Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Maple Hill Hop 102

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button above to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

Fall ushers in a new season of gardening and inspiration.
It was time for the local Master Gardener's Plant Sale.
I got there around 9:30 on Saturday,
and had plenty of company.

There was a great selection of butterfly plants.
This milkweed seemed to be very popular.

Other aisles contained native varieties or
Florida-friendly selections.
We have used both of these type of plants exclusively in our garden beds.
It really makes the most sense.
Natives and Florida-friendly plants are less fussy
and more resilient because they are meant to be grown in our area.
They need less water, no fertilizers and need not be covered in winter.

There weren't many cleome plants left.
These beauties make a dramatic impact in the garden.

These are long-leaf pine saplings.
The texture is phenomenal.
These will grow to be up to 40 feet tall.
They just scream "Old Florida".

Here's another evergreen that looked like a miniature Christmas tree.
It was irresistible and one was brought home.
It will be placed in a pot and possibly taken with us when we move.
If it won't tolerate the new climate,
we'll just give to friends.
We can always come back to visit it!

With so many choices, it was difficult to limit my purchases to just two.
At this point, it doesn't make sense to continue to add to the garden.
It does give me lots of ideas though, about our future property.
Natives are the way to go.

We already host several types of caterpillars and butterflies,
and have many varieties of plants able to accomplish that goal.
This cigarette plant is a butterfly AND hummingbird attractor.
That's something we haven't yet ventured into,
but could easily be convinced to do so.
Something new and exciting is sure to come our way!

What have you been up to outdoors?
HOP on!


Friday, October 9, 2015

Eight Ways to Homestead-No Matter Where You Live

We presently live in suburbia.
While we wait (and wait, and wait) for our home to sell,
we participate in homesteading practices.
Although our present location prohibits us from certain things,
we take measures to do what we can right where we are.

1.  Grow what you can.
Whatever the size of your yard, patio or deck,
food can be grown in containers.
We find pots all the time in our neighbors' recycle bins,
so little money is needed to get started!
Seeds are inexpensive and the only real investment
is creating a soil mix that will provide your family with food.
We have a modest garden now,
but everything we learn will make the transition to a larger garden that much easier.

2.  Support your local farmer.
Even if you don't grow your own,
supporting others who follow responsible farming practices
is a worthwhile endeavor.
We buy some of our produce from friends who grow pesticide-free goodies
on their 10 acres.
We also buy free-range eggs from a local chicken lady.
We plan to have our own chickens someday,
but until we can, we appreciate those who raise them respectfully.
Start with Local Harvest to find the best locally grown food.

3.  Frequent your local farmers' market.
Buying from local growers, farmers and craftspeople,
solidifies the sense of community.
Keeping small businesses and cottage industries going,
ensures that the local economy will thrive.
We're all in this together.

4.  Learn to scratch cook.
Eating seasonally not only provides your family 
with more nutritional and fresher meals,
it also provides an opportunity to utilize every bit of purchased food.
We scratch cook because it's important for us to know 
what's in our food.  We also deal with multiple sensitivities,
so making our own is vital to our good health.
Start with cookbooks obtained free from your local library.

5.  Make your own bread.
Anyone who has made the leap to producing their own bread
knows how life-changing it can be.
This is by far one of the best things I've ever done.
The end result is so far superior to anything you can find at the supermarket,
and having a hand in creating your own food is so rewarding.
It begins with the basics.
6.  Buy only what you need.
Be frugal in what you bring onto your homestead.
We try to reuse or repurpose as much as possible.
We also believe in repairing items when they break,
rather than running out to purchase a replacement.
Keeping the material items to a minimum
means less to keep track of, less to maintain and less to clean.

7.  Be willing to learn a new way to do things.
Being open to new methods is always a good idea.
Learning a different route to tackling projects
can be as simple as seeing it from a varied perspective,
or employing You Tube videos to work through a problem.
The other side of this is sharing what you've learned.

8.  Learn to barter.
Money doesn't always need to change hands 
in order to get what you need or want.
Keep in mind that you are a multi-talented person 
who has a lot to offer.
Maybe you play piano, have a green thumb,
or can fix anything that's broken.
These skills can be swapped with others for their time
in an area in which you may not excel.

There are so many ways that those in "less than ideal circumstances" 
can embrace the homesteading lifestyle.
It has very little to do with location,
and everything to do with one's state of mind.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Maple Hill Hop 101

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button above to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

This past Saturday was our community-wide yard sale.
The weather was just about perfect.
We've already downsized quite a bit
because of our home being on the market,
but we found a few things to part with.

There were some Florida-friendly plants for sale.
These are volunteers that have popped up,
or plants that needed dividing anyway.
Why not share the goodness?

These flax lilies add a nice bit of brightness with their variagation.
They have delicate blue flowers when in bloom.
This process has me thinking that when we relocate,
one homestead project I could start right away
is to begin a native nursery on our property.
When we first moved to Central Florida 10 years ago,
it wasn't easy to find natives.
I plan to jump right into that type of gardening 
when we relocate to North Carolina.
Besides,  working from home suits me.

These crape myrtle starts keep popping up all over the backyard.
Only one of these got sold, 
but I plan to put them on Craig's List.
If they don't sell, we'll do another plant giveaway.

Our daisy totes were up for sale too.
We're starting to think about other venues where they can be locally marketed.
As you can see by the first picture,
these have been getting made by the dozens.
It's a relaxing hobby, 
and it offers another source of income for our family.
This is another idea we're forming about me getting to work right away when we move.
I will probably set up a booth at a local farmer's market.

Overall, we didn't make much money,
but it was fun and we got to chat with a lot of nice folks.
It was great experience for Lil' Guy too.

What's happening in your neck of the woods?
HOP to it!



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thrifty Thursday-Spoon Plant Markers

While planting the fall garden,
I ran out of markers.
Usually, the tags that come with purchased plants are reused for this purpose,
but they had all been used up and recycled.
What's a gardener to do?

These plastic spoons were perfect for the job.
They were just sitting in a kitchen cabinet,
asking to be useful.
If you don't have spoons,
any item that's basically the same shape will work.
Wooden skewers, craft sticks, 
we've even used straws with duct tape flags.

With just enough surface area to write the date
and variety, they were put to the task.
The marker being used is one given to me by my friend Lynn.
It's a bit pricier than a standard magic marker,
but it works much better in this application.
Won't fade a bit, no matter how much weather it takes.

I've been known to plant things and then forget to mark the area.
With these handy markers,
all I had to do was stick the handle end in the ground
and they are easily read.

We look forward to creating more markers
for the rest of the goodies we'll be planting
throughout the fall season.

Here are some other ideas about repurposing in the garden:

 Shard Bird Feeders
Baling Twine

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