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Friday Favorite: The Ringer

March 15th, 2019

It’s been a bit of a crazy week around here, I don’t know if you’ve noticed the blog has been down, Seeds & Sundries has been down, facebook and instagram were down for me, there’s something going on in the great interwebs. Anyway, back to our scheduled posts. I’ve been wanting to post about this fantastic tool for a while. My mom bought one years ago and would tell me how great it was every time I was visiting. I got one for myself and LOVE it. It’s called ‘The Ringer’ and it’s a chainmail type scrubber for cast iron.

I use this tool combined with Castile soap from Vermont Soap Company for my cast iron. Lots of people say not to use soap, but I find that this type of soap doesn’t ruin the finish (grease busting soaps like Dawn will). For me, this is the perfect way to clean my vintage cast iron pans and keep them going for the next generation of cooks that will use them when I’m gone.

There are cheap knockoffs out there, so if you want to get one for yourself, make sure you find the Made in North America one.

I’ve always used copper or stainless steel scrubbers on my cast iron in the past, but they wear out and need replacing. One of the best features of this is that it lasts and lasts. My parents have had theirs for 6-7 years at least if not longer. It looks just like it did new.

Have you found any great long lasting tools lately?

New Houseplant

March 13th, 2019

A few weeks ago I spotted a lovely African violet at the store and decided to get it. The fading bloom was lovely, even though it was way past prime. There was an up and coming bud, so I knew I’d get to see at least one more bloom, even though I only had a glimpse of what it would look like.  I brought it home, repotted it, deadheaded it, and gave it a good dose of a diluted liquid seaweed. Fast foward a few weeks and the new bud is opening up…

This variety is called ‘Kristi’s Spunk’. The leaves are also colorful, especially when seen from underneath. Overall, it’s going to be a lovely specimen I think.

Are you an African Violet fan? Any good tips you’ve discovered for tending them?

Wanna Help?

March 7th, 2019

For my day job, I manage a non-profit. We work in Colombia, South America, doing various types of benevolent and religious work. We partner with a school and have a sponsor a child program, which pays for tuition to the school. Most recently, we have been building a camp facility for use by various groups: Boy Scouts, the school, church groups, and other groups as well. Last summer we built a pool at the camp, which is pretty much a necessity on the equator where daily temps can easily get up to 100 or higher. After opening the pool, we noticed that many of the people that attend functions cannot afford to purchase swimsuits (it’s around 30% of attendees that do not have suits).

Because of this, we decided to start collected new and gently used suits in all sizes (male, female, adult, child). We will start a swimsuit closet from which people can borrow a suit, they will be returned, laundered, and put back in the closet.  When there are enough suits, they will be given to those that need them to take home.

If you have a local group/club that wants to collect suits for us, I’d love to have you join us in this program. (and how cute are my nieces above, this was them a while ago, they’re both teens now, but still cute).

On The Cover

March 6th, 2019

I’ve been writing articles for magazines for years now, also selling photos to them as well. Every now and again I’m taken by surprise when they decide to use one of mine on the cover. The most recent issue of Northern Gardener, contains an article I wrote about growing flowers for cutting. Imagine my excitement when they decided to use one of my images on the cover.

These tulips were from the mass planting I did way back in 2011 in my Ohio garden. That fall I planted over 1000 tulip bulbs, the following spring was a riot of beauty in the garden. The tulips did very well in the dry sandy soil. They certainly are a sight for winter sore gardeners eyes. I haven’t planted any tulips in the garden here in Maine, the deer would no doubt eat most of them. Though I did discover that in Ohio the deer wouldn’t eat the black and dark purple tulips. This fall I may need to place an order and add a few hundred bulbs to the garden, spring is just so much better with tulips!

What flowers are you most looking forward to come spring?

Tel Aviv

March 5th, 2019

I’ve slowly been finding time to get through photos from our trip to Israel, last fall was a bit crazy, this winter hasn’t slowed down much. We traveled in early November, a perfect time to get away from the chilly weather in Maine, to the warm weather of Tel Aviv. While we did some work while there, we also had time to walk and explore. The evenings, in particular, were lovely, most of them we spent walking up along the beach, enjoying the sunset. Here are the photos from one such evening walk. We went from our hotel on the beach up to Old Jaffa. In Old Jaffa, we enjoyed a traditional middle eastern dinner, complete with all the fixing. Then we walked back to our hotel once again, late in the evening, enjoying the warm breeze and the warm lights of the city. Here are a few photos from that evening (notice the cat, they’re prominent in the city).

Tel Aviv is a lovely city, perfect for walking and soaking it all in. Many of our friends were nervous that we were going, but, having grown up in a country with lots of violence, I wasn’t too concerned. The city felt very safe, in fact much more so than some American cities I’ve visited. It’s like any other place, you just have to be careful where you go and when. Israel has never been on my must visit list, but it was well worth the long flight. No doubt we will be returning for work, maybe even this coming fall.

Do you have any trips planned for the future? Any places you’d love to go?


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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.