Monday, September 12, 2016

Well, We Finally Had to Have a New Well

For the past 13 years we have had to be very careful with our water consumption during dry summers because we only have a 16' dug well and if it is a dry summer our well will go dry. We only had it go completely dry once, but we are very careful every summer and be sure to conserve and use rain water as much as possible.

This year has been about the driest summer since we've lived here and we finally had a well drilled about a month ago. If we hadn't we would be out of water now, even with careful use.

It is nice to have the drilled well. It goes down about 140 feet and we should be able to water gardens  (and ourselves) much easier in dry years.

We will still be using all the rain water we possibly can, especially in the garden room. The plants really thrive being watered with rain water.

We still need to have the water tested, but we did get the HealthyWise TDS meter water test kit

The  meter is easy to use, simple and to the point. No calibration, no fuss, just dip the end into your water and wait a minute or so for the reading to settle in and that's it. I used this to help determine what condition our new well is in, we are going to have it tested by a regular lab but this tester gave us an idea of what could be wrong, if anything, with our water. It shows that our new well is, well -- good, (I know that wasn't that funny, it sounded better in my thoughts, guess it should have stayed there).

I figured as soon as we had the well done we'd get a ton of rain, but that hasn't been the case. It is still very dry here. Hopefully it will be a rainy fall or we could be in for a rough year next year too!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Review for Night Provision TX11 Tactical Flashlight Torch Cree XPL-HD 1000 Lumen LED

Every once in a while we get a product that we just love and fits in with our way of life. Flashlights are something we have a lot of and are always looking for better ones. 
Out of all the flashlights that I have tried this one so far is the best. The TX11 Tactical Flashlight is small enough that you can put in in you pocket with out any trouble yet it is powerful enough to light up the night giving you light where you need it. There are several different light settings allowing you to conserve battery life if you are going to be out for long periods but then with the push of a button you're back to full power when you need it. The The TX11 Tactical Flashlight is a bit more than a lot of other tactical lights on the market but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for and what you're paying for here is quality and durability, something that in an emergency situation you can depend on. This light carries a 5 year warranty but I've got a feeling that it will last way beyond that. It comes in a really nice box suitable for a gift, a holster to put on your belt, a lanyard and two O rings and a spare button cover.

 Disclosure: We received this product for free/discount in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This review is our opinion of the quality and function of the item. We have not been compensated for this review nor are we affiliated with the seller. This review is our opinion and our opinion only.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Actually Had Some Rain Today!

Yesterday I posted about us having such a dry summer and today it rained! Not a lot, but enough to give the garden and plants a good drink. I should have posted weeks ago, maybe the rain would have come sooner!

Every year we try to add to our gardening tools; last year it was shovels, this year it is hose nozzles. I know that sounds odd, but I like to have a decent nozzle at every hose. We have a hose in the garden room, one on the back deck, one on the front deck and one for the garden. The hose on the front deck has the RY Gardener nozzle and the nozzle works out really well because I can use it as a light mist all the way up to high pressure. Plus the handle is a no slip grip so even when my hands are wet I can hang onto it easily. I have used it for seedlings and even high pressure for cleaning off the deck.

I am already thinking of what will be on next year's shopping list. Floating row covers. We have had ours for about 13 years and they are really getting worn out.  I use them not only for plant protection from frost, but also plant protection from chickens. They love any freshly turned ground.

I think rain is in the forecast for tomorrow as well. I hope so!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Dry Year and The Plants Are Suffering

This has been an unusually dry and hot summer for us and it is really starting to show in our garden. Our well is only a 16' dug well, which has gone dry on us in past years so we are very careful with our water usage in years like this.

We save and use as much rain water as we can but even that storage is almost gone.

This year we have grown more food in planters and large pots on the deck and have an expandable hose with a fireman style nozzle that has been very handy. The nozzle makes it easy to control the flow of water so I don't feel as I am over watering and wasting water.
The weather forecast is for rain this weekend. I hope so, but that has also been the forecast the past few weekends and we  have yet so see any of this rain. The next town over has, but not us. Meanwhile I will save all of the cooking water (full of nutrition for the plants) and water sparingly.


Monday, August 8, 2016

The AYL Flashlight

Every once in a while we receive a product for free/discount in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This week we received the AYL flashlight.

It is a compact light and also has a clip so you can hook it on your belt, this is nice considering that it would be a bit awkward to put in you pocket. I puts out a lot of light. I use the 18650 batteries that are included, I think they last longer then the 3 AAA. The zoom function works well, but like other Cree LED's when you zoom out you get a square light pattern, this is not a bad thing, it's just odd. Slide the zoom back just a bit and you get a normal light. This light has 3 brightness settings, a strobe setting and an SOS setting, not really sure what you would use the strobe setting for, if you were injured or in trouble you would use SOS. The flashlight comes with a battery holder to use 3 AAA batteries, a 18650 battery with sleeve and a charger to charge the 18650 battery.

The flashlight does give off a lot of light, which is great. We use a lot of flashlights around here and we like them to be bright and the batteries to be long lasting.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Why Is It So Hard To Relax?

For years I have been trying to meditate. It really shouldn't be that hard, but it is for me. As soon as I sit for more than 2 minutes I feel as though I need to get up and be doing something....have I watered the plants, are the dishes washed, what are we going to have for supper tonight....the thoughts never seem to stop.

Instead of sitting quietly I decided to try meditating to music and then maybe I could go from there to total quite.

I got a copy of Tranquil Guitar Soothing Music For Relaxation and Sleep CD and have been playing that and trying to clear my mind. The music is very peaceful and there are ocean waves between songs that make the transition from one song to the next without any interruption.

I try to take the time every day for at least 20 minutes to just sit and listen to this CD. I have been doing it for about 5 days and I do feel more relaxed.  I am hoping to be able to take my 20 minutes with this CD and later in the day do 20 minutes of silence.  Wish me luck!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Black Bean Brownies, Baked In The Sun Oven

I bean brownies?? How could they even remotely be something that would taste good. I will admit I had my doubts. I found the recipe at Just Making Noise about 6 months ago and filed it away as "interesting."

A few months ago we decided to try to incorporate more legumes, beans and fiber into our diet and I thought back to this recipe. What the heck...what have I got to loose. Worse case the chickens will have quite the snack.

I was amazed at how good the recipe came out. I did change it from the original a bit by reducing the amount of honey to about 1/3cup (we don't have many sweet things, so we can cut back a lot on sweeteners and still enjoy the taste, original recipe calls for 1 cup) and I used chicory root as an instant coffee substitute.

I have been making this recipe every week for the past month. Today I tried it with kidney beans instead of black beans. The taste isn't quite as rich, but still VERY delicious.

The recipe says to let them cool completely and refrigerate. While that does make the taste even better I can hardly wait that long and end up eating them warm, with cream.  Fresh Jersey cream. I could it get better.

My husband likes them a little sweeter than I do, so he will top them with a little maple syrup. We also have added strawberries along with the cream. We are addicted.

I usually bake the brownies in the oven for about 20 minutes (you don't want to over cook), but today was  sunny so I decided to try them in the sun oven. The cooking time was longer (because of the clouds) but they cooked up nicely. I love the idea of using the sun cooking.

Black Bean Brownies Baking in the Sun Oven

 Black Bean Brownies


  • 2 cups black beans, well drained (15 oz canned is fine)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. chicory root
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, coconut oil or combination (I use 1/4 cup each)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or butter an 8x8 baking dish
  • Combine the black beans, cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla, instant coffee, sea salt and honey into the food processor. Blend till smooth, the batter should be thick and will be kinda soupy. Add in butter and or coconut oil and blend about 15 seconds more. 
  • Add walnuts, like large pieces of walnuts only pulse to mix in, if you like smaller pieces blend for about 5 seconds more. I like the smaller pieces and will blend them in.
  • The original recipe said to bake for 30-45 minutes. I found that to be way too long; 20-22 minutes seems to be right for me. You might have to experiment. When you press your finger in the middle it should make a dent. ( I have over baked these and they are still good, just a little dry. Cream took care of that. So would ice cream. )
  • Let cool completely and refrigerate.

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