Friday, December 13, 2019

Garden Friday

 Welcome to Garden Friday
from the frozen Piedmont!
Believe it or not,
these pansies are still hanging in there,
despite an unusually frigid autumn.
Yes, it's still officially fall,
although you wouldn't guess it from the thermometer!

Today's post is simply something I wanted to pass along.
As someone who still marvels at all there is to know in this world,
I've found something that is instrumental in expanding one's knowledge
of all things plant related.
It's an app called,
and it is something I use habitually.

Once the app is loaded onto your phone,
(there's a small annual fee),
it's simply a matter of taking a photograph of the subject,
waiting just a few seconds, et


Enlightenment descends, as it lavishes copious amounts 
of knowledge into your brain.
The information answers questions about plant varieties,
related species, favored conditions, seasonal characteristics,
and much, much more.
There's not a week that goes by that I don't use it.

There is nothing better than a library full of
fantastic gardening tomes.
The beauty of this app is that it travels with you,
so if you are out and about,
not only can you identify something you're not sure of,
but it stores the information for you,
so that it can be referred to again and again.
Okay, I'll admit, I was probably the last person on the planet
to get a fancy phone.
But this app has been so much fun to use,
it's been worth succumbing to the trend.

We lit up the garden this week,
and are we loving it!

 We used bamboo stakes to form a tepee,
or Christmas tree shape, then added lights.
Upside-down tomato cages do a great job as well.

lights on the loofah trellis

The arches look fairly amazing
when it's black as pitch outside.
I hope to have more lights next year.

Do you light up your garden for the holidays? 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Percolatin' Perks

Vintage runs in my blood.
Although I've always had an appreciation for older things,
somewhere in my 30's, I lost touch with my inner self.
Once rediscovered, I began thrifting and scouring yard sales and flea markets
for all things classic 
(read well made). 
Let's face it,
with very few exceptions,
things are just not made with the same pride and satisfaction
as in days past.
Thankfully, it's possible to appoint oneself with treasures from long ago,
that are utilitarian and built to last.

Take this percolator.
After searching for quite a while,
it was spotted at a local downtown merchant.
At $18, it was the bargain of a lifetime,
and it didn't hurt that it was in pristine condition.

Why do I love this percolator?
First of all, it makes an epic cup of coffee.
Don't ask me all of the specifics, because a barista, I am not.
All I know is that the flavor is crisp, fresh and just the strength I desire.

Other reasons to consider getting yourself one of these hot little numbers:

  ~It doesn't take up a lot of counter space like machine coffee makers.
~It is easy to clean-dishwasher safe or a quick rinse under warm water and you're ready to brew again!
~No need for electricity-even if we lose power I can have my joe.  
Simply place on a camp stove or fire pit and it's go-time!
~With no wires or electrical parts, there is nothing to wear out.
~This is a no-waste device.  With no filters to buy, there is no need to trash anything.
In fact, the used grounds make a wonderful addition to the garden or the worm bin.

I'm always working on creating less of a footprint in my day-to-day,
and this step back in time actually is the wave of the future.
It helps me keep the commitment to Mother Earth every time it's used.

Instead of buying one of those complicated machines
that do everything short of cleaning your house,
why not simplify with a gadget that has stood the test of time?

Here is my recipe for a marvelous cup of coffee.

~Place wire basket assembly into coffeepot.
~Measure out the number of cups of water needed
and pour directly on top of the basket
(this is supposed to keep grounds in the basket,
and out of your coffee).
~Fill the basket with measured coffee grounds
(I use 3 Tablespoons per 2 cups of water.)
~Replace lid of basket and percolator.
~Place on high heat until percolation begins.
~Turn down to a simmer and percolate 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Weekend Project

Although winter is still over 10 days away,
we've been having cooler than usual temperatures.
It seems our season went from autumn to winter
in just a week or two.
Days like these are great for tackling big projects.

 On Saturday,
I invited myself over to sister's house.
She's a hard working woman with a job and a half,
aside from being everyone's go-to person for things.
Since she's always doing for others,
I wanted to gift her with a day of organizing
to make her surroundings a bit more to her liking.
She's been wanting to get her garage tidied up for some time,
but because of her busy schedule, it hasn't been done.

The protocol when organizing is to remove everything from the area,
then clean, and replace only what serves a purpose.
In this case, we decided to complete one section at a time,
starting with this corner niche.
Each tote was uncovered and examined,
determining what would be donated, trashed or remain.
We ended up placing all of her luggage (she often travels) in this alcove. 

 One side of the garage houses her extra fridge, the water heater and some shelving.
This ended up being a catchall for various items.

 Even while sorting items in a particular area,
we placed like items together,
to make it easier to replace them in their new location.
Giving credit where it is due,
sister had no trouble purging many items.
It makes it so much easier if folks can let go of what's not useful.

 The shelves were reloaded and any bins we had were labeled.

This cubicle contains many of her shoes,
(I told her she has too many),
and the clear boxes not only make them easy to find,
but keep them in good condition. 
This cabinet still has a bit of tweaking to be done,
as she will find a permanent home for the items on the top.

 Having a petite kitchen has forced her to keep
much of her cooking equipment on this extra shelving unit.
As a kitchen makeover is not in the foreseeable future,
this solution works well for her.

 She decided to keep most of her tools and cleaning things on the newly purged shelves.
She has ample free space should she need a home for future purchases.

 It took us a few hours to clean up the space,
but it will make a world of difference in her day-to-day.
Being able to find what you need when you need it,
saves so much time and makes things run smoother.
She now has more than enough room for her truck.

Just look at all the goodies
she will be donating to her local charity.
It's a win-win.

 She's happy with the results
and knowing her the way I do,
it will stay this way.
It's wonderful to do something productive
to make someone's life just a bit easier.
It's easy when that person is 
one of your favorite people on the planet.
Enjoy it, sister!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Garden Friday

 It's Garden Friday once again,
and we're enjoying brisk days under a Carolina Blue sky.

The cover crops sown a couple of weeks ago
have started to fill in the two new raised beds.

This Winter Mix should enable the soil to soak up some nutrients
and be ready for planting in the spring.
It also helps to keep the soil warmer, so sowing can occur sooner.
It's wonderful to have something colorful out there 
during the bleaker time of year.

The leek are off to a sllllooowww start,
no doubt hindered by our cooler-than-normal daytime temperatures. 

 One ray of hope springs forward in these seed trays 
that were all but forgotten under the lorapetalum bush.
With the sporadic dousing we've been getting,
it's no wonder that they have done well with absolutely no help from me.
The anticipation of fresh greens is highly motivating!
Perhaps I will even start some seed trays inside
and see what happens.

Being gifted these bushel baskets,
I feel the obligation to do something creative with them,
even if it's just to transplant my salad greens into them!
I love me some old baskets!

Yesterday, I took advantage of having a day off
to harvest the remaining loofah on the trellis.
Many of them are squishy and nasty looking,
which is what I've been told is expected.
They will be left to dry out and be ready for processing
in the next couple of months.

Check out the cool wagon I found on CL for $20!
It has come in mighty handy these last few weeks.

Bless its heart,
the allysum is still blooming
and providing pollen for the bees that are hearty enough to withstand our weather.
What a treat to still have such glorious color!

Plans this weekend include lighting up the garden
for the holidays.
It's a new venture, so it should be fun.
Let's hope we have enough extension chords to get the job done!
Enjoy your weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Going Local-Small Business Saturday

downtown Lincolnton

 We ventured out this past Saturday
to the Lincoln County Small Business Expo.
Our intention is to more fully support locals in their pursuits.
After scouting out the treats for sale near the entrance,
we made our way into the newly renovated Citizen's Center.

Crafters, candymakers and artisans from Lincoln County
and a few surrounding towns filled the auditorium with treasures.

There are always jewelry makers at craft shows,
but I'd never before seen handmade leather earrings.
The creator stated that she prefers them herself,
as they are much lighter on the earlobes.

 Several vendors showcased their knitting talents.
Knit caps, ear warmers and hair accessories were easy to find.

 Hand-crafted cards, stationary and wooden trinkets
filled this booth.

 Who needs paint ball?
These marshmallow shooters are pain-free,
literally a blast, and the ammo is edible!

 This display caught my eye with all of its color and holiday cheer.
The purveyor is new to the craft show scene,
having just relocated here from Wyoming.
She will no doubt do quite well,
from the looks of her offerings.

 Crafty Me Gifts had an assortment of festive holiday decor.
One of these twine trees may have made it home with me.

 Lori Rapp can be reached at 704-740-5917.

 Another local crafter provided an unusual display of measuring spoons.
Wouldn't this be perfect for the wine lover in your life?
Crafts by Betty is Betty Hovis' brainchild.
Her contact number is 704-813-7007.

 One of the unique components in Cinnamon Ridge Soaps
is hemp oil.
Their creations contain none of the harmful ingredients found in commercial soaps.
This business is a labor of love and it shows.
Here's their website.

 I was pleasantly surprised to find the vintage carolers at the event.
And imagine my astonishment in recognizing one of the singers
as our very own President of the Master Gardeners group here in Lincoln County!
(Marcia is second from the left.)

 A few food trucks were found outside,
but with several more stops,
we didn't dare dally.

This will be a yearly tradition for us,
as we enjoy seeing what goodies can be found
right here in our home town.
Go local!

More in Our Going Local Series:

Black Mountain Chocolates
Grace Tree Farm 
Grier Truck Museum
Mundy House Christmas 
Red Wolf Farm