Saturday, November 13, 2010

Paige's Highlight(s)

1. Food Storage--Vacuum Sealed Jars.  Where Dan and I live now, we are short on space in the regular kitchen.  Much of it is next to our fridge, which is in an attached garage.  As compared to the main house, this garage isn't particularly bug and/or vermin proof and we have to be careful to store only canned goods out there.  I had quite the mess to clean up with a partial bag of birdseed a few months ago. I was reading the other day about Vacuum sealed jars on Granny Miller (a wonderful, practical blogger--and frugal!).  She has a great blog entry on these jars and uses plain old canning jars and used lids--an excellent reuse for those purists out there who buy new canning lids each year.  She was given a Food Saver vacuum sealer set (you might have seen them on those infomercials) several years back and basically only ever uses the Jar Sealer function.  Like she says, check on Ebay or garage sales for one--they still run upwards of $200 for a new machine!  An excellent way to store dried beans, extra flour, sugar, candies, dehydrated foods, nuts, and the like--in rodent-proof fashion!

2. Cover Crops.  I am getting so antsy to have my own house, farm, and garden!  As the growing season comes to a close, the itch to have my own garden is getting especially ferocious!  For those of you lucky enough to have your own places right now, it's time to plant some cover crops for the winter.  And I have definitely heard that fall is the best time to lay out a new garden as you can mow down the lawn and lay down all those thick leaves (or set them aside for mulching next summer!) and/or newspapers.  But, back to the cover crops, Mother Earth News has a great article on them--good enough that I think I've posted on it before! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Updates

Every year we get Christmas cards and updates from friends and family. It's always a cute idea, but I never want to shell out the money--especially with postage being 44 cents EACH.  Send that sucker off to 50 people and you have yourself a cool $20 out on postage, plus the printing, plus getting pictures taken.  Really quickly, this turns into$75-$100.

Personally, I never was a huge fan of getting e-cards.  I'd have to go to the website and log in and all that jazz.  But an e-mail newsletter was always nice.  For those people wanting to have a hard copy--hit print.  Otherwise, a nice bit of news from the family was nice to read up on and see how things had changed.

Here are a few options for various ways to send your holiday greetings--whether it be on e-mail or snail mail.

* Creating a Christmas letter using only Microsoft Word (guide).  Print and/or e-mail as a document.
* a great website for either printed cards, postcards, or calendars.   One of the more affordable I've found.
* An alternate idea I've heard it to make a "postcard" that is 1/3 the sheet of a 8x11 piece of paper.  Put it on the paper in triplicate.  Copy at Kinkos or whereever, slice in thrids.  They fit into regular business envelopes--though you do sill have the mailing expense.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Paige's Highlight(s)

I've decided to post a highlight or two based on cool things I've found over the week.  Trying to find 5 cool things ended up being a bit much and I'd just not post!

Edible Landscaping.  This is definitely a topic I've discussed before, but here is an awesome blog by Rosalind Creasy on the topic.  She wrote an article for Mother Earth News, and it linked me to her blog.  It's a great resource with beautiful pictures--definitely an inspiration for form AND function.  Who says the vegetable garden can't be as pretty--or prettier!--than the average flowerbed!  To be honest, I've noticed that people who inserted edibles into their landscape tend to have better and more beautiful gardens.  Rather than having your attention divided by the pretty beds and the functional beds, you have both in one.  And, I've found that you're drawn in by the allure of delicious tomatoes, and you stay a little longer because it's aesthetically pleasing to the eye.   Think of anywhere you might use an ornamental and an edible can substitute.  Wisteria on a pergola--grapes and hardy kiwi.  Ferns--think Asparagus (there's a reason it's called asparagus fern!).   Broad leaved hostas--go for rhubarb!  That terrible poky red-leaved shrub that every landscaper has a fascination with (can't remember the name)--blueberries, please.  Mums--think cabbage and colored cauliflower.  Ornamental cherry--go for the real deal.  Marigolds--nasturtiums are edible!  Am I going to  completely toss out my hydrangeas and clematis and hostas and ferns, no.  But where able, I'd like to get a little more bang for my buck!