Landscape lighting repair can be a real backbreaker

Disclosure:  This post is brought to you by Andy's Sprinkler. The opinions shared here are 100% mine.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Andy’s Sprinkler. The opinions shared here are 100% mine.

My husband comes from a hard working family. Everyone in his family has a very strong work ethic and it shows. Within the first few times I met his grandparents, I realized that his grandfather always had some kind of project going on at the house. When he ran out of projects at his own house, he started moving on to rental properties. My husband got that gene, apparently, because there’s always some kind of project going on here at the Savings in Seconds homestead, too. The other factor in the equation is that these men don’t believe in hiring out the work. Instead, they think the job’s not right unless they do it on their own. Which would be a good thing, except that my husband really doesn’t have time to devote to a DIY project on most weekends. We’re lucky if we make it to the grocery store to pick up some milk. Finishing an outdoor project just doesn’t make it to the short term to-do list most weeks.
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The last of our garden is trickling in

The end of summer always feels bittersweet to me.   August is our last hurrah.  Even though we head back to school at the beginning of August, we can usually swim after school and maybe piddle in the garden for a few minutes.  This year the temperatures were cooler and we didn’t get in the pool more than a couple of days per week.  We even closed the pool early this year because it was just too cold to swim.   My garden is starting to shut down for the winter, too.  Just a few days ago we brought in the last of the potatoes and harvested the butternut squash.  We also scavenged some tomatoes that fell off the vine when we tried to pick them.  There are massive amounts of strawberries in the beds, too, but they just weren’t ripe yet.  It’s such a treat to pick a couple of strawberries for the kids as we come in the door.

last of the garden -- [Read more…]

On My Bookshelf: The MiniFARMING Guides by Brett Markham

My husband has finally gotten on board with my wish to convert our final frontier of backyard space into a garden.   For years I’ve been growing out of containers, raised beds, and grow bags.  It’s been fun to try different container styles but I also long for a “real” garden.  With the greater amount of space the new garden area will provide, I’ll be able to try more new plants than ever before rather than limiting to one or two varieties of our favorites. We have a lot of forest creatures who venture into our backyard.  From deer to rabbits, there’s going to be an issue with the critters so we’ll have to create a fence.  We also have hard clay soil and will need to enrich our ground with a good amount of topsoil. To save money and use natural resources, I really want to learn about making my own compost.   I received a copy of The Mini Farming Guide to Composting  and Mini Farming Guide to Vegetable Gardening by Brett Markham to review.  Both books are available through Skyhorse Publishing.

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On My Bookshelf: Kiss My Aster by Amanda Thomsen

I received a book to review for this post. The opinions shared are 100% mine.

I realize that this is anathema to say in print, but some people just take gardening too seriously.  We have a neighbor who prunes and picks at his yard daily, leaving piles of brush right on the road.  How does he even have anything left to work on?!  Then there’s my other neighbor.  She sings and plays her harp to her plants, moving from area to area until each flower has had a serenade.  I’m sure they’re really fond of me.  (Dripping sarcasm in that statement, in case you missed it.)  I’m the gardener who throws some seed down and hopes for the best.  If it doesn’t grow, I just repeat and again hope for the best.    The wild, overgrown look is what I rarely go for but usually end up with.  Here’s the general appearance of my “flower beds”:

Kiss My Aster!!

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On My Bookshelf : Homegrown Herbs by Tammi Hartung

I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed here are 100% mine.

I have a bad habit of reading reference books from cover to cover. It happened again with Homegrown Herbs. Just look at the cover. It is Pinterest worthy, is it not? I just want to smell every photo and taste each concoction. Gardeners, consider yourself warned. Your families won’t see you for days after reading this book. You’ll be too busy to bathe or eat because you’ll be searching for places to sow these seeds of wisdom in your garden.

While I have been busy in my vegetable garden this summer, my herb garden has been miserably neglected. The once prolific parsley and basil plants struggled along while I’ve been distracted by snow peas and spinach. [Read more…]

On My Bookshelf: Food In Jars by Marisa McClellan

This week’s focus is gardening and preserving.  I received a copy of Food In Jars to review and it’s all I can look at these days.  We’ve been enjoying a lot of rain in the past few weeks which means area gardens are full of goodness just waiting to be enjoyed!  Over the weekend I noticed that the tomatoes still on the plants at Lowe’s are already beginning to ripen.  Wow!  Mine are not quite there yet but I’m anticipating the loveliness very soon.  Having an abundance of garden goodness translates into the need for preserving the extra.  That’s why I want to share this great book with you.  Food In Jars is a treat for the imagination. I’ve been following the blog for months now. Author Marisa McClellan makes it all seem so easy, the preserving of foods in cute little glass containers. The book Food in Jars (available from Running Press Books) is even better. The photos are so bright and big that I almost wanted to modgepodge them into my pantry.

Food In Jars almost has me ready to take the plunge into home canning. [Read more…]

My happy plants are thriving — Spray N Grow

I’ve been posting all spring about the progress of my little backyard garden.  While it’s nothing compared to the mini-farms that some of my friends do in the summer, it’s just enough for us.  I love tending it and watching the plants grow. My happy plants are thriving and I’m going to share my secret with you today.   I received a sample of a product that has been really effective on my plants (opinions shared are mine).  My kids were so excited a few days ago  when they realized that the potatoes that they planted in February have grown into this big bush!

The potatoes in the garden.

So what have I done differently this year?  Here’s a hint.  I spray, they grow.  [Read more…]

Let’s walk in the garden for a while …….

“Let’s walk in the garden for a while …..”  When the bugs hear me say those words,  a dinner bell starts ringing in the nearest mosquito’s kitchen.  They think of me as a big bug buffet.  Well, I have news for them.  This garden is officially a Nature-Cide zone!   When Nature-Cide offered to send me some products to try, I immediately wanted to know about the potential chemical effects from the formulas.  I was thrilled to find out that, exactly as the name implies, these are natural solutions to common pest problems. is a Naturecide zone.

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My garden filled our table — pasta and greens tonight

My garden is a constant source of happiness for me. I can find something to do every time I go out….from picking maple-seed “helicopters” out of the beds to weeding the strays that have cropped up in between the plants. Now that spring has come full circle, the garden is producing enough for us to supplement each meal with a little bit of fresh produce. Most nights I clip a few bok choy leaves or spinach thinnings to add our dish that night. Pasta with veggies is one of my favorite meals. When the kids are eating pizza or something else that doesn’t appeal to me, I usually throw together some garden goodness with whatever is in the cabinet. Tonight, this was the creation. pasta5

It had been a few days since I harvested anything so there was a lot to choose from. [Read more…]

No compost? No problem. John & Bob’s to the rescue!

You all know that I’m on a super gardening kick.  The idea of growing my family’s food is so fascinating to me!   Unfortunately I live in the valley of East Tennessee where the soil is all clay. An ambitious person could probably build a house out of the bricks in my backyard.   Raised beds can be a solution, but it’s often expensive and time-consuming to get the beds started.  I have a few containers started, too, but it would really be a blessing to be able to use the soil we already have.  When I heard about John & Bob’s soil optimizing products, I had to learn more.  The basis behind their company is that you don’t NEED a truckload of topsoil or wheelbarrows of compost to have beautiful soil.  By adding the simple soil amendments from John & Bob’s, you can utilize and maximize the soil that’s already in your garden spot!  They offer a powerhouse of nutrients in a small package, which leaves a smaller carbon footprint everywhere.   This not only saves time and money but also backbreaking labor.  It’s as easy as one click to find the soil kit you need for your specific soil type.

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