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Happy Bastille Day

Let Them Eat Cake

Grab Bag Coupon Code:

Last week I mentioned Avasol, a new sunblock I liked. They got excited about that and contacted me, wanting to share a special 10% discount for you Grab Bag readers.

10off

So…. I urge you to give their products a shot… It’s  a good sunscreen, made by people who really care about clean, effective products, and it will make me look super special if you buy something from them, so what more could you ask for?

cream-L stick-L

Go to Avasol.com and use the code

lksgrabbag

at checkout to get your 10% off 🙂

Grab Bag Throat Lump:

Roger Boddie is a beloved middle school principal who was ready to retire after 36 years. He won’t be at the helm when the  construction of a state-of-the-art facility for his kids is complete, but he’s excited for the future students, staff and faculty.  He thinks he is guiding a video tour of the construction site…..

Boddie

Grab Bag Pot Head:

mossy-stone-pot

Great tutorial to get new concrete, stone or terra-cotta pots looking like they have been in your Italian garden for 30 years:

Adding Moss Works Best On

• Terra Cotta

• Stone or Concrete Containers

• Stone or Concrete Sculptures

There are 2 ways to go about doing this. Both ways work really well, so choose one that best suits your tastes.

Moss requires an acidic environment to grow, which can be developed by painting a pot with buttermilk or yogurt, that’s why both recipes below have one or the other.

Recipe 1:

  1. Collect mosses either from around your yard or a friends or neighbors (you can also buy moss spores at a garden store)
  2. Finely chop the moss up (or sprinkle in the moss spores into the mix below if you purchased them)
  3. Allow the moss bits to dry up for a couple of days (if you collected them yourself)

Then mix together in a large bucket or bowl:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1-1 1/2 cups dried, crumbled moss

Once the above is mixed together, put the bucket in full sun for three days.

When the mixture is good and smelly, brush it generously with a paintbrush on the outsides of your clay pots. Then wrap the pots in plastic wrap and put them in partial sun.

In two weeks the pots will start to grow mold, and by eight weeks the pots will be nice and furry with moss, and looking very antique and old.

Recipe 2:

  • Blend pieces of dried moss or purchased moss spores into
  • 2 cups yogurt or buttermilk
  • Paint onto your pot with a paintbrush
  • Put your pot into a plastic bag to create a humid environment for the moss to develop
  • Set the pot and bag in a cool, shady spot until the moss begins to form, which will be about 10 days
  • Make sure to plant the container so you will be watering it regularly, which will keep the moss alive and growing

From weekendgardener.net

Grab Bag Genus Genii:

Now that your garden is filled with mossy Italian pots, let’s think bigger.

Get inspired by these creatures, created by busy hands at the Montreal Botanical Gardens.

Hoping you have a BIG yard…

Go full screen, lower right corner of the player:

Grab Bag Peaceful Piece:

Just melt into this astounding video fantastic music, plus the visual magic of fog rivers and fog waterfalls, courtesy of Simon Christen and that magic “City by the Bay”… this is a meditation station…

Start the player and then hit the Full Screen icon, lower right corner..

Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

Thanks to Tally D. for this 😊

Grab Bag Good Tips:

A few random tips for better living:

A little heat makes old tape work like new

Tape Tip

Sometimes, masking tape that’s been sitting on a shelf for years won’t pull off the roll without tearing. Freshen it by microwaving it for 10 seconds. Heat softens the adhesive for easy release.

Is your under-sink cabinet gross, grimy and moldy?…..

Under Cabinets

A few scraps, a few screws, and a few L brackets, and you can make yourself your very own vertical behind-the-door cutting board holder…

Small_craftyme

small_craftyme2

Photocopy the back of whatever you want to hang on a wall (double check that the measurements on the photocopy are the same as the real deal… some photocopiers slightly enlarge or reduce the image, which wouldn’t be good for this tip). Tape the copy to the wall for perfect alignment before drilling holes.

Photocopy template

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Given a template on the top to follow, you must place each corresponding shape in the correct position and rotation to match the images, as quickly as possible… this is really interesting to hone multiple aspects of visual perception:

SPATIALEYES

SPATIAL EYES

Grab Bag Funny French Stuff:

In honor of Bastille Day….

even-more-pretentious-about-bastille-day-ecard-someecards boycotting-because-upset-about-bastille-day-ecard-someecards fourth-july-except-takes-bastille-day-ecard-someecards celebrate-last-time-french-bastille-day-ecard-someecards historical-knowledge-french-revolution-bastille-day-ecard-someecards holiday-made-acutely-aware-bastille-day-ecard-someecards bastille-envelope pause-admire-country-where-bastille-day-ecard-someecards

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Grab Bag Green Machine:

Tossing out some salad tips here… the healthiest salad greens are listed, in order of worthiness.

Click “full screen” icon, lower right corner, to more easily read the slides.

from EverydayHealth.com

Grab Bag Cool Pool:

I’m probably late waking up to this, but I am completely captivated by the thought of Natural Swimming Pools (NSPs), and had no idea it was already so widely done, albeit mostly in Europe. Next time I’m in the market for a pool, or a pool re-do, this is DEFINITELY worth considering.

Natural Swimming Pools, Swim Ponds, whatever you want to call them are a growing phenomenon, and a welcome one at that.

Basics rules are this:

1. Pools have two zones: one deep for swimming, diving and playing, and one shallow for rock filtration and plant life.

2. The water is constantly cleaned and recirculated by means of a pump, pulling water through the natural filter beds, sometimes aided by a UV filter, depending on conditions. A waterfall is often added as a mechanism of reintroducing water back into the pool.

3. Plants in the shallow portion are a must, and establish the bacterial equilibrium needed to achieve clean water.

4. ZERO chemicals are used to keep the water clean. Yes… I said ZERO, nada, zilch chemicals.

5. Natural Swimming Pools can be heated if desired.

6. NSPs can be constructed from scratch or converted from an existing swimming pool.

Below are links for North American natural pool designers/contractors, and a slide show of NSPs from all over the world to provide   inspiration….

Click “full screen” icon, lower right corner, to more easily see the slides.

totalhabitat.com Bonner Springs, Kansas

swimpond.com Vancouver, Canada

bionovanaturalpools.com Rochester, Minnesota

expandinghorizons.biz Vista, California

Grab Bag Wow Moment:

Hilarious mind bender….

Mindbender

Grab Bag Bang-for-Your-Buck:

OK… first to admit it… I have been to the Dollar Tree…. and it is good.

I have scored everything from loads of colorful baskets and tubs for the grandson’s birthday party to everyday drinking glasses for myself.

This blog post clues you in to some of the great finds that you can discover at a dollar store…. and what to stay away from:

Dollar store finds

Grab Bag Re-Veg:

16 Foods That’ll Re-Grow from Kitchen Scraps

celery_chopped

By Andy Whiteley

Co- Founder of Wake Up World

Looking for a healthy way to get more from your garden? Like to know your food is free of the pesticides and other nasties that are often sprayed on commercial crops? Re-growing food from your kitchen scraps is a good way to do it!

There’s nothing like eating your own home- grown vegies, and there are heaps of different foods that will re- grow from the scrap pieces that you’d normally throw out or put into your compost bin.

It’s fun. And very simple … if you know how to do it.

Just remember … the quality of the “parent” vegetable scrap will help to determine the quality of the re-growth. So, wherever possible, I recommend buying local organic produce, so you know your re-grown plants are fresh, healthy and free of chemical and genetic meddling.

Leeks, Scallions, Spring Onions and Fennel

You can either use the white root end of a vegetable that you have already cut, or buy a handful of new vegetables to use specifically for growing.

Simply place the white root end in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position. I keep mine in the kitchen window. The green leafy part of the plant will continue to shoot. When it’s time to cook, just snip off what you need from the green growth and leave the white root end in water to keep growing. Freshen up the water each week or so, and you’ll never have to buy them again.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass grows just like any other grass. To propagate it, place the root end (after you’ve cut the rest off) in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position.

Within a week or so, new growth will start to appear. Transplant your lemongrass into a pot and leave it in a sunny outdoor position. You can harvest your lemongrass when the stalks reach around a foot tall – just cut off what you need and leave the plant to keep growing.

Celery, Bok Choi, Romaine Lettuce & Cabbage

Similar to leeks, these vegetables will re-grow from the white root end. Cut the stalks off as you normally would, and place the root end in a shallow bowl of water – enough to cover the roots but not the top of your cutting. Place it in a sunny window position, occasionally spraying your cutting with water to keep the top moist.

After a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. After a week or so, transplant it into soil with just the leaves showing above the level of the soil. The plant will continue to grow, and within a few weeks it will sprout a whole new head.

Alternatively you can plant your cutting directly into soil (without starting the process in water) but you will need to keep the soil very moist for the first week until the new shoots start to appear. 

Ginger

Ginger is very easy to re-grow. Simply plant a spare piece of ginger rhizome (the thick knobbly bit you cook with) in potting soil with the newest (ie. smallest) buds facing upward. Ginger enjoys filtered, not direct, sunlight in a warm moist environment.

Before long it will start to grow new shoots and roots. Once the plant is established and you’re ready to harvest, pull up the whole plant, roots and all. Remove a piece of the rhizome, and re-plant it to repeat the process.

Ginger also makes a very attractive house-plant, so if you don’t use a lot of ginger in your cooking you can still enjoy the lovely plant between harvests.

Potatoes

Re-growing potatoes is a great way to avoid waste, as you can re-grow potatoes from any old potato that has ‘eyes’ growing on it. Pick a potato that has robust eyes, and cut it into pieces around 2 inches square, ensuring each piece has at least one or two eyes. Leave the cut pieces to sit at room temperature for a day or two, which allows the cut areas to dry and callous over. This prevents the potato piece from rotting after you plant it, ensuring that the new shoots get the maximum nutrition from each potato piece.

Potato plants enjoy a high-nutrient environment, so it is best to turn compost through your soil before you plant them. Plant your potato pieces around 8 inches deep with the eye facing upward, and cover it with around 4 inches of soil, leaving the other 4 inches empty. As your plant begins to grow and more roots appear, add more soil. If your plant really takes off, mound more soil around the base of the plant to help support its growth.

Garlic

You can re-grow a plant from just a single clove – just plant it, root-end down, in a warm position with plenty of direct sunlight. The garlic will root itself and produce new shoots. Once established, cut back the shoots and the plant will put all its energy into producing a tasty big garlic bulb. And like ginger, you can repeat the process with your new bulb.

Onions

Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to propagate. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a ½ inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny position in your garden and cover the top with soil. Ensure the soil is kept moist. Onions prefer a warm sunny environment, so if you live in a colder climate, keep them in pots and move them indoors during frostier months.

As you use your home-grown onions, keep re-planting the root ends you cut off, and you’ll never need to buy onions again.

Sweet Potatoes

When planted, sweet potato will produce eye-shoots much like a potato. Bury all or part of a sweet potato under a thin layer of soil in a moist sunny location. New shoots will start to appear through the soil in a week or so. Once the shoots reach around four inches in height, remove them and re-plant them, allowing about 12 inches space between each plant. It will take around 4 months for your sweet potatoes to be ready. In the meantime, keep an eye out for slugs… they love sweet potatoes.

To propagate sweet potatoes, it is essential to use an organic source since most commercial growers spray their sweet potatoes to prevent them from shooting.

Mushroom

Mushrooms can be propagated from cuttings, but they’re one of the more difficult vegies to re-grow. They enjoy warm humidity and nutrient-rich soil, but have to compete with other fungus for survival in that environment. Although it is not their preferred climate, cooler environments give mushrooms a better chance of winning the race against other fungi.

Prepare a mix of soil and compost in a pot (not in the ground) so your re-growth is portable and you can control the temperature of your mushroom. I have found most success with a warm filtered light during the day and a cool temperature at night. Just remove the head of the mushroom and plant the stalk in the soil, leaving just the top exposed. In the right conditions, the base will grow a whole new head. (In my experience, you’ll know fairly quickly if your mushroom has taken to the soil as it will either start to grow or start to rot in the first few days).

Pineapple

To re-grow pineapples, you need to remove the green leafy piece at the top and ensure that no fruit remains attached. Either hold the crown firmly by the leaves and twist the stalk out, or you can cut the top off the pineapple and remove the remaining fruit flesh with a knife (otherwise it will rot after planting and may kill your plant). Carefully slice small, horizontal sections from the bottom of the crown until you see root buds (the small circles on the flat base of the stalk). Remove the bottom few layers of leaves leaving about an inch base at the bottom of the stalk.

Plant your pineapple crown in a warm and well drained environment. Water your plant regularly at first, reducing to weekly watering once the plant is established. You will see growth in the first few months but it will take around 2-3 years before you are eating your own home-grown pineapples.

And one for the kids….. ‘Pet’ Carrot Tops!!

I call this a ‘pet’ because the plant that re-grows from planting a carrot top will NOT produce edible carrots, only a new carrot plant. The vegetable itself is a taproot which can’t re-grow once it has been removed from the plant. But it makes an attractive flowering plant for the kitchen, and they’re easy and lots of fun to grow…. for kids of all ages!

Cut the top off your carrot, leaving about an inch of vegetable at the root. Stick toothpicks into the sides of the carrot stump and balance it in a glass or jar. Fill the glass with water so that the level reaches the bottom of the cutting. Leave the glass in filtered, not direct, sunlight and ensure water is topped up to keep the bottom of your cutting wet. You’ll see roots sprout in a few days, and you can transplant your ‘pet’ carrot into soil after a week or so.

Your success re-growing lovely fresh vegies from scrap may vary, depending on your climate, the season, soil quality and sunlight available in your home or garden. And some vegies just propagate easier than others do. In my experience, a bit of trial and error is required, so don’t be afraid to do some experimenting. Get your hands dirty. It’s lots of fun! And there’s nothing like eating your own home-grown vegies.

Grab Bag New-Kid-On-The-(sun)Block:

A local California company has just introduced what looks to be a natural, clean and effective sunblock. I’ve been using Avasol for the past month or so and I must say I like it.

I am using both the stick ($15, free shipping) and the the cream ($29, free shipping). Click on the pictures to link to the site.

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Grab Bag Brain Game:

I think we’ve done this before, but it has been a long time, and this bears repeating. A couple of different ways, this puzzle asks you to look at a layered, complex image and identify the individual images that comprise the total.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 12.20.37 PM

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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