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8/25/2008 09:41:00 PM

Companion Planting

This is not a new concept to the gardening world. It is the art of planting crops that will benefit each other to help maximize yields. There are quite a few resources out there. Here is one of them:

8/25/2008 09:15:00 PM

National Gardening Association

I really enjoy this site. Regional reports, plant finder, weed library. This is a great place for gardeners at all stages.

8/24/2008 04:09:00 PM

Lavender Butter

Lavender Butter

With its complement of honey and lavender, this butter makes a great partner to muffins, scones, and even sweet cornbread. You can form the butter into a log, as I suggest below, and slice off coins as needed. Or you can use a cookie press to extrude pretty shapes onto parchment or wax paper. Put in the freezer until solid, peel off the paper, and store the dabs in freezer bags. When company comes, take out a few pieces and let them come to room temperature. Frozen, the butter stays fresh-tasting for about a month. In the refrigerator, it keeps for about a week.

¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey or lavender honey
1 tablespoon dried organic culinary “Provence” lavender buds, finely ground in spice grinder or coffee grinder

Place the butter, honey, and lavender in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until just combined. Transfer to a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Roll into a 1” wide log. Refrigerate or freeze.

Credit for this recipe goes to: Sharon Shipley’s “The Lavender Cookbook”

Published by Running Press Book Publishers

8/24/2008 04:07:00 PM

Lavender Vanilla Sugar

(Makes 2 cups)

2 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, cut in half
lengthwise and then into
small pieces
1 Tbsp dried culinary Lavender buds

In a spice grinder, pulse 2 Tbsp of the sugar with
the vanilla beans until very finely minced. Transfer
to a bowl. In the spice grinder, pulse the lavender
with 1 Tbsp of the remaining sugar until finely
ground. Transfer to the bowl and stir in the
remaining sugar. Transfer to a jar, cover tightly,
and let stand for at least 5 days before using.

8/24/2008 01:46:00 PM

Energy Trust Nonprofit/Government Incentives

Incentive Estimator.

8/24/2008 01:40:00 PM

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency

This place is just too awesome. There is just so much to read and learn about on this site.

8/24/2008 01:38:00 PM

Government incentives heat up solar power

Woo hoo. We're moving in the right direction here! If you're in Illinois take advantage of this.

8/11/2008 06:09:00 PM


It's been so nice we've spent a good deal of time outside. I've been fighting the back problems and trying to stay comfortable. In light of this, I have been looking at the blooms around the house.

My pumpkins are blooming like crazy. This is one of the huge blooms on the plants.

This is a blossom from the hummingbird vine that is on the fence. The flowers dot the fence line making it a place for the hummers to battle over. They are fierce little fighters and we've counted five of them. We get dive bombed occasionally when they are buzzing around.

Between this vine, the butterfly tree, crepe myrtles and the feeders, they have plenty of places to hide from each other on one side of the house or the other.

We actually watched two of them hover and inspect each other over the weekend. We're assuming that it was a male and female and they were initiating a kinda of mating ritual. But they hovered and fluttered up and down, back and forth. It was mesmerizing to watch.

That's all for now.

8/08/2008 08:40:00 PM

Organic Chocolate

Dagoba rocks.

8/07/2008 01:13:00 AM

What is it to be green?

I've been kinda off lately. I have back problems and they have reared their head in an unusual way this time around. I've not been very functional for a week now but I am going to work tomorrow because I can't just flop around the house in pain anymore. I've had a chance to evaluate what my thinking is on being green during this period of time.

How do you avoid the inevitable? You must get up and you must go to work and it is not feasible for some of us to do this on a bicycle as lovely as that notion is. If I walked into my job smelling sweaty from riding a bike in Knoxville heat I'd get laughed at as they signed the pink slip and only after my boss killed me and fired my corpse. Not feasible.

But what is? Cutting down on the amount of driving one does, helps. Helps the pocket, helps the environment that time round.

Cutting down? Hmm.. how about spending more.

I'm at the store, I see a sale, I am compelled to purchase that age old product because it is a product I like and it is cheaper at that moment in time than my usual. So I buy... two. Three. Yes. I buy three. Or more. And then I have enough of that to get me through 6 months.

I don't know a lot of people who do this. Those I do know that do it aren't shopping every pay check for the same thing every month. I think right now my part of being green is to not have to make that trip to the store to buy that one thing I don't have that I should have because I needed it but neglected to see that it was almost gone. Buy 3 or 6. Do that every paycheck and you will suddenly find that the store has moved to your cupboard.

Pick two items. Say Irish Spring body wash. It's on sale today for say whatever and you just happen to have whatever. So you buy 6 bottles. And to go with this you buy three really big bottles of shampoo of your choice. Big bottles, not the little ones. You spend $6 each for those! Yes, you do. But you were going to go buy that shirt anyway. Might as well buy these things all now so that you don't have to keep buying them at different prices every time you run out.

Bulk buying is a good thing. One trip and you've saved your self time and money from buying singles. Its another way of keeping those emissions down because it is one less trip you had to make.

I know that doesn't seem like a whole lot. It's one less trip every week or month or however long. But as those trips are less frequent, so are the emissions. Imagine if everyone on your block did that.

It makes a difference. You know how your vote counts? This does, too. The more that do it, the more difference it makes.

I've been confronted with a situation of green. Feeling pretty low on my green meter due to the state of things where I am. One less trip. One less foraging into Wally World because I forgot to get that thing for the thing in the place that time. Crappy. Waste gas due to unorganization.

Green = organized?

I think so. You've got to have it together to get green. You've got to stay strong to stay green. So many unsavory products that promise green but are not green. Less faith in those things our grandmothers trusted like no other and more in the name brand spray bottle.

Staying on top of it. Inventory that house. Know what you have. Know what you need. Set the goals for what you want. Make them happen.

See how easy that is? This epaper that is telling you how simple it is.

But its not. Being seduced by the world of wipes. That is the hardest thing for me to give up my bleach wipes. My Armorall wipes. Rainx wipes. Fogx wipes. I miss my wipes! But I've found a way to make my own. Better. Healthier, safer and without that annoying little thing in the center that keeps me from getting them to pull out like Kleenex.


Then there are other green things.

Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda. Cleaning with borax. Oxyboost is good I hear, I'm willing to give that a shot, too.

But what is it to be green?

8/03/2008 10:31:00 PM


I do a lot of surfing if you haven't been able to tell by now. Not that I don't do other things, I do. I take short breaks from blogging and get small things posted so that no one thinks I've quit or anything. I couldn't have been more fortunate to find the site that I've been devouring rabbidly for the past few days.

The Rodale Institute

Which of course led me to places like:

The Organic Seed Database
Soil Foodweb
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
USDA National Organics Program

All of these things bring into very sharp focus the footprint we leave behind when we don't pay attention to what the world around us is saying.

Pay attention.

8/03/2008 12:11:00 AM

Canning Labels

I just love stuff like this. Free canning labels print offs.

8/03/2008 12:07:00 AM

brandied-peach pork chops

4 (1-inch-thick) loin pork chops
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brandy, divided
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen peaches, thawed
1/3 cup peach preserves

Pat pork chops dry, then sprinkle on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total).

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook pork chops, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet.
Heat butter in skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook shallots with thyme, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden-brown, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup brandy to skillet and carefully ignite with a kitchen match (use caution; flames will shoot up), then cook over medium heat, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen brown bits. When flames subside, add peaches, preserves, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, covered, until peaches are tender and juicy, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon brandy, any meat juices from platter, and salt and pepper to taste, then spoon sauce over chops.

I'm Green Inside!

I'm Green Inside!
How green are you?

The Growing Challenge

The Growing Challenge
Just one more...

Fred's Fine Fowl

Fred's Fine Fowl
All things poultry