Me going green … and dragging my family with me, kicking and screaming!

Baby steps toward self sufficience and greenocity

What kids value June 21, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,gardening,green living — razberiswrl @ 10:47 pm
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This is something I meant to share weeks ago.  When the kids and I went strawberry picking, I sent them ahead of me to pick, so I could come behind them to get everything they missed.  When their containers got full, they could come back to me, dump in the larger tray, and go back to pick more.  It worked out nicely.

So, here’s what I found when processing the fruits when we got home:

And a slew of others with deformities perhaps not as grotesque, LOL!  When I asked them why they picked THESE berries instead of the normal shaped ones, they responded whole heartedly that they were COOL.  Well, I guess they are kind of cool.  LOL!


Mid year resolutions May 29, 2009

I think that we start every year with good intentions, and then over time those good intentions slip to the wayside as our life carries on it’s natural course.

So, in the spirit of good intentions, I resolve to:

Actually USE all the re-usable grocery bags I have. I managed to do it yesterday, but today I ran into the store to grab a couple things for dinner tonight, and forgot them.  They were right in the back of the car too!  I WILL do better.

Actually convert to green household cleaners. I made this resolution a year and a half ago, and still haven’t done it.  Damnit!  I am GOING to make the switch!  I bought a little bottle of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint a couple weeks ago, I think I’ll dump out a bottle that’s 95% empty already (lol, great for the earth … ), and fill with a diluted solution for general household cleaning TODAY.

Pick my own produce, and can/freeze as much as I can this summer. I have tested the waters with strawberries over the last week, and found myself to be quite capable in the jam canning department.  My goal is to have enough home canned jam to last my family the year, AND to also have enough to give as gifts throughout the year (teachers, adult family members, friends).  I’d also like to have a nice supply of frozen fruit for smoothies and pies and whatnot throughout the year.   Same goes for tomato sauces, pickles, applesauce, and tree fruits.

Take good care of myself. This is a tough one.  I don’t usually take very good care of myself in a maintainance sort of way.  I have the time to really pamper myself, but I usually waste it with sloth.  I want to try to keep my nails manicured (If I just DO it, it takes less than an hour to soak, file, scrub and 2 layers of OPI, then another 1/2 hour of  “be careful” time, LOL), and my face exfoliated and clean.  I need to devote the time to straightening my hair instead of just putting it in a ponytail and pinning my bangs back.  But most importantly, I need to take care of my BODY!  I resolve to give myself 30 minutes a day to exercise.  Whether it’s a yoga or pilates dvd, or a walk, or killing myself on the elliptical or with the 30 day shred; I WILL take care of my body.  This also includes eating more healthfully.

Be positive. This is probably the biggest one.  I am a pessimist, a cynic, a doubting Denise (LOL!).  I have conditioned myself to expect the worst over the years.  The function of this conditioning was to protect myself from disappointment.  If things go the way of the worst, well, I am prepared for that … but if things work out nicely, I am pleasantly surprised.  It makes logical sense to me, but I’ve read lots of studies that show that positive thinkers are happier and have a lower risk of all sorts of ailments.  I’ve battled depression and anxiety my whole life, so I figure testing out the bright side for a while certainly can’t hurt …

Those are my mid-year resolutions.  I’d love to hear yours!


There will be 2 more entries about strawberries … May 24, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,gardening,green living — razberiswrl @ 3:06 pm
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You know … as a warning … it’s what’s going on RIGHT NOW, so it’s what I’m talking about.

I took the kids to the farm yesterday, as promised.  I was frazzled, and forgot my containers, how very ungreen … I had to buy more.  Oh well.  Providing I make a habit of remembering them in the future, I have plenty to last quite some time.  I also forgot my camera.  *insert angry face*  I blame my mother-in-law.  She was distracting me.

So, I took a moment to show them what a good berry looks like, and what to avoid.  I showed them what overripe and underripe looks like, and I taught them how to pinch the stem so as not to yank the vines apart.  Then I set them to it!  I sent them ahead of me to pick, and I went over the vines after them, knowing that there was NO WAY they were even getting half the berries available.  I was totally right.  Anyway, it was hot, and I wasn’t fully awake yet,  and they were driving me crazy by running back to me and asking if every single berry was a good one, LOL, so we only picked about 7 more pounds (I was hoping to get another 10 or so).

Here they are with our bounty (cell phones … they save the day.  Mine, in particular, produces very fuzzy pictures) :


Strawberry bounty!! May 22, 2009

Filed under: cooking,frugal living,gardening,green living — razberiswrl @ 1:18 pm
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I went to a local farm to pick strawberries this morning after I dropped the fam off at work/school.  This is the first week of the season here in New Jersey.  It will run for about 3 weeks.

Crappy cell phone pic of Sporacio Farms:

I picked just shy of 10 pounds.  They cost me just over 13 bucks!  I think I’ll take the kids back tomorrow morning.  We’ll have to get up EARLY though.  I also stopped at Walmart for a case of pint canning jars and some accessories.  I will attempt canning for the first time tonight.  I can’t wait.  I’m going to make standard and sugar free strawberry jam.

This is actually a really important event for me, as canning is a family tradition I have wanted to carry on for a long time.  I’ve just never worked up the nerve to give it a shot on my own.  I used to can all sorts of things with my grandmother, and I can’t WAIT to call her this evening to tell her I did it myself!  She will be pleased.  There aren’t too many people that carry on family traditions these days, whether they be the art of canning one’s own food, knitting or crocheting or making traditional recipes for the holiday, and in my family, I am the only one who has any interest in all of the above.  Le sigh … hopefully I can instill the love of tradition I have in my own children.  I wonder what went wrong with my cousins that makes them not give a damn?  Oh well.  There’s no accounting for the actions of others …


WOO!! I found my camera cord! Pics!! May 18, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,gardening,green living — razberiswrl @ 12:16 pm
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It was exactly where I figured it would be … under the side table by the couch.  I just didn’t want to actually stick my hand under there.  Has a tendency to collect spider webs down there …  Ick.

Anywho.  I took pics of my “gardening!”  I hope you like to look at pictures of dirt!!

It was real nice out on either Tuesday or Thursday night of this last week, so I raked the weeds and crap out of the flower bed out front and planted a bunch of seeds.  Hopefully, in a couple of weeks time, I’ll see some cosmos, zinnias, canterbury bells, and something else that started with a C.  I don’t remember.  Oh!  I just remembered that I have a packet of holly hock and columbine seeds.  I should do something with them too.  They are a couple  of my favs!

I need to break up the hostas on the sidewalk side again, and fill in the short sides.  I just thinned them LAST year, that’s where the ones on the other side came from.  Sheesh, they are about the only things that grow well around here … and my guilty truth is that I don’t particularly care for them.  They (as well as the house) still belong to my beloved mother-in-law, so, for now …  they stay, but I want monkey grass.

Last Saturday, M and I planted our nasturtiums under the dogwood.  So far, only 1 tiny plant has made it through the soil, and you can’t even see it in the pic, LOL!

The same day, we planted the herbs in containers.  Nothing sprouting yet.  *cry* but here they are so far.  Notice my tomato plant and pack of pepper plants waiting patiently for A to get that ground tilled up out back …

The bricks are to keep the dog from stomping all over the pots and knocking them over.


Herbalicious May 13, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,gardening,green living,organic — razberiswrl @ 9:55 pm

It’s that time of year again, the time where I get the itch to go outside and make something grow.  Of course, I’ve never been all that successful, but year after year, I keep trying.  So, until I can get someone to till up a freaking little patch in the yard, I decided to start small.

Saturday was a gorgeous warm, sunny day with a soccer game bright and early, then a elementary school spring fair in the afternoon.  Once we were through with all of that, it was yardwork time.  After I finished trimming my evergreen hedge within an inch of its life, I decided to empty some pots that contained dead mums, and plant some herb seeds.  It took maybe 5 min.  Hopefully in a few days we’ll start to see sprouts of basil, chives, sage, rosemary, and cilantro.

M and I also filled the area around our dogwood tree with nasturtium seeds.  If they come up, there will be LOTS!  I put 3 seed packets worth in, LOL!  Overkill?  Maybe.  Fun?  You betcha!  I really should try harder to find my camera cable so I can empty the sd card and take some more damn pictures.  Stupid runaway cord.  😦

Speaking of nasturtium, I read that if you plant it and/or marigold in and around your vegetable garden, they will attract bugs thereby keeping them off your produce.  Nifty concept.  If I ever get that tilling done … I’m def gonna give it a shot.  The last time I had a garden, I relied on praying mantises to eat all my bugs (I bought an egg sack, and at least 100 of those suckers hatched!  It was cool as hell!!), the problem with them though, is that they have legs.  I still see mantises on occassion, but they can’t be kept in one spot.

Oh, and I think I’m going to try to DIY a “Topsy Turvy” upside down tomato contraption.  I got this cheapy bucket o’ margarita mix thing last week, and now that the ritas are gone, the bucket remains.  It’s kind of small though.  A gallon I guess.  So, I don’t know if the plant and soil and all that would be too heavy.  I’m going to have to research to see if there are smaller plants or something.  I’m thinking cherry tomatoes …

And now, it’s time for bed.  Night!


Free organic lettuce seed packet! March 7, 2009

Filed under: frugal living,gardening,organic — razberiswrl @ 11:41 pm
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Thanks, Linds, for posting this!

Click HERE for a free packet of organic lettuce seeds from Earthbound Farms.