Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peas and Potting Up

The weather is still cold here, in the 40s as I type. Still, the peas should have been planted weeks ago and I’ve just procrastinated terribly. I use the old rule to plant when the lilacs’ leaves are as big as mouse ears, although they’re really big mice this year.

Didn’t plant peas last year; the beds weren’t built in time. One of the beds still isn’t completed this year either. We’ll see how soon my digging crew gets it filled – I’m hoping to plant two more varieties in the other bed. Today I planted Oregon Sugar Pod II and Super Sugar Snap. Two long rows down the beds, 18 inches apart, and I’ll set up a trellis a bit later when I need to. Here is what the furrow looked like:

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On top of the peas I sprinkled inoculant. One is supposed to wet down the peas/inoculant, but it’s been raining and rain is forecast, so I just sprinkled the inoculant on the peas and covered the furrow. One of my favorite garden tools is a 24 inch quilt ruler. If I didn’t sew, I’d buy one for gardening because it is helpful in so many ways. Today I used the quilt ruler to measure distance between rows, but then set it on edge to make a furrow one inch down (which was how deep the peas were supposed to be planted).

048I just stick the quilt ruler in and rock it back and forth

Indoors, some of the starts in the Aerogarden were ready to be potted up, so I transplanted them to my super fancy plastic cups and got out the light setup from last year. This was a quick knock-together by The Patriarch and a couple of boys, but it works really well. Those are inexpensive shoplights, a cheap shelf, and the bakery buckets underneath help support the weight. I use big books to get the plants up close to the lights, pulling out books as the plants grow. Each ballast has one warm and one cool light (labeled “kitchen” and “bathroom”).

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I will actually be putting another couple of books under that flat, as the goal is to have the plants remain one inch below the lights so that they won’t get leggy. This flat is just lettuce, and sort of spindly, but they’ll get there. Here is a picture from last year of this setup with tomato plants waiting for their beds to be ready outdoors:

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Next break in the weather, we’ll be filling more boxes. Looks from the forecast like that will be a few days, though, and meanwhile I have more seeds to start indoors and plenty of other projects!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This is a house of sewing

Since this is a new blog, there is a backlog of topics to just get started on! One part of life around here is sewing. Several of us sew. I sew clothing for the family, mostly the females although here and there the guys get something, too. My sewing is pretty utilitarian. You won’t see fabulous quilts or adorable ruffled, adorned exercises in creativity off my needle, sadly. At any given time I have a huge mental list of items in dire need that need to be done yesterday. But this doesn’t mean I sew under stress. I enjoy sewing, usually, and just keep up as best as I can.

Currently I am sewing a stack of undies for the two little girls. They have both had growth spurts and don’t fit the ones they had. Their cousin gave them some Hanna Andersson unders that had never fit her, and the girls adored the fit. I went over to the website to order some, and to order a week’s worth for each of them, with postage, would be over $100. choke-choke-gasp Time to do my best to imitate them on the machine, heh? I pretty much always have fabric in the stash.

033A stack of little undies is my current project

Sophia, who is sixteen, is a reenactor and sews historical garments. These are sewn in a combination of machine and hand, as the machine is a bit cheat-y for her timeperiod, so she does visible seams by hand. I do a portion of this handsewing for her. Back in the 1800s, several seams on the bodice were piped for durability, and I’ve made her piping my specialty, so construction and application of piping is something I do on her dresses. Between the two of us, she has a nice functional 1855 wardrobe and is always adding a bit here and there.

Others among my children do sewing here and there in small projects. Clara, 13, creates doll clothes for her younger sisters and Nigel, 17, sews fabulous stuffed creatures and characters for gifts for his siblings. Araminta, who just turned 10, has an amazing ability to sew a fast and perfect running stitch by hand, so we’re considering how she can best use that talent.

I know when I read the blog of a fellow seamstress, I want to see two things (I don’t know why, either – strange fascination): the sewing machine and the sewing room/space. Well, not showing the space today, as Tarquin, who is 3, has been on a trashing spree in there, but I will show you my current main machine. It is a Kenmore, one of the ones made by Janome. Sophia often uses another one almost identical, that I’d bought earlier. This one was an upgrade for me.

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I actually own many, many machines. I haven’t counted for awhile; I know it is over 25. They follow me home like orphaned kittens from thrift stores and I fix them up, intending to someday sell a few on eBay, but too intimidated by selling sites to actually do so. Someday I will, though, because they just look at me, sadly unused. They are all such dear, quality machines, too. I’ll do a separate post someday on the vintage machines around here.

Usually machines in my town are priced at either $14.99 or $24.99. For some obscure reason, however, I got a super-duper deal on this machine, as it was half-off green tag day. I hope you can see the price sticker in this photo (I’ve left it on the machine because, well, it was such a score!!!!!)

037Twelve ninety nine, half off! Woot!

Next time I post I’ll post on gardening. In this climate, most of what is happening is still indoors right now, but gearing up, gearing up . . .