Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Seeds! Our first "seed-saving" of sorts.

It is late January, and I am now pulling/cutting all of the dead stuff out of our planting beds. 
Just now.  
No no, it's totally normal for us to do things like this waaaay later than "normal." 
Anyways, the kids and I were excited to find:
- blue sidewalk chalk (immediately sampled by Cole - bleh!)
- mud!
- MORE chard making a break for it through ice (picture soon, this amazes me)
- seeds in some dead growth
- sawdust is hilarious on a small dog when you're little, humurous as a "grown-up"
- a short, fat piece of firewood is perfect for a tiny, 1 yr old butt to sit on
- I am the wood-splitting queen now that I have my own sharp axe!
Ok, but really, the fun thing about this is the seeds.  Last fall we gathered some seeds (Bulls Blood Beets and white onion of some sort that we love) and were thrilled with the sheer number of them from so few plants.  The seeds we found today though - which number well over a thousand (TINY seeds) - are Snap Dragon seeds.  I'm fairly sure that I've never mentioned how much we love a Snap Dragon.  They make our children go "rrrrooooooowwwwrRR!!!"  Their tiny, fat little fingers are almost always gentle as they make the blossoms gape, exposing thier furry tongues.  These seeds are from the 18"-24" and I have an inkling that they will either be magenta or "terra cotta" - my all-time favorites.  Simple joys.  I know that their mama plants will come up again this spring (plants are incredible, if I had to live outside all winter here, I would not be coming up in the spring), but am excited by the idea of their tall stems, loaded with blossoms, all over the yard.  May be the "Year of the Snap Dragon" around here.  It may also be the summer I need glasses from trying to plant itty-bitty seeds en masse.A word about the onion seeds:  some people have a heck of a time getting onions pollinated and producing seeds in a commercial setting.  We have had the exact opposite experience.  It seems as though our house has become an oasis for those helpful bugs that do these things for us; all it took was lots of flowers and a water source for everybody.  No sprays or chemicals of any sort either, which I'm convinced they appreciate. This is our first year saving seeds (obviously not into it yet!) and - so far - it's been great.  Should they not produce plants, I'll probably grumble a bit and keep at it until it works out for us!Much Love,
P.S.  I'm having a hard time getting this formatted right - please bear with me.

Going "Poo Free"

About a year ago, I read a blog ( about going "shampoo-free."  Met this one with some skeptiscism, but logged it in the ol' mental file. 

This last month I've been using one of Pantene Pro-V's "Natural" shampoo/conditioners and it's making me lose a ton of hair (thank God I had a ton to start with).  Not a good thing.  So before I go spend $40 for quality shampoo and conditioner, I'm trying this. 

For in-depth how-to of this, please go to the link above, but basically:
To "wash" you only need 1c water and 1 tbsp baking soda.  How's that for cost-efficient?!
To "condition" you use 1c water and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar.

That is all!

Last night was my first round, and not only was it really easy, but my hair is much more like...well, hair today.  It doesn't have that weird synthetic feel that it usually has.  It is still smooth, but not unnaturally so.  This cleansing method also makes it feel much cleaner than an actual detergent does (read: shampoo).  My hair doesn't feel oily today, and though the feel of the vinegar rinse on the ends is different than I'm used to, it did the trick!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here Again & Another Cow

Hello all!  I have obviously been long-absent, and I apologize.  Life has been wild these last 5 months. 

Where to start...?

How about cows?

We have a new bred heifer, bought from the Cantagree Dairy (LOVE this name) in Mendon, UT in early September.  She is another native-bred Milking Shorthorn, and while Ruby is on the beefier side of that breeding, Carrara (fancy name she came with huh?) is on the dairy side.  Meaning she has no butt and is narrow.  She could slip through a chute gate just about and she'll be two in March.  This makes a "herd total" of three head:  Ruby (3 this year), Carrara, and Opal (1 this year).  I will be milking both the older girls this spring/summer, and halter-breaking Opal.  Opal may even get entered in the fair this year if she continues to grow and look like she does - and halter-breaks without serious injury on my part.  Kidding.  Kind of.  Between haltering her and training Carrara to milk (and reminding Ruby she IS a milk cow) I'm betting that I carry some beautiful bruises this season.  At least they'll offer conversation-starters while tubing on the river...I guess, that's the biggest "plus" I can come up with.

Oh!  There is chard & spinach coming up from last years plants on the north side of the house (in a snug 4' space between our house and our fence on that side).  I did not know that they did this...and am wondering if they didn't just go dormant under all that snow we got.  Whatever the reason, it is really exciting to see green - edible green - coming up.  I am actually excited to eat the stuff simply because it's fresh; mark the date, four months from now I will hardly touch it.  Chard is that far down the list of things I'll willingly eat.  Unless there's gravy.

More to come - but cannot remember for the life of me what else I was going to write.  The gravy thing made me go blank.

I love gravy.