Friday, May 27, 2011

Trellis Netting

Last year, I used twine trellising for our beans, cukes and tomatoes. It worked okay, but midway through the season, it began to degrade and break. Originally, I had liked the idea of being able to toss the whole mess into the compost come season's end, but this was a bit soon for my taste. I'm also not a fan of traditional tomato cages. I imagine everyone has their preference, I just felt like they were less than adequate.

So, this year, we opted for some nylon trellis netting I found at Lowe's (or Home Depot, can't remember which). It was fairly inexpensive still, and I hopefully can use it next season too. There were a couple different brands and sizes, and I chose the one that best suited our bed size without having to trim or throw any away. Our beds are roughly 4' x 12', with a 5' x 10' pipe trellis frame. The netting was very stretchy, and I attached it to the frames with small zip ties on the top and middles, and larger ones for the sides. (The netting didn't quite stretch wide enough, so this gave me a few extra inches.)

Almost June Garden

Well, the garden is off to a beautiful start, and I'm looking forward to reaping soon! The peppers and tomatoes are already producing and I know the boys will be happy when we pick our first cukes. I'm sifting through canning books/recipes to determine what I might like to try this year. There are dozens that sound delicious, but I know that's quite unrealistic ;) I really hope to do some pickles at least though. And maybe some peppers...

I'm being much less neurotic this year when it comes to all things garden, but I feel much more prepared this year overall. My okra did so well last year I hardly gave it any attention this spring. I just threw some seeds in the dirt in another place in the yard, thinking it didn't really need the deep beds. It responded by sprouting 2 very sad seedlings out of 40. So, plan B is to stick some more seeds in the empty middle of the potato bed. I definitely don't need as many as last year, though! There's still okra in the freezer.

I planted my climbing zukes and cukes in the front bed at our porch and hung trellis netting on both sides. I also used this for my tomatoes and beans. Hopefully it endures better than last year's twine. That worked, but by the end of the summer it was starting to disintegrate. These plants will grow tall and thick, and give some much needed shade to the front of the house, which gets very heavy afternoon summer sun. I got this idea from my last copy of Mother Earth News, and I was very intrigued. This is my first attempt in that direction.

Here are some early pix of the garden, and while not overly impressive yet, I'm excited! More bountiful pix will come soon...

  Yellow, red, green, cayenne and jalapeno peppers:
 Yellow, purple and sweet potatoes:
 One of the 2 tomato beds: (Probably 10 or 12 different varieties)
 1 of 3 green bean beds, 4 different varieties including a few asain long beans:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hard Lotion Review

I first heard of MadeOn hard lotion sometime last year...and I was intrigued. Stephanie over at Keeper Of the Home raved about how it had transformed her hands. All four of us have dry skin, and patchy eczema. You can order the bars pre-made, or order the supplies in bulk and make them yourself following her tutorial. And most recently, she has put together a kit to make it yourself! I was very excited because I just had never gotten around to looking at her suppliers, placing orders, yada yada yada.

I ordered the DIY kit, which came with a small pre-made bar so you knew what it was supposed to look like. I followed her suggestion to freeze the packets before opening them, and that made it very easy. The whole process went very quickly! I actually dumped everything in my Micro-Cooker, put it in the microwave and melted it there instead of on the stove. I used ice cube trays for most of it, and the 4 lip-balm tubes. (LOVE!) I figured that would give me small sample sizes for family and friends.

It works fabulous. Absolutely amazing. I no longer use any other lotions or lip creams. I also use it on my eye area and sparingly on my face. (Come winter, it will be perfect.) It feels so good and is long-lasting. The ice cube bars are a little small for normal use, and get difficult to apply other than to your hands. I have a brilliant idea to save my deodorant container and melt some in it for body application. It is about the same melting point, and I think it will work really well. I love applying it to my legs after shower/shaving. My sister-in-law is using it on her prego belly and says it feels wonderful.

I can't wait to make my next batch! I think it would also make excellent gifts...