Tag Archives: Spring

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

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5-Minute Beehive Stand Using Cinder Blocks & Posts

by Tammy Taylor~

RancherMan & I are still New-BEES!  Our apiary started out with two established single-deep beehives back in May of last year.  That first beehive stand was built using repurposed 2″x6″ boards that were 6-ft long from raised beds that we tore out.  We added a deep to each hive last year & saw those bees safely through the winter.  This spring we split them into four hives.  Now we needed another hive stand so we built another like the first from purchased 2″x6″ boards.  Then we caught not one, not two, but FOUR bee swarms this spring!  (I KNOW, how exciting!!)  But these swarms are being caught & brought to our fledgling apiary faster than we can build stands.  RancherMan decided to change direction.  He wanted to build the next stands using concrete cinder blocks and 4″x4″ 5-ft long wood posts.

Beehive Stands Put Together In 5 Minutes? YES! We're Using Concrete Cinder Blocks & 4x4 Posts. Come See How Easy It Is! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Vegetable Garden Update: June

by Tammy Taylor~

Unfortunately our area of NE Texas has slipped into yet another drought this year.  Oh there’s been plenty of rain in surrounding areas but it’s mostly managed to miss our homestead!  What we have gotten is lots of the cloudiness associated with that precious rain.  But so many cloudy days means my garden is really behind where it should be this time of year.  My tomatoes are nowhere near producing yet and my peppers are all still tiny.  But I’ve had some successes too.  C’mon into my garden, y’all.  I’ll give you the tour!

Come with me and walk through our vegetable garden. We're still struggling with the weather but we have some successes! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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How To Line-Dry Sheets On A Windy Day

by Tammy Taylor~

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We have a gas clothes dryer but we don’t ever use it.  If I weren’t afraid we’d need it in an emergency situation I’d sell it – I could sure use the chunk of real estate it takes up to store my large stock pots & my *9-Tray Excalibur Dehydrator! LOL.  I typically dry our laundry on a *retractable clothesline most of the time.  If the weather is inclement for days on end I’ll pull out my folding clothes *drying racks and dry our clothes in the guest bedroom.  I can close that door in the event of unexpected company.  But what about those windy spring days?  You know the drill, you fight the sheets onto the line.  Then the wind catches them & makes them want to set sail into the next county!

Sometimes it's hard to dry your sheets outside due to the wind. But I've discovered a secret to keeping the sheets on the line! #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

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Beekeeping – Adding A Honey Super Box to the Beehive

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know we bought our very first bees last year & it’s been a blast raising these girls.  But there’s typically no honey harvest that first year as they’re getting established. The honey they make during that first year needs to remain with the hive to see them through the winter.  We overwintered our bees and they came through this spring with flying colors!  So we split the hives about 8 weeks ago.  Bibbidy-bobbedy-boo our 2 hives turned into 4!  After the split we allowed the hives to recover a bit before we inspected them again.  The hives without a queen raised a new queen to take her place, the hives that retained their queen kept on with business as usual.  Our inspection today showed that now we’re ready to add a honey super to the two stronger hives.

It's time to add a honey super box to our beehives. The bees will fill it with the sweet honey we crave! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Another Great Use For Repurposed Coffee Canisters

by Tammy Taylor~

*contains affiliate link

So y’all know RancherMan & I are coffee drinkers.  You know, like in “Stay away until I’ve had my coffee” kinda coffee drinkers.  Having a ‘Skip Coffee Day’ is never an option, so don’t even ask.  But we don’t want sweetsy, foamy flavored, overly-sugared drinks.  We want coffee.  Strong, black, delicious.  We prefer Folders coffee in the Taylor Household.  That plastic canister it’s sold in comes in handy for many uses when it’s empty.  We store chicken feed and dog food in them.  And RancherMan uses them in the shop to gather bolts & hardware together.  And I’ve even spray painted them and used them for sharing plants from my garden with friends.  But I still need to put them to use.  Our coffee consumption goes on, ya know??  So here’s another simple way those empty canisters still help me out.

Repurposing Coffee Canisters In The Garden. Those plastic coffee canisters. You love 'em, but how many can you use? I'm sharing another way I'm able to repurpose them. #TaylorMadeHomestead

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How To Get FREE Veggie Plants For Your Garden

by Tammy Taylor~

So I recently shared an update on my veggie garden progress.  If you’ve read it you know my peppers and tomatoes were pretty much a bust this year due to our weird spring.  You see, I planted seeds in my indoor greenhouse and placed that greenhouse at a south-facing window in my home like I always do.  But the constant cloudy weather this spring hampered a good germination.  The few plants that did germinate were hardened off & placed in the garden.  But you know peppers and tomatoes like a little more sun, a little more heat.  All those seeds were just a big, fat bust. I’m disappointed since RancherMan had requested a Pico-De-Gallo garden this year.  Garlic?  Check.  Onions?  Check.  Cilantro?  Check.  Tomatoes?  Hummm… But I was recently able to replenish some of the vacant areas in my garden.  It cost me ZILCH.  “How can you get free veggie plants for your garden?” you might wonder.  I’m so glad you asked!

Free Volunteer Plants. Tomato planting was a bust in the garden this year, will I do w/o tomatoes? See how I've outfitted my veggie garden with FREE plants #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Wordless Wednesday: Beekeeper’s Delight

by Tammy Taylor~

Ever since beginning our beekeeping endeavor, I can no longer just merrily bounce across the grass. Now I'm taking very deliberate steps to assure I don't step on one of our honey-makers! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Ever since beginning our beekeeping endeavor, I can no longer just merrily bounce across the grass.  Now I’m taking very deliberate steps to assure I don’t accidentally step on one of our honey-makers!

~TMH~

(You can see ALL our posts about beekeeping HERE)

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C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our ~TMH~ Facebook Page . It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea.  There are lots of good folks sharing!  And you can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or GooglePlus.

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Vegetable Garden Update: May

by Tammy Taylor~

Well, it’s been a pretty strange spring so far for us in NE Texas.  Pretty strange indeed!  Many areas all around us have received plenty of spring rains but for some reason it always seems to miss us here on the homestead.  Although May is our rainiest month of the year we have areas in our backyard that are pretty bare where the ground is parched & cracked.  Scary!  Hopefully that’s not a sign of things to come this year.  I’ve been watering with a 2-gallon watering can which takes a lot of time and doesn’t water as thoroughly.  But RancherMan set up the cistern pump for me today so I’ll be able to use that rainwater captured in the 18-ft deep cement cistern from now on.  If we get any rain at all in the coming weeks that cistern will fill back up!  With the cloudy & cooler weather we’ve had, the garden has really been slow in taking off.  But I’ve had some successes too.  C’mon along with me for a stroll through our garden.

With the cloudy & cooler weather we've had, the garden has been slow taking off. C'mon along with me for a stroll through our garden. #TaylorMadeHomestead Continue reading

Homestead Hack: Cute Container For Herb Cuttings

by Tammy Taylor~

The herbs are going well in my Edible Landscape so I thought I’d take a few cuttings & try to root them in my kitchen window.  I have a repurposed wide-mouth jar that I can use.  So I went to the ‘flower bed’ and trimmed a bit of Stevia, Sage, Oregano, Basil and Rosemary.  I brought them inside and removed the bottom leaves from each of the stems.  I sat those leaves aside so I could use them.  I’ll wash them up & chop all but the Stevia into small pieces & mix them into a bit of olive oil to make my favorite Herb Bombs. Then they’ll be ready & waiting to use this summer in my quick pasta dishes.  I’ve never grown Stevia before so I’ll probably just pop those leaves into my sun tea jar so they can sweeten RancherMan’s tea as it brews.

But I’ve always heard that when you’re rooting cuttings, the jar should be dark.  A dark jar keeps algae from growing in the water and also helps the roots do their thaaaang.  Some suggestions are to paint the jar or to wrap it in scrapbooking paper or something.  Hummm…  So what did I decide to do?  Say it with me kids: “Use Whatcha Got!”  That’s right. 🙂 Check out this Homestead Hack.

I took some herb cuttings to root in my kitchen window. But the jar needs to be kept dark. Check out this cute Homestead Hack idea! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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