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Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

Planting Bougainvilleas: Bougainvillea Plant Care | eHow.com

We are also excited about some ornamentals for our garden this year.  Nice, short video on planting bougainvillea…

Planting Bougainvilleas: Bougainvillea Plant Care | eHow.com.

Redwood Boards – Redwood Lumber & Supply Company

We really like the look of redwood, aged and grayed over time.  I think we will be going here for our Redwood: they are right down the street, and have extra-wide redwood boards.

They say call for availability: 800.435.1236

Redwood Boards – Redwood Lumber & Supply Company.

How to grow green beans in your home garden

This year, we are heading into a kitchen remodel.  So, Christopher will be heavily occupied building cabinets, installing plumbing, etc.  Should be fun!

My responsibility is the garden.  First time actually – Cx is usually in charge, with his deep green thumb.  My thumb is only light green, but steadily growing more confident and able.

At any rate, I am doing some research on my favorite vegetables… and here is a great article on one of them…

How to grow green beans in your home garden.

Asparagus officinalis UC 157 Asparagus

thinking about Asparagus… and what a great, informative article on how to plant and maintain a thriving asparagus bed!

Asparagus officinalis UC 157 Asparagus .

Raintree Nursery, fruit, nut and berry plants for the American fruit grower

One of our favorite mail order nurseries – one of several I will be posting.  This year, we are excited about our first perennial crops – tree collard, asparagus, blueberries!

Raintree Nursery, fruit, nut and berry plants for the American fruit grower.

About Us – Heirloom, Untreated, Open Pollinated, Vegetable Seeds – Sustainable California Seed Company

This seems like an awesome local site for chicken feed; we will be checking them out for gardening, etc.

About Us – Heirloom, Untreated, Open Pollinated, Vegetable Seeds – Sustainable California Seed Company.

Redwood Deck Contest Winner, Sonoma County Backyard Deck

Some great advice from a local deck builder – he talks about an important aspect of  “building green” is to build it to last – and has some good pointers about how to do that.

Redwood Deck Contest Winner, Sonoma County Backyard Deck.

Thinking about Trim

Doug Fir (Knotty)

Doug Fir (Knotty)

Cx and I went shopping several months ago to look for trim, and decided that Doug Fir is beautiful, with a tight vertical grain and a gorgeous reddish color akin to cedar; and it is not as expensive as some other tight grain varieties. It is also, we have discovered, a native of the United States, which likely means its forests tend to be better ecologically, and many of the forests it inhabits have been managed since 1912, and are mostly from the Northwest region – probably as local as we are going to get, unless we go with oak, which I don’t particularly like.

There is a great article about doug fir here.

Of course, we will also be looking for a supplier that is FSC certified; I don’t know yet if we will go with a local supplier, or try to find something less expensive online.  Mt. Storm seems to be the best supplier locally – they have all sorts of interesting FSC – certified lumbers and plywood.

Preserve your food easily and deliciously!

I have been reading the Four Seasons Gardening book – by a couple of gardeners who live in Maine, and have been determined to raise fresh food for all four seasons – in Maine! They went to France (same latitude, if you can believe it) and learned how they grown veggies in the winter; they built “cold frames”, which create mini-sun rooms for their plants. But they are also a big fan of Dehydration as a route to having delicious food. They note that canning decreases nutrients, is EXTREMELY labor and resource intensive, etc. Which brings me to my topic – how I LOVE dehydration!

We just bought the Excalibur, which Cx did a lot of research on, and liked because of the fanning (horizontal, not vertical) the size (9 great big layers), that it is square (offers more space,) and for its adjustable thermometer and timer, key for precise drying.

We have been drying for our first round, and have several pounds of fantastic cherry tomatoes, and a bunch of dried pears. They are amazing. Irresistable in fact.

Big thumbs up on the Excalibur Dehydrator. I won’t give up canning entirely (not quite anyother way to do large quantities of apple butter) but I have a feeling much more will be devoted.
Excalibur Dehydrator

Clothes-Drying – What to do when you don’t have a dryer

Dry clothes - save energy!

Dry clothes - save energy!

When we moved in, we chose not to purchase a dryer. in our energy star research, it turned out that dryers, no matter how old they were, were about equally efficient – it was more a matter of keeping them lint free than the newness. So we went all winter hangdrying our clothes – and are quite happy it is now hot outside, and our clothes tend to get all the way dry, instead of mostly dry (Sonoma County is WET in the winter, even inside where we were hanging our clothes.

Our happy handiman sent us a little email about hangdrying clothes that I thought I would share:
THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHESLINES:

1. You had to wash the clothes line before hanging any clothes-walk the
entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang “whites”
with “whites,” and hang them first.

3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders – always by the tail! What
would the neighbors think?

4. Wash day on a Monday! . . . Never hang clothes on the weekend, or
Sunday, for Heaven’s sake!

5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your
“unmentionables” in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y’know!)

6. It didn’t matter if it was sub zero weather . . . Clothes would
“freeze-dry.”

7. Always gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left
on the lines were “tacky!”

8. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did
not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next
washed item.

9. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes
basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. IRONED?! Well, that’s a whole other subject!

A POEM

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.
For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”
And towels upon the line;
You’d see the “company table cloths”
With intricate designs.
The line announced a baby’s birth
From folks who lived inside –
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!
The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You’d know how much they’d grown!
It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.
It also said, “Gone on vacation now”
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare!

New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way . . ..

But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody’s guess!

I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!

Thanks, Jay!