Friday, March 30, 2012

Apple Blossoms




The cuttings that I brought in are blossoming now. I love leaning in to smell them- I forgot what fresh flowers smelled like!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Puttering

With warm March days comes the urge for me to putter outside. There isn't a whole lot to do with almost 2 feet of snow still covering most surfaces, but it feels so good to be out in shirtsleeves, soaking up the sun and warmth and dreaming about the garden to come in a few months.
Outside this weekend, we installed some rain barrels to save our foundation and to water our gardens if we even need to this summer! I also built a greenhouse frame to rest against the house where we will grow tomatoes this summer. Being the North, you need a bit extra heat and protection in order to grow ripe tomatoes outside. Without the frame, we got a few ripe tomatoes last year, but I am hoping to get a lot more this year.

It is amazing the difference in heat this makes! Just sticking my hand behind this frame you can feel the difference!

While out puttering, I saw my first ladybug of the season!

Tulips and daffodils are pushing their way up through the ground. How exciting!

The chickens are really looking forward to no snow! I am going to build them a movable run so they can have access to different parts of the yard.
Sawyer, the neighbour's dog will miss the snow. Everyday I play fetch with him using snowballs. He leaps all over his yard and pounces on the snowball like a cat. He is also not very coordinated and wipes out sometimes. Hahaha.
I am debating whether or not to remove this wasp nest. It is BIG and quite pretty. It has lots of turquoise colour throughout it. We didn't notice any wasps bothering us last year, so I really don't want to destroy them when they are not a threat...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Easter Display

When my chickens first started laying, we very quickly became swamped in eggs. And unfortunately (due to a poor system), some of those first eggs ended up sitting for months in my fridge. Now past the point where I would feel comfortable eating them, I decided I would make Easter eggs from them.
Everywhere I look lately I see pictures of eggs dyed with natural materials. This is something I really wanted to try. So, I emptied out the egg shells (this is something we always did so that we could keep the eggs for next year) and prepared to dye them. Now, my chickens lay brown eggs, which doesn't really work that well for dyeing, but I thought I would give it a go.
I decided to use red onion skins for my natural dye. I boiled and simmered them in a pot of water (with a bit of vinegar) for 25 min, and then added some of my eggs to boil for another 30 minutes. It turned the eggs a deep earthy red-brown. Unfortunately, some of that colour scratches off when they are wet, so my eggs had marks all over them. But that did give me an idea. I scratched a couple of pictures into the eggs to fancy them up a bit. I'm not sure it worked. When my husband saw my egg-dyeing results, he asked me what had happened to the eggs. I don't blame him, they did look a little disturbing.
Next, I decided to dye some eggs with food colouring and vinegar. Again, because they are brown eggs, the colour comes out different, but it is fun to experiment. On one of the eggs, I added dots of wax to make a speckled look. On another, I covered it with elastic bands to give it stripes (all but one of the elastics popped off when the egg hit the water though!). I re-dyed one of the onion skin eggs in blue, and then scratched a picture of a chicken on it using a toothpick. All-in-all it was a dismal result.

Here are the onion skins simmering.


The eggs in the foreground have been dyed with onion skins.





Well, they certainly are not the most beautiful Easter eggs, but they have a "rustic" feel to them, and they make a "nice" Easter display sitting in my home-made basket.



Maybe next year I will try again with some white eggs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Aunt Beth's Recipe Book


A couple years ago while pawing through my parents' old photo albums, I discovered an old scrapbook/recipe book dating from 1915. We soon determined that it belonged to my mom's Aunt Beth. Aunt Beth and her husband were friends and mentors of my grandparents. My mother fondly remembers that Aunt Beth had blue hair.
This book is a treasure to me. It is so neat to be able to see these recipes that Aunt Beth has stored up from 1915 through to the 1960s. There are newspaper clippings, pictures, and old advertisements pasted throughout. Dandelion wine, hand lotion, and cucumber relish are some of the recipes that I would love to try making sometime.







But for today, I decided I would stick to something a little more simple. I made one of the recipes for shortbread that I found in the book. Just three ingredients. But what I have found with many of the recipes printed in this book is that there are few instructions and rarely is there an oven temperature for baking. So I gave it a whirl at 350F and ended up baking it for a shorter time. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, although it made tons! And since my husband is not a fan of shortbread... Well, I may end up freezing some or something!
Short Bread
1lb butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
cream well
4to 5 cups of flour, add gradually,
roll out about 1/4 in. thick, cover with sugar, cut in squares, bake 30 minutes.


Yummy! I wonder what I will try next?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oops

Yesterday, I laughed at my parents in Kelowna where it snowed a few inches. I laughed because it was sunny and melting up here in the North. I could even see grass by the fence and lots of our tulips were starting to coming up.
It started. Look at the size of those flakes!

This morning the chicken coop is buried. Look at the snow on the rope going from my window to the coop!

I learned my lesson. About a foot of snow came down yesterday evening. Not expected by the weather stations at all. It was coming down in snowballs! Ugh, now we have about 3 feet of snow to melt away before Spring. I will now hold my tongue and never laugh at anyone else's weather again.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Done!




Our baby now has a Moses basket woven from Fort St. James willow!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Almost Done


Just have a small gap in the back to fill in, but I ran out of good willows, so I will have to pick some more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weaving a Baby Bassinet

I don't know which of the ladies at craft night suggested it, but they put a bee in my bonnet. "Maybe you should make a bassinet for the baby." Well, I couldn't let the idea go. So I went willow cutting and got started. Cutting willows in crotch-deep snow isn't so easy. You get wet and frozen and out of breath pretty quick slogging through that snow. But after a lot of cutting, bending, and weaving, I finished the base and then the sides of the bassinet. Tonight I sewed a linen lining for the bassinet and then I will weave a sun shade for the top. I'm thinking of putting a lambskin in the bottom for comfort. Stay tuned for the finished product!




Monday, March 12, 2012

My Tulip Maternity Dress





Well, I finally finished my dress. It got very frustrating at times, but I am done with it now, for better or worse. I think it will be nice to wear when the weather warms up a bit and I can wear it with leggings and cardigans. Hopefully it will have lots of room when my belly reaches full capacity!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Well, it Might Still Be Winter




After my exciting post about Spring, it snowed quite a bit today. But at least it didn't stick and the sun came out this afternoon, so we got a nice walk in. I just love it when the sun shines here! Unfortunately, the length of my walks are now hampered by my squished bladder, so I don't get to enjoy as much time in the sun but every bit counts!

I also finished the baby's Cowichan sweater tonight too!



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