Friday, May 28, 2010

Another Seed Organizing Attempt

I think this one might work. I like it much better than envelopes, boxes, or bags. It'll be much easier to go through them and find which packet I'm looking for and then get them put away again easily.

I also was able to put the big ring on a cord and hang it down into our crawl space to make sure that they're stored in a cool temperature.  I was pretty proud of that stroke of cleverness.

I clipped the packets together according to category, such as lettuce and greens, root veggies, tomatoes and peppers, etc. But I think perhaps it might be better to rearrange them according to planting time, such as cool weather crops, start indoors, summer direct seeding. I suppose I'll use them a while like this and see if it might be more convenient the other way or not.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quiet Days

I guess things just haven't been terribly interesting around the place lately.  I should try to spice up my life a bit, for the sake of my blog.  These lists of "what I did this week" are never all that interesting, but I use this blog as a journal as well, printing it off every month and filing it.  Just in case there are every any decendants who are fascinated by me, lol.

On Monday I mowed the lawn.  It took forever because the grass was so long.  The grass was so long because it had rained for two weeks, and there was water lying all over the yard, so I couldn't do it any sooner.  It's actually still kind of a mess, with the raggedy parts and all the clippings lying around, but Ben's going to help me hook up the new bagger, and I'm going to go over it again tomorrow, or next Monday, so it'll be all good looking and smooth again.  I was on the lawn mower for about six hours.  Our yard is too big.  No, that's not so.  We have too much grass, and not enough usefulness in our yard.  I cleaned up all the weeds around the mulch in the new orchard and put bird netting on the cherry tree as well.  My cherries (all twelve of them) are starting to ripen!  I'm pretty excited about that.

On Tuesday I had a very fun outing.  The county extension club took a little trip down to Rend River to see the Southern Illinois Art and Artisans Center.  We also stopped for lunch and then headed back to town.  I stayed in town at the library and met Ben when he got out of work.  We had one of my favorite dinners, Jimmy John's sandwiches, and then got to go to a very interesting presentation about beginning bee keeping.  I think it helped me convince Ben that we can get a hive!  The only catch is that he wants me to get stung, so he can make sure that I don't have a severe reaction.  I'm actually not sure if I have the guts for that, lol.

Yesterday I cleaned and baked.  I made yogurt and granola and hard boiled eggs.  I bagged up chicken for the freezer that we'd gotten a great deal on, and cleared and scrubbed down all the counter tops in the kitchen.  I did some laundry and read a little bit as well.  It was one of my favorite kind of days.

Today, I'm cleaning some more things.  There are seed packets and gardening things all over the dining table, along with all the first aid supplies that I was taking stock of and decided where not plentiful enough, so I want to have those things inventoried and put away again.  It seems like seeds and seed starting things are cluttering up the place right up until it snows.  I think I need a better system for storing and keeping them organized, but I can't seem to settle on anything that keeps them neat, but is still easy to find and get a hold of.  Maybe some of those binder clips on one of those big split rings?  I might try that this afternoon.

I hope everyone else is enjoying these late spring days!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Awesome Herbal Videos!

I ran across a book on Amazon called Grow Your Own Drugs about herbal remedies that had good reviews. I'd like to check it out at the library and see if it's worth buying.

In the reviews someone mentioned that the author has a show about herbal remedies and gardening in England and some of them are on YouTube. They are super fun to watch! I just wish more of the episodes were available.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greenland Gardener Raised Beds Update

Remember my new raised bed from March?  I added the other one and planted it with beets, turnips, and fennel a couple of weeks ago.  Here's some photos of how they look now.

The one in the foreground is the newer one, of course.  From left by the trellis to the right we have, some climbing beans that we picked up from the Thomas Lincoln homestead museum garden that we want to grow to keep for seed for next year (Christmas Lima's, I think they are... and we didn't technically steal them, the pod was on the ground in the path, so I "rescued" them...), fennel, beets, and then on the right end, the turnips are coming in heavy and need to be thinned.  I hate thinning.

This is the view of the two beds from the deck.  On the left in this picture you can see the first bed from that original post.  The cabbages are getting huge.  The radishes have all been harvested, and I'm afraid all the onions are shading out the carrots, but we'll see how that goes.

You can also see how badly the chickens can abuse a spot, especially when it's been very rainy.  That bared rectangle to the foreground of the coop is the spot we just took them from this morning.  They'd only been there since Sunday, but it rained so much the night before last everything is a little swampy.

The plants in the middle path are rosemary, basil, and stevia.  Unfortunately, I think the stevia and basil got too frosted while we were away in MI.  I don't think they'll be coming back from it.  They were all waiting for me to finish building some more raised beds with cinder blocks so I can add on to the herb area.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Look! Chicks!

I don't have much of a blog post today. I spent the morning writing Associated Content articles and visiting with my elderly neighbor. Her home health care worker couldn't position her in the bed by herself, so called to see if I could help. And since I was over there, I figures I might as well stay and distract her, since they both seemed a bit harried.

I'm feeling a bit pressed for time now though, since I have to go set up for a county extension tea this afternoon, and haven't quite finished my usual daily chores.

So.... I'm distracting you with this cute photo of the chicks at Rural King that I took this past Saturday. Enjoy!

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Friday, May 14, 2010

A Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful morning this morning, all soft and grey and rainy.  I know, a lot of people think that sounds crazy, but there's just something relaxing and restful about a soft rainy day.  It's restful to my eyes, which get so tired in the bright sun.  And it's nice and cool, so restful compared to a hot glaring day.

To take advantage of my calm and restful mood, I'm having a very domestic day.  I mean, I can't pull weeds in the rain, right? (Don't answer that, allow me my delusions)

Friday is usually the day that I like to do a lot of the weekly or bi-weekly chores around here.  That way, the house is particularly nice for the weekend.  So today I'm sweeping and mopping and washing the sheets and wiping down the counters.

I'm also going to bake Ben a pie today.  He's requested an apple pie with dutch topping in celebration of our anniversary this weekend.  (Well, the anniversary was on Tues, the celebration is this weekend.)

In between laundry and baking and cleaning up a bit, I'm also working on a little quilt sampler project.  It's actually a kids' kit that I got in the shop at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, but I thought it would be a nice souvenier and a good chance to practice hand piecing.  I'm not ashamed to admit, it makes me feel very Laura Ingalls Wilder to be hand piecing a nine patch block!  :)

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Competitive Misery

My blog is usually all crafts, baking, gardens, animals and projects, but I'd like to make a little social commentary today about something that's been on my mind.

I don't know if this is something that goes on everywhere, or if it only seems to be within the circle of people that I know, but I've noticed lately that there seems to be a kind of taking pride in unhappiness going around.  As though people, women especially, seem to prove their worth by being put upon.  I've grown up with this sort of expectation.  If your life isn't super difficult, you don't really deserve to be happy, and if it is, well, then you can't be!

I even fell for it the other day!  I was talking to a new aquaintance, and she said something about being bored staying at home being a homemaker.  I responded that any given moment, I could think of about ten really big jobs, and a million smaller ones that need to be done.  Well, sure, this is true.  It's spring time!  The garden has to go in, the weeds are growing at about ten times the rate of the veggies, etc.  And there's all my crafting, the housework, you get the idea.  BUT, what I failed to mention is that all of those things (with maybe the exception of mopping the floors, but even that I'd rather do than commute or something) are lots of fun!

I live a blessed life, where I am free to create and grow.  I can learn and try new things.  I nuture animals and plants and a homelife that's fulfilling to myself and my husband.  I have the constant opportunity for hard work, and not much of it seems like drudgery to me.  I also have the luxury of time afterward, to rest and recooperate.

This is the kind of life that we should all aspire to!  Instead, I'm ashamed to admit that I'm content.  Uncomfortable sharing my hapiness with my family and peers.  I feel guilty in my rest, even though it's obvious that everyone really does need time to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labors.  Why is misery, stress, busy-ness, resentment, and anger a badge of honor and courage?  Why are happiness, contentment, and the desire to take things at a slower, more measured pace, see as weakness and selfish greed?

I'm afraid I don't have any helpful conclusions in this line of thought.  Other than the simple fact that I truly believe that if more people would try living with less, and simplify their lives, they might also find the same kind of days that I have.  It's easy for people to say that I'm privledged, and spoiled, and it's unrealistic to think that other women could become homemakers.  I won't argue with them, because they have their minds made up and because those people don't know our household budget and spending.  I do know that lifestyle changes are big, and that it takes a big decision for people to come to them.  But I also know they're not impossible.

New homes, cars, big parties, lots of toys and clothes, furniture, "outdoor living spaces", electronics, all the things that people pour money into... are they good for you?  Can they make you happy?  Or do they leave you weighed down?  Like you'll never be good enough, because you can never afford good enough?

Anyway, even if you can't have more time, or become a homemaker, or express your creativity, does that mean you have to compete in your unhappiness?  People should rejoice in the happiness of others, revel in the things they have in their lives that do make them happy and content.  If you find yourself trying to one-up someone with your stress or misery, please, try to make the world a little better, and sympathize and count your blessings instead.

Maybe we can start a bit of competitve contentment instead... I think there wouldn't be a loser to that game.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Yardwork

Hello all!
I was away from my blog this past long weekend, because I was also away from home.  Ben and I went visiting to MI for a whirlwind of activities, including celebrating Mother's Day, attending one niece's ballet recital and another's 1st birthday party, visiting the Henry Ford Museum, and helping my parents with some weeding and yard work.

Things here seem good.  The neighbor chicken-sat for us, and the yard is a bit wild.  That seems to be all the news from the homestead for now.

We had a full few days, but we're back home again, in time for our wedding anniversary today.  I think that with the travel and everything else that happens at this time of year, we both sorta forgot to plan ahead, so we'll be waiting to celebrate till this weekend.  I might bake him something special today, to mark the occasion though.

It's also my friend Alison's birthday today!  Happy Birthday Ali!

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Let the Season Begin!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

My neighbor gave me a nice bunch of rhubarb the other day, and since we're going out of town this weekend, a pie seemed out of the question. I mean, no one should be eating a whole pie in two days.

So, jam it was. That meant it was time to break out the canning pot and tongs and jars and lids and all the other bulky supplies.  I discovered that I must have been very tired and sick of canning last fall when I finished, because everything had made it upstairs, but never did get carried those last fifteen feet to the shelf in the storage room where it belongs.

But it's back in the kitchen now, ready to be shuffled from surface to surface for the next five to six months.

For some people, it's the smell of the outfield grass and the crack of the bat.

For me it's the steam corkscrewing my hair and the sound of the "pings" being counted down.

Summer is here.

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Weaving with Yarn on a Potholder Loom

Here's a little project that I've been working with on and off. I had vague plans of making a whole afghan from the woven squares. I still might, but I figure if I get super sick of having it around, I can always aim low and make a baby blanket instead.
For some cool instructions on how to do this, just search "weaving on a potholder loom" on YouTube and look for the videos by Noreen Crone Findley.

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