Saturday, March 31, 2012

Upcoming Garden Workshops

Here's a list of future workshops I got
from the local extension center newsletter
for those in the Central Florida area.
Mark those calendars!

April is Water Conservation Month.
Make plans to attend a
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ workshop!

Rain Barrel Workshop

Thursday, April 5, 10:00 a.m.

Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve, 900 Mackay Blvd., Lake Alfred

The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program will present a free workshop on how to conserve water using a rain barrel. Collecting rain water can be fun and easy, and can save you money on your monthly water bill. No rain barrels will be for sale at this workshop (coupons for barrel purchase at the Extension Service will be provided to participants). Registration is not required.

Water Wise Irrigation Workshop

Tuesday, April 10, 9:00 a.m. - noon, lunch to follow

Winter Haven Water Utilities

401 6th Street SW, Winter Haven

Are you a homeowner in need of irrigation guidance? Are you an irrigation contractor that needs more information on new irrigation technology?

Learn about irrigation scheduling, smart controllers, and how to get the most out of your irrigation system. This is a free workshop and lunch is included. Workshop topics are presented by UF/IFAS Extension, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and FAWN. 

Earth Friendly Landscaping Workshop

Tuesday, April 17, 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland

Celebrate Earth Day by attending this free workshop. Learn how to incorporate Florida-Friendly practices into your landscape to protect the environment and maintain an attractive landscape.

This workshop is presented by the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service.

Platform Art Party #19: Art in AgriCulture

Saturday, April 28, 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church parking lot, Lakeland

This art festival will result in environmental landscape improvements, as well as the design, production and installation of a signature public art piece that will be installed at the Orange Street Bridge, serving as the gateway from the Lakeland Center and Hyatt Hotel into downtown Lakeland.

Come and celebrate Polk County's agricultural roots with the Polk County Master Gardeners and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program. See (and purchase) rain barrels painted by local art students, learn about Polk County agriculture and the programs at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service. For more information go to Platform Art.

Water Conservation in the Home Landscape
Lunch and Learn Workshop

Wednesday, May 23, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.

Lakeland Electric Building, 501 E. Lemon St., Lakeland

Conference room 1A/1B, you must bring a photo I.D. with you to enter the building

Join us for a lunch and learn talk--lunch is on us!

Learn about the many ways you can conserve water in your home landscape. Learn how to set up micro-irrigation and save time and money using water outdoors. This workshop is presented by the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service.

Florida-Friendly Plants Workshop and Plant Sale

Saturday, June 9, 9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.

Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland

Learn about the many Florida-Friendly plants that grow well in Polk County yards at this FREE workshop! Shop for plants after the workshop. Plant vendors will carry hard-to-find native plants and easy-to-grow Florida-Friendly plants. This workshop is presented by the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service.

Anne Yasalonis
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program Coordinator

UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service
1702 U.S. Highway 17 South, Bartow, FL 33830
P: 863.519.8677 ext. 121



Friday, March 30, 2012

Great American Clean-Up

As part of our adopt-a-road project,
we periodically tidy up a local county road.
It's a program that can be found in most states.
Throughout the early spring season,
various cities host what's known as
The Great American Clean-Up.

If you've ever thought of trying to find a
worthwhile volunteer activity
for your family, club, place of worship
or other group association,
I hope you'll consider this one.
You can make a difference with very little time invested.

In preparation for our next clean-up,
the office that supplies us with garbage bags,
gloves and even handled pickers
shared with us loads of tickseed,
otherwise known as coreopsis.

If you'd like some, just contact me here
Coreopsis flowers. Click to enlarge.

Read more about 
The Great American Clean-up,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Simple Thing-Grocery Shopping

Until we can become more self-sufficient,
we need to get our groceries at the store.
I thought it might be helpful to share
the process I use to get this weekly chore tackled.

First, I refer to my menu-by-the-month plan
to see what is on tap for the week's meals.
Items needed for the week's dishes
are added to the list.

As I mainly shop at one particular grocery store,
the list is made out according to the shop's layout,
aisle by aisle.

Next, I check the online ad for special offers,
especially the BOGO (buy one, get one free) deals.
Stocking up on these makes good fiscal sense.

Lastly, these three sites are scoured for coupons:


Any coupon that can be used
within the next month is printed out,
even if it's not needed for this week's shopping trip.

I get to the store early on Saturday morning,
usually between 8 and 9 a.m.
Parking spaces are easy to find,
there's no waiting at the deli counter,
and aisles are clear of shoppers.
It makes the experience so much easier and quicker.

When checking out, like items are placed together.
Refrigerated items are unloaded first,
along with produce and meat.
Then cans, bottles, boxes and paper products.
This makes it so much simpler
to unpack your groceries at home.
The cloth shopping bags are kept
 next to the garage door,
so that they're handy on the way out.

Shopping is not one of my favorite things,
but this system gets me outta there in no time
so I can start enjoying my weekend!

One Simple Thing

all images found here

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bloomin' Tuesday is BACK!

Jean from Bloomin' Tuesday is back
posting her link up for gardeners from
all around the world!

Can't wait to see what's bloomin' out there!
Here's what we've got goin' on in Central Florida...

Our first sunflowers of the year!


Tomato blossom


Lemon tree buds



Mystery plant

Jasmine & African Iris

These were found at the last Spring Obsession event.
Anyone know what they are?

African Iris


Blue-eyed grass

Sweet peas?

Thanks, Jean, for hosting this wonderful event.
We've missed you!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Jenna's Bread

Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm
got me started on this whole blogging thing.
She also inspired me to take a look at my life as it was
and start creating more of what I wanted.
Not bad for a 20-something year old whom I've never met.
I can't be grateful enough for the nudge toward homesteading she has given me.
It's been my calling all along,
and I never knew it until I read her book,


One of the best things I've done on this journey
is to bake bread from scratch.
Having been a lover of this life sustainer
for as long as I can remember,
it was important for me to be able
to provide my family with bread of a high quality.
It is a gift to myself whenever it comes out of the oven,
filling the kitchen with the most intoxicating aroma.
There's just nothing like homemade bread.

Here's a recipe I got from Jenna.
Enjoy it- and soon!
You'll be glad you did!

Basic Bread
(Jenna Woginrich)

2 C water
2  yeast
1 t honey
4 T butter
2 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
5-6 C bread flour

Warm water to not hotter than 120 degrees in a glass
measuring cup.  Add yeast, honey, and oil.
Let proof 10 minutes (yeast should be bubbly).

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk to sift.
Add wet to dry, including butter.  Mix until incorporated with wooden spoon.
Let rise in oiled bowl (the same one you mixed it in)
until doubled.  Cut dough in half.  Place each half into
loaf pans.  Allow dough to rise until doubled again.
Bake at 425 degrees 35-45 minutes, covering halfway
to avoid burning.  Let cool 20 minutes before slicing,
if you can wait that long.  The smell is insanely good.
Makes 2 loaves or 16 large rolls*.

*If you need buns for sandwiches or burgers,
just take 1/2 the original dough recipe
and tear off about a palmful
and roll it into a ball.  Let rise until doubled
and then bake about 15-20 minutes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Veggie Garden Update

The garden had an early start this year,
due to our mild winter conditions.
Here's what we have growing at Maple Hill.


The sweet peas will soon start their ascent.

The beans are enjoying their spot under the new tepee.

This should make a cool fort for Lil' Guy
in a few more weeks.

Carrots are ready for harvesting.
I realize I should have done succession planting with them.

These were my test plants.
Lil' Guy was amazed that we could pick our own carrots!

We like to make our own peanut butter,
so guess what we planted?

They started coming up this week.
This'll be a new venture, for sure.

The bamboo tepee last season supported sweet potato vines,
which we harvested not too long ago.

We have watermelons planted under it now.
I guess we'll see how strong it really is!

The sweet potatoes will be used as a border.
These did well last year, so they get to stay.
The bonus is that they display the most wonderful,
delicate purple blooms.

I sure wish I had started the lettuce earlier.
I kept waiting for the freezes,
which never came.
This is one of the best treats in the garden.

The pineapple is coming along.
This is the only one that is presently bearing fruit.
I never noticed the purple flowers on it before.

Maybe it's my imagination,
but I feel that it's getting easier to grow our food.
I know that I never want to be
without some sort of food source in our yard,
wherever we end up living.
What a blessing to have the space to produce
even the little bit we are.

The first sunflower of 2012!

Have a beautiful spring weekend, y'all!