Friday, June 24, 2016

10 Ways to attract bees to your garden

I'm sure that by now you've heard of the bee 'crisis', if not I'll sum it up for you real quick: bees are being killed off at an alarming rate by big AGs use of pesticides. Unfortunately we need bees to pollinate flowers so plants can produce food so we can eat and do that important thing called LIVE. While there isn't too much we can do on a large scale, there are several things we can do to attract these natural pollinators to our own gardens. The better pollination we have going on in the garden, the better chance we have of a great harvest. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I have no plans of spending days in the garden hand pollinating my zucchinis! I need bees to do this for me....so I attract them to my garden.


10 Ways to attract bees to your garden

Short of becoming a beekeeper, what can we do to attract bees to the garden? It's actually quite simple and you might be surprised to find you're already doing some of these:

1.) Plant flowers amid your veggie plants. 
Yes vegetable and fruit plants do flower themselves, but by adding flowers here and there around your garden you'll be sure to attract all types of pollinators to your garden.

2.) Plant for a constant supply of flowers:
Once they begin to bloom, plants like Marigolds will bloom continuously till a hard frost. Certain herbs that are used for flowers like Chamomile also bloom continuously. Other flowers bloom more sporadically. Still others like the Hosta only bloom once. Choose early, late and mid-season blooms. Mix it up so that you always have a steady supply of flowers to attract bees to your garden.  

3.) Colors, size, shape, texture & smell:
Blue, purple, white and yellow seem to be popular colors for most bees as do flat flowers like daisies. Think of the blooms this way: the easier it is for you to see the center of the flower, the easier it is for the bee to get to the center of the flower which is where the nectar and pollen are. Also, different bees are attracted to different types of flowers. Contrary to popular belief it's not just the honeybees that do the pollinating. Different pollinators are active at different times of the year and actually prefer different types of blooms. I bet you didn't know that sweat bees really like strawberries, bumble bees are great at pollinating tomatoes and mason bees are quite fond of fruit tree blossoms. Having a variety of blooms is a great way to attract a variety of pollinators.

4.) Do not use pesticides:
Hang Japanese beetle bags, put out a shallow bowl of beer for slugs, hand picking tomato horn worms, etc etc....use natural methods to rid your garden of pests. Insect killing sprays do not just kill the bugs you want it to, it's not that selective. If a spray is killing other bugs there's a good chance it's harming the bees too, so just skip it and go with less poisonous means of pest control.

5.) Give them a drink of water:
Bees need a drink of water too, especially on a hot day. Unfortunately most garden water sources like birdbaths are too deep and they risk drowning. You can give bees a water source by putting small rocks into a bowl or shallow pan and adding water till its almost to the top of the rocks. The rocks give them a safe place to land while they get a drink. The closer your bee water bowl is to flowering plants, the easier it will be for them to find.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A weeks worth of blog hops!

Sadly my blog hops have ended with the beginning of 2016. Both the Great Blog Train and Green Thumb Thursday have had their final link up. Without getting too far into the details I will say that I definitely feel the void they have left. I loved seeing all the links everyone would join with and always pinned, tweeted or shared them. Sadly, my tweets started to get few and far between and my FB page was looking sad with no new posts....so, I started finding awesome new posts at other peoples link up parties! There are lots of parties similar to mine and I just needed to spread the love around a bit. If you're also looking for somewhere else to drop all your wonderful links you work so hard on, take a look at some of my favorite blog hops. I link up with these all on a regular basis and find so many great posts while I'm there!

Mostly Homemade Mondays: This one has 3 hosts but I usually link in at The Sustainable Couple. Kelli also gives you a peek at their weekly homestead meal plan which I find fascinating! They eat very seasonally and seem to waste nothing....this is a serious goal for me! The hosts invite you to link up: Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice.

Tuesdays With A Twist: I usually head over to God's Growing Garden to link up but there are 3 different hosts to this on. This is a great little no rules party and each hosts chooses 3 features. There are so many awesome home and garden links added to this link up, I know you'll feel right at home here! 


Link parties for every day of the week!

The Homestead Blog Hop: This Wednesday hop has 6 different hosts. I usually link in over at Idlewild Alaska. These lovely ladies welcome all things homesteading: real food recipes, farm animals, crafts, DIY, how-to’s, gardening, anything from-scratch, natural home/health, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, natural remedies, essential oils, & more!  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

12 ways to clean the air inside your house Naturally!

It's winter in most areas and the windows and doors are shut tight to keep out the cold. Unfortunately, that keeps in lots of allergens, contaminants and irritants that we're breathing in constantly. The more all that toxic stuff builds up, the more it tears us down and that is the last thing we need this time of year! So how do you clean the air? I mean really clean the air, not just cover it with a blast of perfumed spray! I have a few different methods I use to keep the air inside my house naturally clean.

12 ways to clean the air inside your house naturally


Salt Lamps: Made of Himalayan pink salt and either powered by a light bulb or candle, these lamps are said to clean the air in your home. When the light is on, the salt warms slightly increasing the negative ions which then attract contaminants like dust and allergens. This weighs them down and they cannot circulate so you don't breathe them in. I have this lamp made of smaller chunks of salt with a dimmable light bulb in the middle, but there are also solid rock lights available too. They have a nice pale orange glow so they make a great accent or night light. Be forewarned though: cats like to lick them!

Beeswax candles: I've always lit a beeswax candle when I wanted to "clear the air". My belief has always been that it helps to remove negative energy...but what does it really do? When 100% beeswax burns it releases negative ions which bind to toxins and helps remove them from the air. Beeswax burns without any smoke or scent so it's not adding any pollutants to the air like paraffin or wire wicked candles do. Beeswax is particularly helpful for allergies and asthma.

Bamboo Charcoal Air filters: You know those bamboo stalks you see pandas eating at the zoo? When that bamboo is baked at super high temperatures, it turns into absorbent charcoal. This porous charcoal then draws in bad odors and hazardous chemicals removing them from the air you're breathing. I use bamboo charcoal bags to remove impurities, odors and moisture from the air naturally. They are organic and sustainable plus they are safe to use around pets and children. Recharge the bags by placing them in direct sunlight once a month. They last a few years then can be composted.  

Vents and fans: Anything that removes odors and fumes and whisks them outside is going to improve air quality. Fans above your range hood and in the bathroom are two that come to mind. You want to run the bathroom fan during showers to remove moisture from the air. Too much moisture is a breeding ground for mold which can be very tricky to get rid of once established. Range hoods and oven vents are also important for removing smoke or fumes while cooking. Ever notice how oily and sticky your vent cover is when you clean it? That was all airborne at one point and got trapped on the way out. Aren't you glad you turned it on?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My top posts of 2015

As the new year kicks off I can't help but look back at 2015 and see how things went here on the blog. I've figured out the top posts of last year according to views, shares, pins etc. I wasn't too surprised to see that many of the top posts were garden related. That's definitely a good thing since I have a lot more that I worked on during gardening season. I just have to actually find the time to get them written now. I also have another EO experiment and several healthy living posts to tell you all about!


Best garden posts of 2015

Without any more rambling I give you the top posts of 2015 starting with the most popular:
  1. 8 Ways to keep rabbits out of your garden: Easy ways to chase the wild rabbits out of your garden before they eat all your veggies!
  2. Make your own Hummingbird nectar: Why buy it when you can make it? It's simple, easy and you probably have everything on hand.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Homesteaders Holiday Gift Guide

Can you believe the holidays are almost here already? Ugh! I'm so not into shopping this year, but luckily I've already purchased a lot of gifts for my homesteading and gardening friends so I won't have to spend too much time Black Friday shopping! These are some of my favorite items from the last year....I think you'll find many of them quite useful around ye old homestead! I did my best to try not to be too much like every other gift guide out there. I think everything on this list fits the homesteading lifestyle. Everything here is useful, practical and/or makes life easier, cheaper or simpler.


Holiday gift guide for homesteaders

Herb Scissors: I'm going to start with my newest favorite kitchen tool, herb scissors by X-Chef. I seriously love these as they make it super easy to chop or dice fresh herbs. Simply snip herbs like you're using regular scissors. The 5 sets of blade work perfectly to cut your herbs without having to haul out the cutting board and chopping knife! A must for any fresh herb enthusiast. $6.99

Spiralizer slicer with chopper: Spiralizer with 3 adjustable plates, 6 settings and a free chopper! Slices in spirals, curls and 'noodles'. This slicer makes mashed potatoes and applesauce super fast by slicing them thin for quick cooking. Simply insert the fruit or vegetable and turn the crank. An excellent way to prepare your harvest in various ways and it's on sale right now! $20.00

Monday, November 23, 2015

10 ways to deal with a cold naturally

Cold season is here and that means that a good bunch of us are going to be sick really soon! If you're anything like me you hate that 'medicine head' feeling that OTC cold remedies give you. I hate it so much I generally just tough it out and wait for the whole thing to pass. I have found several natural options that help me to feel better faster though....and none of them give me that 'wide awake ready to fall asleep' feeling that cold meds do! Give my top 10 natural options a try!


10 ways to deal with a cold naturally

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