Saturday, April 30, 2011

Garden Battles

Its a good thing the sun is shining today or I would be staying in bed with the covers pulled over my head.  Yesterday evening I went out to check on my veggie garden, the ones the cat love so much.

These plants were laying all over the top of the soil and some buried too.
True to form the cats once again took their liberty but this time decided to dig up my best looking sugar snap peas so they could relieve themselves. (face turning red) It took me a good half hour to do the needed readjusting of the soil barriers in Garden Alcatraz.  If this last attempt doesn't keep them out  I guess I'm going to have to put up and electric fence around each of my garden boxes to keep them out.  This is just  nuts.

So much for it looking artistic, at this point I only hope it work.

As I was starting the barrier redo I noticed soil that had been heaved up.  "You have got to be kidding MOLES TOO!?!"  I was shouting at them now.  I'm sure the neighbors, who were in their back yard appreciated all my vows to destroy these vermin but I really didn't car at the time.

Can you relate?

Besides the need to vent, the reason I'm even sharing this is because we thought we had the moles licked when we installed hardware cloth at the bottom of our boxes but I guess not.  The sneaky buggers have somehow found how to get past it!  The mole managed to find his way into into 3 out of our 4 boxes.  I literally wanted to cry

NO not my special leaks!  Yer gonna die!
He tunneled in the leeks that were just getting established, then hit the carrot and pea patch the cats hadn't pooed in, and then ran under several of my beautiful garlic plants.  WHAT!?!  Oh if I could only fire a gun in city limits.  This means war!!!

The ground heaved and yup...that's a hole all right.
I can't run electric fence underground though right now I sure wish I could.  Moles are very difficult to evict from raised box type gardens...I know we tried that a few years ago when we constructed bed using landscape timbers in our front yard with no wire mesh barrier.  It was a nightmare.

The only thing I can figure happened is that the tunnels made by the mole for the last couple of years have somehow allowed the wire mesh to push down enough to where he can sneak in.  (Note to time staple it to the sides of the box.)

Well...thanks for the ear and I hope this bit of mental processing will somehow help you in your own gardening problems.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tomatoes In Milk Jugs April Update

I wanted to catch you all up on how those tomato plants I sowed in milk jugs are doing.

It has been at least 10 degrees cooler than normal for the past 2 months which is bad enough, but add to that record rain falls and record cloudy days for both months and that adds up to some slow growing when it comes to my tomatoes.  They are still alive and growing slowly and once the weather perks up (hope hope) they will take off like rockets.

Cold nights, chilly days, hail and a lot of rain and still growing.

You can see the hail damage on the leaves from those times I wasn't able to get them covered in time.  I sort of have this "either you will live or die" thing going on in order to relieve a lot of anxiety that I used to have about growing vegetables.  Besides, I get tired of running outside to pop the covers back on them and honestly...I'm not one for plants that need babying.

True leaves still look okay so I think we're in the clear

There is some better looking growth coming on which is encouraging and relieves any anxiety I may have when I remember that I spent more on seeds this year.  I guess I have been just a little worried they would die from our wintery spring weather.

With better weather today and this weekend I will be transplanting them into their own little pots before their roots become a tangled mess and plan on keeping them under our front porch with its sunny southeast exposure and warmer cement and brick heat sink action and hope it will help them grow better.  I hear tomatoes don't grow unless its 57 degrees but these have been growing in spite of the low temps all be it very slowly.  Well, I'll let you know how it goes.

By the way, before I forget, I wanted to let you know I plan on am setting up plastic covers to help warm the soil where they will be planted so I can get them in the ground before the Fourth of July.  Wish me luck and stay tuned.

Here's the link to how to do yourself.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Petunia, O Petunia

I think I’m in love and am so smitten I can barely stand it!

I can feel a flower fever brewing and I don’t think it’s going to go away.  The fever started last year when I spied Petunia ‘Phantom’ for the first time.

The Phantom that stole my heart
Wow...something cool and new!  I cooed and chortled at its black iris flower embellished by buttery bands shooting from its center with just a hint of purple shadow at their edges.  I was so totally twitter-pated!

No sooner had I caught my breath and there it was...Petunia “Black Cat”

The Black Cat that captured me
 It stopped me dead in my tracks. Purple so deep it looks like night and goodness-gracious-me-oh-my…it also looks like it is made of fine velvet.  (Swoon!)

The reason I know the fever is not going away any time soon…this morning I was at our local grocery/department store and this is what I spied in a hanging basket at the register…GREEEEEEN!!!!  (Did someone just squeal?)

I am completely undone by a green beauty!
Unfortunately the camera did not do justice to the true beauty of the electric spring green centers and softer green of the outer portion of these flowers.  I'm tellin' ya, it's a must in I must have this plant!  Someone please take my wallet before I spend my life savings on these flowers!!!

In honor of this latest flower fever I also began to write this song.  Sorry no YouTube video yet.  

“I did nor see it coming
I fell so helplessly
The moment I beheld you
You made a prisoner of me.
All the others that I fancied
No longer seemed so dear
For you beauty has bewitched me
And my eyes see only you.

Petunia O Petunia, I have fallen hard its true.
Petunia O Petunia, I am sick with love for you.”

Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. All reviews must include author's name and a link back to this blog.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gardening in Slow Motion

Today has been one of our rare sunny days this spring.  Its usually not as cool or wet as it has been this year so I am behind on getting the gardening done.  I've learned over the years to not let the shifting sands of weather patterns ruffle my feathers...its a more enjoyable task if I don't and just go with the flow.  So today with the sunshine I went with getting our veggie boxes sown the rest of the way.  I found it took me a lot longer than it used to.

One entire bed and half of another finally sowed and transplants in.
I'm spent.

The first job was adding steer manure to the beds.  Just an inch or two in bed #2 where the potatoes were to be sown, raking it over the top, forking it in and then smoothing it out to level.  How I long for the days when this was not a pain filled moment and I could just sail through this job.  Life isn't like it used to be, back injuries and Fibromyalgia now plague my attempts to do anything like I used to.  Life is moving in slow motion.

Its quite a change for me to move slowly because I am the girl who instead of wanting to learn to do dance moves on my roller skates was more inclined to run you over doing ninety along with the boys.  I love the wind in my hair and that feeling of nearly being able to fly.  I think that's what got me into some of this physical trouble I now suffer.  Its been a hard but good teacher for me this pain and I'm learning that slow is's not bad...its just different...and I won't lie...its hard.

Florence Fennel seedlings...Pushed through the pain to get them planted
I am looking forward to the harvest now.

I'm also learning that even though my mind sometimes disconnects with the fact that I can't do everything or do what I'm planning to as quickly as I used to, that doesn't mean my life is over. I've had to surrender a lot of things, my beautiful dooryard garden which is now very weedy because I can't weed anymore or dig and divide the plants.  Gardening in general has had to be laid on the alter of disability...or should I say gardening in the manner I used to.  No longer can I head off with wild abandon dragging home whatever latest plant I see or hand digging the entire front yard so I'm certain every boulder and large rock is gone.

I'm still tempted beyond any reason but I've learned I have to say no.  Actually I've been tempted to stop gardening all together, to literally hang up the rake and trowel and say "why bother any more" and just have a couple nice containers of flowers by the front door and call it good.  But gardening does something for me...its cathartic and peaceful work that I believe God has gifted me with understanding of.  I truly love how plants work, I can propagate almost anything I get my hands on (that's dangerous) and everything in the garden truly amazes me.  I know it is His gift to me as no other thing makes me feel the way I do when I am in the garden.  I hear better, I see better, I think better.

Weeds speak volumes of my physical limitations but not of my true desires

These days, because of my pain levels, I am bound to think about the reality of what I can manage physically.  I can no longer care for perennials that are strong growers or roses either for that matter.  I just got rid of two roses I so loved but proved to be too much for me to care for.  In my heart of hearts I want to cry out...NO...I loved them but they were inconsiderate of me in how they grew and began spreading throughout the garden overtaking other plants and creating a huge thicket in my tiny front yard garden.  In so many ways my garden has become like a crying child to me, a child I cannot comfort or meet the needs of as I used to.  That is what gardening with physically disabling pain is like for me.

Thicket of unconcerned roses

I started out to write about the accomplishments in the vegetable garden and instead here I am sharing how my life in the garden has changed because of physical pain.  I hope some where someone is needing to hear this, needed to hear that they are not alone.  Sometimes, many times, for me it feels like that, like I am all alone.  When I look out my window at the weeds and overgrown areas in my garden, a garden that I was once able to tend with great care and now can care little for my heart is a bit sad.  My garden used to be on tours, it used to be truly beautiful.  Now I'm relegated to finding beauty amid the ensuing chaos of neglect.  So you are not alone who ever you are.  I am here too.  I know how you feel.

May your garden be blessed and your heart as well,

Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. All reviews must include author's name and a link back to this blog.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cat Rants

Just so you know I don't adore cats.  I like cats and I have even been fond of one or two that we have owned.  However, I also understand that they believe they are the ruling party wherever they decide to live and therein lies the problem.

You would think they own the place.
(Tater reclining on our couch)

Well it ain't happenin' Puddie Pie!  I am the queen!  They are lucky to get fed with the way they act sometimes, puking on furniture, waking me up at 3 am because they are feeling cuddly or howling because their food is not being served quickly enough.  It ain't workin for me Mr Kitty Pie; let me tell you, I can see right through your plan.

Boomer and his man servant...And he thinks I don't see what he's really up to.

I am the ruling queen and cats, well, they are mere beggars I allow to reside with us.  I consider them interlopers, beggars with fur, who believe we live here only to serve as their personal butler and which we do not (well I don't at least).  I guess they didn't get the memo prior to moving in.

Yeah right.  Like I believe a word of it you beggar cat.

To the cats: You think if you purr and meow my resolve will melt and I will fall for your game.  HA!  Guess again!  Its over!  No more!  I'm done!

Why am I ranting today?  I went out to the garden to check on my seedlings.  Now mind you  my garden is carefully covered with chicken wire, wood lattice section and snow fencing because our feline "friends" think it is their personal "throne" and I want to send a clear message to them that it is not!  It seems this year they are more determined than ever to disregard my message...I mean, just look what they have done!!  I'm going to have to put up a cage to keep them out I swear!

(they moved the sticks so they could do their business)
Yeah I just love the smell of cat urine while gardening.

We'll just see about that...THIS MEANS WAR!!!

Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. All reviews must include author's name and a link back to this blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oooh! Look what I found!

Sigh....its finally spring!
What better way to spend a couple of hours than to cruise the local plant nursery.  It was the perfect day for it so I grabbed the ol’ camera and shot out of the house as soon as I could get my shoes on.  The draw of the nurseries is tough to resist after all the snowy, rainy, frozen, gray days of winter.  Let me warn you though, those nurseries, they know we’re for spring days and color and pull out all the stops to bring us to our knees.

Starting in late February my car shifts into auto pilot and if I’m not paying attention will turn right into every nursery in route to where I should be going.  Okay, so I can’t resist, but the way I figure, why fight it.  I deserve a little beauty in my life after all that winter weather.  Don’t you agree?

Today as I walked in the front door and turned to say hello to the cashier when my eye caught a glimpse of these totally cute glasses.

So cute weeding glasses.

They have little flowers painted on the top corners of the frames.  I want a pair but darn if they won’t work for me.  I’m so near sighted I have to take my glasses off to read!  Oh well…that’s a craft project for another day if I want them in my prescription.

As I headed on out to cruise for plants I saw these and was sent into a state of giddy delight…they come in colors now!
Look Ma!  They come in more than pink now!

And I said that out loud…really loud.  Amazing how things that delight us make us loose all measure of decorum.  Now which color…hmmm.

To be honest a few years ago my dear husband threw out a pair of plastic pink flamingoes an elderly friend had gifted me with before she died and I have been bereft ever since.  He’s still in the doghouse over that one and if he wants out he is going to have to cough up a new pair of birds for me.  I’ll take a pair in bright blue please.  Maybe I should charge him for pain and suffering too.  What do you think?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Milk Jug Update and Other Garden Observations

For those of you who have been keeping up with my milk jug science project I have some updated photos to share.  These were taken a couple days after our freezing temperatures last week.

They should make it just fine.

Different varieties have different cold tolerances...this is a good thing to know

I got lazy and didn't bother to pull them up close to the house and or die.  I am happy to report they did just fine and are now sitting out in one of the raised beds.  Though their tops don't look like they are doing much, those roots are growing and I can't wait until I can finally plant them.

The flower stems of brussel sprouts are very yummy and tender.

While I was poking around out back I discovered blooms erupting on my left over brussel sprout plants.  (Oh yummy!)  They were tender and sweet and juicy...I love garden grazing.

Volunteer potato showing up in the garlic bed means there is garlic smashed potatoes in our future.

Across the isle from my grazing spot a bonus potato plant poked its head up in the middle of the this years garlic bed.  There seems to always be one I miss.

New growth on Lavender in early April

Across the yard new growth on my Lavenders which gave me a lovely flutter of hope.  I have Lavender plans.

My favorite Rhubarb

Then I saw the rhubarb. I have two types of rhubarb in my garden. One I spent good money on that turned out to be the puniest green stemmed variety known to man and which sports more blooms than I ever knew possible for a rhubarb and the other, a fat stemmed luscious ruby red version that I am still waiting to see some produce from.  Why do the things we really want seem to take so long to get established?  Oh well, all good things are worth waiting for.

That "other" rhubarb plant in bloom

Oh and before I forget...I had pulled up a start of the favorite rhubarb that I thought had died last year and ITS ALIVE!  Maybe there is hope for my rhubarb patch yet.  WOO HOO!

Slugs have begun to munch at Patty's Garden Buffet

In a corner stock pile of containers I saw this.  I had tossed these variegated Iris in a pot last fall hoping to get them in the ground but here they are...growing in spite of my neglect and have now become the main course on the slug's garden buffet line.  I best be getting the slugs baited or these babies will be ribbons in a few days.

Golden Bay shines this time of year.

On the way out to the garden the golden Sweet Bay, always shining, called to me like a siren song with its glowing gold foliage.  I have the plain green variety too but when I saw a photo of this plant in a cobalt was just too much.  It has been my siren ever since.

Wanda Wanda beautiful Wanda

As I was leaving the back yard I spotted my little 'Wanda' Primula blooms sparkling in the shade of our fence.  (Oh my heart be still.)  I love these little beauties and it seems they like my garden too.

Happy Gardening!

Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks
All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. All reviews must include author's name and a link back to this blog.

Parkinson's Disease And My Dear Friend Merv

A new day begins
I've been trying to figure out how to start this post.  Its kind of difficult to know how to approach this introduction...but here goes.  My friend Merv has Parkinson's disease, it wracks his body but I wanted to introduce you to more than a man with Parkinson's; I want to introduce you to a man who is not afraid to be seen as weak and trust God for His future.  So why is it important for me to introduce him to you?  In nine days he will be undergoing deep brain stimulation, and Lord willing, will no longer suffer the pain, tremors and mental haze he has battled these past few years.  Its important because I want to honor his let others out there know they are not alone...and for those who have people they know with Parkinson's, to let them know others know how it feels to walk along side someone with this disease.

I love Merv like a big brother.  He was an elder at a church I attended for nearly ten years. He has helped me through some tough times, helping me to keep my perspective with his incredible sense of humor, candor and faith.  He is my hero...he and his wife Dorrie.  They were always people I could talk to, felt comfortable with.  They have amazing hearts, comfortable, unassuming, loving and with them you know where you stand.

A few years ago Dorrie approached me and asked I would come help her with their garden, it needed renovating.   It would become one of my favorite afternoons, there with Dorrie and her youngest daughters, pulling weeds, chatting and teaching, transplanting flowers, cutting back plants, lifting and restoring the garden in front of their home.  Dorrie and I shopped for plants for the was a seemingly small investment in their lives.  That was a couple of years before Merv started noticing his symptoms.

The shadow of looming storm clouds

After Merv was officially diagnosed Dorrie came up to me, gave me a hug and shared how much they were enjoying their trees and how much my help had meant to them. It blessed me especially in light of what they were dealing with, that God knew what they would face and began making provision for beauty in this little garden outside their front door. I was struck by this thought; how things we do for others without a view into the future will bring joy to them later in deeper measures in a season of need in their lives.

Refreshing sunshine on a winter morning
I was filled up with Dorrie's hug and thank you, with the thought that it was a place of beauty in their season of struggle.  She could have come up to me, pour out what woes they were facing and her worries but no, she shared her gratitude and blessings of that little investment and it was so encouraging to me.  I want to be like Dorrie when I grow up.

Heavy storm clouds approaching
I can still remember when Merv and Dorrie stood in front of us that Sunday at church and shared his Parkinson's diagnosis.  I remember the feeling in my stomach brought on by what little understanding I had of the progression of this disease.  I could not imagine my Merv, my brother, so funny...the man who seemed so strong, now facing a future of suffering in his body.  And what about his family, his wife?  I sat there stunned...all of us were stunned.  At that moment we began a long road of walking along side Merv, Dorrie and their family.  They would need each of us, our prayers, our encouragement and physical help too.  We did not know that we would also need them, that we would be the needy ones at the time; it was Merv with the disease not us.

What storms lie ahead?
We could not see that in the midst of his suffering Merv would produce rich words of encouragement born from the depths of his experience and they would wash over us as we struggled in our situations; his words helping us not to worry.  Worry was always knocking at the door of our minds because we could not know if he would find healing or if the course of this disease would take in his life.  It would rankle us at the news of pain events and loss of mental capacity.

Clouds providing beauty in the morning light
It has not been just Merv, but Dorrie too that has shared from those deep places...both out of their own need and heart felt words filled with treasure only found in the fields of suffering.  Suffering is an amazing and beautiful shows us things we would in no other way be able to see, gives us keys to understanding far beyond the comfort we protect so jealously.  It brings into focus new perspective on life, the value of things, those we have in our lives and our faith.  It grants us greater compassion for others, unlocks our hearts to them and casts the tent pegs of our hearts in a much broader circle.  I understand this may seem counter intuitive and it is.  We try to avoid suffering at all costs.  It is an American way of life after, liberty and freedom from suffering.

That Sunday the two of them stood before us and gave their future into the hands of God and into our hearts for prayer and for physical support when it became time.  And we have prayed and prayed, through long days of struggle and pain, for hope, encouragement and faith that would not fail, for financial support, for miracles with hospital officials so he could finally have this surgery that will take place.  The countdown has begun as of yesterday, April 10th...ten days...10 DAYS!  We are praying for a miracle.

Merv writes a blog about his experience with Parkinson's...Merv's Little Brain  Don't be it.  You will find it inspiring, insightful, honest and pretty funny too.  He is a gift.  I keep reminding him of that as often as I can and feel at times that I cannot say it enough.

Merv, Dorrie and Family...I trust you are reading this and I want to say I love you much, pray for you often, thank God for you all and am blessed to have you in my life.  May God bless you all in spirit and bring healing to you Merv.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Storage Tips From My Kitchen: A peek Inside My Spice Drawer

Our kitchens these days are filled with all sorts of products meant to inspire us to cook.  I'm not just talking about gadgets but a small thing...those spice jars.  How many of you have a drawer or rack full of dried herbs and spices and actually use “all” them?  Have you been mesmerized or inspired by one of those beautiful shiny pre-loaded spice racks because it seems quick and easy, so you buy it and then find only about 1/3 of the spices in it are ones you use.  The rack is handsome looking, organized in just seems to be such a great thing and oh yes, it makes you look like you are quite the cook doesn't it.

Handsomely designed but impractical for most kitchens for various reasons

Most people purchase single jarred spices at the grocery store when they need them. Many times these get used a couple times, put it in the cupboard and there they sit, gathering dust, losing flavor and because they don't "rot" or look spoiled they are never thrown away.

If you seem to have a hard time getting rid of these unused herbs and spices you are not alone.  I know I've been guilty of doing this.  But in reality its such a waste of money to buy a whole jar of spices when you only need a teaspoon or tablespoon.  Its also a waste of time and space to maintain these jars when you think about it; moving them around, cleaning them, thinking about them and feeling guilty for not getting rid of them when you know you will never use them but just in case you keep them anyway.  Makes me tired just thinking about it too.  So let me share some things I've done that have helped me to save time, money and space in my kitchen.

Do you use all of what is in your spice rack?  If not why do you hang on to them?
If you snooped around my kitchen and looked in the drawers and cabinets you would notice I am someone who is fairly well organized.  I wasn't always this organized but have found it more frustrating and more time consuming when I am not and life is just too short for all that drama to suck up my personal resources.  When I added up the cost of all those herbs and spices I bought it was even more expensive than I realized so a few years ago I decided to do something about it.

The first place I looked for inspiration was in professional kitchens which are organized in zones and set up for efficiency.  I found this really useful and garnered a lot of great ideas I could implement in my own kitchen.  In my kitchen you would see I have an area for things I use in baking, one for cooking oils and vinegars and my culinary herbs and spices have a single handy spot all their own as well.  Even the drawer they sit in is organized to maximize its efficiency.  But excuse me I have digressed a bit.  Lets get back to the spices.

Daily used items up front and tools readily at hand and spices easy to find.
Vicki Norris, of “Restoring Order” who has been such an inspiration to me, posted a link this week on her company's Facebook page to an article on the question of how old is too old for spices. Spice Article  Though it was a pretty good article, it missed some things that I consider important and I wanted to add to what was shared there here.

My first piece of advice to you is to never buy that pre-filled herb rack.  Never ever!!!  They look enticing being all nice and shiny and have the appearance of being something that will serve you in the kitchen but remember what I shared above...there are a lot of things in those racks you probably won't use. Besides the fact you probably won't use what is in them they are not very easy to keep clean either.  I just spent 2 hours cleaning the one pictured above after our neighbors gave it to us...I was going to try and integrate it into our space but the lids were too big and because it was such a total pain to clean it's going away.

My spice drawer is organized for work but includes my pretty salt jars at the front and my favorite wooden salt scoop.

Because I cook from scratch a lot and have quite a nice collection of herbs and spices I use on a regular basis.  One thing that helps to keep things easy to find for me is the reduction of visual clutter.  Instead of random jars of this brand of spice or that, I bought empty spice jars that are all the same at a local kitchen store.  I chose those clear glass jars with white lids that are flat on top so I could easily label them with what was inside and only cost about $1.00 each.  I have organized my spice jars alphabetically making it easy to find what I need. I found an old wooden tray at the thrift store that the jars fit into perfectly and put the whole thing in the drawer under our cook-top.  It keeps them right at hand and away from heat and light, two things that can deteriorate the flavors in herbs quickly.  I do have a few containers with larger quantities of herbs and spices along along the edges as well as some less used ethnic spice blends towards the back.

The wood tray and purple box make unloading the drawer quick for cleaning.

By the way, the beauty of my wooden tray is that it makes cleaning a snap.  I can lift the whole works out to clean the drawer when needed.  So do those fancy racks that get kitchen grease all over them and take an hour or more to clean still look enticing?

My very favorite part of what is going on with what I do is not just in the efficiency of how the jars are organized, but that I grow most of the leafy herbs in my stash myself.  That really adds up to some good savings over time and the herbs are the freshest I can get anywhere!  Anything I don't grow I get from the bulk bins at the grocery store so I only purchase what I actually need instead and not that entire jar of something I won't use but once or twice.  For me spending $5 to $7 a jar for something I may use only once or twice or for those things that grow so easily in my garden makes no sense.  Example: In three years that little $3 oregano plant will provide enough for my household and gifts for friends too.

Herbs and seeds grown at home are a great way to save and share the harvest.

If you don't have a drawer like I do just remember that cool, dark and dry are what your dried herbs and spices need to help maintain their flavor as long as possible and make storage adjustments accordingly.  I used to stash my spices in a cabinet right next to the stove but after realizing the heat from cooking was warming up that spot I moved them away from the stove until we installed the drawer.  Try a box or tray slide onto a shelf in the pantry so you can easily pull it out and place it on the counter while you are cooking and put away right after. Where ever you store them be sure they are easy to access and easy to see.  Also be sure to go through them once in a while and refresh the older ingredients and for heaven's sake don't feel bad about getting rid of spices you don't use!  Give them to someone who will or just toss them out.  You may be surprised at how much being organized can inspire your creativity in the kitchen.

Living simply is delightfully inspiring.

Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. All reviews must include author's name and a link back to this blog.