Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Mint Bonsai I recently started is looking a bit dull and pedantic. What should we do Sheen? She knows just the thing...

Follow me meow...

Sheen thinks we should add a few of these wild Cactus things.

Carefully we removed three from the ground.

Picked some cool rocks from the river out behind the farm.

Looks much better nao.

Yea, there's the Mint. The dead trunk and tiny sprout on the bottom. I had the branch in water for 3 months and it grew an extensive root system that nao covers the length and width of the pot. It should sprout from all edges of the circle. I will add more rocks as needed to direct or block the Mint.

Thanks for Meowing!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A year of "Gardening With Sheen" Photo Highlights

  It was a great year of Home Gardening here at The Forge. My faithful friend Sheen has been helping me every step of the way. She's not camera shy in the least. ( maybe a bit of a 'camera ham' ) Here are some of her favourite gardening pics from 2014.

  We tilled the ground and started from seeds. I used my grandmothers 'Po-hone' (as she calls it), which is a 3 spade hoe, to break up the ground and removed the stones and other debris. I did this three times before I was satisfied and ready to seed. (Sheen helped with seeding). We dug little troughs and just dumped in a Bunch-O-Seeds and covered it back up.

I stuck Cheap Chop Sticks in the ground on the ends of where these 'seeding lines' were to assist in knowing where NO to step as well as help in the early weeding process and knowing where to expect new growth. I found doing this has been extremely beneficial all year long in remembering where things are. Grocery Stores sell packs of cheap and nicer Bamboo Chop Sticks. Or just keep all of your 'take out' chopsticks.

In a few months the garden went from nothing..... Full Bloom

Our First Cucumber:
Planted late in the season from our trip to Esbenshades.
Sheen is showing off the Swiss Chard:
We got these from Esbenshades because they were colourful. It grows in Bright Yellow, Orange and Red. The the leaves are nice in a salad. The stalks are a bit bitter, but I read they should be steamed.

Sheen sized Carrots:
 We deliberately started with short carrots. I planted too many seeds too close together so they kinda grew together. Next year I plan to build a raised bed for carrots so they will be easier to dig out of the ground.

White Pumpkin:
Only one grew and the vine dried up quickly so it didn't get much bigger than this. It's currently being used as a fall decoration. This was grown just more for fun.

3 started growing but developed black spots quickly. I reclaimed some seeds from the largest one. Will start earlier next year.

 Sheen lost in the Jungles of Lettuce:
This was a packet of Various Lettuce types. Now in October they are still going strong. I have transplanted a few into pots to continue indoors in the winter. I separated my favourites from the 'less tasty' ones and spread them out. I will make a cover to keep the winter snow off of. My stepmom grows Lettuce in the cold season, so I will take a cue from her and attempt the same.

I got 3 plants from Esbenshades late in the season. I planted 2 outside and one inside. I believe you are supposed to snip the flowers the first year to promote a better crop in the second year, but Sheen enjoyed seeing colour other than green in the garden. We only had a handful to eat this year, but have plans on maximizing our crop next year.

Time to eat:

Experimenting with a Dehydrator:
We had a GREAT bounty of little Tomatoes. So much so that We decided to try drying some for dry storage for Winter Soups. The Tomatoes I cut in half and placed them with the cut side facing up and skin side down. Cucumbers I tried sprinkling with Herbs and Spices to make tasty snacks. I used Pepper, Pink Salt, Curray, and Dill. I grew the Dill myself and dried it earlier in the season. I have enough Dried DILL to last the Winter. I purchases some 'back up' Dill in case I run out.. It SOOOO doesn't taste the same. 

I don't have any pics of it from my garden, but I will spend a moment to talk about it. It was the first plant to break soil, the first to produce and didn't stop till I cut it down. I cut it off with 2" left above ground just to see what it would do. It regrew and starting producing within 2 weeks. Best was that it took up so little room, Tall and Slender, and such a overly bountiful. How much I threw away before I thought of drying it. I have always been a fan of "Cooking with Spices" and I was never a Dill fan before I grew my own. On Potato's or Pork Chops. In Egg Omelets or on Burgers.

GREEN BEANS were a disappointment. I planted too many too close together and they grew too tall and dense. They were very bountiful very quickly, but it was a bit UN-manageable. We may plant a single one next year. We did several kinds of TOMATOES but were only happy with the tiny Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes The larger white and red variety just didn't do anything. I was surprised how tall the TOMATO Vines got. I plan on building a Bamboo Terrace to support them better for a greater crop next year. My Stepmom Pam taught me about Canning this year and I hope to do some of my own next year. We tried PEPPERS, however I think the seeds were just too old. 

October 2014:
We are already seeing progress with the LETTUCE and SPINACH we seeded 2 weeks ago.

Looking towards Spring 2015:
We have saved the seeds from our crops that did well in 2014 so that we can try to be self sustaining in NOT having to buy new seeds or plants next year. I also hope that by seeding from the previous years crop, we will grow a better crop from repeating this process. 

New for next year I am considering doing Raspberry and Blackberry Bushes, as well as Rhubarb and Garlic. 

Sheen and I will post more gardening blogs as new things grow.

Here are a few of the catalogues I am currently browsing: 

Meow (Goodnight)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Who has time to be an Artist...and being an Artist.

 Well, I was recently informed that my old friend and next door neighbour +RobertPlummer has been handing out my blog address to people who were interested in one or more of my various Arts. Guess it's time to post something to all those peoples who may be looking me up to see what craftiness I have been working on.

  Since moving to The Forge, I have actively worked towards spending more time to the "Artist" thing. I have dabbled in numerous creative outlets ie. Beaded Jewlery, Steampunk/Chainmail Jewlery, Painting, Music, Guitar Hot-Rodding and other things yet un-dabbled in. Maintaining ALL these hobbies has been impossible due to something called having a 'Job' that pays something called 'the Bills'

  I have decided to accept the fact that I have a short attention span in regarding any specific creative endeavour, and just roll in the direction of my rollercoaster life.

   what am I doing right nao?? I have been putting my physical and mental efforts into Gardening and creating a renewable lifestyle. It's October 1st and my garden is far from dead. I planted Spinach and Lettuce, both of which will grow through the Winter months. Life happens and in this life I have to eat, so I am getting back to my Heritage and delving into the "Earthy Arts" with tasty plants. I have hobbied plants for many years, and now having the space here at The Forge I have had the ability to have numerous flora. Jade has been a favourite of mine and I easily have more than 12 Jade Bonsai from 1 starter plant 3 years ago.
 on left is the original

 Bedroom window: Jade and other Succulents.

   I'm all about sharing, so if you want a shoot of some plant or seeds for something or have a how-to question, just let me know. I plan on doing allot of indoor seeding will surely have plenty to share.

    Sorry.  I haven't made anything in months, I have a roommate and less space to work in, so supplies are packed away, but easily accessible if the mood strike me. That doesn't mean that I have nothing to show. I have over 20 pair earrings, and 20 necklaces ready to hang around your neck. Feel free to contact me about what's available. I will endeavour to post pics soon.

      I have made progress on the "Steampunk/Relic Telecaster. The original neck from the guitar was defective and I had to acquire a different neck to complete this. I Have an 80's Peavey Strat that I took the pickups and pickguard off of to complete another guitar. It already has an 'old' look to it.  Not sure if I'm happy with how it fits, so I may have to thrift shop another guitar for a suitable neck.

    Again, Sorry. Just not feeling it. I have maybe 12 paintings left still on my walls. You can find images on previous posts and on facebook albums.

If you want to see some cool photography.

2014 Gardening Year 1

  It's October 1st and my garden is far from dead. I recently planted Spinach and Lettuce, both of which will grow through the Winter months. Life happens and in this life I have to eat, so I am getting back to my Pennsylvania Dutch Heritage and delving into the "Earthy Arts" with tasty plants. I have hobbied plants for many years, and now having the space here at The Forge I have had the ability to have numerous flora. Jade has been a favourite of mine and I easily have more than 12 Jade Bonsai from 1 starter plant 3 years ago.

   Realising that I'm have a relatively green thumb, I have decided to spend some of this 'hobby time' into something tasty and renewable. GARDENING!!! Like most things I do, I have just jumped right in and seemingly 'make it up' as I went along.

   My stepmom Pam has been gardening for many years so I always keep up what she is currently doing and spinach and lettuces are her staple winter plants, so I am doing likewise.

 I will be making a cover for my Winter Veggies. the bamboo is to create a template and frame. I am thinking of just making an 'A Frame' tent for this.

   Also I have created a bamboo shelter for my Mint plant and creating enclosures for the Lemon Balm Mint and Strawberry shrub. The Lemon Balm Mint was dug from my Father's yard. I trimmed back the Swiss Chard and will see how long it continues to grow.

 A Minty Gazebo in the making.

 Swiss Chard
Lemon Balm Mint

   One of the reasons for the Mint Gazebo is to give myself a limit for hao far I will allow it to spread. Mint roots heavily and can quickly spread and take over surrounding areas. I have already dug around the box and pulled the roots out of the ground. These roots can be snipped and replanted elsewhere. I would happily give some snips to anyone who wishes to grow their own mint.

Trying to get it to intertwine it into the bamboo to help keep it together.