Archive for the ‘2009’ Category

Stock up on canning lids


“Every time I went to the grocery store (actually at least 75% of the time) I picked up a little box of 1 dozen lids.”

How I did it: Every time I went to the grocery store (actually at least 75% of the time) I picked up a little box of 1 dozen lids. Over the course of a year I didn’t notice the expense because a dozen lids costs less than $2.00. I now have one year’s worth of lids (about 24 dozen) stocked away. Now if there is a single-year shortage of canning lids for any reason, I can feel impervious to the shortage.

Lessons & tips: There is only ONE FACTORY in the USA making canning lids.  Am I the only one worried about this?

It took me 1 year.

It made me comfortable

The finished loft bed.

“I built my son a full size bed loft with a desk underneath”

How I did it: I built the whole thing out of lumber from a local store using a circular saw, a drill and a socket wrench.  I made my own plans and measurements based on a picture I found online that I liked and the exact size of my son’s mattress.

Lessons & tips: Buy a few extra pieces of wood and more screws.  You’ll need them.

Resources: Sorry about the blurry camera phone picture(s).  It’s what I have available at the moment.

It took me 2 days.

It made me like an amateur

Henry sanding his loft bed for me:


Bed Loft In Progress

Bed Loft In Progress, otherwise known as BLIP. I got a lot cut and put together yesterday between about 1:00 and 8:00 p.m. The loft is basically complete up in his room, but it still needs a few shelves, a ladder, several support diagonals and the whole things needs to be sanded. I’m not looking forward to cleaning up a carpeted room after sanding, but it has to be done. Pictures when I’m able to call it done.

I have wood

The lumber is in a pile in my garage. I have been making, checking, triple checking measurements and plans for a couple hours now. I’m about to change my saw blade and make the first cuts. I haven’t ever notched boards before, especially without a router. Wish me luck.


I have been promising to build my son a loft for his bed for over a year now. He is having trouble doing his homework in the common areas of the house where we’re bustling around trying to cook the evening meal, so he needs a desk in his room.  A good place for a desk is under his bed loft.

I’ll start this project in the morning! I have the whole day off work Friday, so I might even get it done in one day.

I’m custom-building this myself from nice lumber. Should I put the loft completely together in the garage, to check it for fit, then take it apart again and reassemble it in his room, or should I just cut most of my pieces and put it together ONCE, in place?

Can I ever go back?

Today’s post is a piece written by Farmer’s Daughter, republished here with her permission.  I have been feeling exactly the same way for a couple years now.


Can I ever go back?

Posted on September 19, 2009 by Farmer’s Daughter

Walking around the fair today, I was repeatedly reminded of my eco-conscience.

I drank bottled water and wished I had thought to bring my reusable stainless steel bottle.  I didn’t want to use the plastic, but it was hot and I was thirsty.  Plus I’m still trying to skip HFCS (that’s another story), so I didn’t want to get a soda in a paper cup.  I was happy at least that recycling was easy.

I spotted all the litter on the ground and wanted to pick it up (but of course I didn’t).  I wondered how much litter and trash would be generated by the end of the fair and where it would go.

I watched the tractor pull and thought about carbon emissions.  I thought about how much energy went into pulling that sled of weights back and forth.  But I was still proud of my brother for pulling about 8,000lbs with his tractor.

I pondered, while skipping the line to the ladies’ room and heading to the portapotty, which is better for the environment? The portapotty uses less water but more chemicals, so I couldn’t decide which was better, but there wasn’t a line there.  I worried about creating a super-bug as I used the hand sanitizer, but didn’t want to skip it either.

I browsed through dresses at a vendor’s tent and commented that they’re probably made in sweatshops.  How else could they be so cheap?

I watched the horse pull and felt bad for the jumpy horses, getting yelled at and slapped on the butt.  My dad has always said that competitive pulling is cruel to the horses and I would tend to agree, but I still like to watch for a little while and check out the pretty animals.

I saw a lot of parents smoking around their kids and wondered what they were thinking.  It’s not BPA people, it’s not debatable or new science.  Cigarettes kill.

I looked at agricultural exhibits, animals, food preservation, crafts, photography, and the baking competition.  This glimpse of a simpler way of life was juxtaposed with the midway’s spinning rides and shouting carnies.  I wish the midway wasn’t there, but felt a sadness knowing that most people wouldn’t go if there weren’t rides and cheap prizes to win.

When I got home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could ever go back.  Go back to the way things used to be, when I could enjoy an event without the stream of eco-consciousness running through the back of my mind.  Although I didn’t make all of the best eco-choices while I was there, I was keenly aware of what I was choosing to do: throw out paper plates and napkins, recycle water bottles, and take breaths of second-hand smoke simply because I couldn’t get away from it.

I realize of course that I can never go back.  I can never un-learn what I know about the environment and how my everyday actions impact the earth.  With that knowledge comes a responsibility to act, to make good choices.  And I feel like I do make good choices most of the time, but I need to accept that I can’t choose the best option all of the time and I can’t be so hard on myself, or on others.

Please direct all your comments to the original post written by Farmer’s Daughter.

New shelves for canned goods

Left side pantry shelves

We have a closet where we are keeping some of our canned goods. There was a lot of wasted space on the left and right sides, so I am building shelves to completely utilize this area. I finished one today. Ten shelves, ten inches deep, can now hold about 120 jars of food. The height spacing of the shelves was designed with quart and pint jars in mind. The other side will get a twin cabinet tomorrow.

EDIT: I decided to photoshop together two of the pictures I took to create a composite that shows the whole thing.

Shown at left are sweet pickle slices, dill slices, dill spears, beets, pizza sauce, pasta sauce, tomatoes, salsa, sauerkraut, ketchup, venison and peaches.

The other side will have asparagus, corn, applesauce, stock, soups and more tomato products.

TRIVIA: Did you know that “1 inch” boards are exactly three-quarters of that after they are finished?

Pole bean reseeding itself

Pole bean reseeding

Pole bean reseeding





One bunch of pole beans at the community garden weighed down their corn stalk poles so much that they bent over and touched the ground. They got moist enough after some rains that this happened. Very beautiful effect.

Jimmy Cracked Corn

Mirai sweet corn, dried

Mirai sweet corn, dried

Seeds for another year

Seeds for another year

When I opened the packet of Mirai sweet corn seeds this spring, I thought I had gotten a bad pack. Each seed was wrinkled and flat and completely unlike any other corn I had planted or seen while dry.

It was a hybrid, so I don't know what I'll get next year.

It was a hybrid, so I don't know what I'll get next year.

Surprisingly, it grew. Very nicely too. I have to say, Mirai sweet corn was the most delicious sweet corn I have ever tasted.

How tasty was it, you ask?

So sweet that I ate every ear without butter or salt. So sweet that I ate some of it raw. So sweet that it was actually difficult to cook with…the leftovers would be too sweet to eat. It might as well be grown as a sugar crop.

Mirai produced small ears of corn on short 5 or 6 foot stalks. Most stalks had two ears of corn. This one ear of corn yielded about a half-pint of seeds. Supposedly hybrids don’t come true from seeds. I’ll have to try.


Whatever happened to the pole bean teepee?

IMG_9096 IMG_9097

Whatever happened to the pole bean teepee, you ask?

The pole bean teepee did not “fill out” the way I had hoped it would. In hindsight, I would say that I was too rushed to put it up and I didn’t prepare the seed bed well enough.  I did nothing more than strip off a 2 inch wide swath of sod, place seeds in the trench and then cover them with bagged compost. The grass and weeds were the victors of this fight for life.  Some beans grew, but they definitely did not thrive.

I think I’ll try it again next year.  Help me remember. 🙂

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