About Me

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Writing about the things I love. My writing work has appeared in hard copy magazines including Green Prints, Twins Magazine, Practical Parenting Magazine, Good Old Days Magazine, The Journal of Court Reporting, and more as well as hundreds of articles in Sunset Hosta Farm's Hosta blog and The Homesteading Village blog.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Beauty of Mini Hostas







The Beauty of Miniature Hostas!


Mini hostas, whether they're the adorable mouse-ear types or the dainty leafed varieties, they always get noticed.   Minis are well suited for any type of mini to small garden, be it rock garden, fairy garden or mini garden collections.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Hostas for Early Spring Color!


 
Wolverine Hosta Plant emerges in early spring

Hostas for Early Spring Color!


After a winter that seems like it will never end, I am always anxious to see the first flush of color in my garden.  If you're looking for early spring color in your shady or part sunny perennial or hosta garden, look no further than hostas! 

The Versatility of Hostas!


Closeup of powdery blue hosta leaves




The Versatility of Hosta Plants!


Hostas are not only beautiful, but they also come in a large variety of leaf colors, sizes and shapes.


But did you know that hostas are so versatile that there are other advantages to adding hostas in your garden other than their beauty? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sun's Effect on Blue-Leafed Hostas


Closeup of Blue Hawaii Hosta's blue leaves



The Sun's Effect on Blue Hostas


Blue hostas require the most protection from the sun because the blue color is actually a waxy coating on the top and or bottom side of the leaves. The leaves are actually a shade of green, but the waxy coating makes them appear those great shades of blue.


Too much sun can cause the waxy coating on blue hosta leaves to melt off and expose the green leaf underneath. This is the reason it is recommended that blue hostas are planted in more shade than other hostas.


The blue hostas are always very popular and there are several shades of blue-leaved hostas. Blue hosta leaves will become bluer and bluer each year as they move to maturity, usually about four to five years. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Why Birds Aren't Using your Birdbath

Bird bathing in birdbath


Why Birds Aren't Using Your Birdbath



It’s been said that birdbaths attract more birds than bird feeders do. I believe that may be true as I know plenty of people who have several feeders but no birdbaths in their yard and they are wondering where their bird visitors are.


If you have a birdbath that is open for business but no feathery customers are visiting, you may find the reason below.



Field Guide to Birds Amazon



Problems with Placement



1. Birds simply don't see the birdbath.


Even if a birdbath is clean and filled with sparkling water, it's not doing the birds any good if they can't find it. The birdbath should be easily seen from the sky.



2. The birdbath is placed in full sun.


The water may be too warm to be refreshing. Moving the birdbath to a shadier spot may be all you need to do. Some shade will also keep the water fresh longer.



Cat watching bird perched on a teacup




3. The birdbath was placed in an area that doesn't appear safe.


Skittish birds feel safer if they can see in all directions while they drink or bathe. They also want to see a quick route to flee from danger or even perceived danger. A birdbath that is too far from cover may discourage your birds from landing there.


Place the birdbath in an area where there are some trees or big shrubs nearby but not close enough that predators can hide near it.
Birdbaths placed on the ground can be hard for the birds to see and be more dangerous than ones placed on pedestals. 


If you must have the birdbath placed on the ground, be sure to place it at least six feet away from places where predators could lurk.



Clean water in bird bath with rocks for bird support



The birdbath itself.


4. Slippery Surfaces.


Many birdbaths, like ceramic ones, have a rather slippery coating that may force the birds that are trying to land there to make a rather unnerving landing.


A simple solution to this is to arrange stones (or branches) in the water so birds can safely land on them then stand on them to drink without touching the slippery surface at all.



Problems with the water.



5. The water is too deep.


The fact is that birds can drown in deep water. Birds prefer very shallow water where they can safely sip or bathe.


As a rule, the deepest part of the bath in the center should be no deeper than about two inches.



6. The water in the birdbath is not clean.


It's pretty obvious that birds will not visit a birdbath that is full of decaying leaves or debris or has a growth of algae. Not only will birds generally ignore that birdbath altogether, but they could get very sick if they do visit.



7. Clean water is not continuously supplied.


Once your birds have become used to a water supply in your garden, you should ensure that you continue to offer it to them. If your birdbath is often empty, then birds will soon try to find another more continuous source of water.



Those Sneaky Neighbors!



8. The area birds have found a better option.


Maybe your neighbor has a more inviting location for drinking and bathing!


If this is the case you can one-up your neighbor's offering by adding a source of moving water to your birdbath. Not only does moving water attract birds, but it will also prevent mosquitos from breeding there. And a side benefit is that birdbaths with moving water won't need to be cleaned as often.


solar fountain pump for birdbaths


Above is a pretty inexpensive solar fountain pump that can do the work for you.


If you're more a DIY-er, here is a great idea I wish I had thought of myself.


Recycle an old bucket or plastic container by punching a tiny hole in the bottom, filling it with water, and hanging it above the birdbath so the water drips slowly down.



Heated birdbath for winter use for birds


Another way to outdo the neighbor is by making sure that your birds have water to drink, even in the coldest weather.

The heated birdbath pictured above is the one that I use.  I like that it sits securely on my deck rail so I can watch the birds from the warm comfort of my window!   


Deicer for use in bird baths for winter watering


Or you can purchase an inexpensive deicer like the one above.  With either choice, you can expect some activity all winter year long!


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I hope you found these tips helpful.  Here are some related articles about the care of your feathery friends:


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This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases without costing you anything extra.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fall Care for Hostas

  
Green leafed hosta plant in bloom


Fall Care for Hosta Plants


With fresh air and fewer insects and plant diseases to worry about, Fall is a pretty great time in the garden.


But for hostas, those beautiful leaves are beginning to die back making the plant look a bit ragged, but the plant is just conserving energy and getting ready for their winter sleep where they will await warm Spring temperatures.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Homestead Holidays! How to Save Money while Making the Kids Happy!



Holiday Gift Envelopes and Tissue Paper


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Homestead Holidays

How to Save Money while Making the Kids Happy!

Guest Post By  Brandi Goodnight
goodnighttobadhabits.com

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Holidays can be hard.


Holidays can be hard, and this year is no exception. In fact, this year may feel harder than in previous years. We want to make our kid's holiday a special one, but our finances may say otherwise. Shopping for the family can be stressful but with a plan, it can be easier.

Is it possible to save money during the Holidays and still make our kids happy? The quick answer is, yes. In many cases, you do not need to spend an arm and a leg to make kids happy. We will discuss multiple ways to save money without sacrificing the Holidays for our kids.



Family and Christmas Tree




The true meaning of the holidays.


The holidays are a time of family and reflection. Bringing those values back to this time of year will provide love and happiness in the house. Kindness and Joy may be all around us year-round, but now is the time to make it a focal point.


The holidays can be stressful, we become hard on ourselves, expecting everything to be perfect. Our inner perfectionists come out (I am totally guilty of this) and we run ourselves ragged. We need to remind ourselves that sometimes being there is what counts the most.




Holiday shopping for the young kids.


When I was a mom of young kids I was told about want, need, wear, read. This helps keep down on the number of toys the kids will have along with providing different, cheaper options for the holiday season.


Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Free Trial


Choosing one item off their holiday list can not only save you money but also let other family members have options as well. I have seen many people use the need option to give their kids a new toothbrush, new sheets, anything the child might be needing at the time.


Something I wear could be those holiday pajamas they open the night before. Finally, something I read, can be a fun way to nudge your kids into loving to read. Find a book that showcases their interests. My sons were really into Minecraft, so I got them those books once upon a time.


 
Wrapped Christmas Presents and Ornaments




Holiday shopping for the older kids.



As kids get older, they become more expensive. They want electronics, video games, and Money. You can continue that above strategy, but it was one I stopped once the expensive gifts came into play. There are many ways I figure out their presents.


Sometimes it a matter of saving money through the year or finding the right deal. Black Friday will not always be the best deal. If I do shop during that time, it is all online. Another way is to spread out the buying throughout the year.




Buying one present a month starting in January can help the feelings it comes with shopping for everyone on your list. Once kids become teenagers, their interests don't change as fast anymore so this strategy is a little easier to pull off. It also makes buying all those electronics a little easier on your wallet.


Other options are gift cards. These allow the older kids to buy the things they want and leave the stress of guessing off your shoulders. My kids love gift cards. If the top of their lists has a big-ticket item, the entire family can pitch in with gift cards and the child can pick out their item that way.




What can you do this year to make shopping easier?


Start with a game plan.


Always starting with a game plan and never falling into the retail deal death trap. This especially goes for Black Friday. The electronics your kids want may be an amazing deal on that day. However, as you walk through the mall, do not be tempted to go into retail stores that do not support your list. You could be tempted to buy something you did not need because of a deal you found in a store.



Coordinate with other family members.


Coordinate with other family members to go in on the big-ticket items. You can also plan less expensive items or fun trips for the kids to help give them more than one gift. Maybe the whole family goes in on the new Xbox Series X, and you plan a trip to the zoo or sledding with your kids. 


You can even tailor those trips to be one on one to make it even more special.



Start Early.


Start next year's shopping in January if you buy for the whole family. Start with parents, siblings, and extended family and friends at the beginning of the year and your kids towards the end.


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Go grab that pen a paper and start planning your holiday shopping with a strategy for gifts, shopping, and family time! Let me know how the holidays are treating you!   LiveLaughLoveHonestly@gmail.com.

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Brandi Goodnight, Freelance Writer
Goodnighttobadhabits.com

 

Guest Author Spotlight
My name is Brandi Goodnight, I am a mother to 3 teens and a wife of 16 years. When I had my oldest I became a SAHM, I went back to work 5 years ago. I have worked and continue to work on improving who I am as a person. I want to share my journey and help others on theirs.

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This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases without costing you anything extra.











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