Monday

6 Super Easy Plants To Try In South Central Alaska

When it comes to summer gardening in Alaska there's tons of stuff to grow. Yes, even outside. I'm fact, I think it would be easier to take out the things that won't grow. It's true that a lot of perennials elsewhere are considered annuals in Alaska but the following plants are so hardy that you would pretty much have to be actively trying to kill them for them to do poorly, and even then they'll come back twice as vigorously the next year!





First up, my favorite spring indicator- Arctic Poppies. Their flowers are cheery yellows, whites, and oranges mostly. Their early greens and bright flowers are a welcome sight when all is brown during break up, and they keep right on going until it snows again! They have large, easy to identify seed pods after the flowers die back. They'll reseed on their own or pinch them off and scatter them where you'd like them next year! They really do a great job attracting pollinators too. They like to crop up between rocks and they are great for dryer areas.





Next, a surprise to many, are chives. These guys were in my yard when I moved here 7+ years ago and despite several attempted transplantings they still come up in the strawberry bed every year. I love that you can cut them down to almost nothing and a week or so later you'll have another batch ready to go! They even have sweet little purple Whoville like blooms!





I LOVE my raspberries! One patch is from my mother in law's house and the other grew under the fence from my neighbors yard. The best place to get them? Free from someone else! These guys are so prolific that they are often on craigslist in the summer, free if you'll come save the giver from certain raspberry takeover! A small patch and some water will get you gallons of raspberries!





Another easy to find craigslist freebie is strawberries. They'll send runners out like crazy if you don't keep an eye on them! Cut the runners off for more fruit or let them go for more plants for next year. I can tell you that you will be amazed at the taste difference in these smaller berries compared to what you're getting at the store. They're practically candy!





Although they take a bit longer to bloom than the poppies the beautiful, deep purple Siberian Iris blooms are worth the wait! They are perhaps the most neglected plant in my garden and yet they bring me beautiful flowers every spring. The down side to these is that they don't bloom as long as other flowers, once they put on their show they are pretty much done. The fun, spiky leaves are a neat shape contrast to most other plants though too.





Lastly the king of them all- rhubarb. Use it to line path ways, cover unsightly electrical boxes, and, best of all, to eat! There are several varieties that grow in Alaska and they are pretty easy to get from a friend that's dividing. They have leaves bigger than your head and stems thicker than your thumb! If you are an over-waterer these are for you! They do alright with just about any watering but they do especially well when they've been soaked. They are some of the first things to be ready to harvest and they grow all summer long. Every few years you can cut into the base and divide it into 3-4 more plants!


Some others that make my list are wild roses, lilacs, arctic kiwi, lily of the valley, lupines, forget me nots, and gooseberries.

Don't let the long, cold winter fool you! There are still lots of wonderful, easy things to grow here and you don't even need a greenhouse.

posted from Bloggeroid



We spent the weekend moving stuff around and clearing things out. The end goal is always to have a beautiful, green, playful space, but sometimes getting to that goal is down right messy!





When outside is looking so sad it's hard to imagine that it will all be lush and green soon. Before you know it all those little scrawny seedlings you planted will be dripping in produce and have you hopping around trying to preserve it all!

And with that thought it's back to yard work for me! How is your outdoor spring cleaning going?

posted from Bloggeroid

I'm So Ready for Spring!

Unfortunately it's still snowing here. Of course, we live in Alaska and having snow this time of year is just the way it goes. That's not stopping me from being ready for when it finally does all melt!



We bought a 10x20 foot steel frame off of Craigslist for just $20 and Joel got construction plastic from an addition at his work. All that together means I get to have a greenhouse this year! I am super excited about it and the warmer weather plants that I get to try!

The green thing next to it was going to be the green house before I found the fame. I got it for free off Craigslist last summer. There's a hammock that goes inside and last year we tried some grapes in there but I don't think they made it through the winter. Now we will probably put some sort of a mesh over the top and buy some Arctic Kiwi. We have some in the front yard and it's a struggle to keep it at a manageable height. That makes it perfect for making a nice shady spot.

Oh yeah, and the thing in front of it is the rabbit cage but that's a whole other post! It's moving as soon as the snow melts in it's permanent location.



I've already got a ton of stuff growing in the garage. There are over 100 little tomato seedlings alone! I really want to do a lot of canning, dehydrating, and cooking with them this summer. I can't wait to see all the different colored heirloom ones I bought!




Another thing I'm pretty excited about are these Black Eyed Susan Vines. They are growing so fast! I don't usually pull off the lush hanging basket look but these beauties are giving me hope!




Mostly the only outdoor plants in stores right now are in seed and root form. So when I spotted green my overly anxious self HAD to have these hybrid tea roses! I've never grown roses before. Last year, I bought my mom white roses (her favorite) for Mothers Day and they were SO fragrant and beautiful that they made me jealous. So wish me luck!

How about where you are? Is the snow holding you back or are you charging full green thumbs ahead?

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday

Convenience Blogging

I'm giving the Bloggeroid app a go here. The reviews sound good but it's something new. If it works, brace yourselves for crappy cell phone pics.



Happy Spring to those of you lucky enough to be enjoying it now!

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday

A Little Somethin’Somethin’ For Valentines Day

I can not tell you how completely head over heals I am for these adorable little balls!

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I found these adorable little guys on Pinterest and followed the links back to How About Orange.

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The folks over there are so super awesome that they have a pattern for both Sihlouette users AND patterns for those that need to print and cut.

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They are so cute that I made 2 big ones and resized them to make 4 little ones too! I’m just getting started on my Valentines Day d├ęcor and these cuties are going to be the star balls of the show!

Well, that is if I can bring myself to take down the snowflakes.

You’re Mad.

Lately I’ve been caught up in all kinds of home repair and kind of paint-by-number crafts that have been fun but not really artistic. I found this Pin and it inspired me to get my creative juices flowing. I used a mix of vinyl and finger painting. Smile 

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If you don’t have a vinyl cutting machine you can always stencil, free hand it, or use scrapbooking stickers for your lettering.

 

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I don’t have any substitute for your fingers though Winking smile

Whooo Do You think You Are?

January brought with it a new foe. An Owl.

This is him perched ever so sweetly on my backyard neighbors deck. They are just inside and got to witness him up close through the glass for several hours.

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What I got to do for several hours? Clean up his mess. The mess he made with MY chicken!

Not so cute now are ya Mr. Owl.

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We spent all the daylight hours and into the dark putting up netting over the coop. It looks like a hot mess but we’ll wait until summer when the ground has thawed to put up something more permanent.  Luckily he only got one chicken.

Monday

Ice Skaping and Sledding


What the heck is “skaping”  you ask? Well, it’s an aweful lot like “ice skating”but done and said by adorable 3 and 5 year olds.
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Anberlynn’s PTA hosted a sledding and skating party and the girls had a ton of fun!
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Dad got chosen as the best sledding buddy because he pushes the sled as it goes to make it go further and faster.
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I love that they are getting old enough to go out and do winter sports. When they were littler they hated being all bundled up. Now just look at that grin!
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Anberlynn was having so much fun with her Dad that Evelyn and I went and did the skating thing on our own.
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This is only the second time Evelyn had ever been on the ice. She stayed up pretty well and the shuffle she called “skaping” was pretty adorable. Smile 
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This couldn’t have come at a better time. January is tough for me with so little sun light and it being so cold. I definitely needed to just get out and do something!
What are you doing to stay active in the winter?

Friday

Resolutions

Some people are really into the whole New Years Resolution thing and others aren’t. To me it seems like the year end holidays were the last push of a huge marathon and now, for just a little bit, there’s a moment to catch your breath and look back at how you did on that race. Did you give up half way through? Did you fall but get back up again? Did you learn from the rough spots? Were you better for it in the end? And, most importantly, what are you going to do to make it better next time?
With that in mind here are some of my resolutions and why I chose them:
  1. Cleaning. Last year I made the switch to vinegar as my main cleaner, gathered my cleaning supplies into containers under each bathroom sink, and started making to do lists. All of that has helped me stream line cleaning and I hope to learn a few more tricks this year. A clean house makes me feel awesome.
  2. Journaling. Last year I tried smash booking. It is a fun, portable way of getting memories written down. My biggest secret fear is forgetting. Dementia scares me to death. I want to be better about writing in my journals, smash booking, and scrapbooking. Blogging falls into this category too. I’ve been sucky about keeping up with records and I've got the blog stats to prove it.
  3. Money. People groan about this one just like they groan about the group of newbies that just joined the gym. But, for me, it needs to be done. Car and house repairs completely wiped out our budget last this year. And it sucked. This year is a year for rebuilding and getting back on track.
  4. Spiritual. As a family we really slacked off on going to church this year. I used work and home stuff as an excuse but really, there’s no reason why I couldn’t have sat down with my scriptures or some music for a minute. This year that will change. I need the peace and the strength that it brings me.
  5. Finish. My word of the year. We have had so much going on that there were a lot of things we started and didn't have a chance to finish. The entry needs primed and painted. The backyard needs some gravel. The recessed lighting we got last January is still sitting in the garage. The goal here is to be able to walk around my house and not have to explain why the flooring is here but not there. I want to be relaxed when I am in my own home, not stressed about what I haven’t done.

Whew! Think I can take it on? It’s a week and a half in and so far I’m doing good! 
Are you a resolution maker? Do you start yours at a different time of the year? Or do you just wing it?

Word Of The Year

How is everyone out there? This last year was a whirlwind of things going wrong and I am to excited to get back on track!

Last year I chose the word Simplify for my word of the year. It ended up working really well because sometimes that was all I had left to do after the chaos drained all the money, transportation, and often time. But you don’t need a lot of those things to take a minute out and get back to basics. The trash can is always right there, ready for a purge. Any box makes a great donation bin. And you can do more than you think with beans and rice! The most important part of it was spending time with family. They don’t need a lot of fancy things, and time is golden. It was such a refreshing mantra for me and I hope that you try it for yourself one year!

So…..are you ready for this years word?

Finish.

We have lots of things in the garage just begging to be done, walls that need a little primer, a backyard that could use some TLC, scrapbooks that need put together, stuff that just really needs done. Most of it won’t cost much to do and a bunch of it will be free too.

When I ditched our third bedroom in favor of a craft room I really tried to finish off everything that I could. Sure, one day it could have new baseboards and I’d like all the furniture to be white. There are always tweaks to be made. Overall though, I am at peace with it. There are only two spaces in my entire house that I can say that about, the craft room and the entry way. I’d like to say that about all of it.

So that’s my mantra for this year. to Finish. To tie up loose ends. To bring what we have into full use. To be at peace with my home.