Author Archives: Nancy Wolff

Like a well-stocked pantry for a cook, a good “medicine cabinet” will save a gardener time and money, especially when it comes to pest control. You may already have many of the necessary ingredients for safe and natural deterrence at home. Store them in a handy location, out of reach of both children and pets.

Liquid soap is the basis of many gardens potions. It helps ingredients blend together, and it is also a surfactant, or wetting agent, which means it assures uniform coverage of leaf surfaces or insect bodies!liquid soap

Aspirin: (uncoated): dissolved in water, fights mildew, black spot, and more.

Borax: wipes out ants, roaches and more.


Canola oil: use to smother insects.Castor oil: used to repel moles.
Canola Oil

Chili powder: pesticide and repellent.
Chili Powder


Cinnamon powder: antifungal and anti-ant!cinnamon

Epson salts: Provides a quick shot of magnesium to promote growth of flowers and foliage.

Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt

Essential oils (Mixed with water): are great pest busters.

Essential Oils

Fish emulsion and kelp: organic fertilizers that promote healthy soil and plants.

Vinegar (apple cider or white): fights fungus, kills weeds and destroys pests.

frugal tips, prudent pantry, prudent living

I find it hard to believe that I will soon be working in the vegetable garden. If you have need of a spray to treat cucumber beetles, leaf hoppers, aphids or other pests here is a great recipe to make with Tabasco sauce.

Peppery Spray
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (or other hot chili sauce)
1/8 tsp liquid soap.

Combine ingredients in a jar, shake well and decant into a spray bottle. Apply to both tops and bottom of leaves. Reapply after a rain.

We all want to have a success harvest in our garden. By having a well-stocked garden pantry you will not only have a successful garden but you can have the satisfaction of treating your garden with natural remedies.

stone, walls
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I’m on the west coast this week spending time with my daughter and grandchildren. You may remember reading this post a year ago but I thought the advice was well worth repeating. Who doesn’t want to save more of their income!

Did you know that according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, on average Americans currently save around 4.2% of their income? There are also some supersavers that manage to put away close to half of their take home pay. I don’t want to be drastic and I’m not willing to give up my hot showers but here are some small steps to take that will help you save more of your hard earned cash.

Reuse plastic sandwich bags. Sandwich bags can be easily rinsed out and dried and used again the next day. As long as the bags didn’t touch raw meat, it’s hygienic—and environmentally friendly. With a pack of 100 bags going for around $3, a family of four can save about $30 a year. I have a wonderful drying rack which is perfect for drying sandwich and other ziploc bags.

saving, money

Reusing plastic bags is easy!

Make your own cleaning supplies. Martha Stewart has long recommended vinegar and lemons as kitchen cleaners. To absorb unpleasant smells, leave vinegar in a shallow bowl on a kitchen counter. To deodorize a garbage disposal, squeeze lemon juice down it. You can save up to $10 a month on cleaning supplies. I make my own all purpose cleaner, find the recipe HERE.

All Purpose Cleaner

All Purpose Cleaner

Buy in bulk. Often buying a large pack of meat and then breaking it down into smaller portions and freezing it will help save you money. I also buy flour and sugar in large bags and then store it in the pantry to use later.

Stockpile supplies. Cans of beans and tomatoes are cheap, store easily, and make quick, filling meals. In addition to cans of tomatoes and beans, you will also find home canned items in my pantry!pantrystock

Compare prices. For some items, such as fruit, buying from street vendors turns out to be cheaper than shopping at large grocery stores. Setting up a price book will help you here.

Cook big. You can make lots of soup, chili, and other big dishes that can turn into leftovers or even go into the freezer for a future meal. To spruce up the dishes and make them even bigger, add pasta or rice. One of my favorite meals to freeze is homemade  Beef and Beer Chili.Beer and Beef Chili

Plan ahead. By loosely deciding in advance which meals to cook on which nights, you can avoid getting home from work—starving—and eating out just because it seems easier. I have a monthly meal calendar I use, I may not follow it exactly but it does help me plan ahead!

These are just a few tips to help you save ore of your hard earned income. What is your favorite way to save?prudent livingLinked to some of my favorite link parties!

Spring is a great time to take a look at your home. Keeping up with minor repairs and upkeep on your home’s exterior will prevent pricier professional jobs and delay those inevitable overhauls. Here’s a quick list of things that should be checked at least once a year to make sure they’re working properly. Before the busy summer season starts is a great time to check these things out!

All Screens: Are they clean, in good repair, no holes?screens

Air conditioner: If you have one check the compressor, make sure the grills and filters are clean, do they need to be replaced?

Basement Sump Pump: If you have one make sure it is working properly

Circuit Breakers: Turn them all on and off.circuit breakers

Furnace Filter: Have your furnace serviced annually and make sure the filters are replaced.

Garage Door Tracks: Are they clean?Garage Door Tracks

Porch and Deck: Do they need to be repainted? Any damage from the winter?

Roof: Checks for leaks, are the shingles in good condition?roof

Septic Tank: If you have one when was the last time it was pumped out. Check the area for any flooding or bad odors!

Sliding Door Tracks: Make sure they are cleaned out and the doors are sliding correctly.Sliding Door Tracks

Vent Duct of the Dryer: Check for dyer lint buildup.dryer vent

Walkways and Outside Stairs: In good repair? Need painting or replacement?

Water Heater: Drain as necessary and check the relief valve.

Weather Stripping: This can be removed in the spring and reapplied in the winter.

Prevention is observation and observation if prevention. By keeping an eye on things your can prevent small problems from turning into disasters!

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When I was in high school my mother took a Chinese cooking class. Of all the recipes she learned to make this one was most requested from the family. I enjoyed it then and I’m still enjoying it! It’s one of those quick recipes that makes good use of leftovers in the fridge. You can have a delicious meal on the table in no time at all! If you like take out Fried Rice this is a wonderful recipe to save you money and make at home.

Ingredients for Stir-Fry Rice

Ingredients for Stir-Fry Rice

Ham and Egg Fried Rice

3 cups cooked rice
2 eggs – scrambled in 1 Tbsp oil
½ cup diced cooked ham
½ cup cooked peas
1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce
1 stalk scallion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp oil

Heat 1 Tbsp oil, when it is hot, add your eggs and scramble them. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside.

Scramble eggs then set aside.

Scramble eggs then set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil and stir-fry the rice thoroughly.

Stir Fry Your Rice.

Stir Fry Your Rice.

Add soy sauce and stir. Add peas and ham and stir again. Add scrambles eggs and scallions breaking the eggs into smaller pieces while mixing. Stir a few more times. Serve hot.

Stir and serve hot!

Stir and serve hot!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, with a little practice, you may end up tossing that takeout menu collection!

Ham and Egg Fried Rice

Ham and Egg Fried Rice

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 Welcome to The  HomeAcre  Hop!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Easter weekend. It was our first Easter without any of our children home but we were blessed to enjoy a wonderful meal with good friends.

Looking forward to having you  join us this week and share your homesteading, homemaking or homeschooling post! After you’ve shared your favorite post be sure to stop by and visit some of the other bloggers as well. Visit the other hosts too! 

We would love to have you follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Etsy, Google+, Instagram or by email

The HomeAcre Hosts are:
Tracy @ Our Simple Life
Sandra @ Clearwater Farm,
Kathi  @ Oak Hill Homestead,
Lisa @ The Self Sufficient Homeacre,
Heidi @ Pint Size Farm
and Me! (Nancy @ On The Home Front)

Each week I will be sharing the most  visited post as well as my own favorite. In addition each host will also pick their own favorite. Visit each host to see if you were featured!

(Remember – If you would like to be featured, be sure to link back to the hop otherwise you will not be featured!)

Most clicked on post:
Pantry Remix written by Daisy G. from Maple Hill 101.gluten-free shelf

My featured post:
Maple Madness Vermont Style, written by Katie from Life With The Crew. Perfect timing for this post since we are in the middle of sugaring season here in Vermont!6a0192acc602f0970d01b7c7705663970b-800wi

Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week.

We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading, homemaking and homeschooling. Please stop by to congratulate the featured bloggers this week! If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog!

Congratulations to our featured post! Be sure to grab your “I was featured” button!

Prudent Living on the Homefront
 You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, Homemaking, and Homeschooling! There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only!
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Prudent Living on the Homefront


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I always had a few raised beds in my vegetable garden but last year we decided to transition to all raised beds.

Transitioning to raised beds.

Transitioning to raised beds.

What is a raised bed? It is a mound of lose, well-prepared soil, six to eight inches high that will make for easier gardening and healthier crops. The beds can be permanent, with edgings of stone, blocks, timbers or railway ties or they can be temporary structures you re-form each time your garden is planted. Raised beds can be particularly helpful if you are trying to grow vegetables in heavy soils that drain poorly.

In the long run, easy maintenance and the ability to use hand tools instead of machinery like rototillers, make raised beds a best bet for the home garden. Here are a few perks of raised beds:

Because the beds aren’t subjected to regular foot traffic, the soil always stays porous and loose and never compacts. This loose soil provided good drainage, enabling water, air, and fertilizer to penetrate easily to the roots of your plants.

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

If you make permanent raised beds, the path next to each bed is never used for growing vegetables. Because it is constantly being walked on and packed down, it stays dry, clean and relatively weed free.Garden all planted!

Because the beds are segregated by the paths between them, you can take advantage of the layout to rotate the variety of vegetables you plant in each bed each year. Crop rotation maintains the soil’s nutrients and discourages pests and pathogens.gardening, Vermont

The raised bed garden can be very pleasing to the eye.

Vermont, seed saving

Sylvia’s Gardens

My favorite reason is that I can sit on the edge of one raised bed while working in the next bed. Much easier on my back!

One drawback I learned last year is that raised beds tend to dry out quicker especially is your soil tends to be a little sandy. Either my summer was just too busy last year or I wasn’t spending enough time in the garden, I had some beds that would dry out quickly. This year I’ll either have to figure out an irrigation system or be more diligent about watering.

Water is important to your garden.

Water is important to your garden.

Do you have raised beds in your garden? What are your thoughts on them?

I love raised beds.

I love raised beds.

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