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A Year of Picnics


 

The Essential Book of Homesteading


 

QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Keep It Clean, People


I am an avowed recycler. Have been for over a decade. In fact, when I lived in an apartment in Washington, D.C. that didn’t have a recycling program, I even hoarded my recyclables for 10 months (!!!) until a friend with a pick-up truck helped me get them to a recycling facility. Glenn and I recycle everything that we can now, from junk mail, to toilet paper rolls, to the more obvious glass, plastic, and aluminum. There are, however, on occasion, items I encounter which I become suspicious about whether their entire contents are recyclable. For instance, plastic spray bottles for household cleaning products. While the bottle itself, if imprinted with a #1 or #2 in the chasing arrows on the bottom, may be recyclable, what about the spray nozzle? Do I toss it in the trash, destined for the landfill, or leave it atop the bottle it came with, and toss it in the recycling bin full of wishful thinking?


Neither option has ever appealed to me, so I came up with what I think is the best alternative: make my own replacement cleaning solution to go right back in that now-empty bottle. Dilemma solved! Plus, in the long run, you save a heap by whipping up your own brew. The materials used in the solution are common, inexpensive household items, aside from a few essential oils. The oils, though, will last for some time as only a few drops are required with each batch. Once your ingredients are assembled, it takes only about 5 minutes or less from start to finish to prepare your homemade cleaning solution. It smells great, it’s naturally anti-bacterial, it’s inexpensive to make, and it eradicates the spray nozzle quandary.

Homemade, Dollar-Saving, Fragrance-Uplifting, All-Purpose Spray

You will need:
-1 empty 32 oz. spray bottle
-1/2 c. Distilled White Vinegar
-3/4 c. Hydrogen Peroxide
-2 c. Water
-1 tsp. Castille Soap 
-20 drops Tea Tree Oil
-20 drops Lemongrass Oil

*Place all ingredients in spray bottle using a funnel or measuring cup with a spout. Shake vigorously and use with abandon!
(Recipe Source: “Gorgeously Green” by Sophie Uliano)

And They Call It Puppy Love



Not to slight my 5 cats, but I think I’m becoming a dog person. It was pretty chilly here yesterday evening and my pooches and I snuggled on the couch. It was a 2 dog evening. They warmed me right up, plus, they have velvety ears I like to rub. A cat on the lap is pretty darn nice, but thermal mass isn’t really their realm of excellence, you know?

Airing My Laundry


So, Buncombe County, where I live, is running out of gas, thanks to Ike. And bureaucracy. I haven’t gone out much in the past few days, which is great when one is working on writing a series of books!

In recognition of the gas crunch, and my own dependence on fossil fuels, I’ve decided to, in the true spirit of “small measures”, take back the air! Literally. What that means is that I’m returning to line-drying my laundry. With 5 indoor cats and 2 dogs, it doesn’t do much in the way of remove animal fur from freshly laundered items, but it sure does cut down on the electric use. Plus, it smells all mineral-y and sunshine encapsulated. Or something akin. Go ahead. Don’t take my word for it. Air your formerly dirty laundry yourself!

Reading Is Fun!



For those of you who may not know, my husband Glenn plays Scrabble competitively. It’s rather cutthroat, albeit it civil, from what I gather. Each Sunday, we kiss and part ways, he to spend the next 4 hours huddled over a Scrabble board at a big box book retailer, me to make a cake, scratch the dog, take out the compost.

This past Sunday, he returned bearing gifts. Unsolicited gifts. Not-my-birthday-or-Christmas gifts. He’s like that. The generous gifter. In any event, amongst the book store gifts he festooned me with was a copy of “Gorgeously Green” by Sophie Uliano. I’m no stranger to the craft of greening home and body and community, but this book, well, it’s got it going on. 

Covering everything from beauty to health to transport, food, travel, even appliances, “Gorgeously Green” is THE definitive tome for ladies who want to have, as she puts it, “one Jimmy Choo on the pavement, the other in the soil.” Not that I wear Jimmy Choos, or ever aspire to (last shoe purchase was work boots!); not that I get manicures, or ever aspire to (my nails can generally be found with dirt underneath of them, thank you very much); not that I need glamour on a regular basis (although I did work on my chicken book wearing high heels at home last week because, well, I blame Sheila E.). 

Despite all the “not that’s,” this book provides an abundance of valuable information. If you’re already a dyed in the wool “Gorgeously Green” lady, then get this book for your friends. It’s powerful. If you still need convincing, consider that the author got Oprah and Julia Roberts to espouse vermiculture, complete with visibly slithering worms, on Oprah’s show. ‘Nuf said. 

Dark & Spicy

Here’s a quick tip I’ve been intending to mention but just never seem to remember. I’m burning essential oil of peppermint, rosemary and roman chamomile at the moment, however, which allegedly help both memory and motivation, so, I figure this is the chance to write it down.
So, I do this little trick with coffee when I make it at home that renders it truly exquisite. It’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s delicious, and it takes you places. What’s the trick? When grinding up your beans, crack open a cardamom pod and drop the seeds in along with the coffee. Be sure to toss the pod into the compost; it’s just the seeds you’re after. 
Grind it up until you’ve rendered the beans to a fine powder. Add to your press or coffee pot, add water, and voila! Your own Turkish coffee facsimile, in the quiet pleasure of your own jammies. 
I haven’t tried it out yet, but I think a bit of cinnamon bark or a whole clove would create an equally aromatic cuppa joe. Bottoms up!