Friday, October 20, 2017

Garden Friday

Last Garden Friday I mentioned that the shallots I ordered from Sow True Seed
should be here shortly.
They arrived the same day.
What a thrill to receive this little package in the mailbox.

I had ordered some veg seeds a few months back
and at that time, included shallots on my order.
The fall veggies have since been planted,
but the shallots are shipped when the time is right for planting in your area.
The order comes complete with instructions on how to plant,
in case you've never sown this particular crop.
(The sheet says garlic, but the method is the same for shallots.)

I've grown shallots before, so I'm looking forward to enjoying the practice again.
They really are quite easy to cultivate.

Shallots from my 2013 garden

Hopefully, the ones I plant here in NC 
will do as well as in my 2013 Florida garden. 

2013 harvest

You can read about my experience here.

They were spaced about 4 inches apart in this tub.
There are drainage holes in the bottom.
The root system is shallow,
so this plastic tub should hold them nicely.

The seeds are planted about 2" beneath the soil.
They should sit on their root end
and have the pointy side looking straight up.
Don't worry about the papery outside,
just bury the whole kit-and-kaboodle.
Water in well, and wait for the show!

I also took the time to plant some garlic.
It is one crop that I use pretty much daily in my cooking.
Since I hadn't ordered ahead of time,
I simply purchased a few bulbs from the grocery store.

Each bulb was broken up into individual cloves,
which then get placed into the soil, pointy side up,
just as the shallots before them.
I'm so glad I got these in the ground in October.
Less time to wait for all that goodness!

2013 garlic

One other task completed last weekend 
was to add some lettuce seed to the sides of the straw bales.
The body of the bales is fairly accessible, 
since it is constantly breaking down (as it is supposed to),
so I merely made a hole in the side with my hand trowel.

Some soil was added and then the seeds were sown.
This is the first time I've grown in straw bales,
so I am not sure what to expect.
It's fun to experiment and if it doesn't work,
it only cost me a few seeds.
I'm hoping though, that the lettuce will embellish the sides of the bales
and add some interest as well as offer another spot in which to harvest.

The weather has been picture perfect.
For the first time in years,
it feels like autumn.
Cool mornings,
pleasant days with tons of sunshine
and being blessed enough to be able to enjoy all of it.
Life is good.

May the blessings that have found me 
make their way to you.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

(Re)Organized Household Notebook

About 6 years ago,
I revamped our household notebook.
You can read about that here.

In case you don't know what a household notebook is,
it's a centrally located binder 
that contains lots of information about your household.
It's a place to keep appliance manuals and receipts,
contact information for neighbors, doctors and service people,
as well as family schedules and calendars.
I guess a lot of folks keep this kind of information now on their phones
or other tech devices,
but I'm not too keen on that idea.
I don't own a Smartphone (don't want one),
and it kind of feels better to me to be able to get my hands on these things,
should I need them.
Besides, I always wonder, 
what do people do if something happens to their device?
All that information could be lost forever.
Call me old-school, but I don't happen to think 
that there's anything wrong 
with using pen and paper and writing things down.

Our notebook needed a bit of streamlining.
After the initial moving in to the new house,
we've been tweaking our spaces
and making them as efficient as possible.
This house is smaller than our last,
and so a few things needed reorganizing.
I took a few hours and purged what wasn't needed anymore
and made labels for the new (and improved) version of our binder.


I was able to slim it down quite a bit
because I kept only what was absolutely necessary in here.

I made a separate binder for our household manuals.
I had done this for the new owners of our last house in Florida
and left it with them.
This binder contains all of the manuals for our smaller appliances,
outdoor equipment, and personal things (like cameras and phones).


We usually write the date of purchase on the front of the manual,
as well as the price and where the item was purchased. 
It's important because it's sometimes difficult to remember where things came from.
As you can see, we have quite a few manuals to keep track of.

Sections were created for the individual manuals.
The kitchen, miscellaneous indoor machines
and outdoor equipment all have their own portion of the binder.
The kitchen has its own designated section
because there are so many little appliances and tools there.

Everything from blenders to waffle irons have a manual
and it's a good idea to keep them handy.
You never know when you might need to look something up
regarding the warranty information or what to do if the item stops working.
If you should ever want to sell the item in the future,
it's always a good idea to sell it with the manual
for the next owner.

A separate binder was created for the larger appliances
like the stove, washer and dryer, A/C unit, etc.

In the past, we have referenced these manuals,
as Big K is the best handyman on the planet,
and often fixes things himself,
saving us megabucks.
I know this stuff can probably be found online,
but it's nice to have it right in front of you in black and white.
Besides, what if the internet is down for some reason?
You can't always count on looking things up when it's needed.

This reorganized system has been working well.
I like that each binder is specific and helps us easily and quickly find what we need.

Another organizing project down!

Other Organizing Posts:
Finally File Storage
Size Matters 
Linens, Organized 
Feed Sacks, Organized 
Kitchen Organizing Ideas

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Going Local-Maiden Fall Festival

We recently participated in the Maiden Fall Festival.
It's a yearly event that takes place at the Maiden Community Center. 
Maiden is a small town between Hickory and Mooresville 
in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.

The weather was cool and overcast
and we set up our daisy tote booth along with about 20 other vendors.
The outdoor event was from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., rain or shine.
A number of craft and food vendors displayed their wares.

This was one of the more unique handmade items being showcased.
Pops Cornhole Boards and Bags is a family-owned business.
This game is quite popular up here and these boards were works of art!
What a great idea for the holidays!
If you are looking for a special gift, 
you can reach them at
Tell 'em daisy sent you!

An array of vintage cars and trucks came out to strut their stuff.

The men swarmed around these beauties like bees to honey.

 A large play area for kids was available and at no charge.

 Something akin to a tractor-pull,
this event used lawn tractors to do the heavy work.

 There was no shortage of spectators enjoying the action.

We're hoping to do a few more craft shows before the season winds down.
We did well at this festival,
despite the intermittent rain and eventual downpour
that had us packing up an hour earlier than anticipated.

When you are doing what you love, nothing can dampen your spirits.

Going Local Posts:
 New Library
Hardware Upgrade
Memory Lane Museum
Troutman Farmers' Market
Mooresville Farmers' Market
The Mundy House
The Davidson Farmers' Market
Mount Holly Farmers' Market 
Mount Holly Community Garden
Grier Truck Museum

Friday, October 13, 2017

Garden Friday

It's Garden Friday once again.
The weather has been summer-like and we even got a dose of much needed rain this week!
Here's what's going on in the garden in this second week of October.

The peppers are turning red,
so I will harvest them and make red pepper flakes.
I'll be using this method.
I don't use a lot of peppers,
but red pepper flakes are used in my homemade gravy 
and other dishes to give them a little kick.

The Brussels Sprouts are doing well.
This looks so much like broccoli at this stage
that it could easily be mistaken for it.
I'm hoping the cooler weather coming next week
will give this a boost.

The broccoli really seemed to enjoy the rain.
I had fertilized all the pots on this side of the garden last week,
and it seems they appreciated it.

Another 6-pack of broccoli is doing well (5/6 germinated)
and will be transplanted into pots in a few weeks.

The Vates kale continues to thrive.
I'm letting it get a bit bigger before I start harvesting.
The dino kale hasn't fared so well.
It will be reseeded once again over the weekend,
along with some of the crops in the straw bale garden that never came up.

The leeks are nestled in for the duration of the season.
These take upwards of 9 months to reach full size,
but they are well worth the wait.

The straw bale garden has a lot of kale germinating,
as well as some sugar snap peas.
A couple of the bales show no growth,
and I think that the seeds may have been displaced
because I had to water using a watering can.
I've rectified the situation by lengthening the watering hose,
so that now I can give each bale a gentle shower with the wand.
I'll be reseeding anything that hasn't yet come up.
I'm thinking I might want to add lettuce seeds to the sides of the bales,
just to see if it'll grow there.

My order of shallets from Sow True Seed
should be here anyday now.
Those will be going in ASAP.
I'm also planning on buying some organic garlic
from the grocery store tomorrow and planting that.
It's the perfect time for sowing all those crops
that add so much flavor to our dishes.

We still have ample color in the garden.
The butterflies and other pollinators are out in droves.

This bush is always covered with bees.
It's going to be relocated to another part of the garden in the spring,
as it is too tall for the front of the house.
Placing it closer to the veggie garden would ensure lots of helpful activity.

 Who doesn't love a Gerbera daisy?
They are so cheerful.
The color screams autumn, but the memory of summer still lingers.

Yes, the bees are still busy here in mid-October.
We appreciate all they do
and hope to incorporate more food sources for them in the near future.
What a blessing Mother Nature is.