Saturday, September 19, 2015

September Garden Update

  I tore out all but one of the tomato plants. They were not doing anything, and I am needing that space for the fall garden.  I also took the cucumber plants out of the ground since they were dying from something eating the leaves.  Some of the marigolds, as you can see, have done very well, and my peppers and okra are still going strong. Next week the fall garden goes in the ground.
  Last time, I mentioned that my seedlings tend to die.  I went to WalMart, got a $10 Grow light, and jury-rigged a set up for my babies.
 That is a stack of books and a little cabinet of small drawers keeping the light over my plants. They love it!  Except for the onions, which seem not to like me (the seemingly plant-free tin of dirt on the left).  It's not an elegant set up but at least it works and it didn't cost much. 

  This being my wedding anniversary, I told my husband I wanted to get garden stuff for my present.  I got a dwarf banana tree, a red navel orange, a satsuma tree (for my husband), a mulberry bush, a citronelle plant with a pot so we can take it wherever we are sitting, a treatment for the stinking ants that are eating my okra, a snake plant to clean the air in our bedroom, baby onion plants, and five bags of manure.  Yes, I bought bags of poop for my anniversary!  No, that is not a commentary on my marriage.
  The manure will be spread on the garden next week and tilled in for the broccoli, cabbage, and beets.  As you can see from the first picture, I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Friday, August 7, 2015

August Garden Update

Kiwi plant
I've been getting a plant here and there. I have so many things I want to grow!
   I planted a kiwi plant in mid-June, which is crawling along our south fence. A basil, bee balm, and sage will be part of my medicine/herb garden. I also put an echinacea and a lavender plant on the north end of the garden at the the end of July.
  My peppers like it out there, I have already picked two small orange ones and a large red (they were yummy).  Also liking where they are planted are the cucumbers (I've picked two and have several more growing) and some of the marigolds I planted to keep the tomatoes safe from bugs.  The tomatoes, on the other hand...  They aren't doing anything but growing very slowly and NOT putting out flowers and tomatoes!  Maybe next time I'll listen to my mother and bury some water bottles with holes in them to help deep-water the tomatoes. Yes, Mom, I should have listened to you. Don't expect me to say that again.
  The okra has finally started producing some beautiful flowers and okra!  Can you tell that they are related to hibiscus?

   Also, the snap beans never got more than a foot tall and where putting out beans less than an inch long and not worth eating.  I tilled them back into the dirt.  I'm preparing the soil for the fall garden!
   I have direct-composted an area where I will probably plant my root crops; carrots, beets, and sweet onions.  I will also be planting broccoli (Baby Girl LOOOVES broccoli),  and cabbage.
  I have already started the onions, cabbage, and broccoli seeds inside and have had the same amount of success with them as I usually have.
  That is to say, very little.
  They sprout, they grow a couple of tiny leaves, and they fall over and die.
   I need some growing lights.
   I think a trip to the ReStore to look for fluorescent light fixtures and cheap metal shelves is on the agenda for tomorrow.

One of the cukes

Changing the Ratchets and Pawls on the Kromski Harp

  When I got my Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom, the ratchets and pawls, which keep the warp from moving when you don't want it to, were plastic. On the first use, I realized that they weren't sturdy enough when they let my entire warp fall and become unwound!  Then, while I was looking for weaving-related presents for myself for Christmas, I saw a kit being sold to replace those plastic parts with metal, so I got it.  I had a new project to weave, so I decided it was time to do the job.
   I have always been very proud of how I can figure out how to do something by reading.  That is how I learned to weave, knit, spin, and put my looms, spinning wheel, and various pieces of furniture together.  Changing the ratchets and pawls wasn't any different.

   First, I had to make a copy of the template in the instructions. If I had just cut it out, I would have cut out the instructions on the other side.  The template shows where to put a screw in where there isn't one already. The screw is to hold a magnet, the magnet holds the ratchet, the ratchet is to hold the pawl.  
   But I'm getting ahead of myself.
   The right side of the loom is the side you have to work on so that was the side to take off.  I used the template to place the screw for the magnet, took off the old ratchets and  pawls, and attached the new ones. An extra washer to make everything fit a little more snug at each end, and then it is put back together.
  It works much better now that the teeth on the pawl don't bend.

 I have started a new project involving this loom. I don't want to say too much about it right now.  Gotta keep an air of mystery or something, donchaknow.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Baby Girl Loves Worms

  I got home early today and had enough time to put some plants in the ground. It kept trying to rain on me but, thankfully, God held off long enough for me to get the tomatoes and marigolds in the ground.
The ground was wet enough already to make it easier to dig up. My Baby Girl helped me by starting the holes with the hand tiller. She was exclaiming over the worms she was finding and naming them! Goofy kid! I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised, though. This is the same kid I came home to find playing with maggots on the doorstep that she had found under the outdoor trash can.
  Now all I have to get in the ground is the snap peas.
  On the weaving/spinning side, I finished spinning the Merino wool top and am going to start spinning the BFL/silk top in the Sweet Pea colorway next.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

My First Garden

  I actually have never grown a vegetable/ food garden before, something my mom pointed out to me last week. I have had a flower garden, which did well if only because God helped me water it.
  When my husband asked what I wanted for Mother's Day, I told him I wanted plants. So we went to Whataburger for dinner (I'm a cheap date!), and then to Lowe's.  I got twelve Homestead tomato plants, twelve Crimson Spineless okra, an Orange Lunchbox sweet pepper, a red sweet pepper, two burpless cucumbers, and twelve Sugar Snap peas.  I also got some marigolds to help keep bad bugs away from my vegetables, a Thai basil, German thyme, and Greek oregano plants.
  Then comes the next problem. I don't have a tiller, and I have really healthy grass where I want to put my garden. I started digging up the grass with a shovel, and quickly decided that was for the birds! I got a one foot by thirteen foot section dug up in two hours. Then I thought, "Hey, my parents have a tiller, don't they?" Unfortunately, my parent's tiller didn't work when they brought it down.
  So I got a hand tiller. Still a lot of work, but not quite as much. I finally put half of my plants in the ground on Memorial Day with about four hours of work. Then God watered them REALLY well.
  Now my hands hurt.
  And I have a flower on one of my cucumber plants.
My tools

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Not Dead, Part 2

  It only took them about six and a half hours to position the trailer, tie it down, and set up the stairs.  Our paper castle was officially here! This part was very easy for us.  The hard part was yet to come.  My husband and his uncle ran wire from the pole to the trailer and hooked it in to the fuse panel on Tuesday, March 17th, hooked up the septic tank and water lines on Wednesday, and we were ready to move everything in on Friday. We were going up and down a flight of stairs for eleven hours with all our stuff.  My Wonderful Husband and I slept on the floor because we were too tired to set up our bed.
This is the living room, looking better than it first did.
   If I never move again, it will be too soon!
   On that Saturday, we took the girls to the apartment to help us clean and bring three loads of small stuff to our new house. We got everything out of the apartment and into the trailer, and started getting everything situated.
   Then we noticed that the electric was flickering, going in and out when it wanted.
   After $500 and a weekend with very limited power, we replaced the main fuse in the box on the pole that had been damaged by water.
   So, now we are living on our land. Now I can start thinking about a garden, chickens, taking care  of and using our property to provide for us. I can start working on my spinning and weaving products.
NOW this place feels like home!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Not Dead

   My computer, she is fixed!  The fan didn't want to work, had someone take it apart, and now it does!  Yayyyy!!!
   Now I have A LOT to catch up on.  We have been very busy the past two and a half months.
   My Wonderful Husband and I picked out a brand-new trailer, had it built, and signed the papers for it the beginning of March.  By March 16th, they delivered and set it up.
   It would have been delivered the week before, but it rained all that week and they don't set up trailers in the rain.  That Monday was also kind of iffy because of the weight of the dump truck and how saturated and squishy the ground was, but we went forward with it and prayed for the best. We got to our land that morning at eight and waited for the guy with the first dump truck load of clay dirt. Government regulations now require you to put down a pad of clay dirt under new trailers.  That called for three dump truck loads, and a three-figure dollar amount.  The man who prepared the clay pad also was the one with the team that set up the trailer.  He was really whizzing around on that little Bobcat!
   While we were waiting for the second load of clay, the guy with the Bobcat asked if there was anything else I wanted uprooted or knocked down. Why, yes!  There was a large rhododendron growing in the backyard I was going to eventually get rid of since they are poisonous to goats. It took him a few seconds flat to push that ten-foot tall tree over.  Those Bobcats are really strong, as shown with the third load of dirt when the dump truck got stuck up to it's back-most axle!

   The mobile home got to our road at 1130, and had to BACK IN from the main road!  Granted, we are maybe 1/5 mile from the main road, but I couldn't do that with a regular car, let alone and 80 foot trailer.  Watching them maneuver that huge thing in and onto where we wanted it made me very nervous.
This post is way too long, I am tired, and I will leave more for another day.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Starting something ELSE new!

  I have been having some issues with Etsy lately, which has resulted in my shop being suspended.  I can't make money if my shop can't be viewed!  So I am trying something new.  Inselly is a marketplace that is linked to my Instagram account, which I look at every day.  I just have one thing on there right now, so we will see how it goes as I get more items on there.
  With regards to the homestead, we have decided that we are going to get this trailer to live in. It has what I call a "lantry room", a combination pantry and laundry room. I am trying really hard to be positive about the Mobile home since I REALLY don't like them.  I find them to not have enough windows, un-unique (is that a word?) in their shape, and not the safest thing for down here where hurricanes blow.  BUT, this is what we can afford.  I want to put a screened in porch on the front and nice flower beds to help with the outer looks.
Flower beds like these, but probably bigger.
  Who knows?  Maybe in a few years when we have no more children living with us, we can get rid of the trailer and get one of the cabins I like.  You never know.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Goals, Not Resolutions

   I don't make New Year's resolutions.  I feel bad when I don't do them (and I won't), so I just don't make them.  I do, however, like lists of things to get done, because I feel like I accomplished something when I can mark stuff off.

  • Put at least one whole-foods meals on the table per week.
  • Move. (Ugh)
  • Get something to move into. (This is not numbered for a reason!)
  • Start a small fall garden. 
  • Start an herbal garden.
  • Chickens!  Just a few young ones at first, to start off slow, and therefore less overwhelming.
  • Learn herbal medicine. Not all of it, obviously, that would take me decades, just more than I currently know.
  • Play more. Because of this guy.
  • Verbalize more how much I love and appreciate my husband.  Because he's awesome and I don't say or show it enough, in my mind.
  I think that's a good start, don't you?
  What are your goals for 2015?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wow, less than a week later!

  Christmas season is officially over.  The Christmas tree and other decorations got put away yesterday.  I can put my big loom back up!  I just need to get a kid out here to help...
  Christmas season can't be completely over yet, because I haven't told you about my presents! 
   On the left back is eight ounces of naturally-colored cotton to be spun.  I have never spun cotton before so it should be an adventure!  The three cones of yarn are 3/2 mercerized cotton, and the middle one isn't actually that yellow, more of a chamois. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to make with them.  On the right in the back is an ounce of BFL(wool)/silk blend in the colorway called Sweet Pea which I can't wait to spin.
  On the front left is a ratchet and pawl upgrade for my Kromski Harp Rigid Heddle loom.  The ratchets it comes with are plastic and bend easily, as in the first time I used it! The upgrade is made of metal and should last much longer.  I will post pictures when I put this on.
  Guys, GUYS!  This little Zoom Loom by Schacht is awesome!  I've made over a dozen little squares, I've even made some at WORK!  And these  are just some of the things you can do with them!
  Okay, calming down now.
  I don't know if you have noticed a theme with these presents, other than they are all weaving/spinning related (what else would I get?).
  These are all things that don't involve my big floor loom.  Much as my husband would love to see it go, NO, I'm not getting rid of it.
  I'm thinking of the future.  Are we getting a cabin(small) or a Mobile home(bigger)?  When, exactly will we be moving? If we get a cabin, where will I put the big loom?  On the screened-in porch?  Could it survive out there in the humidity?
  Too many questions!  When I finish with the towels that are currently on it, I will let the floor loom sit idle while I work on my spinning skills and use my smaller looms.
  At least, that is the current plan.