I've occasionally toyed with thoughts of a capsule wardrobe. For reasons others have described here, I don't think I'll ever fully embrace it. But I do want to take that germ of the idea and incorporate it--I would love that I have fewer clothes and that I wear all of them. I (like many of you) have a wide variety of activities in my life that all require different types of clothing. And I live in a place that has an incredibly wide range of temperatures throughout the year... winter is cold, occasionally hovering around minus 25 Celsius or lower, and summer is hot... this summer felt like it was in the low 30s for much of the summer, and humidity along with that! So I need a nice winter coat, a sporty winter coat, hardcore winter boots, delicate sandals and filmy skirts... ETC!!
Anyway, I've been inspired to start sewing more of my own clothes. My primary reason is that I would like to have pieces for my wardrobe that are exactly what I want/need. Right length, right fit, right colour, right fabric, right style. I find that shopping for a piece that hits all of those notes takes a long time. And can be frustrating. So now I want to do it myself. I do sew already, although not frequently. I figure if I can make a doll's fitted and lined blazer, I can make myself something to wear. I did sign up for Brooks Ann Camper's Skirt Skills course that was talked about in another thread here. The course teaches a method to make custom skirts that fit your particular body. We've just started, so it will be awhile before I'm at the skirt stage :) But I'm excited to grow this particular skill!
I'm hoping a more me-made wardrobe will eliminate pieces in my closet that are ok, but not quite right. Wouldn't it be great if every piece was just right? It would allow me to chose quality, lasting, natural fabrics so pieces would have a very long life.
John F Dean wrote:Odd. I was recently clearing some brush and was stung on my forearm by a black wasp. No doubt I was near its home. The odd part is that I have not been stung by one in years, and my arm swelled for 4 days ......which also never happens.
Yikes--that doesn't sound fun.
Great black wasps are certainly capable of stinging. But there are others that are much more likely to. I think the Bald Face Hornet is a black wasp that may be somewhat more likely to sting.
I just completed my first two badge bits this week, so let me think about what GOT me doing those badge bits.
I'm a bit like Mike. There's just something about badges that really appeals to me. It's not that I want to prove it to a bunch of strangers, it's that I want something that is a motivation machine. Badges push me to reach further. For now, I'm happy to knock off fairly simple things, but I know I'll reach the point where I need to learn something new and get out of my comfort zone.
Examples: I love herbs. Herbal medicine. Foraging. But, I've only just begun my journey into that world. What the badge will do for me is "force" me to actually get out there and harvest that mullein and do something with it (tincture?). As opposed to just admiring it in my yard.
Or, more extreme--I'm fascinated by skills that seem so practical like plumbing, electrical work, metal work. I've done none of this. But I have a feeling if I find the easiest BBs in each of these, figure out how to do it... then it will propel me with forward momentum into doing more of the BBs in those areas, and then at some point I will actually have a bit of a skill set in things that I believe are so very valuable.
In other words, for me the badges provide something like a map of skills to follow, plus the inherent motivation to travel that path.
It took me a couple months on this site to figure things out. My first week, I had NO idea what these PEP and SKIP things were. To be honest, although I think I have a solid understanding of PEP, I still am not totally clear if PEP and SKIP are the same, or subsets of one another, or a Venn diagram together. I didn't understand all the acronyms, like BBs. I think what would help me the most would be a visual representation of this stuff... what everything stands for, how it fits together, paths you can travel, and where they lead. An infographic would suit this, in my opinion. Kind of like the Wheaton Eco Scale infographic (which is stunning, BTW!)
I also wanted to say: Ash verified completion of my first BB. He did it in such a friendly, welcoming, and encouraging way, that it definitely made me want to continue. I think this is small, but really important!
Had to do some chop and dropping today, so I thought I'd grab a BB at the same time...
This area had buckwheat that was maturing. I let it stay for a good long time (couple months?) so that it could shade the soil and blossom for the pollinators (they adored it and were always buzzing around... many different types). There's also a ton of Hopi Red Amaranth growing around. I've let that grow too, to act as shade, stabilize the soil, help in the drought, to eat leaves off of, and to play around using the florets for dye purposes. But time for some of this to come down and mulch the soil.
In the main area, I chopped the buckwheat and the amaranth with a knife and laid them down. I also brought in extra amaranth from another area of the garden. I laid the downed plants to build amazing soil, and surrounded a few plants--a few tomato plants, a row of soybeans in front of the tomatoes, and a volunteer cuke.
The main area I mulched was around the 50 sq. feet, but to be on the safe side, I mulched the extra area to make sure it was enough in total.
Pic 1. Main area before
2. Tomato and soybean area before
3. Main area after (tomato and cuke to right side of plot)
4. Tomato and soybean area after, with amaranth mulch in front
(Note--the bare soil garden in the background is my neighbour's!)
May Lotito wrote:Yes, I took that picture. It's actually recaptured from the photo album I put together for my kids. I did a bit of nature photography over the years so I printed them out to teach kids about animal names and behaviors etc.
Awesome idea. Love your pictures. This spider almost looks unreal to me... I can see faces in her design! What a creature!
I took this photo about an hour ago in my butterfly garden.
I'm so excited! I'm pretty sure (after checking in my butterfly book) that it's a Giant Swallowtail! This is the first time I've seen one, and it chose my yard. It helps verify that I must be doing some of the right things to attract the critters. :)
They're not kidding when they say "giant"... this thing was as big as my hand (or would be, if her wings were outstretched). She was so lovely, and she kept sipping and sipping from the swamp milkweed you see in the picture. Every once in a while, she would do a circle around me, then go back to the flowers. She even stayed put while I ran to get my camera.
Apparently, they have a caterpillar stage that looks like an orange "bird dropping". So if you see that, let it be! They are more common in the States, especially Florida, because their caterpillar host trees are in the citrus family.
Here in Ontario, though, they feed on the hop tree and the northern prickly ash (both in the same family as citrus trees). It seems these plants are at the northerly end of their range here, so the butterflies are, too. I feel lucky to have had her.
I happened to read this thread this week. Also our washer died this week. :( We've ordered the piece we need, and it only comes as a big assembly of parts, and it costs probably half of what a new washer would cost. Even so, we've decided to fix it rather than buy another. This is partly out of principle, and also because--once I've detailed (super-cleaned) the inside, now that it's taken apart--everything will be shiny and new and in perfect shape.
Anyway, seemed like the perfect time to get my first BB.
A wheelbarrow seemed like the perfect large tub for this purpose, and it's even raised off the ground for ease of use. It also makes it easy to dump the greywater wherever you want it in-between loads and rinses. Highly recommended. Just give a little clean first. And use garden-safe detergent.
1. A shady spot under the maple to make the work pleasant! (Note that these pics are actually out of order. This is my second, smaller load. The water looks disgusting because they are literally very dirty farm clothes.)
2. Fill it up with water, dirty clothes, and a little Nellie's detergent. (Handy tip: let hose sprawl in sun for awhile to heat some of the water. I ended up with a mix of hot and cold, to make lukewarm.)
3. Close up of the water after some vigourous agitation with my hands.
4. No clothesline at the moment, so hung to dry on the unfinished deck railing.
5. Folded and hung on hangers, nice and dry and ready to put away.
Maria Hoffmeister wrote:This year I've started getting to know the "weeds" in my garden and also what grows plentiful in the wild. There's a lot that can be used for ropes, twine, wattle, containers, bags, even sandals or soles for shoes, as some internet research and my first experiments show, but apart from a basic idea of how to go about it, I know nothing, and I'd love to learn more.
Julie Reed wrote:As Jeremy mentioned, cottonwood (or any member of the aspen family) grows ridiculously easy. You can stick cuttings in wet ground and they grow. You can bend saplings down and pin them to the ground and have all those branches become trees, as the original takes root along the entire length. You can coppice them. But once they become actual trees they are a nuisance. Everything above also applies to willow, which does not become as large, and grows almost as fast. I’ve used both to establish great windbreaks while waiting for the slower spruce trees to catch up.
That's really good to know. I've been planning to find some baby aspen to transplant, but wasn't sure how easy that would be. Sounds like pretty easy after all So now I'm thinking it will be easier to identify an older aspen tree, and then make cuttings from it. Will try this fall!
I have two thoughts for you. Hope they help a bit.
The first is, rub the flower between your fingers and smell. Chamomile smells like a sort of flowery apple to me.
The other is, if you have a smartphone, take a picture of each plant. There's a button you can press that will match your picture up the best it can to a database (possibly google images) and help you identify it. I find I need to take a couple pictures... close up of the bloom is good, and one where the leaves show well.
Beautiful flowers! I love seeing what people have in bloom.
I grow a LOT of flowers. I could fill pages here with flowers! I grow them for beauty, for cutting, for pollinators, for herbalism, for all kinds of reasons. But I'll keep it under control and just show off three beauties that are blooming in my yard right now.
The first is a poppy. I planted the seeds last year. This year had a volunteer. I think this seed came from Seed Savers Exchange?
Next is Forget-Me-Nots. The colour just knocks me over--it's one of the truest blues I've ever seen in a flower. These I also planted last year from seed, but got quite a few volunteers this year.
Last is a hollyhock. I usually start a couple from seed each year, and then put them in the garden to bloom the following year, as they're biennials. I use a package of mixed colours, so I never know what colour I'll get until it blooms. I adore this colour--kind of raspberry wine.
greg mosser wrote:looks a bit like a pompilid wasp. If you see them doing a rhythmic flicking of the wings while walking on things, that's a good sign it's a pompilid. interestingly, pompilids are frequently spider-hunters, so they may be eating members of the garden patrol that you'd like to keep around...still, cool wasps that are to my knowledge never aggressive toward people.
Thanks for the extra information! There are so many cool wasps. To clarify, the picture above was not taken by me--I wasn't able to get a decent picture. But I think the blue wings on "my" wasps were a good identification feature. I'll watch and see if they do a rhythmic flicking. Mine never settle down much, always flitting around the flowers. That's why I can't get a good picture.
You're right, I do hope they're not nabbing spiders, but I'm hoping that nature finds a good balance for itself here over time. I have to say, the grasshopper population already seems down.... not that I've done a population count, but it just feels slightly better. :)
I had never seen one in our yard before this summer. When you first see it, you're a bit shocked because it's so big--about an inch and a half long. It's black, with shimmery navy wings that shine blue in the sun. They probably look a little nerve-wracking to many people, but they also look somewhat majestic.
I found a couple on our milkweed (the swamp milkweed, not the common milkweed) once it was blooming. They can't get enough... they're always there! Now that the boneset is in bloom, I see the great black wasps there as well.
We had a bit of a grasshopper explosion this year. So I identify these wasps and look them up, and what do I find out? They sting grasshoppers and feed them to their young. So they are helping me balance nature here. The adults feed on flowers.
These are solitary wasps, like our solitary bees. They can sting, but they are not likely to sting humans unless you're really trying to upset them. They're a type of digger wasp that makes long tunnels under the soil to lay eggs and drag prey down there for their young to feed off of.
I found out that they sometimes use a tool, like a tiny stick or the end of a leaf! They use it to vibrate the soil to dig, like a tiny jackhammer. And there's another blow to the "only humans use tools" that many of us were taught when we were young.
They can be found across North America. If you see them, be happy! They're your allies in keeping some of the pestier pests in balance. I get very close to watch them, like a couple feet away, and they don't seem too bothered. If they get bothered, I back up. Let's get the word out that many wasps are not aggressive, and really, are our friends.
About the title I chose... not that many years ago, I might have thought one wasp was just like another. Or maybe I even thought that "wasp" was just one kind of thing. I'm learning not to put creatures in boxes like that!
I hiked up a narrow trail to reach a high
school. Imagine! Teenagers learning permaculture principles, and I was their
lunch lady. At first I served food from a box
but then they started clamoring for stinging nettle soup and
I had to warn them that the nettles don't go
anywhere tender, unless they've been cooked first. Their first assignment
was making nettle pie for principal Wheaton, but prankster Johnny
chanted "wheaton, sweet'n" and dumped a bunch of sugar in
a nearby wasps nest. Well, you can imagine the sheer
negligee the lunch lady was wearing, which made the wasps
giggle and titter, then go into swarming mode. They surrounded
the music teacher, huddled, then broke out into a rousing
, if a little buzzy and not well enunciated, round of
frisbee golf. They all could fly so they all won
the game. The students and scantily-clad lunch lady secretly
planned a surprise party for principal Wheaton with lots of
pie. Wheaton's love for pie was a mathematical constant, an
incredible 3.14--that's 3.14 pies per week--constantly. Never before
You asked what I love in my home...
It's not too big (which is more to clean, expensive to run, etc.) and not too small (because: family, visitors, hobbies that take up space, tools, piano, etc.)
It has huge living room/dining room windows across from each other for lots of light and lots of lovely view.
It has extremely durable hardwood floors from the 60s, so I don't really have to worry about them.
It has enough bathrooms (3 toilets, one bath, one shower) so teens don't kill each other.
It has a nice big deck in the back that we put a roof on, so it's like having an outdoor room for half the year, and we use it a lot.
The basement is 95% finished (was probably 70% when we moved in, but we did a lot of work on it), so there's an extra level for people to escape to when necessary. This also means we can have our TV in the basement, instead of in the living room.
I really love almost everything about our house, but mostly because it's ours and we've made it a cozy, peaceful place of happiness, and we see it as our forever place to do what we want, instead of thinking of painting things beige in case we sell. (ick)
You asked what I wish was different...
I reallllly wanted a window above the kitchen sink, to be able to see the trees and birds while I do dishes.
I don't have a linen closet. We use furniture (basically cabinets) instead. I would love a built-in linen closet!
I wish there was a broom closet, too.
I wish the front entrance was a foot or two wider (it's pretty skinny).
I wish the back entrance was more than just a tiny landing pad.
I wish we were already set up with rain collection and greywater system.
I wish a root cellar already existed.
I wish there was a fence around the property!
Yesterday around supper time, we saw a shocking, fascinating, gritty bit of nature.
All of a sudden, we heard and saw a lightning fast rustle of feathers and chaos in our yard. Turns out a hawk had grabbed a pigeon in our yard. For some context, this is a residential area--people generally have a half acre to an acre here. But I'm bordered by houses, not natural areas. We've NEVER seen a hawk anywhere near our land before.
There were about four crows nearby when the hawk took the pigeon. They were in HOT PURSUIT immediately... probably only a few feet behind the hawk. He landed and stood on his prey to hold it down. The crows sat in a nearby tree and yelled repeatedly at the hawk! Then three seagulls started circling overhead and yelling, too! I have no idea what was going on, but those other birds sure sounded mad. Do they have a community of sorts? Do they try to warn and protect other species? Do they run off predators as a group? I wish I knew what was actually happening.
Finally, the other birds took off, and we humans backed off as well, and the hawk started pecking at its prey. I'll admit, I was both fascinated and a little horrified, as there has been a family/group of pigeons that visits every day, so this was one of "our" pigeons. Eventually, the hawk flew just a few feet off the ground, but pretty fast, with its prey still in its talons and presumably went somewhere more private to finish its dinner.
Then another pigeon did a couple of slow circles above the spot the other one was killed.
We try to let wildlife share our land here. This was a surprise though. We've never had anything quite like this.
Best we can figure out by the bird book, it was probably a Cooper's Hawk. Beautiful bird.
I'm learning about hoverflies. There are so many critters that look a bit bee-like in their colouring; it's hard to tell them all apart until you look closer. Hoverflies look like bees with fly eyes and fly wings. They do a lot of pollination, because the adults eat pollen and nectar. The immature ones feed on aphids and things like that. So these are definitely good guys. :)