Friday, May 28, 2010

Do Not Try This at Home

I'm always looking for ways to be environmentally friendly while saving money. Sounds like an oxymoron, right?

For example, I hate taking my veggies home in plastic bags. Long after investing in canvas bags for carrying groceries, I'm still taking lettuce and herbs home in their own plastic bags. I hate doing that, but the alternatives I've seen are so expensive! Take Debbie Meyer's
Green Bags for example (As Seen on TV!). I've heard they work, but do I really want to pay $17 for plastic bags that will have to get thrown out eventually anyway? No!

And anyway, I figured the reason produce goes bad is because it rots in its way-too-damp plastic bag. I can fix that problem for way less money!

For this project, I took a bunch of extra cotton muslin I had laying around ($1 a yard!), sewed it into bags and added a yarn draw string. This cost almost nothing and took about an afternoon. The bags looked like this:
After finishing the bags, I took a moment to congratulate myself on my ingenuity. This is an important step.

Next, I set about testing the effectiveness of my genius bags. Here's a picture of two bags of lettuce from the same farmer picked up from the farmer's market on the same day:
As you can see, I kept one in its plastic bag and put the other in my new cloth bag.

I'm pretty in love with salad right now, so over the next week or so I ate a bunch of it. Sorry.

But I did have enough left to test out my creation! Here are the results, with the bags on the opposite sides as the above picture:
Yes, that's right, my experiment was a complete failure. The lettuce in the cloth bag, shown on the left, withered and died right away. In fact, every single plant I've put in the cloth bags have died, including things that are pretty hard to kill. It even wilted a bunch of carrots.

So, it turns out, rather than being a stroke of genius, my home made cloth bags are just harbingers of plant death.

Conclusion? Buy the green bags. You can't out smart Debbie Meyer that easily!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Garden Progress

Even though I haven't been posting about our community garden plot, we have indeed been hard at work on it!

On our last visit, I grabbed a couple pictures of the scenery as we drove by.
As you can see, it's wet out there! Lots and lots of rain had just drenched our garden, but I still could not WAIT to get to planting.

Here are our beds before we tilled and planted.
They're pretty weed-ful, even though we'd done a good bit of weeding last time we were out there. Oh well. I guess that's gardening!

Tyler got right to work tilling the beds. He was perfectly dressed for the job.
Next, I planted strawberries,
broccoli, cauliflower, eggplants, cabbage
and a few different kinds of onions.
We're also planting several other veggies, but they'll have to wait for better weather, and for us to remember to bring the seeds (sorry, peas!).

After all of that work, we're really dirty, and really proud.

Gardening is for lovers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wednesday at the Farmer's Market

Have I mentioned my love for the farmer's market? I love, love, love it! My favorite part? The adorable Amish children.
Although not quite as adorable, I appreciate the amazing selection of plants, too!
Simple pleasures.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An Afternoon Project

When I received my very first sewing machine, I was most excited about making my own curtains. Well, after months and months, I've finally done it!
I'm not going to post a tutorial because I really just sewed down all three sides. I left the bottom unhemmed so I can udjust it to fit the windows in our new house. It's about the easiest sewing project you can do!

And, just in case you hate to sew, Young House Love has a tutorial for even easier no-sew curtains! Check it out here.

Happy project-filled afternoons!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wishes, Granted

Remember that bike I wanted? Well, my adorable husband provided me with an even more beautiful model for my law school graduation.
Perfect! Just perfect!!

And as if that weren't enough, my fabulous aunt came through with the dress I wanted...
...AND my grandma, cousin and aunt bought me a whole slew of Penguin classics! Here's my new display, with seven (!) more to arrive in the coming months.

I just love my presents!

Now all we need is world peace.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our Community Garden

As sad owners of exactly no yard, we were thrilled, THRILLED to score a plot in our local community garden.
Just look at those plots begging to be filled with delicious vegetables!

Besides being a space where we can try out gardening for the very first time, it is also a peaceful escape from everyday life. It even SMELLS calm and free out here!
These buildings have stood since the 1800's, and our community garden has regular work day events where everyone gets a hand in restoring and preserving our slice of land and its structures for the next generation.
To me, this place is opportunity. It's an opportunity to grow something all on
our own, to be a part of the cycles of life. It's the first steps toward self sufficiency, bits and pieces of our homestead. It's a beginning.