The heat & humidity here in Texas during a typical summer can create some gardening challenges. And in our area of NE Texas, we’ve been in drought conditions for several years in a row. It can feel like an expensive losing battle to keep your garden watered.
But I don’t pay for treated water to irrigate my gardens. They’re all watered with harvested rainwater. Come see three rainwater harvesting systems that work best for us.
Several years ago our daughter mentioned casually that she was growing Stevia. Wait, Stevia? You mean, the sweetener? You can GROW THAT!!?? I had no idea!
Excitedly I sat out to find a place to purchase the plant. I found it at a local discount warehouse-type store and brought it home. I plunked it into my landscaping bed as part of my edible landscape. It’s a pretty enough plant, so why not?
I’ve had this plant for a couple of years and it always comes back in the spring. But now that I’m growing my own zero-calorie sweetener, what should I do with it?
Every year RancherMan & I host a fun family gathering we’ve always called ‘RanchFest‘. It’s actually celebrated on the anniversary of the date we purchased this little piece of paradise. But we consider it a mini-family reunion.
Back when the kids were young (but before we actually lived here) we’d bring our kids and my siblings would bring theirs. We’d have a big celebration & bonfire. Oh how much fun it was to get together, and the kids loved hanging out with their cousins.
But they’re all grown and most have children of their own now. So every year at RanchFest we get together to relive those fun times. This year we’ll be serving pulled-pork sandwiches using meat from the wild hogs RancherMan’s harvested. He’ll smoke the meat, but we needed a BBQ Rub & Mop Sauce. And he certainly found a good one!
The other day I decided to try a gardening hack I’d read about. I wanted to paint some small rocks red to look like strawberries. The idea is to Trick Birds Away From Your Garden Strawberries. The birds see the bright-red faux berries and decide to swoop in for a little snack. A few pecks of that rock hard ‘strawberry‘ and they decide you’re an awful gardener and move on, leaving future strawberries for your own harvest.
I already had the paint, I already had the rocks, but I didn’t have a small paintbrush. So I decided to make one on the fly. All I needed was a tiny scrap piece of absorbent material & an ordinary clothespin.
I love the concept of edible landscaping. Just because a plant provides something you can eat doesn’t mean it can’t be beautifully incorporated into your landscape plan. I’m fond of adding carrots along the perimeter of my plantings for it’s lacy greenery border. And I love using the bold crinkly leaves of a spinach plant for interest, or to anchor a planting area with a vibrant zucchini plant. I’ve used blueberry bushes in place of typical landscaping bushes. The possibilities are endless!
We’re all trying to save a little cold hard cash these days. But sometimes it feels overwhelming just knowing where to start. And sometimes it feels if we’re not doing something grand to save wads of cash, we’re not really making an impact.
But I’m here to tell you there are small things you can do every day to save money. And they’re not big bold moves. The key is to make easy, effortless and yet effective decisions. A mind-shift change is all that’s needed. You need to look at your daily activity with a tilt on “I wonder if I could…” You’ll see what I mean. Come see 5 frugal things we did this week to easily save money.
I’m pretty eco-conscious, shunning excessive or unnecessary trash wherever possible. Even when RancherMan & I go out to eat, I bring a small lidded glass dish into the restaurant with me to hold my leftovers. That keeps me from having to accept their Styrofoam packaging.
But one of my self-imposed rules about my crunchiness is that I want to make it ‘un-weird‘ in public to keep RancherMan from feeling uncomfortable. He assures me my eco ways don’t make him uncomfortable, but I still want to be considerate. And let’s face it, carrying a small casserole dish through a restaurant does not blend in with the atmosphere. So I decided I needed a carrier that looked almost purse-like.
RancherMan loves his iced tea. I love that it’s a healthier drink option for him than many other choices. And brewing our own tea means no trash. Plus it’s super cheap.
All. Good. Stuff.
But did you know it doesn’t necessarily have to be hot outside to brew tea? All you really need is sunshine. There are a couple of ways I’m able to provide RancherMan with that delicious beverage he loves. Brewed in winter or summer: No purchased energy necessary!
Y’all know my aunt sends me home with bushels of apples every year. I get to work making all sorts of fun things with them. There are some examples of apple recipes we’ve enjoyed at the bottom of this post. But one thing I like to do with those fresh apples is to make & can apple pie filling. Then even when unexpected company shows, homemade dessert is ready in a flash.
For a fast appley dessert I can use that homemade apple pie filling to make homemade Apple Pie. Or maybe something even faster – Apple Crumble.