Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thrifty Thursday-Dishwasher Replacement

We've lived in our home for almost 9 years now.
The previous owners had lived in it for 4 months
before they realized that it was too small for their needs.
It was great having an almost-new home to move right in to.

 Nothing to repair, nothing to replace.
Nine years later, the time had come to replace the dishwasher.
It wasn't cleaning properly,
and even though Big K took it apart, 
he couldn't really find anything wrong with it.
Personally, I could live without a dishwasher,
as I enjoy doing dishes by hand.

 He had previously looked into replacing the front panel,
as the buttons had peeled off from regular use.
Unfortunately, it cost about $75,
so we decided it would be more sensible to just replace the whole unit.
With the house going on the market in a few months,
the new owners would get a dishwasher that works and looks better.

The new installation did not go as smoothly as expected.
Even with the water turned off,
this pipe kept spewing water out.
We rigged up this contraption to collect the water.
 Sometimes you just have to think on your feet!

 So glad we had some of these flexible straws laying around.
It did the trick!

We found this dishwasher on Craig's List.
The couple from whom we bought it, were changing their
appliances to black, so we got a good deal.
I really like the stainless interior.

With just a few standard tools and a little bit of patience,
this is a job that most anyone can accomplish themselves. 

Hopefully, this dishwasher will do a good job 
for years to come.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Maple Hill Hop 36

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop,
where we share what's happening outside our doors.

Maple Hill Hop

 With the veggie garden all but asleep,
we focus on the lovely gift of blooms that enjoy the sweltering summer heat.

 This is the gloriosa daisy
and it's magnificent.

 What a vision they are in the morning
when the birds are singing and it's the perfect time for a stroll
through the garden.
This stunner is one of the best attractors 
of bees and butterflies alike.

 These petite beacons of cheer
grace the footpath out back.
With its drought tolerant nature,
the sporadic rain we've been getting is enough to keep it happy.

 As they waken in the early hours,
the petals unfurl like the unleashing of a ribbon on a gift.

An abundance of color is added to any spot in the garden.
What a welcoming sight.

The blooms should stick around for the entire summer
and return next year to this gardener's delight. 
Cutting the flowers to enjoy inside
only encourages it to repeat the process.

So glad they are back in our garden.

What's going on outside where you are?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cowpea Shoots

One of the new crops my friends Faye and Lynn are growing this season
is black-eyed peas, or cowpeas.
It's been fascinating to witness the growing habit of this crop.
Most often, black-eyed peas are found as a dried bean
that has to be soaked and cooked to enjoy.
Left in the pod, they will indeed dry with no help from us,
but picking fresh peas right off the vine to use before they dry
is a new venture.
It also fosters a sense of exploration with regard to trying new food sources.

Here are a couple of ways we've been enjoying this delicious legume.

Sprouting is an easy way to use these beans.
It takes only minutes to get started
and the nutritional benefit is worth the time it requires.

The batch I used to sprout were the ones that were already turning from green to tan,
so they are a bit older.
They work well for this task, in case they get away from you
and you need to use up some that are starting to dry too quickly.
These pods, unlike sugar snaps, are inedible,
unless maybe you like chewing leather.

The beans are shelled first.
The older the pod, the easier they are to shell. 
Just snip the end off with your finger,
and pull down the string to expose the beans
(I call it "zipping").

We got about a cup of beans,
so I split it up into two mason jars.

For one jar, I used a paper towel cut into a square
and a canning lid.
This allows air circulation, but keeps anything from falling into the jar.

You can also use a paper towel with a rubber band
if you don't have canning jar lids.
We get these bands on broccoli that we purchase at the grocery.
They are just the right size for this job.

On the first day,
simply place the beans in a quart-sized jar,
cover them with water and place the lid on top.
Keep them in a semi-dark spot for 24 hours.
Empty out the water, then rinse the beans with fresh water
twice a day until you get the sprouts the size you like.
The main thing to remember is to shake any excess water out
before replacing the cover.
You don't want them sitting in a puddle of water after the initial soak.
I put the starting date right on the jar
so I can see how fast they sprout.

It doesn't take long.
Within 3 days or so, you'll have small shoots.
They are ready to eat when the tails are at least as long as the bean.
It's a fun homeschool project for kids.

When your sprouts are ready to be savored,
keep them in the fridge, covered with a lid.

I enjoy them most on salads,
but you could add them to stir-frys, tacos, pasta
or any savory dish.

We also obtained some fresh peas that were newbies off the vine.

I simply shelled these and placed them in a jar
and stuck 'em in the fridge for noshing.
You can see how much greener they are than the ones we used to sprout.

These are great just for poppin' in your mouth,
but I use them in salad too, for a bit of crunch.
They're the new crouton.

I hope you'll give fresh cowpeas a try.

Here's another blogger's experience growing this versatile legume.

Love to Learn blog hop | link up | linky | blogging | homeschooling | education | kids activities | kids craft ideas


Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Element of Love

I'm in love.

This time I mean it.
I've found something that really gets my wheels spinning.
A new addiction that I plan to court the rest of my life.
At least the rest of my driving days.

Meet Ginger.

This is my dream vehicle.

 I've been pining for one of these for a while now.
In fact, before we moved up to Central Florida 9 years ago,
we test drove one just to see how we liked it.
We ended up buying a van because we thought our family was going to grow 
and this baby only seats four.

 What do I love about it?
The look, the color (Lil' Guys' favorite), the reliability of a Honda, 
just enough storage, great gas mileage.  
It's even got a skylight, for cryin' out loud.
What more could a gal ask for?

When I was little, I remember having thought 
how cool suicide doors were.
Now we've got 'em.
So fun!

 We've had a picture of an Element on our vision board
for a few years now and have been actively looking for over a year.
We ended up selling our van, Molly, to a single mom with three kids.  
She really needed something reliable and roomy.  
She flagged us down at a gas station last week and the deal worked out.
It was hard to let her go, 
but I know that good things don't have room to flow into your life unless you can let go.  
God's hand in all of this is evident.

Ginger is 10 years old,
but she might as well be brand new to me.
She was a mess at the dealer's.
We held out for the price we wanted to pay and
a couple of hours later, they called us back and told us she was ours.
I just love her.
She's just the right addition to our family at this time.
We know we'll enjoy her for many years to come.

Big K has now named his blue truck Fred.
The perfect match.

What a blessing.
When we're driving down the road,
it's still like a dream to me.
Welcome to the family, Ginger.

Meet Kale
(Ginger's better half).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Maple Hill Hop 35

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop,
where we share our outdoor posts.
Grab the button and come on in!

 We've had steady rain for going on a week now,
and the Calabaza pumpkin plants are lovin' it!
We're trying something new this season 
by growing it vertically on a trellis.

 What do you think of these blooms?

 Another plant is located on the bamboo teepee.
This one's a bit slower to grow.

 Most pumpkins are planted toward the fall season,
as they enjoy the cooler weather.
This variety of pumpkin does well in our hot, humid conditions.

 We've been enjoying a few of the Celebrity tomatoes,
but they are not bearing as much fruit as I had hoped.
I'm thinkin' it's my soil.

 The garlic crop was a huge disappointment.
I'm not sure if it just rotted out with all the rain or what,
but it looks like I'll be buying garlic from the grocery for a while.

 Sweet potatoes are comin' along just fine.
We have them planted in several areas of the garden
and allow them to sprawl.

Our crape myrtles are starting to bloom.
These are a staple here in the south.

The passionflower vine is going gangbusters
with all of the rain.
Here, it covers the rain barrel and then some.
So far, I've only found a couple of gulf fritillary caterpillars on it,
so I'm hoping they invite some friends to enjoy munching this down.

The gloriosa daisy plants are finally starting to bloom.
I discovered this beauty a few years ago
and never plan to be without it in the garden again.
It's so worth the wait.

I can't remember what type of zinnias these are,
but they are my favorite now.
They remind me of firecrackers.
I'll need to go find more seed
and then I can update this post with the variety
so y'all can enjoy them too!

God sure does some amazing work, huh?

I hope you're getting all the rain you need where you are.
What's going on outside in your neck of the woods?

HOP to it!

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