Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Not enought gift boxes?

That's ok...make your own!  This year for gifting locally made recycled glass suncatchers and truffles and our homemade sweet relish, soap, and homegrown calendula seeds we found we did not have enough gift boxes.  Not wanting to purchase any, we made our own.  We raided our stockpile of used boxes, cut off the top flaps, wrapped the bottom in brown paper we stashed away from 2011 soap ingredient orders and made new tops out of festive paper found at the thrift store.  ($2 versus $20 for a brand new book of scrapbooking paper!) 

3 of our 4 cats were big helps with the project!  Alvin guarding the paper:

Flora guarding the paper once Alvin tired:

and Bounder sending us peaceful vibes:

A little miscellaneous saved ribbon, twine and wire makes for some pretty gift boxes!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all!

Wishing everyone a very warm and meaningful Christmas.  Peace, joy and love from our home to yours!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Christmas Gift to Each Other: A Multi-Media Entertainment Center!

At long last - our very own Multi-Media Entertainment Center: A WOODSTOVE!!! (thanks to Robert, Rick and Jules)

It not only heats our house but also serves as a multi-media entertainment center. It has two channels: warm and hot. It has multiple entertainment modes: dancing flames plus mesmerizing heat. It provides a center for gratefulness (for the firewood and Earth's fertility whence it came and for a good neighbor who cut it, etc, etc, etc.). It keeps our home, cats, coffee and hearts warm. All of this is way more entertainment than we need!

Plus it goes quite well with our high-end collection of homemade and gifted (from family and friends) decor. 

Looking for entertainment? We've got a chair next to the "center" ready for 'ya, come sit a spell!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice!

“One is wise to cultivate the tree that bears fruit in our soul.” 
- Henry David Thoreau

On this shortest day of the year, we hope you find joy in simple pleasures.  Happy Solstice!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ovenbird in Franklin County, OH

Since December 7 an ovenbird is residing at Inniswood Metro Gardens.  Check here and here for all the cool information about this bird, where it should be right now and why it might still be here. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

How long will the cilantro last?

Our coldframe is still protecting our greens and our cilantro!  We knew the greens would be fine still, but weren't at all sure about the cilantro given the lows in the teens this past week.  Take a look at these healthy growing plants...

Below is our cilantro patch after Steve made a quart of salsa.  To make our can't live without salsa, he used our frozen tomatoes and fresh cilantro; not bad for December!

Our two boxes with mixed greens are ready for more harvesting.  We took a break for a couple of weeks to give the patch time to grow a bit more so we can continue to harvest for a while.  We are only 10 or so days from the winter solstice - when we will start adding some daylight back into our days.  Maybe this patch will last till spring! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

High School Metal Shop Still Handy After All These Years!

I pulled this little wheel barrel out of the trash. It had a flat tire (which I repaired) and...

...the plastic "barrel" part was cracked (don't ask me why this is made out of plastic!):

I don't remember much from high school but I do remember a bit from metal shop. For this project I found some metal stapping and, using a hammer and a radius, shaped it to fit...

...the inside radius of the barrel, spanning the crack:

Next I drilled holes (using a metal bit, low rpm's and some oil to facilitate cutting):

Using some machine-thread bolts I fastened two of these straps across the crack:

Here's the repaired and stabilized crack:

This little gem will provide years of service (since we will not overload its light capacity plastic barrel).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It Ain't A Potting Shed Until It's Got A Potting Bench

Now that our little potting shed has a new roof and stays dry inside we were excited to start native plant seed propagation so....

....we scoped out a corner of the shed that would accommodate a bench....

......grabbed some salvaged lumber from....

...the never-ending supply left behind by the former people (remember this junk pile - one of many!?)...

.... and pieced-together a frame for the top of the bench.

Here's the finished frame that would define the rest of the project:

The frame is held in place with double 2X4 legs in front....

and lag bolts (into native oak framing) on the wall side.

Here's the leveled and attached frame:

For the top we used salvaged 1X6 decking. Here's the finished bench with supplies stored and ready for propagation! We will likely add some drawers and shelves at some point but this gets us to a point where we can get some seeds ready for over winter cold stratification. Project Cost: zero$ (salvaged lumber and even used all salvaged hardware!).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Malabar Farm State Park: A Thanksgiving Hike

Thanksgiving day found us at Malabar Farm State Park, an interesting visit if you are in the area.  We visited with family the weekend after Thanksgiving so we enjoyed our free time outdoors.  An excited spirit and a picnic lunch always make for a fun adventure!  We started the day hiking the Butternut Nature Trail.  A nice little trail passing by....

big boulders and big hemlocks,

a whimsical, inviting cave (yes we went in!),

and some very interesting tree falls that create important micro-ecosystems.

Malabar Farm is steeped in history, as many farms are, and staff work to educate folks on the history and importance of farming in the area.  The sugar shack is a fantastic building that we plan to visit again in March for the annual maple syrup festival!

The Pugh cabin (in the background) is available to rent for special occasions.  A family celebrated their holiday at this cabin during our visit.  How fun!

Good for the spirit scenes...

Do you see it? 

Look closer!  Yes, it's skunk cabbage up in November!  WOW.

Ohio is a beautiful place...

We felt mighty grateful to be here, in so many ways, on this day of thanks.