Kitchen / Garden / Sanctuary - Urban Homesteading to Nourish Body + Spirit

Month: April 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

The Grass is Always Greener…

After a very dry winter, we’ve been getting some nice April showers that have been greening everything right up.

Nothing, however, is greener than this particular carpet of grass next door. This grass is totally incredible. It should be out winning awards. Maybe you can’t see its piercingly psychedelically impossibly green color so well from your monitor, but trust me, this is some kick-ass grass.

Happy Easter and spring and birthday and stuff and yeah.

yeah happy whatever.

Happy Easter! Did everyone have a good one? I had a birthday…and Easter happened…and I was sick through all of it! Way sick, since last Wednesday, when I hobbled into the doctor’s office and the nurses hooked me up with a couple hearty liters of IV fluid. Seems that it was back-to-back flu and another viral issue on top of that. My body just decided to fall apart there for a few days. But yesterday was a peaceful day in its own way. From bed, I enjoyed seeing out the window to the cloudy day outside, and later in the day, hearing rain falling on the roof. My dad remembers that I was born on a cold, rainy day, which is maybe why I love that weather so much.

In the morning, F and I stood by the window and watched the little kids doing their Easter egg hunt across the street at the church. And a couple times throughout the day I looked down and saw kids in the backseats of cars passing below, with their Easter baskets and stuffed bunnies. Sweet little scenes.

And a birthday package o’ goodies arrived from my aunt! It really cheered me up. Check it out: an intriguing tote bag handmade in the Amazon (love!!) and Divine chocolate-covered salted fudge — OMG!! — and a couple United Plant Savers herbal newsletters. Thanks Kate!!! ♥

Sick Easter-Birthday bedside cheer

I’m still sick, and three times a day, my antiviral makes me sicker. But I sure am thankful this week for: PRETZELS! POPSICLES! PERRIER!

I’ll be back to writing here hopefully soon. Talk to you then!

(Random!) I love petals on the sidewalk!

Free Shipping Today Only (April 19) at Tropical Traditions!

It’s a Free Shipping Day at one of my very favorite companies, Tropical Traditions! The free shipping will save about $10-15 off your order, so it’s a good day to stock up, or try them out if you haven’t before. I really love this company’s products, and use them daily. Today only, Tuesday April 19th through Midnight EDT, they’re offering free ground-only shipping when you enter coupon code 41118 at checkout.

They have a wide range of high-quality products; here are my favorites:

Moisturizing lotion – I use this every day on my face and hands. It’s the most luxurious stuff, and very gentle since it has only a few wholesome ingredients. Definitely my all-time favorite lotion.

Moisturizing cream – Much thicker than the lotion, this is another favorite. Also great for use on face and hands.

Virgin organic coconut oil – Great for cooking, eating, and also for skin! Has a much better taste than other unrefined coconut oils I’ve tried. I just love this stuff.

Organic raw honey – This is the best-tasting honey I’ve ever had. I like to buy and taste lots of different honeys, and this one always wins, hands down. When I first tried it, my eyes got big and my mouth dropped open; it just has the most amazing taste! Quintessential, flowery honey taste. This stuff is a staple in our house!

Coconut cream concentrate – I love this stuff. LOVE it. The “format” is a little strange, because when you receive it,  it will have settled out into a hardened layer of coconut oil and a layer of dried/finely ground coconut meat. You’ll wonder what to do with it at first; what I do is put the jar into a pan of simmering water and let it sit there until the contents have softened and liquefied, and then I can easily stir it up. Then, I put it in the fridge until it’s hardened again. Once hardened, you can then store it in the fridge or at room temperature (it won’t separate again unless it gets really hot in your house). I usually just eat this stuff plain, it’s so good; I break it into chunks with a knife, and eat it as a snack. Sometimes I’ll eat it dipped in the raw honey, which is a very decadent and extremely delicious snack!!!

Laundry Detergent – This detergent is all we use, now that I’ve discovered it. It works very well, gets the stains out, and lasts a long time, making this a very economical purchase.

Oxygen Bleach – Like OxyClean. If you need a tough stain-fighter/deodorizer for laundry and everywhere else around the house.


Now, I’ve also tried their organic bar soap, and though it was really nice soap, Hubby and I have never seen a bar of soap get used up so fast! It was weird. It just seemed like it was gone in record time. So I wouldn’t get it again. (Though my mom has the liquid soap and really loves it.) I haven’t tried every single product that they sell…but the ones I listed above, I make sure to never run out of!

Also, I bought the Atchara once out of curiosity, and it was extremely strong (even for this vinegar lover!), and a little weird. Not quite a favorite. :-)


And if you’re a new customer and have never bought from them before, you can also get this Virgin Coconut Oil book, with information  & recipes, for free (any time, not just today) by entering my User ID, which is 6032410. When you’re going through the checkout process and you’ve added your shipping address and phone number, you will see the question “How did you hear of us?” Just choose “Referred by a friend” and then a new “User ID” field will appear below that where you can enter my User ID. I also get some sort of little gift if I refer a friend, so that’s nice too.  🙂

(screen shot below)

Vegetable Crop Lists: When to Plant What

In this post about how to plan your vegetable garden, I talked about Spring Veggies, Spring “Carryover” veggies, and Summer veggies. A couple days ago, I got an email from Val, who asks: “…Would you mind posting a list or resource for what you define as spring, spring carry-over, and summer vegetables?? THANKS!!”

Sure, Val! Great idea. Since I don’t know of a resource for this info, I’ll post my own list.

I garden in Zone 5/6, in Colorado. Our growing season is about 110 days…our last average Spring frost is mid-May, and our first average Autumn frost is early October. So this list won’t apply to you lucky folks who garden year-round in mild climates. (Don’t know your zone? Enter your zip code at the Arbor Day Hardiness Zone Lookup.)

The following list is based upon my personal experience in my own garden, where I grow almost everything from seeds sown directly into the garden (except tomatoes & peppers, which I start indoors a month or two ahead of time). Often there is overlap between Spring and Summer gardens, but it works out OK because the mature Spring stuff will protect and shade the Summer seedlings for a while. By the time the Summer stuff is up and running, the Spring stuff has been pulled out.

Also, you’ll notice that some veggies are flexible and can be included in more than one category.


Spring Veggies Plant in early Spring (usually two months before the last frost…March 15 for me), and harvest before the intense heat of Summer (usually up to a month after the last frost…late June for me). Spring veggies are pretty much in-n-out before the main Summer season.



Broad Beans/Fava Beans


Broccoli Raab/Rapini

Collards (can also be a carryover veggie, where you leave it in all Summer)

Green Onions/Scallions (can also be a carryover veggie, where you leave it in all Summer)

Kale (can also be a carryover veggie, where you leave it in all Summer)





Swiss Chard/Silverbeet (can also be a carryover veggie, where you leave it in all Summer)


Spring Carryover Veggies – Plant in early Spring (usually two months before the last frost…March 15 for me), and leave in the garden all Summer long.








Green Onions/Scallions




Potatoes (planted a month before last frost — mid-April in my garden)

Swiss Chard/Silverbeet


Summer Veggies – Plant only after the last Spring frost (late May for my Zone 5/6 garden). Leave in the garden all Summer long.


Beans, all types

Brussels Sprouts (harvest after frost in fall & winter)


Celery (probably will want to use seedlings, since starting from seed can be difficult)








Malabar Spinach (Basella rubra)

New Zealand Spinach (Tetagonia)





Squash, summer & winter







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