Sunday, August 30, 2009

Success of the Green!

I've been enjoying my lovely greens garden all weekend and I must say it feels good. I love venturing out in bare feet with a bowl to pick my own salad. I sometimes venture a bit further to my neighbors driveway to pick cherry tomatoes! All in all my experiment of throwing a bunch of seeds in a barrel and watering daily have worked, though I'm not sure it's the type of garden for me.

I had read about this type of gardening in The Urban Homestead book. Basically you plant a bunch of different stuff to cover the whole area and eat your thinnings. That way there are no weeds and with the variation, not as many pests. I definitely liked the no weeding aspect of the method, and there were only a few holes in some of the lettuce leaves from insects. My main problem, is that if I wanted something in particular, say cilantro or chives, I really had to search. I did find a tiny amount of cilantro, but I am the type of person who needs A LOT of cilantro. I may have to have a barrel just for cilantro!

I also found that I am not a big fan of the mustard greens a planted, to tough and twig like. I gagged a few times while eating my salad and that is never pleasant. So no more mustard greens and tons more cilantro! In the future I will use this planting method again, but restrict it to varieties of lettuce only, and maybe the odd herb here and there.

Very soon I am planning to figure out exactly what to plant in the spring, and also what to plant this fall. I'll ordering some seeds for West Coast Seeds soon, and couldn't be more excited! Garlic is one crop I want to plant this fall, and see about some carrots as well.

Since first dumping a thick layer of bark mulch on our front lawn, I've been adding some order. I've carved out a pathway and area by the driveway, so we can get to the car and home without tracking bark mulch inside! I lined the pathways with landscaping cloth and piled on some pea gravel. For a border I just used some river rock that we had laying about. I think it turned out rather well.

We bought some large pots from Capitol Iron and plan to put something in them .... maybe carrots? Not really sure, but they look nice. We decided to have the pots in place of the grape arbour we had planned. Building things are just not on the agenda right now, so that will have to wait. So that's it for now. We are slowly getting there. I can't wait until the spring to plant edibles in our mulched areas!!

Before shot .... didn't get the patio space (it had a big california lilac and big river rocks)!

My work as of this weekend! Just imagine how nice things will look once I put edibles in!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Homestead Alone

This weekend it's just baby and I. Husband and our eldest son have taken the train to Grandpa's farm. I really enjoy going there as well, but baby is not so good in the car for three hours. Also we have our old car at the farm, and would like to bring it here to sell. So now I've got the homestead to myself, what am i going to do? Clean, organize, socialize and garden hopefully! Right now gardening is last on the list. The house needs some major work! okay, off to work i go, hi ho hi ho!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Treasure Hunting

My recycled items came in the mail yesterday! No more disposable razors and cutlery in this house!

My Value Village Treasures!

We have a very busy weekend, with family visits, pot lucks and bbq's! I've make cheese scones, cupcakes and an orange toque for my eldest son. I'll make another for my baby when I get the chance. I also stumbled across a large stash of cotton yarn, so I am making some dish cloths. Next week I am hoping to list some items in my etsy shop ..... it's been on vacation mode for some time. I will not be listing the items that I was getting rid of. I just got sick of having them about, so they are now at Value Village. Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Total Failure

This is it, the last time! I have now tried three times to start a sourdough culture and each time it's grown mold. Of all of times, this last one was going the best. It constantly had bubbles and seemed great. The mold forms on the side walls of the container, so maybe I should try one more time and take special care to scrape down the sides after mixing. Perhaps even wipe with a cloth. So, should I try one last time? I know I said this third attempt was the last one, but I have a hard time quitting! I don't fail at anything I do, so when I do fail, I find it quite hard to accept. So perhaps after the heat dies down a bit, I will try again.

In the mean time I have been making delicious scones and pastries. Albeit, a bit hard without a pastry cutter to cut the butter in. I decided today was the day to find one. I also have been on the hunt for a hand crank egg beater and a scale. Oh and just for kicks I HAD to buy this cool mixer! To top that off, I found the same one, minus some parts at the thrift store today, so now I have two. One for parts I suppose!

My lettuce is doing well .... oh no! I gotta run, it's dusk and I have some ant hunting to do! We may have carpenter ants!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tired Housewife

Hubby did a lot more spreading of mulch today. We tried to tae it easy this weekend. I got my snack packs finished, made a quiche and spent the morning at the beach with the family. Toda was an amazingly tired day. I am trying my sourdough culture for the third time. I am feeding it every 8 to 12 hours instad of every 24 hours and that seems to be helping. I really want to get a vintage food scale to weigh the ingredients for my sourdough bread. Okay I am exhausted, and our eldest is not sleeping ......

Friday, August 14, 2009

Does Not Compute

I am a robot dog toy, but i look too cool to go to the dogs!

KEEP, DONATE or SELL? or give to the dog?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Real Progress Today!

The Shaker!

Lovely Herb Butter for Tomorrow!

Picking through our salad barrels.

The harvest!

Today marks the first day I was able to harvest from my own vegetables! I have grown vegetables in the past, but I took them for granted and even wasted some (gasp!). My eldest son and I carefully picked out some various greens from our two salad barrels, in order to thin out the crop. We got just enough for three small green salads, and will have to thin out a bit more in the days to come. Now these had to be the best tasting little salads I have had in some time. We took handfuls of salad and dipped them in a wee bit of ranch dressing, i was too proud of the little greens to pour dressing on!

Also today, the big boy and I made butter! We shook the heck out of some cream, washed it, then salted it. I decided to make it a herbed butter, but now kick myself for not trying some of the whipped goodness before adding all the flavoring! From the butter making, we have some real buttermilk and will make some yummy cheddar buttermilk biscuits to accompany some bean soup tomorrow. The weather calls for sweaters and soup this week!

Tick Tock

It works, it collects dust. It's not vintage, jsut a look alike.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Here's a rather dapper fellow! He makes a mean martni. Unfortunately it doesn't pour though his beak :(

So I'm putting this on up because, really, when are we going to sit down and enjoy a nice martini? I aready have a few other shakers.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Let's Play a Game

I want to declutter my house, but I have a terrible habit of holding on to things. I can never figure out if I should keep things, donate them, or sell them. So this is where the game comes in! Do you like to play games? Good, me too!

Everyday I will post a photo of something in my house and you get to decide if I should KEEP, DONATE or SELL. Just write a comment for the post with one of those three words and at the end of the day I will tally them up and do whatever the majority tells me to. Now as far as selling goes, the items will be placed in my new Fashionista Farmer Etsy store (yet to be created). So if you really like one of my items, you can possibly buy it!

Sometimes there will be a little story accompanying the item, sometimes it will be just a photo. What do you think? Let's start now!

So what do you think, KEEP, DONATE or SELL?

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Harvest

Above is a photo of my first harvest. I don't have anything to harvest from my garden yet, so this is from my neighbors garden. She has three lovely, huge, lavender plants out front. She didn't want the flowers, so I clipped a bunch to dry and use in draw and dryer sachets. We don't use fabric softener, so these little guys will make our clothes smell oh so pretty! Just what a bunch of boys need, hey? Pretty smelling duds! Oh, well.

In other news, my second sourdough culture seems to be failing. It was bubbling and doing just fine, until i went to feed it yesterday. Again there was a layer of water sitting on the top, smothering all the bubbly goodness that should have been. I may try a wide, shallow container today and see if i can also revive the one in the jar. When I first started this whole sourdough culture business, I thought we'd be eating the stuff by now!

Yesterday I took a quick trip down to Value Village in search of a basket for my lavender harvest, as well as a hand powered mixer. I did have an old one of my mom's for a long time, but I can't find it now! I had no luck with the hand mixer, however did find a lovely yellow and green pyres bowl and some cute springy egg whisks. I may have to start a collection of them to hang in my bare kitchen! When I returned from VV, Jackson extremely delighted with the egg whisks, so he had a good play in the dirt with them!

Today and tomorrow I am cleaning and organizing our little homestead after the busy weekend spent outside. I hope to start planning the garden, as I just checked out an edible landscaping book from the library. I also checked out a crochet book, with a lovely wrap pattern. With all this dismal (oh I do love it!) weather, it seems appropriate to start planning my fall crochet projects!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

See Lawn Die

The Family hard at work!

Our lawn in the front yard is no more!!! And it's starting to smell more like a farm around here! Today hubby and eldest son dropped off ton of bark mulch to smother the front lawn. We made two areas that will be garden in the spring and a pathway to the driveway. We are also putting mulch in the garden beds that are around the edge of the fence, so we don't have anymore five foot weeds. I am not sure what we will be planting in the front, but I plan to do some edible landscaping along with some veggies. So much fun!

For now we are ignoring the back yard. It seems to big and daunting to tackle. The front yard will be a good first project for us new homesteaders!

Oh and after my failed attempt at a sourdough culture, I finally seem to have success!! It's only been 24 hours, but I've already got bubbles in my starter!! Fresh sourdough here I come .... well in a couple of weeks!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Plans, Plans, Plans

Surveying the Crop

Helping with the dirt patio

Reuseable snack packs ..... want the pattern?

I totally failed yesterday! Well. okay maybe that's a bit harsh! My sourdough starter failed! I went to feed it yesterday afternoon, only to find fuzzy mold growing on the side. I have decided to try one more time and if that doesn't work, then I am going to buy a starter! I have found that my biggest mistake was keeping it an airtight container. It needs to breathe a bit, so that would explain why mine didn't get bubbly at all! Let's cross our fingers that this works!

I have got my husband on board with having chickens! It's still going to be a ways off, but hopefully sooner than later! We were weeding last night in preparation for our bark mulch load this weekend. I told hubby that the chickens would eat the weeds we are digging up and that made chickens more appealing to him! Oh the bark mulch, big plans here! We are snuffing out half the grass in the front and mulching all exposed dirt areas, until we decide what to plant. We are also going to get a bale of straw to put down on our dirt patio, until we have decided how to treat that surface. I am leaning towards cement molds, to make it look like brick, though hubby is going for big grey pavers ..... so ugly in my mind! We've also talked about having narrow planters down one side of the driveway for tomatoes next spring.

So many plans for the spring, but what about right now? Other than my little lettuce gardens, what can I plant? I did find a variety of carrot, however I'm in no mood to sift out a ton of soil, t prep for carrots! I am going to visit West Coast Seeds soon, and make an order for the spring and maybe even some fall gardening! I am so addicted to planning the garden!

This past weekend I did some sewing to save the environment! I designed so reusable snack packs so when I pack the boy's lunch or we go out, I can use them instead of ziplock bags. I designed them so they pop up and function as a bowl, but fold nice and flat to fit in my bag! Also I am turning an old pair of hubby's pants into some play/work pants for our eldest son! It's a bit of an experiment as I am not using a pattern!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Dirty Boy!

Fun in The Dump Truck!

This weekend we took it pretty easy. My eldest son was sick, and had a febrile seizure. They are more scary for us, than him, and completely harmless. I think I get about ten new grey hairs every time it happens, though! On Monday everyone was feeling better, so we took a drive out to my cousin and her family's property. They are currently jumping through some hoops, so they can start building their house. Next door to their property, they have chickens, pigs, a pony and a horse. It's so nice, the thought of land! I think we are going to concentrate on container gardening for a while, as we are not 100% sure that we are staying at our current location. It's quite small for a family of four, so in a few years we are either going to move, or add on. We will just have to make due with what we do have!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I Dream of Chicken

I could get my classic car after all!

Green Roof

Area behind garage to fence for the chickens!

Right now I am totally obsessed with the idea of having chickens. They are much more than pets! They are little providers, shooting out eggs and fertilizer! I have been researching chicken coops and there are some great ones out there. Even though we are almost two years away from getting chickens, due to new baby and travel plans, I am getting ready. I'd like to design something with the features of the eglu, though larger. Also I like the idea of a green roof. We have a lot of space for a large run, so when we go away for weekends, the girls will have a lot of run around room. It's just a matter of convincing someone to mind them while we are away. I'd like to start from chicks, as they'd be more accustom to handling and our yard/coop. There are still so many things to look into, but for now i dream of chickens and coops!

In the reality of my everyday life, we got some supplies for canning. The blackberries are in, so I am hoping to make some jam soon. Cory pointed out that I don't even like jam, however I know a lot of people that do, and it seems like a good homesteady thing to learn! Also in the kitchen I am still working on my sourdough culture. I've been feeding it every day, and it seems to be going well. I had been using the metal canning lid, until today. I got some of those plastic lids of canning jars. I read in the Urban Homestead book that you are not supposed to have metal in contact with the sourdough culture for too long, so I thought it best to switch to plastic.