Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spill the Beans Already!


Ok, here's the other reason why I have been so busy lately!
It's a very exciting time for us! And I've already been busy knitting and crocheting. Here is a baby blanket I made from the granny squares I started crocheting a year ago. I think it will look lovely in our future nursery!
I've also been busy trying to master the fine art of keeping food down. I hope the nausea will be gone by Christmas, like it is supposed to be, because words cannot express how much I am looking forward to that turkey dinner!
I think you can expect a lot more baby projects posted on here in the near future!

Oh the Weather!

Boos is always mesmerized by the snow falling.

We got another big dump of snow, but it warmed up significantly yesterday and all last night we could hear the snow melting off the roof and rain drops splatter against the windows. These little thaws are nice, if not slightly confusing for our bodies which are trying to adjust to winter. But I like that there are little breaks like this in Winter. We had a few of them last year. Do you guys have any snow yet? I always feel like we are way ahead in this department!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And Winter Sets In


Sorry for the long silence! It has been a very busy month with lots of changes. I started a new job, which has kept me occupied, finished our 5 performances of the play we have been working on for months, and Winter has come in full force. We have close to a foot of snow and yesterday it was a chilly -27c in the morning. That's cold. I have been adjusting to the new Winter routine with the animals, making sure that water is thawed out and that they are warm enough. It is quite time consuming!
As for projects, I am working on knitting a Cowichan sweater for my sister for Christmas. Progress has been good and I should be done in time. Have you been working on any new knitting projects?
I think that is about it for now. I'll have some more stories to update you on in a little bit. But now, I am off to the craft fair to run the table for the Humane Society. Oooh, the craft fair is so full of Christmas cheer! Have a good Sunday everyone! (Only 5.5 months of Winter left!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The New Arrivals



video






Meet Buckbean and Gooseberry, the angora rabbits. They flew in on Westjet yesterday and they have settled in nicely to our home! They are big floofy fur balls and they are so cute!
In other news, Honeychile' laid her first egg today, an itty bitty teeny tiny egg! I guess we can expect to fill up the egg cartons faster now!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tragedy

It is with a very sad heart that I tell you about the tragic passing of Georgia Girl, my little pullet that I raised from egg. She met with a horrific death yesterday when the neighbour's dog snatched her from under the fence and ate her. It was so sad. I feel like I failed her. The chickens are no longer safe to roam the yard and will be confined to their run, until I either block off the bottom of the fence, or create another fenced off run for them.
The neighbour felt so bad, but it isn't his fault and it isn't the dog's either. It's pure instinct and the pup was proud of his catch, he kept bringing her in his mouth to show me. (It was pretty horrible).
So now the chicken coop is down to 2, which the girls may enjoy come Winter, but they are sad to lose a friend and comrade. Poor little Georgie.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crafting!: Display Winter Wrappings

Brrr! It's been awfully cold here some mornings! One morning last week I woke up to -10C and a frost so thick it looked like snow! Another morning it did snow- just a little bit of that stuff that looks like styrofoam balls. Winter is coming sooner than I'd like and all that winter weather means it is time to pull out the tuques and scarves.
Our winter wrappings have previously resided in a cloth bag hung in the closet. But this means that every morning we basically have to dump out the bag to find the right tuque or mittens. Soooo, it was time to come up with a better solution!
About a month ago, I went to visit our local "Share Shed." This is a building located on the site of the dump, where people can take stuff that they no longer want, but is too good to throw out. Everything is free in the Share Shed and you can take whatever you want. The last time I was there, I found this vintage suitcase that is in mint condition. It reminded me of some of the suitcases my Great Grandma had. I brought it home, although I had no specific purpose for it in mind (a dangerous thing!). But a purpose came to me yesterday, as I was pawing through that cloth bag, trying to find a scarf.
I filled it with all our winter attire and it looked lovely. But one problem, it didn't really work to have it just sitting on the ground. So I had to build a table for it.
The table I made using the old boards from the fence the neighbour ripped down, plus the scraps of wood from the new fence he put up. I even re-used the nails from the old fence for this project. It was 100% free to build this table and it is made from recycled materials. Whooo whooo! I love the shabby "barn wood" look to this table. And it is a perfect stand for my suitcase. And just think of the beautiful displays I can have on this table in the Spring!


Friday, October 14, 2011

How Many Square Bales Can You Fit In a Car?

And the answer is 4! 2 Straw bales and 2 of alfalfa. Now I am all stocked up for the winter.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

6 in 9

Since Betty started laying last Tuesday, we've had 6 eggs in 9 days. Not bad, Betty, not bad. There were two days in a row where she didn't lay anything and I was getting worried that she might have been egg bound, but on the morning of the 3rd day there was a brown egg waiting for us, saving Betty from some pretty disturbing interference (do you know how to lubricate the vent of a chicken?).
Yesterday for lunch we enjoyed some omelettes a la Betty, along with hashbrowns from our potatoes. Such satisfaction!
So far, raising chickens has been a rewarding and joyful experience, and surprisingly easy! (I probably just jinxed myself with that.) It is an experience that I highly recommend!

Betty lays the egg outside the nest box 50% of the time. Oh Betty!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

From Backyard to Table Top!




Done! I finished a lovely meal that came from my backyard! Another dream realized.
Meal:
Hashbrowns- made from backyard potatoes and herbs
Tomato- grown in same yard
Apple juice- fresh squished from apples grown in above mentioned yard
Fried egg- from hen raised by me for over 5 months, living in... you guessed it, my backyard!


oh, and I enjoyed eating it all next to a bouquet of sunflowers grown in...ok you get the idea!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So, I was just at the District Office, paying my utilities, when it slipped out that I had chickens. "In town?" they asked. "Yes..."I squeaked out. "How many?" they asked. "Three..." I said with a gulp. "Oh, that's fine. You can have up to eight!" Phew, what a relief, I kinda thought my chickens were illegal. But that makes me feel a whole lot better.
I walked home from the district office feeling elated, and thought I should go check in with my not-so-rebellious chickens. But they were all hanging out in the coop. Hmmm, that's odd. They never go up there except at night. I lured them back down and sort of peeked through their door. Nothing unusual, but I thought I better go around the back and stir around their wood shavings, freshen it up a bit. And there, sitting in a little round spot on the floor of the coop, was a perfect, speckled, little brown egg!!!!!!!
THEY DID IT!!!! WHOOO HOOO!!! My very first EGG! I'm pretty sure it was Betty Bloomer, she's the oldest by a month. I congratulated her heartily, took the egg and skipped giddily around and then proceeded to call my husband and my parents. Then I did a photo shoot with my first egg. I must say, it was very photogenic!
I'm not sure what I plan to do with this egg. Should I save the shell and mount it? How should I eat it? Oooh, I am still giddy about it! I raised protein in my backyard! One thing is for sure, I am going to eat it with the vegetables I grew myself, and drink it down with my fresh homemade apple juice from the apples in my yard. Ahhh, a sigh of satisfaction.
Perfection!
I'm so proud of you, Betty Bloomer!
On another note, I wonder what the other two chickens were thinking when Betty laid that egg. They were crowded around her inside the coop. "Oh man, I think Betty's lost it!" "Someone call a doctor, Betty's losing her insides!" "What the *beep* is that Betty?!" "I hope that's not contagious!"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Knitting! Unusual Yarns

On an Autumn hike with my husband in the woods, I came across a fallen piece of Speckled Horsehair lichen and thought, "Gee, that looks like I could spin it!" I was giddy with all the possibilities of the future uses for lichen yarn. "Imagine a living sweater of the stuff, that just keeps growing!! I wonder if I am the only person who has ever thought of this?!" (Turns out I'm not. Many First Nations here used this lichen for clothing, footwear, and masks. I guess there are no new ideas under the sun.) So, using my trekking poles, I harvested a bit more and then made my husband carry it back in his backpack. Do you know the type of lichen I'm talking about? We used to call it Witch's Hair when we were kids, but this is actually a different species and darker in colour.
Anyways, I (read: he) brought the stuff back and I sorted through it, picking out bugs and pine needles and getting it ready to spin. It is pretty thick stuff to spin. I should have used a heavier drop spindle, but that's all I had, so too bad! It held the twist pretty well and I knit with it straight off the spindle. I just wanted to see what it would be like to knit with lichen. Come on, you know you are curious too! I knit up a little swatch, and it was pretty decent stuff, although it will snap if you are too forceful with it (which is why there is a hole in this swatch). I wonder what I will need to do to keep it alive? Or what it will be like when it dries out? Either way, I don't see a bright future for the stuff in sweater making. It's horribly scratchy. And when I introduced the idea of a living sweater to my mother, she responded, "Ew!"
Oh well. It was a fun experiment.


Speckled Horsehair Lichen in its "raw" form:
The knitted swatch:



I wonder if there is a future for lichen pot-scrubbers?


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bathroom Makeover


Well, the bathroom is done now (more or less!). My parents painted the walls while they were up.

This is how the bathroom used to look before we bought the house:
And now, the finished product:
See the driftwood towel rack? I am considering making some driftwood drawer pulls. We'll see!
I love the starfish on the wall! I found those dried up on a beach in Haida Gwaii. I love how they sort of look like Divas posing.
That's all for now, folks!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Barn to Call my Own

Well, it's not really a barn, just a shed. But I can dream, can't I? Today I painted the door red and got it all jazzed up on the outside. It looks quite cute now! I ransacked and cleaned the inside a few months ago and I have been slowly getting my bunnies' living quarters up to snuff. I'll be all ready for them when they come in a couple of weeks.

The smell of alfalfa in the "barn" is wonderful!

A Comfy Corner


I hung up some artwork that my sister made today. I love the way it looks in my living room!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DIY: Driftwood Towel Rack

My parents came up for a brief visit and we had a wonderful time rambling around the Fort. They also helped me with a few projects around the house, like installing roof ventilation and painting my main bathroom. Thanks guys!
Funny story intermission: While we were up on the roof, installing the ventilation, I let the chickens roam around the backyard. Well, I sort of forgot about them until I heard two little girls walking down the street and one of them said "Why are there chickens there?" I looked down and sure enough, the three ladies were scratching in my neighbours front yard! They had escaped! I ran down the ladder to herd them up, just as my Mom, who noticed them from the living room window came down to help. I caught the first two pretty easily. But Honeychile' gave us a run for our money! She started running towards the vicious dog while my mother chased frantically behind. Then she (the chicken not my mom) ran onto the road where we were sure she would be struck by a car, and then into the park where I ran after her, lunging and diving. I finally managed to leap and catch her and return her to safety, while my dad and husband laughed from the roof. I think this just cemented my mother's fear and hatred of birds. But all's well that ends well!
Anyways! After the bathroom was painted, I knew I didn't want to hang up the old towel rack. I have been planning for some time now to make my own out of found wood pieces. So this morning, I whipped together this little piece out of driftwood I collected from our beach walks. It was so simple and easy to do and took about half an hour tops!
The rod is attached by screws but then I wound some twine around it for a decorative look.
It is super sturdy and I think it looks great!
Check back later for some photos of the completed bathroom makeover!

Friday, August 26, 2011

DIY: Groovy Scratching Post (or wallpaper saver)

Ok, remember all those home renos we did when we first moved in here? And how hard it was? Well, guess, who has been trying to "redecorate?"
She has her own vision for the place. And that spongy wainscotting wallpaper is just so much fun to climb! It was high time we got the holy terror a scratching post.
Except, you can't buy any in town. So we stopped in Vanderhoof, 40min away, and they would have to order one in, plus they cost upwards of $70. Sooo, it was time for a DIY project.
Actually, it couldn't have been any simpler or cheaper. I had the wood and carpet scraps already, so the only cost for me was the brackets which were 5 bucks for a box.
First, I screwed the 2x4 onto a square scrap of plywood.

Next, I headed to the former "ugly room" which resides in the basement suite. I remember seeing some really groovy carpet under the existing carpet in the closet, so I ripped that up. I cut a square to overlap the bottom board, cut a slit in the middle for the post to fit through, and then nailed the overlapping sides underneath the board. Then I cut a rectangle strip of carpet, wrapped it around the post and nailed it into place. Finally, I attached a felted ball with twine to the top of the post, to add more pizzaz. (Sorry, I didn't really take pictures of these steps. oops.)It was an instant hit! She went wild, trying to destroy it! I think what's left of the walls will be spared now.

Isn't that such groovy (read: ugly) carpet? I love it in all its gaudy glory!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gathering


This picture is a dream come true for me. For sometime I have dreamed of having my own chickens with sunflowers growing around the coop. Maybe that was a very specific dream, but there it is. Two of the sunflowers have finally bloomed and it fills me up with smiles.
Lately I have been in to gathering what the land is happy to provide. This is a nice alternative since my garden has been a dismal failure this year.
The other night, I rode my bike down the back roads and filled my basket chalk full of goldenrod.
Boos loved to examine the flowers, along with all the insect hitchhikers!

Next, I filled my dye pot with the flowers, covered them with water and simmered them for an hour. I then let it cool completely over night. The good people over at Joybilee Farm are always so helpful and I think they know pretty much everything! They helped me out with the instructions for making this dye.
In the morning, I added a Tbsp of washing soda, squeezed out and removed the flowers, and then simmered it until it was reduced by half.
It is so concentrated and a nice bright colour. I then put the dye in freezer bags and froze it, so it can be used later in my ultimate made-from-scratch project. Do you want to know what that is? I plan on harvesting wool from my very own fibre bunnies, spin it, dye it, and knit it into something wonderful! Stay tuned for more on this project!

The berries are finally ripe in the Fort, and I picked a bunch of Saskatoons and wild raspberries. My boss brought me some huckleberries to try and I just loved them! I mixed them all together and made a wonderful Wild Berry Crisp. Delicious!
What sort of berries or plants have you been gathering in your area lately?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

29 Days of Rain

...In July alone. That means 2 days without rain. I think June was the same. We had about 5 or so good days in August, but that's it so far. It has been one failure of a summer. It makes me spitting mad. I'm going to have to go somewhere warm in the early Spring, just so I can make it through another Winter!
What has your summer been like? Unusually wet or unusually hot?
Well a lot has happened in that last few weeks since I have written. I did some crafts, I went on holidays to Haida Gwaii, and I got my first! (how pathetic!!!) harvest from my garden. The rain and cold has kept much from growing and I got such a late start. It is really upsetting, but next year I will do better. At least the little apples look promising.
Here's a project I did. I made a coat rack/hooks out of driftwood I found at the beach.


The driftwood hooks. It was supper easy! I just drilled little holes (to prevent the wood from splitting when I put the nails in) through them and put 2 nails in each hook. Done!
The first pathetic but delicious harvest: Lettuce, carrot thinnings, and a few peas.
The 3 ladies: Georgia Girl, Betty Bloomer, and Honeychile'.

Fly, Betty Bloomer, fly!
Boos continues to be the most precious, most rambunctious, most cuddly kitten ever. I just love her to pieces!
2 eagles on a totem pole in front of a long house in Haida Gwaii.
Did you go anywhere exciting for holidays this summer?

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