Thursday, July 26, 2012

We may be headed for a new Dust Bowl - Manchester simple living |

We may be headed for a new Dust Bowl - Manchester simple living | Here in New Hampshire, rain is falling and drought has seemed like a very far-off problem. Yet it's a problem that must be paid attention to. America's prime farm land is currently blowing away in a way that hasn't been seen since the Dust Bowl. Around the world, lack of water is becoming worse and worse.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baking bagels is beautiful - Manchester simple living |

Baking bagels is beautiful - Manchester simple living | There are three places in the world to get incredibly good bagels: Montreal, New York City, and your kitchen. If you happen to live in either of the big cities, then you know what good bagels taste like, with their crispy exterior and chewy insides. You may think making your own bagels is a difficult process, but it's simply not true.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Visit Amor Fati Farm CSA - Manchester simple living |

Visit Amor Fati Farm CSA - Manchester simple living | Amor Fati Farm in Hancock, New Hampshire, is a gorgeous spread of 38 acres. While not the best farm land in the area, with the help of their pigs, goats, ducks, rabbits, chickens and turkeys, Amor Fati is bringing the soil back to healthy, productive life. From the animal pens to the chicken tractors to the greenhouses, life abounds at the farm.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stoves stick to the ribs - Manchester simple living |

Stoves stick to the ribs - Manchester simple living | Your grandparents can be a wealth of simple recipes that please the wallet as much as your palate. Coming from a time when processed foods were few, those treasured meals can easily blend into today's routine. They can provide nutrition for the body, and also for the soul.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer smells like beachfront fun - Manchester simple living |

Summer smells like beachfront fun - Manchester simple living | What do you remember about the summertime when you were a child? Sun, sand, lake water and suntan lotion become a medley of coconut scented happiness. Will your kids be able to foster similar memories?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Leather britches can hang on your porch this summer - Manchester simple living |

Leather britches can hang on your porch this summer - Manchester simple living | Your green beans are probably coming in full-tilt about now, and you may find your freezer and fridge are quite full of them. You can give them away to friends, or trade with neighbors for things you aren't growing yourself, but you can also preserve your beans for use over the winter.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Basil belongs in your herb garden - Manchester simple living |

Some of the basil in my herb garden.

Basil belongs in your herb garden - Manchester simple living | Basil is an easy-to-grow, aromatic herb that has a plethora of uses. Its flavor is somewhat spicy, although not hot like a hot pepper, and it has undertones of mint and clove. Its unique taste is used in a wide variety of recipes.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Very few weeds!

Beans, peas, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, cukes, corn, spinach...

I'm rather proud of my garden this year. While not all the raised beds went in as initially planned, I've found my way around those little problems to create a viable, productive micro-farm for our family. The beans are going great guns, giving us about one meal worth of beans each day (for our 6 adults and two kids). The peas aren't quite as happy, but it is rather hot out there and they're definitely not a real hot-weather crop. I'm surprised they're producing anything at all, so I'm thrilled at what we're getting. 

The potatoes in their towers seem to be doing alright. We have had a plague of tortoise beetles. They're not particularly harmful, but they do eat holes in the potato leaves. So far they've left everything else alone. I've been drowning or squishing them when I see them but they move incredibly fast once they make a mind to do so. 

Herb tire, cukes and spinach, little girl's garden (to the right).
The herb garden is incredible. Tomorrow I will be cutting a lot of it down, mowing it much shorter, and harvesting leaves and such. The finer dill leaves will be minced up a bit and frozen into olive oil in the ice cube trays I just got. Joining them will be sage, basil, oregano, parsley and cilantro. The tarragon will be dried, as it has a strong enough flavor to be useful after drying.

Newly staked tomatoes.
Some of the tomatoes that were started indoors from seed have made the grade. These five plants have been struggling along, behind in their growth until just recently. Now they seem to be doing quite well, and a couple of them even have tiny yellow blossoms. I am hoping that means I'll get some tomatoes off them!

Cucumbers shading spinach leaves.
I planted these cucumbers down a long 10 foot row over five big plastic buckets. They seem to think it's a wonderful way to live, and have grown huge over the past couple of weeks. Along the shaded edge, I planted some spinach. My theory was that the big leaves would shade the smaller ones, allowing them to grow even though it was the hot part of summer. My theory has been proven - the spinach is amazing looking, happy, growing like wildfire. The cukes are insanely huge. 

Corn shoots on the sunny side.
On the sunny side of my cukes, I planted a single row of corn. It's unlikely to amount to much because corn generally needs to be in blocks rather than rows, but I figured it was worth a try. I had a handful of seed corn left after planting the big bed, so this seemed a good use of it. If nothing else, perhaps the corn will grow tall enough for the cukes to use them as a trellis!

The big corn bed
This raised bed was put in late, and I planted it with corn. If you click on the pic to make it larger, you can just see inch tall corn seedlings poking through. There's a lot of weed action going on, but I feel like I need to wait a week or so, for the corn to get bigger, before I go yanking the weeds out. Still, I'm very pleased. Next year, the left side of this bed and the right side of the pea/bean bed will have an arched trellis going over it for peas and cucumbers to climb up. This year, I just hope to have the heavy frosts hold off until the corn produces something.

So it begins...
And there it is, the very first zucchini growing. I wish the other zuch plants I had grown were the size of this one, but this one has grown HUGE. It has a dozen flowers, and this one is now growing into a delicious summer squash that I just can't wait to eat. Hopefully it'll produce a lot of zucchini, because we like to freeze grated zuch for use in the winter. Nothing beats sis's warm, fresh zucchini bread in January!

Simplify your life - Manchester simple living |

Simplify your life - Manchester simple living | It's a chorus, from Pinterest to FaceBook and beyond: Simplify! You might be asking yourself, "But what does that mean?" Do you have to stop eating processed foods? Are you required to give up your internet connection? Are you allowed to continue your Friday evening happy hour?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Simple summer movie fun - Manchester simple living |

Simple summer movie fun - Manchester simple living | Summertime can be a real strain on some parents, especially if you're exhausted after a day at work and your child wants desperately to spend some time with you. Rather than relegating your little one to the television while you try to read the newspaper, why not institute a family movie night?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Potted chicken article at Examiner

I love this cookbook, and I use it a lot during the winter time. This recipe for potted chicken is a great example of frugal cooking at its best. You could make this the night before and take it along to a picnic for something different and delicious!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Container gardening for everyone!

 You might find yourself thinking that you don't have enough space to truly enjoy having a garden. Perhaps you have a tiny backyard, or even no backyard at all. You might only have a balcony space or a window sill. It doesn't matter, though. A garden is what you make of it, whether it's two inches in size or two acres.

WalMart is a great place to pick up deals on containers for small scale gardening. They have a good selection of plastic and ceramic pots that range in size from tiny to huge. You don't have to spend a lot of money on them, either.

Read the rest of this article!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Read my latest article over at Examiner!

Mara's Pasta Giveaway

Okay, this stuff looks SO good!

They have a special whole wheat pasta that sounds like it cooks up like a dream. I've entered the give-away... how about you? :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The July Tour

Have a peek at my garden!

Don't throw away your romaine stumps - Manchester simple living |

Don't throw away your romaine stumps - Manchester simple living | "Romaine lettuce is one of the best salad greens you can eat. It is chock full of vitamins and minerals and is low in calories while being high in fiber. Because of this, it's much better for you than its cousin the iceberg lettuce. Romaine provides both soft, dark green leaves and crunchy, lighter colored portions as well. It can be used raw or cooked and on top of all that, it also lasts longer in the fridge than other head lettuces."

'via Blog this'

Monday, July 2, 2012

Are you hot?

Jason Kuffer / Wikimedia Commons
Some of the weather lately has been pretty awesome. Temperatures in the high 90s are always fun, and even the lower temperatures around here have included some wicked great humidity. Living in New England as I do, we don't stress ourselves as much over air conditioners as some states do. There's no reason to, really, because in a day or two the heat will be gone and the weather will be beautiful again. Still, I do understand there are times when it's hellishly hot and you just need a break.

Right now, there are a lot of people in the mid-west without power. It's hot out there, too, up in the 100s and higher in some places. I am starting to wonder, though, what would happen if for some reason our electrical grid failed us. I'm hearing about so many people hurt or dying or dead because of the heat. I find myself wondering why?

Until recently, say the 1970s or later, we didn't have air conditioners. Even electric fans are a fairly new invention. If we go back 100 years in time, a mere drop in the universal bucket, most of our "modern conveniences" are gone. And you know what? People did just fine without them.

It might be less convenient having to go without that a/c, but I don't understand all the fuss people are making over it. Yes, it sucks to be hot, and if you don't even have a fan going it can get really stifling. But there are beaches and pools. There are places to get water and ice. There are still ways to eat our food without this unholy REQUIREMENT for a/c and electricity.

Maybe it's just because I"m not there...

Buy in bulk and re-package for simple long-term storage - Manchester simple living |

Buy in bulk and re-package for simple long-term storage - Manchester simple living | "Sometimes, "simple living" means doing things that take a little longer and perhaps cost a little more. Buying in bulk is one way to cut down on the costs of "real" or "whole" foods while still allowing yourself the luxury of some of your favorite easy foods or beauty products."

'via Blog this'