...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Spring Cleaning

There's a small window of time to get things cleaned up in the yard and garden from winter and get seeds planted and the yard arranged for the next growing season.  The weekends are precious.  Currently I've got a pile of untreated lumber staring at me, ready to become our new raised beds for vegetables.  Today I had a friend and neighbor, a former hobby orchardist, help us prune our cherry tree.  He helped last year as well and I felt like I learned the very very basics of tree pruning so I did a little bit of pre-trimming before he arrived.  I quickly learned there was so much more to shape up when he returned.  Our main goal was to consolidate to one central leader.  It would be a dramatic, but beneficial chop.  After we removed that limb he cleaned up the rest of the tree to get lots of sunlight through the branches and create three definite tiers of growth.  I should mention that this gentleman is a bonsai expert as well.  He doesn't have a big yard to grow fruit trees anymore so his deck has rows and rows of beautiful, precisely pruned mini trees.  It's fun to watch him prune a larger tree in the same manner--he approaches with his loppers and pruners as a painter would a canvas with paint and brush.  The tree is now refreshed, looking happy and able to breathe.  We also took a peek at the two dwarf apple trees I have on the fence line that I'm training to grow espalier style (on a single plane).  One of the best things about pruning fruit trees, or any tree for that matter, is that it produces lots of great branches and small limbs that can be used to make trellises and bean teepees.

Along with this spring cleaning, I straightened up my craft area in the basement this weekend.  A rainy Saturday made a great day for thrifting.  My latest find, thrift store wise, is a place on the southside where I can find tons of inexpensive fabric.  The little lady that runs the place told me to fill a paper grocery bag for $5.  Can't beat that.  When I got settled at home I reorganized my fabric cabinet. I don't know what's more fun, using the fabric or putting it into stacks of gradient colors.  I've enjoyed organizing my craft supplies since I was a kid and would play with my moms beautifully colored spools of thread (many wooden spools at that time), putting them into straight rows and pretending they were kids going to day camp.  The taller spools were the adults and camp counselors, of course.  Anyway, as I was restacking the various colors and textures of fabric I got ideas for new projects--dresses for Vera, quilts, accessories for myself.  Sometimes just being in my craft area and getting things together is enough to refresh and motivate me.

Tonight I attended our monthly Holistic Moms Network meeting where we watched the film Food Inc.  I recommend it to anyone who cares about food, and especially to those who don't think much about what they eat.  This is an eye opening movie.  Even if I'd already heard most of it, it got me fired up again to take a stand for good, safe, healthy food for all.  To get involved go to takepart.com

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