Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

~ Wishing You a Happy Holiday Season ~

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Time (Tackle-it Tuesday)

Well! It's been a *very* long time since I've participated in Tackle-it Tuesday! (they even got a kewl new logo, there!) Actually, my house is all nice and tidy today (save making the bed, and a few dishes that need to be put away), but in keeping with my resolve to keep up with this house, and coincidentally to keep up with this blog, my tackle today is to update our wall calendar for the upcoming year...

You know, add in all those birthdays, anniversaries and other personal dates that you don't want to forget! The mister brought me home a 2009 calendar from the Beaches Museum & History Center, which even sports an old photo of a friend of ours! (posing with his award-winning photograph of the Bicentennial Flag Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach), and so today, I plan to transfer all the needed data into it and have it ready to hang for the new year.

Not a very taxing tackle, but a chore that needs doing, just the same! How about you? Are you tackling something today? Be sure to head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom and share your hard work with the rest of us! In the meantime ~

Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Planning Paradise

Wow...Long Time, No Post, huh?!

Here we are, about to embark on yet another new calendar year, and I am making it my mission (yet again) to keep a sort of home journal with this blog; we may not be moving along with the renovations/remodeling/revamping as quickly and efficiently as we might like (both time and money bridle those plans currently), but little by little we are moving forward; this year, the Mister is dedicated to a vegetable garden (or, so he says), and this coming spring I WILL tame the overgrown jungle which was once our planting beds. I have oh-so-grand plans for a wonderfully clean and organized home and I intend to HAVE one!! I want to get back to trying new and tasty (and preferably easy) dishes, instead of having the same things for dinner, night after night.

So. That's the plan. (First, have a plan) - And, since the mister is at work, and my house really *is* nice and tidy at the moment (I'm doing the little bit of laundry we have, so as I feel like I'm accomplishing something), I'm going to go read some "homey" sites, and resolve my resolve, for my resolution!! *wink*

~ Happy Holidays to You and Yours ~

Saturday, May 31, 2008

May Garden Talk

This month’s “gardening time” was focused on the potted plants; propagated new plants, repotting those that were root-bound, top dressing some, and edge trimming a few.

I created a new hanging begonia from some of that which I am using as ground cover in the east-side garden, and a small pot of English Ivy, that used to grow over a trellis, until hurricane winds took that out, and it now grows along the east side of our spare bedroom windows. Both of those were created from stem cuttings, but now is the time to propagate by stem and leaf cuttings or layering, as well.

We purchased a few new pots for those root bound plants too. As a general rule, I prefer clay pots, as they are very porous, however, I’ll admit to using/buying some plastic pots as well, especially in the larger, harder-to-move (and pricier!) sizes. A good tip is to keep your plants in a pot within a pot, so that any excess water that accumulates in the outside container can be easily drained off. If the container is too large to lift, layer some peat moss or vermiculite between the two pots, as these materials will absorb the excess water, so the roots aren’t resting in it.

And, while I did repot two date palms, two fig trees and a lady palm, we STILL had a few that I simply gave a top dressing. This is a ‘quick fix’ to help keep plants that are outgrowing their pots healthy for a few months, until you can repot them. To top dress, use a fork to loosen the top 1-2 inches of soil. Remove that and discard. Mix some fresh soil with a slow-release fertilizer and add the mix to the pot, to the original soil line. Tamp soil lightly,and water well. As I said, this should give the plant enough nutrients for about two months or so, until you have a chance to repot it properly.

Of course, lawn mowing is in full swing now. If its been dry where you live, remember to water your lawn, but only when the grass blades begin to fold.

Some vegetables for planting in May: lima beans, eggplant, southern peas, sweet potatoes. Annuals for planting: coleus, impatiens, marigolds, ornamental peppers, moss roses, salvia, periwinkles, zinnias.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This and That (Tackle-it Tuesday)

Well, *we* certainly enjoyed our three-day weekend around here, which meant we spent as little time as possible on those household tasks which continue to accumulate, regardless of one's relaxation plans...the pesky little buggers that they are! So, to try and get back in the swing of things, my goal for this week, is to simply get our little cottage habitable once more! My "must do" list for today:

1. make the bed done
2. put dishes away/tidy up kitchen done
3. tidy up living room and dining room; special attention to sideboard (our "hotspot") done
4. dust living room/dining room done
5. sweep floors
6. balance checkbook done
7. clean up bathroom
8. change kitty litter done
9. put away last week's laundry done

That should keep me busy on what looks to be a rainy afternoon. How about you? Be sure to stop by 5 minutes for mom and see what everybody else has to tackle.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I've tried (WFMW)

Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer has asked that we play a little different in this week's Works for Me Wednesday, and has turned our thoughts to what doesn't work for me.

Personally, as much as I'd LIKE it to, cutting coupons just doesn't work for me. I've tried; I peruse through all 32846865 of them that are included in our Sunday paper, but I can never seem to find any for the products that we actually USE. Since "name" brands aren't a big priority with us, and we purchase very little in terms of pre-packaged or prepared foods, there aren't many that are useful for us. And, even if I should come across $1 off the dog food brand we DO buy, then, I enevitably leave the coupon home when I trek to the grocery store.
Which brings me to my next doesn't work for me issue:

Planned weekly/monthly menus. Another fabulous idea in theory, but one that just doesn't play out well in practice, at our house. I've tried; I've planned the meals, purchased the needed ingredients...then, the Mister works late on Wednesday and picked up a pizza on the way home, or it's Thursday, and I'm just not up for making lemon chicken tonight, and want pasta instead! We're more of a stop-at-the-fresh-market-on-your-way-home and get "what's for dinner TONIGHT?" kinda household.

So, there ya have it - two frugal, money-saving opportunities that just Don't work for me...for more non-working dilemmas, be sure to stop by Works for Me Wednesday - maybe you can learn from (or empathize with) the pitfalls of others!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

'Bout time - (Tackle-it Tuesday)

Today's Tuesday, and ya know what that means?! There's an awful lot of tacklin' goin' on at 5 minutes for mom!

My tackle for the week is one that really should have been done before the end of April, but I figure the first week of May is close enough, right?!

I'm gonna plant some (2 doz.) gladiolus bulbs, along with a shakerbag full of wildflower seeds.

Right now, we have some woodland ferns growing along the back fence line. The plan is, to prepare a long, narrow-ish bed in front of those ferns for the wildflowers (I got a fragrant cutting mix, that is supposed to cover up to 1000 sq. feet) and in the southwest corner, I intend to plant the glaidolus. In this area, those should have been in the ground by late April, so cross your fingers for me, that I haven't waited too long! Hopefully, sometime in July I will be able to post my "success".

What are YOU tackling today?!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Garden Talk

Well, here at the beach this month, it was ALLLL about the lawn, folks! The warm weather is here to stay (except, it's supposed to get down in the 40's tonight -*shiver*), and the Mister has mowed the yard twice already. Remember, if you have St. Augustine grass, it should remain about 2 - 3 1/2" long (Bahia should be about 3-4"); grass mowed too low will have a shorter root system, and therefore more easily damaged during dry weather and, being weaker, will more likely have weed problems.

And, whether you used sod, plugs, or seedlings, this was the month to repair dead or damaged areas of the lawn. Remember to keep it well-watered if the weather by you has been dry. If you're establishing a new lawn, water frequently, but lightly, for the first two weeks. Then, gradually decrease the frequency and increase the length of irrigation.

IF the weather is dry, water your lawn with 1/2 in. of water, no more than twice a week. Water ONLY when the blades fold, and water early in the morning before temperatures rise. If the blades fold in the afternoon, water the next morning.

Recycling your grass clippings back into the lawn. Grass clipping won't cause thatch to build up if only 1/3 of the grass top is removed when mowing. Besides, removing the clippings carries off any fertilizer that is used on the lawn. Remember, too, that almost ALL yard waste can be used as mulch or compost.

Now is also the time to divide any fall flowering bulbs or perennials that are overcrowded. Some fruits & veggies to plant in your garden this month; cantaloupe, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, turnips and watermelon. Some pretty annuals for the month; coleus, dusty miller, hollyhocks, impatiens, daisies, marigolds, periwinkles, salvia, and verbenas.

Happy Planting!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Garden Talk

WoW! Here we are at the tail-end of March already, and our little cottage garden is nowhere near the shape it should be in! Well, I *did* get out at de-weed my fruit trees, and fertilized them all just yesterday; as that task should have been completed last month, we're adhering to the motto of "better late than never". We tried a new product this season - "Sta-Green" fertilizer for citrus, fruit & nut trees. My fig tree produces ample fruit every year, but in the two years we've had them, not one of my citrus trees have bared fruit. We shall see if perhaps a direct delivery of nutrients will change that.

If you have St. Augustine grass (like we do), now is also the time to begin fertilizing your lawn, as well, which should be done four times a year (March, May, July and September). This is assuming that you've already raked all the dead grass & leaves into the compost pile. Again, tho, here at the cottage...well, we're a bit behind schedule on that front!

If you have palm trees, now's the time to fertilize them, as well, begining in March, and continuing every two months through September.

Heavy pruning of hedges should be done this month. To encourage bushy growth, prune just prior to the bud swell. To slow growth, prune just after bud swell, and after the leaves have fully expanded. Any cold-weather damaged plants should be pruned AFTER new growth appears (if you prune too soon, you can nremove too much and it will take longer for the plant to recover).

Do you have poinsettias from the holiday season, still? Now, until early-April is the best time to get those incorporated into your landscape. Cut them back to about 12" of ground-level, and pinch back the new growth every four weeks until September; Plant away from any lighting that will be on at night. Fertilize every month from May until September.

And, if you've turned your beds at least two weeks in advance (again...I've dropped the ball on this one, but, I'll get to it before the month is out, I guarantee!!), now is the time to start planting those tender annuals and vegetables!! Some of the veggies to plant this month: snap beans, lima beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, summer squash,and tomatoes. Some favorite annuals to plant: begonias, coleus, dahlias, geranuims, impatiens, daisies, marigolds, salvia, periwinkles, and zinnias.

Happy Gardening!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fruits of Labor (Tackle-it Tuesday)

Today is Tuesday! And, that means, time for a tackle;

This week, my tackle is an easy one, but one that should have been completed last month! Today, warm weather permitting, I am going to de-weed under my fruit trees (orange, lemon, lime and fig) and get them fertilized for the coming warm weather. We've purchased "Sta-Green" fertilizer spikes, which are supposed to feed continuously for six months. My fig tree is already sprouting buds (its one of the few plants in the yard that actuallly looses its foliage in the winter, here), so its definately time for feeding!

Perhaps I will get my veggie garden turned and tilled this week, too...another yard job that has been put off long enough - time to tackle it!!

So...what are *YOU* tackling this week? Be sure to check out 5 minutes for mom, and see what everyone is working on this week; always a good source of inspiration....

Saturday, February 09, 2008

pantry reorganized/restocked

Well...I actually *did* clean out the pantry, recently - see!:

(sorry about the crappy pics, but get used to them! - the new camera isn't compatible with this useless piece of ...older model computer of ours!)

Anyway...that is, I am ashamed to admit, all food that I had to throw away, as some of those cans were dated 2006!! But, now I have alll the soups with the soups, and all the spices with the spices, jars over there, and boxes over here, and everybody is happier for it!! Now, my pantry looks more like this:

I realize its hard to tell, but it really *does* look much better in there!(Much more efficient now, too, I must say!)

Monday, February 04, 2008

February Garden Talk

It was a beautiful weekend here at the beach, and we took the opportunity to transplant our camillia bushes to the southwest side of the property. All transplanting here should be done by mid-Feb., so the plants have enough of a root system established by spring to absorb the water demanded by the top of the plant.

Now is also the time for my most dreaded of all yardwork: raking. Its time to put all the leaves and grass clippings in a pile, ready for compost and/or yard-waste pick up. (With 15 mature water oaks on the property, trust me, we have enough leaves for both!!)

Begin preparation for the spring garden this month, as well; spade/till the area at least two weeks before planting seeds in order for grass and weeds to have time to decompose. Vegetables that can be planted this month include brocolli, cabbage, lettuce, potatoes, radishes and turnips. Annuals to plant; baby's breath, dusty miller, daisies, petunias, snapdragons.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stuffed Shelves (Tackle-it Tuesday)

Well, I've put it off since before the holidays - thus, making it just *that* much worse - and now it is NECCESSARY for this Tackle-it Tuesday project to be a clean out of the kitchen pantry...
(I'm kind of glad that I only can share B4 photos with this sad little phone cam! Plus, I live in somewhat of a 'cave', so the pics are a bit dark)

Plus, that's really only two of the five shelves that need an overhaul..As you can see, things are just stuffed in there any-'ol-where one could find room. I gotta do this, this week, as we have nowhere left to "stuff". I hope to have some "after" pics sometime tommorrow, if all goes well - wish me luck!

What do *you* have to TACKLE this week?

Monday, January 21, 2008

The camellias are in bloom

These well-lived evergreen shrubs, often blooming in the cooler temperatures - usually between October and March - are the ONLY things bringing any color to my garden today.

Blooms on camellias usually range from pure white to dark red and everything in between, and are well suited to the partial shade conditions here on the property. We currently have two bushes, of different verieties; ‘Polar Ice’, pictured here, which produces 3" flowers, and will eventually grow to about 6-8 ft. tall (if I'm lucky!) and I believe, 'Pink Perfection’, which produces bright pink blooms with a yellow center. It, however, bloomed earlier in the fall, and is adding only its dark green, glossy leaves to the winter landscape.

Camellias are best transplanted from November to February so the roots can become established before the summer heat. Plants should be spaced at least 5 ft. apart, and at the same depth as they are in the container. I guess you know what *I'll* be working on in the garden, this upcoming month!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Balancing Act (Tackle-it Tuesday)

Well, it's Tuesday, and the tackle for today is: the paperwork drill; time to balance the 'ol checkbook, pay some bills...

There was a small snafu at the bank regarding the Mr's payroll deposit last week, but it seems that's all been corrected now, so I need to adjust the records on our end...

Obviously, I hope to accomplish some other tasks today, as well, like tidying up the kitchen, making the bed...maybe sweep these floors and clean the bathroom... (aww, who am I kiddin'?! I'm on my second pot of coffee and I'm not even dressed yet!....)

So...What are *you* tackling this week? Be sure to stop over at 5 minutes for mom to see what every one is accomplishing - maybe just the motivation you need to complete that task you've been putting off!

~May all YOUR tackles be productive ones! ~

Friday, January 11, 2008

Some Garden Talk

Well, the new year is upon us, and the weather is here, folks! We've been experiencing above average temps here at the beach, after a week of cold nights and light freezes and now it looks as if this weekend will offer some early yard-working opportunities.

It's time for us to plant those spring flowering bulbs (if you live here in N.Fl./ S.Ga., you should have had them chilled in the fridge for the past 8 weeks) and transplant any plants you want moved for the upcoming spring. Now is also the time to plant your balled and burlap-wrapped plants and trees. Remember that water is the difference between a successful transplant and a failed one; make sure to keep the plant moist, but not wet. And, don't prune them, except to remove dead or diseased areas. In fact, you should avoid pruning any spring-blooming plants, such as azaleas or redbuds, and only prune dormant shade and fruit trees. I don't grow roses, but I'm told that they can be pruned in late January, as well.

Some of the annuals that can be planted now are carnations, delphiniums, foxgloves, pansies, petunias, and snapdragons.
If you want to plant peppers and tomatoes in March, you should plant your seeds indoors, now, as it takes 4 to 5 weeks to grow small transplants. Veggies to plant now include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, mustard, potatoes, radishes and turnips.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Start This, Finish That (Tackle-it Tuesday)

Well, its my first Tackle-it Tuesday of the new year, and all I am tackling this week is a hodge-podge of odds-and-ends that I've neglected to complete before now! I still have yet to get myself back into any semblence of a routine so, with that in mind, my tackling plans for the day are as follows;

~ Finish up the laundry that wasn't completed yesterday (towels, sheets, etc.)
~ Take all potted porch/yard plants back outside (we had freezing temps thru the prev. week, but it seems the sunshine has returned to the beach)
~ containerize/freeze the remaining chili from Sunday nite. (As I said - it was *cold* outside!)
~ Clean off the sideboard in the dining room (our 'hot-spot')
~ Place a Snapfish order (pics to complete kitchen calendar)
~ change the kitty litter (ugh!)

...And, I think that will be enough to occupy my time, while I try to decide on what to make for dinner tonight...what will you be tackling today? Be sure to check out 5 Minutes for Mom, and join the fun - go on; ya know ya want to!