Thursday, April 21, 2011


D and I are still getting our CSA veggies.  Check out today's box:

We've got:

  • Head lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Swiss Chard
  • Green Onions
  • Carrots
  • Eggs

That's a lot of leafy greens.  I'm not sure we'll be able to eat all that salad but I did use the spinach and carrots tonight.  The dish turned out pretty darn tasty for just throwing it together.

Pasta with sausage, spinach, tomatoes and carrots.

Recipe below:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Farm Class

I killed a chicken.  Well, technically I killed three.  And, more technically, they were all roosters.  But I did it.  Whew, I had to get that off my chest.

If you'd like to discover how I ended up killing three roosters, read on.  If not, the please enjoy this LOL Cat.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Weigh In

I lost 0.2 lbs this week.  Heck, I could have gotten a haircut and lost that much.  It shows that I haven't been really trying the last few weeks.  I'm having a hard time getting back into the swing of things.  My resolve for this upcoming week - lost 0.4 lbs.  Heh.  I might also get my hair cut.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Freecycle Junkyard

D informed me last night that he wasn't too crazy about me posting pics of our "junk pile."  I didn't really feel like I was airing the dirty laundry.  It's more like showing a work in progress.  And it's not really even junk.  We have a list of garden and yard projects that we just don't have the money or time for right now.  But if I happen to see something on Freecycle that we could use for one of our projects, I'll get it if I can.

What is Freecycle?  Freecycle is a Yahoo-group organized by geographic area, city or town.  Here's what they say about themselves: 
"Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community."

Basically, it's like a Craigslist or a classified ad  for your area only everything must be free.  You can put up items you want to get rid of or put up an ad for something that you want or need.  We've given away computer speakers, DVDs, planters, laptop bags, kids clothes and toys.   If you want to get started and see what's in your area, visit here.

D and I have tons of projects that take things like lumber, irrigation tubing and cinder blocks.  When I see something like that on Freecycle, I reply to the poster and, if it's still available, it's all mine.  I just have to pick it up.  Just yesterday, I put up a "Wanted" ad for bamboo stakes for our vegetable garden.  Two hours later, a woman replied with her address and said she put about 15 stakes and a trellis outside her fence for me to pick up.  I drove by with Little Bit and there they were.  I loaded them into the Subaru and away we went.  We've saved tons of money this way.  The only downside is that we have to store the items till we use them.  Hence the junk pile.

So our junk pile isn't really junk, that's just what we call it.  I think it totally fits in to what this blog is about.  It's not particularly pretty, but it is pretty useful.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Finished planting (finally!)

With a 6 week delay under our belt, we've almost completely finished with planting for the summer garden.  Here's a look at what we've got so far......

Monday, April 11, 2011

Homemade pickled jalapeños

So.....this post is a left over from last October that I forgot to publish.  I was wondering why I couldn't find the post about the jalapeños when I just knew I'd written it.

Last March, we planted some tame jalapeños we found at the garden center.  D and I love peppers but can't really each a lot of the hot stuff so we wanted to try these "tame" ones.  After months of doing nothing, they put on tons of peppers around August. We waited until they turned red and then pickled them.  They were amazing.  Really flavorful without any heat.

So. Good.

The poblanos never really did much of anything.  I picked a few here and there and put them in sauces or stir frys and they didn't seem too hot.  At the end of the season, we left the rest (all 6 of them) ripen fully red then pick, seeded and dehydrated the peppers.  When they were fully dry, I whizzed 'em up in the food processor and we had chile powder.  I used the last remaining bit of chile powder last week when I made some stuffed bell peppers.  It still had quite a bit of flavor,
Six poblanos made just a couple tablespoons.

The plan for this year is to grow lots more of the tame jalapeños.  We've amended our soil and have a fertilizing schedule planned so hopefully they'll put on more fruit.  Once we get a nice crop, we'll pickle and can them so we'll have peppers till this time next year.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Twinkle Toes

Bending over is like folding a grapefruit.

I'm on my 15th week of Weight Watchers.  I've always hated diets.  In fact, I've never actually gone on one in my entire life.  But lately, I've realized that I was trying to persuade my 18 month-old son to sit still for the only reason that I just didn't want to move.  I was tired, my feet hurt, my knees hurt.  And it wasn't like I'd worked hard that day.  I'm just overweight and out of shape.  Bah.

I've lost a little over 20 lbs and am down nearly 2 sizes so far but I hit a plateau the last 4 weeks.  Between traveling between Austin and Houston, taking care of my son, my grandmother and just being disorganized, I haven't been keeping up with my healthy eating or exercise.  The good news is that at least I haven't gained any weight either.

I still have nearly 80 lbs to go.  I try not to think in terms of how much I have to lose in total.  It's too overwhelming.  I just try to maintain a 1-2 lb loss every week and set small goals like losing 5% of my total weight.  That seems to provide me the motivation I need without crushing my soul.

I'm planning on getting down to a healthy weight by March of 2012.  I feel that's enough time to lose the weight slowly and healthfully.  I'll be doing weekly summaries every Sunday of my weight loss efforts in order to keep me honest.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Making your own laundry soap

Exciting update.  I took a shortcut through the laundry aisle at Walmart earlier this week and happened to spot not only Fels Naptha laundry soap but washing soda!!!!!

I have always had trouble finding laundry soap, to the point that I way driving to an Ace Hardware in Georgetown just to buy the stuff.  As for washing soda, I have NEVER been able to find in the laundry section of any store.  I bought the same stuff (calcium carbonate) in the pool section as something called "PH+."  I found the PH+ a little more expensive than prices I'd seen for washing soda on the 'net, but still much cheaper than buying laundry soap.

The price breakdown as follows:

Fels Naptha - $1.49 per bar (3 cups (2 bars) or $2.98 per recipe)
Washing Soda - $4.99 per box (2 cups per recipe - roughly 6 cups per box, or $1.63 per recipe)
Borax - $5.49 per box (2 cup per recipe - roughly 8 cups per box, or $1.37 per recipe)
Baking Soda - $12.99 per 12 lb bag (2 cup per recipe - roughly 24 cups per bag, or $1.08 per recipe)

This is a grand total so about $7.06 for a batch that makes 144-288 full loads of laundry.  That breaks down to about $0.05-$0.02 per load.  Not too shabby.  Especially when you consider that a even the largest bulk bottle or box of Tide will cost you around $.20 (or 5-10 times as much)

The recipe I use is as follows:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Why We're Getting Rid of the TV

We moved our huge, rear-projection television our into the garage on Monday.  The long story coming up to our decision is below.  But before I get into that, I found this update on Man Vs. Debt yesterday.  Some interesting things the post notes is that the average American watches about 5 hours of television per day!  Not only that, but there are roughly 2.55 people living in each American household but 2.73 televisions in said household.  That means that, on average, there are more televisions than people in our homes.

How many TVs does one lady need?

When a TV is on, I have to watch it.  Maybe I have no self-control, I don't know.  What I do know is that I waste a lot of time watching TV and movies and don't get a whole lot of satisfaction out of it.  Some people do, but I don't.  On Saturday, Donald and I had "date night."  We went to see the Lincoln Lawyer (this I did enjoy).  I'd read the book a few months ago and I liked it.  I was pleased with the movie version too.  I recommended that D read the book and he said he just didn't have time to read anymore.  I started thinking about how I didn't have time to garden or to read much either.  Then we got to thinking......well, we just spent 3 1/2 hours watching Netflix.  What exactly don't we have time for?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Garden 2011

Alright folks.  We got a mighty late start to the garden.  My grandmother went into the hospital about a month ago and then needed to have someone with her for assistance after she came home.  Consequently, I was in Houston for around 3 weeks and the gardening just didn't happen.

The planting will start in full force this weekend but I was able to get a little bit done.  This may be the year that we bit off more than we can chew but we'll see how we manage.

So far we have planted:

Mouse Melon
Scarlet Runner Beans

Herbs and Beneficials
Climbing Nasturtiums

(had no idea it was so pretty)

Mouse Melon
Probably the thing I'm most excited about growing this year.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  We've also got plans for tomatoes, potatoes, corn, squash, Malabar spinach, amaranth, patty pan squash, lots of bell peppers and tame jalapeños, sunflowers, horseradish, swiss chard, and oodles of herbs and beneficials.

While we were preparing the bed and planting, we were amazed to see what's happened to the soil.  3 years ago, it was hard, sticky, black clay.  I literally could not dig a shovel into the ground and pull it up.  It was too heavy and sticky.  We had about 3 yards of topsoil brought in but this only amounted to an inch or so in each of the beds.  But we've been actively composting our kitchen scraps and yard waste and spreading out compost and mulch that our city provides for free.  Now, we have nearly 6 inches of honest-to-goodness loamy SOIL in our beds!  Just in 3 years.  I feel like we've really accomplished something by improving our soil this much.

We've got about half the back yard dedicated to food production.  We only live on 1/10th of an acre so it's not too terribly much,  I'm really excited about what the summer will bring.  Hopefully it won't run us under!