Making Do

to get along or manage with the means at hand

Merriam-Webster

As the cost of gasoline rises and supply chains are stretched to breaking, there are so many ways we can cut costs, meet our family’s needs and learn some age-old solutions for our households.

Sometimes, going high tech is useful, with YouTube videos available on how to do just about anything you can think of; but at other times we are digging out old recipes and how-to books – actual, literal, made-from-trees books, to give us our direction.

Whichever you choose, bathe your path forward in prayer and Scripture reading. God will open your mind and heart to His wisdom, which far surpasses our own.

With that in mind, I’ll share a few links to items that are helping us save, stock up and make do. All of the picture are clickable links that take you to the purchasing page for the products.

(For transparency’s sake, I’d like to inform you that if you choose to buy any of these items through the links here on my blog, as an Amazon Associate, I receive a very small commission.)

Summers are very hot in Florida. In fact, even here in mid-October, we are still hitting 90* occasionally. And in our house, we keep our thermostat pretty high, due to an aging a/c unit. Therefore we find ourselves going through a LOT of ice to keep our drinks cold. And the price of ice is rising, just like other things. Our refrigerator freezer is too small to use ice trays, so we opted for something different:

A small counter-top icemaker.

It does a great job of making ice, as long as you add water. We bag the ice up and store it in our freezer. It only takes a few days of diligent scooping to get a nice supply of ice.

However, we quickly found that we were going through many more bottles of water than we had been. It makes sense – we were putting it into the ice maker! So…how to remedy that problem?

By pulling out something that had been languishing in our storage shed for a long time: a water distiller.


(We somehow misplaced the glass pitcher that collects the water. But we found this Rubbermaid container that does a fabulous job:

Here’s the lid for it:

This handy gadget takes whatever water you put in it, turns it into steam, then collects that steam as a liquid, thus removing all impurities.

Our distilling setup.

We can use the bleachy, yucky city water (at no extra expense) and turn it into lovely pure water to use in our ice cubes.

But with one addition, we can elevate this whole process to something wonderful. By adding this mineral concentrate to our distilled water, we can add back valuable minerals (Magnesium, Chloride, Sodium, Potassium, Sulfate, Lithium, Boron, and Ionic Sea minerals) to our ice:

Who knows – we might actually start drinking this water, instead of buying bottled water!

We store our water in half-gallon Ball jars:

To some, this may seem like quite a complicated process, but once it’s set into motion, it pretty much takes care of itself. We store the distilled water, add it to the ice maker when needed and put the ice in the freezer.

We are saving money by not buying ice and extra water nor the gas which we’d use to go buy it, and we’re adding a pure mineral-enhanced ice source to our daily diet.

If we choose to use this water for drinking and cooking as well, our savings will really increase!

To take the process one more step further, this water would be excellent for storing for emergency use. Do you have an emergency store of water? Here in Florida, most of us keep some extra water on hand, especially during hurricane season.

Here’s a great YouTube video on storing water. It’s very thorough and logical.

I hope this post has gotten your wheels turning on the subject of water. I’d love to hear what you do in your family to save money, store for emergencies and maintain the flavor and mineral content of your water.

In what other ways are you “making do” these day? Are there other subjects you’d be interested in? Let me know.

Thanks for reading.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Garden Progress

Just thought I’d share a little progress note with you.

We are starting seeds for the new fall garden. I’m excited to be able to grow things now that wouldn’t grow during the hot summer here.

Lots of sprouting going on!

And we’ve been prepping our beds for some special seedlings. These are our Seminole Pumpkins! I’m so excited to be growing this Florida native in my garden this fall! If you look closely, there are nine little seedlings in that bed. We’ll be giving it some more mulch a little later on.

And I thought I’d share some of the ways we get things accomplished here at our house. I’m not able to go outside for hours, helping with all the gardening tasks. And there are SO many, you can be sure! When it’s cooler, I can sit and help outside, but it’s still just too hot for me to sit out there now.

So, this is how I help. We cover the floor with sheets and cardboard, set up a table, bring in dirt and pots and plants and I help get things done. These were our strawberries. They’ve grown and multiplied for several months in this wagon and needed to be separated in order to bloom in the fall and winter. It felt so good when that job was done. Doug rolled them back outside and brought in our other wagon to load up all the pots.

There would be no garden if Doug didn’t help. I am so thankful for him! He says I’m the brain and he’s the brawn…LoL! Not really, but it does sort of describe our strengths. I do all the planning, plotting, choosing seed, buying supplies, laying out the garden; and he supplies the brute strength. I’m so grateful the Lord put us together on the same team.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our day.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Hello August!

I’ve never really been a fan of August. As a youngster, it was always too hot to do much outside, and too boring inside. I was an only child until the age of 13, so no siblings to play with. I also had to start thinking about the upcoming school year, wardrobe, routine, pressures and supplies.

August marked the end of church Summer Camp weeks (my absolute favorite thing about summer!) and the lazy, unplanned mornings at home; and the calendar started filling up with lots of activities, some I enjoyed, but many that I didn’t.

Now, however, I’m finding the joy in August. Not only are some things started to really take off in my garden – despite the heat! – but now starts the time of planning and research and plotting out my new fall garden scheme.

I love researching what will grow here in my zone (9b) and learning which plants make good companions to others. Did you know that you should not plan onions and/or peppers near your beans? Yeah, neither did I, until I started studying.

And did you know that now is the time to start your seeds for all those things that wouldn’t grow here during our hot summer? That’s right – broccoli and carrots and lettuce will do well here during the fall when the heat diminishes and the hours get shorter.

There are also certain varieties of each veggie and fruit that do best here. We need onions and garlic that are short-hour varieties because our days are getting shorter now. We don’t have the 16-hours of sunshine a day needed for those long-day varieties.

And the Seminole Pumpkin does really well here in Florida because it’s a native variety. The Red and Yellow Roselle Hibiscus do well here too, and will soon have beautiful calyces to harvest for teas and preserves..

I’m also trying a tomato variety that is native to Florida, the Everglade Tomato. It is sooooo tiny, and the fruit will be very small, but it’s nice to have something that actually likes to grow here. 😉 And our course, a Mulberry tree is always happy in Florida. This one is “dwarf”. Yeah…I’m thinking it doesn’t know what that word means! Ha!

So, I’m finding plenty to be excited about in August. It’s not only a time of transition, but also a time of savoring…enjoying the still moments before the rush of our autumn routine pulls us away.

Enjoy what the last few weeks of crazy Florida heat is doing for your plants and soil, instead of wishing the hot weather away. Autumn will come, just like always. Let’s enjoy each day God gives us.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Tools that Make the Garden Happen

I’ve been so excited to share our latest venture with you:

We’ve added a double paneled arch to the garden! One end will have Top Mark Melons (cantaloupes) on it and the other end will have Sugar Baby Watermelons.

While it was a very simple project – hammer in the t-posts and tie the cattle panel to the posts – it was a big step for us.

Those cattle panels are 16 feet long! Yeah…we couldn’t exactly pop those into the back of the mini van to bring them home. We actually had to pay to have them delivered. It’s like we’re a real farm or something! Ha!

Thankfully there were multiple videos available to tell us what to buy, how to set them up and even what handy little tool to wrap the wires around the posts and panel.

I’m so impressed with how they look and couldn’t wait to show you the final project.

As with any project, there were some really important tools that we needed to get the job done. I thought I’d share those with you today. (The picture and title are clickable. Links may be affiliate links that provide us with a small commission at no extra expense to you.)

This small sledge hammer is amazing! It’s only 4 pounds, but it really packs a wallop when you’re inserting those t-posts into the ground. Doug had them all in, in no time, with this fabulous tool.

The second tool I mentioned above is the Clip Bender. It’s specifically made to help wrap the t-post clips tightly and to secure them to the panels.

Of course you need to start with the cattle panels and t-posts to accomplish this kind of project. I’d suggest checking out your local Tractor Supply Company for those.

We were able to pot up 3 of the recent purchases we made for our fruit forest. Getting trees and plants into matching pots and lined up along the walkway make me a happy, happy gardener!

This is a Cranberry Hibiscus, Longevity Spinach and a Jamaican Cherry Tree.

We hope to have our Dwarf Everbearing Mulberry and Longan Berry Trees in pots by the end of the week, and to get the seeds started for a Red and a Yellow Roselle Hibiscus. I’m very excited to have all of these growing in our garden.

What’s growing in YOUR garden this week?

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Growing Along

I know you’ve been waiting a long time for a garden update.

Here’s a picture post to hold you over until I can sit down to do a proper post.

Pickling cucumbers
Lima bean pods.
Zucchini and yellow Squash.
Orange bell pepper.
Purple Hull Pea blossom.
Cantaloupe & Watermelon seedlings.

It’s been quite an education out there in the garden. It’s so odd – the things that don’t grow & the things that do. I am constantly surprised.

We plan to harvest our first set of potatoes buckets in the next day or so. I’m hoping we won’t be disappointed. The first bucket we harvested when they should have been ready only had 2 little potatoes in it!

We’ve got cattle panels to set up for all the melon seedlings that are ready to be transplanted. We’re planning to make arches with the panels. It’s so exciting to see the back yard come together as a food forest!

We had to take Isaac for some medical tests this week in Orlando. When we told the tech we were from Haines City, his next question was “Oh, so you guys have a farm there?”

We just laughed & said no. But then we thought about it.

I told him, “Well, we do have a garden this year! It’s not quite a farm, but we are growing things.”

It was funny that he thought of our area as farm country. It is very rural, I guess. I don’t mind that at all. I’m so glad the Lord didn’t “plant” me in the big city. I’m grateful I have lots of nature & clear blue skies where I live.

That’s it for this update! I hope to be back soon!

In Him,

Alesha Kay

The Promise of Things to Come

Just as the garden gives us glimpses of wonderful things that are in the future, so does the Word of God:

1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

The Master Gardener is at work in your life. Don’t give up hope. He has beautiful things in store, just for you!

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Garden Update

Happy peppers & potatoes
Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes
Blue potatoes
Blue potatoes
Soon-to-be Rattlesnake Pole Bean blossoms
A perfectly twirled tendril – so amazing!
A new cucumber blossom!
And he has friends!
Cantaloupe & watermelon seedlings
A sprouting field of wild flowers planted in an old tire. Can’t wait to see what pops up!
Happy little fig tree!

Everything is growing so well. I’m surprised every day by some new growth or blossom or bug or snake… you just never know what to expect in Florida!

We’ve had some disappointments, too: yellow peppers that refused to germinate, cilantro that has only grown four tiny leaves, & tansy that never grew. Our sugar baby melons are struggling & the oregano never even popped its heads up out of the seeds. The loquat tree is being munched on by weevils & out of 8 plants, I have only 1 tomato growing.

But the process had been so rewarding and I’m learning SO much! I love being outside right now before the horrible heat arrives & the Lord is showing me many Spiritual truths out in the garden as well.

Thanks for following along.

In Him,

Alesha Kay