Category: Keeping House

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

I finally got my vegetable garden planted last week. Yes, I know it was super late!

I never plant any early producers that need to get in right away (no asparagus, leaf lettuces, strawberries, radishes, green onion, etc) because May is historically a horribly busy month for us. Between birthdays, our anniversary, and preparing for our first reenactment of the year at Greenfield Village, there is never enough time to get myself to the farmers’ market, weed, spread dirt, put up the rabbit fence, lay weed-blocking fabric, and get the plants in the ground between the frost-safe time (usually around the second week of May) and Memorial Day.

The contents of the garden varies from year to year, especially since I was largely pregnant last summer so I did the bare minimum to keep things from getting overgrown. This year I weeded and prepped both sections of the garden; the south bed where we pulled out 3 large trees planted only inches from the house the summer after we moved in and the L garden next to the driveway. The L garden was here when we moved in and I have fond memories of my Grandpa coming over first thing on the morning we moved in to weed, put up fences and plant a forest of bush beans. Grandma told me that Grandpa always planted too many beans in their garden too! Now that Grandpa is gone, cleaning out the L bed and planting my beans (vine on teepees, not bushes) makes me feel a little closer to him.

In the south bed, we have a patio tomato, a yellow pear tomato, a purple sweet pepper plant, a yellow sweet pepper, two squashes, a yellow crook-neck and a zucchini, and my experiment of the year, two sweet potato vines. The time needed until maturity for sweet potatoes is longer than I anticipate having left this year (I think it’s close to 140 days) but it’s worth a shot! There is also a largeish lavender plant and chives at the far end of the bed. Since those are perennials, I don’t have to worry about them much.

The L bed will have 2 bean teepees with 3 vines planted at the base of each leg; 18 total, and Brian’s one request, the pumpkin plant. That space needs a bit more work before I can say that it’s actually finished but that should be done tomorrow if the weather holds out.

I’m going to mulch the south bed but I read somewhere that I should hold off on mulching until the plants are established (3 or so weeks) so they don’t feel too crowded and die. I don’t mind delaying mulching at all! It’s one of my least favorite outdoor chores.

Washing Cloth Diapers in a Whirlpool Duet Steam

We started using cloth diapers 2 weeks after Ben was born and immediately liked them better than disposables. They contained messes better, didn’t leak, and looked fluffy and adorable on his little bum! We used prefolds and covers (PUL, fleece, and wool) exclusively for 4 weeks and started mixing in our BumGenius 4.0 diapers when Ben was 6 weeks old. We’ve been using the 4.0s ever since but have also bought 5 BumGenius All-in-Ones, which I love. Maybe I’ll get into the hows and whys of our cloth diaper routine in another post.

When we started our cloth adventure, I had an old top loading washing machine that we had gotten with the house. It worked well but wasn’t very water efficient so we knew we wanted to upgrade eventually. I found a great deal on a Whirlpool Duet Steam washer on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and couldn’t wait for it to be delivered! My washing machine is almost like another member of the family and I know it will get to be more so as our family grows.

I have always heard that you have to be careful washing cloth diapers in a high efficiency front loader because they don’t always use enough water to fully rinse out the diapers. We have been using this same series of steps to wash the diapers since we got the machine in December and haven’t had a problem with smell yet!

1. Load the diapers into wash. Set the washer to Rinse/Drain and Spin and change spin speed to low. Add 1 c. vinegar to the main wash section of the soap drawer OR 2 Tbs of Funk Rock (once a month) into the drum with the diapers. Make sure temp is set to cold (should automatically be set to cold). Timer should be set to 30 minutes. Start!

2. Set the washer to Normal/Casual. Set temp to hot, spin to high, soil level to heavy, push the buttons for presoak and extra rinse. The timer should be set to around 2 hours and 8 minutes after all the options are selected. Add an almost full scoop of Charlie’s soap OR 1.5 Tbs of Classic Rock to main wash section of soap drawer. DO NOT ADD FABRIC SOFTENER!

3. Unsnap all inserts and unfold burp cloths. Dry on heavy duty (high heat) all inserts, prefolds, burp cloths, and fitted diapers. All pocket diapers, covers and the wet bag are line dried. If the weather is warm and sunny, I bring the inserts, All-in-Ones, and pocket diapers to the back patio along with the drying rack and let them dry outside. I keep hoping that we’ll get a retractable clothes line (like this one) installed this summer.

Questions? Comments? Feel like cloth diapers are more trouble than they’re worth?