April Prep Every Day Check In

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    Cinnamon Grammy

    Regarding old seeds:  I am sure you all have heard of this but, let me post as a reminder for those that have not.

    Many of us have 1/2 used package of seeds that we have saved. (Ex:  we only plant a few zucchini seeds so we don’t alienate the neighbors with our generous gifting.) Some from last year, perhaps some from 5 years ago.  There is a simple test to see if the old seeds are viable.

    On one end of a paper towel, write on a piece of paper toweling the name of the seed and year of packaging  – in ball-point ink not felt tip.

    Then dip the other end of the paper towel into some water, so the towel is damp for several inches.  Line up the seeds across the damp end of the towel.  Use a round number like 10.  Roll the paper towel from the damp end to the written end.  Place this damp towel into a small plastic bag; and wait.  You may need to re-dampen the towel if you need to wait for a week.  Don’t use too much water or the seeds will rot.

    If the package says germinates in “X” day, that is how long you wait. Larger seeds with harder hulls ( think squash) will take longer than small,  hull-less seeds like cabbage.

    So, if you wet 10 seeds and 9 sprout roots, you are pretty safe to plant normally.  If only 5 sprout, then you should double your seeds.  If only 2 or 3 sprout, don’t plant them, unless they are special seeds that you really want to grow and have the patience to pre-sprout the seeds.

    I just did that with some old squash seeds.  I saw the seeds were swelling, so I put them into the ground before I saw the root emerge.

    Warning:  if you wait too long, the root may grow into the paper towel.  No problem.  Just cut/rip the paper towel apart and plant the rooted seed with it attached.

    Hope this helps someone.





    Cinnamon Grammy: I had not heard of doing old seeds like that. Will be going through hubby’s old seed stash he has in that bin. Will be trying it out. Although the old green bean seeds all came up but maybe just one here and there. But looks like we will be having a good first crop of green beans. We now have the larger garden plowed and ready for all the other things to be planted. Tomatoes, butter beans, green peppers, cucumbers, etc. Not going to plant squash this summer as we still have a lot from last year that will get us through next winter.  So next year we will plant squash.

    Hurricane season will be here before we know it as well. So will have to start getting ready for that also. Though it starts June 1st. For our area it normally hits end of summer or early fall. So have plenty of time to get ready for that.

    I am finally getting to the clothes that I needed to go through. Had to put that on back burner for a bit. We have a lot of clothes we haven’t worn in a couple of years, so figure we more than likely won’t ever wear them. So I am going to donate them to the Salvation Army and Kings Daughter’s hospital. They both use donated clothing and are good organizations.


    Amy Dixon

    Corsaire – Sorry to hear that your hand is still giving you trouble.  I hope it will continue to improve and regain more function!  Good idea about using the large binder clips to attach the solar lights 🙂

    Yesterday I tried again to find a used blue 55-gallon barrel at the apple products’ company’s outlet store.  No luck, so I’ll have to check again next month.  They did have some nice, used white square plastic buckets with lids though.  I also had some fun yesterday checking out the Thrive Life Spring Sale items.  I ordered some pantry-sized cans of Instant Quinoa, Instant Refried Beans, Freeze-Dried Seedless Red Grapes, and Freeze-Dried Shredded Parmesan, etc., to try.  I also ordered some of the Freeze-Dried Granny Smith Apples they had at a great 50% discount 🙂  I’ve been enjoying reading Daisy’s articles about her trip overseas!


    Crow Bar

    Prepped the raised beds.
    New load of 2 year aged compost.
    Covered the beds with ag grade green house plastic.
    Will let the weeds that are still present come up, and take them out before actual planting starts. Wont be till late May. While today was a beautiful day (upper 60s, sunny), we have a chance of snow in the forecast for Sunday, lows in the upper 20s.

    I did find a spaghetti squash that I missed last year. I doubt the seeds survived our winters, but you never know. I have had tomato seeds come back from over winter that I never thought would.


    Olivia Green

    Reading about the gardening going on with you all almost makes me miss the large garden at our farm-ette. Moved down from the coast range 19 years ago.
    With my AI condition pretty sure it wouldn’t get the care necessary.
    I am going to try to ‘tub’ grow some grape tomatoes and lemon cucumbers this summer..


    Cinnamon Grammy

    Old Mt. Woman:  glasses.  Chuckle!

    After Hubby had cataracts removed, he just needs reading glasses now.  There is a pair next to the computer, near the TV, at bedside.  Plus, one in my purse with my clip-on sunglasses.  I have worn glasses every day for the past 60 years so I am not very tolerant of  people who do not simply wear their reading glasses – for vanity reasons.  (“Can you read this?”  I say, “Yup,” and walk away.)  Or him not being able to read when we are ‘out’, so I started carrying his reading glasses with me.  If he goes to the store without me he invariably purchases the “wrong” item because he did not read the label.

    He went to Grandson #5’s school concert last night and did not take his glasses!  He had no idea what the program said.

    Glasses are an inexpensive thing to buy and keep, in increasing magnifications, for future use. (I wish my bifocals and strong prescription [20/50] lenses were as simple to anticipate.)  I am waiting for the cataract surgery so I can get Lasik at the same time.



    Cinnamon Grammy

    Crowbar:  my dream is to have raised beds.  I would settle for defined beds this year.  We have one bed done that way and it is great.  Twenty-one+ more to go.

    Our garden is a series of 3′ x 17′ beds in three rows of seven beds. All enclosed in eight foot tall wire.  It makes it convenient for rotation.  One row of seven is Cole (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), second row is Solonaceae (tomatoes, peepers, potatoes), and the third is legumes (beans, peas).  Plus I companion plant whoever possible.  The beds do not stay defined as the crops grow over their “boundaries”.  I would love to put down some edging, such as a couple of treated landscape timber on top of each other.  It would make mowing easier.  (Hubby would know to stay at the boundary and not mow over the herbs growing next to the trellised peas. Not that he has done it of course. Ahem.)

    Some of the beds have been deeply double dug specifically for root crops – potatoes, carrots/parsnips.  All of the beds are looking pretty good this year after six years of gardening.  We also get local compost to add to each bed.  Worms are increasing and the chunks of clay are getting smaller.  We could actually use a tiller this year since there are few weeds to worry about.  (I hate tilling up gardens that have weeds since the tiller will break of the weeds’ roots into a million pieces for a million more weeds.)

    So time to go outside.  Fence will be installed for the blueberries; the  straight trees to use for posts are waiting. I will work on weeding strawberries, and creating a new bed.  I want four new beds for this season.

    Next year we are going to a college graduation of our first international student the end of May.  He is getting his Dental license at Columbia.  We will not be home for Spring planting next year, so I must be as ready as possible in early May for the best possible crop.  Knowing in advance will give me incentive to grow and prepare more this year, and be ready early for next year.  Plant and then vacation exploring the NYC area where I have never been.

    For now, work.

    Here is a link to the Gardening Channel’s video of sprouting seeds.  https://www.gardeningchannel.com/pre-germinating-seeds-gives-you-a-head-start/?fbclid=IwAR2JJM0IiwqdVwvm0kb5u-BKnYv0bgdB-_hUwSjS8HT305fhPnD_rPRmxbQ



    Due to storms today we were unable to work in the garden. however, we did spend the day going through summer and winter clothes. So that is a big job off my list. Hubby though is so funny. Everytime I say we need to go through the clothes he always says I will take care of mine, don’t you mess with my clothes. So I just say ok. And this time When he took everything out of dresser and put on bed, I started going through his clothes. He had rags for shirts. So I would just ask why are you keeping this shirt, has it not got enough stains and holes in it to ditch yet. Carma is great, he let me go through his clothes and we got rid of a lot of stuff. Now he has room for his good clothes. I did the same with my clothes as well. Glad to have downsized the dressers of clothes. Still have the closet to do but will have to wait till tomorrow as it is getting to late to start that project yet.

    Our youngest grandchild is graduating in June from high school. So then we have another one off to college in fall. That is the end of the line till the great grandchildren start coming. With only 2 out of 5 grandchildren married, It might still be awhile yet.


    OldMt Woman

    Cinnamon Grammy….yeah, the worst purchase I ever made was regular eye doctor glasses.  My far vision truly doesn’t need correction.  But I need small print/close-up readers and computer distance.  Distinctly two different magnifications.  With the “real” glasses, my need to look a the ground as I walk was dangerously distorted by the high magnification a the bottom of the lens.  So imagine me about to stand on my head, trying to tilt the glasses down far enough to be able to see the steep down hill or down steps, out of the top portion of the lens.  Uff tah!  With this terrain, it’s steeply up or down hill most of the time.  Lucky I didn’t break my neck.

    The idiot eye “professional” should have advised me to order bi-focal readers…..for close and mid-range.  That’s my perfect combination….and worn with a leash so I can drop them when trying to walk.  AND….I love the leashes to keep track of the wiley things!  At this point I wear the close readers around my neck and the mid-range readers are stationed near the computer.  I can’t stand it when I CAN’T SEE!  That’s why I stash extras around everywhere.

    …..then, I add sunglasses if I’m outside.  Have the type of eyes that have always SNAPPED SHUT in direct sunlight.  Perch them on the top of my head.  Life was less complicated before needing all these aids to normal vision.  Hmph!

    And it sounds like you have a wonderful garden set up.  A one and a half foot reach from either side is all we found is comfortable now.  But raised up is also lovely.  A friend of mine bought a shallow livestock watering tank….drain holes in the sides…and planted some of her root crops in there.  Had it set up higher on cement blocks.  We’ve had a terrrrrible siege of voles these past years.  Those nasty varmints eat EVERYTHING.  Stole my baby carrots and I found them stacked up like cord wood in their underground tunnels.  Hmph!

    Lil’Sister…..that is one chore both DH and I need to do….again.  I sorted and slashed a few years ago.  But didn’t get completely finished.  Hmmm, WILL I ever be THAT size again?  {roll eyes}   Well maybe in a post-stuff-hits-fan era.  LOL  I can still find much to drop at the thrift store.  Shoot, at this point I could BE a thrift store.  (not quite)

    Long arduous day yesterday.  But I did walk the dog further than I’ve been all winter.  Less clothes and light shoes rather than heavy winter wear does make a difference.  But I’ve been trying to make sure I’m walking with purpose now.  I do a lot of HILL climbing just getting things done around here.  Need physical fitness to the level it’s possible.  For many reasons….

    OldMtWoman  …Just getting over the headache I woke up with.  Uff Tah!!


    Mama cando

    Good morning all, Haven’t been on line much lately, Easter went well . Cooked the ham in the crock pot this year, turned out well although DH and I figured out 8 hours on low was just a bit too much but everyone really liked it.  Ham was NOT dry but it fell apart getting it out of the crock LOL. Son 2 was disappointed he couldn’t “carve” it.He’s a butcher and loves doing that for us(and I think he likes to impress his Aunts and Uncles LOL). The grands were very happy Gramma made mashed potatoes AND gravy. Everyone had a great time. DH and I went to the hardware store to look at new locks, we’re replacing windows and one door(out to the deck). So he wanted to change the locks on the new door, one manufacturer has a deal on right now buy four get fifth one free, so we decided to replace all the locks plus they re keyed the locks so we only need one key rather than 5 different keys for free. Windows and door have been ordered and should be here in May. We’re going to have snow tomorrow YUK!.  DH is hoping it goes away quickly as he’s just itching to get back to planting. Had to laugh, he really can’t wait till he can mow the lawn regularly, had the rider out Wednesday and “mowed” the lawn such as it is HEE HEE!. Thank you all again for all your prayers and thoughts. Niece, nephew and grandniece are doing okay, They have the bad days and good days.  Niece has been getting the special needs things together,returning them and has been going thru Grand nephews toys, clothes and donating them. It’s going to be a long process for all of them. An Uncle(nephews) started a pay pal account to help them with the costs, etc. They are still looking for someone to make a custom urn(that doesn’t cost an arm and leg) as my grand nephew went thru the “Magical Mist”. That is what the funeral home called it for grand niece. How do you explain cremation to a 5 year old without traumatizing them. She was happy she would be able to take her little brother home and not bury him. That upset her more than anything that little brother would be in the ground. The funeral home they went to as I understand it does not charge for children under 5 for cremation. They will be doing a memorial later on for him. Hopefully DH and I can go when that happens.Hope you all had a great Easter and hope Daisy is enjoying her trip. Look forward to her reports.


    OldMt Woman

    Mama Cando …Praying grief will slowly and eventually lessen.  That small things… moments with others… will comfort all of you.

    How big is your crock pot.  Mine is large but don’t think a ham would fit.  Sounds like a yummy Easter dinner.

    I’ve been reading a variety of things.  Finishing up Clan of Cave Bear series.  Half thru last book.  ‘Bout killing my hands cuz that one I picked up as a large hard-cover book.  I prefer paperback or ebook.  [Especially FREE ebooks]   Reading one of Chautona Havig’s fiction.  I like her books.  Easy, family, Christian.  At the same time, I decided I was in the mood for a Jerry D. Young book.  I’ve got many.  Read most of those, but not all.  I just grabbed one I read long enough ago that I don’t remember which story this is.  But I always reread.  […like I don’t have enough new FREE ebooks to chose from?]  But J.D.Y. is a known quantity…and I’ve started too many other author’s books recently that I won’t be finishing.  Just wanna sit back and read a story.

    Did my hike with dog tonite.  Yesterday was a strain so not as ambitious for projects today.  Keeping up with daily Duoligo lessons.  It’s fun.




    Thanks for the update Mama Cando. Echoing OldMt Woman praying that the grief will lesson and that in time you can use this to help others.

    I have been watching the video series Money revealed. It is made by the same folks who did GMOs revealed, Christ revealed and probably a few others. Its really good.

    An plastic egg shaped bag with small plastic eggs ( clearance at Walmart) turned out to be a great case for my sharpies. I repacked the eggs in a bag and will donate those.

    Duolingo, oh dear. I missed a few weeks with that.


    grannyj smith

    Despite being ill for a over a month and not well yet, then having tornadoes here for the past weeks here that knocked out power and ruined food in the refrigerator and freezer, but so thankful and blessed to still have my home and family.

    So now that I have faced the reality that I cannot depend on electric I have to do thing differently to keep food safe, so that is my question for anyone on here that lives off grid, how do you do it?




    Cinnamon Grammy

    Greetings, All


    Little Sister: We noticed a lot of weather in your part of the country. Hubby has gotten into watching the weather and has discovered new computer programs which allow him to see it. Yours has been worse that ours.

    It is a great feeling to remove clothes that you do not like or just don’t wear anymore. It felt good for me. My mother always mended our clothes so I still think I need to do that before discarding them. In reality, my wardrobe when I was a teenager is probably 1/100 of what I have now.   I have suits and formal clothes that I should probably dry clean and take them to a consignment store. There is no dry cleaner in our town, so that is an issue.

    What bugs me is that DH will wear a t-shirt to bed that is one of his newest and best, while leaving the crummy stretched out ones on the shelf. Then he does not have a good one to wear away from the house!

    Old Mt. Woman. My eyes are like yours. I have needed correction in only one eye for decades. Now, with aging, the other has changed a bit. The Opthamologist said he would only do Lasik on the bad eye and not touch the “good” one. Afterwards, I will still wear regular glasses; I like being able t read all the time. I really enjoy the no line bifocals. Yes, I was dizzy for a couple weeks while trying to get used to them, but they are well worth it with the huge range of magnification. I keep threatening to get hubby a nice pearl and rhinestone chain on which to wear his readers.

    Mama Cando: I did not like ham gravy when I was small. I appreciate it now. I think my favorite thing to eat is mashed potatoes and gravy. For us, Easter dinner is Ham, with a fruit sauce, German Potato Salad, and Green Bean Casserole. Plus the deviled eggs, and pickle condiments. (The juice, and bone are used for soups!) We only color Easter Eggs when we are with family. But at home, whenever I cook eggs I put vinegar and a squirt of food color in the warm water.  That way, when looking at eggs in the ‘frog,  I will know they are cooked. It is a bit put-offish, though, when I take out an egg that has cracked and it is magenta in color.  Still tasted great.

    I hope your niece is doing well. Grieving is a process and one that is undertaken in each person’s own time and step by step. Have your niece look into a wooden box with engraving on it. Our funeral director had someone who would laser engrave whatever we wanted on the wood box. When my son died, at age 34, we had him cremated. His father, sister, and I each had separate portions of his ashes saved from the larger container. They each have a small metal or marble urn, about 3-inches tall, that they have on a shelf where he can be part of daily life. I had his ashes put into a silver, heart-shaped locket and I wear it whenever we have family events. (He had his own house and it took us a year before we could clean it out to sell.)

    The funeral director was kind to explain things to your nieces that way. Perhaps, her parents can have a small urn set aside for your grand-niece that she can have when she is old enough to understand. I am sure your niece will be a help to other parents of children who have this condition or have lost their child; and the doctors will have learned a great deal from having your great nephew in this world and his treatment should be written and published in medical journals. Love to the family.

    Dystopian books are my favorites. Loved the Jean Auel Series. We have them all. I wish I knew my herbs as she does. Also, appreciate Jerry D. Young. Wish I had the money to set up a compound as he always describes. I always learn a lot from his books. Am currently reading a Kindle version of “Into The End” by B. R. Paulson. More dark psychological than prepper, but promises to have Ham Radio sub-plot.

    Granny Smith: Hope your weather stabilizes and sorry about your loss of power and food. I would be devastated if I lost the food in my freezers, even though I pressure can. Good luck

    I don’t have the energy today to go outside and keep working in Garden B, or help DH with hauling the cut-to-length pieces of wood from the downed trees. Not health related, but weather related, cold and cloudy. I’ll find something to do.

    Stay healthy everyone. Don’t work too hard in the great outdoors.



    Cinnamon Grammy

    Here In Zone 4-A we cannot plant the gardens yet.  Plus, we really only get one crop.  Not much can really be succession cropped due to the freeze dates.  We are not set-up for cloches and other tricks for planting early.  This is how my gardens are organized:

    Gardens: We have three fenced in sections of Gardens. Eight-foot fences to keep out the deer. The furthest from the house is the most flat and Garden C has 21 beds, plus a bunch of currants that I want to take out because they have gotten huge. Garden B is where we are digging up more now to create specific beds for squash, plus beds against the fences for climbers such as dry beans and cucumbers. I want to move the strawberries from C, to B or A. Garden A is where we started, closest to the house, but with poorly installed fencing that is being replaced this year and needs the most work, and it was so hilly. A is where we put the blueberries, now nibbled to the ground, and to where I want to transplant the currants. A and B have a lot of terrain and need to be terraced. We are going to use some landscape timber to define the beds, especially in B, and build them up a bit which will limit the amount of soil/compost we need to haul in, but not to the “raised bed” height.  That is a goal further down the line where we can eventually make mini-cold frames from each one. Gardens A, B, and C have common fencing between them, and a gate large enough for a wheelbarrow.

    We are able to rotate our gardening beds, in C, every three years.  Goal for this year is to organize B with enough beds for rotation of squashes. I figure I can put in 14 specific beds, with some for perennial vegetables. Goal is to establish some perennial flowers this year to attract pollinators. Plus, a bed for garlic which would be a new crop. Garden B, with squash, dry beans, rhubarb, and hopefully asparagus, etc., would not need the daily attending as C does because C is where the “harvest today” tender crops are.

    Garden C has taken a few years to get to the point where we just pull out the weeds and plant. We wanted small beds that we could reach from side-to-side in and not feel as is we were trampling the crops. Yes, it does take mowing between the rows, but the grass is comfortable to sit on while weeding. We are trying to encourage clover in the grass. The length of the beds was determined simply by the area of the land that was easiest to fence-in due to terrain and strips for mowing.

    I don’t want to go to specific raised beds to avoid critters, but I may need to because the pocket gophers ate a lot last year. Another goal is to put in a chicken wire fence below ground around the outside to keep them out. But, that is just silly since they can just burrow deeper, right? Perhaps that is why I have no parsnips! Plus, voles can get through the chicken wire. Have not seen any vole stockpiles, but I know I planted a lot more than I harvested.

    It has taken about five years to develop these gardens to this point. This has all been hand-dug and hand weeded.  I am hoping that next year will be the final year for the garden development and we can just enjoy planting and harvesting.

    How are all your gardens doing?

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