Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stray Kitty


(Not the stray kitty. This is one of my cats, Fujiko. Fuji was rescued en route to a kill shelter in 2003.)
 
 

 
Life is never dull at the Little Stone House.  It's been a crazy year for my family, and we've got some kitty health drama (not serious and on its way out), and life just goes on!
 
A few weeks ago, we had a friend over, and he pointed out that we had a black and white cat that seems to like to cut through our yard.  This was over a month ago.  A couple of weeks before that, I had noticed that what appeared to be someone's cats were wandering the sidewalk near my home.  They were crying and were clearly confused and scared.  I'm not sure what happened, but I think they came from the house next door, because that was where they were hanging around.  I don't know if they got out by accident, or if the owner moved out and abandoned them (the cat owner--the house is a boarding house, apparently--a whole other topic!  LOL!) or what happened.  That evening, they weren't around, so I assumed they'd been taken inside.
 
Cut to that night with my friend, and I realized that I was apparently wrong.  I don't know what happened to the other cat.  I'm hoping someone took it in.  The black and white one is still wandering. Finally, I saw it again Monday night.  It came into my yard, hissed at my own cats through the window, hung around for a minute, and then ran back out under my gate.  I didn't try to approach it, but I did watch it for a few minutes.  It appeared to be pretty skinny, so I have started to leave food out for it at night.  I put the food right near the gate where I saw it leave before, and for two days in a row, the food has been gone the next morning.  I think the cat is reverting to feral, but I also suspect it is hungry.
 
Of course, people have come at me with all of the usual cautions--like they think I don't know any of the things they are mentioning already!  I appreciate people's concern, but I know what I am doing.  I do not have any plans to try to re tame it or bring it into my house.  My boyfriend has put the kibosh on bringing in any more pets.  I have always felt, though, that if you know of a stray animal that seems hungry, putting a little food out is just the right thing to do.  Obviously, if I see it hurt or in distress, I will intervene if I can, but our household limit for pets is fixed.  If I do find that it becomes tame and is not actually a feral, I will try to trap it and take it to a No Kill shelter for rehoming.
 
I just hate that people abandon pets, and I like for the animals in my vicinity to know that my property is a safe place for them--as safe as I can make it, anyway.  The good news is I don't generally see this cat during the day, so clearly it has a place to hide away until it is safer to be out.  I do worry what will happen come winter, but I have to just trust in the Universe that everything will be OK.  I can't put a shelter in my yard, because we don't have space for it, and I can't put one out front, because of our HOA.
 
A tip:  If you are feeding a stray or feral cat (or dog--though they are rarer), use recyclable/throw away dishes.  I'm using a plastic plate and a tofu container (for water). These dishes should never come inside.  Take the food and water outside and fill the dishes up.  If/when they get too gunked up/destroyed, recycle them and get new containers.  This way, nothing that that animal has touched has to ever come into contact with your own pets or family. Always wash your hands when you are finished. You just never know.
 
The cat is actually kind of gray and black and white.  As I said, it's pretty skinny, and I get the impression that it is an older cat.  I have no way of knowing what sex it is, but I suspect it may be a female.  I will continue to put food out for the cat and to pray that it stays safe and maybe even finds a home.  I will pray that it will make it through the Winter and maybe even learn to trust humans again, so it doesn't have  to make it through and instead will find a warm lap on which to curl up.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Rags: A Beautiful Thing! (Part 2)


In my last post about rags, I talked about the ways that I use rags around the house in order to reduce our footprint.  This post is largely a repetition of that, but the focus is on my cats. I use rags for them, too.  The bag pictured here is their rag stash.  (I got the bag itself--a handmade bag--in trade with another artist!)  We keep their supply separate from ours for reasons I probably don't need to go into.  I keep them in the utility closet with the other cat supplies, and they are easy to get to when there is any kind of issue.

(All of our rags have come from either worn out clothing and bedding of ours or dish towels that are too worn out to use for human stuff any more.)

An additional step I have taken to separate their rags from the people rags is to use different colors for theirs. Their rags are the black, navy blue, or brightly colored ones. Ours are mostly various shades of white, tan, etc.  There is some crossover in terms of color, but not a lot, and since I'm usually the one using cat rags, I keep them separated when they go into the laundry.  The cat rags are also mostly smaller than the people rags.

As I've mentioned before, the only thing for which I do not use the rags is urine.  Cat urine is sticky and smells very, very strong. It's virtually impossible to get the smell out of most items, so I use paper towels for those messes.  For everything else, including washing the cat boxes, the rags work just fine.  They can be used with any kind of cleaner, and they can be laundered any way we want them to be.  Rags do not have to be pretty, and who cares if the colors run? (They don't generally, anyway.)

In order to keep our stuff from mixing in with the cat stuff in the laundry, I have set up a separate laundry bucket for the cats, and I do a load of "cat laundry" about once a month or so.  Just depends on how many messes there have been.  I also always throw in a cat bed to make the load a little bigger and save a bit on resources.  First, I soak the load in an Earth-safe bleach in hot water.  I then wash in cold with watered down Dr. Bronner's (TM) soap, and I hang everything to dry.  (Most store bought cat beds, I learned early on, fall apart in the dryer, anyway.)

With the cats, I still go through a good number of paper towels, but nothing near what I used to when I used only paper towels. I can generally clean up a gross cat mess with one to two paper towels, which isn't bad, and I find that a roll of paper towels will easily last at least a month.

The point of this and the other post on rags is: If you are looking to save money and reduce how much waste your household produces, first of all, look around your house.  Do you have old T-Shirts, dress shirts, and bedding you're looking to throw away or recycle?  Why not cut them up instead and start a rag bag? Worried about "being able to" use rags with pets?  Don't.  You can absolutely use rags for pets.  Just be sure to keep them separated from household rags.

Being frugal and green really is that simple!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall

Kale and tomatoes
 
 
Well, here we are, mid-Autumn.  In the end, we did have a good tomato harvest.  Of course, they came in so late, we ended up having to harvest the last few before they were ripe.  They are currently decorating the table by the living room window.  We get a couple every few days that are ripe enough to use, so they'll feed us for a couple more weeks, probably.  They are so pretty, sitting there by the window in their various shades of red and green!  Soon, my boyfriend will pull down the plants, and they will go into our mulch heap.  We've collected some seeds from this batch.
 
In the end, I will say it was not a great growing season for us.  We did have an abundance, but not like last year.  Our beets didn't really make it, and we had hardly any kohlrabi.  (What's left in the garden is seed stock.)  The few beets we got were very small and, in my opinion, rather bitter.  The plants succumbed to a common fungus, whose name I don't recall.  We didn't get any greens from them.
 
The carrots continue to do really well, however!  They are huge, and they are delicious, so we are collecting seeds from them, as well.  The greens did so well we ended up having to cull!  I did give away a bag of kale to a friend, but that's all the surplus we had.  We ate a good amount of steamed greens and salads over the course of the year. 
 
A very strange and mixed year, I'd say.
 
Meanwhile, the inside of the house is also going through changes.  We were advised against selling the house this year, so we are continuing to make small improvements here and there.  Nothing huge is going on right now, because we've had a lot going on in other areas of our lives, and money's a little tight.
 
The cats are undergoing a dietary change.  I'm keeping them on a grain free diet; however, they are all being transitioned completely to wet food.  I'm embarrassed to say that we've had a string of urinary health issues with them, and I've finally concluded that it's their diet.  All but one of them were eating grain free dry up until a couple of weeks ago.  After consulting with my vet, I'm making the switch.  We'll know for sure if that was the issue and if switching them helped when I follow up with the vet in about a month.  That's been tough for me.  All of my life, I've worked hard to be a good cat "parent", and now this.  All I can do going forward is continue to be the best I can be.  Luckily, everyone seems to be OK.
 
The erratic weather we've been having in the DC area has really been hitting me hard!  I have fibromyalgia, and the fluctuations in temperature cause me a lot of physical pain.  This, along with our schedule, has really slowed me down.  That frustrates me, but it's my hope that, as we move into winter, the weather will stabilize and be consistent.  The cold isn't my favorite, but my I am hoping that, if the weather at least stays consistent, I might recover a bit. (Plus, honestly, I'm hoping for a good snow!)
 
Here's wishing you a happy Autumn!

 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Garden Update: Late Summer and a Raw Foods Update

Carrot.
 
Summer is coming to a close, and I must say that I'm really not sorry this time.  It has been a crazy and emotional summer for my family, and the weather has just made no sense at all.  The plants are definitely feeling it!  I'm happy to say, though, that we are finally seeing some growth in our little garden where we really thought we might not have any. 
 
The beets didn't make it this season.  They just did not get very big, and they suffered a particularly severe leaf spot issue (I'm not sure which kind) that rendered them not edible.  We may or may not plant again in the fall.  I think it depends on what (if any) beds are available.  Currently, all of our beds are full.
 
Up top, you see carrot flowers.  Our carrots, which took two or three plantings to take this year, are now doing really, really well. We are seeding the plant pictured above. These carrots are beautiful!  They are purple on the outside, but when you cut them open, you get just a rainbow of colors!  Greens, oranges, some red/purple.  These are not as sweet as the orange carrots I'm used to, but they are very flavorful!  We will have a lot of them!
 
Kale, mostly.
 
Here, we have Kale and collards and chard along the fence, and Kohlrabi to the right.  The greens are doing very well, as you can see.  The kohlrabi seem a little slower to grow this year, and I don't think they are as sweet as last year's, but they are good.  I'm very happy about the kale, because I love it.  We have concluded that our previous location was just bad.  Previously, the kale was planted in a corner, between two brick walls, and it was destroyed by white flies.  I think that corner just traps too much moisture and gets too warm, so we probably won't be planting in that corner any more and will be using that area for storage instead.  This kale sure is happy!
 
Finally, some tomatoes!
  
We are finally getting some tomatoes! Early this month, the plants had a healthy growth spurt, and I finally started seeing fruit last week.   It doesn't look like we will have a lot of them, but we should get a good enough amount for the two of us.  My mom has a plant that we gave her a year or two ago, and her fruits have been very small and very sweet, so I am expecting similar results from ours.  Either way, I'm loving the smell of the tomato plants, and I look forward to those fruits!
 
My raw foods experiment is coming along. I'm still not "cooking" any fancy raw recipes.  Mostly, I'm just eating more raw fruits and vegetables, but I have added raw crackers, raw snack bars, and raw cereal to my diet.  None of these products have chemicals or preservatives or are processed, and they all taste pretty good.  I'd say that I'm to the point where, most days, my diet is 1/3 - 1/2 raw.  I haven't noticed any huge changes in how I feel or in my health, but I still feel very good on the days that I am eating raw, and my base energy level is up and has been for some time now.  As time goes on, I'll become more consistent in my raw eating, and come January, when I'm due to have some blood work done, I imagine I'll see if it is making a difference in my health on a clinical level.  I have no doubt that it is.  I still have a ways to go with this. It would be nice to have maybe one raw meal every day, but I don't know if I will achieve that.  Most days, my only 100% raw meal is breakfast.  Either way, trying new ways of eating is always fun and interesting, and I learn a lot.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Garden Update: What a Weird Summer!

 
 Our kale has been successful this year!
 
Our garden doesn't look much different than it has for past updates. Really, it's more about the stories than the photos, anyway!

This has been a very strange summer here in the DC area.  The temperatures have fluctuated pretty wildly, and that has caused us some issues.  Overall, our yields are down.  We are getting plenty of greens, and as always, the sage is going nuts, but our actual veggie yield is way down.  Here it is, late July, and we have zero tomatoes, for example. 

  
The carrots took three tries to get going, but we did finally get them to grow from seed.  This bushy mess on the left side of the photo is our carrot bed.  As you can see, they are going wild!  When they are ready, we will have a lot of them!  I've already been using the greens quite a bit, both to flavor dishes (it's a good substitute for parsley, only slightly milder in flavor and a little tougher) and in salads.  I think we will have a bumper crop!

In the background are the beet (r) and kohlrabi (center, near the tires) beds.  The tire stack is our mulch heap.  It's not attractive.  My BF wants to build a proper one, but as we will be moving within the next year or so, I'm not sure it's worth the effort.  This is serving the purpose just fine.



The tomatoes have really had problems this year.  Our seeds just would not germinate.  We think it was just too cold and then too hot for them to make it. These plants were given to us by a friend.  She has a really good spot on her back porch, where they were getting very intense heat (and steady heat) and direct sunlight for most of the day. I think the seeds prefer stability, and I know they like it hot.  Even these have been slow to grow.  They grew quickly the first couple of weeks we had them, but it's slower now, and like I said--not one fruit.  By this time last year, I believe, our plants were much, much taller, and we were harvesting fruit.  It's the weather.

As you can see from the top photo, we have healthy kale plants this year, and we've already been eating it.  It's delicious!  We lost all of our plants to white flies last year, so BF changed the location of the bed, and it's worked beautifully.

Behind the kale plant on the left, you can see a solid wood panel.  My BF has gotten rid of the old plywood we were using to keep out the poisons that our HOA insists on spraying and is in the process of making panels that match our fence.  It looks much nicer.  The wood is still recycled.  It's left over from some of our home projects!

I have not seen our Junior Bunny lately, but BF says he sees him/her in the mornings, munching on the grasses and such near our gate.  The bunny has so far not even touched our food plants.  I wish all of our neighbors were this polite!

I can't believe that Autumn will be here soon!  I have a feeling we will be going through some big changes at that time.  It all fits in with the Great Cycle that is life.  Some things will be coming to a close, and we will move on to other great things.  (This blog is not going anywhere!  The content may just change a bit.) 

Autumn is my favorite time of year, so I always look forward to it!  Honestly, I've written this Summer off.  The plants aren't the only creatures affected by the crazy weather.  It's been hard for me to enjoy the Summer this year, for many reasons, so I'll be happy to put it to bed! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rescue Story: Lesson from a Baby Bunny

(Not my photo)


I've been rescuing animals most of my life.  Most of the rescues have been uneventful.  Some of them, as my long-time readers know, have stayed with me for their entire lives.  Some have been momentary encounters that have ended with the animal going on its way or with me not knowing what happened.  (There was the time a friend and I tracked an injured deer through an office park by car, but lost sight of it and ended up calling the police to alert them so they could take care of it.)  All of these animals have had an impact on my life.

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I were sitting in my parents' living room, when all of a sudden, I spotted something on the floor.  Thinking one of the dogs had had an accident, I got up and prepared to clean it up.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was a newborn animal.  At first, I thought it was a puppy (my dogs are spayed and neutered.  One of them had carried it in the house!  Looking again, as we worked to pick the little one up, I realized that it was a newborn bunny!  It was still alive.  We believe it had been rejected or abandoned by its mother and that the dog had brought it in for us to take care of.  (He's a very smart dog.)

It was still alive, but it was struggling to breathe.  I felt just awful, because not only did I not know how to take care of a newborn rabbit, I didn't have what I would need to do so.  I felt helpless and very sad.  All I could do was very carefully carry it out to the woods and say a prayer for it.  I then put it in a place where, hopefully, it would be undisturbed as nature took its course.  It's not an evening I will soon forget.

This was my first failed rescue.  That would have defeated many people's spirits, but in my case, it just made me more determined.  The next day, I sat down and printed out instructions for caring for a newborn rabbit.  If it ever happens again, I will be better prepared.  I also made the decision to pick up some kitten milk replacer (KMR) and keep it on hand both at my parents' place and at home.  That way, if I end up in this situation again, the baby might have a fighting chance (it could have died anyway, but I wanted to give it a fighting chance.)

Something that cheered me up when we got home, though, was this:



We have a juvenile bunny that hangs out in our garden at home!  So far, he/she has been helping us with our "weeds" and has not bothered our food plants too much.  After the ordeal last Saturday night, it was a joy to sit and watch this little one through our living room window.  I think we have a warren near our home, because I see rabbits all the time.  I just love them!

I still mourn the little one that I couldn't help, but it pushed me to learn something new, and the rabbit at home is a reminder that all we can do is try and that, even when we fail, life goes on. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Raw Foods

 
 
Not too long ago, I think it was last year sometime, I had to fast in preparation for a medical procedure.  If you have never done it, fasting is very, very hard!  Since I could not escape the process and just had no choice in the matter, I chose instead to listen to what my body was telling me as I avoided food and most drinks.  It turns out that my body had a lot to say.  One thing it said, loud and clear was, "This feels really good!  Please do this again sometime in the future! Once a year might be nice!"  I found that, when I was not distracted by the sensation of hunger--a very strong distraction--I experienced a feeling of lightness and mental clarity.  My energy actually seemed better,and I felt so clean.
 
I used that time to think about my relationship with my food--Why I eat the things I eat, the content of what I eat, and the reasons I eat.  Not surprisingly, I was not always eating only when I was hungry at that time.  I'm not too much of an emotional eater, except when I'm under stress or very busy (the body looking for energy--any energy).  I'm a boredom eater, or at least I was at the time.  I've gotten much better about that since then.  If my mind and body are not occupied, I look for snacks, and usually not the good kind.  It was good to learn these things about my eating habits, because now I am working on fixing them.
 
I started to think about how raw foods make me feel when I eat them, even just a carrot straight from the garden or a few leaves of chard.  After my procedure, whenever I would eat something raw, I would tune into my body and notice how I felt after eating these foods.  Like with fasting, I find I feel light, refreshed, energized, clean when I do so. 
 
Later in the year, when we were grocery shopping one day, my boyfriend and I picked up a book on raw foods.  It's a basic volume on the health benefits of raw foods and on the best raw foods from which to get certain nutrients, and it talks about different people who have laid the groundwork in this area.  I'm currently in the middle of this book, but the whole thing has affected me pretty profoundly, and I'll be seeking out more information, for sure!
 
Fast forward to this week.  On Sunday, I started a raw foods cleanse as a first step in my transition to raw foods.  It's not my intention to go completely raw; however, I do want to up my raw foods intake to 1/3 to 1/2 of my total diet.  The cleanse is not a fast.  I am eating the things I normally eat while taking the supplements for the cleanse.  It's a cleanse derived from organic, natural, raw sources. It is food, not chemicals (though it is in powdered form.)  I am only on Day 3 of my cleanse, and all I can really say about it at this point is that I feel tired.  Today, I'm noticing greater mental clarity, though, and overall, I feel good.  Because the supplements are food based and create quite a bit of bulk, I am eating less. (There's just not enough room in my gut for everything.)  I'm eating full meals as always, but they are smaller.
 
Our next step will be to get a juicer.  A "for real", heavy duty, somewhat professional-grade juicer.  I don't actually like the idea of fasting in the sense of going without anything other than water and clear liquids, but I can see doing a juice fast about once a year or so.
 
So far, our raw meals are simple:  We add in salads here and there.  I eat raw foods as snacks.  We forgo cooking vegetables we have as sides.  I intend to explore more, though, and try new recipes and new foods.  You have to start somewhere, though, and you really should start small. After all, you don't want to shock your system.
 
While weight loss is a goal of mine, it is not what is driving this exploration. What is driving this exploration is, as with anything else we do at Little Stone House, to continue to live in close harmony with Nature, to reduce my footprint, and to become as healthy as I can.  I don't see myself completely giving up a good veggie burger or vegan cupcakes (the horror!), but I definitely want to do better by my body than I have in the past.
 
As always, I'll be sure to post new recipes we try, so check back often!
 
 


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Power of White Vinegar

We have.been making some small-scale renovations to The Little Stone House, initially because we wanted to make sole changes to suit our tastes, but now, because we will be selling it soon.
Part of this process--most of it, in fact--has been a makeover of our two bathrooms.

What we have below is the results of an experiment.  Part of the bathroom makeovers has been cleaning up the sinks and replacing the hardware, rather than replacing the whole sink.  (We shopped around.  Sinks aren't cheap, and we both have kind of "chi-chi" tastes!)  Over the Holiday weekend, we went to pick some things up at the hardware store, including a new j-trap (the piece below.)  The products on the market now in the big hardware stores are unbelievably flimsy feeling!  Even the "metal" pieces feel like they will crack and fall apart rapidly.  This piece was crusted about an inch deep with...drek!  When we couldn't find an acceptable replacement, I said to my boyfriend, "Let's try this."

I came home, took the old piece of pipe, and submerged it in white vinegar. We just left it there. Yesterday, he was able to scrape out the crud, and look at this piece now! Just white vinegar. Nothing else. No toxic chemicals. Nothing went into the trash that didn't need to. The monetary savings were nominal, but the savings in headaches and needing future replacements, I'd say, were immense!

Next time you need to replace something in your house, take a moment or two to think about alternatives: Can it be cleaned up instead?  Can you make do?  Is there a low-or no-waste way to make the repair?  (etc.)  Obviously, you always want to make sure you are not cutting corners and doing things that are unsafe, but there is a wealth  of DIY information out there these days.

Happy fixing!

Quick Share: Weeds

 


I thought some might be interested in this article over at Mother Jones about incorporating weeds into our diets.

As my readers know, my BF and I do some of this.  We don't forage much, because our knowledge is limited, but we are educating ourselves.  We do cultivate both English and black seed plantain, dandelion, and wood sorrel and frequently use them in salads and on sandwiches.  Our dandelion does not get out of control and take over our yard, either.  We have a patch here and there, and I have not seen it spread.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rags: A Beautiful Thing! (Part 1)

Why is this a beautiful thing to me? Rags drying on the line. So I've recycled a few pieces of clothing. Big whoop, you might be saying.

Maybe it IS no big deal. Maybe I get too excited about this kind of recycling. After all, our ancestors did it way back when. Well, I think it is high time we all started doing it again! We generate way too much trash!

These rags are beautiful to me, because each one represents hundreds of paper towels I am not throwing away and, by extension, hundreds of rolls of paper towels I am not buying.

I can't completely stop buying them, because of the cats. For most of our messes, the rags work just fine, but for cat urine, I need to use something disposable to clean up. Fortunately, we have fewer and fewer of those messes to deal with. Every once in a while, someone will miss the box. That's just life with cats.

We also use the paper towels for dealing with work on the car and home improvements. There are, again, just some substances that are too toxic or just won't come out.

I buy three rolls of paper towels about every two months, always recycled. This all results in our putting our trash out at the curb only about every two weeks--and that is with six cats in the house!

I do these kinds of things and write about them, not to brag, but because preserving the planet is very important to me, and it is easier than most people think. I hope that, by sharing what I do, I will teach and motivate others to give it a try.

Happy Memorial Day to those of you here in the U.S.!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sage in bloom.

This is our sage bush. As you can see, it will be going to seed soon. I think we have saved some from previous years, but I am going to double check and make sure. This plant clearly comes from very good stock!

Sage.

Sage smoke is one of my very favorite things.  My boyfriend has made a number of large smudging wands. I have only had the chance to make one so far, and it did not come together right, so I need more practice.

See, we have so much that I'm giving away some fresh sprigs, but I am also now hoping to perfect my wand making skills, so that I can give away and sell those, too. (Blessed or not blessed, depending on what people want.)

All of that aside, I love this plant, and I use it in many aspects of my life. It has a hearty, positive spirit!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Garden Update-With Pictures!



The garden is going in pretty well, now that the weather has warmed up.  It looks a bit weedy, because it's in progress.  Some beds have not yet been cleaned up and planted.  Right now, we have parsley, peppers (in the pots on the fence), tomatoes, and carrots in.  (By "in", I mean they've been planted.)

The tall, scraggly things in the center of this photo are our 2nd year kohlrabi plants.  We don't have a plan for them, other than to eat the greens.  I don't think we are saving seeds.  Eventually, we will finish the greens up, and they will be cleared out, possibly for a new crop. 

The brick planter in the corner contains sage.  I believe it's three years old now.  We have been using it to make smudging wands.  (There's just so much, and you can only dry so much for cooking!) We may end up selling some of it, if we end up with too much.



This is a bag of mulch, not cat food.  We give as many plastic bags as we can as many lives as we can.  Some have lasted us years.



The bed in the foreground is the carrot bed.  They had to be replanted, because the first batch of seeds did not sprout.  It may have been too cold when they were planted.  We don't know.  Now that it's warmed up, hopefully we will end up with a bumper crop!

The bed in the background is the tomato bed.  There were eight planted in all.  The variety we planted is purple! (Sadly, I do not remember the name.)

Kohlrabi

I'm sure there will be more updates as the year goes on.  The story may not change all that much, because we are about where we need to be with our core crops--the plants we will plant most often--but Nature is full of surprises.

The only other development is  that the boards that we were using to block out the chemicals are rotting, so they need to be redone, but they will be.  As organic growers, we do not want any chemicals or residue on our plants!

That's all I've got for now.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Spring!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Drying in the Kitchen

I'm posting from my phone, so I apologize for the unedited photo. If you see something weird, please ignore it. LOL!

This post is about sponges and plastic baggies, both of which we recycle. (Well, zipper bags, anyway.) They have their own laundry line, right above the sink. All it took was two screw eyes and heavy cotton thread. (In this case, the thread was recycled from a cat food bag.)

I just anchored the screws into the cabinets on either side of the sink a little above eye level, and voila! I believe the term my boyfriend used when he first saw it was "rustic." I'm OK with that, because to me, it says "treading lightly."

The thread is not that thick, but I've been using this setup for a few years now.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Garden and Home Update: Early Spring

This is an older photo.
 
 
It looks like Spring has finally decided to start unfolding here in Maryland. As you can see by the fact that I've used an older photo, I have not been out to take photos in our garden yet this year.  Truth be told, there's nothing to photograph just yet.  Just beds and buckets of compost.
 
 
My boyfriend has started out by planting some carrots, collards, and chard.  We are just finishing up the last of our carrots and beets from last year.  They are a little woody, but they taste wonderful. :)  The kohlrabi from last year hung on, too, and I've been using the greens.
 
This year, he is experimenting with using fruit-only compost.  I don't know that there's any goal to that, other than to see how it works out. He's been out collecting mulch already at least once. (I still owe you all the post I have on that!)
 
Since the weather has been so weird, he's been focusing his efforts inside the house.  We are doing some remodelling, and he is doing it all himself!  (I have not been helping out, only because the rooms he's been working on so far--our two bathrooms--are too small for two people!)  I help out with design and with purchasing the supplies and fixtures, but he's been doing the grunt work.  (I didn't have to ask him--he just decided to do it!)  I think the next room on our agenda is the bedroom. 
 
The studio will come later, and that's going to be a lot more complicated and will probably take a long time.  He wants to put in what he is calling a floating floor.  (If you search the Internet for the definition, you will not come up with what he means.)  What he means by the term is he wants to build a floor a few inches above the existing floor in our studio, so that the power cords from his equipment (he is an electronic musician) can be stored "off the floor".  The floor would have a couple of hatches, through which we'd access the space.  We don't have a timetable for when we will start that work. It should make things very "interesting" in our tiny house for a few weeks! LOL!
 
I've been focusing on keeping the house in order and on getting some items made for my upcoming craft show season.  Spring/early summer is going to be busy for me!
 
Once we have some new growth and more planted, I'll make a more detailed update--with pictures!
 
Happy Spring!

DIY: Fix My Slippers!

 

This is a really simple project I took on in order to save a pair of slippers I really like.  They are nothing high-end or expensive.  They were simply a gift from someone I really care about.  They are also comfy!
 
I have worn them so much over the past couple of years that they finally started to have holes worn in their soles.  Instead of recycling them, I decided to fix them!
 
I am using denim reclaimed from a tote bag and carpet thread (very heavy thread--nearly indestructible!)
 
I simply took my slippers, traced around them on the denim, and made "insoles." With the slippers still turned inside out, I'm sewing the new soles/insoles onto the slippers. (Pin them in place to be sure you get the placement right.)
 
This could probably be done in an afternoon, but it's taken me about a month, because I tend to work on things for a bit and then sent them aside for a while.  I'm about halfway finished with the 2nd slipper and will probably take them with me on a trip we are taking next weekend.  :)
 
I don't know how durable they will be or if the denim will stay in place once the original soles are gone, but this at least will extend their life a bit!