We are big wildlife fans at my house. We love watching the squirrels eat from our tree mounted squirrel feeder. We are entertained for hours watching the sparrows pull birdseed from the feeder on our window. And we really love watching the hummingbirds drink from the feeders in the front yard. (The cat especially loves watching them – they are her absolute favorite!)
Because we have so many feeders at our house, we go through a lot of nectar. Truth be told, during the summer I was spending around $20 a month on hummingbird nectar concentrate. I knew there had to be a better way – and I was right.
When The Goose was a toddler he loved, loved, loved going to the garden and helping pick vegetables. We’d spend hours out back looking at each plant, talking about what was growing, who was going to eat it when it was ready, and deciding if we were going to plant it again next year. While I loved having him in the garden, it drove me crazy when I’d look away for just a second, and he’d seize the opportunity – picking a tiny green tomato, a miniscule green pepper, or an eggplant that was no bigger than my thumb.
After spending two summers trying to keep him from picking vegetables before they were ready, I’d had enough. So, last year we decided to give him his very own garden. (Yes! Kids can garden, too!) And it worked out wonderfully. He was able to plant anything he wanted, pick anything he wanted, and he was always full of pride whenever he’d show his garden to people who came to visit.
Pinterest – I often call it the best and worst thing ever invented. If you’re not familiar with Pinterest – it is basically an online bulletin board. A place to, well, Pin different articles, ideas, and webpages that you find on the Internet.
People tend to think of Pinterest as being full of exercise, fashion and recipes, but that’s not the case at all. Pinterest has served as the inspiration for a lot of projects around my house. I’ve used it to plan our bathroom remodel, find plants that will grow in the shadier areas of my yard, and to find ideas that have helped me organize a lot of the cluttered areas of my small house.
A few years ago we inherited a large compost tumbler from my sister-in-law. Before that, we used to just throw our food scraps and vegetable peels in a heap behind the garage and hope for the best. But the compost tumbler was a game changer – it allowed us to compost more than just vegetable peels and egg shells.
Don’t throw it away! Compost it!
I used to think that the only things we could put in our compost tumbler were food scraps – I had no idea that in order for compost to properly decompose you need to have a good mixture of green (high nitrogen) materials (fruit peels, vegetable scraps, grass clipping) and brown (high carbon) materials (pizza boxes, fallen leaves, old newspapers).
It may be hard to believe, but spring is on it’s way. To us, that means one thing: It’s time to start planning our family garden!
I started my first garden nearly 10 years ago, long before I was married, when I was still living alone in my first house. It was a container garden, and I grew tomatoes, green peppers and jalapenos (all vegetables that I didn’t actually like, but that I’d heard were easy to grow). I still remember the thrill and excitement that I would feel each time I went outside to water my plants, and I’d find a new flower blossoming or a new fruit dangling on the vine.
We are big gardeners, and we grow between 15 and 20 tomato plants each year. Inevitably, all the tomatoes ripen at one time, leaving me with tons of ripe, ready to eat tomatoes. Once we’ve had our fill of BLTs, tomato sandwiches and garden salads, I have to find a way to preserve the rest of our harvest for future use.