Get Your Porch Organized and Decorated for Fall

Fall is fun! There is nothing like the crisp air, the bright colors, and the last push for outdoor adventures before the cold winds of winter start bringing everyone in doors. While you can still enjoy the outside, why not get your porch organized and decorated for Fall? Fall is a great excuse for decorating, but who has the motivation when the front porch is filled with clutter and debris? This area sets the first impression whenever anyone visits your home. Start by removing everything from your porch, so you can clean the floors. Shake out those rugs, use a … Continue reading

Weird Things You Can Freeze

                            I grew up with a grandma who have a very impressive pantry. Her canning collection was enormous, although sometimes digging into it felt like an archaeological investigation. Her freezer stash was equally impressive. Little containers labelled with dates and contents: would that I were so organized. But what was most impressive was the weird things she liked to freeze. Her freezer wasn’t just full of berries – it was also full of all sorts of oddball items that would make you raise your eyebrows. In the … Continue reading

Designing Your Pantry

Yesterday we talked a little bit about why having a pantry is a good idea. But where can you put it? Pantries bring to mind big rooms full of food. Although a walk in pantry is a lovely idea, it’s not always practical. How can you make room for a pantry? 1. Declutter to create room for a pantry. Are there dish sets you’re not using, or big pots and pans that you last used a few years ago? Sell them on Craigslist, and use the money to buy some starter goodies for your new and spacious pantry! 2. Designate an … Continue reading

Ten Staples for Your Pantry

With the snow still falling in parts of the country as a blizzard sweeps across the Midwest, having a well-stocked pantry is something to think about more seriously. After all, when the weather is frightful, the last thing you want to do is go out into the storm for groceries – or go hungry. Having a well-stocked pantry is important for other reasons as well. Four years ago, I got very sick. The weather was also awful, and I couldn’t get my sick self through the storms. I had to rely on what I had prepared in the cupboards, and it … Continue reading

Bring on the Birds!

I love birds. I am somewhat less than fond of the woodpecker that’s making a loud drumming sound just outside my window, but I know that it’s just trying to advertise, letting other woodpeckers know what’s up this spring. The little winter wren that’s warbling in the tree can stay, though. Birds are beautiful, but they’re also an asset to your garden. Birds in the garden eat up bugs that eat your plants, creating ecological connections that help your garden grow. How can you attract birds to your garden? Natural Bird Feeders Natural bird food – what is it? Well, … Continue reading

In Praise of the Junk Drawer

What a mess! You look into the drawers of your desk or craft area, and what do you find? It’s a mess, but it’s a creative mess. At this time of the year, when we’re inside more often than out, how can you use your junk to spawn creativity in your home? Look in your workshop, or in the place where you put bits and pieces like nails and string. Don’t have a place like this? Make one, even if it’s just one little drawer. Your grandparents probably found this to be the most useful drawer in the house. We … Continue reading

Putting Some Spring In Your Home

It’s just about, so close, very near…can you feel it? It’s spring, and here it’s sneaking through the cracks every few days. Today was a day that was dark, damp, and sleeting, though: very winter-like. If you’re feeling the winter blues, what can you do to add some spring to your home and hopefully to your step? 1. Flowers and plants Nothing says spring like adding a few flowers to your home. My favorite is the forced bulb. It’s so easy to force bulbs to bloom. Just place a paperwhite in a pot and place it in a sunny location … Continue reading

From Lawn to Soil

Oh yes, it’s time for a little bit of bragging here. My central and eastern friends might want to ignore this post, because it talks about that much-awaited season: spring! Yes, it’s turning into spring in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not quite here, and I’m sure that we’ll have a few more days of winter yet. However, right now there’s no snow on the ground, so this weekend I worked to set up a garden plot. I’m gardening in two yards around my neighborhood, where the neighbors have been kind enough to allow me to grow vegetables in their unused … Continue reading

February in the Garden

It’s February, and that funny little groundhog is out doing his rounds again. While there may be weeks of winter yet, it is time to start planning for your garden. If you’re a long time gardener, I’m sure that your fingers are itching to get out there already! If you’re new to this gardening thing, what do you need to do to prepare for a new year in the garden? Get some seeds. Start looking at seed catalogues if you haven’t done this already, and plan what you’re going to plant this year. Take a hard look at what your … Continue reading

Planning to Save Your Seeds

Gardening involves a lot of planning. In fact, planning before you plant can save you many hours, if not days of backbreaking digging and hauling. It can also save you money. Good garden design and good planning that connects what you eat and what you plant will let you move those veggies seamlessly into some delicious kitchen goodies. If you’re a great planner, you’ll want to plan for next year’s garden as well. Yes, I’m talking about 2014. 2014? Yes. The vegetables that you plant this year can form the foundation for next year’s garden, but you need to plan … Continue reading