Flops

Misadventures in Urban Plantsmanship

I bought a pineapple guava plant through the mail. I was lured by promises of tropical beauty and exotic flavor. It was around midnight, and I had fallen down an internet rabbit hole of off-the-beaten-path edible shrubs, vines, and other fantastical fruits. My eyes locked onto pineapple […]Read the full article...

Misadventures in No ‘Poo

Ever since I stopped using shampoo, I’ve tried several different approaches to having presentable hair: apple cider vinegar rinses, brushing it out with a natural bristle brush, and essential oil-baking soda scrubs. After giving up on baking soda after hearing it was too harsh for hair, I’ve […]Read the full article...

Row Cover Flop

I installed row covers over several beds because the seedlings of my fall/winter crops were getting eaten by bugs, dug up by cats, and stolen by fairies. I pounded 12″ segments of rebar into the ground and curved 1″ pvc plumbing pipe over them. Then I sewed […]Read the full article...

How NOT To Make Comfrey Fertilizer

This post originally had a different title. In the interest of full disclosure which is our informal policy here, after I actually made the fertilizer, I had to add the NOT. It all began well. I cut a lot of comfrey and packed it into a five-gallon […]Read the full article...

Freezer Cooking Fail: Waffles

  This was my first freezer cooking attempt with my good friend Missy.  We made waffles all day.  There was really nothing wrong with the recipe.  It’s just that we both have *sensory* kids.  Her’s are anti-crispy when it comes to waffles and most anything else.  Mine […]Read the full article...

Freezer Cooking Win…and Fail: Baked Bacon

  Those biscuits were awesome, btw, but I will get to those in another post.  Right now we need to talk PIG. My children really latched onto that “World Bacon Shortage” story back in September.  I think it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy, as they are eating bacon like […]Read the full article...

FLOP: Homemade Bake Mix and Whop Biscuits

The picture says it all.   It was ALL BAD, y’all. I think my first mistake was the WHITE WHOLE WHEAT. I had the same problem with the homemade pizza crust (the yeasty version, not the bake mix-biscuity version that never fools anyone.)  My husband is an […]Read the full article...

Corn Flake Injury

This is perhaps the most vicious homemaking injury I’ve ever received.  It’s like a paper cut on steroids.  This picture was taken after two days and lots of antibiotic ointment.  It actually goes across three fingers, but it was hard to get the light to go in […]Read the full article...

Kraut Catastrophe: A Tale of Woe Part II

When we last left this saga, I had finally unstuck the lid from Ivory’s Picklemeister.  It was a great feeling. I was so psyched to get the kraut started.  I layered it in the crock with salt, added the inoculant from Ivory’s pickles and enough water to […]Read the full article...

Kraut Catastrophe: A Tale of Woe Part I

As you all know, everything I do always turns out perfectly. What’s that choking sound? Ah, you’ve read our flops. Well, as long as we’re letting it all hang out, you might as well know what happened when I, inspired by Ivory’s fantabulous experiences making naturally fermented […]Read the full article...

Gone With The Wind

In early Fall during a hive inspection I observed the bees had started to consume their own honey so I started feeding them sugar syrup to supplement their stores. In mid-Fall, another inspection revealed the bees had absconded.  No bees, no dead bees.  Nothing at all but […]Read the full article...

Floor Fail

Here’s a little bedtime story for you lovely readers: Once upon a time, a beautiful princess named Ivory got a wild hair to put in her own laminate floors.  (After all Princess TL did it ten years ago, so how hard could it be?)  She borrowed a […]Read the full article...

Window Fail

Good news!  I got my window fixed.  See that bottom right pane?  It was busted out with a plastic mini-rocket.  Good thing I called my handyman to replace it, huh?  It would have looked SO TACKY otherwise. Unfortunately, less than a month after it was repaired, my […]Read the full article...

Homemade Hideous Garden

Isn’t that beautiful?  Corn, beans, tomatoes, watermelon…  It’s my neighbors’.  Which makes this even more shameful: Hideous Garden 101 Step 1:  Buy goats and chickens. Step 2:  Have only one fence dividing your backyard. Step 3:  Have husband who hates poo (communist) and likes grilling with friends. […]Read the full article...

And the Squash Wore White

I told myself I wasn’t going to grow squash this year.  I have chronicled my squash woes in previous posts, including here, wherein I sustained a SBRI. Every time I try to grow squash I end up sacrificing a gargantuan amount of my limited garden space only […]Read the full article...

That’s a lot of Jute, Ivory

What on earth was a I making?  Three kids, no brain cells.  Any ideas?Read the full article...

Not-Soy Milk

This is Ivory’s soymilk maker.  She got it for her b-day from her very understanding parents (a physicist and accountant who poured years of enrichment, travel, and 16 semesters of college/grad school into a child that currently takes great joy in goat poop and regularly twists her […]Read the full article...

Watermelon Moment

A moment is all it takes to consume this tasty fruit.  Lemme show you: Oh, tiny. So tiny. What went wrong? I’ve never grown a watermelon before. Any advice for next year?Read the full article...

Making Homemade Tabasco Sauce

OR—How To Pepper-Gas Your Entire House So. I got ready for a normal post–here are the ingredients, here it is cooking, here’s the finished product, etc. I took the ingredient photo: Put the ingredients on to simmer for a few minutes. And went outside for a second. […]Read the full article...

Super-Mouse

We don’t use the R-word.  It’s a super-mouse.  Or now super-mice.  And it’s all my fault.  Three guesses what’s in those well-sealed buckets and coolers. Something that was in a paper bag that I wondered how all the grains were ‘jumping’ out into the scrap wood stack! […]Read the full article...

Aerogarden

After my first aerogarden herb crop–I’ve had trouble growing anything else in there.  But, since we’re past lettuce season, I decided to give it another try.  So far, the five middle cells work, but the two outer ones are still duds. And that nifty mini-garden off to […]Read the full article...

Three Sisters Woes Continue

A while back I predicted abject failure from my Three Sisters planting of corn, pole beans, and squash. None of my dire predictions came true, but we still got trouble. The plants themselves have grown well. The corn is tall and tasselling out. The beans are growing […]Read the full article...

Ivory’s Garden Flop-o-rama

Remember when I said that you have to have homemade or, like, five bags of different composts in your raised beds? Well, I know, because this year I didn’t do it! I have NEVER had to fertilize my garden or anything else I’ve grown. But I got […]Read the full article...

Three Sisters Flop Alert

Who knew the Three Sisters method of planting corn, beans, and squash would get so much press all of the sudden? From community education gardens to the White House, everybody and his dog is planting a Three Sisters garden. How can I put a new spin on […]Read the full article...

A Wager

How much do you bet the theoretically red-bloomed verbena on the left don’t make it? I thought they’d rally once I got them in the ground. Maybe….maybe not. Place your bets. IvoryRead the full article...

Climbing versus Clinging

This is a literal flop. That’s about 150 pounds of rose on the ground, I’m guessing. Erect, it reaches 20 feet. It’s not suspended off the ground in that arch you see. There’s just that much plant piled underneath it. It broken two well secured wires IN […]Read the full article...

Mama, my syrup is crunchy!

What happens when you’re making syrup for your kids’ pancakes and you let the the stuff cook for, like, ever? MAPLE CANDY. I had never done this before, but when I poured it into the bowl we spoon from, it wouldn’t ‘pour.’ The kids abandoned the pancakes […]Read the full article...

Microwave Squash Explosion

I blew a flat. I properly vented the thing, but when I squished it after 15 minutes, I thought it still felt 100% hard. So I popped it in for five more minutes and it blew it’s guts all over the place. This pic is even after […]Read the full article...

Cucumber Soap

This…. …is a very bad sign. That’s my week old soap clinging to my knife. Hovering above the ping-pong table, like, a foot. Cookie dough soap. And not the cookie smelling kind. The cookie FEELING kind. Watch this… Oh, that’s not good. Maybe after two minutes in […]Read the full article...

Home Brew

This, my friends…. …is the worst beer you’ve ever had. I brewed it myself. I followed the directions. It’s HORRIBLE. I had JUST POURED it when I took this picture. See any fizz? And let me tell you, it’s bitter as a third place beauty queen. I […]Read the full article...

Homegrown Popcorn

Hey, look at this really pretty ear of popcorn!!!! Now, look at it again. Kinda tiny, eh? And that’s my ONLY ear. I don’t even think I can call it an ear. Ear-ette. But, I am telling you right now…I’m a-gonna dry that bad boy and try […]Read the full article...

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave

Oh, wow, now that’s . . . um . . . that’s real interesting. So. . . I’d say that’s a . . . wha’d ya call that exactly? Don’t. Make. Fun. I’ll get the hang of it eventually.Read the full article...

One Heckuva Sweet Tater

It might be a ‘success,’ technically–but, it sure didn’t turn out like I intended. YIKES: Beauregard Tate Caswell 9/24/08 6 lbs 6.4 ounces 30.5 inches Ivory P.S. That’s a VCR tape.Read the full article...

Potato Famine

Growing potatoes in a barrel sounded as easy as. . . shooting fish in one, perhaps. I thought I did everything right–I used certified seed potatoes, I planted them to the suggested depth. I covered them carefully as they grew, up and over the top of the […]Read the full article...

The Gravity of Gardening

What is that? A crooked row of some experimental type of bean? Nope. Ma bean pole blowed over. (sigh) T.L.Read the full article...

The Year of the Squash Vine Borer

Who can’t grow squash? The prevailing attitude is that you plant your squash, turn and run before it overtakes you, and retreat to the kitchen to concoct increasingly unconventional recipes to use up the overwhelming quantity of squash produced. Neighbors cross the street to avoid you and […]Read the full article...

When Life Gives You Squash

Hey, that looks like a pretty healthy butternut squash! What’s the problem? Why is it in the flops? Because it was supposed to be potatoes and it’s . . . not. T.L.Read the full article...

The Leaning Trellis of Tomatoes

Whoa! I’m almost used to it now, since I know it isn’t about to break. It has looked exactly like this for months now. I thought I had such a sturdy trellis for my tomato plants–before they actually started to grow up on to it. I don’t […]Read the full article...