Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring is in the air....

Or at least, I hope it is. It has been a surprisingly warm weekend. Today, of course, it's cloudy with a chill wind, which is typical for the end of February. However, I prefer to think positively and see omens of spring time in the flooding sun porch and slightly receding snow pile. Hey, I can almost see the entire driveway now!

In the spirit of coming spring, I have started some seeds. It is so nice to play in the dirt, even though that dirt is in the form of little peat moss plugs that expand with water. I rigged up my new mini-greenhouse with a series of undercabinet lights from Walmart, each costing around $7.00, and now can start seeds with impunity even though natural light will only be coming from tiny, north facing windows. Taking a cue from Jenna, author of Made from Scratch (great book if you haven't checked it out yet), I made little plant starting habitats out of pop cans & water bottles. It is so easy!
To make little plant houses:
Gather up (1) clean and empty pop can; (1) clean and empty water bottle or soda bottle, at least 20 ounces; scissors; (1) expanded peat plug and (1) 2 inch peat pot.
Step 1: Cut top half of pop can off & keep the bottom half.
Step 2: Cut top half of bottle off & keep the bottom half.
Step 3: Put peat pot into the pop can.
Step 4: Put peat plug into peat pot.
Step 5: Loosen soil in plug, add seeds, cover and dampen with a bit of water.
Step 6: Cover all with the soda bottle. I recommend writing what is in the house on the bottle with a marker.

Tah-dah! See, so easy. I also recycled former chinese food containers & tomato plastic packs to start broadcast seeds in (for my onions & basil). As you can see from the photos, there is still plenty of room for the rest of my seeds to get started. Once they arrive, that is! So far, I have started Dr. Wyche's Yellow tomatillo; Green Sausage tomato; yellow onion; sweet basil; poblano pepper; red mercury pepper; and roma tomato (hybrid). It is so exciting to think I will have a lovely, full and happy garden this summer--and it all began here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The New Man in My Life....

And of course, he is a chicken. Meet George. Today was the annual Chicken Fly event in Ridgeland, WI--yes folks, this is when live chickens are thrown into the crowd and if you catch it, you keep it. It was absolute mayhem. Chickens flying, people cheering and screeching, diving for chickens. Feathers were flying everywhere. I had my fist around a wing or two, but didn't manage to catch a whole body. But lucky for me, a group of friends had much better luck and caught eleven birds. Three of the eleven were roosters, so I was able to talk them into giving me one. So far, George seems pretty peaceful. He's only crowed a couple of times, and seems to be interested in meeting the ladies. Hopefully all goes well tonight after dark and the meeting of the flock is successful.

Monday, February 15, 2010

So much yarn, so little time!

This past Saturday, I rounded up a couple of the girls and we took a little road trip to Roberts, Wisconsin. If you've never been to Roberts, folks, you should take the journey. It is very small, and I don't know what it's other tourist highlights might be, but it is home to one of the nicest yarn & fiber shops I have ever been lucky enough to find.

Color Crossing (aptly named for its closeness to the railroad tracks that cut through town) has a huge section of yarns, from fancy fringy beady numbers to sock yarn to tough & hard working wools that will keep you warm in all seasons. Plus, they sell spinning wheels, fleece, looms, rug yarns and such. On Saturday, it was a 'fiber fun day' sponsored by Northwest Passage--demonstrations of everything from crocheting, knitting, weaving & spinning were taking place. It was so inspiring, so much fun, and so overwhelming. I think I have resisted the urge to purchase a floor loom, but I may need to acquire a new, nifty modern spinning wheel....well. I'll have to think about that. I did manage to rein in my lust for yarn, and walked away with only $47 dollars worth of wools. Four large skeins of Lamb's Pride by Brown Sheep Company, and three little skeins of a ridiculously inexpensive wool from Norway called Hauck. My plan is (1) make wool felted clog slippers for the little people in my life for next Christmas and (2) make a series of felted coasters for my drinks and hot tea to rest upon. So you see, I really DID need the yarn. Really.

After a Reuben, fries and a coke, we were all ready to head home for a nap. But if you ever have the opportunity to go to a fiber arts demo day, don't pass it up! I am still inspired. And I think I may need more yarn....