Tag Archives: Good pickins

Good Pickins #22

It’s the last week of March, and I think we may finally be getting to that “out like a lamb” part of the month. We’ve had mild temps in the 40s & 50s this week, lots of rain, and maple sap out the wazoo. My husband just started our first seeds last weekend, and will likely do another batch this weekend. Is it safe to say that spring is really here?

All we’ve really been up to is boiling, boiling, boiling sap and practicing for a couple of spring folk music gigs- and enjoying getting some fresh air!

march 2015 maple syrup 011(Is it just me or did this kid grow up into a little boy way too fast?)

On to the pickins’ for this week!

The Ultimate DIY Bundle– This coming Monday-Wednesday (March 30- April 1st) only, the folks over at Ultimate Bundles are selling a collection of DIY e-books, covering topics from crafting and sewing to gardening and canning, from interior design to crafty business basics, and everything in between! The bundle also comes with some great bonuses- a free class from Crafty and a free art print, to name two. It costs $34.95 and only comes once a year- definitely worth it if you’re remotely interested in trying your hand at some creative action!

Homegrown Food Summit– From April 6-12, there will be a free online educational event on growing, preserving, and enjoying your own food. A great line up of top notch speakers will be giving sessions on numerous topics, like working with kids, getting started with fermentation, homesteading on just one acre, and more. I will definitely be trying to attend as many of these sessions as I can! Visit the link above for more info and registration.

A Health Revolution– I LOVED this post. Who needs the gym when you can be doing productive work towards growing food, caring for your local resources, and getting to work with your family and other like-minded people?

How to Eat Seasonally– One thing the $25 challenge made us do this month is either eat our preserved food or eat what was on sale and in season. The Frugal Chicken has some great ideas to encourage seasonal munching.

And, for your entertainment purposes only, a rough recording of a song my husband wrote from a collection of spring-themed haiku. πŸ™‚ (Lyrics are on the YouTube page.)

Have a springy Saturday!

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Good Pickins # 19 (Seed & Garden Edition)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year- almost springtime! We still haven’t officially planned out our garden, but by golly, we had better do it soon. We have a lot of saved seeds from last year, but will be ordering some new ones from Johnny’s. And in just a couple of short weeks, it will be time for us to start our seeds indoors!

Summer '13--March '14 022(It won’t be long, it won’t be long, it won’t be long…)

Today, my “pickins'” will be focused on seed starting and garden planning. This is partially because we need to be doing it ASAP, and partially because I think it goes along with my $25 grocery challenge. Chances are, we couldn’t eat on that little a week without having our own preserved garden food. Planning ahead for a successful garden will help to keep us well-fed next year too!

Find Your Hardiness Zone– Find out what you can plant depending on where you live. All seed packets are labeled with a “Zone,” so do make sure you’re buying plants that match your official zone!

Seed Library with Origami Seed Envelopes– It’s a little late for me this year, but this would have been a smart, pretty, and functional way for me to store my seeds over winter. Let’s just say I put various mystery squash seeds into plastic ziplocs and didn’t label them. Oops.

Simple Seed Germination Test– If you have saved seeds from last year’s garden (or old purchased seeds), you can find out if they’re viable with this simple test. No need to waste a bunch of starting medium and grow space on your seed-starting shelf.

A 10 Step Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors– From Backyard Roots. This series is super helpful for the newbie who wants to start seeds inside rather than waiting to buy a plant at the local nursery. Kellie breaks down each part of seed starting into super simple steps, and helps you to avoid common problems along the way.

Planning Your Vegetable Garden– Grow a Good Life shares how she goes about planning and mapping her vegetable garden each spring. I like her approach. She is sure to consider crop rotation and succession planting, and gives priority space to her “necessity” crops first.

If you want to use technology to plan out your garden space, try Mother Earth’s vegetable garden planner, or The Old Farmer’s Almanac garden planner. While you can try them both for free for 30 days, they do eventually have a fee. My husband was so impressed with the Old Farmer’s Almanac version that we considered paying the annual subscription cost— but didn’t! Just having printable plans made up was helpful enough for us.

Do you plant a garden? Do you have any favorite resources or tips to share? Link them below so I can learn from you!


Good Pickins’ #17

The past week and a half or so was hectic. My dad-in-law was hospitalized last week for what we initially thought was a stroke. Thankfully, it turned out he was having similar symptoms from complications from a car accident, and he is now home and recovering. I am immensely grateful to have this wonderful man- the father of my husband and four great brothers-in-law- home and feeling much better than he was!


We are also remembering several life markers this week- my grandmother just turned 88 on Monday, and my grandfather would have been 90 today if he were still living.


And seven years ago this week, Tim and I got engaged.


What a whirlwind of memories has come swirling back to me!

All that being said, we are hopping to it this weekend with a long to-do list, so I’ll keep the pickins’ short and sweet.

Weaving Learning Into Everyday Routines- This beautiful post reminds me to slow down and enjoy my children more. To invite them into my life and stop rushing to meet every deadline. To stress less. To build our relationship. Well worth the read.

The Real Truth About Boring Men– Not to criticize those guys who can pull off romantic proposals and movie-worthy surprises for their honeys. But rather, it praises the men who stay faithful and true in the day in/day out boring, everyday routines- and through the hardest times you will face together in life:

“And there is now and the beautiful boring, the way two lives touch and go deeper into time with each other.

The clock ticking passionately into decades.”

That’s it for today folks. Happy V-day, if you celebrate it. I’m off to enjoy my “boring” and absolutely amazing family. πŸ™‚




Good Pickins #11


December 2014 011This cute little munchkin is 18 months old today. My little girl is getting less and less like a baby each day with her ability to climb, say a small collection of words, and wee on the potty. I’m amazed by how much faster she seems to be growing up than her brother! I guess second children will do that to you.

Speaking of children growing up, my son is constantly wowing me with everything he’s learning and comprehending. My hubby and I were talking about whether or not we should try for home school kindergarten next fall (J will be five), and our discussion led to research. While we didn’t make a hard decision about how we will school him, we had some interesting discussion on the matter. Enter the first of the “pickins’.”

Much Too Early! by David Elkind, Ph.D. I often struggle between allowing my children to have a less structured early education (one where they do learn naturally through interacting in depth with their world) and encouraging them to do as much as they can as early as they can (pushing for academic rigor at a young age). This article, while not all-encompassing, piqued my interest and helped me to think through some of the implications and problems of imposing formal academic study on children who are not yet ready for it. I’d say this is an appropriate read for all parents of young children, regardless of your schooling choices.

Sourdough Pizza Crust– When you’re unsure of big decisions in life, like schooling for your children, pizza is a easy choice to make for dinner. πŸ˜‰ This was my first time trying sourdough pizza crust, and boy, did it turn out well! The dough was stretchy and malleable- though it did want to keep springing back on me. It was fun to work with and cooperated when given periodic rests. And once baked? Bubbly, airy, beautiful pizzeria-style crust- all because of a little help from a starter.

Fun and Simple Advent Activities– Trina provides some low key ideas to keep you and your little ones merrily occupied between now and Christmas. If I get ambitious, I may try out her Christmas wreath tutorial too!

How to Feed Your Hens for Best Egg Production– Our hens are of laying age, but the days are so short and cold now that we think eggs will be unlikely until early spring. However, we are hopeful, and providing good nutrition for the girls throughout the cold months will help to keep them healthy and (maybe???) give them a head start for egg production. Now, even if they don’t actually lay, at least we’ll know they’re getting what they need. πŸ™‚

I hope you have a marvelous Saturday! Happy reading!



Good Pickins’ #10

This weekend, four generations of my family are together at my grandmother’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s been a long time since all of us were together, so I am thrilled to get to spend time with my family in this way!

June 2014 113What does this picture have to do with Thanksgiving time, you may ask? Well, this photo of J won a summer photo contest at our local turkey/strawberry farm… and the prize was a free turkey! Thanks to my handsome little man surveying the John Deere, we can feast on poultry this year without spending a dime (on the bird, anyway).

On to the pickins’! I’ve got a theme going on this week- taking care of Turkey-Day leftovers, and taking care of sickness. Both duties have fallen upon me. I have a load of food to preserve for the coming weeks, and a head cold to boot. Here’s what I’ve been reading up on:

Thanksgiving Leftovers– Food Network has a great line up of turkey re-dos in both classic styles and ethnic twists. If you don’t know what to do with your leftovers, check out this collection!

Canning The Christmas Turkey– The Organic Prepper outlines an efficient run-down of how to make an easy, nourishing stock from your turkey carcass and then turn your leftovers into delicious soup in a pressure canner.

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar– This article fromΒ  a mainline medical website confirms what natural health nuts have been saying for a long period of time now- apple cider vinegar does wonders! Read the whole article for uses and tips.

The Best Way to Boost Our Kids’ Immune Systems– Trina shares how health in the gut is great for avoiding sickness too! Read on to find out why you should start having more cultured dairy today.

Don’t forget to shop Small Business Saturday today! Hope you have a festive day today. πŸ™‚

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