April 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
Last year for christmas I received the book nourishing traditions which put the seed in my mind about making my own cheese. However like most things in my life it wasn’t a priority and so has yet to happen. I initially used the excuse that I didn’t have access to a milk I thought would be sufficient. Virginia has very strict and some might say needlessly obtrusive restrictions on raw milk. However as it turns out you don’t actually need raw milk you just need milk that is not ultra, that means not ultra pasteurized or ultra homogenized. These extend shelf life of the milk , but it not so good for the cheese making. I have since found milk through a local dairy as well as a few in store varieties that could be used. I haven’t yet taken the plunge, Urban Cheesecraft has affordable $25 cheese kits that I’m thinking about trying. Any thoughts?
April 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
Since I might actually get around to planting the strawberry pot I got over a year ago for my birthday. I thought I would share these cute hanging strawberry pots.
I also wanted to share this poorly thought out idea, the “Strawberry Jar” bird bath. The last thing you want to do is to attract birds to your strawberries, but maybe this could live on as a succulent planter.
April 20, 2012 Comments Off on Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
As you get ready to head out into the garden, I hope you don’t forget to wear your hat and put on some sunscreen. However that last part is a little trickier than it used to be, like so many other things in our increasingly growing world there are so many choices. The most important thing is to have a sunscreen that protects and UV-a and UV-b rays. I myself use mineral sunscreens, which work by reflecting the sun. I believe them to be safer and I have a terrible habit of rubbing my eyes, which if I do while wearing a chemical sunscreen gives me a not so pleasant burning sensation. However they do have their down falls, as there are few aerosol versions, and some can be very messy if you are doing a sweaty activity.
I wear sunscreen on my face everyday and the only kind I have found that does not make my pores clog or my face sweat, and will also stay on if you sweat is Origins Out Smart. Which I have found in the course of writing this blog post has been discontinued, so if anyone has a favorite mineral facial sunscreen let me know!
For everyday use on your body I would recommend Alba very emollient sunscreen. I prefer unscented I don’t want to smell like sunscreen or vanilla or any other horrible sunscreen scents. I’ve also found that the kid’s version rubbed in easier, but this could have just been my perception.
April 16, 2012 Comments Off on Cost Comparison: Coffee
I didn’t start to drink coffee until I was in college. It was my bribe to hang out in the library. Go to the library drink a coffee flavored milkshake. It seemed like a decent trade at the time. Little did I know those coffee flavored milkshakes are quite the gate way drug. I’m already well on my way to french pressing my way to snobbery.
There’s a gamut of options to consider when finding your favorite coffee,is it fair trade, what roast, what flavor, what region, local, non local, organic, non organic. I haven’t been using my french press long enough to to know the implications of each choice, so I won’t pretend. My preference is for something local, fair trade, the flavor is mostly irrelevant for me because I frequently change what I am drinking. But if we’re being honest here, I also frequent Starbucks just as much as my local coffee house, which makes me just a little bit of a hypocrite. Although this mostly dictated by location. However my favorite by far is Trager Brothers coffee. When I was working my dismal job in the hospital it was the only thing that I looked forward to.
Blend 50 by Trager Brothers (local, organic, fair trade) at $11.99/pound this is roasted locally in Nelson County Virginia and is honestly the best coffee I have ever had.
Whole Foods 365 Bulk (traditional and organic) $8.99 to $10.99/pound
Starbucks Sumatra (making an effort to be fair trade)$13.50/pound
Folgers (probably not fair trade) ~$8.96/per pound
For just a few dollars more you can really get a higher quality and potentially more ethical cup of joe. Now you’ll say of the folgers only cost be $6.00, yes this is true, but they are also giving you less coffee about 11 or 12ounces, so the comparable cost to many “premium” brands is actually closer.
Now how much do you save by making your own coffee?
I have found a pound makes about 8 cups(32 ounces) of coffee for 6-7 days, comparably if you were buying two grande coffees(at a coffee house, not a gas station) at $4/a day it comes out to be $24-$28/week. Meaning if you brew your own coffee you are saving $12-$15/a week spread out over the year $624-$780.
April 13, 2012 § 2 Comments
It’s safe to say that flower and garden inspired hooks and knobs are everywhere these days. I’m a huge fan of bringing the outdoors in but I find that once something becomes common place it can be hard to find accents that seem to belong in your home. Because of this and my struggle to balance nature inspired decor with a modern look I haven’t been able to commit, what do you think?
Vintage leaf hooks
Leaf Hooks from Salt Lake City Forge
From Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage
From Pretty Clever Decor
April 13, 2012 Comments Off on Friday Reading
April 12, 2012 § 3 Comments
It was about this time last year when I was lamenting over the aphid infestation on my mandevilla(which has since died from other causes.) I had tried unsuccessfully all winter to kill aphids with Mrs. Meyers all purpose cleaner, which kept them at bay but certainly did not wipe them out. So I turned to my spotted, hungry, and more motivated colleague the ladybug. I ordered mine from Beneficial Entomology on ebay and they shortly arrived in the mail. I can’t really remember but I think I ordered 5,000 and since an adult ladybug can eat over 5,00 aphids in its lifetime, the math was in my favor. The hardest thing you will encounter is that you can’t keep ladybugs in one place by sheer power of will. You can,however, incentivize their stay by doing the following things.
- Making sure they have a water source,water plants before putting the ladybugs on.
- Make sure they have a food source, sadly if there is nothing to eat they will leave.
- Ladybugs are less active at night, so apply in the last afternoon or nighttime.
- You can spray them with sugar water to make their wings stick. I personally found this a little cruel and decided against it.
- Ladybugs will keep in the fridge. The seems cruel, but really they just go dormant. I applied to rounds of ladybugs about a week apart to completely wipe out the aphid population.