Saturday, April 19, 2014

Whew! Dodged a bullet with this surprise frost.

Now yall tease, but this past winter has been a pretty cold one for our area.  We had the bitterly cold days, snow, and wind all at some time this winter.  It began a bit early and lasted a little longer.  This is a problem for a woman (Me) who begins thinking of gardening around Dec 26th(smile).  Once we entered April I was feeling like we had passed the coldest part and it would be safe to start planting outside.  This year I am trying to go exactly with the Farmers Almanac in my planting dates.  According to them that was this past weekend.  The advantage would be we would be planting right before rain.  So this past weekend Dh and I got out in the garden and got everything turned under and all the seeds planted.  I also had about 8 tomato plants planted.  Yay right?  Well then we have rain come in but then I find I am faced with another hard freeze.  Like 28 degrees for more than 4 hours.  Yikes and Yikes!  I wasn't worried about the seeds in the ground.  We had covered the rows with straw, but I was facing my little, now transplanted, tomato plants and my blueberry bushes (covered in now open white blooms) freezing overnight.  Talk about your fly by the seat of your pants situation.

Don't they say necessity is the mother of invention?  I think I heard that somewhere.  Well that is what I did.  Come up with something, anything that would work. 

So for my blueberry bushes:  All I needed was to keep the temp around the bushes above the freezing mark.  There was no way I would be able to cover them completely because they are some pretty good size bushes.  I have two lighted boxes my dad made.  They have two light bulbs each and plug in to an outlet to generate warmed for seed starting.  I would be using them as a heat source.

 I laid one box on the ground under each group of three bushes.  Then I covered the bushes as much as I could with a tarp.  I had to string the tarps on rope and stake them down due to high winds.  Had it been the winds would last all night I wouldn't have minded the cold temps as much, but the winds were due to die down after sundown.  So the plan was that the box would heat up the area and the tarps would hold it close to the bushes.  It seems to have worked.  We will see how my blueberries produce in a few months.

For my tomato babies I took a quart size mason jar and put it over each plant.  These plants are already surrounded by a cage, so I filled the cage with pine straw.  This morning seems to be the best time to remove the jars and see how my plants fared.  Well they are all alive.  I can say with confidence.  Which is huge.  About 40% are "what just happened?, where am I ?", but the other 60% are happy as clams.  I am hoping the shell shocked 40% bounce back, but if not, a 60% success rate beats a 0% success rate.  These were tomato plants that weren't happy to begin with so for it to be that positive an outcome makes me happy indeed.  The rest of my plants that have yet to be put in the garden were brought in for a few days.  Last night was their first night outside again and they have fared well.

Today is my birthday and so it is off to thrift store shopping.  Yay.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Frugal, effective skin care...nah...seriously?

Yes seriously.  Move over Lancome, Clinic, Etc,  There is a new Sherriff in town.

Winter is extremely hard on my skin.  It gets so dry and no amount of lotion seems to help.  In fact, my face will get so dry I will have dry patches and bumps kinda like acne.  I know pretty right?  Hey I wear make up so DH is the only one to see me in such shape (poor man).  Anyway, I have tried lotions, even the name brand to no avail.  I even bought a face wash and moisturizer from Oil of Olay.  Then I had then fun of finding out I was allergic to it.  My face broke out even worse.  This was not cool.  So I stopped using it and went back to my Dove bar.  Before I used my Dove Bar,  I was thinking how would be the best way to get any residue of the face wash off my face.  I thought of my old stand by of Baking Soda.  It is great for washing hair.  You would think it would dry the hair out, but the exact opposite is true.  So I thought why not try it to exfoliate my face.  Well let me tell you it worked like a charm!  My skin wasn't dry afterward.  In fact it was so soft and smooth.  Yay! 
I still had this sore place why my skin had gotten so dry it had actually cracked.  What to do about that?  I started using clear aloe vera (the 100% kind) as a moisturizer. It helped some but I needed a real moisturizer.  Well I had a friend(Hey Lisa R) tell me one time she uses a small amount of coconut oil as a moisturizer.  So I picked up some at the store (you will find it in the baking isle with the oils).  You can get the organic, cold pressed, etc if you want, but I just picked up the ole Louana brand.  This was a test and I try to not spend a lot on tests.  Well it worked!  Boy did it ever! 

So my new routine goes like this:

Every other day, usually while in the shower, I make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub my face.  Just like if you were washing your face.  I don't use soap on my face that day.  The other days I use my Dove bar.
When I get out of the shower, I will take a little aloe vera and coconut oil and mix it together in the palm of my hand.  The warmth of your hand will melt the oil and so they mix well,  Then I apply it to my face.  I have been doing this routine for about 5 days.  The bumps are gone, the dry patches are gone, and best of all the sore place on my face is healed!  I have started using the aloe/coconut mixture as an all over body lotion as well and for the first time this winter I am not itching!

The Coconut oil is $7 for  a quart size jar.  The Aloe Vera I bought at Doller General for $1 and the baking soda is .50 for a 1 lb box.  $8.50 for a good skin care routine.  I will take that any day. I am planning on finding a larger bottle of the Aloe to get a discounted price.  We will see.  The one I got was I think 12 oz.   Try it.  If you don't like it you can use the coconut oil for baking, the soda for a zillion things, and the Aloe for sun burns.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wouldn't want to leave you hanging....

I know my posts have been few and far between.  It's mainly because A) Busy, busy, busy, and B) nothing really earth shattering to share.  I don't want to just leave you guys in cyber space, so I thought I would drop in and say Howdy........Howdy.  Okay see ya later.  JUST KIDDING!

My business comes from trying to get the garden in.  Little by little it is taking shape, but doing it with a shovel and pic axe is slower going.  I have to say I like my tiller.  Blooms are on my berries and fruit trees.  I might actually get a couple of peaches, but I don't want to hope yet.  We'll see.  I have managed to harvest a little spinach and lettuce, but I think I should have planted more.  The broccoli and cabbage are coming along, and I have 62 tomato plants (Unless I inadvertently kill them lol). 

On the frugal front this week, I

1. Have hung 2 loads of clothes each day on a newly restrung umbrella clothes line I have.
2.  Re strung a clothes line (huh, I guess that should have been first).
3.  Harvested spinach from the garden
4.  Cut my hair. 
5.  Got a good deal on loaf bread (wheat no HFCS) at Aldi.  .65 a loaf.  Bought and froze about 6 loaves.  I don't do as much bread making in the summer due to it heating up our house so much.  This is a good deal.
6.Went thrift store shopping with hubby and the young men (trying to not say boys anymore).  Got some books, Hubby found some CDs to download on his MP3 player, got some terracotta pots for .50 (Big ones), a looks new granite ware stock pot for $2.50 for my daughter, fabric, and some other things.

Full confessions here, DH and I have been married 21 years this past Monday, so we went out.  That isn't the unfrugal part.  We took the guys out the next day....and the grandsons the next day.  Now in our defense, we take the grand boys to church while their mama and dad work.  After church we go to the restaurant where they work and have lunch.  We get a discount, she gets a good tip.   So now you know.  All my deep dark secrets.

So now that I have bored you to tears, I am going to get ready for work.  What are you people doing up and this time of the morning anyway.  Go back to bed!