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!
Spring is an exciting time in beekeeping. The bees are finally able to get out of the hive & forage from the blooming plants. The hives grow by leaps and bounds this time of year too. It’s a good time to split the hives to keep them from becoming too crowded.
But spring is also a time when some hives will swarm. Sometimes when we capture a swarm we put the bees into an empty deep hive box with frames and let them get busy. But sometimes so many swarms are caught that we don’t have a deep hive box available. Let’s make some 5-frame nuc boxes for temporary housing for them. They’re super quick to put together & you can build four nuc boxes with a single sheet of plywood!
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’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!
Back in ‘the day‘ I always kept several packets of taco seasoning in my pantry for those days I was making Carnitas Tacos. Or Pulled-Pork Enchiladas. Or maybe Taco Soup. Or… well anything Tex-Mex flavored. RancherMan & I enjoy lots of Tex-Mex food, y’all. You know, ’cause that’s how we roll in Texas!
But that was before I started on this simple life journey. I’ve since learned that it’s beyond easy to whip up these spice mixes for myself. Come see…
When we adopted our Mini-Schnauzer Bailey several years ago, she was plagued by painful bladder stones. This condition also caused her to relieve herself often in the house, and her urine was sometimes tinged with blood. A carpet-stain nightmare! I’m happy to say surgery to remove her bladder stones was a success and Bailey has been a happy and healthy member of our household ever since. But that pet stain in our bedroom? Hummm…
Of course we tried to spot-clean the carpet ourselves with various purchased carpet cleaners. But even rinsing out the carpet to the best of our ability, the soap residue apparently attracted dirt over the following days until the stain magically ‘reappeared‘.
Years ago I did away with artificial scents in our home. Oh how I used to love those reed diffusers, plug-in room fresheners and scented candles! But I decided those artificial scents just weren’t right for me or my family.
These days I’m more apt to use essential oils for room fresheners than a plastic-packaged plug-in delivering a sometimes overpowering artificial scent. Recently I made a super-cute room freshener using a repurposed canning jar and leftover lace. So easy, so inexpensive!
RancherMan & I like to make our Christmas gifts ourselves to give to loved ones. This year we’d been working HARD for several months making different flavors of homemade cheese for our gifts. But my aunt is on a special diet, so cheese wouldn’t be a thoughtful gift for her at all. Hummm…
I know – she loves to garden and she’s always planting and tending to the flowers in her amazing garden. (Let me tell ya, her landscape is breath-taking!) I’ll make a hand scrub for her!