Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where am I?

Quick update here:

Moving into the new house went well, and we're loving everything about it so far. Based on our desire to make some big changes and do lots of urban farming at the new house, I've started a new blog with my husband about our adventures. You should check it out:

I'm not ready to say that I'm totally giving up on this blog yet, but I probably won't be posting here very frequently.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Backyard Dreamin'

In a mere three weeks my husband and I will become homeowners. Ok, technically we bought a condo 5 years ago. We've done a great job of making it our own, and I do love the place. A part of me will certainly miss it. But ever since we've become passionate about local food, and started to grow our own vegetables, it has become clear to us that no space could really be our home without room to garden.

So we're going to pack up our things, drag them across town, and settle into a new home. There are so many things that I love about our new house, but I've gotta admit, the backyard is my favorite.
It is large enough to accomodate even our ambitious gardening plans, it has a collection of lovely shade trees close to the house, and plenty of open space in the back for some sun-worshipping plants.

We've been playing around with different arrangements of raised vegetable beds and flower planters. I'm even sketching up ideas for a chicken coop to house a few residents next spring. We've been dreaming of enough garden, patio, tree planting, blogging, and rainwater collection plans to keep us busy for a VERY long time. I suppose we might as well keep dreaming now, because dreaming up ideas is the easy part.

Monday, September 12, 2011

We're Moving!

Things have been kinda hectic, but I wanted to share a quick post about some big plans. My husband and I bought a house! We're about one month away from the closing date, and we're getting really excited. The house isn't much bigger than our condo, but that's not really why we wanted a house. What we really wanted was a yard; and we sure got it. The new house sits on a 0.40 acre lot, so we'll have tons of room to garden.

We've been spending time drawing up garden layouts, researching plants and trees (and chickens!) to put together our own little urban homestead. Food can't possibly come from a source more local than your own backyard!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Trouble With Multi-Tasking

As I've mentioned before, I frequently start new knitting projects before finishing others. I'll set some projects aside, to work on whatever I'm feeling good about that day. I knit for fun, so I try to keep it fun; no rules.

Well, remember this sweater?

I started it long ago, set it aside for a while (about a year), then almost completely forgot about it. Well, I pulled it out again a couple of weeks ago, and now I have this:

Yay! A finished sweater! I love it, but it is currently too hot to wear it. At least I finished it in time for the state fair.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Countdown to the State Fair

Summer is upon us. This means that I've been busy and my knitting has been sort of neglected. But I can't do that any longer, because it's time to prepare for the state fair!

You probably remember that I entered several items in the fair last year. I really had fun and I'm excited to enter again this year.

I have quite a few works in progress that I plan to finish before the drop off deadline. Last night I finished these two:

Rainbow Wool Eater Blanket - This was mostly finished for quite a while. Unfortunately I ran out of the red yarn on the very last round. I finally bought another skein, finished crocheting, and weaved in all of the ends.

Furry Green Monster - This guy has been sitting around my condo without a face for months. I finally stitched on a face. I think he's adorable!

I'll be finishing up some more items in the upcoming weeks. I don't know how many fair entries I'll end up with, so you'll have to stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

They Are (Not) Who We Thought They Were

I've got what you've all been waiting for: Another worm post!

I've been composting for about 4 months, and the worms have been doing remarkably well. The population has boomed, we've taken a batch of finished compost to the garden, and the bin can now process all of the compostable food scraps that we typically generate in our house.

But there has been an interesting development. It turns out that I've got a mixed species worm bin. When I purchased my worms, I thought I was buying a bunch of these guys:

Eisenia fetida (Red Wriggler)

They have a striped appearance and the band around their bodies (the clitellum) is very pronounced. It actually looks like it is swollen. They move around relatively slowly and they are ideal for composting bins because they tolerate temperatures between 40 to 90 degrees F, they prefer about 70 to 80 degrees F, they do well in confined spaces and they eat approximately half their body weight per day.

I've definitely got Red Wrigglers in there but, after composting for a while, I started to notice these guys:

Perionyx excavatus (Blue Worms)

These guys don't have the striped apprearance, their clitellum is flush with their bodies, and they have an iridescent blue/purple shine in the light. They tend to be longer and skinnier than my Red Wrigglers. The biggest difference that I've noticed is that these guys are fast! They also like to be between 70 to 80 degrees F, but they can't tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees F. They multiply very quickly, which is probably why I didn't notice them at first. I probably started with just a few, but now I've got a bunch. They're also good composters, but they are supposedly more prone to wandering. I haven't had this problem yet, so they must be reasonably happy staying inside the bin.

So where did they come from? Apparently worm farmers typically have their worm beds "contaminated" with these little guys. I use the word "contaminated" because there is some debate in the worm composting community (yep, it exists) as to whether or not these guys are good for a worm bin. People who keep outdoor bins don't like them, because they die off below 50 degrees F. Other people have trouble with them escaping the worm bin due to their wandering nature. A few people are just "creeped out" by how fast they crawl around.

So these guys must have tagged along with my worm order. As far as I'm concerned, no big deal. My bin won't drop below 50 degrees F, my blue worms have been staying inside the bin, and people who are easily "creeped out" by some worms probably shouldn't keep a box of them anyway. As long as they're keeping some of my garbage out of the landfill, and giving me free fertilizer for my garden, a little biodiversity is fine with me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Gardening!

I have great news to share! Greg and I will be able to do more gardening than we had expected, because now we have more space in which to grow things! We recently learned that the Community Garden has a limit of two plots per household. Not one, but two! As long as you have the time and desire to garden a second plot, and you wait for your fair turn on the waiting list, you can have a second plot. Oh, happy day!

So far, all we've done is pull some weeds from the second plot. It will still require a little bit of preparation before we can plant things. Then we've got to decide what to plant! We spent months planning our first gardening plot, but now this one has landed in our laps right amidst the growing season. Should we grow more of the same crops that we've planted? Should we pick out some new crops? Too many decisions!