Monday, July 12, 2010

Vacation is Over

After three weeks in Wake Forest, North Carolina, we're home again.  We stayed at Turtle Mist Farm, a small farm that raises grass fed beef and lamb, as well as pastured laying hens, pigs, turkeys, and ducks.  The owners, Bob and Ginger Sykes, encouraged my 4 children to help out with some gardening and egg gathering which they (the kids) loved.

While we were there, Bob went and picked up some new pigs.  I can't remember the breed, but they are just adorable, as far as pigs go.  And they'll probably be quite tasty too. 

This is Stone, a Percheron that lives at the farm.  He's a retired draft horse, about 16 years old, if I remember correctly.  He is just about the most gentle and patient horse.  It was so hot down there that we didn't get a chance to ride, but hopefully we'll be able to make it back next year when the weather isn't quite so scorching.

We had such a wonderful time while we were there, and we were lucky enough to be able to try out some of the grass fed beef raised on the farm.  I've gotta tell you, I'm not much of a red meat kind of girl, but I do believe I have been converted.  I recommend that everyone take a trip out to the Wake Forest Farmer's Market and pick up some of the delicious beef to try for yourself.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Backyard Gardening

This is the first year that I've really been able to devote much time to my little backyard garden.  Before, there was always a baby to nurse, diapers to change and wash, etc.  But this year, my youngest is pretty happy to play in the backyard and torment his sisters unaided.  While I miss having a little baby around, I've been enjoying the freedom that comes as my kids get older.  I still don't know how I managed to put together a book with a newborn, especially on such an accelerated schedule.  But I digress.

The first of (hopefully) many peppers is hangin' out on this tiny plant.  I've not had good luck with peppers in the past, but this year I made sure to give them a healthy dose of our compost when I put the plants in the ground.  I was sure that the short cold snap we had would do them in, but they've pulled through beautifully.  At present, I've got 9 jalapeno plants, 5 bell pepper plants, and one ancho chile plant.

Our lovely cut-and-come-again lettuce.  We've had many tasty salads from this bed.  Tomorrow I'm going to go out and take the last of it before it gets too bitter.  Then we'll either put in a second bed of corn, or some fall squash.

Bush beans!  I plan to can lots of dilly beans this year.

In addition to what's in the pictures, we've got 10 tomato plants, corn, peas, zucchini, straightneck squash, eggplant, cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, dill, mint, stevia, lemon balm, blueberries, and strawberries. 
And cabbage. 
I think that's it. 
If you don't count the wild mustard and purslane.
I think it's going to be a good year for the garden.

Jack the Guardian Gnome thinks so too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh, Baby!

My sister and her husband are having their first baby this summer. All crafters know that such an occasion calls for some serious action – in the form of handmade gifts.
They are going to cloth diaper the baby, (yay!) so I’ve knit a couple of wool soakers for use as covers. Now, before you look at the pictures, I want to stress the fact that I am not a proficient knitter. My knitting is merely passable, at best.

I added the words to these two little tops using a printable iron-on transfer. One says ‘el jefe’, which means ‘the boss’ and the other says ‘guapo’ which means ‘handsome’. My brother in law is from Mexico with permanent residency status, and is about to gain full citizenship, which is very exciting!

I love making baby things in colors that aren’t typically baby. I couldn’t resist putting the boyish blues and grays together and softening it up with the cream.

For the soakers, I used the Snapdragon Soaker pattern by Heather Eccles, and the blanket is Lyn's Round Ripple Baby Afghan by Lyn.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In My Backyard



Children  (some of them, anyway)

Rocks destined to become garden decoration.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yarn Organization, Part Two

After what seems like an eon, I'm back with what I ended up doing with my yarn!  There were a couple of different things that I wanted to accomplish.  I wanted my yarn storage to look nice, and I wanted it to be easily accessible.  In a house with four kids and two adults, both of those can be rather difficult feats...due to space constraints and the necessity to keep the yarn where little fingers are less likely to tangle it all up.

What I decided on was cleaning up a little bit around my computer desk in the basement, relocate the printer, and move my wine rack yarn storage to the top of an old cabinet.

I decided to keep some of my favorite yarn in the shelves, and the rest went into convenient bins inside the cabinet.  I put my knitting needle tips on top, along with my larger pattern books.  To the left is a magazine holder with knitting magazines and books, and to the right is a holder with crochet magazines and pamphlets.  I love having my pretty yarn on display, and I really enjoy having all of my patterns/references in one place.
The top shelf of my rack holds 100% cotton yarn, the middle holds wool blends on the left and cotton blends on the right, and the bottom has 100% animal fibers.  In the lidded bin are the rest of my balls (!) of 100% cotton yarn, and it usually sits in the bottom of my little computer desk.  Inside the cabinet (which once held an old TV) are two bins of wool yarn.  Bright colors on the left, and neutrals on the right.  If you look close, you can see an empty bin waiting for instructions, and another container full of wool yarn scraps that I haven't decided what to do with yet.

It's been a little over a month since I started using this system, and I must say that it is working quite will for me.  I have yet to pry my precious yarn out of sneaky little fingers, and it has been an absolute breeze to find patterns.  I still need to find a way to be a little more disciplined about how many WIPs I've got!  Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yarn Organization, Part One

Sometimes one has to sit back, look around, and take stock of their resources. For some, this means checking on the veg in the root cellar and meat in the freezer…but for me it means wool, cotton, bamboo, and nylon fibers. Spun, plied (or not) and put up into hanks, skeins, or balls just waiting for me to transform them into something fun.

I set about the task of inventorying my yarn for a few different reasons:

  • My lack of organization was starting to take a definite toll in the number of projects I was successfully completing.
  • I decided that if I’m going to feel like creating is my profession, I’m going to have to treat my craft as a professional would. This means, if nothing else, I need an epicenter for inspiration and pattern writing.
  • I was starting to feel some major inadequacies about the size of my stash.
  • I love any excuse I can get to play with yarn, even if it’s just re-organizing.

    I started by getting as much of my yarn as I could locate and separating it into two groups. The wool and wool blends:

    And the cotton and cotton blends, as well as some misc others.

    Now, these two photos are the most accurate representation of my yarn stash that I could possibly give. I have indeed amassed more yarn since I took these photos, and I have since found some stray yarn in various nooks and crannies of my house. It was not a small feat to decide on a new home and organizational system for my beloved yarn. I wanted it to be in a convenient location, but out of the way. It had previously (when it was where it belonged) been stored in a wine rack dealio in the corner of the dining room. It actually looked quite lovely when I took the time to ensure that it was organized neatly within the little cubes.
  • In my next post, I’ll post pictures of where I decided to store everything, and why. Everybody loves a cliffhanger, right?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - What We've Been Up To

OK, not totally wordless. This drawing is by my six year old (the one modeling the tunic vest). She was intrigued by the design process and wanted to make something of her own!