Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Going, going...

Our seasonal table has, until recently, been pretty bare this month. I had been waiting (not always so patiently) for flowers to bloom. But now Spring has definitely arrived and our willows, fruit trees, daffodils, are all in flower...and I thought I'd share what our table looks like now.

The book is one of my favorites, Around The Year by Elsa Beskow. "March is an old man....Soon he'll be going, the grass will turn green. Soon warm sun will melt him, and he will be gone." And then we'll turn the page and have a new poem for April. And I'll finally be able to put the river glass (ice) away too...let's hope!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another post about birds...

(photo taken from my morning room window)
Look who came to visit me during lunch...a pileated woodpecker!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Here Chickie Chickie

I've taken a step in a very different direction from how I ever imagined myself living...I ordered 29 chicks today! Black Australorps, Araucanas (sometimes known as the Easter Egg Layers for their colorful greenish/blue tinted eggs) and Cuckoo Marans. I'm very excited. A friend of mine and I put our orders in together from here. They should arrive the end of May.
Now, all Hubby needs to do is finish the coop!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WIP: marginal victory

Well, I said that I'd consider it progress if I got all the material washed up by today...and I was able to do just that. But I tried my hand at learning how to cable knit...and shew! I'm gonna need to find some real people to help me.

Also, circular needles? They're taking me a little while to get used to. I'm sure, though, that with patience and practice it will get easier and I'll actually get the hang of cables at some point. I'd love to have the owl hat finished for my oldest's birthday this fall.

Now it's time to cut into that fabric. Yikes. See you next Wednesday???? No pressure, right?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stocking up

I spent a lovely Sunday with my parents and my crafty sis (hereafter CS). CS and I took my mother to a huge fabric store and a sweet tiny yarn store where I proceeded to pick away at the huge repository of crafty knowledge that is in fact CS's brain.

And I came away with an armload of fabric (well, an armload for me as I don't *ahem* really sew) and yarn and, yes, my very first set of circular needles. Ack! What have I done?

I need to teach myself how to cable knit (double ack!!) so that I can make this for my oldest, owl-loving son.

And in the next few weeks I also need to learn how to quilt (CS has vowed to help me through this one even though many of you bloggers make it look sooooo easy with your tuts) a very basic block quilt of cushy, soft goodness for my second and oh-so-tactile, cuddly son.

Last, but not least, retro, vintagy (let's pretend that's a word) black & white fabric to make another apron because I loved my other one threadbare and holey.

Maybe I'll actually join in those WIP Wednesday posts! Although, if I only manage to get the fabric washed up by this Wednesday I'll call it progress. ;-)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

For the love of birds

My nickname in college was...Bird. Some said it was my funky hair (late 80's bangs that went sky high) some said it was the way I ate, I said it was because of my big honkin' beak...no one really remembers for certain. But it stuck.

And like my nickname might imply I do love birds.

So naturally when I saw the bird sculpture from this post I knew at once I must try to make one for myself.

That was pre-Christmas. Life happened, hunting for sticks got forgotten, children made off with the soft sculpture birdies...

But this weekend my wonderful dad was visiting (to help us build the chicken coop) and in a down moment we got the birds hot glued on to a branch and hung on the wall of my kitchen.

Bird's loving the birds.

Forgot to mention that my college roommate roommate also poked good fun at my phone..."what's this cord thingy?" Yes well, cordless phones don't work when there is no power. And when we first moved here the power died at the slightest breeze. Now this is our back-up phone. Not pretty, but she works in an emergency.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ready for sunshine

Don't know what the weather is like where you are, but the sun has finally decided to show itself. Our nature table is pretty bare (reflecting the bare transitional feel outside) and I found myself hunting round the house for some pretty treasures to brighten it up. To remind us that those root children are stirring and will soon (soon!) be parading around again.

So, here is a little visual something I hunted up from my archives to brighten our bloggy day.
Where there's a rainbow there's hope. Yes?

Monday, March 1, 2010

One Small Change

Suzy over at Hip Mountain Mama created One Small Change back in January. I've been deliberating ever since in what way I'd join in.

I've made a lot of changes (some big, some small) over the last few years. So much so that a college roommate who visited me this weekend was shocked at my new life...more shocked at how happy I was (and the kids were) with less. Wish I had a picture of her face when she spied my knitting basket.

For giggles I made up a list:
  • Solar panels on our roof when we built this house.
  • Radiant floors heated by the solar panels and an outdoor woodstove.
  • We use washcloths instead of paper towels, baby wipes, etc...
  • Cloth napkins for everyone.
  • Regularly use my own bags for my purchases, grocery and other.
  • We keep a veggie garden and also have apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries.
  • Kids' lunches are all reusable containers/utensils (minimal plastic)--no juice boxes, plastic baggies, paper napkins.
  • Hankies instead of tissues (though only I use them sofar).
  • Mend clothes whenever possible. Repurpose them when it's not.
So I didn't really feel like I NEEDED to add to that, but I sure did think the idea was awesome and I also liked that it got me thinking. Could I realisticly add one more? Did I want to?

In February we were hit with many snowstorms in a row. Twice we were without power (and as we use well water that meant no running water either). I hand washed (with water from our emergency supply heated by the gas stove).

And turns out I didn't mind. Liked it even. Really. Our dishwasher has been on the fritz, see. Feigning death like an opera star, at least once a month. And Hubby, fix-it hero that he is, steps in dramatically for the save. Tiresome. I realized that we can not only conserve water by hand washing, but also dish soap. It forces time alone that can be spent meditating (while I stare dreamily out the window over the sink) or time spent together (you wash, I'll dry) where talk magically happens. My one small change for February was more of an epiphany: when our dishwasher finally kicks it (for reals this time) we will not buy another one. Nope, you heard me. Done. I look at you, dishwasher, and dare you to leave us for good. We will get on just fine without you. Might just even put a cabinet in your place.
What's in store for March? No more PAM. As in the spray. Chemicals. So. Not. My. Thing. Anymore. But, there it is in my cabinet next to the bottles of olive, peanut, and coconut oils. I only used it for baking...it was soooooo easy just to spritz my bread pans (I long ago got tired of the oil misters gunking up/breaking and all the plastic involved). I was making homemade bread with good ingredients and, yes, spraying the pans!

The solution, it turns out, was under my nose for a while. I'd read the tip many times in frugal articles, but dismissed it. I didn't think of it until I was grumbling (to myself) about the butter (I buy good butter) that gets left unused on the wrapper...which was going into the trash. Our budget is very tight. And wasting food (when I'm spending so much on "good" food) is not an option our budget can withstand. Suddenly I remembered that you can save the greasy wrappers in a baggie in the freezer until you need them...take them out and butter your pans. Duh. And. So. Easy. Pam--begone! And there you have March's One Small Change.