A Tour of the Homestead, Part I

I’m so excited to share our little homestead with you.  First off, I should give a little background.  We moved here in December of 1999, and never really thought we’d stay!  But the 30 acres of secluded forested land, a sweet cabin, and gorgeous creek captured our hearts, and 12 years later, we’ve created an amazing home in a rental house and property!

So, to begin, my favorite place… the greenhouse!  This was our wedding present to ourselves 5 years ago, and it has been the best investment ever made.  In our narrow hollow, it tends to be cool even in the summer, so the greenhouse gives us extra warmth for successful peppers and tomatoes.  In the winter, it’s amazing to have another dry space.  And we can grow year-round greens and brassicas.

So, come on in!

In case you are wondering, this is an Oregon Valley Greenhouses structure (I believe it’s the Low Profile Quonset), and it is 20 feet wide by 48 feet long.  In the foreground, we have beets and carrots, all overwintered, and to the right, a sandbox (to keep the kids entertained!).

Overwintered kale, chard, broccoli.  We use raised beds because we have very clayey soil.  Beds are amended with compost and a whole lot of goat manure (more on that in a few days).

Arugula!

And here is my seed starting set-up for now.  There is a heat mat under there, giving the temperatures a boost by about 10 degrees.  I hope it’s warm enough as we had snow today!

So there is a quick peek into the greenhouse.  I’ll be spending a lot more time in there in the coming weeks.

More fingerless gloves!

Joining in the fun at Frontier Dreams, and yes,I am knitting yet another pair of fingerless mitts!  It seems that everyone in my family would like a pair, and I am happy to oblige.  I think there is one more pair in the queue after these, and then it is back to sweaters I’ve been dreaming of for me and my brood, not to mention a cowl that I want for myself.  If only I could decide on a pattern…does anyone have a favorite pattern that would work for a DK weight merino?

These lovely mitts are for my sweet girl Ella.  She’s a sassy, creative, little one, that girl.  So she gets a little pair of sassy, creative mitts!  She picked the yarn out herself – leftover balls of some gorgeous hand-dyed merino from Capistrano Fiber Arts.  Since there was not enough of any one color, she’s getting fun mismatched mitts (I told her that it would be easier to tell the right from the left that way!).

One done, one just begun.  They really are quite precious.

Coming up this week… I’m super excited to give a tour of the homestead.  With plants in the ground, and signs of spring everywhere, it’s about time I feature some of the vegetables and animals so near and dear to my heart.  Until next time!

 

 

Catching up

Back from our Southern California vacation! We had such luck with sunny perfect weather, good friends, amazing food, fun family adventures, and lots of beach time.

Vacations are truly blissful, but the catch-up afterwards can be a tricky thing!  I had to postpone seed starting until after my return, and now I’m playing major catch up.  Yesterday and today I managed to get tomatoes, peppers, and many varieties of brassicas for spring planting on my heat mat.  I did manage to get some peas and greens sowed in the greenhouse before I left, but something has been nibbling all of the tender shoots.  The two major culprits would be slugs or pillbugs, and I’m guessing pillbugss from the lack of slimy slug trail.  They are so hard to combat!  If anyone has any good pillbug damage prevention tricks, I’m all ears!

So, it seems that gardening season has begun!  Also on our plate has been makin’ bacon!  For several years we raised our own organic pork, but were unable to tackle such a big project this past summer.  Luckily, there is an abundance of amazing local meat in our area, and we split a hog with some friends.  Guided by some awesome resources (Charcuterie is one of our favorites), we home cure our own bacon and ham hocks.  And really, they are divine.

Tonight I might finally finish unpacking and then I look forward to settling back into our family’s rhythm.

Fetching

Joining Nicole from Frontier Dreams for her Tuesday Keep Calm Craft On…

FETCHING.  An oh-so-lovely pattern from Knitty.  I am so thrilled with how these mitts turned out, but let me tell you, I was sweating the entire time I was knitting the second glove.  Even though I knew the pattern called for 1-2 skeins, I felt quite confident I could knit them with one since I made them smaller.  I was able to finish the second glove, but only with inches of yarn remaining.  A close call!

So here we have Fetching… in a delightful red, just perfect for Valentine’s Day.  (Ravelry notes here).

Today, in this moment…

Today, in this moment…

I’m listening to the quiet singing of my 4 year old, while my husband cooks lunch and my 1 year old throws things.  Ah, the wonder of working from home!

I’m feeling invigorated by an early walk with the kids.  Everett could spend all day outdoors and be completely and utterly in bliss.  Ella pushed her baby in a stroller and was quite content to be a part of the outdoor fun.

Loving the new wooden jar holder that my husband made for wet-on-wet watercolor painting.  It is crafted out of a single piece of maple, harvested from the land.  It holds three 8 oz. mason jars for the primary colors of paint, and one pint sized jar for water.  It is functional and beautiful, and I get kind of giddy just looking at it!

I’m eagerly awaiting our upcoming vacation and the promise of sunny, warm weather!

Have a lovely week!

Cast off, cast on

Once again joining Nicole at Frontier Dreams for her Tuesday Keep Calm Craft On.  This week, I’m on a fingerless glove-roll, and I’m LOVING it!  After working on sweaters for the last year or so, it is SO satisfying to cast on a project and be done with it a few days later.  Instant gratification!

Last week, I finished some fingerless mitts for my husband.  They came out really nicely, but were slightly too big.  Felting to the rescue!  We tossed them in the wash and then in the dryer, and now they are just about right.  The felting did make the cable pattern a little less pronounced, but on the other hand, they feel very sturdy, which is a very good thing for my very hands-on husband.

With that project complete, I decided that it was time for me to have a pair of fingerless mitts of my very own.  Two years ago I started the gorgeous Fetching pattern, but frogged the whole thing after I realized it was way too big for my small hands.  This time, I’m working with a smaller needle and eliminating a few stitches.  They are GORGEOUS!  I’m using Debbie Bliss Aran Cashmerino, and it is so yummy.  I think I’m in love.

What are you knitting right now?