Saturday, August 10, 2013

A New FarmGirl Laundry Tip

I’ve been looking for a way to get rid of dryer sheets for ages. I know about the chemical residue they leave on your clothes, the toxins they leach into your skin and the environment, and you know what else? They cost too much!

But I live in Florida, and we have static problems. I plan to build a clothesline. But I haven’t yet. In the meantime, I’ve finally learned how to easily and without chemicals get rid of the static cling!


A tiny ball of aluminum foil. I just ripped off a sheet, balled it up, and put it in the dryer.


I wanted to try it out before I recommended it to you all, so I’ve waited through five loads of laundry.


It’s not giving us rashes or harming us or the environment. It just gets rid of the static.

I am sold!

Next, homemade herbal laundry soap.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A FarmGirl Night Stand

This rustic step stool makes a perfect night stand. My homemade candles made from upcycled tea canisters sit on the top shelf, my magazines and books fit perfectly on the middle steps and my glass of water rests on the bottom step.

What things have you upcycled around the farm and home?

Monday, July 1, 2013

FarmGirls Need PotRacks

It only took me nine months to make this pot rack. I scored some free wood at Home Depot, bought 8 S-Hooks, 13 Pot Hooks, a 10-foot chain (only needed 4 feet- Oops), and 8 Eye-Hooks.


I am SO happy to have my most often used pots and tools handy. We bought this white hanging basket at WalMart way back when we moved into the efficiency. I love having the potatoes and onions out where I can see them. They mold so quickly with all the humidity in Florida. The top basket is full of tomatoes Lyli and I picked today.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Grace Under Pressure


This picture has nothing to do with the post, but look how pretty. These were growing wild at the edge of the pond this morning.

A helpful babysitter allowed for a trip to the Jacksonville Farmer’s Market yesterday. I am so excited to have scored a box of tomatoes, a box of corn, three bags of onions, a box of okra, a box of chilis and half a box of hot banana peppers for a grand total of


The thing is, most of it is old and starting to turn. Quick freezing and canning is key to getting this kind of deal. Buying in bulk is a lot of work in the kitchen.

So today, on Ben’s day off, I’d planned to can and freeze and wash and chop and roast and cook all day. (Got 7 quarts of mixed veggies put up last night.)

But… the power went off. And stayed off for 4 and 1/2 hours. We had another storm.

Oh- that brings up another thought--- we’ve finally named this place.


Because it is. Ben mowed the yard this morning (before the rain came) and said that it was his first time ever mud-bogging on a lawn mower. :)

So, now I am canning. And I’m going to work as much as possible tonight to put up corn, okra, and make and can salsa. We go through 12-15 pints of salsa per year. It’s a great thing to have on hand. I love salsa on baked potatoes or chips or burritos. Sometimes if I don’t have any fresh tomatoes, I’ll put salsa on my salad greens. And this is my first year putting chilis and hot peppers in. I think I’ll roast the chilis first. Any thoughts?

So 4 hours behind schedule, actually a little more because the power went out in the middle of canning a batch of mushrooms, so they are in the canner now- had to start all over. And here’s where the grace under pressure comes in…

I’m praying for it.

Lol. No, really. We had a fun time playing games and practicing drums for Lyli’s drum lessons. I had some canned chicken in the pantry, and the lasagna was already cooked for me to put it together and into the oven for lunch. So we rolled some chicken salad into half pieces of lasagna and ate chicken salad rolls for lunch. I have to say, they were delicious.

But I’m much happier now, with my hot cup of tea and air conditioning.

I am spoiled and I love it!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It’s A Blooming Miracle

…that I was able to grow anything at all this summer.

I know most Yankee gardeners think that we have it made in Florida. But what we have is an actually short growing season before the sun burns everything up. Including us- the heat chases us indoors just like the snow chases you.

And bugs. We have LOTS of bugs. Big mutant mosquitoes. Lovely little moths that lay their eggs all over my garden; their offspring especially love my tomatoes. Aphids. Stinging gnats. Ants… the list goes on.

But I was able to grow a few things this year, including flowers. :)




Roses (Knock-Out and Don Juan) and Gardenias

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Spearmint                                               Nasturtium


Some cucumbers


These zinnias bloomed so prettily for about a week before the heat got them.


The pretty zinnia that Lyli and I grew from seed.


And a Chianti Sunflower growing along the garden fence.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


When you purchase a foreclosure, you will get a few surprises. Sometimes, they’re great- like the three gorgeous gardenias that have supplied my kitchen window with fragrant blooms for the past few weeks. Sometimes, they’re not so great- like the destroyed ramp and steps left in our backyard.


We’ve been able to salvage some of the wood for small projects in the garden. But the rusty nails all over I could do without. We’ve cleaned quite a bit around here.

And, along with the help of our friend Ed, we UpCycled the broken steps into a small potting table.


I put a shade on top, some hooks on the sides, and a shelf in the back. I like the space underneath for my buckets and supplies. Yay!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It’s Been Awhile


Hi, everyone. Once Spring sprung, we got really busy around here. And I only remember that it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged after dark, when I can’t take pictures.

But here are some of the work we’ve been doing around here.


Whenever I couldn’t get outside, I hung curtains and pictures. I almost have the house finished. I think.


We tilled up a garden area. Only to test the soil and find it too alkaline and completely devoid of nutrients. And this is really too big of a plot for me to work by hand alone. Back to the drawing board.


Since the chickens took over my fenced garden area, I think I will put up a wooden picket fence (hmm, made out of used pallets?) and a pretty gate bordering the recently tilled area. And then fill the area with raised beds. I think it will be a celebration of different types of gardening. Wooden raised beds, square foot gardens, a blueberry/blackberry hedge.

We planted some fruit trees in the backyard. They’re hard to see in the picture because of our toys (and the fact that the trees are small babies). We planted a pear, two figs, and three citrus. We also planted a Golden Rain Tree and two Sycamores for shade.

I plan to take those steps (leftover from the foreclosure mess) and turn them into a potting/garden table. That’s our plan for Sunday if the weather permits. :)

I have hopes of getting some grapes planted soon, as well as another pear.


The Lazy Way to Water


Have you seen these?


I love them. I bought some at WalMart. I didn’t realize how much water my plants actually need. These little “aqua globes” water the plants according to their needs instead of a timer or my own attention span. But they can be expensive.

So that got me to thinking- what exactly is this? Well, it’s a glass bottle with a narrow neck. Hmm. Where have I seen those before?



An empty wine bottle works, too. Recycling at its best!

Now I am saving beer bottles and wine bottles to become my own

free “Plant Nannies.”

Saturday, March 2, 2013

HomeSchool of Life


We love homeschooling. The freedom. The choices. The books! Oh, how I love the books! If I can pass on to my children a love for God and a love for books I will have done my job.

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In January, we took a trip to the Children’s Hands On Museum in Jacksonville. What a great place. Lyli is captaining the pirate ship. Loral is playing in the toddler room.


Both girls are artists. This is Lyli’s latest collage.


A fishing fieldtrip. I call this “learning life skills.”

You know what they say, “teach a girl to fish…”


For science and gardening, Lyli is growing (and eating) strawberries.


She waters them, tends to them, weeds them, and helped me set up this cage and net to protect them from birds.


Loral enjoys the chickens. She loves to watch them.

We adopted three new hens recently from a friend. Two buff orpingtons and a barred rock. They’ve fit into the flock seamlessly. Now we have seven spoiled hens.


And for math, we’ve been baking and measuring.

This is Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova that Lyli made for my birthday. (I helped with the mixer.)

We’re a fun learning loving family.



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Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Invitation of the Ocean

My first novel is now available.

You can buy it for Kindle

You can buy it for Nook

And you can even get it in print

We're in the process of planning local book signings and maybe even a release party.
Keep in touch either here or on Facebook (
for updates.

I do have some author copies available. Contact me on FaceBook if you'd like to order a signed copy.


Winter Happenings

We've been busy with home projects this winter. It's been deceptively warm here during January, and I've been dying to get outside and start planting. But now that it's freezing February, I'm glad I waited. 

We put up pantry shelves in the laundry room.
Now I can see what we need more of- potatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, and chicken broth.

I built some shelves for the office.
 This is still a work in progress. I plan to hang another bulletin board on the left and relocate some of the clutter on top of the shelves. My favorite feature in these shelves are the concrete blocks. I love the cubby-holes. I put some small toys in them for the girls to find.

This wooden stepladder was a gift from Ben's Grandma Pat.
 I cleaned it up and put it beside my bathtub. I love the rustic farmhouse beauty of it.

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