Tuesday, May 24, 2022

What's That In Your Hand?: 5/24/22

The weather is getting hot and humid in our area which means that it’s getting too hot in the greenhouse for anything to grow.  Does that mean that our greenhouse will sit idle until we get ready to fill it with crops for growing through the winter?  Absolutely not!  During these ‘it’s too hot to grow anything months’ I’ll be using it as a dehydrator.  In the picture you can see one of my set-ups.  Each bag has a different herb in it and as you can see, I label the bag with its contents. I check them every day or so and once they're completely dry, I’ll remove them.  As soon as there’s more of each variety, I refill the bag and start the process all over again.  I got the ‘hanger’ at the little non-electric Mennonite store I get to visit twice a year.  It works perfectly for drying herbs and placing them in bags keeps them from dust and insects.

This week I’ve dried or am in the process of drying ...

spearmint (in a bag)

oregano (in a bag)

moringa (in a bag)

peppermint (in a bag)

tarragon (in a bag)

sage (in a bag)

basil (in a bag)

purple basil (in a bag)

and roses (hanging in the open) ...  using my ‘greenhouse’ as a dehydrator.  What's that in your hand?

We have a watering system in place for most of our raised beds and container garden containers.  The key word here is ‘most’ as the newer additions haven’t yet been hooked up to the system which means we have to drag out the water hose and manually water them.  Our watering hose is old and worn and recently sprung a huge gusher in the middle of its length.  Instead of discarding it hubby found a hose connector from another hose, that was in even worse condition, and repurposed the connector to the hose we’re currently using.   Our ‘working’ hose is now back in service and yes, it is on our to-do list to extend the watering system to the new raised beds and containers, we just haven’t gotten to it yet.  In the meantime, our ‘repaired’ hose will get the job done.  What’s that in your hand?

My hubby has had a boat with a hole in it for several years.  It has set in our back yard waiting for him to get around to doing something with it other than using it for storage.  Several times I’ve asked him if I could make a raised bed out of it, and he agreed but he’s always kind of put it off.  When he asked me for a birthday gift list last week, guess what I put on it!!  Yes ma’am, I listed that boat/future raised bed as something I wanted and to my surprise, he started work on it!  What’s that in your hand, it’s an old boat with a hole in it … that’s being turned into a raised bed.  Stay tuned for future progress reports.

For a little beauty in the home, I cut roses from my rose bushes and brought them inside.   In my opinion, free makes their beauty even more enjoyable.  What's that in your hand?

For my 'what's that in your hand' continuing education I watched the following videos:

This one on doing laundry off-grid by Rain Country

and this one by Erica Arndt on using ¼ inch diagonal seam tape.

I watched this video on the herb Rabbit Tobacco aka Life Everlasting.  I used to grow it all the time and plan to add it back to my herb garden and herbal remedy que.

One more … since I grow moringa I watched this video on its many benefits.  It was a nice reminder of why I decided to start with it in the first place.

And finally, we were given some fresh caught fish from a neighbor and hubby cleaned/dressed them.   While he was cleaning them, I asked him to save the discarded parts to use for fertilizer.   We covered them with soil in a bucket and will use the contents in a container in our container garden.  What's that in your hand?

That's all for this week, what have you done with what's in your hands?

Until the next post,


Working Pantry

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

My pantry is intentional, purposeful, simple, practical, frugal and what works for my family.  It’s the food items and household supplies that keep my household running smoothly ready and available when they are needed.  It’s my contribution to our family’s economy and my work-from-home ‘job.'

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  1. I thought a greenhouse could be used to grow things. I really want one to keep birds out of things and to keep squirrels from eating my squash and tomatoes.

    1. Practical Parsimony, growing things is their main purpose, but when it gets too hot, things either won't grow or struggle. Many areas don't have the heat issues that ours does, it's impossible to grow anything in it here during the summer without doing a lot of extra work and spending a lot of extra money.

  2. Here in the uk I use our car as a drying cabinet obviously if we go out I have to move what I’m drying into the back footwell.

    1. Chris, I do that too! What's that in your hand!!!

  3. That herb drying arrangement is great! We have a bunch of patched hoses here, too. I'm glad our guys are resourceful like that! I love the boat garden! Can't wait to see pictures of that!

    A few years ago we bought a twin mattress in a box. The mattress was wrapped in a piece of non woven fabric as wide as the mattress and about twenty feet long. We saved that and have used it many times as a drop cloth. Last week when our deck was being sealed it was taped to the back wall of the house to keep stain from getting on the paint. Now it is folded up and back in the garage awaiting it's next use.

    1. Lana, what a great way to recycle the non-woven fabric your twin mattress came in and to use 'what's in your hand!' Love it!

  4. Chris, I remember my granny using her car to dry her apples in the fall. She'd park it in the sun, put her screens on the shelf at the back window and on the front dash. She found it especially helpful when the weather was humid to use the natural heat in the car.

  5. That's a great use of your greenhouse during the warmer months. I've used my car before. I potted up some mint, and gathered and dehydrated a quart's worth, to bring to my niece as a gift soon, as she loves mint tea. Peas, asparagus, mulberries and lamb's quarter have been harvested so far this week. We're enjoying lots of salads with our lettuce. This morning, I made a batch of suet for the birds. I always add in leavings from canning sessions that I dry for this purpose. This morning, it was tomato skins and bits, and grape skins and seeds.

    1. Laurie, I'm sure your niece will love it! That's the kind of gift that warms my heart!

  6. Ah, that boat brings back so many memories. I grew up in a resort area in Michigan, where many families from the city had cottages going back generations. Oftentimes, when an old wooden rowboat was beyond repair, they'd set it somewhere on the property, propped on an angle, and they'd turn it into a flower garden, often spilling flowering myrtle or some other flowing plant from the boat into the yard. In these times, it would definitely provide additional growing space for veggies and herbs. Love that you're reusing old hose parts to repair your better one. The hardware often carries Y connectors that are inexpensive and can provide you with a way to connect multiple hoses to a single spigot. We used them at our boat for many years -- one for the fresh water and the other side for washing down the boat. I just put a bunch in the garage sale box, since I no longer have a use for them. And, I love your new dehydrator! I can see using unused pants and skirt hangers (even the plastic ones that the stores do not re-use) to clip up bags of herbs to dry. Come July and August, I will need to give it a try. Lastly, a question for you and other readers. I have lemon balm going wild in my front flower bed. The neighbor keeps bugging me to "pull it or it will take over." I'm just not familiar enough with that one to know its value. Suggestions for what to do with it?

    1. Lori, lemon balm is a calming herb that is great in teas and beverages. I have 2 big pots of it growing. The pots keep it contained while providing enough to meet our needs.

    2. Thank you. I think I'll dig it out of the flower garden and transplant it into a pot for the deck. Appreciate your guidance.

  7. I love the idea of using your greenhouse for dehydrating. Sure which I could find a hanger or two like the one in the photo. I need to check out the Mennonite stores near us. Next to roses I adore peonies and found that drying the peonies in the car yielded a perfect peony to be enjoyed even after they were done blooming.
    This week I made containers out of half gallon milk bottles. We cut off the tops but left a portion of the handle as a watering tube and hubby drilled some drainage holes. They were filled with a mix of previously used potting soil, compost and a bit of fertiliizer and I planted 12 basil plants that I started in our greenhouse window. Once they're larger I'll propagate more from them. Most of them will be used for pesto for us and for gifts. After rummaging around in the garage I found more useable containers to increase our garden even more. I grew white sweet potato slips and they are now in water and the roots should be ready by next week for planting. With shredded zucchini that was frozen last year I made a dozen zucchini muffins. Garlic got dehydrated and English muffins were made. I made some seasoned salt mixes. I was out of ground cinnamon but had lots of stick cinnamon in the pantry so I ground some up in the high speed blender and VOILA, ground cinnamon. I think this is something that I will continue to do as it produces a stronger flavor. Don't know why I didn't think of this before because I do grind up other seeds (cumin, coriander, fennel, etc.) Continued making embellishments for cards out of scraps from other projects. Watched some of my favorite youtube crafters and learned a lot of new things that I can construct with what I have.

    1. Cookie, that's a great use for the milk bottles, you're going to have lots of basil! I harvested more basil today and added another 'bag' to the hanger in the greenhouse along with a bag of elderflowers. I have another 'hanger' with the same clips, but it is much larger and in the shape of a square. I need to move it to the greenhouse and put it to use as the one I'm using now is currently full!

      I've never thought about grinding up stick cinnamon either, I'm glad to know it works. I'll have to remember that.

      You have been busy! Love your ideas!

  8. I love your list. I live on a lake & have always wanted an old boat for a raised bed. I can't wait to see it finished. Here is my list this past week.

    -I cut my husband's hair.
    -I planted two new basil plants that I'd taken cuttings from one I bought. I want to make a lot of pesto so I'll be taking more cuttings.
    -We had some leftover suppers a few days this week.
    -My husband flushed the plumbing...he crawled under the house & cleaned out the line the ran the garden hose into the laundry room & flushed out the drains well. He'd noticed the drains were sluggish. If we do a good job cleaning them as we go he doesn't have to do this.
    -I did a garden trade. I traded two St Joseph amaryllis bulbs & two variegated cannas for two lily of valley & three brown eyed susans.
    -I was gifted a sweet new terracotta flower pot.
    -I took my grandson on a picnic & we packed food from home instead of buying take out.
    - I made lentil soup & froze the extra giving us 4 more ready to eat meals.

    1. Jenny, your list is inspiring! Good for you!

  9. I was wondering why you dry herbs in a bag? Does it work better than just hanging?

    1. Anonymous, it works great for small herbs that don't hang well, or if you just have a small amount to dry. Also, it keeps the herbs clean while their drying.


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