The Simple Life
"The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
By Sheryl Simons
We knew it was coming. She plays with us every year, but
this year, she gave us a nice big taste of the icecream before she
ripped the cone from our sticky little hands. Spring in her Lion
vs. Lamb game played us well. This is Michigan. But, maybe she
didn't win. There was enough warmth in the ground that what snow we
did get, didn't stick. It only did a lot of dripping, and then the
sun came out again. Maybe, just maybe she's given up for the year
and the game will definitely go to our side. However, she may not
have given up yet. It's a waiting game. As a nice fellow said to
me earlier this week, "It was an awfully short summer!"
* * *
Go to garden centers, read magazines and books, check out
craft shows and visit gardens, but you don't have to buy! Save by
getting ideas and making your own at home. Find a trellis you
love? Go to the woods and and find some saplings to use for your
own. You might have a friend who has a willow grove along a swamp.
Benches are easy to make and don't have to cost an arm and a
leg. So your first try isn't exactly what you wanted. Don't give
up. The next one will be better.
Find a birdhouse you love? Draw up a pattern and make your
own. Always take a sketch pad or a digital camera. Those new
camera phones are great for snapping pictures of something you love
along the road, such as a garden or a wildflower you'd like to
identify. Take the photo to your local garden center and they may
be able to identify it and help you find plants or seeds.
Buy small plants and let them grow, or grow your own from
seed. Learn to propagate your own plants and share cuttings and
plants with friends. If you love a plant and it doesn't do well,
try it in another spot, don't give up!
Make your garden your own not something made in China!
Use your imagination and your garden will come alive.
* * *
For Simple Savings - Apply the Eight-Year Rule
For the best value, buy a new car and keep it for eight years or buy
a car that is four years old and keep it for four years. That rule
provides the best cost per miles driven. Of course, when you buy a
new car, the moment you drive off the lot, you have lost 1/4
to 1/3 the money you just paid. The best way to get value from a
car is to buy a good used one, (check Consumer Reports to pick a
good make and model) and put the amount of a payment you can afford
into the bank for repairs and the next car purchase!
* * *
Simple "Sun-dried" Tomatoes
It seems that sun dried tomatoes have become very popular in many
recipes. They can be pretty expensive to buy, so here is a way to
make your own and they are very good. The oven is great for this
job. Season the tomatoes as they "cook", or dry by using more olive
oil or by using fresh herbs (you can use dried) or garlic. You can
use store-bought, or your own, when ripe!
12 just-ripe plum tomatoes
2 T. or more of extra virgin olive oil
1. Peel the tomatoes by plunging them in boiling water for about 15
or 20 seconds and then into cold water. The peelings should slip
off. Cut them in half and scoop out the seeds. Line a baking sheet
with aluminum foil and turn the oven to 175 degrees, or a little
2. Brush the foil with some of the olive oil and arrange the
tomatoes, cut side down. Sprinkle
lightly with salt and the remaining oil. Place in the oven and
forget about them for about 2
3. Turn the sheet back to front and see how the tomatoes are
doing. You have several choicesabout determining the doneness. If
you just want to intensify the tomato flavor and use them
immediately, they're done when still soft but somewhat shriveled.
Dry them 2 to 3 hours. If you want to keep them for a few days,
they're done when they're shriveled and mostly dry, at least 4
hours. (wrap and refrigerate). If you want to keep them for weeks,
they're done when they're dark, shriveled, and dry. Dry 6 or more
hours. Wrap and refrigerate, or store in a jar in the pantry.
Don't forget you may need to brush them with more oil as they dry
and you may season them as they are drying. Just be careful and
don't get carried away with the seasonings, especially if you are
using dried herbs. Also remember that you don't need to keep
peeking at them while they are drying. They will do better if you
pretty much leave them alone.
* * *
"The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless,
unremembered acts of kindness and of love." ~~William Wordsworth
"Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged,
sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and the
wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these." ~~Lloyd
"One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package
of garden seeds."
Keeping it Simple,