Blog Archives

Where are you Spring?!?!?

Okay.  Yeah.  I’ve been a really bad blogger lately.  Well, maybe not by most standards.  After all, there are MANY bloggers who post once a week or even less frequently.  😉  But for me?  This is bad.

I don’t know if it’s the weather, or just the physical exhaustion after working so hard getting Breaking the Silence up and running then following it up with a very physically demanding photo shoot…  Whatever it is?  It’s kicking my ass.  I’m just done.  So I am VERY grateful that the Easter break is now upon us.  Not having to worry about our regular schedule, and getting the girl off to school, should help a great deal.  And even better?  The next couple of days we’re actually supposed to see plus temperatures!

I am so done with this cold and all this snow.  I am dying for it all to melt away.  I want to cultivate the ground.  This house has a nice big garden space (that was unused for who knows how long) and I’m just itching to get out there and plant something.  I have so many plans for the outdoor space here, and this extended Winter is making me a little itchy…  seriously.  I’m so irritable I’ve definitely got a case of cabin fever…  Spring just cannot get here fast enough.

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A cornball view of spirituality and a patch of dirt.

There are few things as truly good for the soul as dark rich soil and all the life contained within.  Of course, there are few things as jarring for the body as cultivating a yard gone to meadow and then planting said yard with perennials.  So while my mind and heart sing out a blissful YES, my body wimpers, sobs, and groans in protest – but it’s worth it.

One of the greatest tools for ripping apart the surface of a yard yet to become garden is the Garden Claw.  And for my parent’s purchase of said tool years ago I am grateful.  It takes some work; jabbing it into the ground, twisting and wrenching, ripping up that tough top layer filled with root and unwanted growth.  My arms were already sore from the previous begun cultivation, but without this particular tool?  I can’t imagine the work it would have been.  With all the tree roots in our yard, there was no mechanized way to really dig in – and I don’t mind having the chance to feel truly involved with this process.

There isn’t much that’s all that gratifying about jabbing, twisting, and pulling up clumps with the Garden Claw…  nor is there much to take joy in while you use your hand fork to rake through the mess pulling out unwanted plant and root – inch by inch.  Shaking loose the dirt held within each clump.  But the next step?  It makes it all worth the effort!

Feeling that dark rich soil that waited for you, hidden just beneath?  It’s pure heaven.  Watching and discovering the infinite life contained within stirs the soul in ways nothing else does.  Connecting with the Earth at the most basic level, on your hands and knees as you commit each tiny plant to it’s home.

I’m not a gardener.  I don’t know the names of all the crawling creeping things within the soil, nor do I know the names (common or proper) of the perennials we planted the last couple of days.  But I do know that we all need to find a way to connect to our Earth.  If you ever need to see deity, to feel the Earth breathe life and to know that we are all connected?  There is no simpler way to do so than to pick up a trowel and go find a patch of dirt that has been lying in wait for someone to tend it – to turn it from dirt to soil.  To create with it something amazing.

A bit cornball?  Maybe.  But that’s me.

I’m Back Online! …and our Controlled Meadow of a Yard.

Oy! To be forced offline by inclement weather knocking out the cables and lines that connect you to the world? It’s pretty crummy. Seriously. We’ve been off since Wednesday at about 2:00 in the afternoon. And, as of about 7:00 tonight? We’re back baby!

So… it may take me a few days to sort through the mess of email that came in before and during our offline period. And business emails are going to have to take priority, but I will get through it. For now though? How about a couple pictures of the perennials we picked up and planted earlier today?

We allowed our front and backyards to go to meadow. Neither one will grow grass (we had tried a few varieties in the first few years we lived here), so the last few years we’ve just allowed it to do as it pleases. Now my goal is meadow, but controlled meadow. We’ll keep the variety of plants that cropped up naturally – the ones that some would call weeds – but also include some pretty patches of things that catch our eye. Who knows what will take, and what will die off… but it will be fun along the way. 🙂

 

Ahhh… it feels good to be reconnected!

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How-to Start a K-cup Starter Garden

A couple of years ago now, the girl and I talked you all through creating a toilet paper tube starter garden.  Now, I’m going to share another little crafty way of reusing some household waste to start your seeds this Spring.

I don’t know about you, but I LURVE my Keurig.  Seriously, freaking, LOVE my Keurig.  We use the reusable filter a great deal of the time, but it can be hard to resist some of those specialty drinks that only come in those wasteful little k-cups.  So this blog post should come as good news!  You can reuse them!  So go ahead and indulge from time to time – and then save your k-cups to make seed starters in the Spring.  😀

How-to Start a DIY K-cup Starter Garden

 

Step 1:  Gather your tools

  • scissors
  • k-cups
  • soil
  • seeds
  • spoon
  • bakery take-away containers

Step 2:  Strip down your kid(s)

Seriously!  Strip them down and put them in an empty bathtub.  They will get dirty, and a contained mess means an easier clean-up, and an easier clean-up means happy parenting.

Step 3:  Start cutting!

Using the scissors, cut a star shape into the top of each of your used k-cups.  Like so:

cutting up the top of a k-cup

Step 4:  Peel away the tops

Now, this really is optional, but it’s a great way for the little one(s) to be involved.  As you finish cutting the top of each k-cup, pass them to the nekkid kid in the tub.  Let them pull off the little metal bits (make sure to tell them NOT to use their teeth).  If they miss some, no biggie.

Step 5:  Dig a hole in the coffee grounds

Be careful with this one, use the back of the spoon or one of those EXTRA small spoons for stirring tea.  Dig out a hole down the center of the coffee grounds.  The grounds do not go all the way to the bottom of the k-cup, there is a hanging coffee filter in there so try not to puncture it or knock it down.  If you do, it’s not the end of the world…  it’s just not as nice for transplanting your seedlings later.

digging a hole in the coffee grounds

Step 6:  add soil

Hand the k-cup back to the kid(s) and let them fill the hole with soil.  Are we starting to appreciate the bathtub and the contained mess?  I thought so.  😉

Step 7:  contain your containers

Just like in the guide for the toilet paper tube starters, we’re going to use some more would-be garbage to hold our little starter garden.  Those crunchy, transparent containers you get whenever you get swayed in at the bakery by the yummy all ready made goodies are perfect little greenhouses!  So pop them in!

Step 8:  add seeds

Another great step to let the kids help out with.  Just add your seeds.  This go-round we’re doing a variety of lettuces so I just let the girl sprinkle them on.  They didn’t even need to be covered over with more dirt.

lettucy goodness - in seed form

Step 9:  water

Ummm..  yeah…  just water them.  😉

Step 10:  bathe kid(s)

Now let the water wash everything in the tub away, and enjoy the thrill of watching your new seeds sprout over the coming days.

Building our Raised Bed Garden

Here’s  Lily-Ann, working diligently and concentrating oh so hard, as she helps to construct our raised bed garden (or at least the box for it).  Measuring, hammering, hammering, more measuring, hammering measuring, hammering, hammering hammering…  a little bit of cutting, then even more hammering and maybe a bit more measuring, just for good measure.  😉

All in all, it’s 16.5 feet long, two feet high and two feet wide, with a 14 inch deep compost section on either end.  We’re gonna need a LOT of dirt!  LMAO

measuring the wall that seperates the compost from the garden

"Working hard or hardly working, eh Mack?"

So…  got some dirt?

10 Steps to a Toilet Paper Tube Starter Garden

Today we’re going to do things a little different.  Instead of just sharing a photo with you, I’ve got ten.  And the wee girlie and I, will share our steps to making your own starter garden.  No need to have a greenhouse, when you have reusable items laying around the house.

Step One:

Gather all your materials!  Lily-Ann says you’ll need “toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls, toilet paper rolls.  And things to put in the toilet paper rolls: DIRT!”  But you’ll also need clear containers, scissors, and seeds.

Gather Your Materials

Step Two:

Cut the tubes!”  Roughly in half is perfect.

Cut the Tubes

Step Three:

Show off your tubes!  Okay.  LOL  You caught us.  It’s not really a step…  but the wee girlie wanted to show off the tubes she helped cut.  LOL

Show Off Your Halved Tubes

Step Four:

Lily-Ann, we can’t keep calling these steps if you’re just wanting to share pictures of what you’ve done.  Folks are going to stop reading.  We need to tell them what to do so they can plant seeds inside too.  “Okay momma.  Uno mas?”  Okay, Kid Kid, one more.

Lily's Pile of Halved Toilet Tubes

Step Five:

Snip, snip, snip the tubes.

That’s right, cut (or snip) several slits into the side of each tube half.  Cut about half way up the side, and put between four and six slits in each one.

Snip Each Halved Tube Several Times

Step Six:

Now like this…”  Lily-Ann demonstrates in the air how to fold the tubes.  “See?

A Half Tube With the Cut End Folded In

Step Seven:

I don’t remember…  You tell me Mother?”  hehehe…  Next you put the soil – “DIRT!” – yes, dirt, into each tube.  Do this AS you are folding tubes.  You need the moisture and weight of the dirt to hold the folded bottoms together.  They will just keep popping open otherwise.  Trust me, we tried folding a bunch first.  LOL  It didn’t work.

The Wee Girlie Scoops Dirt Into a Folded Tube

Step Eight:

We’re almost done.  “Now Seeds!!!”  That’s right.  Open a package of seeds, and pick out a seed.

Lily-Ann's Chosen Seeds - Sweet Peas!

Step Nine:

Put it right in the middle with dirt all around.”  Got that?  Pop a seed into the middle of each toilet paper tube starter.  Just leave it sitting out on the top.  As you’ll see from our picture, it doesn’t have to be RIGHT in the middle.  A toddlers estimation of “middle” is perfect.  🙂  And honestly?  I’m sure if one or two get stuck right on the edge of the roll they’d sprout just fine.

A Seed in Each Starter Tube

Step Ten:

Cover the seeds (if required) with a thin layer of soil, then close the containers and “Go play upstairs!

Okay, so the process is a little long to hold the rapt attention of a two and a half year old for it’s entirety.  But I thought she did pretty good.  She helped every step of the way – including uploading my photos AND writing this post.  Her exclamation of Go Play was the end though, with it, she lept off the chair and ran off to entertain herself elsewhere.

All Done!

Hope this gives you the courage to try a little repurposing of your own.  🙂  It’s super easy to take household garbage and give it a new life.  Even in a project as easy as this one.  Toilet paper rolls would have made it into our compost (where the plants would have gotten them eventually anyway) and the flimsy bakery plastic that one occasionally brings home on a whim would have ended up in a landfill.  So hold onto them next time and you’ll have a mini-greenhouse for your toilet paper tube starters.  Your own little counter top garden.

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