Sunday, May 25, 2014

Building a garden trellis

Sundays are usually the days when I putter around with my plants. Today was the first Sunday that was actually clear and warm enough to consider digging up the garden plot and creating the trellis I need to support my pea vines.

So I started out by outlining the patch of ground I wanted dug up by my freakishly tall teen (no, I'm not insulting him - he likes it when I call him that).

You can barely see the outline, but it's there.

I didn't want the boy kid working too hard, so I decided on a modestly small 4x10 plot. He got to work with gusto and very quickly had it done. In the meantime, I started working on two 5x4 trellises for the peas.

Finally, after hours of work, I was able to put the trellis in place and begin transplanting my eager little sweet pea seedlings.

Of course, I had barely gotten all twelve of the seedlings in place when Jacob accidentally knocked the wheelbarrow full of dirt over the top of the tiny plants. Most were salvageable, but we lost one plant.

The forecast calls for rain tonight and over the next three days....I think those seedlings are going to be very happy with the damp and shade, and with a nice new trellis to climb up on!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gryphon Lard-Butt gets a name change

May 5th started out like any normal Monday. Kids rushing around, me attempting to rein herd (and only being partially successful). Trouble laying his head on everyone's knees, hoping for a handout, and cats trying to pretend they aren't interested in the milk in the cereal bowls (and not fooling anyone). The worst is Gryphon Lard-Butt, who is a very large cat in his own right, but is also overweight. He tends to sneak any food he can get his grubby little paws on.

I was in the bedroom putting away laundry when I heard a loud crash from the kitchen. Gryphon Lard-Butt came racing out of the kitchen, eyes wide and fur sticking out in every direction, moving faster than I have seen in years.

Turns out our resident tubby kitty had hopped up on the table, hoping for a couple drops of milk, and instead, his weight had caused the table leg to collapse!

This was actually the second leg on this table to collapse. The leg behind it had broken a year ago, and was held in place with layers of duct tape. That damage, along with the second broken leg, was too much, and the table was irreparable.

This left us in a bit of a pickle, but not as much as we would have been in normally. Sean had just gotten paid a few days before, and he'd pulled an extra shift and a half during that pay period. So we did have a little extra money on hand. We had been planning on putting the extra money towards our back-due rent...but clearly we would have to use at least a part of it on a new table.

So we looked around, and almost right away we found a lovely table at the thrift store. Solid wood construction, dark stain, and it came with four matching chairs (which we really didn't need, but it was sold in a set).

 Best of all? The price. It was only $50.

Getting it into our tiny Kia was a bit of a hassle, but Sean got it done in his normal miraculous fashion. We had barely gotten it home and set up when Gryphon Lard-Butt decided to check it out.

"Hmm....I wonder how many drops of milk I would have to sneak in order to collapse this table?"
On the way home with the table, Sean had cracked a joke that we should change Gryphon's name to commemorate his momentous achievement.

So congratulations, Gryphon Lard-Butt - you are hearby dubbed Sir Gryphon the Table Slayer. If you kill my new table, I'm gonna force you to eat diet kibble until you get down to 12 pounds.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mother's Day

I have been growing seedlings in my living room for the last six weeks. My seeds are old - I haven't been able to afford to buy new ones in years - so the germination percentage is very low. For that reason, I've been re-planting seeds every two weeks, once it became obvious that some of the seeds were not viable.


In addition to the seeds I've planted, my husband was amazing and decided to buy me seedlings for Mother's Day (we celebrated early for personal reasons). The first garden center had a great sale (buy 5 get 1 free!). I chose chives, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, peppermint, and spearmint (though I'm kicking myself for not getting sage). There was also a sale on celery - four seedlings for under $2, so I snatched them up.


A second store had a good deal on a blueberry bush, and a pack of 55 gladiola bulbs for ten dollars. I also grabbed a few low-priced pots and two more bags of soil, and that was it for my shopping spree.

Rosemary to the left, oregano on the right - empty pot as a placeholder for future sage.

Or so I thought.

The next day, my husband called me from the grocery store and said "They have fruit trees here for ten bucks. You can have one if you want." He ended up buying me two - a Granny Smith apple tree and a Stayman Winesap apple tree.

James and the Granny Smith on the left,
Jacob and the Winesap on the right.

I did some research and discovered that both trees do really well when paired with Golden Delicious as a co-pollinator, so I'm on the prowl for a third apple tree.

I'm truly excited - my little homestead is gaining ground!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Maple and brown sugar oatmeal

I've discovered that oatmeal made in the rice cooker is simple and incredibly flavorful, with a wonderful old-fashioned texture. I keep losing the recipes I've jotted down on index cards, so I'm putting them here so I can find them easily. The first one is maple and brown sugar oatmeal.

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats 
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Mix ingredients together in rice cooker and turn it on. It's that simple!

(note: we like our oatmeal very thick around here. If you like yours thinner, you can either add milk to the finished product, or add more water at the beginning. Also, I tend to serve this with sliced bananas on top, and a glass of milk at the side.)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Trouble's big day

Trouble posing with his new collar and rabies tag.
Trouble had to go get his shots this morning. He was a perfect little gentleman, polite to humans, dogs, and cats alike. He stood still to have his blood drawn, and didn't flinch, whine, or bite when he got his injections. The only thing he wasn't happy with was the nose spray - it made him snort and shake his head. But he got a treat after, so he was content.

We also wanted to have a microchip implanted, for identification purposes, but they didn't have all the supplies they needed. So we will be going back soon for that procedure.

On Trouble's old collar, he didn't have any tags - so I had written his name and our phone number on the collar itself with permanent marker. But now that we have a new phone number, not to mention tags with his rabies shot? He clearly needed a new collar. So I sat down this morning and made him one.

He seems pleased with it. And I think that the khaki color makes him look more mature than the old bright red collar.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Introducing Sew Alluring

I first taught myself how to sew by hand years ago, when I was still a child. My mother was not a seamstress, but she was able to tell me the basics, and I was able to figure it out. But I didn't develop much skill beyond a basic seam repair for decades.

But a couple years ago, I realized how valuable those skills could be in a survival/low income situation. I began to google tutorials on basic sewing techniques, and experimented with scrap fabrics. I began patching the worn knees on my son's jeans. The more I practiced, the better I grew.

I began to experiment with making things from scratch. I made some bread bags to hold my homemade bread, a kindle cover for myself, a skirt, and many other things. My results began to look professional.

Then I got a sewing machine, and things changed again. Once I figured out how to work it (watching multiple tutorials online), I began to have fun. I made many things that were incredibly useful.

And now I've hit the point where some people actually want to pay me for my creations. So, with some pride (and a little bit of disbelief), I am pleased to announce the opening of my etsy shop Sew Allure.

So far there is only one item on there - a kindle cover. But keep an eye on it. I will be putting more things up there, and would like to know from my readers what kind of items you would like to see in my shop. Bread bags? Kindle covers? Cloth diapers? Reusable flannel sanitary napkins? Just let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Writing Prompt due 2nd of February 2013

One day, while reading your favorite book on the beach, you notice a boat slowly drifting to shore. It eventually lands near your spot. A person, draped in pirate clothes, yells to you from the boat, “I have a treasure map and I need help. Are you in?”