Tag Archives: Environment

Solar Cooking: Cheesy Chile-Chicken Casserole

by Tammy Taylor~

*contains affiliate link

I bought my solar oven several years ago and I’m learning more & more how to use it.  Living in NE Texas, the summers are hot, humid and sticky.  I hate to fire up the oven in my kitchen.  So it’s the solar oven to the rescue!  I’m able to keep that cooking heat outside where it belongs!

But today the temps outside are spiking and humidity is on the rise.  It’s absolutely miserable outside!  So I’ll be utilizing my solar oven to make my casserole.

Cooking using the power of the SUN? YES! Cheesy Green Chile Chicken Casserole - I used my solar oven to make the casserole, but you could bake it in a regular oven too. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Continue reading

Homestead Hack: Reusing Potato Bags In The Garden

by Tammy Taylor~

I.  Hate.  Plastic.  Now in our area of NE Texas, plastic bags are not recyclable.  Actually from what I hear, even much of the plastic bags that are sent for recycling end up int he landfill anyway.  There’s just not enough demand for the recycled material from plastic bags. I personally think recycling is only a tool, not the answer anyway. To me, the answer is to eliminate as much waste as possible in the first place.

Let’s take a bag of potatoes for example.  Buying individual potatoes is the way to go for environmental reasons of course.  But our tiny budget and the limited shopping avenues we have available out here in the boonies means we have to take what we can get.  Sometimes that involves a bag of potatoes.  Now that bag is purposely made with holes to allow the potatoes to breathe. So I can’t even reuse them for dividing servings of Cook-Once, Eat-Twice entrees for the freezer.  But when they’re empty they still don’t go to the trash.  Nope, I’ve got another use for them.  You know my battle cry: Use Whatcha Got!

Homestead Hack: Rusing Plastic Bags In The Garden! Sometimes we buy a bag of potatoes. I've got another use for the bag. My battle cry: Use Whatcha Got! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Continue reading

Make A Raised Planter Using A Small Tire

by Tammy Taylor~

A few months ago RancherMan & I joined my parents for a quick dinner at a local restaurant.  On the sidewalk outside the restaurant was a cute planter.  Upon closer inspection, it looked like a small, thick tire that was painted & planted.  RancherMan said it was probably a riding lawn mower or golf cart tire.  I loved it!  Heck you always wonder what to do with an old tire anyway.  And their disposal is always an issue.  Plus I often worry that planters that you buy just can’t hold up to the rough Texas weather year after year.

These repurposed-tire planters seemed to be the best of both worlds – pretty, very durable and using something previously wasted.  I decided to give it a try.  But I didn’t have an old lawn mower tire and I really didn’t want to buy a new one.  It seems like such a waste of resources to buy a perfectly good usable tire & paint it up!

A cute nearly indestructible planter that can endure year after year in the challenging Texas weather. A repurposed tire to the rescue! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Continue reading

Plastic Free July – Our Successes & Failures

by Tammy Taylor~

*contains affiliate link

I’d never heard of plastic-Free July before, but I’m willing to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate as much extra plastic from our lives as possible.  Now I hate plastic and I shun it every day anyway.  But for me, it’s all about balance.  If I stumble I don’t obsess about it, life’s just too short.  But I’m usually pretty successful in eliminating lots of plastic with super-easy changes.  Come see ways I’ve been able to stop lots of plastic from coming into our home.  Maybe you can pick up a few tips.  We’d love to hear your tips too, be sure to share in the comments.  We can all learn from each other!

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

Continue reading

Repurposing An Empty Coffee Canister: Dried Herbs

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know we love our coffee.  We prefer Folgers to other brands of coffee.  Although I hate that it’s sold in plastic, at least the plastic canisters are convenient.  I’ve used them for simplifying Garden Weeding Chores.  And we’ve stored chicken feed and dog food in them too.  I’ve Painted Canisters for a cute planter for our back porch. (and also a cute way to share plants with friends).  And I even FINALLY figured out how to Remove The Print from canisters so I can use them for cute decorative pieces in my kitchen (more on that later).  But since this canister is food-grade plastic, I’m able to do even more with it.  I can store large quantities of dried herbs in them.

Continue reading

GO GREEN – Compostable Utensils & Wooden Plates!

by Tammy Taylor~

*contains affiliate links

Did y’all know there’s such a thing as ‘Plastic-Free July’? Me neither! But you know I hate plastic so I’m loving anything that has to do with eliminating more of it.  And it’s perfect timing since recent buying decisions had me looking for disposable utensils.

Wait a minute, WHAT Tammy??!  I thought you hated disposable things!

Yes, you’re correct… But we were hosting an outdoor family reunion I didn’t want my good flatware going outside & being lost or thrown away accidentally.  And you KNOW I’m not gonna use anything plastic!  So I went online searching for options.  I was intrigued to find compostable forks, knives and spoons.  There are many manufacturers out there but PerfectWare utensils by Perfect Stix were actually WAXED.  I knew right then & there that I’d be buying those!

Compostable Waxed Flatware? YES! These waxed utensils are inexpensive and fully compostable. Used for backyard BBQ's & weddings! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Continue reading

Repurposing Coffee Canisters – Removing The Print

by Tammy Taylor~

*affiliate link

I’ve written before about repurposing those handy empty coffee canisters to a new life.  They’ve been used in my garden to simplify chores, and I’ve painted them & planted in them for my patio.  And those painted canisters make a cute presentation when I want to share plants with friends too.  But recently I had a foodsy-type repurpose I wanted to do with them.

Since I would be using them for storing food I didn’t want to paint the canister.  I dunno, it’s probably fine, but I worried about whether with repeated use the paint might fleck off or even get mixed in with our food.  For whatever reason, I wanted to leave the canister unpainted.  But removing the print proved to be more difficult than I thought.  Scrubbing the canister, using nail polish remover, paint thinner – even a straight-edge blade wouldn’t remove that print!  Hummmm…  this is going to take a little more investigation…

Removing The Print On An Empty Coffee Canister. I like to repurpose those coffee canisters, but how do you remove the print? It was more complicated than I thought. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Continue reading

How To Harvest Mammoth Sunflower Seeds

by Tammy Taylor~

*contains affiliate link

I love sunflowers!  As a matter of fact they may be my absolute favorite flower.  I mean, what’s not to love?  They’re super easy to grow, they bloom prolifically and I’ve always said “Yellow is a HAPPY color!”  I plant a row of Mammoth Sunflowers at the edge of my garden every year.  I love the look of the cheery yellow blossoms.  And my mom always comments about how beautiful they are when she visits.

This year I planted the sunflowers along the chicken fence side of the garden.  Those huge sunflower plants offer shade during the heat of the day for my chickens.  Oh, and our bees love them too. That’s a lot of bang for my package-of-seeds buck! But now it’s time to harvest those sunflower seeds.  Come see what I did.

Continue reading

The Amazing Traveling Basket: Shopping

by Tammy Taylor~

*affiliate link

Recently RancherMan & I enjoyed a vacation with my siblings in New Braunfuls, Texas.  It was a great time filled with family, sight seeing, shopping & some pretty fancy restaurants.  We all even got to enjoy a concert at the famous Gruene Hall.  And as luck would have it, we were visiting during Market Days weekend too.

Market Days is an outside market filled with vendors of many different kinds.  Craftsmen were selling anything from hair clips made from vintage silverware to hand-made leather pistol holsters.   Then I spied a vendor who was selling baskets, and  I’ve wanted a basket for years.  To me they’re beautiful and very functional pieces of art.   On this day I picked out a gorgeous, roomy hand-made basket with leather handles.  It even had strips of bright pink woven in.  Since becoming a breast cancer survivor I enjoy having splashes of pink around me.  This basket is beautiful, I love it!

I bought a handmade basket and look forward to using it in many various ways. Today I share the main way I use my basket: shopping! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Continue reading

Using Natural Materials: Straw In The Garden

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know we live in Texas.  You also know it’s typically hot and dry during our summertime months.  So I’m careful to mulch our garden heavily.  Mulching helps the plants in many ways.  It not only conserves that precious moisture, but it also moderates soil temps.  I like to mulch with natural materials whenever possible.  A typical gardening year will see me mulching with grass clippings, leaves or spent hay.

But I have a section of my garden that holds my Concord Grapevine.  I’ve trained it to grow along the fence.  It’s LOADED with grapes!  But I’ve also vowed to keep the Bermuda grass from creeping into my garden.  So all the walkways in the garden plus a wide perimeter swath is mulched with wood chips.  But the grapevine is right at the lifeline.  So to keep bermuda from creeping in around the grapevine I surrounded it with 3 bales of wheat straw.  The purpose was just to deny sneaky Bermuda the sunlight as it attempts to grow beneath the bales to get into my garden.  Permission:  DENIED!

But those straw bales are several years old now.  They’re just spent and starting to deteriorate.  I need to replace them.

I use organic matter for mulch in my garden - often grass clippings or spent hay. But come see how a bale of straw does double duty! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Continue reading