mosaic stepping stones

IMG_1545This summer I resolved to take advantage of newfound flexibility and spare time to Get. Stuff. Done. What a list of projects! I’ve been putting most off since we moved into our new home two years ago and wasn’t looking forward to the work. Ugh. Staining treated lumber is my least favorite chore. But one project I was enthused about: mosaic stepping stones.

Even so, I procrastinated, not sure how to accomplish my vision. There are at least dozen different ways you might create stepping stones, as a bit of research will reveal. I’m not going to try to fool you. I didn’t know what I was doing. Inching along, step by step and hardware store by store, I figured it out.

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rv newbies

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 7.24.56 AMWe know lots of folks who travel by RV, quite happily long-hauling a house on their journey. The Hubs and I have struggled to envision ourselves in this scenario. We’re not well suited. I look for pull-through parking spots and have difficulty backing our car out of the driveway. (Don’t judge. It’s a long driveway.) He maneuvers heavy farm equipment without a second thought but is easily irritated by typical traffic in a regular sized vehicle. (Meanwhile, I’m on high alert: brake-lights!) The mere thought of taking to the highway behind the wheel of a rig sized for intergalactic travel induces stress.
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aunt rita’s baked beans

 

I read recently about “Blue Zones” — places of the world where people live remarkably longer and better. It’s all quite fascinating.  The highlands of Sardinia, Italy; a Greek island, Ikaria; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California, all boast healthy elderly populations that stand out among all others in the world.

I’m intrigued by distinctions among the Blue Zones. For example, Sardinia harbors the most long-lived male population on the planet and Okinawa the oldest females. Elders in Ikaria not only live longer but suffer dramatically less with Alzheimer’s disease. Costa Rica spends a small fraction on health care by comparison to U.S. yet Nicoya residents are 2.5 times more likely to reach a healthy age 90. Loma Linda boasts the most highly concentrated population of Seventh Day Adventists in the world, known for keeping a strict Sabbath and biblical diet.
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lilacs of late

Observant North Country folk will notice an abundance of blossoms appearing on woody clumps of bushes this time of year.  I’ve seen light and dark purple, pink and white blooms in this area. Most, and especially those in the wild, are light purple. The lilac’s scent is unmistakeable; it hangs heavy and sweet and travels on the breeze. Delightful.

Lilacs are zone three hardy. They can take anything the No Co dishes out, including weeks of subzero winter temps if necessary. (That degree of cold seems increasingly rare these days; no complaints.) Some lilacs, like ours, hedge the property line. Others appear randomly, spreading along roadside or far back in fields. Lilacs return like tried and true friends.

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straw bale gardening (SBG)

Last spring I posted about our experiment with straw bale gardening. It’s high time I reported back on our experiment.

Supplies were minimal and some can be reused. We purchased nine straw bales, landscape fabric, six metal posts, and fencing wire; big bag of fertilizer and waterproof bin to store it in; a soaker hose, small metal stakes to secure it, and a water timer. A couple hundred dollars and carefully selected seeds and seedlings later, we were in SBG business. I’m happy to report I was pleasantly surprised by (most) of the results.

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