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Author Archives: admin


No Comments on Open Appointment Times

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No Comments on Open Appointment Times

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No Comments on Food Tip…Salads and Vinaigrettes

As a Vegan, salads are my life!  So, there are a few things about putting salads together and dressing them that you should know.

First, when you have hardier and heavier greens like Romaine and Iceberg lettuce, toss those first before you add the lighter greens, otherwise, the heavier greens will take over the Salad and you’ll lose everything to the bottom.

Next…did you know that Oils in a Vinaigrette will penetrate the surface of vegetables and drives the air out..and then the vegetable (or lettuce) will lose it’s color and wilt?…So you will want to add the Vinaigrette just as the salad is to be served and eaten…

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No Comments on Food Tip…Making Jam

I make my own Jam all the time, my oldest daughter gave me a bread maker one year that makes Jam so, I use it all the time!  One thing that you need to remember when you are making your own jam is that some fruits “gel” better then others.  Fruits that are high in Pectin like grapes, apples and some citrus set better then others like berries or apricots, which may need more Pectin in order to get a good set.  Do a water test to make sure your Jam is going to set like you want it to…

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No Comments on Food Tip…Fresh is always better

Most Fruits and Vegetables should be used as soon as you pick them, otherwise they don’t just lose flavor, they start to protect themselves….Did you know that corn and peas lose up to 40% of their sugar’s within 6 hours after harvesting?  The sweetest corn and peas will be right from the garden.  Did you know that Broccoli and Asparagus will start to use their sugars to create indigestible woody fibers after they are picked.  Fresh is always better!  Need some tips about growing your own garden, even if you think you don’t have the room?  Follow some of our Essential Living posts on Vertical Gardening or Aquaponic Gardening!…

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No Comments on Food Tip…Aromas and Flavors

To keep the mouthwatering smell of food intact…try braising or cooking in Parchment paper.  Instead of that delicious smell and flavor escaping into the air, you’ll trap it and make it seep back into the food…

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No Comments on Tile your floors…easy and cheap

Titling floors is pretty easy…if you’re doing a concrete floor like in your basement…it needs to be pretty level…or if you want tile upstairs, make sure you have your rock-board down on the sub-floor that you are going to tile…

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You’ll need a couple things…

Rock board if you are doing a wood surface for the sub-flooring,

Tile,

Adhesive,

tile spacers,

string line,

notched trowel,

rubber mallet,

bucket,

sponge,

grout,

level and a

square.

You’ll want to start in the center of the room so you’ll need a reference line popped using a string Chalk line, you’ll need to work in about a 3′ x 3′ area at a time so that the adhesive doesn’t dry out before you get the tile down.  If you are continuing tile from another room, we like to use the hall or the entry into the room as our starting point so that the tile isn’t interrupted going from room to room…tile is just like any other surface in a home, there needs to be a “flow” from room to room so the space doesn’t seem so cut up…

After you make your reference line, take the tile out of the box and kind of shuffle them.  We learned the hard way that you don’t just want to take them out of the box..otherwise you’ll get an unwanted pattern and the eye really picks that stuff up!

 

You’ll need to spread the mortar or adhesive with the smooth side of the trowel and make sure you can still see the reference lines on the floor…when we did this room, we were starting off of a Hall that had already been tiled…but you can see here a 3’x3′ area that we are doing…

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So, again we use the thin side of the trowel to lay down the mortar…

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once the mortar is down we will use the notched side of the trowel holding the trowel at about 45 degree angle and moving in the same direction…like you are combing hair so the application is uniform…

IMG_20121123_082401You can see the excess build up…you’ll want to remove that and return the trowel to the bucket…if you are up against another tile…put in your spacers if your tile didn’t come with self-spacing tiles…

You’ll want to lay the tile in, lightly pressing down and then twist it so that it sets into the mortar…

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You’ll need the rubber mallet at this point and the level…lightly bump the tile until it’s level with the tiles around it…and you are done!…on to the next!…you’ll need to let this tile rest on the mortar for 24 hours before putting in  the grout…which is also pretty simple…it’s like washing a floor with mud!…and then cleaning it….over and over again with clean water.

I’ve put in wood floors, laminate, vinyl, carpet and I have to say that tile is so easy!…My husband had to take my credit card away cause I would be re-flooring EVERYTHING…

 

(I will put in a follow up post on how to “Grout” a tiled floor as well)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No Comments on Solar Water Heater….Under 20.00!

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You know how when you go outside and your hose has been sitting out in the sun you have to let the water run for awhile because it’s so hot?  Why not use that “hot” water for something useful?…I have a huge patio and Outdoor kitchen and I have an outdoor sink…I use some very thin, very cheap hose to make an outdoor water heater.  The Hose I got at BigLots for under 10.00…and I had some Zipties left over from another project…

It’s really better to fill the hose up before you start doing this because it’s going to expand…but to make it simple I decided to show you how with an empty hose first….you’ll get the idea!…the more hot water you want, the longer the hose…make sure that you put the hose in full sun exposure before you hook it up to your faucet!

 

IMG_20140527_134136 Water Hose from Big Lots!     IMG_20140527_134214 Ziptie…

 

 

So, really what you want to do is wind the hose around in a single layer, it will save space and all the surface of the hose needs to heat up using the radiant heat from the sun…

 

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you want to secure the hose so you can move it around if you want or store it for the winter…again, it’s better if you do this outdoors and hooked up to your water supply just because the hose will expand when you add water and it will expand when the water gets hot…the finish products can look like this!…

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No Comments on Make Your Own Outdoor Sink…

We have a huge patio with an outdoor kitchen that we love to spend time in when it’s Spring, Summer and Fall…we’ve always had an outdoor sink, but I wanted to put one in that looked really nice!

 

Before I went out and found what I was looking for, I prepared the area I wanted the sink in.  I cleaned and levelled out a spot, dug a hole for the Gray water to drain into…put in a bottomless plastic pot and filled the bottom with 2″ of sand, then another 2″ of pea gravel.  The hole is about 18″ deep…

 

I also had access to irrigation water, which is where I hooked up my water..both my solar water heater and my cold water…

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My husband made this base for my sink after I went out and found a double Porcelain sink at a garage sale…cast iron so it’s heavy duty!  The base was done with 2X4’s and I wanted a little counter-top so that I could put in a dish drainer for cleaning up the food prep and my husband added about 18″ extra.  Now, I will say that you don’t have to have a base made like I did, you can also find a dresser at a Thrift store or you can make one out of pallets (Ours was made out of pallets before we did this one)…just depends on the look that you are after and how much you want to spend.  The sink that I got I looked around at Thrift Stores and garage sales and they ran anywhere from 50.00 to 100.00 for the good ones.  I bought this one at a garage sale for 30.00!…which was a real steal…

 

My husband measured the sink, added the 18″ and created the base out of scape wood we had lying around.  He stained it to match the Post and Beam Ramadas that he built me a couple years ago…

 

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I did have to buy a Faucet and I got a pretty cheap one from Walmart for about 20.00.  After we dropped the sink into the base, I used some plumbing supplies in order to hook up the faucet to the water supplies in the irrigation hose…

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The hot water is supplied using a Solar Hot Water heater and then that hose is hooked up to the hot water side of the faucet…on a sunny day that water gets piping hot!…

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This was super simple once I got my sink and base done…and it works like a dream!

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No Comments on Make a Portable Root Cellar….On The Cheap!

If you have a home with a yard and are in the northern part of the US where it gets cold and snowy…did you know that you can make your own “Root Cellar” without digging holes or spending thousands of dollars for storage space?…heres’ what we do, it doesn’t take much time, and you don’t have to use as many bales as we do if you aren’t storing as much…We store 100#’s of Apples, Onions, Potatoes and Carrots for the winter, so we need lots of space…you just one of these bins will store quite a bit of food though the winter.  Our fruits and vegetables  will last from October through to April…

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So the first thing is to put down a moisture barrier so we used a good thick Tarp available at HomeDepot, Lowes or even the Dollar Store…As you can see we put four bales of straw per bin…if you are using multiple bins just build on the first bin..you can see how it’s laid out…and you want to make sure that your boxes of vegetables will fit into the bins that the bales make up, so I usually put the boxes in while I’m building just to make sure I don’t sell myself short…

 

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Once you have the base done..you just put more straw bales on top like a lid!…it insulates from the cold keeping the temperature more like a refrigerator!…after I’m done putting the bales on the top of the bins, I cover everything with another tarp to keep the snow and rain out.

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So, what do you do in the spring when you don’t need the storage any more?…did you know that you can use Straw bales as a raised garden?…After you’ve located the straw bales where you want your garden…put your vegetables and fruits into the top of the bales and put a drip line right next to the plants.  The Straw bales will soak up the moisture and your plants will thrive…after the gardening season, bust the bale open and put into your compost!…easy-peasy!…

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