The In-Between Planting

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Sometime back in March (a few weeks later than I planned) we started our first batch of seedlings for this years garden. I will be the first to admit that I (even after 8 years of attempting) am still a beginner gardener at best. I love the process and I love the opportunity to grow some of our own food. But, it is also something that I am quite aware requires a certain amount of devotion and time to really get good at. And time is something of a valuable commodity in my life, and something I seem to be always a bit short on. Nevertheless, I always want to try, and I figure in time, I will eventually get better at it.
So, after our initial planting of seedlings we soon arrive to that wonderful but slightly frustrating part of the season: the in-between  planting. Michigan is lovely in its extremes but there is always this time in the spring, when seedlings have been started and are growing fast, but it is still too cold to put them out just yet. Of course this wouldn’t be so much of an issue if we had a green house or even a cold frame. Goals. It’s good to have goals, right?
Seedlings are so lovely and easy. Just pop them in their trays and they grow! It’s a miracle to me every time. But very quickly those little seedlings become big seedlings and need more room in which to spread their roots.  So, we transplant them into bigger containers. Of course this always happens a bit sooner than I like, and of course then I am thankful I was a bit late to start them in the first place. Which then leads me to the ponder, was I on-time after all? 
But I digress.

Many years ago, back as a child really, I remember spending time at a friends house. I always admired the way they lived. So simply, so in touch with the earth and the seasons and the rhythm of life. They lived far out of town and they lived off their land as much as possible. They had a huge garden complete with high deer fence all around and more raised beds than I could count (at the time, this was very early childhood.) They also had a beautiful long green house extending off the side of their house. We would spend hours in there, our own tropical land. And occasionally my friends mother would put us to work. One job we had was tapping holes in old juice cans. These she used to start her seedlings. Of course now days the idea of using condensed juice is not as popular, but I will admit especially during cold and flu season you can find a few cans of Orange Pineapple juice in my freezer. We pull it out mostly when someone is sick and has a lot of congestion. Pineapple juice is excellent for breaking that up.
Anyway, I started saving these cans over the course of the year and soon we had a decent collection. They are the perfect size to transplant our seedlings for their in-between season. It was a fun job for the boys too.
We used an old rabbit hutch door as our compost screen, And no one was more surprised than I by the abundant rich compost that was ready from last years little pile. And there you have it. Our method to save a little cash and reuse and re-purpose what we have around us.

The only sad part of the story is that with my first planting of seedlings everything sprung up quickly, but for some unknown reason my Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussel Sprouts just started dying off. I was soon only left with a handful of of each variety. So, we mixed up a new batch of soil, this time with less of the store bought stuff and more of the lovely compost we made and we are trying it again. We’ll see.

Now the real work begins as we haul trays of started plants in and out and hope for warmer days. Then the real planting begins. Oh, how I love this time of year. :)


Mothers day weekend brought the best gift… for the kids – A new pony!

This is Cisco. A very sweet and just the right size pony. There is quite a tale about how he got here, and I hope to share that soon. But for now I thought you would like to enjoy some of our first moments enjoying him. :)

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Sun Burn

Sunburn 1

Recently I began playing with Young Living Essential Oils. I’ve known about them for a while, but never really thought they would be worth the investment. So, believe me when I say, NO ONE is more surprised than I at the results we have seen using them. Already in two short months we have received relief for colds symptoms (with me avoiding getting sick completely. Twice.) My husband has enjoyed relief from stiff sore back muscles thus being able to be more fully rested and ready to tackle his rather physical job. My quality of sleep has GREATLY improved. My chronic headaches are almost completely resolved. We have been able to work our way around those awful evening hours when we are all a little tired of being so close.
But, I think among the most surprising aspects of these oils, it has been in their ability to aid in healing.
After spending a beautiful sunny day outdoors my oldest came in with the looks of a pretty good sunburn. He is so fair, and unfortunately as he has gotten older and as we have added more little bodies to our family, I notice I am missing getting the suns screen on him right of the bat in the spring.

Not having anything to loose I did a little research and asked a few questions. The overwhelming response was to use Frankincense and Lavender in a base of coconut oil. I’ve been quite impressed with using this combo for minor cuts and scrapes, but I had no idea what it would do for sunburn.

Sun Burn 2

Out of sheer curiosity I decided to take before and after pictures. I wanted to make sure that what we are trying is really not just all in my head. The pictures you are looking at have not been edited at all except for cropping them.

I took these pictures almost exactly 24 hours apart. We applied this mixture twice that evening, and twice the next day (morning & evening.) I have to say I am impressed. The pink calmed down significantly and very quickly, and Colt said that it doesn’t hurt or itch at all. I’d say its a winner. Now, to work on getting into the habit of puting that sunscreen on him! Though I do hear there is an oil for that too. :)