Money

I've been a Substack reader for more than a year now, as some of my most trusted independent voices have migrated to the writer-friendly platform. There I've subscribed to their weekly missives, which I can opt to read either via the Substack mobile app or as an email newsletter, like the one I send to Brunette Gardens readers. The experience has been overwhelmingly positive. There are no ads to vie for my attention, and the writers can relax and go about the business of writing, following their own innate sense of what we readers want. Read more →


During one of our Wild Ones garden tours in June, we demonstrated our solar oven, the Sun Oven. But since the tour was only about an hour or so long, folks didn't get to see the finished product, a cooked pot of rice. So I thought I'd show the results here. Read more →


Last month we hosted a Wild Ones membership tour, with around 50-70 people total visiting our garden across two tour dates. They asked a lot of great questions, and many of those questions centered around our decision to go lawn-free throughout the entire backyard, which comprises the majority of our 1/4-acre. Since going lawn-free is central to our design, and it's part of the reason we achieved platinum status in the St. Louis Audubon Society's Bring Conservation Home program in just three years, many were intrigued. I think it's worthy of a treatment here on the blog, so I'll run through a list of Frequently Asked Questions about lawn-free living. Read more →


If it's been as hot in your neck of the woods this week as it has been in ours, the last thing you want to think about right now is wool. But from a budget standpoint, that's exactly what you should be thinking about, as summer is a great time to take advantage of deep discounts on cozy items made with this fabric, from base layers ("underwear" if you're in the Midwest) to socks to neck gaiters ("mufflers") like the one shown above.  Read more →


Last spring I shared with you one sexy idea that yielded something even sexier: measurable cost savings on our utility bill during last year's snowpocalypse. Simply wrapping your pipes with something like mini pool noodles could help you fight climate change without breaking your bank or requiring major dietary changes. Now I'm back with another hot plan to save the world, and this time I mean jeans. Read more →


An odd thing happened to me this year: I got the Christmas spirit. No, I wasn't visited by ghosts in the middle of the night. I'm actually not sure why it happened. Lisa thinks it's because our son is staying with us this holiday season before he ships off to Navy bootcamp. That might be it. It might also be that I've just reached the age where any reason to feel warm and snuggly is a good enough reason. Read more →


If you love the thrill of the hunt that comes with thrifting and yard sales but aren’t visiting any estate sales, you are missing out on an opportunity for amazing vintage finds. Estate sales are like yard sales, but instead of just browsing items they’ve set out on their driveway, you’re perusing through the entire property. They’re usually held for a number of unfortunate reasons. Sometimes the sellers have a need to downsize, or the owners may have passed away. Be that as it may, estate sales provide a unique opportunity for people to walk through a home and find really interesting, affordable goods. Lucky for you, we’ve got some great tips to make sure you go through your first estate sale like a seasoned pro.  Read more →


A sourdough starter is a thing of beauty and seeming magic. All it takes is a bowl of water and flour, and you can 'catch' wild yeast from the atmosphere, claiming it as your own to use in everything from a simple loaf of bread to pancakes and pizza dough. Read more →


Claire Schosser writes Living Low in the Lou, a blog chronicling her and her husband Mike's journey of reduced energy consumption and self-sufficiency. She opted for early retirement back in the mid-1990s (with Mike following in 2001) by reducing their expenses through living simply, growing much of their own food, and forgoing many of the shiny new conveniences that the rest of us take as givens. For those outside the area, "the Lou" is a popular nickname for St. Louis, Missouri. The Schosser/Gaillard homestead is located on a one-acre plot in suburban St. Louis and includes many mature, productive nut and fruit trees, an extensive annual garden, an herb garden, and a glassed-in front porch that functions as a greenhouse. Read more →


Claire Schosser writes Living Low in the Lou, a blog chronicling her and her husband Mike's journey of reduced energy consumption and self-sufficiency. She opted for early retirement back in the mid-1990s (with Mike following in 2001) by reducing their expenses through living simply, growing much of their own food, and forgoing many of the shiny new conveniences that the rest of us take as givens. For those outside the area, "the Lou" is a popular nickname for St. Louis, Missouri. The Schosser/Gaillard homestead is located on a one-acre plot in suburban St. Louis and includes many mature, productive nut and fruit trees, an extensive annual garden, an herb garden, and a glassed-in front porch that functions as a greenhouse. Read more →