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Thursday, April 24, 2014

DIY Thursday: All Natural Fertilizer

Earth Day was Tuesday so in honor of that (and so I'm not saving the planet on only one day a year), I'm posting a DIY way to naturally fertilize your garden. Sure, it's faster and easier to buy a bag of something from the local big box store, but in my quest to make my life more natural, and safe myself money by doing it myself, I found this.

For Christmas I received a small kitchen compost. With no directions. Thank you HGTV for your article! In addition to my small compost (small pot, large garden, I'm getting there!) I also decided to try a couple from House Logic: Make Your Own Inexpensive Garden Fertilize (first set) and a couple from Organic Authority (second set). They both recommended fireplace ash. Use the links to see what else they recommend, I only copied what I used. I kept in their links, but added my own comments with links in parenthesis. Good luck!
House Logic:
First, Test Your Soil (I didn't us a professional. I did this from Frugal Living)

Test your soil to determine which nutrients it lacks. You don’t want to add, say, a nitrogen-rich fertilizer if nitrogen already is abundant.
A professional soil test costs less than $20 and will tell you everything you need to know about what’s in your soil. Contact your local extension agent to find a soil-testing laboratory near you.

Soak Your Plants in Epsom Salts

Why: Epsom salts consist of magnesium — critical for seed germination and chlorophyll production — and sulfur — key for protein production and plant growth. A dose of an Epsom salts solution increases fruit and flower production in roses, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and houseplants.
How: Combine 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water. Spray foliage with the solution for best results.

Save Your Wood Ash (I did do this! Saved all my ash from my wood stove and tilled it in with the leaves and grass cuttings.)

Why: Wood ash not only adds calcium (good for root growth) and potassium (promotes seed and fruit formation) to soil, but it also raises the pH of highly acidic soil, making it friendlier to neutral pH-loving plants, such as most vegetables. (Don’t use it in blueberry gardens, which like acidic soil.)
How: Apply wood ash straight from the fireplace to your garden: Dig in 5 lbs./100 sq. ft.

Organic Authority:
Compost Tea

Caution: Be sure to use a finished compost. Unfinished compost may contain harmful pathogens, and compost that is too old may be nutritionally deficient.
  1. Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/3 full of quality finished compost.
  2. Fill with water to a few inches below the top.
  3. Let the mixture steep for 3-4 days.
  4. Stir the tea as often as you can.
  5. Strain the mixture, through cheesecloth or any other porous fabric, into another bucket. Add the remaining compost to your garden or put it back in your compost bin.
  6. Dilute the remaining liquid with water using a 10:1 ratio of water to tea. (Your watering cans contents should have the look of a weak iced tea.)
  7. Fertilizer the soil or use with a foliar sprayer and spray the leaves.

Grass Fertilizer
Grass
Fertilizer is rich in nitrogen, oxygen and phosphorus. Caution: Be careful not to use grass treated with herbicides.  

  1. Fill a 5 gallon bucket 2/3 of the way full with fresh grass clippings.
  2. Fill with water to a few inches below the top.
  3. Let it sit and steep at room temperature for 3 days, making sure to stir it once a day.
  4. Strain the liquid off.
  5. Dilute the “tea” with equal parts water.
  6. Fertilizer the soil or use with a foliar sprayer and spray the leaves.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Victorian: Wicked Seduction and the 1889 Parisian World's Fair

In Wicked Seduction, Victoria sees several pavilions in the Parisian World's Fair. Unfortunately, she does not get to climb Eiffel's Tower.

As with Philip and Lillian in Seduction of my Proper Wife, Victoria does see the Egyptian Pavilion and the Danse du Ventre. Now called belly dancing, this scandalous dance was done by dancers who wore authentic Algerian and other ethnic costumes.

She and her men also visited the Galerie des Machines. It was remarkable for its vast exhibition hall, made possible by exploiting a new structural innovation, the three-pin hinged or portal arch. Although used previously in bridge construction, this was the first application of the arch on such a large scale.

One final stop, though she does tour the majority of the fair, is the Renaissance Exhibit. Not a lot on that exhibit, but it just sounds cool.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#BookBlast Catch Me by Katherine Grant @comecloserbooks



Katherine Grant is a 28-year-old avid reader, writer and soon to be author in Southern California (who likes to talk about herself in the third person in bios because it makes her feel important). Raised in a town in Michigan so small you've never heard of it, Katie used books as a way to travel. As a child, she talked so much that her family suggested she started writing her thoughts down. And thus, a lifelong dream and career was born. She has been everything from a short-order cook to a teacher to a music journalist.  She's finally embarking on being a novelist full time, and she couldn't be more excited.

When not hard at work, Katie enjoys hanging out with her dog, lying on the beach, promising herself she'll one day learn how to surf (although it will never happen), making her boyfriend crazy by refusing to do the dishes, and getting lost in books. Also, cookies. She really, really likes cookies.



Katherine will be awarding a $25 Amazon giftcard to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Here's a list of all the stops, the more you comment, the better your chance to win!


Blurb:


Adam. Enigmatic. Arrogant. Unwilling to take no for an answer. Everything about him threatens my carefully constructed life. Everything about him makes me want him more.

Isabelle Jennings has it good. She’s a self-proclaimed guys’ girl (football, beers, and kicking back with her “bros”) who has worked hard for everything she’s gotten. And she’s succeeded. Only twenty-six, she already has a startup company – one that helps her atone for past sins. She has (well, had) a healthy sex life, a great apartment and an even better group of friends. No romantic entanglements. No mess. Just how she likes it.

Enter Adam Weston, a young, ambitious businessman in Chicago. Between his money, looks, and charm, he’s never had a problem with women. Until Isabelle.

Overwhelmed by her attraction to him, Isabelle does everything she can to avoid the charismatic playboy. But Adam won’t give up that easily. He dares her to be with him, promising sex sans strings. Isabelle’s burdened with a nightmarish guilt she can’t outrun. And Adam won’t settle for less than everything. He’s breaking down her walls, one touch, one look, at a time.

** Due to language and strong sexual content, this book is recommended for readers who are 18 and older. **

Although Catch Me is the first book in a series, it is a standalone novel.


Excerpt:
I woke up to the sound of my laptop chirping, alerting me to a new email. My thoughts were blurry, still caught in the horror of my nightmares.

The email was from an address I didn’t recognize. It was probably spam, I assured myself.

But the subject line didn’t look like spam.

You can run, but … you know the rest.

A video download was attached. I really shouldn’t click. But some masochistic compulsion had taken over my body. When you’re a kid, and you think there are monsters under the bed, you have three options. Option one was to stay in bed and yell for your parents. Mommy, Daddy, I’m scared, you’d say. They’d turn on the lights, and check under the bed for you. Nothing’s there, sweetie. Don’t worry. Go back to sleep. And, comforted with their love, you could.

The second option was to cower under your covers, close your eyes, and tell yourself that monsters weren’t real. The third was to brave it, to face it. Get out of bed and look yourself.

I’d always chosen option three. That wasn’t about to change now. Even if the monsters were real.

I downloaded the file, and a grainy video popped up. I recognized the scene. It was from Poltergeist II. I hated scary movies but Simon had made me watch it anyway. I suspected he’d liked how I’d snuggle against him, covering my eyes. It made him feel powerful.

A little blonde girl sat in front of a child’s pink toy telephone. It rang and she answered. She turned to look at the camera.

“They’re baaaaaack,” she singsonged.

At the bottom of the  video were four words, words that made my throat close.

Did you miss me?

Buy Links:

Monday, April 21, 2014

#BookBlast A Secret Worth Keeping by @_lakishajohnson


LaKisha Johnson is a girl after God’s own heart; doing what she believes to be her purpose..writing.  In addition to being a self-published author, she’s also a wife of 15 years, mother of 2 and native of Memphis, TN. She comes from a huge family and has always been the go to girl whenever someone needed a poem written or read, an acknowledgement that would convey just what they were thinking or even an occasion written for that special day. She’s an all-around talented lady that makes everything she touch turn to gold. She has 2 degrees from Southwest TN Community College both in Information Technology and has worked in the corporate field for over 15 years. She is also a dedicated blogger, delivering a devotional blog 5 days per week entitled ”Kisha’s Daily Devotionals.”

LaKisha wants readers of her books to step outside the box and read with imagination.  She wants them reeled in from the front cover to the last word, enjoying every second in between, asking for more.  She doesn’t proclaim to be the best writer or even author in the world..she just proclaims to be blessed because her motto is ”God’s purpose is bigger than any problem!”


LaKisha will be awarding a download of A Secret Worth Keeping (format: winner's choice) to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances to win!



Blurb:
Shelby is a career woman turned housewife who enjoys the friendships that have been built with her 5 best friends; Camille, Lynesha, Raylin, Kerri and Chloe. They are all career women with different businesses, husbands and even children but something is missing and they can’t seem to find it at home, in a store or even in a book. So, they search for this missing piece in the beds, arms, cars and even offices of other men who don’t mind paying for what Dem Dam Divas can offer. They enjoy the thrill of sneaking, creeping and even vacationing on someone else’s dime but they soon find out that all good things come to an end. What happens when it becomes too much? From secretly wanting someone who doesn’t want you, loving only to not be loved back and being caught up in a dream that you’re about to be awaken from; will it be worth it in the end? Will they regret their actions or stand by them? Will they finally question whether this secret is really worth keeping?



Excerpt:

Girls, this has been an amazing trip.  I’m kind of sad that it’s ending but I am ready to get home to see my babies.

“Well, good for you; I can’t say the same,” said Kerri.

“Listen ladies, I know that these trips are supposed to be a release to renew our minds but they do no good if you go back to home and accept the same mess you left. If you all are not happy then make some changes. Life is too short to keep living in hell. You all are beautiful, educated and capable of taking care of yourselves so why continue to take less from your husband than what your husband is supposed to do? Please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying that you all should head to divorce court, however, I am saying stop lying down and accepting everything. Stop accepting less than what your husband should be giving. Why should you have to find part time love in the hands of someone else? Why should you find pleasure in the bed of someone else when your husband should be fulfilling your every fantasy and you should be filling his?”

“Shelby, I hear you but you have all that at home, we don’t” Chloe said with tears streaming down her face.

“Yea, you have a husband whose eyes light up when you enter the room, one who notices your new hairdo, one who doesn’t mind shopping with you, one who holds you when you cry, sit with you when you’re sick, stay up with you when the baby is sick; you have all that,” Kerri added.

“Yes, I do but this is because I wouldn’t accept anything less. Understand, we have our ups and downs but we work through them. We are not perfect and I’d be lying if I said anything differently but he knows my faults and accepts them and I know his and accept them.” I said.


Where to Buy: