Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
We live on a very steep slope in urban Arlington, Virginia. Our first year we turned the small patch of soil on the side of our patio into tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. The only thing that really grew were the cherry tomatoes and the cucumber. Then last year we expanded significantly as seen in last years blog post . Again we had a huge amount of cucumbers and pear tomatoes. We also had great success with green beans,black berries, peppers, and broccoli. We also had some big failures, normal tomatoes and squash of all varieties.
This year we have had some big plans. We wanted to make better use of our very limited space and we also wanted to put up a shed. There was only one solution: Terracing. I originally hadn't planned to start the project until April, but in February my in-laws came to town for two weeks to see the baby. As an active busy body my father-in-law decide we should tackle this project.
While I'm not done with all of work on the back hill, we now have around 500 square feet of garden space (almost 20% of our total property. With these new planters I’m planning on planting with a modified square foot method. In the process of buying supplies I happened to show up at Home Depot the same night that all of the winter crops came in. As I have a habit of doing I went crazy and bought 120 onion starts, 24 broccili plants, 4 cabbages, and 20 Brussels’ sprouts. I figure that most of these will be done when the time comes for planting the summer crops. I've also planted 60 carrots. So here is to a good start to the gardening season.
Good luck getting everything started in your area.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Even though she says her builder gave her permission to do a little planting, the current condo board now says she’s in violation.
They’re charging the Portsmouth, New Hampshire homeowner $50 a day for being so petal pushy. That fine has reached close to $6,000, plus the board’s legal fees.
“It’s just not a happy place to live anymore for me,” says Bois, who planted the small flower bed with the help of her mother, who has since passed away.
She says, “It just feels like we’ve been bullied and really all we wanted to do was have a conversation to figure out how this can benefit all of us.”
A new certified letter arrives every month, ordering Bois to uproot her garden and keeping track of her fines.
That’s when she got the real shock: the board put a lien on her townhouse for their fines.
Bois says the whole situation has, “gotten out of control.”
She even offered to pull up the flowers and pay part of the board’s legal fees a couple of weeks ago – an offer she says was refused.
The association’s bylaws don’t expressly forbid planting flowers on your property, Bois explains, nor do they explicitly allow it.
Board members have told Bois they just want all the units to look the same.
“Now we’ve gone down a rabbit hole that I just can’t seem to get out of and it’s very sad, and it’s upsetting,” she says.
WBZ reached out to the attorney who represents the condo association, but he did not respond our request for comment.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
If you are interested in listening to a free live webinar, there is one tonight taught by a friend of mine. She is super fun, and very entertaining! You can register here, tell them Marisa sent ya.
7:00 PM Mountain Time
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Then of course we can't forget the devastating chicken coop fire we had.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
We have had snowstorms this last week in Utah so I wonder if our growing season is going to start late like it did last year. There are a couple of things that we do to determine when we might be able to start planting our vegetables. First of all we keep a garden journal.You can read more about journals here. One of the things we record in our journal is the planting dates, maturation dates, and end of season dates. This helps us to remember when we planted in previous years, and also how well it worked for us.
You might wonder how to find your local extension. If you go to this USDA website you can click on your state and find your local extension. I would use them as much as you can as the information they provide is extensive, and specific to your area.
I hope to be able to start prepping our garden this weekend as some years we start beets, radishes, spinach, and other greens by mid march. It has snowed recently so I don't know for sure if the ground will be dry enough to start in the next week. We will do a post on checking to see if soil is ready to plant soon.
Have you started your garden yet? What have you done?
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Saturday, March 3, 2012
We purchase a quarter of a pastured beef from one of my students at the university. When buying beef in bulk, people usually purchase a side of beef, which is one half of a carcass or a mixed quarter. With a mixed quarter you receive a mixture of cuts from the hind quarter (where the preferable cuts are) and the front quarter (where the less desirable cuts are). This was a small steer and as such, the steaks and roasts are also small and lean. Although I prefer big, well-marbled steaks, this will force us to healthier eating. The lean ground beef is packaged in one pound bags which are very convenient. We received 85 pounds of beef – 55 pounds of steaks & roasts and 30 pounds of ground beef. We paid about $425 which calculates to $5 per pound. When you look at the price of beef in the grocery store, this is reasonable and I feel good supporting a student who is trying to pay her way through school, rather than an industrial feed lot in Nebraska. The cuts are shrink-wrapped which extends the freezer life and you can see what you have. With paper wrap, you will have freezer burn by the time you get to the end and the print, which indicates the cut, fades so you don’t know what is inside. You then have to open the package to see what you have. If it is not what you want you have now let more air in to exacerbate freezer burn. We keep our freezer at the coldest setting, -10 F. which helps preserve meat longer. Our freezer also sucks air out like a vacuum when you close the door. This further prevents deterioration of food. In the past we have had chickens and other meat cuts in the freezer for more than a year without any problems. Our freezer is now full with this beef and chicken left over from last year. With only four of us in the house now, I am not sure we are going to raise broilers again this year.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
In an effort to be healthier our family has made a goal to eat more beans. This is a big undertaking since most of us claim that we don't like beans. We have only been adding more beans to our meals for about a week but I have found some great recipes that anyone will love, even kids. Why do we want to use more beans? Let's talk about the benefits of beans.
- Beans lower cholesterol
- Beans are an excellent source of non fat protein.
- Beans are and excellent source of complex carbohydrates.
- The carbohydrates in beans are absorbed slower than simple sugars so you stay fuller longer when you eat them.
- Beans have lots of fiber.
- They are easy to store and cook.
- Beans are an inexpensive protein.
Now that I have convinced you to eat beans, watch for the insanely delicious black bean soup recipe in my next article.