Spring is Trying to Arrive

Robin and Worm

Seems like Winter refuses to leave and we are so very anxious to get out in our new yard and tidy up before the Big Wedding that is taking place in almost 2 months!!!!  There are definitely signs of Spring popping up … Robins flitting around and preparing nests, Crocus and Daffodils opening their petals and Warm Sunshine on the front porch.

seedlings under grow lights

I have planted some Herb seeds; basil, parsley, rosemary, lemon basil, dill.  Some Peppers; chocolate, jalapeno, mini red, orange & yellow and larger red along with tabasco.  Tomato seeds went under the grow lights just yesterday – Sungold, Sugar cherry, Roma, Italian heirloom, Early girl and Stupice.

I am holding back on planting a bit since I always start way early and this year I have decided to start outdoors “after” the wedding.  We will see how that part of the planning goes!

We spent some time at the home in Southern Illinois and the temperatures have been chilly but Spring is taking a hold down there quite nicely.  The turtles have emerged and line up in their area sunning themselves with the hopes of warmer days ahead.

turtles

Although I was unable to move the Bees this trip, they have survived the winter and I was very excited to see Pollen being brought in.  They no doubt have their agenda in full swing for the season ahead!

Bee with pollen

Spring is upon us and the kid’s Garden Wedding is inching its way closer….shower plans, decorating ideas, excitement, wardrobe decisions, gardening, flowers, weather concerns, rehearsal dinner.  Thinking we may need a vacation after all this …

vintagedeb

Wishing you All a Happy Spring!!  And Winter … yes, it is quite Ok to take a nap until next year …. really!

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January A Month To Remember

vintage house

Our first January in our Vintage Home was quite a rough one!  After surviving the back and forth and staying at relatives homes from Thanksgiving to Christmas and landing back home with a horrible cold that lasted 2 weeks, I thought I could finally relax and recover.  But the old Vintage Home had other plans in store for us!!

We rang the New Year 2015 in with a frozen water pipe in the upper bath.  Temperatures had dropped to -35 below zero with the wind chill and the wind came straight at the front of the home and right through all the cracks and open spaces into the bathroom floor seeking out those pipes to freeze up.  We did the best we knew how and crammed towels and blankets into every draft we could find.  We opened up cabinet and closet doors and ran a space heater under the sink trying to warm things up.  After 2 days we decided to shut the water pipes during the evening when we slept just in case they had thawed.  They did and when we turned them back on, water ran down the wall and we quickly knew something had broken.

The plumber who had worked on the home in the past was on vacation for a week so we stepped over pulled up carpet and torn up flooring fearing the worst.  When he came for the repair he informed us this had happened 5 times in the past that he knew of and wasn’t involved in the last repairs that were made.  FIVE times???  He installed a new type of piping that will not freeze and we have plans to tear down the outside grated soffit so that nasty cold air stays at bay.  Lucky for us we have a second bath which we put to good use during this fiasco!!

The upstairs thermostat decided to quit working during the Arctic blast and thank goodness the heating people were quick to respond installing a new one within hours!  We soon realized that the lower furnace was not large enough to heat the lower level and we will need to replace it in the Spring with a new bigger furnace.  A whole new room was added onto the lower level and suffice it to say the furnace couldn’t keep up.  We had temps in the house at times that held at 60 degrees and both furnaces ran non-stop.  Our utility bills made us scream “Ouch” when they arrived!!

I am sure the 2 electric wall units out back in the cottage that have been running constantly added to the bottom line on the electric bill.  We had pondered the idea of winterizing the cottage with no water, but reasoned “foolishly” that it would be no big deal.  Wrongo ….. Winter in Northern Illinois is wicked Cold!!

February is not playing nice so far either … we had at least a foot of snow dumped on us last weekend and it is finally starting to melt a bit.  I know I should have been prepared since I grew up under these conditions, but I guess I just forgot after being in the Southern part of the State for the past few years.

This Vintage Home has stood solid and tall for over 125 years and weathering out another chilly winter ain’t gonna make it tremble …… Me, on the other hand, I will buy a few more blankets and that new furnace and welcome next January with a Smile!!

Is It Spring Yet??

sam the cat

How to Make Snow People

 

 

snow people

 

Some years ago we were given a gift at Christmas and I kept it out all year-long hanging on a peg by the front door.  It is one of those gifts that is so cute AND creative and simple to make.

Since we only have 4 members of the family, the design was simply hot glued 2 by 2 and hung like a wreath.  Depending on the number of snow people in your family will determine the final design.

wood scraps snow people  snow people hats

Start out cutting various sizes of wood for the snow person’s body and paint them all white (back and front).  The next step is to find smaller wood pieces for the brim of the hat.  The top of the snow person will be painted in the color of the hat you decide along with the brim.  My current design features 7 family members so this part became a bit time-consuming since several coats were needed for each piece.  Allow yourself plenty of time for the paint to dry.

painted snow people

Paint the name on the hat brim before hot gluing to the main piece.  Once the brim is attached you can paint cute faces and attach a strip of cloth for a scarf.

All done!!

I have a wooden crate I painted red and we will be attaching the snow people all around with some heavy-duty wood glue.  The final touch will be the last name attached across the front ….. almost done in time for Christmas!!

Join me at VintageDeb on Tsu for daily crafts ideas, recipes and more!

Planting for our Bees

bees on sunflower

It has been in the News for some time now and although many are still unaware of the dilemma we face … the truth is – Our Bees are Dying.

What we as individuals can do is plant more flowers for the bees.  They need pollen and nectar for food and survival.  It is a simple task for us and if each person plants a few flowers, we can make a difference.  The pesticides, herbicides and GMO seeds still will wreak havoc and continue to kill the bees, but at least we can help some survive.

Plant an extra row or two around your property, start some container plants on your balcony, encourage friends and family to plant or give beautiful flowers as gifts this year!

bees on lavender

Below is a list of flowers that I have witnessed my bees foraging for their needed food and survival.  There are many others and each climate zone is unique so grow what works in your area.  The Bees will Thank You!!

Lavender     Sunflowers

Anise Hyssop    Borage

Bee Balm    Wild Asters

Goldenrod    Coneflower

Blanket Flower   Autumn Sedum Joy

Hollyhock

Most vegetables need pollination to produce and this the bees’ job.  They love those pumpkin, squash, cucumber, tomato flowers.  Buckwheat is a good cover crop and a great source of food for the bees.

Clover and Dandelion that many see as weeds are a Huge source of food for the bees!  Let them grow … and if the neighbors comment … tell them it is for our Bees.

Don’t ever spray weed killers or any deadly concoction that will spread and kill the bees.  I use a spray of garlic, cayenne pepper and a few drops of dish soap to ward off damaging bugs in the garden.

Save your seeds for the next season and to gift to friends and family.

Save our Bees

Join me on the New Social media network where I share daily inspiration, gardening and bee information!!

@VintageDeb on Tsu social

Blueberry Maple Muffins

Blueberry Maple Muffins

Blueberry-Maple Muffins

1/3 cup flaxseed (3/4 cup rolled oats can be substituted)

1 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grind flaxseed in a spice mill such as a clean coffee grinder or dry blender. Transfer to a large bowl. Add flours, baking powder & soda, salt and cinnamon; whisk to blend.

Whisk eggs and maple syrup until smooth. Add buttermilk, oil, orange zest, orange juice & vanilla. Whisk until blended. Add to flour mixture and blend until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Scoop the batter into the muffin pan. Bake 15-25 minutes.

Eating Well cookbook

Edible Flowers

Earth Elixir

There are many edible flowers that are delicious and nutritious. Flowers have flavonoids which is a powerful antioxidant group that is responsible for the colour of the plants. Antioxidants also help protect the plant against stressors and protects our cells as well when we eat them.

Violas have a mild sweet fresh flavour and flowers are always best used fresh. Put in tea or toss raw in salads and add as a garnish to brighten any dish.

Viola Viola

Learn more about Violas or Violets here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/2012/04/19/sweet-violets/

Besides stuffing squash and zucchini flowers with soft nut cheeses use other flowers like Nasturtiums and stuff them with herbal soft nut cheeses or thick dips. Nasturtiums are also a great addition to salads and the flower buds are pickled like capers, they have a real spicy flavour.

There are also many other flowers to use as a garnish or add to a…

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