Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Let us remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice ....
Image courtesy of

Sunday, May 30, 2010

And here we go ...

Well, it's official: The garden is in.

The tomatoes and peppers look to be doing well, and the beans I planted earlier in the week are starting to sprout.

The only casualty seems to be the cilantro -- nothing happening in that flower pot.

And the mulberry trees have a bumper crop of berries this year ... and I think they all decided to ripen in the same week. I see lots of pies in my future!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Savings? It's a mystery

Back in late January, I mentioned that our ailing dishwasher was being used as a drying rack. We finally replaced it a couple of weeks ago (after the 10-day wait for a special order turned into a 30-day wait ... grr.)

But I digress. I'd really hoped to get an idea of just how much water we did or didn't save by doing dishes the old-fashioned way. Unfortunately, the water company wouldn't cooperate.

For three months, all we got were bills based on estimated usage. (I now suspect the utility has laid off all but one meter reader.) And to add insult to injury, the bills tend to be estimated on the high side.

Finally, we get a bill with an actual reading. Guess what? The balance was zero! In fact, they still owe us money!

But I don't know ... and will likely never know ... if we actually used a lot less water, or if the estimates are just too blasted high.

Sigh. At least the new dishwasher is supposed to be energy efficient.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's amazing

... just how much you take your back for granted until it acts up on you.

Excuse me while I hobble around for a while ....

(At least it's still raining, so I don't feel quite so guilty about not working on the garden.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Garden report: We're getting there

I had hoped to report that my garden was in, but we've had rain off and on all week, making it difficult to get anything done.

But, my container gardening is done: My salad greens and lettuce are already sprouting, and I have basil, cilantro, parsley and oregano planted as well.

The garden's going to get a little crowded this year. A co-worker brought in a box of tomato plants, and I couldn't resist taking a couple (well, all right, 3.) I plopped the mystery tomato plant into a large pot --- I'm curious about what I'll get. I may just plant the other two (reportedly beefsteak tomatoes) in the same hole -- they're on the small size.

It's been tough trying to find red or yellow sweet pepper plants. I finally lucked out at a seasonal market. But they only had packs of 3 small plants, so I'm going to try the 1-hole trick with those, too.

Now if I can just get the darn things off my porch and into the ground!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bargain bin

I love to check out the markdown tables at the supermarket ... never know what you'll find. And I've had a pretty good run of luck lately in the fresh veggie department:

We were traveling a couple of weeks ago and decided to check out an upscale grocery store. This place had an entire corner of the produce department for markdowns! Got 2 small eggplants for 77 cents (for both) and a twin pack of celery for $1.19. Not a thing wrong with them ... both were still very fresh.

I wanted more, but we weren't heading home then, and simply didn't have the cooler space. (Next time I go back, I'm bringing a big cooler and plenty of ice.)

Today at Meijer, I found a whole pineapple for $1; a large head of green cauliflower for 58 cents and a medium stalk of broccoli for 50 cents. Admittedly, the cauliflower and the broccoli need a bit of trimming, but there's still plenty left to blanch and freeze.

Then, at Kroger, I happened upon fresh green beans for 39 cents a pound -- pretty much half price. These needed a bit of picking to find the best ones, but I did find enough for a pound. These will help tide us over until our garden beans come in.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going on kitchen duty!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reclamation project: A new towel

I was given what I think is a "golf towel" one that's meant to be hung from a sports bag. My first thought was to give it to DH, but there were 2 problems:

1) It had a very prominent embroidered logo from a hotel chain. (I swear, this was an advertising piece ... I'm not stealing hotel towels.)

2) The towel was folded into thirds and the grommet was punched through the top, holding all three layers together. Not very practical.

I discovered that the binding could be removed, so I decided to do a little surgery. I pulled out the grommet and opened up the towel, then cut the binding off both ends. After that, I trimmed off the top with the grommet holes, and trimmed off the bottom part with the logo. (see bottom photo).

After that it was pretty simple to sew the binding back on both ends. Poof! One finished towel. (top photo) I also got a small washcloth size rag out of the cut pieces, which I'll use in the kitchen.
I was debating on how to put a new grommet in the corner when I took another look at the towel. It's still big enough to use as a hand towel. And frankly, it's too nice to use for sports. It's going in the linen closet!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

If you don't want to DIY

In the things that make you go hmm category:

Want homegrown veggies, but don't want to do the work? Just hire your own personal farmer.

From the LA Times ..

On average, the companies charge between $900 and $2,000 to have a section of land dug up — or to build a raised bed — that's big enough to grow enough edible plants to feed a family of four.

The companies also offer personalized planting and harvesting services. For an additional weekly fee of $20 or more, a staff member will put in the plants, pluck the weeds, amend the soil, quash the bugs and fill a basket with ripened produce.

Now the story does talk to people who physically can't do garden work, but still want the garden-fresh veggies, so I really can't argue with that. But otherwise ... seems to me that you'd come out ahead buying veggies at the farmers market..

The full story:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Garden musings

I guess this is a good sign ...

Been out trying to buy seeds, and I've discovered that the inexpensive seeds are already picked over.

The vegetable and flower plants are out in force now. Prices look to be a bit higher than last year. Then again, what isn't?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stamp out Hunger on Saturday

I Support Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive — Saturday, May 8th The Annual Letter Carriers' Food Drive is Saturday. Many of you may have received a grocery bag from your mail carrier. Please consider filling the bag with non-perishable foods (no glass containers, please) and leaving the bag by your mailbox.

Monday, May 3, 2010

April freebies

Wow .. it was quite a month ...

1 Kashi Heart-to-Heart
1 Green Giant Steamers (FAC)
1 Smart Balance sour cream (FAC)
5 Ritz snacks
4 Planters flavored almonds snacks
Downy liquid
Head & Shoulders
Energy drink
Rachel Ray dog food
1 Philadelphia cream cheese mini
6 grapefruit
2 apples
1 can MightyDog dog food
1 Vitamin Water

(office giveaway)
1 chair
2 dish towels
1 box paper
1 coffee mug
3 binders
1 briefcase
1 accordion folder