Sep 18

No use crying over cut onions

There’s not a lot going on in the Pleasantly Poor house right now. We’ve just been making our way thought the routine of life. Work, school, dinners, lunches, chores, etc. I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to make lunch for my little guy to take to take to school nearly every day, which saves us about $4 a day. The lunches aren’t exciting. They alternate between peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and crackers with ham and cheese, but my son seems to like them well enough. I let him eat a school lunch on Fridays since it’s pizza day. That said, I didn’t make his lunch this morning. But that was largely because I thought it was Friday, quite the disappointment.

I don’t have anything new and exciting to report, but I wanted to take a minute to share my method for no-cry onions. I think I’ve shared this before, but some things are worth repeating. I read somewhere that the scent of lemons can neutralize the smell of the onion that causes you to tear up when you cut into it. Tuesday, I pulled out an onion to cut up with dinner, and remembered that these were particularly potent onions. I grabbed my oil burner and added a few drops of lemongrass and mandarin oils to some water, and lit the candle. I was able to slice the entire onion without my eyes so much as stinging. It was great. If you are in the market for an oil burner, check your local dollar store. That’s where I found mine.

I’m also taking the opportunity to brag about my veggies. Look at how well they’re doing!

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Sep 10

Collards and a Closet

When I worked in the tourist industry, my boss had a saying: it’s always okay to fail, but it’s never okay not to try. That’s the ideology I live by when it comes to gardening. Every single time that I have posted about an addition to my garden, it has ended in failure. Despite my efforts to be candid I rarely post about the epic fails I have experienced since I started gardening. However, I don’t let my inability to grow anything to stop me from trying.  Recently I dug out a new garden spot and boxed it off, so it looks kind of like a raised bed but it’s not really. My husband and I want to try our hand, again, at making our yard work for us.  We did some research, and talked to the woman at the local nursery.  We learned what vegetables grow best in cold weather, and decided to plant collard greens, broccoli, and cabbage. If we were growing them from seedlings, we would have planted them about a month ago. But we are not so foolish as to think that we would actually succeed.  Since we’re transplanting our veggies, September is the perfect time to plant. We got some soil specific for growing fruits and vegetables. We got two bags of Miracle Grow and worked them into our sandy soil. We added two bags of a cheaper Walmart blend as top soil. We planted our veggies a little over a week ago, and so far so good. We’ve been lucky with the weather too. We’ve only had a couple of really hot days since we planted our veggies. We watered them with the sprinkler in the morning and again in the evening the first few days, but it has rained every day since, saving us from having to use our ground water. I know it’s just a temporary reprieve, but it’s really been feeling a lot like fall around here. The veggies are loving it, they’ve already grown several inches since we planted them!

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The plants on each corner are Penny Royal (in the ____ pots) and Sage (in the black pots). They are both known to repel bugs, so we don’t have a repeat of the Great Tomato Incident of 2014..

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This is our overflow bed. Our eyes were bigger than our beds. The large plant in the middle is the lone survivor of the Great Tomato Incident of 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, we bought more veggies than our bed could accommodate, so we planted some broccoli and cabbage in our other bed, next to the basil.  While our newest bed was thriving, the broccoli and the cabbage were looking a little rough.  A couple of years ago we had trouble with a mole getting into our garden, so my husband was concerned that it might be back.  I remember reading that garlic will repel moles, which is great because I’ve also hear that it repels bugs, along with onions, and smelly herbs like rosemary, sage, and basil.  Last night, I cut up an onion for dinner, a really smelly one.  It was the kind of onion that has you sobbing before you’ve finished your first cut.  I buried a quarter of that too.

I’ve also been trying to get organized again. The other day I looked around my house and realized that I’ve become that person, you know the one, the person that stacks clutter in neat little piles rather than dealing with the actual problem.  This led me, not to action, but to my favorite time waster, Pinterest.  I found this great pin for organizing your closet.

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The idea of using fashionable bins to separate your linens, like sheets and pillow cases, intrigued me.   A couple of weeks later I went to Big Lots with my mom and wouldn’t you know it, storage bins were on sale.  I grabbed one and spent that evening organizing my linen closet.  And since my shoe storage is in this closet, I finally got our footware organized as well.  I don’t have a before picture, but this is how it looks now.

So much better!

So much better!

Aug 29

Basil and a Bathroom

Trying to find subjects for my blog the last few weeks has been frustrating. My tomato/oregano topsy turvey plant was scorched by the Florida Sun. My fig tree was doing nicely for a few weeks, I even had a nice sized fig growing. But the day I took my camera out to snap a picture for the blog, I found the fig dead. A while back I bought one of those tree ring seed things from my sons school fundraiser. My husband planted it, but instead of being a ring of flowers it ended up being tomato plants! The tomato plants were doing great. We had 7 tomatoes growing. When one of them finally turned a beautiful red, I took my camera out to take a picture, but the aphids had beaten me to it. All of the tomato plants were dead. I haven’t been making any homemade concoctions lately, either.  All combined, I’ve been having a hard time finding the subjects or the motivation to keep my blog going this summer.

My husband has had a little more luck. He planted this basil plant and it’s doing beautifully.

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I’ve read that planting garlic or onions near your other plants will keep the bugs away. It must be true, because there are some onion bulbs planted right next to this basil and the bugs haven’t come near it.

We also struck gold at a yard sell a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to take out the vanity in our bathroom because it takes up so much space. I was eyeing some pedestal sinks at Home Depot, but the cheapest one was $90! That was more than I really wanted to spend since we had an operational sink.  So I’ve been taking my time, trying to find something I like that was the price I wanted to pay. A couple of weeks ago, while scouring the yard sales I found what I was looking for. We got the pedestal sink we wanted and a flashy new light fixture to go with it for $60.

Last week for my birthday my husband started working on the bathroom.  His friend helped him and they have done a fantastic job.  I’m so happy with the new look of our bathroom, and it’s not even finished yet.  I’m hoping that his success will help me find the motivation I need to get my butt back in gear.

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