Tag Archives: how-to

HOW TO CATCH FRUIT FLIES

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It seems like every time the weather changes, we get a new batch of fruit flies swarming around. Or every time we score some good fruit. Or have some sourdough proofing on the counter overnight. The flies come out of the woodwork to just be near it.

We’ve tried out different kinds of fruit fly catchers to various rates of success. But my mom taught us a new little trick, and so far, it really does work: Fill a small cup with some apple cider vinegar, then add a drop of dish soap. Swirl it around a bit, and that’s it. Leave it on the counter. The flies are attracted by the vinegar, but can’t escape the soap. We left a cup out last night, and we’ve already caught a handful of them.

Do you have any tricks for keeping the pests away?

(illustration from here)

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CLEAN A CAST IRON SKILLET

Like any real farmer, we have a cast iron skillet. You can’t be a farmer without one, especially can’t be a farmer’s wife. But we are embarrassed to say that we aren’t totally sure how to clean it. It was so softly shiny and black when we got it, and now it is a bit grimy and dull.

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Thankfully, the good people who made it have real straight forward directions on maintaining cast iron. We ran some hot water, and scrubbed it with the business side of the sponge. Once our hands were pruny, we dried it, and rubbed some oil into it.

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Pretty good, right? It almost has that nice, even sheen back. If I wasn’t super intense, I would have just left it, but if you are cleaning, you might as well clean. I remembered seeing this video a while back, and thought some coarse salt might help with the scrubbing. We poured some salt and a bit of oil into it, and went at it with the sponge again. After another rinse, dry, and oil, we uncovered this beauty.

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I think it might actually be emitting a soft glow. All ready to cook some more bacon.

HANGING UP A PLANT

This is the little kitchen window. It used to have a baby plant sitting up there. I miss it. Uck, it looks so ordinary without it, there is too much light getting in, I can’t stand it another minute, let’s put the plant back up there. But this time, we are going to do it right.

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We have a big hanging planter. If it fell down and smashed my teapot, I would cry crocodile tears. We found the stud in the wall, and screwed in an eye hook. We got the one that holds like 40 pounds, so hopefully that is strong enough. An s hook was added to make the hanging possible.

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Hang the planter from the wall hook, and we can hear the plant sigh in relief to be back soaking up that vitamin D.

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REPOT A PLANT

Its summer housekeeping over here this week. We’re cleaning and sprucing up some things on our to-do list, since its too hot to do much else in the garden.

Upon our kitchen window sill sat the cutest little plant. But that cute baby plant has grown into a gigantic monster that is spilling over and threatening to topple off the ledge.

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We are going to upgrade him to a real life hanging planter. We will need some potting soil, the planter, and the plant.

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The pot has holes in the bottom for drainage already, so that is convenient. We’ll fill it with some potting soil.

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Now we’ll place the plant in the soil, gently loosening roots as needed.

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Tuck some more nice, cozy soil around him, and give him a drink of water.

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So much more space to spread out and grow! Now to hang him by the window.

WEED REMOVAL, VOL. 2

If you aren’t feeling up to the work-out of pulling weeds with your muscles, we turn to our handy spray bottle. Since our goal is to always stay cool and organic, our reusable spray bottle is filled with 20% vinegar, which you can get at garden stores, or pretty much anywhere.

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So the strategy here is to spray the weeds. We douse them in vinegar. One of the drawbacks here is that it works best and quickest at the hottest part of the day. You can hear them sizzle in the sun.

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If you have a large patch of weeds, be sure to take a break for fresh air, and not spray into the wind. That vinegar is nasty stuff in the eyes. After they are good and sprayed, then comes the waiting.

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In a couple hours or a longer length of time, the weeds turn pale and crispy. They will be much weaker and easier to pull up now, or will eventually disintegrate into nothing, if you are being super lazy about it.

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Just be careful where you spray. Vinegar only knows how to kill. It doesn’t care what. So if you spray a flower, it will do the same thing to it as a weed. We use a piece of cardboard as a shield if we are spraying around plants.

Spraying weeds sounds like the easier way out, but being out in the afternoon summer sun, combined with the real fear of getting a cramped trigger finger, and mixed with the impatience of waiting until the plants die, can make it just as hard. Weeding is just hard. Weeds are sorry not sorry about it.

PLANTING PUMPKIN SEEDS

We have a pack of evil birds that roam the garden. They might be eating bugs, or doing other beneficial things, but you wouldn’t know it by their awful attitudes. Always up to hood rat stuff with their friends, pecking at tomatoes, and eating our seeds. Especially the seed eating. Then they don’t grow, and we are just left wondering- Was it them? Was it us? What did we do wrong? The not knowing is the worst.

After a fight over some pumpkin seeds, we decided to outsmart the birds, and start the seeds inside. Watching seeds sprout should be a tv show, and I would watch it all day all day long.

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After the seedlings grew to be a couple inches tall, and were rocking a strong set of leaves, we took them out to the garden to plant. We set the pots on their future homes for a little bit. Like a new goldfish.

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With all the gentle and careful, we scooped the seedlings out, and planted them in the mound with even more gentle and careful.

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Snug as a plant in some pine straw. After they were all planted, we fed them a little fertilizer with seaweed, to minimize the stress of moving. Lord knows we all need a drink after moving, right? Their signature cocktail is the John Droomgoole, who has the coolest gardener name, and may be a cartoon in real life.

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And just when you think you’ve outsmarted the birds, and the world is pumpkins and rainbows again, now we have to worry about the bugs. Grrreeat.

TOMATO WATERCOLOR CARDS

Let’s try something new today, shall we? These watercolor tomato cards would be perfect to include in any “garden extras” baskets, for when you are up to your eyeballs in tomatoes, and need to feed them to friends instead. Plus, tomatoes come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, so you would have to actually put effort into messing it up.

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We’ll need the basic watercoloring supplies. Some water, paints, brushes, and paper.

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I cut out a little square of paper, and drew a light outline with a pencil of a tomato. Its basically a potato shape with a spider hat.

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Now to color. To make mine, I wet the paper first, then add some color little by little, until I like it. Don’t think about it too much. Go with your gut. I filled it in, then went back and added a little more red-orange on the edge for shading.

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Wait for a hot minute for it to dry. Then paint the spider shape green, and you got yourself a tomato.

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After I finished the red tomato, I did a green rendition, and also a tribute to my garden favorite, the pear tomato.

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After its all dry, adhere it to the front of a card, and give it away to a friend or enemy, depending on how much you like your painting.

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