Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Starting Our Plants From Seed

It's that time of year again--time to start our vegetable and herb seedlings in the greenhouse. Regarding our greenhouse, while we were still living in Massachusetts, we purchased an inexpensive one. Fortunately, we procrastinated about putting it together there, so it was still in its original box when we moved here. Once erected, it appeared to be a bit on the flimsy side, and we were concerned it would not withstand the high winds we typically get here. Rather than investing in something sturdier, as crazy as it may sound, we decided to try reinforcing every seam on the greenhouse with heavy duty, all weather duct tape.  We applied it on both the inside and outside seams,  It took us three days to complete, but it definitely did the trick!

We arranged two folding tables against the walls inside the greenhouse and covered them with plastic sheeting. Next it was time to arrange the seed containers on the tables.  To save money, we purchased some inexpensive plastic containers, rather than using disposable ones we would have to replace yearly.  My husband drilled holes in the bottom of each container for drainage. We also had several flower planter boxes in one of the sheds  To save money and also to minimize any transplant shock, he mixed some composted soil from the garden with some organic potting soil (1:1) and filled each container. He then drew a diagram of each tabletop and labeled each container in the diagram with what was to be planted in it.

Using my husband's diagram, we labeled each container and began the process of planting the seeds,. Before planting, we carefully moistened the soil a bit.  Using my husband's sharp instrument of choice (a letter opener), we made holes for each seed, adhering to the depth recommendation on the seed packets. After covering the seeds with soil, we watered each planter well after planting the seeds.

We typically buy organic heirloom seeds, so we can save seeds from the vegetables to plant the following growing season.

This year, we planted three varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, zucchini squash, crooked neck squash, Waltham squash, pumpkins, onions, peas, and green beans.  Sweet potatoes, corn and red potatoes will be direct-sown in the garden.  We will also plant a variety of medicinal herbs in a second garden.

We always make sure to save the seed packets, as they contain  plant spacing information for transplanting in the garden.

Every morning, my husband waters each container in the greenhouse.  In the evening he turns on a space heater in the greenhouse, which he turns off in the morning.

It's so exciting to see the plants peeping through the soil in the containers!

We're definitely looking forward to planting season, which is usually around the second week of May here in the mountains.


Monday, April 11, 2016


When we moved here almost two years ago, due to my health issues, our income was reduced dramatically.  My husband took an early retirement, so his pension was not what it could have been if he had waited another eight years, which was our original plan.  However, our plans are not always God's plans, and I am fully convinced He has a reason for everything.  We knew immediately we needed to trust Him to take care of our financial needs.

In addition to having faith that God would provide, we knew our lifestyle would change with the reduction of income.  In order to be able to get our small farm up and running, we had to make a commitment to debt-free living, including not having a mortgage. This meant a fixer-upper rehab on a budget, along with doing most of the work ourselves.

Living debt-free has required a change of thinking on my part. When I had my web design business, if I wanted something new for our home, I just went out and bought it.  Now I have to be more thoughtful about my purchases. I am learning that I can't have all the things that I want.

Yesterday, I was lamenting over something I saw on a decorating site online, which  I felt I just HAD to have for the house. God clearly brought me back to my senses this morning.  During my quiet time, He  led me to these scripture verses:  

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV)

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 

My biggest weakness, in terms of spending, is that I love decorating and all things home.  I have been an HGTV junkie for a number of years.  When we first moved here, due to my EMF sensitivity, I couldn't tolerate having a television in the house, so we were without one for quite sometime. As my health improved, I am now able to tolerate watching a small television,.  Most recently, I started watching HGTV again  I find myself drooling over some of the home makeover shows.  

Lately I have found myself looking at our home more critically.  I have definitely noticed a difference in my attitude of contentment now than when I wasn't able to watch television. God has shown me through scripture that if I continue down this path of discontentment,  I will eventually pierce myself with many griefs, as 1 Timothy 6:10 suggests. 

After giving it some thought, I know we made the right decision to paint the dark wood paneling in our home, rather than replace it. I am content with the laminate floors and countertops, which do look nice.  Our home doesn't have to be an HGTV show house.  When I go to bed at night, I can sleep peacefully knowing we do not have credit card balances as a result of our home rehab.  I am content with our new home in the country and appreciate God's loving guidance through His Word.


Linking up with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Healthy Homemade Granola

This homemade granola is a staple at our house. It's filled with healthy fats and is lower in sugar than commercially-prepared granola, plus it smells wonderful while it's baking in the oven! We enjoy it as a sundae topping using iced coconut milk, along with organic maple syrup.


  • 3 cups organic, gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup organic unsulfured, shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp. organic ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup organic nuts, such as walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup organic seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. melted organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries

Preheat oven to 325° F   Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine the above ingredients, EXCEPT the dried fruit. Transfer mixture to cookie sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes.  Turn granola with spatula and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding dried fruit.  Store in an airtight container.  These make great DIY gifts; simply add to a canning jar and decorate top with fabric, ribbon and a label.