Sun protection is important, y’all! Our ranch is located in Northeast Texas where heat & humidity are the daily forecast almost every day during summer months.
But our work days are filled with outside chores such as working cattle or repairing fences, gardening or mowing pastures. Even though we spend many hours in the sun, I shy away from using sunblock whenever possible. Why?
Although sunblock is marketed as safe and effective, I just don’t know how I feel about slathering chemicals on my skin several times each and every day.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when it makes sense to use sunblock. But today I’m sharing seven easy ways I’m able to protect my skin from the sun’s harmful rays without resorting to sunblock.
Did y’all know there’s such a thing as ‘Plastic-Free July‘? Me neither! But you know I hate plastic so I’m loving anything that has to do with eliminating more of it. And it’s perfect timing since recent buying decisions had me looking for disposable utensils.
Wait a minute, WHATTammy??! I thought you hated disposable things!
Yes, you’re correct… But we were hosting an outdoor family reunion I didn’t want my good flatware going outside & being lost or thrown away accidentally. And you KNOW I’m not gonna use anything plastic!
So I went online searching for options. I was intrigued to find compostable forks, knives and spoons. There are many manufacturers out there but PerfectWare utensils by Perfect Stix were actually WAXED. I knew right then & there that I’d be buying those!
Recently we were honored to have a guest poster, Ashley share her experience of going through a full month with No. Refined. Sugar! In her post about going through Week Two of that challenge she shared with us a quick & easy hot-weather treat – Healthy Sugar-Free ‘Ice Cream’ made with frozen bananas and berries. Check out this recipe for a nice cool treat on a hot summer’s day that’s actually GOOD for you…
I love sunflowers! As a matter of fact they may be my absolute favorite flower. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re super easy to grow, they bloom prolifically and I’ve always said “Yellow is a HAPPY color!” I plant a row of Mammoth Sunflowers at the edge of my garden every year. Of course I love the look of the cheery yellow blossoms. And my mom always comments about how beautiful they are when she visits.
This year I planted the sunflowers along the chicken fence side of the garden. Those huge sunflower plants offer shade during the heat of the day for my chickens. Oh, and our bees love them too. That’s a lot of bang for my package-of-seeds buck! But now it’s time to harvest those sunflower seeds. Come see what I did.
Busy as a bee! Our hives have increased this year thanks to us performing splits and capturing swarms. All our bees are busy, busy, busy these days! During the spring when everything was abloom they had all they could harvest. Those girls were coming & going from the hives with pollen pockets full!
But now that the heat of our NE Texas season is starting to set in the blooms are not quite as prolific. Oh there are still wildflowers blooming, and the bees are all having a hayday in my garden alright. But with the fading blooms and the fact that we’re trying to boost some of those smaller swarm hives, RancherMan & I decided perhaps we need to give them a little feed. There are many ways to accomplish this, here’s what we do:
As I was walking through the clover field I spied this colorful butterfly silently floating from bloom to bloom.
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Here in Texas it’s typically very hot and dry during our summertime months. So I’m careful to mulch our garden heavily. Mulching helps the plants in many ways. It not only conserves that precious moisture, but it also moderates soil temps. I like to mulch with natural materials whenever possible. A typical gardening year will see me mulching with grass clippings, leaves or spent hay.
But I have a section of my garden that holds my Concord Grapevine. I’ve trained it to grow along the fence. It’s LOADED with grapes! But I’ve also vowed to keep the Bermuda grass from creeping into my garden. So all the walkways in the garden plus a wide perimeter swath is mulched with free wood chips.
But the grapevine is right at the fenceline. So to keep bermuda from creeping in around the grapevine I surrounded it with 3 bales of wheat straw. The purpose was just to deny sneaky Bermuda the sunlight as it attempts to grow beneath the bales to get into my garden.
But those straw bales are several years old now. They’re just spent and starting to deteriorate. I need to replace them.
Our homestead is located in the hot & humid south. Here in NE Texas I do all I can to keep that heat outside where it belongs when the temps (and the humidity) start to go up. I have many ways of doing this.
For instance, our tea is brewed in a repurposed hourglass-shaped jar on the picnic table, courtesy of the sun. And our clean laundry is almost always dried outside on our *Retractable Clothesline, even in the colder winter months.
But one of my favorite ways to keep heat outside is by using my *Solar Oven to cook our food. My solar oven came with an enameled cooking set so I typically use those items when I’m cooking with the sun.
One of the included vessels is a double-stack black enamelware covered pan. That will be perfect for today’s dish: Southwest Chicken served on a bed of seasoned brown rice. Quick & easy, mix it & forget it. The whole meal cooks at the same time!