February Farmgirl This-and-That

We’ve turned the corner to February!  It’s still Winter, but on the “bright” side,  days have begun to get longer, and we’ve been doing some Spring dreamin’!  I’ve got hot organic tea made; have a cup and let’s chat about “this and that”!

Winter’s bare trees and overcast days can seem so dreary! I just love bright seed catalogs that come pourin’ in to the mailbox this time of year! I’ve ordered and received my seeds, have you?  This year, I decided to try some heirloom varieties from Baker Creek Seeds, (http://rareseeds.com/). Thumbing through their big, glossy catalog was a treat on a gloomy day.  A few more weeks and I can start my indoor planting!  I’m most excited to try “Atomic Red Carrots” this year.  Seeds are fun to have in my mailbox on an icy day!  Are you trying any new varieties this year?  Tell me!

My seeds arrived in the post, and I’m dreaming of breaking out the garden tools. A few more months left to go…Do you like my gardening box? I was using a re-purposed vintage soda crate, but missed using it for so many other purposes. I got my dad to build thisto my specifics, then I used clippings from magazines to decoupage it and clear coat to seal. I can now carry all my tools with one hand.

Speaking of mail, boy, did my mailbox have tons of sunshine in it the last few weeks!  I was so honored to be picked “Farmgirl of the Month” on the Farmgirl Forum for January!  I was very  touched and elated by all the wonderful wishes, cards, and goodies that farmgirls from all over showered me with.  Thank you so very much!  Now it’s my turn to pick the FGOTM for February!  Oh…such a hard decision!  There’s so many wonderful  farmgirls worthy of such a special honor!  (Find out who I picked on  the FGOTM thread on the Farmgirl forum)!

For our January Simpler Life Sisters Farmgirl Chapter get-together, my friend  Ali did a presentation on her stay at the Hippocrates Institute and her dedication to a raw food diet.  Now a new favorite “after school snack” is dipping romaine lettuce leaves into organic hummus instead of chips or crackers. Ali suggests mixing hummus with guacamole…delicious!  I’m also over-the-moon for something I’d not heard of before, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos Seasoning (like a natural soy-sauce replacement, made from Non-GMO soy). I picked mine up at a local organic grocery store, where they mixed a scrumptious salad dressing of oil, lemon, and a few sprays of the Liquid Aminos. We want salads every night!

Long winter days are a good time to tidy up drawers and closets that have gotten messy.  Like me, do you drool over photos in magazines of a “Craft Room”?  We had craft supplies everywhere: in desk drawers, closets, in boxes.  We’d look several places if we needed a glue stick or tape.  A craft room isn’t practical for me, so I turned a small dresser into a place where anything craft-related goes: crayons, markers, pencils, in one drawer;  our stamping/scrapbook supplies in another; anything and everything craft-related  is  neat and organized.  The dresser’s an anchor piece in my sunny “tearoom”. You could also use a chest that’s tucked in a hallway or guest room.  The idea is to put everything in one place. Our craft supplies are now much easier to find and use, and look better than tucked in plastic boxes here and there.

The “tearoom” is near the kitchen, so supplies stored here are convenient.  It’s a really sunny room even on the frostiest winter days.

On frosty days, we love our cozy fireplace, but store-bought fire-starters always bothered me with their petroleum smell! Always looking for ways to replace conventional chemical-laden products with something natural or homemade, I’m now making my own.  I know Scouts and campers have been doing this for years, but traditionally the starters are made in egg cartons.  The organic eggs I get come in plastic containers (great for seed-starting, not fire-starters). I make my version using all-cotton dryer lint, and stuff it in cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls. I then pour melted leftover wax from used candles inside the tube, let it cool, then flip the tubes over and and pour the wax on the other side.  Be very careful melting wax!  It’s highly flammable!  Soy candle wax melts fast and can splatter, so use extreme caution, and use very low heat.  The starters work great, and are economical, since cases of commercial fire-starters are so costly!

Hope I’ve inspired you today! And, here’s wishing you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!  (I can’t wait to mail out the vintage-inspired Valentine’s cards I found)!

Until next time!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  1. Jan says:

    Don’t you just love the liquid aminos? Also, be sure to try making some kale chips if you haven’t already. Just when you need that CRUNCH So addictive! I purchased the organic dried garbanzos to make some of my own hummus, but haven’t tried that yet. I have made quick hummus out of organic canned chick peas. Also, did you know that you can roast the drained chick peas, for another crunchy treat?
    Have fun with your spring projects!

    Jan, I forgot about that…I have been wanting to try roasting chick peas, and I bet the liquid aminos would be so tasty on them!  I have not tried kale chips, would love for you to tell us how you do them.  Yum!  Thanks so much for the ideas! -Nicole

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    Hi Nicole,
    I sure wish I could sit with you, face to face, have tea and chat! I could sure use that spirit lifter! I thank you for sharing some "brightener" thoughts and ideas here and I’ll just pretend to be having tea with you!
    Thank you!
    God bless you!

    Oh, CJ, I know…wish we could have that "real" tea together…maybe someday!! Big hugs to you, farmsister! -Nicole

  3. Adrienne says:

    It’s good to see you using my old method of dryer lint-TP tube-candle wax fire starters. When I was on the road as an RVer and stopped at a laundromat, I would take the dryer lint with me and some of the other women (and a few men) would look at me strangely until I explained. As I did my laundry, I would go to the stove in the RV, heat water and brew some orange spice tea. The aroma would even erase the fabric softener smell and a few people would share a cuppa with me. Great way to make friends!

    Hi Adrienne!  It is such a great way to use, re-use and recycle.  The first time I saw homemade  fire starters was at my first farmgirl sisterhood chapter Christmas party.  Every year, we trade gifts, but they must be homemade.  One farmgirl, Kathy, made homemade fire starters, wrapping them up all pretty…they were the biggest hit.  So smart.  So many of the "old" ways are still the best ways, don’t ya think?  Also, as an "RVer", being able to be somewhat self-sufficient is important, I bet.  I also bet you had a great time.  It’s been a dream of my husband’s and mine to someday hit the road in an RV.  Great fun!  Thanks for reading and commenting! Big hugs, Nicole

  4. Laurie Dimino says:

    Hi Nicole!
    As always, I love your blog. I too am itchin’ for spring. In fact, I think this weekend or next I am going to get some lettuce seeds planted in my "cold frame"! Then next month I will get my snow peas going too! My hands are just itchin’ to get digging in the dirt! I’m especially excited to see how my garden does this year, since we now have a rabbit that is providing lots of wonderful compost!
    I LOVE your tea room- I think I would have a hard time dragging myself out of there! Ha Ha. Stay warm, and think Spring! I hope that we don’t get hit too hard with the Nor’ Easter that they are saying is headed our way on Friday!
    Farmgirl Hugs to you my dear friend!

    Hey Laurie, darlin!  I hear ya…I am just itchin to dig in the dirt too!  I almost can’t stand it!  It was even worse today seeing the sun shining so brightly…I wanted to head outside even though it was only in the twenties.  Praying we don’t get the 30 inches they are teasing us with…but Spring is not too far off now.  Sigh…

    As for the tea room, maybe one day we will be sitting in there together havin’ tea for real!  Would be nice!  Hugs to you, Nicole

  5. bonnie ellis says:

    Nicole: I am so glad the sunshine can be seen again in your spirit and in your town. Your blog had great ideas (like the fire starters). Your tearoom is lovely and I would gladly join you (I’ll make the raspberry scones) because we grow raspberries. I can’t think of anyone better to farmgirl of the month. Happy Valentine’s Day. Love Bonnie

    Bonnie, raspberry scones!! OH MY! Delicious! Yes, we are feeling in much better spirits here.  Thank you for your sweet comment, and hope you have a wonderful Valentines Day, too! -Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  6. Holly Kamal says:

    Hi Nicole:
    This year I have grown Hollyhocks from seed and made
    window boxes from discarded vinyl gutters.I plan to grow my herbs in my "gutter boxes".
    My son taught my about the fire starters when he started scouting.They are wonderful!He loves camping so this last Christmas I made some for him as a surprise and he loved them.

    Hi Holly!  Thank you for reading and commenting!  Love your idea for the window boxes made from re-purposed gutters. Awesome "farmgirl" idea!  I was given a few Hollyhocks last summer by a fellow gardener for my cutting bed.  Hope to have some more this year…they are so beautiful.  Happy gardening! Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  7. Rose says:


    Love your idea for a craft dresser! I had a craft room in the big house I previously owned. Now, in my town home, I am limited on space. I will use an old family cedar chest to store my craft items!


    Thanks, Rose! 

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