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Happy National Coffee Day!

Garnished With Grooves

Happy National Coffee day to all! There are few gestures that mean the same thing in every language, but we’re convinced that the event of sharing a coffee with someone is universally understood.  Most can relate to grabbing a cup of java and catching up with a friend. Even Hollywood has picked up on this trend, which is why Friends had the Central Perk and Jerry Seinfeld started his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – everyone does it.

To celebrate, we wanted to share some of our favorite local coffee shops paired with a handful of standout acoustic acts from Ohio, and one particular classic rock tune that is arguably the best song about coffee (in Amanda’s opinion at least…).

Great CLE Coffee Spots:

We hope you check out some of these solid spots and dig the jams and pics…

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MY LOVELY TOMATOES

NANETTE EVANS

Living in N Ireland the weather can be extremely temperamental.    I am not really a veggie growing girl, more flowery but I do love tomatoes.  My tomatoes are growing nicely considering I was so late planting the seeds. (They had to wait for my flowers to leave). Now I need just a bit of sunshine to ripen them.  Only problem is there isn’t much sun showing on the forecast for a while.  Temperature is only about sixteen degrees and it is wet and damp.  Not a problem as my little tomatoes are tucked up in the greenhouse.

Please, just a bit of sunshine would be very very nice.

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we did it! (or “budgeting and pictures and a kevin costner link!”)

You don’t know how encouraging this is to read and see. #newfollower

She is a native

Today marks an important milestone for the Smith-Cook Homestead. Even though we’ve been at it for seven weeks now, last month D still had a couple last paychecks come in, so July was the true test of our financial stability with a single income. Despite all our planning and budgeting and reassuring ourselves, I was still curious (and a little nervous) to see how it would go. I worked on a detailed budget that allows me to track every purchase we make and sort them into categories. For each category, I allocated a certain amount for the month, which was based on spending in that category over the last three months. The total allocated amount for the month was a little less than my monthly paycheck. Our hope was to have a tad left each month to go towards our checking account buffer (one month’s expenses). Once the buffer is met…

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Worm Your Honor

Pirates Progress

Worms rage hard, bro. Worms rage hard, bro.

My worm bed is doing very well! This is my third time trying one and I think I finally have a process. Those little buggers are hungry, too! By my best estimation, their population has doubled already and I only built the bin last month.

The worms’ castings are the prize. Black gold. An organic fertilizer that is naturally pH balanced and full of all the delicious little nutrients plants crave. The stuff costs serious money in stores and the idea of having a source of food for my plants right in my own kitchen excites the hippie in me.

The process is sophisticated in it’s simplicity. Really, all that needs to happen is some worms need to feel comfortable enough to chow down all day long, in turn digesting their entire body weight in organic kitchen and garden garbage. Simple enough: take bin, add bedding, add worms. But then…

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Lynchburg Grows

Virginia Cooperative Extension, Take 2

On Thursday, July 17th I traveled to Lynchburg Grows with Scott Baker (our ANR agent) where we met up with Kevin Camm (Lynchburg’s ANR & 4H agent).  He was giving a tour of Lynchburg Grows to a group of agriculture high school and middle school teachers from all over the state of Virginia attending a week long program for the Virginia Association of Agriculture Educators.  I had never been to Lynchburg Grows before, but it had such a neat history about how it got started as well as what they’re currently accomplishing and hoping to accomplish in the future.  The basic idea was that the new owners wanted to supply food to those in urban areas that do not have resources to local, fresh food.  Many of the volunteer and staff members there also have some sort of physical or mental disability.  It is truly amazing to see how they…

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It’s all about the Honey

Bee Happy Products

Working the bees in the past few months, we always wonder what we will get in return. If the weather was to change it could be the end to our season, but Saturday saw us extracting more honey. After robbing the bees from one apiary of their supers we headed back to the bee unit to extract what we had. We guessed that from twelve supers they would hold about 250lb or so of honey, but after extraction we were pleasantly surprised to see over 360lb on the scales. A couple of the colonies had some brood frames that were completely capped over and reducing the laying space of the queen, so we decided to take some of these out, extract them and then put them back.

Fully capped frame Fully capped frame

Today see’s us moving nucs to new apiary sites. The idea is that we get to thin a few of…

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