Feb 062016

This post is a one I had written a few years ago.  While it is already February, there is still time to follow through with these steps in order to get your gardening process in order before it is time to put seeds and plants in the ground.

At the bottom, I have included links to the posts referenced below.


At the end of a gardening season I always find myself ready for a break.  However, by the new year I am ready to get going again, but always feel a bit behind.  It is like I am starting a race a minute behind all the other runners.  This year I hope to change that.

Before the end of the year I am going to do a series on creating a calendar for the next growing season.  By the time you are done, your calendar will have different important dates marked.  Things like frost dates, planting times, garden prep times and so on.  We will be breaking the process down into baby steps, doing a bit each day over the course of week or two.

Step #1: Get a calendar

With the Christmas season and the New Year coming up, we are going to start seeing offers for free calendars.  I wanted to go ahead and let you know about this upcoming series of posts so that:

  1. you would be on the lookout for a free calendar, or one that you might want to use
  2. to keep myself accountable

This series won’t run until after Christmas, so you have time.  However, don’t wait too long.  Before you know it you will be up to your elbows in cooking baking or up to your knees in shoveling snow.  This is a very easy step, so go ahead and just do it.

What should you be looking for in the calendar to use?  Preferably a calendar that has squares large enough for you to write in.  Now, whether this is a hanging calendar or a pocket calendar is up to you.  It just needs to be something that will not get put under a pile of papers, but which can be kept with your gardening supplies. You could even print something off from your computer if all else fails. Do not try to find the perfect calendar, it just won’t happen and is not needed for this.

As of right now here are the free calendars I know of :

Rural King – pick up a calendar when you visit the store.  I’m not sure what they look like.  However, if you are going there, take a look.

Pillsbury – this offer is only good if you were already a member as of 10/29/12.

Live Better America – for members only.

(Here is a post from 2015 also mentioning a few sources for free calendars.)

As I come across more offers I will share them with you.  You may also find them at church, local businesses, your local municipality or utility providers, and so forth.

There are many, many free printable calendars out there.  A simple search will turn up more than you know what to do with.

Also, I have found pocket calendars at Dollar General for $1 or $.50 which would work okay for this.  They contain a calendar that goes for two years and is the one that I have in my purse.  The squares are large enough to write in, though a bit on the small side if you want to put more than one thing on a date.

The following are the steps I took to create a garden calendar.  Most of the steps are quick, though some may take a few minutes to find the information to add to your calendar.  Have fun with this activity.  It is meant to not only set you up for greater success in your garden, but also to help take away any anxiety or forgetfulness you might have.  It is not meant to be yet another chore that needs to be done.

Day 1: Getting Started

Day 2: Planning Backwards

Day 3: Begin List of Plants

Day 4: Adding Details To Your List

Day 5: “Start Seed” Dates

Day 6: Transplant Dates

Day 7: Finding Things Elsewhere, Part 1

Day 8: Finding Things Elsewhere, Part 2

Day 9: Create Wishlist

Day 10: Adding Details to Your Wishlist

Day 11: Expected Harvest Dates

Day 12: Garden Prep

Day 13: Compost

Day 14: Keeping Track Along The Way

Day 15: Order, or purchase, Dates

Feb 042016

produce auction collage

This post is part of a series about produce auctions across the USA.  While this is not a comprehensive list, I have tried to include auctions about which I can find information.  If you know of any others, feel free to leave a note in the comments section.

New York State currently has 6 produce auction sites across the state.  Most are held on Tuesdays and Fridays, though some also are held on Mondays.  You will want to check their times and days before heading out, especially early and late in the season.

Finger Lake Times wrote an article in 2013 about the Seneca Produce Auction.  It was nice to hear from those who bought and sold at this auction, as well as those who help run it.

Often we hear from the buyers at an auction, about worries concerning available produce.  Here is a look from A Farmer’s Perspective: The Talk at the Produce Auction.

Cornell University’s Extension Office has a pdf available showing the locations of produce auctions in the state of New York.  Their map may give you a better idea where the closest produce auction would be for you.

Chautauqua Produce Auction
7844 Rt. 474, Clymer, New York 14724
Phone: (716) 355-6500 or (716) 355-6391
Time: Tues. & Fri. at 10:00 am
Email: nwesterberg@stny.rr.com
Website: www.chautauquaproduceauction.com

Finger Lakes Produce Auction
3691 Route 14A, Penn Yan, New York 14527
Phone: (315) 531-8446
Time: Mon. at 10:00 am, Wed. & Fri. at 9:00 am
Website: www.fingerlakesproduceauction.com

Finger Lakes Produce Auction’s Facebook page

Genesee Valley Produce Auction
8855 Country Road 3, P.O. Box 163, Centerville, NY 14029
Phone: (585) 567-8640 (auction days from 8:30 am)
Phone: (585) 567-4312 (8-8:30 am all other days)
Time: Tues. & Fri. at 10:00 am

Mohawk Valley Produce Auction
840 Fordsbush Road
Fort Plain, New York 13339
Phone: (518) 568-3579
Time: Tues. and Fri. at 10:00 am

Orleans Produce Auction
12590 Ridge Rd., Albion, NY 14411
Phone: (585) 798-5466
Time: Mon. at 11:00 am, Tues. & Fri. at 10:00 am

Website: www.bontragerauction.com/orleans-produce-auction

Seneca Produce Auction
2033 Yerkes Road, Romulus, NY 14541
Phone: (607) 869-5470
Time: Tues. at 10:00 am, Fri. at 10:00 am

Seneca Produce Auction’s Facebook page

Feb 032016

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for helping support this blog.


At the beginning of the year, I made it a point to start celebrating the various holidays throughout the year.  I had Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving pretty well down.  For activities related all the other holidays, though, I rarely did much, often forgetting about them until a day or two before.

Let me give you an example using the next holiday that will be coming up soon.  Valentines Day is a holiday my husband and I often forget about.  For example, the first year we were married we were doing our taxes when we realized the date, February 14.  Yup, we were spending our first Valentines Day as a married couple doing our taxes.  Romantic, eh?

With it already being into the month of February and Valentine’s Day once again approaching, I need to get on the ball and actually implement the thoughts I have going through my head in regards to activities with the kids.  In years past, I have had them make cards for school, or color hearts and attach them to pencils.  That was as far as I went.  And for the record, making home made cards with your Kindergartner for their class of 20-something kids may sound like a great skill building activity, but it is over rated.  The only skill you end up working on is your patience.

One of my favorite things about Valentines Day are those little heart candies.  They hold no nutritional value, they are a bit corny, but there is something about them I have a hard time refusing.  This year, one of my planned activities is to buy a bag of them and give one to each kid every day.  It will not be anything big, but will make a great quick moment to stop and remember to say, “I love you” every day.

Not only will I be able to find these wonderful little hearts at the store, but Swagbucks has also cooked up a batch that is sure to make you feel great.  They call them SwagHearts!

Collect all 5 candy heart-themed Collector Bills and you will earn a 20 SB bonus!

For those of you who are wondering what Collector Bills are, let me explain.

How Do I Get Collector Bills?

It is simple.  Search the web through the Swagbucks Search Engine through Friday, February 12th at 11:59 pm PT/Saturday, February 13th 2:59 am ET, and when you get a search win, you may get a special Collector Bill valued at either:

  • 8 SB
  • 14 SB
  • 25 SB
  • 32 SB
  • 39 SB


What happen when I get a Collector Bill?

When you win a limited edition Collector Bill you will receive the value of the bill and the bill will be added to your “Collector’s Bill” ledger.  Collect all 5 bills an you will instantly earn a 20 SB bonus!

Is it possible to collect the same Collector Bills multiple times?

Yes, you could collect any of the Collector Bills multiple times by February 12th, and you receive the value of the bill each time.  After all, who does not love candy!

Pro-tip: Default your search engine on your browser to Swagbucks to get collectors Bills and SB every time you google “What time is the Super Bowl?” without even thinking about it.

Happy Searching!

Feb 012016
How My Love For Others Started Our Weekly Menu Plan - January 31, 2016

This post contain affiliate links to a great meal planning website.  My hope is that you find something that works for you and helps with this task of homemaking. Last week I responded to a Facebook post from another homeschooling mom.  The question asked was, “What do your lunches look like?”  The question was brought […]

Jan 302016
Historic Seed Company Takes On New Look

Routines can be great.  They help you be able to predict what is going to happen and when.  They save on brain power, enabling you to not really think, but just do.  In gardening, there are some routines that we accept will always be the same. Winter will always turn into spring, and fall into […]

Jan 282016
You've Got Mail: 2016 Garden Catalogs

It is that time of year again.  Garden catalogs are beginning to show up in the mail box.  Soon it will be time to get my seeds out to start for this upcoming year’s garden. With the break in gardening last year I am sure that several of my saved seeds are too old to […]

Jan 262016
Growing Plants (Sid The Science Kid video)

Sid The Science Kid: Growing Plants takes a look into a preschool classroom or daycare as kids plant and compare lima bean plants.  This short video shows kids how to plant a seed.  The kids then take a look at plants grown from seeds, started at various times in the past; some are seedlings and […]