28 March 2010

Independence Days Update

Spring is definitely on the way – time to update the status of the Independence Days project!

Planted: More tomato seedlings, and a variety of herbs. All indoors as yet, it’s not time to put anything outside, but it feels good to get things going ahead of time. The tomatoes are doing well, and some of the herbs actually sprouted – others are a challenge, but as they come up in the flats they are being transplanted to larger containers. Big thanks to my mom for collecting gallon sized tin cans from the camp kitchen – they are excellent for starting plants that will stay inside for a good while before going outdoors!  Also planted some flowers in a big barrel outside, and an old enamel canning pot that rusted through on the bottom (hey, it makes a good drainage hole!).

Harvested: Eggs! Finally we have lots of eggs. Nothing else is big enough to harvest yet. :)

Preserved: Some celery in the fridge was getting tired, so it got chopped up and dehydrated. We emptied out two jars of pickles, so bought a couple of cucumbers and sliced those to soak in the existing leftover brine – the resulting ‘pickles’ are actually quite yummy after a week or two in the fridge! 

Waste Not: The re-used pickle brine could go in this category, as would the celery rescue. Then there is the usual feeding of leftovers to other critters, composting, and actually using the finished compost as starting material for flower pots.

Want Not (Preparations): Hatched out chicks in the new Hovabator – we have 9 chicks in a cage at the moment, and 26 more eggs in the incubator ready to hatch in the next week or so. It’s neat to watch them go from eggs to actual chickens in such a short time. Found a local flour mill and purchased two 20 kg bags of flour for half the price of the grocery store (even when it’s on sale), and stored that in the one large flour bin we have, plus some smaller food grade buckets saved from The Reluctant Farmer’s protein supplements (he has to work out for his EMT training, hence the supplements). Also scored two large water containers (the kind with the metal frame around the big square plastic container) for a great price – those will be used for rainwater storage.

Community Food Systems: Paid for a listing at a local ‘100 km diet’ page. The Reluctant Farmer discovered that one of the members of the fire department raises and butchers meat birds, so we now have a mentor lined up to show us the proper way to butcher (we’re really not very good at it yet!). Continue to sell eggs and meat to local customers, and have convinced a few coworkers to join in the WECAN food co-operative purchases!

Eat the Food: Made pasta for the first time, as a way to try preserving a surplus of eggs – it wasn’t bad for a first go! Got broccoli in the WECAN bag, and made up the suggested broccoli/mushroom recipe, which was quite good. Made ice cream from more surplus eggs (store bought milk though, we’re not milking Sasha just now). Made bread regularly, as usual – with cheap flour and a bread machine, there’s just no reason not to!


What’d you do at your house this past while?

14 March 2010

Knitted solutions to every day problems

A few days ago, I got a message from The Boy while I was at work (we talk on MSN while he is doing school and I am working).

Boy: I have a  project for you, but I’m afraid to even ask because I think you might just get too excited.

Me: Oh yeah? Something to do with fibre?

Boy: Yeah. I need you to knit a cover for the arm of my chair – the vinyl is cracked and it keeps scratching my arm.

Me: Hey, cool, I can do that!

I was most impressed that his solution to the problem involved knitting – I think most fourteen year old boys would’ve probably tried duct tape or something.

However, my boy knows and understands fibre, so we looked through the stash for appropriate yarn (in this case, cheap but sturdy acrylic seemed a good choice) and settled on blue and red.

The Boy traced the arm of the chair on a piece of paper, and I cast on a few stitches, increased to match the curve of the drawing, then knit randomly striped stockinette until it was long enough, decreased to match the other curve and cast off. 

Then, as sock patterns say, I made another to match.

The resulting ovals of knitted fabric are now stretched over the arms of the chair and laced in place, and The Boy says they are exactly what he needed.

Cool, eh?

Knitted Solutions to Every Day Problems ought to be a knitting book. Maybe I should write it! I need chapter suggestions. Any ideas?

11 March 2010

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