...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.


Late Arrivals

Around here we're all wondering if spring will ever come.  We certainly don't have the 5-8 inches of snow that was just dropped near my hometown in east central Illinois so I shouldn't complain.  We're used to wearing layers and overcoats and--in my case--scarves and hats indoors--well into April, but everyone just seems to want spring so much more badly this year.  Give us one winter like last year and we quickly forget how it should really be in these parts during the colder months.

Tart Cherry Tree, pre-haircut
I'm remaining optimistic, trying to look at the bright side.  When I pruned our cherry trees last week I was able to use the remaining huge piles of snow to reach higher branches without a ladder.  Snow during tree trimming doesn't usually occur.  While manicuring the tree this year for maximum fruit production--an annual task for which I was finally released by our neighborhood tree-pruning expert/bonsai enthusiast/my dentist/all-around meticulous man; he feels I have the hang of it now and I can go about offering my advice and services to others--I made a few observations:

1) Being a cheerleader for six years helped me to have the balance and courage to confidently get up high.  
2) I used to list mountain biking in the woods of the glaciated areas of southeastern Wisconsin as my extreme sport, but now I would have to say that it's tree-pruning.  

I genuinely enjoy carefully choosing each branch and limb that I'll remove then very delicately and deliberately clipping each all while balancing near the top of a tall step ladder.  (Pure danger!) The final product is rewarding and the tree always looks much happier afterwards.

We're running away sans child this weekend for the first extended getaway since her birth.  With Grammy at the helm we have no worries.  I'm already behind in starting vegetable seeds, but because of this jaunt I decided to wait even longer to get them going indoors--I don't want to add any more tasks to my mom's already full plate while she's here.  (And really, it's probably a little bit about procrastinating too.)  This short vacation seems like the perfect way to cap off "winter" and/or kick off spring.  When we return I'm sure I'll be rarin' to go with sunshine, warm weather, and gardening.  Now I just need the Earth to cooperate.

It's been a long winter.  My latest project to stay entertained was to FINALLY--I mean, some of these prints were sitting framed in our basement for months, even years--hang some artwork.  Remodeling our kitchen created an actual hallway/gallery space and Grammy's upcoming visit gave us the motivation to finally get these pieces hung.  We're not pros and could have possibly put more thought into it, but you know me--I don't like to overthink things.  Going with my gut is often the best.

The newest "gallery space" L to R: Two local artists' bird prints and a
random big circle I thrifted.  A revolving art frame for V, a quad of
seasonal prints I clipped from Taproot magazine.
Local art--the lower piece was actually done by a "girl"
I went to parochial school with back in the day.

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