Category Archives: Gardening

Why we Bought 1500 Bugs


We just invited a whole lotta bugs to live in our house for a while.

Why would we do that? Well…it all started one Christmas. I am silly and I do themes every Christmas to keep me reigned in on the impulse buying. Christmas of 2011 the theme was “Learning”. Whatever I bought had to have some educational component to it. Games, books, new hobbies, etc. I bought my husband a lemon tree so he would be compelled to learn how to take care of it. He’d been thinking about it for a few months since a co-worker gave him some limes from his own tree. When he got the tree he found the only window in the house with southern exposure and made a nice little home for it there.

18 months later, the tree is still alive! It has had issues like adjusting to the changing temperature through the year, leaves and blossoms falling off and spider mites crawling all over it. In spite of all that, it now boasts one lemon about an inch in diameter.


My husband did learn about what fertilizer to get and how often to feed it. He learned about why the leaves were falling off (most likely temperature changes and the mites) and he learned about a few ways to handle the mites.

One of those methods was rosemary essential oil. He put it in a spray bottle straight and sprayed it on liberally. Maybe a bit TOO liberally. Rosemary mist floated through the house. It smelled good, but it wasn’t easy on the lungs for some of us. The tree didn’t like it much either. More leaves fell off. It did bloom a few weeks later but most of the buds ended up on the floor. And…the spider mites came back.

He kept reading and researching and found a solution our kids thought was exciting! Ladybugs. LOTS of them. He ordered what was supposed to be 1500 live bugs HERE. It was more like 500, but I think that’s enough for our little lemon tree.


My husband and kids opened up the container and put a few on the tree. They seemed to like their new all-you-can-eat restaurant.


The kids had fun letting them crawl all over their arms.


When we put the open container at the base of the tree, a bunch crawled right up the trunk of the tree. Eat, ladybugs, EAT!


I don’t know how they’ll do as far as controlling the mites, but I have a feeling I’ll be finding them around the house for a while. At least they’re cute bugs. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the spider mite situation and our solitary lemon.

Father’s Day Gifts for the Real Food Dad

rfdadweb2Father’s Day is June 16th! I actually ordered Father’s Day gifts more than 2 days in advance this year. Yay for me! Way less stress.

My husband has typically been hard to shop for because he’s picky about what he wears, eats, does, uses, etc. It’s always been hard to step out of my ‘normal’ eating, wearing, doing, using life to imagine what he could possibly want. This year, choosing his gifts was SO much easier! I FINALLY understand and live the Real Food lifestyle, so I think I know what he wants. We’ll see if his reaction is any different this year. (Photos and update to come!)

For a couple years I’ve just had him choose his own gifts. Last year, we got him a Fiskars 9210 Long-Handled Swivel Grass Shears and The Fiskars 6201 18-Inch Staysharp Max Push Reel Lawn Mower. He loves that he can go out and mow the lawn early and enjoy the quiet at the same time. And it doesn’t use any fuel except the energy of the pusher. He picked it out himself though, and that’s not much fun.


Here are some of the ideas I had for gifts for the Real Foodie Dad: This year there were a bunch of things I thought he’d like. I settled on a couple, but I won’t say which ones. (Shhh!! It’s a secret!)

We make real ice cream from raw cream a couple of times a week, but he would like it to be MORE. Making a big batch in our regular ice cream maker takes a lot of cream. Plus, he doesn’t like chocolate so the rest of us ‘SUFFER’ with fruit flavors! ūüôā The Hamilton Beach Half Pint Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker would let him make his own when he wanted. It comes with two bowls. The blue version is only $14.99!!

Something else I know he would want is a food dehydrator. We have an old ‘infomercial’ dehydrator that works OK but it is huge and bulky. He’s been wanting one that’s easier to dry nuts and seeds on. And maybe some homemade jerky.
The EXCALIBUR 3900 would do the trick.










We’ve been talking about Earthing lately, so I think he’d appreciate some kind of device. Shoes, sheets, straps…there are all kinds of fun things to ground you to the Earth when you’re not running around barefoot. I loved these Pluggz flip-flops and kind of want them for myself. ¬†If I were buying something for ME, though, I’d get the¬†sheets. 8 hours of uninterrupted grounded-ness!

pluggz Earthing-Sheet



He takes his water to work every day in an Aquasana glass bottle. Sometimes it gets banged around a bit. This water bottle holder doesn’t curve up at the top like a lot of them do, so it would fit perfectly on his glass bottle to give it a little protection and keep it from sweating on his desk.


Sometimes Real Foodie dads are Real Foodies because of Real Foodie moms. He may eat the good food willingly but not necessarily know why his wife is filling him full of yummy grass-fed beef steaks and butter and ice cream. In our case, I was the last to know, but if the Real Food dad in your life needs some good reading for the summer, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price is the perfect gift.

Whatever Father’s Day gift you decide to get your Real Foodie dad, you’d better get it soon! It’s just around the corner!

Perennials with Bad Haircuts

perennialIt’s a little bit sunny and even a touch WARM lately and getting outside is just what I’ve needed. I cut the ornamental grasses back ¬†so the new stuff can grow, but they may refuse to come up again because I gave them such bad haircuts (or should I say HACK JOBS?!) I should have read a little more before I went out with trimmers.

I’ve got a few books on my Kindle list to read before we start the garden.
These books are either free or super cheap, so snap them up before you go dig in the dirt.


I kind of hacked the heck out of the lavender today and I am not sure if it’s coming back. ¬†I really need to learn more about all the plants I stuck in the round last year.¬†I’m hoping this book will help me figure out how to best grow¬†herbs like lavender and rosemary in the park strip in front of my house.¬†The city requires part vegetation, ¬†so I might as well grow something I can use. 99 cents…I can handle that. My plants will thank me.


This book is FREE today. ¬†tomatoes this year.¬†I’ve had seeds started inside by this time the last couple of years, but I haven’t done anything yet this year. We may actually have a nice long spring, so maybe the tomatoes could go in early. I’m hoping to grow some pretty (or ugly!) heirlooms.¬†We’ve done Earth Boxes the past few years and the tomatoes love them. ¬†I may try some in the raised beds and some in the Earth Boxes.


This one is really interesting. If you wonder why we use heirloom seeds over standard commercial seeds, this book explains it all. And it’s FREE!¬†The seeds that come from heirloom plants can be gathered and used again. It’s like a nice savings account, really.

Looks like I have a bit of reading to do…What are your favorite gardening books?