Planning My Garden 2023

It is about time, late even, that I plan my garden to start this spring. This has only been made all the more difficult after a swap-meet event I held where one of the women brought and amazing array of seeds…that I must use. Here are my vague plans:

  • New Garden Beds – Since we have moved into a new house, there is A LOT of work to be done. We will be making new flower and vegetable beds which means lots of digging.
  • Recycling Old, Meaningful Materials – I am extremely excited to erect the same arch that was the backdrop in our wedding as a trellis in our garden and the old garden bed from our old rental is already in the ground (with garlic planted in it no less)!
    • My local Ladies’ Library held a fundraiser in which they were selling flower bulbs….so I bought a MILLION irises and tulips. I planted them in the front yard in the fall, but the warm-to-freezing weather may be harming the little sports too much for this year.
    • Furthermore, after the fundraising order, I ordered dahlia tubers and a few “pollinator blend” seed mats.
    • And sunflowers. There will be lots of sunflowers 🌻
  • Birds, Bees, and Bats – THE BIRD FEEDER IS HANGING OUTSIDE MY FAVORITE WINDOW! I also intend to add bird/bee baths in the front as well as a bat house in the backyard!
  • Chickens?! – If you know me, you know I want my own flock of egg layers. Hopefully this spring we can get a coop together and later use chicken poo in composting!
  • Miscellaneous
    • I want to incorporate hops in some way. For the look, not the functionality. In case you were wondering
    • This is the year I start a peach tree. Maybe on 5-10 years I get a peach!
    • Pizza Oven? Idk, this is a three year goal.

Well enough dumping, are you planning a garden this year? What are you planting?

Homemade is Better: Garlicky Ranch Dressing Recipe


I have been away, but thank you to everyone that reached out and for continuing to check out my blog and socials (see above for more Sustaining Sara)! Now that I have time to write and create again, I have really been inspired to share some of my favorite recipes that I have been enjoying lately. I have been so happy to see my friends and family respond well to the things I cook, so I hope you can enjoy them to!

To share recipes I have started a series called “Homemade is Better.” I have a few recipes I am SURE I need you all to know about, but I have a very personal reason for starting with my Garlicky Ranch Dressing, and that is because I have been meaning to give this recipe to my mother-in-law. We made this dip to enjoy while watching the Super Bowl and can attest that is it great with veggies, wings, or anything else you might want to dip. So this creamy and flavorful recipe is for Mary and anyone else that wants to make their own ranch dressing!

This ranch dressing can be made in less than 15 minutes and should be kept in the refrigerator and consumed within 5 days after you make it.

-Sara, Garlicky Ranch Dressing Recipe

For this recipe you only need four ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup mayo
Ingredients for ranch dressing
All you need for homemade Ranch Dressing; buttermilk, fresh dill, cloves of garlic, and Mayo.

On top of these ingredients, you will need a container to make and store your ranch in. I suggest making the dressing in the container you will store it in because then it will be super easy to throw it into the fridge! I reused a a mason jar that I previously bought honey in.

Now lets get started!

  1. Cut and mince herbs
    • Start by mincing your garlic and putting it in your container, I personally achieved this by using a garlic press.
    • Next cut the dill of the stem. I used kitchen sheers to quickly snip the herb from the stem.
  2. Add your buttermilk and mayo
    • Stir!
  3. Idk what to tell you other than you just made ranch!
    • It’s that easy!
Cutting up herbs
Cut the dill and mince the cloves of garlic, place in container.

I LOVE this ranch, however feel free to adjust this recipe to your preferences too! Three cloves of garlic makes for a very strongly flavored dressing, feel free to use more or less cloves! This ranch is also very drippy, use less buttermilk for a thicker dip.

Ranch dressing in mason jar
Your dressing should be drippy, but if you want it thicker use less buttermilk!

I hope you enjoy this Ranch as much as I do and make sure to tag @sustaining_sara on Instagram and let me know in the comments below if you are excited for more “Homemade is Better!”

Final ranch dressing
The final, creamy product!



Sara’s Top 5 Summer 2021 Plans

Every month I write in my bullet journal three things I want to do that month. Some of these things are stuff that has to be done, but more often than not some of these things are left incomplete. However, there are a few things that I will definitely make sure to do this summer! Here we go, my top 5 Summer 2021 Plans!

  1. Kayaking

Last Summer Charlie and I were set on getting kayaks. However, I did not want to do much research OR buy a roof rack, so we did what any lazy person would do. We bought inflatable kayaks. We got a Intex Challenger K1 and a Intex Challenger K2. We got a single person and a two person so that we could take one out together or both kayaks and a friend or Jupiter in his little life jacket (at the time there was no Bingo in the picture).

Charlie has been looking at where we can kayak this year and it seems like there will be plenty of opportunities between the many lakes and rivers in Michigan’s Thumb. Last summer we only used the kayaks on a calm lake (Crego Park), but we will see if the inflatable kayaks will work on other bodies of water. So we will definitely be kayaking this summer!

  1. Gardening
Tomato and Squash Garden at the Lansing House.
Our old, crowded tomato and squash garden.

Our previous living situation was mine and Charlie’s first house we ever rented together, meaning this was our first yard we could start a vegetable garden in! We attempted to grow several vegetables, but the two that lasted (and THRIVED) were beef steak tomatoes and butternut squash. With these two vegetables we were able to prepare and store enough to have them through winter and it was awesome! We had the last of the tomato soup last week even!

Needless to say with only two types of plants fruiting last year out of a whole garden, we have done a little research and will be improving our garden this year. PLUS we have more room this year! I cannot wait to share our new garden with you!

  1. Up North Michigan/Upper Peninsula Vacation
Lake Superior at Au Sable Lighthouse
The rolling waves of Lake Superior (my favorite Great Lake) at Au Sable Light House

After spending so much time Up North last year between hiking and sight-seeing, I cannot wait to cross Mackinac Bridge again (is a Mac Pass in my future!?). I just want to have a beer at Ore Dock Brewery in Marquette, cliff jump at Black Rock, and finally explore Sault Ste Marie! We have plenty planned for this summer, as you will see on numbers 4 and 5!

  1. North Country Trail 100 Challenge

Have you heard about the North Country Trail Challenge? The North Country Trail actually goes across Picture Rocks National Lakshore and once finished will be the longest scenic trail from Vermont to Oregon (the current west terminus is North Dakota)! The North Country Trail 100 Challenge has been going since 2016 and challenges hikers to do 100 miles of the North Country Trail Challenge. After completion you get a cool patch! Check out the North Country Trail website for more information!

You can do multiple sections of the trail to reach your 100 miles or the same sections over and over! I will definitely be getting 35 miles done at Picture Rocks National Lakeshore this summer!

  1. Backpack Picture Rocks National Lakeshore (AGAIN!)
Picture Rocks Nation Lakeshore Chapel Beach
The turquoise water we say backpacking Picture RocKs National Lakeshore near Chapel Beach.

That’s right, 35 miles in 4-5 days on Picture Rocks National Lakeshore! Charlie and I will be doing this hike again and actually we plan to do it every year for as long as we can. This year we are making sure we do the whole lakeshore, but in the future we will be trying to do it faster and faster! It is just a beautiful and rewarding hike, I cannot wait to do it again.

And I cannot wait to tell y’all about our experiences again!

Thank you for checking in on my plans for Summer 2021. Please let me know of any cool plans you have for this summer in the comments! Thank you!