If you’re a warm weather fan like Laura is, the thought of the coming winter months can be a bit depressing. The knowledge that these bright sunny days will soon transform into those cold windy nights, is enough to make anyone want to find a warm cozy corner of their home to hunker down in hibernation. Unfortunately, if you’re homeowners like we are, you know there are way too many things that need to be done around the house in preparation for those icy rain storms and heavy snow. Winter can be very damaging to your home. Ice and snow can build up on roofs leading to leaks or structural damage, water pipes can freeze, and heavy snow can wreak havoc on plants and trees. So before you grab your homemade quilt and hot cup of cocoa, take these simple steps for winter home prep.
Picking a pumpkin is one of the joys of childhood. In autumn pumpkins are ubiquitous at grocery stores, garden centers, and farmers markets. The most fun place is the pumpkin patch where children can see the fruit as part of the life cycle of a living vine.
Within the life cycle of the seasons in a garden the pumpkin goes full circle. Seeds sown in spring produce a flowering vine throughout the summer. Fruits harvested in autumn become decorations, food for wildlife and humans, residence for rodents, and seeds for snacks and next year’s garden. Winter remnants of the plant become organic nutrients in soil supporting seeds sown in spring.
Pumpkins prompt possibilities which link generations together in the family circle...Read more
Applesauce is a favorite among children and adults alike. Some homemade applesauce recipes require special equipment, complicated and time consuming procedures and seem to be more of a hassle then it is worth. However, fresh homemade applesauce can be made very easily in small batches with no special equipment and in less than half an hour. And the best part? It’s Super Simple and Kosher Too!
There are many benefits to making your own applesauce. You can have fresh applesauce any time of the year; however it is best when apples are in season. Applesauce can be made with any apple variety as each variety has its own unique flavor. Making fresh applesauce ensures a fresh product without any unnecessary additives. Important nutrients are retained due to the minimal processing required.
How ...Read more
As the garden harvest comes rolling in, many of us are left with more vegetables than we can comfortably eat. As always, to help your neighbors, offer some to them, trade with other gardeners for things they both of you didn’t grow, hot water can some, and freeze some for the winter.
Have you ever tried freezing your own vegetables? Because many of them contain enzymes that will cause them to lose color while frozen, it can leave you with a colorless bunch of vegetables, which don’t look appealing. I recommend blanching them before freezing them, it helps keep their color vibrant, and also makes cooking them from frozen easier.Read more
By the end of a busy day most parents are very tired from working all day. It’s very tempting to just pick up fast food on the way home. Preparing home cooked meals don’t have to take a lot of time. Cooking dinner at home will save a family a lot of money every month. There are many ways to make cooking at home easy and fun.
Look at Weekly Grocery Store Ads for Sales and Specials
When the weekly ads come in the mail don’t just throw them in the trash. Plan the family’s weekly meals around what the store has on sale. If a busy family buys the items on sale, it makes eating at home much cheaper than eating out. When planned accordingly there are many meals a family of four can make for under $5. Using coupons is also a great way to save money on groceries.
Buying in Bulk can Save Money
If a ...Read more
The onset of autumn is bittersweet for many gardeners, as we say goodbye to our tender annuals and vegetables but welcome the respite from intense gardening chores. Note your successes and failures in your garden journal, and make plans for next year’s growing season.
Fall Gardening Chores
Clean Up Autumn Leaves
Organic gardeners with deciduous trees face a mixed blessing in the fall. Dead leaves are an unparalleled source of carbon in the compost pile, and gardeners should keep a ratio of four parts carbon to one part nitrogen in the compost bin. However, gathering all this free fertilizer is laborious, and it’s tempting to neglect raking chores.
Fallen leaves quickly mat together and form a suffocating blanket on the lawn...Read more
Designing a residential wind or solar power system requires many engineering considerations. One of the biggest decisions is whether to design a grid-tied (GT) or off-the-grid (OTG) system. This decision is a prime motivator in design of the battery storage system. A professional can design and install an appropriate system for each unique situation.
A typical GT system feeds excess electricity back into the power grid, running the consumer’s meter backwards. If the grid is available, it is also used to supply power to the home if necessary. OTG systems rely totally on themselves and backup generators to supply electricity needs. Either system may use batteries to store energy, but going OTG requires battery storage.
Sizing the Battery Bank
There are several technical issues to be consid...Read more
Educational theorists, from philosophers like Socrates and Rousseau to researchers like Howard Gardner today, have addressed theories of learning. Many of their ideas continue to influence homeschoolers as well as traditional educators. A little familiarity with some of the ideas most popular among homeschoolers will help you make sense of the wealth of available materials when you begin to make choices for your family.
Overview of different learning theories
Jean Piaget and Cognitive Development
Jean Piaget proposed that children go through several distinct stages of cognitive growth.
- First comes the sensorimotor stage (birth t...
Just because the temperatures are falling and days are getting shorter doesn’t mean that you need to till under the garden and call it a season. Fall can be a delightful time to take up the hobby of vegetable gardening! While ‘hot weather’ plants such as tomatoes and peppers may be winding down for the year, there are numerous other vegetables capable of thriving in the cooler autumn months. If you are interested in maximizing the vegetable output of your garden, try out these great tips for vegetable gardening in autumn.
Growing Great Crops in the Fall
- Salad greens, such as lettuce, arugula and spinach generally prefer the cooler temperatures of fall and spring...
Imagine this: You have a garden or yard full of trees. Each year you prune and cut dying branches to make room for new growth. Each autumn you rake in several pounds of dead leaves, fallen fruits and other garden “leftovers.” What are you going to do? Ordinarily, you would just leave them alone scattered on your yard, where they would just decay or be buried in winter frost. You probably would clear out a fallen branch or two as well.
How to make Biochar
- Clear your garden of all living, organic material.
- Dig a trench approx 12 inches deep.
- Use a fork to loosen and turn the soil at the bottom.
- Pile brush in the bottom of the trench, approx 8 inches deep.
- Light the brush on fire, and allow it to smolder until the smoke thins and turns bluish-gray.
- Cover lightly with an inch of dirt and le...