Planting Garlic: Now’s the time to get your garlic planted for next years harvest

Now’s the time to start thinking about planting your garlic for next years harvest… Read On!

For Dragonflies And Me

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Garlic is gold. This gold takes patience for sure.

The clove is tenderly placed in the cool earth and then carefully buried into a wintery grave.
The ground freezes with this little life waiting… sleeping…
Snow falls. Insulates. Freeze.

Soon will come the spring… my time of joy will come again. When I can step outside, closing my eyes to inhale the good clean smell of mud… grass… wind through the trees… earth smell. All you gardeners reading this are holding your breath… imagining and understanding fully what I’m saying… goose bumps…

You know because you love the same things I love.

Dirt.
Air.
Seeds.
New life.

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So now that I’ve got you all excited to garden again… here’s the easy as one, two, three planting guide!

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1. Using your nicest, largest bulbs, divide them into separate…

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How-to Start seeds in-doors, Homemade Liquid Fertilizer Recipe

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The longing of my soul for warmth and sunshine is becoming deeper everyday… especially now that the calendar says it’s truly spring. I, as I’m sure so many others, are anxious for warmer days. This winter was a trial for many of us die-hard gardeners… even for winter lovers.

I long to place my hands into the warm soil… sense the life force that dwells within the seeds… watching life spring forth out of nothingness… yes we are gardeners.

Many of you who are my friends on For Dragonflies And Me Facebook page have witnessed many changes take place in my life over the last several months. I’ve sadly left my beloved farm in the thumb of Michigan for a newer, brighter location that I now call home. I am blessed to be living at a wonderful greenhouse/nursery that I am in my literal heaven on earth. I would like to thank all of my followers for their patience as I needed a hiatus from the love of my life… my writing… But now things are in order and I feel that I can put my whole heart back into my passions…

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We are like plants… we are conceived… we are born… we live… we struggle… then all too soon we will die. But… in the midst of all this we find joy in life and living it to the fullest…

It is spring… and I am ready to live my life to the fullest… I hope all of you will continue to join me here as I share my love with all of you…

It’s time to start thinking about starting seeds and planning our gardens. Starting Seeds in doors is very easy and extremely rewarding! All you need is a few everyday household items~

*If you buy organic baby lettuce, greens or spinach than you will have access to those handy clear plastic containers with lids. These are perfect for seed starting. Be sure to poke several drainage holes on the bottom of the container.

*Fill your container about 2/3 way full with a good organic potting mix. Plant your seeds as package describes. Be sure to follow planting dates on packet. Water accordingly.

*Put the lid on, which will give a greenhouse effect. You will not have to water due to the condensation that will be created.

*Put in a sunny window and wait until seeds start to sprout see seed packet instructions.

*Once the seeds start to germinate, remove lid and water according to packet instructions. Another easy but more extravagant way is to set your flats on a table and hang lights on ‘s’ hooks with light chains from the ceiling in a warm basement or other room. The lights must be no more than 3 to 6 inches from the top of the flat (or the plants once they start growing), so be sure to make your light set up adjustable. Plain old fluorescent shop lights work best for starting seeds, or you can even purchase ‘grow lights’ from greenhouse supply companies or seed catalogs.

*You can go to any big box retailer and purchase really slick ‘seed starting’ kits. Follow instructions on kit…. and enjoy! Transplant outdoors following packet instructions.

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Here’s an easy and inexpensive recipe for liquid fertilizer. You can use this for both house plants as well as your outdoor potted plants. I’ve shared this recipe before, but it’s worth a repeat.

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Easy Liquid fertilizer~ to give your house plants and potted outdoor plants an extra boost, add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt and 1 teaspoon of fish emulsion plant fertilizer to 1/2 gallon of water, then stand back and watch’er grow! Extra fertilizer water can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Please feel free to share this information with your friends… and I hope you’ve found it helpful.  Please be sure to follow me on Facebook for daily posts!

Happy Day,
Jean

 

 

 

 

Hybrid vs. Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Varieties of Basic Garden Fair and some Yummy Root Storage Crop Recipes

Just seemed like the right time to re-share this

For Dragonflies And Me

You’re probably wondering why I am talking about seed shopping and gardening in December… well I realize some of my readers live in areas where they have the luxury of year round planting. While others, like myself living in cold climates have green houses and hoop houses to play in. Yet other home gardeners in cool climates are trying to get through these next few months cheerfully! I say, “Who cares if the calender says December!”… now is the time when us gardeners yearn and long for the arrival of those beautiful seed catalogs! As they make their arrivals in our mailboxes we gather them together, cozy up with a cup of java, a fuzzy blanket on our favorite chair with a notebook… ready to start making our lists of ‘new’ varieties! We flip and long for the life that spring and summer bring into our lives… we long even…

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The Promise of Spring: 5 garden planning tips

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“It’s raining but the tulips are still managing to poke their green shoots out of the mud, a promise that spring is coming, and so is the sun. I suppose I owe it to them to at least keep my head up until then.”
Quote adapted from one by Writers Block

Only 57 days till my beloved spring. The new life I long for along with all her secret promises will soon come up out of the ground. The snow drops and crocus’ and then the daffodils and tulips rising up to greet me each day. Sending me silent messages of love to encourage me on through the last of winters dead days.

New life… but presently life is dormant. Still and cold.

Winter is filled with dreams and anticipations of planning new garden projects.
Spring is one of new beginnings… fresh hopes… dreams of what will be…

The dream I’m ever longing after is feeling the dirt once again along with the warmth of the sun.Close up of my garden plan I drew out.

I thought with all this dreaming we’d look at something all of us die-hard gardeners are doing… planning our gardens.

Here are 5 garden planning tips to get you started in the right direction.

1. Gather all your seed catalogs, sticky notes, a pen and high-lighter along with a note pad.  Once you’ve decided on the amount of space you have in your garden you’ll know what you need and the quantities.

2. Decide on the varieties that you want to grow.  The best way to do this is to plot out some time when you can sit and peruse your catalogs. Read variety descriptions carefully to determine light, soil, moisture and spacing requirements.

3. Draw your garden design out. I always draw out my gardens so I have a visual to see. You don’t have to get as detailed as mine… I just enjoy the whole planning aspect.  You can use graph paper or a piece of notebook paper. Be sure to think on your space and it’s limitations.

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4.  Determine available space.  When planning your garden you need to keep in mind space limitations and each plants growing habits. For example, a tomato plant should have three square feet for proper growth and maturation.  Think about your isle ways when planning this. If your isles are two feet wide, then plan your tomato row with three feet and then two on both sides. You’ll need a total of 7 feet minimum for a row of tomatoes.  Look at the plant descriptions in the catalogs.DPP_0011

5. Soil testing. I advise, especially for first time gardeners to test your soil. You can buy a simple soil test at most garden centers or take your sample into an agency that offers this service. You will have better success if you know what your soil may be lacking. It could be something as simple as calcium/lime or copper.

Although there are many other aspects to getting your garden plan done, these are the basics to get you on your way!

Enjoy friends,
Jean

Jean’s Easy Blender Mayonnaise

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Have you ever wondered how that make that stuff? Well a lot of times it’s a lot easier than you would think…

I thought I would share my recipe for the easiest and yummiest mayonnaise that I’ve ever made!
If you like this recipe, you can see almost 1000 more awesome recipes in my cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats!  Available through PayPal by clicking this link or go to my Facebook page and Private Message me there to order by mail with a check payment.  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=RF3LVG5Z3NEHG

Enjoy friends!

Easy Blender Mayonnaise pg. 82 in my cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats
Yields: 2 to 2 1/2 cups

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2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil or canola oil

Method:

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1. In blender, put eggs and spices; blend on medium to high-speed until thoroughly mixed.

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2. On high, SLOWLY pour in half of the oil. If you add the oil too fast, the mayonnaise will curdle.

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3. Next, again slowly add lemon juice; then rest of oil and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.

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This tastes even better that store-bought… simply b/c there are no preservatives and it’s home-made!
Enjoy friends.
Jean

Organization Day 6 : Zonal Cleaning

DSC02172Welcome to the next article in my new series on Organization.  In the last article I explained The Walk Through and how you’ll incorporate it into Zonal Cleaning.

The cold days of winter are quick on their way here in the Thumb of Michigan and I’m anxious to finish up my homes fall cleaning. It is such a good feeling when everything is fresh and clean.  I just feel so much better when I know this task is completed and I can check that off my to-do list for the fall.

Today we are going to touch on the next item in my organization series, Zonal Cleaning.

If you missed the last post in the series here’s a link to it http://fordragonfliesandme.com/2013/11/18/organization-day-6-the-walk-through/

So you walk into your child’s room and it’s a disaster. You feel frustrated… unappreciated… you blame yourself for not teaching the child properly… you slam the door shut and walk away.

How many of you have done this? I know I have… and it is an overwhelming feeling!

But is slamming the door shut, walking away and not dealing with it the solution to the problem? No! We all realize it isn’t, but what is the solution you wonder, as I have so many times… even today!

Zonal Cleaning is at least part of the answer!

“OK Jean,” you’re saying to yourself, “What is zonal cleaning?”  In the previous article I explained that the walk through was not ‘cleaning’ day,  it’s something that should be done repeatedly through the day and especially right before bed.  Zonal cleaning on the other hand is cleaning day.

We’re on day six of my organization series and so far you’ve  gotten everything down on paper and you’re ready to roll into the work… and that’s where we start today. When you were creating your routines, writing them down and putting them into your journal, you were actually preparing for today’s lesson on zonal cleaning.

You see, each room in your home is a zone and while you created the cleaning order for each room you were actually designing your plan of action to tackle the zones- each room in your home

I realize the best way to teach someone anything is to give examples.  Here’s a look at how I zone clean my family room.

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~Weekly jobs: (unless otherwise mentioned- like the walk through)

*Start the room with a walk through.
*Feather dust from the top down: Ceiling line and down corners of the wall; picture tops, curtains, lamp shades, blinds, table tops and any other dusty spots you see.
*Wipe down/dust any shelves in the room
*Wash windows, wipe down ledges; wash all glass- pictures, clocks, etc.
*Straighten book case- organize books that are out-of-place; any decorative elements; table tops
*Vacuum.

~Once a month tasks:

* Take down mini blinds/shades and wash.
*Take down curtains and wash.
*Wash lamp shades.
*Pull out all furniture that can be moved; clean up behind; use broom to sweep any dust from the baseboards out onto the carpet so it can be vacuumed.
*Vacuum under cushions of couch and chairs with removable cushions.
*Spot clean any spots on the furniture.

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~Spring & Fall Cleaning:

*Wash ceilings and walls, wash carpets.
*All the once a month chores as well.

As you can see, zonal cleaning is basically your daily routines broke down into rooms or zones.

In my next article I’ll explain to you the basics on Menu and Meal Planning and how easy it is along with a sample of one of my months menus!
Happy Day,
Jean

Organization Day 5: The Walk Through

My officeWell today I thought it was time to touch base on a common statement that occurs in my home every single day… The Walk Through. “What is a walk through?” you ask. Well, it is the next step in my organization series.

The walk through is a very basic concept that I believe most of us do everyday, but never really had a name for it.  It’s easy to apply to our daily schedules and routines and it’s one that children can completely understand. The walk through is simply going through a room and picking up everything that is out-of-place AND putting it away where it belongs.  Simply eh?

In the next post we’ll learn what Zonal Cleaning is and how to apply the walk through in it.

It’s been said that if you do something consistently for thirty days, it’ll become a habit or a routine~ that works with good or bad  stuff, so be careful!  I’ve incorporated this aspect into our daily lives over the last ten years and now it’s just a normal part of cleaning up for me and my children.

Here are a few tips when going through this step in the organizational process of getting your home where you want it to be:

Basket and bag for walk through

*Each time a walk through is done, take a plastic bag and basket along with you. You’ll use the bag for trash and the basket for items that need to be put back in their proper place.

*As you go through, it’s best to start from the top down. For example table tops, book or other shelves, couches and chairs and then onto the floor. Be sure to look under the furniture. Gather up what needs to be put away in the basket, put trash in the bag.

*While you’re doing your walk through straighten things up as you go, fix haphazard cushions, re-fold any throw blankets, straighten pictures on the wall, tidy books and magazines on tables in the room as well as on the shelves, straighten any decorative objects or table clothes/ linens.

Once you’ve completed the walk through, I suggest you vacuum or sweep the floor. That gives the finished look!

The walk through is not ‘cleaning’ day, it’s something that should be done repeatedly through the day and especially right before bed. Vacuuming only once unless needed more.

I focus on three daily walk throughs- right before lunch- this is when we typically vacuum, just before supper (or just before dad gets home from work) and then before bed. There is nothing nicer then getting up in the morning and coming down to a tidy house!

Keep posted for my next topic in my organization series: Zonal Cleaning.

Happy Day,
Jean

Organization Day 4 : My Daily Home Blessing

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“There is no place like home…”

In my previous post on using journals, day planners and calendars I mentioned my Daily Home Blessing and told you I’d share that with you in an upcoming post… so here it is.   If you missed the last post, here’s a link to it.
http://fordragonfliesandme.com/2013/11/08/organization-day-3-using-a-journal-and-day-planner/

Some of you may be wondering what my Daily Home Blessing is and how it applies to my home and life being more organized.  Well… as a mother of six, keeping the children happy is a key to a happy home 😉 I’m sure whether you’re a parent or not, you’d agree.

My goal in the daily home blessing is two-fold:
1. To train my dear children in the fruits of the spirit and help them to apply these qualities to their daily lives.
2. …not just them, but myself.

We as wives and mothers strive to be a blessing in our homes… if you’re neither of these you’re still looking to feel peace and comfort in your home environment.

With that said, I feel that helping my children to be scheduled and strive for organization now, will help them tremendously when they have homes, garages, vehicles and more of their own.  If they don’t learn now that everything has its place and everything in its place, when will they?

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happy mom + happy children + organized home environment + structure
= Happy Home
… at least most of the time!

I believe that by teaching my children that they can find happiness and joy in applying these fruits to their everyday life, they’ll become happier and content… doesn’t always work right off the go, but I’m looking for long-term results.

I thought today I’d share what I did over the years with my older children. All though this practice has fallen by the way side over the last few years, reviewing it over again has stimulated me to get back into the process with my two youngest ones… and believe me, I think it’ll help!

My Daily Home Blessing
by Jean Smith

Goal: To train my dear children in the fruits of the spirit and help them to apply these qualities to their daily lives…
not just them, but myself.

Each day is assigned 1-2 fruits of the spirit (9 fruits in 7 days)

Daily Breakdown of the fruits…
Sunday, Love
Monday, Joy and Peace
Tuesday, Longsuffering and Gentleness
Wednesday, Goodness
Thursday, Faith
Friday, Meekness
Saturday, Self-control

At lunch (or supper would be fine too) we talk about that days fruit and how we are trying to apply it to our day.

We talk about our successes as well as our failings for the day.

We encourage each other on in our weaknesses’ and strengths.

We also review the verse and I encourage the children to share their thoughts about it.

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;
against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23

I believe that an organized and structured home provides a more peaceful environment and teaching my children to apply the fruits of the spirit is a step in that direction.

Happy Day,
Jean