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Friday Favorite: Southwest Airlines

February 17th, 2017

I’ve spent my life flying here there and yonder, when you live in a different country from you family this is the way life is. Throughout the years we’ve had good and bad experiences with airlines. Five or so years ago I discovered Southwest and will pretty fly with them if I have the option. With this big winter storm they were fantastic. We had flights purchased to head back to Ohio, it so happened both legs of our journey were on days with big winter storms. They alerted us the night before encouraging us to change our tickets (for free). Which we did. Then another storm threatened our next trip, they told us to wait and we could cancel up till 10 minutes before our flight and keep the ticket amount for a future trip or reschedule again if needed.

I’ve had lots of bad experiences on flights, amazingly, none of them have been with Southwest. I’m sure they have problems and eventually I’ll have a delayed or cancelled flight with them. I’ll still keep using them because their customer service is top notch!

Do you have any favorite companies to recommend?

Saving Time in Spring

November 23rd, 2016

In the fall, I always mulch my flowerbeds and garden areas heavily with compost (weed free) and/or chopped leaves and grass clippings. My first goal is to protect the soil throughout the winter. It insulates the soil/plants and helps them survive the winter better. The mulch also protects the soil and nutrients in the soil from being washed away. My favorite reason to mulch heavily in the fall – weed free gardens in the spring/summer!
mulching-the-garden-in-fall-1
mulching-the-garden-in-fall-2
In my perennial garden beds I use chopped leaves and grass clippings. In my edible garden areas I add a weed free compost I buy from Kinney Compost. I not only protects my soil in the edible garden areas, but it feeds the soil as well. In the areas I’ve added this compost for three years the health of the soil is noticeably better than in areas where I haven’t added it. My soil is extremely free draining, this layer of compost mulch helps my soil retain moisture in the summer and it adds valuable humus in order to make my soil have better structure.

What’s your favorite kind of mulch?

MMMM, Good

July 20th, 2016

I buy artichokes at the store every once and again. Since they are so pricey, they’re a rarity in our diet. This year I decided to try growing them. I’d read about people doing it in Vermont, and Eliot Coleman grows them on his farm here in Maine. So I started them back in February so I could give them the long season and the jolt of cold weather they enjoy.
seeding artichokes 1
As you can see, there were two different varieties in the pack of seeds I planted. Both of them are producing chokes at roughly the same time. I noticed the first choke about two weeks ago. Artichokes are wonderful in the garden, not only because they are delicious, but because they are stunning plants.
artichokes 2
artichokes 1
We harvested two and had them for dinner on Monday night, one of each variety. We dipped them in a mix of homemade mayo and a bit of balsamic vinegar and they were delicious. I’ll definitely be growing these in the future, I’m thinking they will be lovely in the ornamental beds, I love the robust texture of the leaves.

Did you grow any new vegetables this year?

Slowly, But Surely

March 31st, 2016

All those seeds I purchased last fall and stratified for months in the fridge are finally starting to germinate. I have three tiny osage orange seedlings and one Dutchman’s Pipe that has germinated so far.
osage orange seedlings 1
osage orange seedlings 2
I’m still waiting on three more varieties to germinate, hopefully they will soon. Some of the varieties I started can take up to 3 months to germinate. One thing I love about gardening is this exact thing, someday, when these osage orange trees are big, I’ll remember the tiny seed emerging from feta cheese container that I kept in the fridge over the winter. It’s so fun to try germinating different types of seeds to see what happens.

Have you started any interesting trees/vines from seed in the past?

A Nice Window

February 4th, 2016

It’s been a little warm here the past few days, our blanket of snow has melted and the ground can be worked. It’s the perfect time to broadcast a few seeds for cold tolerant varieties like arugula, cilantro, mustard, and a few other things. Winter will return, in fact we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow and next week it will once again be in the single digits. These seeds don’t care, they will wait and spring forth when they’re ready.
winter seeding 2
They won’t germinate as quickly as they do when the soil is warmer, but they’ll germinate when the conditions are right and I’ll have a much earlier crop that I would have if I had waited.
winter seeding 1
I’m also going to be seeding a flat of lettuce, which is something I do every year. I find that having a flat of greens ready to go into the ground in spring gives me a jump on the season and has me harvesting greens for my table at least a month if not 6 weeks before direct seeded crops. I love having things ready to plant as soon as the ground is ready. This winter has been fairly mild, which means my overwintered spinach is thriving and should start growing as soon as conditions improve in a month or so.

What are you doing in the garden this weekend?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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