Hayley Stewart

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since Mar 15, 2020
Lil' ol lady in a millenial's body
Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Recent posts by Hayley Stewart

Here's a recent project!

So, I moved into a drafty old farmhouse from the late 1800s and there were no window treatments except for some old brackets for roller shades. I decided to put some secondhand fabric that I had been saving to use and made some curtains lined with blackout material. I was thinking about putting in a quilted middle layer for better insulation but these are already quite heavy, so if I do these quilt-style in another room I'll definitely have to put in a tougher rod.

I also recovered one of the original roller shades, then realized I recovered it on the wrong side.... so I'll be redoing that, ha ha.

I originally took these photos hoping they'd fall into a sewing BB but uh... I don't think this counts for anything on the list. Except maybe the part where I made these and then had to hem them to get a perfect fit after the first hanging.
2 weeks ago
I know I said it before but... the creativity here is blowing my socks off. I'm definitely going to be trying a few of these techniques. I think this is my new favourite thread!

We've started with a simple 2-bay bin set up using free pallets from a business down the road. We dug some shallow trenches for the pallets to sit into and wove them together with some grape vine that we cleared out. Then we found a roll of wire and used that to secure the front panel so we can easily open it if need be. We've made a massive leaf pile right next to it so we can add toss in some browns whenever we add kitchen scraps or have things from the garden going in. Of course, I now realize we probably set it too close to some trees so we'll probably have to relocate it in the near future...

Most of our weeding efforts (for things that aren't chock-full of seeds, anyways) have been à la Sepp - pull em up, flip em upside down so their roots are not touching the ground, and leave them to be re-incorporated into the soil over time.

There's still much work to be done here (ahem.. converting neglected ornamental garden for permaculture) so we'll have lots of opportunities to keep trying new ways to build soil.

3 weeks ago
Most of what I like in a calendar has been laid out here.
My favourite one I ever had was a Kurzgesagt calendar that was for the current year according to the human era. You can see one here. I liked its little tidbits too. Honestly, if it's beautifully designed, easy to write in and shares or inspires something, I'll want it on my wall! I just never ended up buying it again because shipping was so expensive.
2 months ago

Chris Kott wrote:Hi Hayley,

First off, congratulations on your move. My much better half and I are looking to buy a house on a bit of land in the next few months out in the Quinte West area. Whereabouts are you?

If you want something that looks neat and tidy but takes a minimum of time to slap up, I would grab some pallets if you can find them and assemble them into an open cube. you can affix chicken wire to the top with a closure to rock the cube around to turn the pile without spilling, and you can affix a handle, or sockets for such, along one edge.

As to frozen additions to a hot pile, I would just leave them to melt on top for a bit if you're concerned.

As to the winter, I like to make sure that wherever I am making my outdoor winter additions is accessible but away from my door, depending on what garbage scavengers lurk about. But otherwise, adding scraps to a frozen pile just increases the size of the frozen pile. We have a pet Flemish Giant rabbit, and we use wadded raw paper for her bedding, so we have no problem adding carbon to our piles regularly. Ours start to cook as soon as the outdoor temperature allows the pile to thaw. If I add some liquid gold to it and if it's sheltered enough, it starts cooking almost no matter the outdoor temperature, although a blanket of snow over and around the composter certainly helps.

Incidentally, in the city where I am now, we use one of those small, black composters, and honestly, they function much better as ground-connected vermiculture bins, at least for us, considering the amount of carbon going into it.

In any case, good luck. The first change I will make to my composting when we get out there is to get four to six laying hens. No more oversized pieces, hello easily poachable eggs (fresh eggs poach the easiest and best, by far, and I love Eggs Benedict variations, including ones where I swap the Hollandaise for a good white sauce-based white cheese sauce, white cheddar, swiss, brie, or camembert).


This is super helpful, Chris. Thank you for your pointers and good luck on your move too! Eggs benedict is also my favourite thing to eat and I feel like a real lush for never making it myself. My neighbour keeps chickens so I will have to test your theory on the fresh eggs being easy to work with.
2 months ago
Wow! Thank you so much for showing me your setups and strategies! I'm definitely feeling the chicken envy right about now, too. Oh and Chris - I'm out in the Guelph area.
The property I'm on has a bunch of outbuildings with old supplies left by the previous owner so I'll have to see if there are existing materials on hand I can use to get started. Otherwise I'm definitely feeling a lot of these pallet designs or simple cage structures. Y'all are so creative. I also really want to try building some hügel beds or variations where you add the materials directly to the soil to break down.

In any case, feel free to keep posting - and I'll be sure to share the results for whatever I end up doing.

2 months ago

Andy John wrote:Don't short-sell yourself or your product.

Lots of great points in here from Andy. Generally calendars only ever get offered for a discount after the year has started.
As a musician, I get great results from presales - it's always at full price, and I might not sell out from it - but the point is so that the diehard fans can claim their copies while the records are in production. Maybe some of your previous etsy customers want to show their support for what you do by paying full price for your calendar, or add it to their wool orders for winter knitting!

Anyways, Raven, this is a gorgeous product and your photos are wonderful! The font choice for the titles are especially beautiful. Now, if I may make my design snob suggestion: The days and numbers need a font that is just as lovely. I know you probably picked Calibri for its legibility, but to me, it makes it feel less special/considered since it's a default font for Microsoft Office/Windows. There are other sans-serif fonts that could compliment the design really well, and carrying the same font throughout the headers and numbers could also work. I know you're probably not here to get design notes (because the worst thing on the planet is design by committee) but I just wanted to put my two cents out there for next time, since I think it's a lovely item!

P.s. I love that I wrote all that stuff about using default fonts and here I am writing in *gasp* a default font.
2 months ago
Greetings everyone!

I'm moving out of an apartment in the city to an old farm house on an acreage next month. Needless to say, I'm very excited and already dreaming up projects to start once all the priorities are taken care of (priorities = doing a million surprise repairs). One of the top things on my list is to build a compost pile. There appears to be a small (a bit larger than a trash can) compost bin by the garden but it seems laughably small for how much composting material we'll accumulate during the garden cleanup.

So, after scouring the internet for ideas, I wanted to ask you all what composting setups you've tried and like best. Bonus points if you live in Ontario or a similar climate (zone 5ish) where you've kept composting through cold winters. I'm renting and the landlords will still have access to the property on occasion, so ideally I'm looking for something that looks a little bit nicer than an open pile.

Finally, my noob questions -
1) Right now I keep kitchen scraps in the freezer. Can we add frozen scraps to the compost or will this just mess up the temperature of the pile?
2) What do you do with your compost pile when winter rolls around? Do you let it go dormant or keep it active?

Thanks in advance!
2 months ago

Hayley Stewart wrote:I recently did a germination test with some Kashmiri chili seeds (I can only find dried ones at a specialty grocery store at the other end of town), cumin and fennel. One of the kashmiri chilis started to grow, which is exciting - the other seeds didn't do so hot, but a few seem to have swelled up so I've planted those too. Will share the results!

Welp, it's towards the end of the growing season here and thought I'd share an update!

Since the butternut squash test was such a success, my partner and I ended up giving all the plants away to a local community garden since we don't exactly have the space to grow them. Among my other grocery seed experiments were black beans and black lentils. Everything seemed to be doing well, but some major temperature fluctuations here really put our plants to the test and we had a lot of die back. All but one black bean plant survived but now it's just going NUTS. We've already been harvesting some seed - they're pretty small since it was just growing in a milk crate planter, but boy is it satisfying to find out how the beans grow and if they're compatible here!

Now, for my absolute favourite seed test... the Kashmiri chilis! We really weren't expecting anything to happen with them, but holy crap! These guys are thriving and setting big long fruit. I'm excited to continue to grow these since we use dried Kashmiri chillis in our cooking almost weekly and they're just so so hard to find here. We have two plants growing - one of which grew with distorted leaves but is setting a lot of fruit, and another that looks healthier but only has a few fruits on it. The plants are somewhat small since we left them in medium sized pots, so I'm looking forward to doing more tests with them down the line to see how big and healthy they can get.
2 months ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:We found out that pea gravel is not good for pathways because it gets caught in shoe soles and tracked into the house.  Woodchips will track also but won't damage hardwood floors.  I'm gradually covering the pea gravel with thick woodchip mulch.  You might put woodchip paths through the gravel and plant succulents and other plants that like good drainage in the gravel.  The book The Undaunted Garden by Lauren Springer has examples of gorgeous plantings in pea gravel.

Thanks for the tips! I just put a hold on that book at the library, looks great.
Yesterday I did a tour of a potential future gardening space that used to be very lovingly manicured for decades, but hasn't been touched in at least a year. A LOT of plants from all over have popped up into the pea gravel pathways, and there are some mature perennials like hostas that clearly haven't been getting enough water and are just dying in our hot (and often dry) Southern Ontario -zone 5ish- summers. There is a drip irrigation system in place for certain beds which also haven't been used in a while.

My dream is to be able to add in some edibles and natives to create a more permaculturist-approved garden. The pea gravel pathways are just a magnet for weeds - I'd prefer to use woodchips, personally. I'm thinking about doing a power-weed with friends and trying to get some stonecrop plants growing instead, with some little flagstones for stepping on. A part of me will be sad pulling out so many plants that I know a lot of beneficial insects love, but I'll try to leave what I can.

Does anyone here have experience in retrofitting ornamental gardens and/or creating little groundcover pathways? Please let me know if you can think of anything I should consider for adding edibles in a previously ornamental garden. I don't think I'll be able to get much information about past pesticide use, unfortunately. I understand changing something of this size is going to be a lot of work but I'm really excited by the prospect of chipping away at it and learning along the way.