been “Simplify.” Each time the New Year rolls around, I renew my dedication to this principle – and this year is no exception.  This journey is very much a work in progress, though the more I get down this road, the more I realize that the key to simplifying successfully is to find just a few things that work in my home and life for a number of different purposes.

Using up and whittling down the excess starts to get more clear and a whole lot easier this way. As I identify the hard-core multi-taskers of daily life, it’s helping me have to manage less, buy less, and be able to do the things I enjoy a lot more.  This concept seems to apply well across the board, whether it’s wardrobe, cleaning products, cooking ingredients, or what have you.  I’ve found that one of the most effective tools to rise to the top of my utility scale are glass jars.   Continue reading