Why I Garden #22

Woods' Rose in bloom

A Woods' Rose in bloom. After several years living in our garden, this native perennial has finally bloomed. This rose has slowly grown and spread each year, but hadn't bloomed until this year. I'm not sure what combination of events brought on the flowers, but here they are. And the Woods' Roses smell great despite their compact size.

More Info:

PLANTS Profile - Rosa woodsii Lindl., Woods' Rose

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.5

I also made possibly the greatest snack ever: cheese crackers. This was meant to reproduce that cheesy little square that doesn't turn your fingers orange. This was possibly the raging success of this tour through Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

Hitch your Wagon to a Bike

Schwinn Speedster with Bike Trailer

Being an EcoDaddyo, and a cyclist, I bike around our fair city whenever possible. Given the short in-town distances we drive, biking is an easy alternative. Recently, we enrolled our eco-kid in daycare and I'm usually on pick up duty. I was happy to find that this is easy with our new dad-powered, bicycle-pulled kid trailer.

Made the Bread, Bought the (Peanut) Butter, pt.4

George Washington Carver

We eat a fair amount of peanut butter in this house. I was completely excited about Jennifer Reese's Peanut Butter recipe. And it was as easy as promised especially with my new wonder food processor.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.3

No Shake n Bake

Then I moved on to oven fried chicken. I have made several different versions of this recipe always hoping for it to be just one step closer to the crispy goodness of deep fried chicken. I loathe deep frying and its mess and splatter and danger and leftover oil. Deep frying is actually quite tricky to get something crisp that isn't oil soaked.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.2

Umami map

Then it conveniently was Super Bowl time and a perfect excuse to make homemade onion dip. I have consumed many containers of the classic Lipton onion soup mix + sour cream dip at Super Bowl time. In fact, as one who is perpetually confused by the game of football, the dip was a major incentive to watch the game.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.1

Everyday Bread on cutting board

I got my hands upon Jennifer Reese's Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch. This seemed totally up my alley. Here I am trying to live this nouveau home-ec life and here is a kindred spirit in liking to mess around in the kitchen but it rather ended right there. Thankfully, Ms. Reese explained her situation otherwise I would have spent the whole book rolling my eyes at her yummy-mummy lifestyle.

Step Outside, Spring is Here!

Rose bush Leaf buds opening

The weather is warming, trees buds are swelling, irises are sprouting and it feels like spring. The Vernal Equinox is nearly here as a late winter storm passes through, and the trend is definitely toward Spring. I often hit a wall in late winter and lose my momentum. Spending time outside is one thing that refreshes and recharges me. Feeling the sun, breeze and nature around me clears my head and helps me move forward again. Going outside to walk, bike, garden, even backcountry ski are my Winter to Spring reset button.

A Thermostat That's Smarter by Half

Albert Einstein

Last fall I installed a 'smarter' thermostat as our old bimetal thermostat had started short-cycling the furnace. A local hardware store had a sale on programmable thermostats for $25, and I installed one that day. Within a day or two I had the thermostat programmed to our preferences and I haven't touched it since. The one question remaining - is the new 'smart' thermostat more energy efficient than the old 'dumb' one?

I can happily say that the new programmable thermostat IS more energy efficient!

Too Cool in the Kitchen

Oven Glow Bar Igniter

If you can't stand the heat in the kitchen, your oven is probably working. We had the opposite problem recently - a decidedly cool kitchen. After weeks of our oven taking longer and longer to heat up, it suddenly stopped heating at all. Thanks to a classic Fix-It-Yourself book, Google and a bit of DIY troubleshooting I found the problem. The Glow Bar Igniter in our oven was no longer heating sufficiently to start the gas oven. Happily, it was an easy fix.

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