Monday, March 28, 2011

incy wincy

I always find spiders so ingenious. Such little creatures with amazingly strong silky threads. This afternoon  I watched one tiny fellow build a web between our snow-pea stakes, and practiced taking photos with my new camera! My new pal is a Canon EOS 60D. I am smitten. He is gorgeous. I am learning how to use two lenses (18-55 and 55-250mm). Here are some of my first snaps with him.... not quite understanding all the dials yet.. but we're on our way.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

harvesty goodness

Hello little blog,
Not many posts going on lately - I am blaming parent-teacher interviews, piles of student assessment at work, and much more fun but tiring ....spending the rest of my energy on planning a little trip in April (aaaYeeeee!!!!)

Thursday night involved a mega harvesting session after work. We normally harvest to eat food that day but this time was for two reasons. Firstly so we could freeze the majority of the vegetables and didn't want to risk having loads of precious goodies go to waste while on holiday. Secondly so we can sow seeds in the empty areas of our beds this weekend in hope of returning with a few little seedlings sprouting from the soil.

Handfuls of beans were blanched and put in the freezer. Even more purple carrots were pulled, only this time they had grown a little fatter... but still each with crazy curly spindly root systems. I cut these up into small pieces and blanched these too, but I'm not sure whether they will freeze as well as the beans? It's all a bit experimental at this stage.

** edit.
I pulled out about 30 baby Topweight carrots today. 100% success with this variety. Hurrah!

Do pop over to Daphne's Dandelions to see some yummy fresh vegetables. Happy harvesting! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

organic pest deterrent experiment

We have admittedly had a brilliant insect-free run in our vegie patch, aside from these little guys who eventually fried in the sun and did no harm. Until now. Cue jaws theme tune..

Sweet looking green caterpillars managed to munch 30% of our broccoli leaves IN ONE NIGHT! I decided tonight that I needed to do something and fast if I wanted to eat any broccoli in a few months time.

Once I had picked off each little blighter and their eggs, The Boy suggested I mix up an organic chilli, garlic and oil mixture to smother over the leaves on all 13 plants.

I am just hoping they are amply disgusted by the concoction. I'll post whether this organic deterrent is a success, and how long it works for, if at all!? What do you do to keep these green loving lovelies at bay in your patch? I would love to hear of your method for future experiments :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friday Harvest

First year of bean growing = successful The first of our golden butter and snap beans were ready for eating and went into last nights wonton noodle soup, and tasted yummy and fresh!

First year of carrot growing = unsuccessful :( We decided to pull up a few purple carrots in hope that they would be a little plumper than when we checked a few weeks ago. But alas - short, stubby, spidery purple roots. We chopped the roots off and ate the carrots and they were incredibly tasty. What a shame. Next year I must remember to add sand to the carrot bed and will not ammend the soil in any way - no compost, no composted cow poop, no fertilizer, no love really... how odd that they prefer to grow that way. 

Quite happy to be playing a new vegetable harvest meme over at Daphne's Dandelions!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

bobs and bits

I'd like to give a HUGE thank you to Helen for pointing out that my pears were William Pears and in fact were ripe when crunchy. After reading that, I stood atop of unstable chairs and plucked enough to fill one bucket. We gave some away to my parents and stewed the rest, and we are now officially all peared-out! I added a little sugar, cinnamon and lemon rind were added during the 2 and a half hour simmering session. They were nice, a little bit too mild in flavour perhaps, but it is special to be eating our own pears unlike last year.

I have begun a travel photography course, as I am tired of returning from a holiday with god awful photos of things that I remember being incredible, vivid, and IN FOCUS!!!!  I really want to know what all those 'little knobs, dials and buttons' do, and know how to change the lighting and depth of field to achieve those gorgeous blurry backgrounds. I came away from todays session feeling overwhelmed and wishing I had the ability to grasp new concepts with ease. I am very slowly (painstakingly) beginning to understand aperture, shutter speed and ISO. my.brain.hurts

Thursday, March 3, 2011

my creative space

Last weekend I used my new free-motion quilting foot for the first time... and boy it was a work out! My upper arms and shoulders were aching after just a few hours behind the machine. I am SUPER pleased with the result, and am already thinking about future quilts .... hmmm. I'm glad I took the leap and didn't persist with straight lines, which wasn't working for the thickness of the quilt batting... but shhh honestly I am sure it's my lack of  skill to sew in straight lines hehe

The front of the quilt is made from various vintage sheets from Ange's Ramblings swap which I participated in 2010.

The back is a mis-mash of white, peach and yellow floral fabric...

... plus a little snippet of vintage lace for good measure. I left the embroidery floss ties throughout the quilt, as they were too cute to remove.

I tried out a wiggly bobbly sewing pattern suggested over here in Oh, Fransson's Free Motion Quilting Tutorial, and also followed her plan as to where to begin free-motion sewing on such a large sized quilt, also VERY helpful. It took exactly 4 full bobbin changes, which I had prepared before beginning to reduce stopping and starting too much. Incase you were wondering, I stuffed up alot..

Yes, I quilted myself into a squiggly corner many times.
Yes, I swore a bit.
Yes, you can see where i sped up too quickly, slowed down too slowly and created ridiculous non-curved pointed shapes frequently.
Yes, I saw the great people of We Massage the following day hehe.

More creativity over here.