Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Sale

This Saturday, is the first day of the wonderful Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale in Charlottesville.  At the Fall Sale, I purchased way too many books, books that I really didn't need, and one box of vintage German Art Prints that I'm still trying to decided what to do with!  And of course, tomorrow, I'm going back for MORE.  It's such a wonderful sale.  AMAZING.

The sale lasts a week, April 2-10, 10 - 7 each day in the basement of the Gordon Ave. Library, downtown, 1500 Gordon Ave., Charlottesville, VA.

Thousands of great books and recordings of all types and genres!  Proceeds benefit the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. Half- Price Days are April 9&10.

In the Fall I did pick up a "how to" knitting book that got me knitting again and it's a great reference book that lists all the key stitches which I tend to forget when I put my piece down for any length of time... the last time I put my piece down it was 12 years ago so no wonder I forgot everything!

Hope to see you at the sale.  - Rebecca

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Scenic Respite

On Saturday the Vegan Meetup Group traveled to Yogaville which is a little over an hour south of Charlottesville. 

I honestly had little knowledge of Yogaville and being a fearless explorer, decided it sounded like an interesting trip.  I was familiar with the Health Food Store/Grocery that is run by this organization in Charlottesville, Intergral Yoga.

I was elated to find some unexpected breathtakingly beautiful scenery and landscaping.  It was a lovely day even though chilly.

Yogaville is basically a place of meditation, learning, and acceptance of all religions.  There is a lovely Lotus Shrine that celebrates religions of the world and provides a peaceful room for meditation.  They also have lodging and a warehouse onsite where they publish related books, and a small farm.

Sculpture inside Lotus Shrine

We enjoyed a vegan lunch and went on a small tour of the 800 acre retreat.  Yogaville offers Yoga training, Vegetarian Cooking programs, and Farm internships.  We opted to sit and listen to readings while eating our lunch in silence.  It really helped me eat more slowly and the readings were very positive and thought provoking.

There were thousands of Daffodils in bloom along with lovely pink flowering Cherry Trees.  In a way, I was glad I did not research our trip because there were little surprises around every corner.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Saving your Dollars

SAVED $45.00 at Harris Teeter

SPENT $27.00 SAVED $45.00

This week is SUPER DOUBLES at the Teeter.  The deals weren't as great as the last Super Doubles round, which seemed to be not too long ago.  I was really surprised it was Super Doubles already!  YAY. 

Presented 13 coupons, all at least $1.00 in value - all doubled.

A few of the Harris Teeter Deals and what I paid for each:  

Kraft Cheese Shredded - $1.00, Welch's Grape Juice - $2.00,  Bertilli Olive Oil Spray - .99, Gluten Free Noodles - .49, Log Cabin Natural Syrup - $3.00, Seventh Gen Paper Towels - $1.99, Seventh Gen Auto Dishwasher Detergent - $2.49, Progresso Soup - .79, Bay Leaves - $1.45, Bestlife Margarine - .59, Silk Almond Milk - $1.59.

FREE - Kraft Cooking Cream Cheese.

Harris Teeter will double up to $1.98 so a $1.50 coupon yields $3.00 off.  WOW.

I love getting Seventh Generation products discounted.  Can't go wrong there.  No one should be buying non-recycled paper products!!!!  Going back Monday to see what I missed and to grab Freschetta Pizza, on sale, I'll end up paying $3.00 with a coupon. I've learned to split up my Harris Teeter trips (max 20 coupons and it allows me to really scour the store).

How many different Cooking Oil options do we really need?  I've never seen such an array.  It used to be a very small section of the store, pay attention, it now is huge.  I tried to find a particular brand that I had a coupon for and it took me 15 minutes to scan the area.  I finally gave up and used another coupon getting Olive Oil for .99.  It's also really expensive.  I don't use anything other than healthy Olive Oil even in my baking and I can not tell any difference.
 I love hearing about your grocery deals - leave a comment!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Forsythia on the Hill

Here in what is known as central Virginia, the Forsythia is in full glorious bloom.  Each day, I think to myself, today it is the brightest yet and when the next day rolls around the Forsythia manages to be even brighter.

I decided to name our property Forsythia Hill because of the Forsythia not only around our house but in the near area.  I just discovered that I can see a Forsythia shrub from every window and doorway in our house!  No other flowering plant is that prominent.

Being this is only our second Spring here and that last year at this time, I didn't own a camera, I have taken more Forsythia photos than any sane person should shoot.  I keep saying, well tomorrow the Forsythia will be gone --- but for some reason it seems to be hanging around longer than usual.  I think it's because the temperatures have been moderate and freezing has not occured.  So the camera keeps a clicking and it's taking me quite a bit of time deciding which photos I should publish.

I'm having a tough time monitoring the Crocus, Forsythia, and now the Hycinth, and Daffodils... just a hint of the Tulip flower colors are peeping from their rich green foilage.  Mother nature is tossing all she has at us right now.  It's just amazing.  I noticed the Redbud is starting to bud red!  Ok, now I'm hyperventalating just thinking about it all. 

Tomorrow I go to a Newcomers Writing Club meeting down South of Charlottesville to a home of a gardener.  I'll take the camera along, I can bet there will be plenty of Forsythia to shoot.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crocus Crazy

Someone stop me now - I just can't quit taking photos of Crocus.  They are so cute and crazy colorful!

I don't know why suddenly I am attracted to Crocus.  In our old yard in Pulaski, VA we had zillions of Crocus and I really didn't give them the time of day.  They always seemed to disappear so quickly and I didn't like where they had naturalized.

I've been studying my Crocus and realized that they must have sunlight in order to open their sleepy eyes each morning and they snap shut tightly each afternoon with the slightest hint of a shadow.  On a drizzly day a Crocus will not dare open.

My attention wanders from Crocus to the Forsythia.  It is blazing right now on Forsythia Hill.  For the last two weeks I've been taking photos, each day thinking, today it is the brighest so I better take a photo.  Only to find out that the next day, it is even brighter!

I'll be posing next week about Forsythia by then I'm sure we'll be tired of the little Crocus.  But if you need a Crocus infusion, check out my tumbler photo blog,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Flurry of Flowers

Brilliant Daffodil on Forsythia Hill
The first Daffodil on Forsythia Hill opened its eye this morning.  It was an absolutely glorious sight after a cold winter.  I can not imagine living in a climate where it stays cool or cold for most of the year.  We live in a beautiful climate where we can enjoy a short four month Winter.  It always feels like Spring will never arrive, but when it does the colors explode.

Captivatingly fragrant Hyacinth on Forsythia Hill
Today we were driving down Woodlands Drive near the Reservoir and the Peepers were so loud I would have thought it was an emergency vehicle had I not been familiar with their call (Anthony claims to have permanent hearing damage). 

We had a little pond in our yard in our prior home in Southwest Virginia and we had the Peepers stop by one Spring.  It was so loud at night it sounded like zillions were in bed with us!  

Not an elusive Peeper, but another F.H. gardening friend
Peepers throw their voices so you look all around for them and can never find them.  I did manage to spot one once after searching for 10 minutes and it was fantastic.  This miniscule frog the size of my pinkie finger nail fills his translucent little pale green throat with air to form a bubble which causes a shrill PEEP to blast out. 

Last Spring we went to a memorable Toad and Frog Class and the instructor said she had never been able to spot a Peeper, so I felt privileged to have seen one close up in action.  The class we attended last year at Ivy Creek Natural Area is being held on Wednesday, March 23 and it's FREE and is excellent for kids or adults.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Saving your Dollars

SAVED $33.00 between Staples and Kohl's

SPENT $9.00 SAVED $33.00

This week I noticed in the Staples insert that there were a few nice FREE items advertised. 

My Staples Deals:
Three items had rebates, making the 100 Envelopes and 50 Kodak Glossy Photo Paper FREE.  The 50 Avery Shipping Labels ended up being 1/2 OFF.

I paid $8.00 for my Staples items and we all know how expensive office supplies are these days!  I was really happy to restock my Etsy shop.  I use as much recycled supplies as I can to wrap my items, getting bubble wrap and tissue paper on freecycle.

A new Kohl's just opened in Charlottesville.  It is the first large retail business that has come to our community since we moved here 1.5 years ago.  Kohl's mailed out $10.00 gift cards to celebrate the occasion, so I paid $1.00 for a new sink drain stopper.  The one we had was a pain and Anthony and I were on the verge of breaking a wrist or hurling it across the room causing potential animal harm.  So this was a great buy.
Do we really need at least 100 different brands of Yogurt?  This doesn't even make mention of the FLAVORS of yogurt that are now available, which must be into the thousands.  You really have to be a container reader to make sure you're not getting Aspartame or some other crap.  Let's face it, do you really need 20 ingredients in a little container of yogurt?  What is all that stuff anyway. 

That's why I just stick to what tastes good - Stonyfield Farm is really good.  They came out with a Honey Mango and that was sensational.  I also like Chobani Greek Yogurt.  Both don't have all that added mess.

I love hearing about your deals - leave a comment!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Seed Starting - Oh Boy Oh Boy

It's that wonderful time of year again when I inventory of all the seed packs I've accumulated the prior year or even longer!  I have this growing "seed hoarder" collection that I just can not toss out.  Each year I take a glob of old seed and broadcast it over my garden in hopes that something will come up.  There have been some successes but typically germination has been poor.

Last year I was fortunate to find some free seeds and end of season discounted seed.  There were several seed exchanges around Charlottesville and I snagged some from Monticello. 

My seed growing began 20 years ago and it is definitely an annual vigil.  A week prior to planting I write down my seed inventory list and contemplate ordering anything that is missing.  I label all my carefully cut yogurt container tags with the name on each seed packet.  I sterilize with a bleach/water mix the seed growing containers which spent their previous lives as bottoms of Tidy Cat containers or Milk Jugs.  I tape up my seed incubator that falls apart a little more with each passing year, but still is effective at germinating seed.

An amazing array of seeds.

The key I have found to effective seed germination is a warm spot with bottom heat.  I used to use a heating pad, which works just fine but the mini seed incubator or greenhouse works great because it holds in the moisture and makes it cozy and warm for the seeds.

Packing down the topcoat of soil.
I do this all in my basement that has a window beside the little greenhouse and a south facing exposure.

Some key elements:  You must get sterile potting soil.  I always cover my seedlings with vermiculite.  I was told long ago that it helps with keeping damping off disease away.  You do not want to over water.  This is death to seedlings.  You want to bottom water only (I cut holes in my seed trays).  You only water when the trays become dry.

It's only been 4 days and they are up and running already!
I hope this motivates you to give it a try.  It's so much fun!  I can't wait to post some photos as the little babies grow... let's hope all goes well... fingers crossed. 
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