Mix bourbon, lemon, and hot chamomile tea to make a natural cough syrup
Recipes, Sips & Syrups

Natural Bourbon-Chamomile Cough Syrup

We’re heading into cold season right now, and with a child in preschool, I’m hearing grumblings of a mystery bug that’s “been going around.”

Apparently this bug gets around quite a bit, as it’s all over Central Oregon, Northern California, Southern California, and everywhere else we have friends who are under the weather.

Thankfully this bug and I have yet to meet, and I’ve been fortunate to not catch anything even remotely resembling a cold for the last several years (knock on wood).

But I feel for my friends. Being sick — especially with little ones at home — is a drag.

So, I’m going to share my secret weapon for fighting the winter sniffles!

Continue Reading

How to make a Christmas tree last longer
Garden of Eatin', How-To, Trees & Shrubs

Keep It Fresh! 7 Tips to Help Make a Christmas Tree Last Longer

If you’re as enthusiastic about the holiday season as I am, you probably like to decorate your Christmas tree early, and that means bringing home a live tree soon after Thanksgiving and hoping it lasts for several weeks.

If you’re not diligent at the start of the season, however, you could end up with more fallen pine needles than presents under the tree by Christmas Day.

There are a number of tricks to make a Christmas tree last longer, and this goes for a tree picked up at the local tree lot, or a tree cut down on a Christmas tree farm (or even out in the forest, as we love to do in Central Oregon).

Continue Reading

Homemade "tin can" cranberry jelly
Recipes, Canning, Freezing & More Preserving

Homemade “Tin Can” Molded Cranberry Jelly

Growing up, I always ate Thanksgiving dinner with my friends’ families since my own family never celebrated it — not because they weren’t thankful on that day, but because it was never a part of their culture.

So when that fourth Thursday rolled around every November, I couldn’t wait to partake in the classic American holiday.

I loved watching the grand entrance of the turkey, steaming hot from the oven and being carved up at the table, I loved the green bean casseroles with French fried onions, the marshmallow-glazed sweet potatoes, and especially the Marie Callender’s pies. (Pecan was my favorite.)

But most of all, I loved the cranberry sauce that came out of a can. It was so fun to see the jiggly relish scooped out of the can, ridges and all, plunked down into a serving dish, and sliced up into individual rounds.

Continue Reading

Holiday gift guide: stocking stuffers for gardeners
House & Home

2019 Holiday Gift Guide: 14 Delightful Stocking Stuffers for Gardeners (Under $25!)

Just because most of our gardens are asleep in winter doesn’t mean we don’t love a good garden-centric gift in our Christmas stockings, right?

In fact, these are the types of pint-sized presents that get us excited for longer days, warmer nights, and dirt under our nails again.

I also think they make a sweet thank-you gift when you just want to send a small token of appreciation, long after the holidays have passed.

They’re all hand-picked by a fellow green thumb (that’s me!). I even own a few of them, so you can’t go wrong with any of these fun trinkets.

Continue Reading

Holiday gift guide: gifts for the backyard farmer
House & Home

2019 Holiday Gift Guide: 14 Perfect Gifts for the Backyard Farmer

We all know a backyard farmer or two in our lives.

They’re the ones who arrange for chicken sitters the way other people arrange for dog sitters. They avoid taking vacations in summer when their gardens are going off. They give away jam made from fruit they’ve grown, and foist massive zucchinis on anyone who will take them.

So it goes without saying that a backyard farmer — whether it’s a friend, a neighbor, or a coworker — is someone good to know!

Say thank you for all those zucchinis they keep giving you (and get on their radar when they have a glut of juicy heirloom tomatoes to share next summer) by sending one of these thoughtful gifts they’ll love.

Continue Reading

How we found land to build on — and how you can, too
Garden Betty Builds a House, House & Home

How We Found Land to Build On — and How You Can, Too

My husband and I began our home-building journey in June 2019 when we bought a piece of property in Bend, Oregon. If you’d read the announcement of us becoming landowners, you probably thought, Wow, they got really lucky!

And luck did play a part in that, though it took a lot of legwork to get to that point.

Before I delve into the design and construction of our home in real time, I thought it would be fun to catch you up on how we started looking for land, and why we ended up with a tear-down instead of an open plot of land to build on.

Continue Reading

The 10 essential tools no gardener should be without
Garden of Eatin'

The 10 Essential Gardening Tools No Gardener Should Be Without

This post is in collaboration with our friends at 3-IN-ONE® Brand and Lava® Soap. All thoughts and words are our own.

Every gardener has a favorite gardening tool — the one they always keep within arm’s reach, use over and over again, or stash near the door on the way out.

These are the must-have gardening tools that make planting, weeding, pruning, and harvesting better for the back and more soothing for the soul.

I’m not talking about shovels and hoes and hoses and nozzles. Yes, you need those, but the tools I’m sharing here are the ones I recommend from years of experience, the things that do double (or triple or quadruple) duty in the garden, the essentials that don’t often make it into a novice gardener’s toolkit the first season — but they should.

It took a few years for me to figure out what I really needed in the garden and what brands were most reliable. I don’t mind spending a little more money for a quality item that will pay for itself in a few short seasons; at the same time, I don’t like spending money needlessly on things I only use once or twice a year.

I’ve added to, picked through, and curated my gardening toolkit over time and have found that these 10 items are the best gardening tools that every gardener needs.

Continue Reading

Fall garden cleanup: a robot is mowing my lawn
Garden of Eatin'

Fall Garden Cleanup: A Robot Is Mowing My Lawn!

This post is in collaboration with our friends at WORX. All thoughts and words are our own.

In the decade that I’ve had a garden, I’ve never actually had a lawn until two years ago. Never had grass to cut or weeds to whack, and never even knew that raking leaves served a practical purpose besides keeping your yard neat and tidy. (More on that later.)

Even now, in the house we’re currently renting, lawn care is handled by our landscaper and the only time we even see grass clippings is when he dumps that day’s collection into our compost pile.

We’ve had it pretty easy for a while, but since becoming the owners of 1.5 acres of irrigated land, we’ve realized that we really need to step up our lawn care game.

Continue Reading

Organic pest control 101: 7 easy solutions for getting rid of aphids
Garden of Eatin', Pests & Diseases

Organic Pest Control 101: 7 Easy Solutions for Getting Rid of Aphids

Of all the pests that plague gardens throughout the season, aphids are among the most destructive, overwhelming, and frustrating. They seem to multiply overnight and can quickly invade a garden, leaving you with sticky, stunted plants that struggle to survive.

Not ones to be particularly picky, aphids are voracious feeders and descend on both indoor and outdoor plants, including ornamentals and edibles.

Though we tend to view them in a negative light, we should really be thinking of aphids as nature’s indicator that something is out of balance in the garden. Aphids usually show up on plants that are under some sort of stress — perhaps drought, or overwatering, or over-fertilizing.

Luckily, aphids are one of the easier pests to manage if you catch them early, before their colonies grow too large.

And just how large? you may be wondering. Well, under optimal environmental conditions without any predators, parasites, or diseases, a female aphid hatched in spring can theoretically produce up to 600 billion descendants, or up to 41 generations of females in a single season!

Continue Reading

Welcome home, Ember Luna
Parenthood

Welcome Home, Ember Luna

It’s hard to believe the newest addition to our family is now one month old. Our adorable Ember Luna made her entrance into the world on September 15, 2019, on a warm and beautiful summer night, just as the Harvest Moon was starting to wane.

(Fun fact: The Harvest Moon is the name for the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, and it’s associated with the time farmers would bring in their harvest. I love how Ember’s birth coincided with this agricultural — and very Garden Betty-esque — event, just as big sister Gemma’s birth landed on March 20, the first day of spring.)

Continue Reading