Anyone who knows me knows that I would rather be in my garden than anywhere else in the world. Gardening is the best therapy and I'm happiest when I have dirt under my nails and a well-kept farmer's tan. When I can't be in my garden, I look on the web for tips and tricks to help me do things better or for less money.
I have wanted to raise chickens since we moved out to the country. Unfortunately, they are against the covenants of our neighborhood. That hasn't stopped several of the other neighbors from having chickens, but unfortunately, we have one neighbor who insists that our family obey all the covenants. (Of course, he seems to violate as many as he can!)
My simple pleasure this morning occurred early as I was taking the dogs and cat out for their morning walk. A large number of Hawks call our trees home and they hunt in the overgrown field next door. One in particular likes to perch on our roof and will periodically fly to the commercial height pole one of our neighbors installed for a backdrop net.
As I headed out with the dogs, I could hear the angry chatter of several Mockingbirds. We have a very large number of them living in the yard. They can be extremely bothersome when their babies are leaving the nest. Last year we would have to run from the front porch to the car, bobbing and weaving to avoid the darned birds. I'm sure it was quite a sight for the neighbors!
I was pretty excited when PetsMart invited me to become an affiliate partner. I shop a lot at PetsMart, so it is a great fit for me. I had no idea how much more they have online than in their brick and mortar stores. They are currently having a 25% sale, so spring into Savings Sale! Save up to 25% on thousands of items at PetSmart.com!
Life has been so busy that I am very late getting my tomato and pepper plants started indoors. That doesn't necessarily spell disaster, it just means my harvest will be a little later this year. A later harvest in the south can be a bit of a challenge if the heat combines with a lack of rain to dry out the entire garden.
Last year was the first year I had a poor banana pepper crop. My bell pepper plants were absolutely beautiful, but the peppers themselves were small. I barely harvested enough to make a couple of batches of salsa and didn't have enough for my family's favorite pepper relish. The sad thing is, I'd put 32 pepper plants in the ground.
When we first moved out to our little spot in the country I wanted to train to be a Master Gardener. I was under the misconception that the title actually meant something. Oh, I know many master gardeners work long hours, for no pay, just to help other gardeners in need of assistance. I thought the designation was something more than what it is. That's my fault. I should have done my research.
I think the program does have value, but I also think that it is overvalued by some who have gone through the voluntary class, passed a test and volunteered 40 hours working in the greenhouse or answering incoming help desk calls. It does not replace a degree in horticulture, it is not a professional designation and it is not a title that can be used to promote your skills on a website, business card or resume.
I was at one of the wonderful flower sales held here in Union County by the Union County Master Gardener's group and asked a woman what a particular flower was. She seemed incredulous that I didn't know and was a bit snooty in her reply. That is the side of the master gardener program that seems to get so much negative attention out on the web. I don't know that this is typical of this area's MGs. My feeling is we have a wonderful group of volunteers who are providing a great service to the community.
Uncommon Goods is a marketplace for unusual and handmade items. The company is a rarity in corporate America in that a portion of each purchase is given as a donation to one of a handful of charitable organizations. You can read more about Uncommon Goods here.
This wonderful online marketplace has a very large variety of truly unique products. I picked out a few to show off here that I wouldn't mind owning, but if you want to browse their catalogue yourself, you can head on over now.
I have big plans for my gardens this year. I have toyed with the idea of breaking up my largest vegetable garden into individual beds separated by landscaping timbers. It will be a huge effort and it won't be inexpensive, but I have found my inspiration at A Way to Garden.
Margaret Roach is wonderful and has designed the most beautiful gardens. I don't have the setting or live in the same planting zone, but I do have the space and the time to give it a try.
Last year when I started seeds they sat on folding tables in our breakfast nook at the big triple window facing south. I had planned to put shelves in front of the windows this year to make it easier and more convenient to store the trays of pots in our little nook.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get it in gear to set up the shelves this year but there is always hope for next year, right?
Bullying is a problem in this country. Children and adults alike have forgotten how to treat each other with kindness. I'm very proud to announce that my daughter has started an anti-bullying site. She's still in the process of building it, but has started adding resources, a letter to the editor tool and a petition campaign tool.
Please stop by and sign the petition or leave a comment. I know she's hoping to reach other teens, but a kind word from anyone will help encourage her along the way.
I don't usually spend time on this blog talking specifically about saving money, but I do touch on the subject when I write about DIY projects or promote self reliance. I stumbled across a new website that is full of tips for saving money. Stop by ConsumerFU and read the 65 Tips for Saving Money and see how many of these you do.