Archive for the ‘Domesticity’ Category

Monday Garden Update

July 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Finally got some good rain in, but we could really use a good day-long soaking.

Tomatoes are starting to fruit on 4 of the plants, tomatillos are starting to fruit (I think – I’ve never grown them before so I’m not entirely sure). Down to 4 carrots in the planter box, and the swiss chard that was planted with it is totally gone. At least we still have some chard in the wall-mounted box?

Planter boxes for the deck benches are about half-completed, but won’t be filled this year. I need to come up with some kind of shade-loving edible for those and the rear raised bed. I think I’m going to expand the large-pot garden next year – those plants seem to be doing really well, and with the upper-deck expansion we’re planning, I know right where to put them.

Monday Garden Update

July 9, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s still hot, but cooled down enough that we’re back to windows instead of a/c. We got a tiny amount of rain on the weekend, but I’m still out watering twice a day (early morning & late evening. The positioning of the climber makes using a sprinkler impossible, so I’ve started looking into irrigation options for next year.

Tomatoes are starting to form, and the oregano and one basil plant are starting to flower. I’m really happy with the way the herbs have filled out, and am considering how best to expand them for next year (which planters and beds, including where to put new ones).

Categories: Gardening Tags: ,

Monday Garden Update: Holiday Edition

July 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Happy Canada Day all! Missed last week’s update due to a series of technical issues, but since not much is happening out back other than heat, I figure that’s okay.

The theme for this past week has been animal invasion. Our new deck is now a lovely polka-dotted purple thanks to birds dropping mulberries from the end of the yard (I actually do quite like the effect).

The birds have gotten stupider and have hit three of our kitchen windows fairly frequently. Fortunately there’s only been one casualty (funnily enough to a window that has a stained glass panel hanging and a wire shelving plant rack in front of it, making it a pretty full window), but that was a good opportunity to talk to K about death and dead things. It can be tough to talk to a small kid about death as a non-religious person, but I think we managed to strike a good balance by talking about how others can live on in our memories.

The last invaders this weekend are definitely more pestilential – something has eaten all the swiss chard and has mown across the carrot tops in my planter box. Not sure if it’s a brave rabbit, a squirrel, a raccoon, or a cat, but I’ve seen all of those around lately. I was so happy before that the critters hadn’t found the planter box yet, but I suppose it was just a matter of time…

Critter damage

Planter box after the critter started nibbling, but before it finished off the chard…

Monday Garden Update

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Not much to report this week. Carrots, Swiss Chard, all the herbs (except the dill) and most of the tomatoes are doing well. The potted Tomatillo is quite happy. Peppers are mostly still alive. Something has dug up two of the tomatoes and some of the Swiss Chard. My bet is on a squirrel, since the Chard was in a wall-mounted pot 4′ off the ground.

Lots of ongoing weeding – this is one of the problems with having a child who loves dandelions. I like the flowers too (they’re bright and sunny and feel like spring), just not in my tomato patch.

Looking forward to the point when the edibles (beyond herbs) are edible – I think I need to look into options for things I can start earlier so that I get real food before July!

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The trouble with dill

June 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I love dill, and would love to grow some so that half of it doesn’t go to waste when I buy it, but I have not once in 4 years of gardening been able to keep it alive for more than about 3 weeks.

I’ve tried lots of water and little water; I’ve tried different soils (triple mix, black earth, and potting soil); I’ve tried sun and shade; I’ve tried indoor and outdoor; potted and in beds and in planter boxes.

Any suggestions?

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Dress Chronicles: Episode 6

June 12, 2012 Leave a comment

With the lining stitched in, all that’s left are the finishing touches – mostly the roses.  I’ll admit to being a bit sloppy when sewing and wrapping them, so they’re a little inconsistent.  I’m lucky enough to have a mother-in-law who also sews, and she has volunteered to make the rest of them.  Once all 36 are done, I’ll sort them into three groups of the most similar ones, and then sew them on.

12 Pink Fabric Roses

I’m not entirely happy with all the roses – I may redo a couple of them

In the meantime, they’ve been pinned on, and it looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

Roses look alright on the dress though

Mostly-finished dress, front view

Still to go:

  • Bringing in the side seams to fit
  • Shortening – may do this with just the shoulder straps, or I might go all-out, remove the skirt, shorten it from the waist end, take it in properly, and reattach it all
  • Tidying up loose ends
  • Sewing on the roses
  • Dresses 2 and 3
Categories: Sewing Tags: , , ,

Monday Garden Update

June 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Finally managed to get most of the thyme and basil into the garden, just a couple of sprouts left and no idea where I want to try to stick them.  Most of the tomatoes are doing well, the peppers are about 50/50 thriving or struggling, and the potted tomatillo is doing terrific (the other tomatillos, not so much).  I suppose I should acknowledge that I did absolutely no research on soils before planting things.  On the plus side, this year my outdoor potted plants are thriving in the potting soil I picked (last year they didn’t do so well in the black earth I used in pots, even though that’s what the garden centre person had recommended).  Of course, a confounding factor is that K has been doing some extra watering for the pots that the beds haven’t been getting.


Looks like the mulberries are going to be ready to harvest soon – have to come up with a better method this year, since last year we only managed to get anything from the bottom branches and ended up with a great carpet of purple grass (and resulting purple feet).  Also need to figure out what to do with the berries…

Food Planning

June 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Working along with our Freezer Organization methods, we use a couple of tracking methods in the kitchen as well.

The side of the refrigerator has been covered with whiteboard paper.  On that, we have two main sections: weekly menu with sections for each day, and grocery list – which is further split into “next time we go to the store” and “when it’s on sale” (plus occasionally sections for other stores – like the garden centre or if we need to fill the propane tank for the BBQ).

Fridge with menu and grocery list

Fridge with menu and grocery list

Menu gets updated every Friday, since K is at her grandparents most weeks, which makes it easier to hit the grocery.  We don’t always stick to the menu exactly – we’ll try to eat everything from the planned list sometime through the week, but it might not be on the originally planned day.  We also try to schedule in 1-2 “leftovers” nights, since we tend to cook more than we eat on any given night, especially if K decides it’s something she doesn’t like that week…

As for the grocery list, any time we notice we’re out (or almost out) of a staple, it gets added to the list.  Other things (milk, fruit) are perpetually on the list, so we don’t even bother writing them down anymore.  We round out the list based on the week’s menu plans.  Now that our local Farmer’s Market is open, I’ll hit that up Friday morning (early afternoon once I’m back at work), then do the grocery for everything else in the evening.

Between the freezer and the menu, we keep our grocery bills down by buying frozen or freezeable stuff when it’s on sale, then we only need to pick up fresh items when nothing is on sale (milk, eggs, produce).  We’ll also tweak the menu based on what’s on sale.  Find a 30% off steak that’s best before tomorrow?  Goes into the freezer or on the grill tonight.

Dress Chronicles: Episode 5

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Thus begins my first adventure in zippering!

  1. Discover that I’d forgotten to buy zippers.
  2. Go buy zippers for the 3 dresses.
  3. Discover that I don’t have a zipper foot.
  4. Go buy a zipper foot – all I can find is an “adjustable zipper foot” – close enough?
  5. Baste (temp stitch) zipper to dress.
  6. Get K to try dress on.

    Basted zipper

    Looks like I need to take in the top a ways (zipper isn’t properly sewn in yet)

  7. Discover that I need to take it in by a couple of inches.
  8. Remove zipper, re-press back seam to take in by 1″ on each side at the top, tapering to the bottom of the seam.
  9. Baste zipper back in, try on again.
  10. Install adjustable zipper foot and sew in zipper according to instructions in the foot’s package.
  11. Looks pretty scruffy and sticks in a few spots – ask the lazywebs (via Facebook status update) for tips.
  12. Check out a great tutorial recommended in response to my request.
  13. Discover that I was trying to install a regular zipper with an invisible zipper foot.
  14. Go buy 3 invisible zippers.
  15. Discover that invisible zippers don’t come in the right length.
  16. Decide to go with the shorter one – it’s about the length of the bodice, and the waist is the widest point for preschoolers/toddlers (despite what the pattern would have you believe…).
  17. Baste the new zipper in.
  18. Sew the new zipper in.  Much better!
  19. Hand sew the lining down along the zipper and around the base of the bodice/top of the skirt.
  20. Realize that I’d forgotten to sew in the back of the shoulder strap, so do that by hand too.

Lessons learned and plans for next dress:

  • Sewing a regular zipper with an invisible zipper foot doesn’t work too well
  • Invisible zippers look way better
  • I think I might try to do the zipper on the bodice before sewing it to the skirt next time to reduce the amount of hand-sewing for the lining
  • Definitely planning to sew down the back of the shoulder strap before sewing down the lining

Monday garden update

June 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Not much progress in the garden the last few days.  The rain finally came, and we finally did a pass at the big weeds in the lawn once the slide went up on the climber.  Everything seems to be doing pretty well so far though.  Now I just need to figure out where to put the rest of the basil and thyme…

Categories: Gardening Tags: ,