Monday, May 31, 2010

Guest Post By Western WA State Visitours Bureau

Thanks for visiting the Evergreen State.
Our air space will be closing in 2 minutes.
We hoped you've enjoyed your visit.

After the lights dim, there will be a test of our emergency fire sprinkler for the next 8 days.
Please come again!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday = Garden Tour

Well, since the chickens gruesomely attacked the veggie garden this week, i am afraid there isn't much to update you on here. So, i pulled back the lens and snapped a shot and we can just dream of what will be later in the season. Like, if the sun ever returns to Western WA. :o)

With the veggie garden surrounded with chicken wire now, our sq footage has increased to 500! Tomorrow i will have a picture heavy post about the flowers and new friends popping up in the yard.

Sunday Stills

An acquaintance of mine recently pointed me in the direction of an internet project called "Sunday Stills", where a gathering of photographers take a weekly challenge delivered by the writer.

People say i am a good photographer, but i say i am only as good as the automatic programming on my camera. :o) It is certainly something i fascinates me. I have been playing with aperture and macro settings though i still haven't a clue as to how they work. ;o)

After pouring through the website however, i was hooked. So this is my inaugural submission to the group. This Sunday's mission: Signage

These signs can be found within in neighbourhood. As you can see, our neighbourhood could be one of the coolest around if we could just embrace our vintage-y goodness!

The local burger-teriyaki joint

Our neighbourhood happens to have an amoury in it, so this sign is
rather fitting of this weekend.

However, maybe a sign that is more telling of the times, are these types of signs littered up and down the streets of Anyhood, USA.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Exactly Five Days

Remember last Sunday during the garden tour, when in talking about the new fence i wrote,
"....we'll see how long it takes a chicken's pea brain to figure out
if they strut down the driveway and hop up the retaining wall,
they could be up to their waddles in earthworms and fresh greens?"
Well, i happen to have the answer for you.
It takes 7 stinkin' chickens exactly 5 days to crack the mystery of the unfinished fence. While making pizza for dinner last night, i thought i would share some of the grated cheese with those little stinkers. They did give us 7 eggs yesterday, after all. Gotta keep those girls happy, you know?
Out the deck door, i could see a couple from the Blue Egg Team on the wrong side of the fence, so i thought my timing for a treat couldn't be more perfect. Walking down into the garden, i discovered they weren't the only Naughty Nellies.
Oh no! The two perfect heads of broccoli? Gone. Plants uproots and stripped bare.
Ei yi ei! The nice and tidy hay paths?!? Covered with dirt that i coincidently had just planted a whole packet of lettuce seed in. Grrrrrr.
Not the cauliflower!!! Oh yes, the cauliflower. DOA (devoured on arrival).
So, long story short, they're still lucky to be living today. :o)
Hopefully they'll lay another 7 eggs again today.
If they know what's good for them.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Embrace the camera :: day 5

Today is a good day...

I lost 2.5 pounds this week,

Cookie Monster started her egg business today,

and on our drive home, wanted to drive around the block sitting on my lap so I let her and we made it home safely (and so did the car.) wanted our picture today to be in the proof maybe?

Good guys win today!  Yea!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Embrace the Camera :: Day 4

Today required an outing. Thankfully it was with a willing little cookie and to our favourite hamlet.

The nursery is where we like to watch fish,

play tag,

have rousing games of thumb wars where

i am usually

defeated easily,

just in time for a quick game of "Don't Step On the Cracks Or You'll Freeze".
After all this, it's usually safe to say that a happy little Cookie Monster won't mind if i linger a long time in the veggie and herb section. :o)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Embrace the Camera::Day 3

Yesterday i found a cute blog with a wonderful message and sweet challenge for the week. Embrace the Camera is an idea thought up by this lovin' mama who thinks there should be more pictures in the world of mamas with their babies. Funny, as i was just looking over our pictures so far from the year and had the same thought. Mom's Day is the only time i can find pictures of me with Cookie Monster--the rest of the pictures break down into 1% Daddy and, 0.5% Chickens, and 98.5% are just of thee ol' herself. Where's the justice?

And while it is true that us mommas would love to live in a world where women always looked fresh from the hairdresser, like in an episode of Mad Men, it just can't be. (Thank Goodness housecoats from then were a fad and not a staple today!) Sometimes, we're just lucky enough to get a shower or coffee in a day--nevermind what happens when you actually get both in one day! Hallelujah! The important thing for us to remember is when all is said and done, the kids will want pictures to show how they remembered seeing us, right? Not how the hired photographer sees us once a year, eh?
So even though we are starting midway through the week, it is important none-the-less that we get these pictures ...

These are the days!!

And not only will i be leaving a hard drive full of everyday pics for to show her kids, but also i feel it is important to pass along majour lifelong lessons, i.e. taste in one's music and kindness to those we admire who share their talents.

Introducing the kiddos to artists like U2, Johnny Cash and the like now, hopefully keeps them from listening to scrappy or bubbly "Idol rejects" later.

Highly Experimental

Can i just say how wonderful it is this year to feel in control of our own schedule? Not having to get a little one up and ready for a drive to school, get to school and have 3-4 people descend on you for help, or worse have a coffee clatch in the hall for 3 hours while chores were calling your name at home or errands were waiting to be ticked off the list. Whew!

Especially nice when you are planning a huge garden! We're up, breakfasted and usually schooled by 1pm or so. Then i can hit the chores or the gardening, whichever will make me feel most productive that day. ;o)

So i've noticed this year that not only are there more things in the garden getting accomplished, but they also seem to be more experimental to boot.

Take for instance, planting tomato seeds. Now, i not saying that the experiment's been successful enough that i don't have to buy tomato seedlings next week when my parents are here and we hit the local nurseries, alas, the fact that i had time to plant tomato seeds this year still amazes me. My plants are still a little on the Charlie Brown-ish side of small, but i figured i'd experiment with them never the less.

Here's the one i call "Do Hot Caps Really Make a Difference?", which is also known as "How To Annoy Your Neighbours' With Your White Trash Aesthetic."

First you take a plastic jug....isn't that how all trouble starts? Work with me though, i'm really recycling something, rather than just "throwing it out", which is really truly what "recycling" has become, hasn't it? :o) You'll also need a plant. A sad appearence to the plant isn't required, i think.

Remember to bury those toms up to their ears! Bury 2/3rds of the plant to encourage a strong root system, especially needed for those windy days!

Then, put the plants little hat on and walk away.
(Don't look back though, or you might see the neighbour's giving you the whale eye!)
Hi Lil' Guy, be warm and be wary of slimy things twice your size.
Repeat, repeat, repeat, etc. so it looks like you grow plastic jugs in your garden.

Now, then, makes you glad you're not my neighbour, doesn't it?
We'll see how these little plants do over the next couple weeks. I checked on the first one yesterday, and i swear it seems like it doubled in size just from one day under it's little igloo.
Wish 'em luck!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday = Garden Tour

I've been thinking a lot about the difference between farming and gardening. I have to say that beyond the size issue, i just don't see the difference in a veggie garden versus 120 acres of pick-a-crop. Well, beyond size and the fact that my family's livelihood doesn't depend on us growing all our food and that for thousands of other individuals or animals. Maybe someone like Linda will have a good insight into this.

Still, while i may not be a "farmer" by true definition of the word, i think we certainly have taken a big leap toward "farming" this year. Hoping that in the years to come, be it here on our little 1/3 of an acre or somewhere else with majour square footage, that we can reduce our food bills for things that we buy that we just shouldn't need to. Like tomato sauce or lettuce. :o)

We accomplished a lot in the garden this weekend, so let's get to the pictures:

The Front "40" -- our yard has a street view, so i feel so conspicuous about what we do. But hey, during the summer, we like our dinner fresh from the yard!

This is our main growing area this year. Hoping to cover the bags with straw after they are all planted and sprouting. Moose erected a chicken barrier this weekend too. Take that, you biddies! We didn't fence the entire perimetre, so we'll see how long it takes a chicken's pea brain to figure out if they strut down the driveway and hop up the retaining wall, they could be up to their waddles in earthworms and fresh greens.

Peas, onions, fennel and a few dandelions for the girls

I've been following a lot of the advice from the book Great Garden Companions. If executed properly, it should help with our weed problems. I hope.
Fennel, onions, and carrots

Using grass mulch on the broccoli has worked wonderfully.
We're trying a different system for tomato stakes this year to try to plant more intensively, so i am repurposing one of the tomato cages into a cucumber trellis. Hoping to grow spinach in the shade underneath.

The potatoes are going nuts.
But so are the moles. We'll see who gets more taters this year: so far the score is
People zero, Moles zero.

From bloomin' strawberries to

bloomin' huge blueberries to

our new boysenberries Moose planted next to our new blueberries and existing 2nd year grape and our diabolical stretch of raspberries,
one thing is for certain...
maybe we should also buy some stock in Ball Canning Jars this year!

Our rhubarb was looking sad, until we mulched with some chicken coop goodness,
now it seems to be sprouting a few new stalks.

The bag experiment seems to be working well so far.

I've only planted peas, radishes and scallions in them.
I noticed the radishes are up now though.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

As If The Cabin Wasn't Enough

When we arrived at the cabin last month, we noticed something different.
Try to focus now. I know the cute kid in the picture makes it a bit difficult, but see that chair just below the orange life vests? Do you see the pinkness in that chair??
We hadn't remembered it before, so of course us Curious George's disregarded the old wives' tales about curiousity leading to untimely demise and dug into said pinkness.
What a gem it is!
It's a quilt that i wish i knew the story behind!
It's amazing work. Looks to be done by hand with a vast amount of cloth from
another place in time.
It's pinkness is that front of the quilt. I'll save that for last here, as i was completely blown away by the back of the quilt and am so excited to share it.
This is the back of the quilt: the diamond side.
Can you believe it? Two quilt "tops" effectively, combined to make a reversible quilt. Whoever said more isn't necessarily better obviously hadn't even seen a double-sided, hand stitched quilt made entirely of mostly very graphic vintage cloth.
I love the diamonds, but what i love more was that they were arranged by the colours in the centre so that the fabric wrapping the little centre diamonds could have no rhyme or reason.

These are some of my favourites:

I defy you not to adore these kittens--i'm pretty certain it's an impossibility

And as if that weren't enough, the front is just as delectible
APRONS? (or maybe fans?)
Adorable, regardless of their likeness!

One curiousity left is that funky material below with the woman on a broomstick in a Santa hat? What in the world? I wonder what a boarder piece of that cloth looked like? What's it suppose to be? Was it a feedsack? Very interesting!
At any rate, it's a wonderful addition to the cabin, adding to it's collections of furnishings from yesteryear and making it feel completely otherworldly when your blessed to visit there.