Catie George

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since Oct 20, 2016
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Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Recent posts by Catie George

The last 2 weeks, the house has been infested with what we believe are fungas gnats. About the size of fruit flies, attracted to dark surfaces and windows. I suspect they came in on a parsley plant that was taken from the outdoors.

We have covered the soil in the house plants with sand, had our fruit fly mix of water fruit juice vinegar and dish soap on the counters (killed lots), and stopped keeping compost in the house.

This hasn't been enough, they still seem to be reproducing.

Any tips for getting rid of them?
2 days ago
I strongly prefer cold to warm, and adapt better going from warm to cold than vice versa. I absolutely adore winter. I find it easier to dress for -10 to -20 C than +5 to -5C.

I spent some time up in the high and low arctic in winter for work, working outdoors for much of the day. It's all about how you dress, and spending enough time outside for it not to be a shock to your system. After a week or two, you end up working outside in a tshirt and gloves  in -20C since it feels warm. When I came back south to a southern Ontario winter, it took me longer to adapt to the 'sweltering' 0 to -5C weather!

I visited relatives in Europe one summer, and ended up in +38C. Only a few degrees warmer than Ontario temperatures (but no AC). I got heat stroke. Could not stand the temperatures.

I am somewhat considering moving to Alberta, north of Edmonton. Land prices are cheap, taxes are low, you don't have to have AC in the summer, and you can cross country ski and skate in winter, with consistent snow/ice cover. The soil's better than in northern Ontario, too. The only advantage I see to living in a warmer climate is the lengthened growing season and larger numbers of things you can grow. Only thing holding me back is friends/family in Ontario.

With good insulation, there is absolutely no reason to be cold in a house during the winter or see ice on the walls! Our current house (parts of it are circa mid 1800s) is kept at 21C during the day, 18C at night, with the bedrooms probably 15C with a really terribly setup central heating system someone cobbled together. My house growing up, heated solely with wood, was toasty (25C) in the living room and back kitchen if that fire was on, and cool upstairs (15C, dropping to 0 C overnight at the coldest). There was almost no insulation, and the wind practically blew through it, but I never once saw "ice on the walls".  The house before that was kept at a constant temperature with a furnace on each floor, and modern insulation. Very few Canadians keep their houses colder than 18C in the winter, most are about 20-25C.

Anyway - I'd say go for it! Just budget ~$1000 for winter clothing (a good parka, long underwear, good mitts, good boots) and picking up an outdoor winter hobby in your first year to make your first northern winter a good experience.
4 days ago
I started a garden a little bit smaller than that size last year. I did hire a rototiller guy to work up one area that was for finer seeds. It was very successful, despite a drought in the spring/early summer and too much rain in the later summer. I hand dug some areas for finer seeds, and to be honest, it was a lot of work for the results though it was lovely and almost weed free.

If I were you, I'd get the cardboard on as soon as possible. In the snow, even. I put my cardboard on for a new section I am starting for this spring in the fall. I anticipate it will have broken down and softened a lot by spring, and will keep any grass from sprouting. I also wandered around the community picking up bags of leaves.  Cardboard under mulch (mostly yard waste I picked up, including grass trimmings) pretty much dissolved to bare earth by fall. Note that most  herbicides for residential use are illegal where I live, other places may need to be more careful.

With minimal compost, I would reserve it for  rows for starting things like carrots, etc, that are finely seeded.  I might also keep an eye out for ads for manure. I bought manure and mixed it into my rototiller area, and top dressed around my corn and squash. Garlic would also like better soil.  Some people have manure free if you shovel and load yourself, they were all 1 hr+ drive from me, so not worth the gas for the amount I can fit in my car to me. I topdressed homemade compost or compost tea around other things like tomatoes and peppers. I also bought straw as additional mulch which was great in the drought and pretty much disappeared by fall. The soil in the garden seemed richer, better textured, and more alive by fall than it was in spring.

Here are my threads about it...

4 days ago
Well, I shaved her today. I used a #10 blade (1.25 mm / 1/16"), the shortest I can use without risking clipper burn on areas not accustomed to being clipped closely.

I had wanted to wait a few more weeks, but I washed her today and found a lot of mats during blow drying that needed to be removed. Animal welfare is more important than my plans for spinning, so a shavedown today. Brushing time seem to increase exponentially with coat length, and I was up to probably needing about an hour a day to keep her brushed out, or a weekly bath and blow dry (2 hrs), and honestly, I didn't keep up with it over Christmas at all.

I have gained new respect for sheap shearers, who make it look so fast! I did my best to shave the easy areas (back, sides, top of legs), getting about one grocery bag full of hair. There were some second cuts and areas I didn't quite get down to the skin, I was trying for long strokes rather than my normal "make it look good" method.

Here's her, after I had taken all the "easy areas". She looked so patchy! The remaining hair on her legs, belly, etc, I discarded as those areas are much harder to cut in one stroke.

New questions:

1) Is there a way to seperate out any shorter off cuts?
2) How should I store the hair  until i do something with it? It's in plastic right now with an open top, would a cloth bag be better?

And here's my poor sheep poodle afterward, cleaned up, in a sweater, and on a concilatory "I'm sorry I groomed you for 4 hours and still plan on doing more grooming in the next few days" walk. The length of the pompoms on her legs is a little less than what I shaved off her body (i scissored them a bit to even them out, so her body hair was a titch longer).

1 week ago
I would imagine if a cross was showing up in F0, then it would look like corn, so you would have a few beans on a white plant showing other colours, while  every bean on a plant being the same colour would be evidence for some sort of segregation from a previous cross. Does that make sense?
1 week ago
My mother wore a housecoat when I was a child. It was thin cotton terry (not towel material, just light loops of cotton) and had a zipper front. It was worn in the morning, over night clothing, or in the evening, when she wanted to lounge around, as our house was too cold in the morning to not have one!  She was a farm child, so as a kid, had pinafores, etc. She had school clothes and farm clothes, and changed the moment she got home.

I had a pinafore my mother made me as a child, used for protecting fancy white flower girl dress I wore to a wedding from the snow and the dirt and the sand, then used for church dresses until I outgrew it.

My grandmother has aprons that are basically just cotton vests with snaps up the front. She wears them when at home to protect her good clothing from spills, and, if family are around for a casual meal, at mealtimes, etc.

Here is my great grandmother's apron. My mother recalls her wearing this whenever she was home or in the kitchen. It's made of flour sack material. My childhood pinafore was similar, made of an old bedsheet, but wrapped the back of the full skirt. I keep meaning to use this as a pattern to make my own apron.

I know the farm didn't have central heating for much of my mother's childhood, so not sure what was worn to keep people warm in the house. (Just asked - 'we got dressed', in warm clothes, socks, and shoes, with an apron or pinafore maybe to protect clothes)

I wonder if the dawn of the era of washing machines had as much to do with the demise of housecoats as the beginning of central heating? None of my family members had central heating in the era of this apron, but all had a washing machine.

1 week ago
I am trying to work on a seed order from a company or two or three for this year, and, as always, having issues with 'the garden in my head is bigger than the garden space I have'. I will be the first to admit sometimes my seed choosing and planting is emotional rather than logical; having seeds and growing pretty things is a source of joy and security for me.

Swirling in my head are thoughts about:
-Did it grow well last year? If not, why? Is it worth trying a bunch more varieties to find one that works?
-Will I eat it? Will other people eat it?
- How much space does it need?
- I never buy from this seed company , and they have this neat thing I want but have no space for. Should I buy it anyway, so I don't have to reorder from them in the future?
- is it available in the store?
-Look! Neat thing I have never tried. I wonder if I'd like it/that would be fun!
-Will my life allow for a garden this year?
-I enjoyed that last year... Should I try adding another variety to have more diversity?
-Can I buy something similar off the rack locally, if I don't order it?

If I were to just order what I NEED and grows well, it would be carrots, onion sets, and cucumbers. Not all that exciting.

How do you prioritize what you grow and order?
I second the extra silicone rings. I try to use one for sweet things/neutral things and one for savoury and strongly spiced things. I use the steamer rack that came with it a lot, and sometimes put canning jars I am cooking stuff in on-top of the steamer rack, for yoghurt making or custard making. I haven't done any baking in mine, but have no issues putting pyrex glass in mine.
2 weeks ago
Thanks! Good to know about the hardware cloth, that's a good idea. I had wondered about them chewing through the yurt fabric itself.
2 weeks ago
Mike, how is it for mice? I've always been interested in yurts, but memories of the mice making their annual fall trek into the loghouse I grew up in have always given me reservations. Very impressive that it stays warm to -40C!
2 weeks ago