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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer stuff

Ok, so I realize I pretty much suck with doing entries... Either I don't for days and then lost track, or say too much daily, heh.

Guess too much is probably better than too little.

So, what did I do today, which is Monday? Stuff :) Just kidding.

Busted up and hauled wood down to the firepit. We have a few decent logs for the fire and a lot of scrap branches for kindling now. About a half dozen wheelbarrows total of hauling. I took a couple barrows over to the neighbors burn pile since they keep offering it, and since it was closer and I was feeling lazy.. But holy shit their scrap pile is so big right now, I was afeared of tossing anything else on. And we blew through quite a bit of wood wedding weekend, so it was time to stock back up.
Cut down the dead fruit tree flush to the ground. Felt bad about it too, poor thing. But it did make it kind of easier to mow the orchard. And cut up the fallen maple branch- man, that hand saw works great- kind of wish for a chainsaw, but it's sort of overkill on limbs that size, and I shouldn't be lazy, and it's good for my muscles to hand saw.
Mowed the front half of the yard. Still need to do the tune up to the mower, so I don't like to do a full mow all at once. Had to clear out barrows of wood and do some sawing in the back, and by the time I was done, it was to frigging hot and sweaty to deal with. I must face the reality that my pasty white skin needs to start getting into shorts and tanks to be outside working.
While hauling wood out back, realized the neighbors have some mighty fine tree chunks sitting- think I might ask them if we can snag a couple to replace the firepit stools the other neighbors stole and burned up last year.
One of our nice neighbors saw that we were out today and pulled up for a chat. She is so damn sweet and cool. Just wanted to see how we are doing since we hadn't chatted in a while. Looks like we might be getting our fence in this summer between the easement drive and the shitty neighbors, hooray! Our other out of towner neighbors have had a crew in for a week building a big ole pool and deck, so it looks like maybe those folks will be around more often- they are loud when around, but keep out of our yard, so no biggie.

And woah- trucks been coming around the last few weeks dinking with the road- it's now been patched and new gravel laid down. Makes for kind of slower driving because of the gravel, but much, much smoother than the potholes and dips it has been since we moved in.

We got our second car up and running again finally. I suggested we jump it, and yep, the jump took- till the car was shut off again. So my love replaced the battery.

Turned out the most recent set of stepping stones. The star stone turned out lovely, though not as flashtacular as I hoped with the work I did on the cabs. But meh, it's ok, it still looks great. But now I'm out of crete again, time to pick up a couple more bags.

Most of the garden looks good- I seriously need to start picking some herbs before the sage and tarragon become monsters, and all the lavenders are doing well. No blooms on the chamomile yet which is a bummer. No blooms on the nasturtiums yet either, I keep telling myself to be patient. All the potted irises are looking great. Of the veggies, the Long Island Cheese had totally puked out, as has the peas :(. The beans are all in bloom, which pisses me off a little considering how much time I took to make sure I chose ones that claimed to have different maturation days to help prevent cross pollination. And of the three serious vineing ones I planted, only one has actually vined. Only three luffas have survived, and they are small.. sigh...

So it's Wednesday already, time flies. Thought it might be a good thing to talk about recycling and such.

As any of my readers may know, we recycle here, a lot. We happen to live in a state where bottle and can returns get you cash- I really wish all states did this, it would probably save a ton of glass and aluminum resources. But beyond that, what about the space it takes up, what to do with all that crap?
Well, start off with recycling things that can be taken to a recycling center or that you actually will use- kind of pointless to save a billion sour cream cartons if you have no intention on using them, or setting aside all those newspapers if you have no intention of turning them in, right?
So. Paper goods. We recycle them all. I usually get paper bags at the store, they are great for projects and make handy garbage cans for all the paper goods like mailbox stuff and empty cartons. We use a bag or two every time we start a bonfire. The mailbox newspaper flyers get stacked up and used to make paper pots for seed starting, or shredding for worms or composting. Yep, you can compost paper. Toilet paper and paper towel tubes get saved for starting seeds too- and honestly, they are less time consuming than making pots. If you are feeling crafty, you can take your shredded paper, make it a pulp, and make your own seed paper or bombs.
Glass jars and bottles. Those are excellent for multiple kinds of storage from foodstuffs to soaps, and remember grandpas knack of nailing the lids to a board in the garage to hold all those little bits?
Plastic jars- I don't save them all, but big ones are just as handy as glass jars. Jars with shaker lids are great for homemade spice mixes, seed shakers, or chemical powder shakers- like fill one with baking soda to evenly sprinkle your carpets before vacuuming, or your washing powders in the laundry room to help prevent clumping in the box and it's easier to pour a bit in a controlled manner to your washer.
Food cans. These can be reused as pots, set into the yard to mark off borders, used by the crafty to make projects.
Egg cartons. Makes great little seed starters, containers to safely store small christmas ornaments, the cardboard ones can get filled with charcoal for perfect firestarting and grilling.
Plastic bags. You can laminate them with heat by several layers to make plastic fabric, or cut them up and braid them together to make plastic twine. The stuff is surprisingly sturdy.
Food and food scraps- great compost! Just leave the meat out or you will get maggots. You can recycle spent coffee and tea right with the paper. And eggshells are great for compost, and also good to grind fine for birds grit and calcium for their eggs, and also good to lay around slug prone plants to help deter those slimy critters. Some food can even be recycled into new plants like celery, ginger, horseradish..
Some food can also be recycled for seeds depending on what it is. Not every supermarket produce will have viable seed, but a lot of homegrown roadside produce is great. That wonderful heirloom tomato you got can be seeded and you can grow that yum for years to come!
We have never really been huge garbage producers, but just recycling all of that has cut what goes out to the can by at least half.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Solstice and Supermoon

Ok, haven't posted in a bit... We lost power last week into the weekend, lost several more tree limbs, particularly off the Chinese chestnut. Been casting more stones, started working on a set of the zodiac in the round knotwork mold. Things are just growing like they should, cept the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, :(

Anywho, today is a holiday, at least for my faith it is. The Summer Solstice, longest day of the year. After today, the days will start shortening again. Also known as mid-summer, Litha, Alban Hefin, Sun Blessing, Gathering Day, Feill-Sheathain, Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia, Thing-tide, and St. John's Day. Probably a bunch of other days too from all over the globe.  In the southern hemisphere it's the Winter Solstice, or shortest day of the year. Mama N is pretty neat like that.

It's a celebration of the sun, bounty of the fields starting to come to fruit. A time to celebrate life, both our own and that on the other side of the veil. Everything that is good about summer is to be enjoyed today.

Bonfires are a big tradition. Cutting or making divination rods and wands is well done on this day. Today is one of the days traditionally for handfasting and weddings.

Food of course is part of any holiday. Today is a day of bright citrius fruits, yellow and orange squashes, and other yellow or orange foods to represent the sun. Grilling to represent bonfires- and pork and chicken are best suited meats for the holiday. Ale, mead, fruit juices, and herbal teas are the drinks of the day.

Of course we will be having some celebrations going on here, but probably tomorrow. I have a lovely pork butt roast that we are going to smoke up all day tomorrow for dinner, yum! I picked up some portabellos on clearance and got them marinating with lime, soy, garlic, some white wine, sesame oil and seeds, parsley, onion, and pepper. Those will get tossed on the smoker some time. Some red bell peppers, yellow squash, and zuchinni to saute up for dinner. And Gonna make some crock pot scalloped potatoes. We feasting good tomorrow!
Picked up a bunch of fresh fruit for eating and more pitchers of lemonaid. If today is any indication, we will be drinking a lot of it!

And time to log off for the moment, we got a nasty storm coming in fast, and might lose power... Maybe no bonfire tonight after all!

Ok, now it's Saturday. We did get in some stormy rain- just enough to put a nix on any celebrating yesterday, shit. But no power outage or lost limbs, yay! We did get in a tiny smidge of solstice yesterday- picking a ton of mullberries :) Now today is really warm and humid, enough so that I was sweating bullets making up the next set of stones this morning. I made a ton of rainbow flash glass cabs yesterday to make a special hex stone- a seven pointed star with another seven pointed star in it, using 77 cabs in total.  I set the stone today, keeping my fingers crossed that I did a good job.
I started out with my thin paper and pencil for the design, and realized, duh, when you put it onto a black plastic mold, the design completely disappears. So I made a second one using a copper sharpie, and that worked out quite well- even after matting down and greasing over it, I was able to still see the design clear as day- makes for much easier cab setting.

And ok, I know it's a pretty short post for not having posted in a while, but I guess I better publish this while the publishing is good and I let it sit for another few days...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stepping stones and such

TGIF!!! Heh, every day is like a Friday here.. We get no holidays or weekends off, but every day is a thanked for one.

The weather was beautiful all day long.. But a couple of days of hard weeding left me in not so awesome shape to go out and do some more. Sometimes I wish I could have a doctor, so I could occasionally be prescribed a muscle relaxer or a stronger than aspirin pain killer. It's not often, but man, sometimes I really wish I had it available.
Anywho, since I was so not feeling the yardwork today, it was up into the workshop instead. Got my crazy flowered caftan done.

Tonight for dinner I made creamed stuff and biscuits. Used some dried mushrooms and asparagus, crumbled up a couple leftover hamburger patties, some seasonings, flour, milk... mmmm...

Saturday, another lovely day :)

An interesting event yesterday evening... The south neighbors... Hmmm, pulling onto our easement drive with their boat... grrr. Allrighty, time to toss on some shoes and go knock on their door. And it was the two other brothers this time. We had a rather nice and civil chat. It was.. odd... refreshing... hopefully more than just smoke up our ass. Apparently their basement (it's a walkout and way lower than ours) got badly flooded in the spring rains. And they said they didn't realize the drive was ours really, thought it was the back neighbors, and said they wouldn't be on it any more. Hopefully that will hold true. They also seemed rather disappointed with other family members behavior, gave us a business card and wrote their home number down, telling us to call us no matter what time or what's going on if anything is wrong. And said they would bring me a big tub of the sub garnish we love so much.  And hold on tight- they told us the whole clan will be out for the fourth. And I'm betting the north neighbors will hold true to tradition and have a clan in too.

I turned out the first set of stepping stones. Yep, they had the slightly powdery pour surface from a bit too much water. But they turned out beautifully without a problem. So I made up the next batch. still used more water than the directions, but two cups less than last time. A half gallon just does not get all the mix really wet, it's always still really crumbly and some dry left. Anywho, two cups less water didn't really affect the filling at all, still filled all 4 molds quite nicely. And I figured that with the bag costing 2 bucks, and the set stuff costing pennies or recycled, those stones are about 50-60 cents a piece. And these aren't small molds- 16 inch hexagon, 14 inch knotwork circle, and two 10x12 rectangles, all the couple inches deep they are supposed to be. It is sooo much cheaper and worth it to cast your own stones.
After that, I wanted to pick up a couple more bags of quickcrete! I figure it's wiser to do a couple bags at a time so I don't chance the bag freezing up like last time before I had enough molds. So now I have a couple more bags to work with.

So it's Tuesday already..

Yesterday was rainy, and kind of cruddy and the kind of day where you want to just curl up in bed with the cats and hide from the world.. so we did. Had ourselves a True Blood marathon. The show is good, but has taken some plot turns that are so way off the books... Oooph.

Today was a nice day out. I turned the next set of stepping stones out and started set three. Started using some of the new glass cabs I picked up for super cheap. I hope they turn out ok- I kind of screwed up while applying the mix and I know I skewed some cabs around, hope they didn't skew out too much. I'm going to need to cast a couple divided hex stones so I have a smooth line along the fence where I will be putting those in. That will be easy enough with a strip of cardboard.
This whole project, I'm feeling good about it. I've been wanting to get into casting again, and I'm pleased to be doing so. It's very zen setting up the stones.

So, now that I have done this a couple times and gotten back into the swing of casting...

Start out by prepping your molds. You don't want your crete setting while you are dithering around.
Always use release agent. I use petroleum jelly. I also use hard plastic molds. I give a thin film to the whole interior of the mold. If I'm pressing in small flat glass cabs or bottle caps, I leave it at that. If I'm using larger or rough surface stuff, I dab jelly right onto the exposed surface to make sure it seats right.
With using jelly, it's exactly like buttering a pan for baking. Including coating of details- you want a coating, don't fill it to the point where the detail gets lost. If you have a pattern you want to use, trace it onto thin paper and press well into the mold, just like baking. Then fully coat the dry surface of the paper and set your stuff into place. The paper will peel right off after casting. Don't bother spending money on sticky paper to do this. If you want a reusable pattern, use thin stiff sheet plastic. If you have a good drawing hand, you can just trace out the shape you want into the film of jelly itself.
Also like buttering a pan... Use a paper towel for the application, way cleaner and better at ensuring a smooth and even coating.
Please note, don't use jelly if you are using rubber/silicone/latex kind of molds. Petroleum erodes it.

Once you have your molds prepped up, time to mix crete. I tend to like my crete more of a slurry than generally recommended, a half gallon to 60 pounds. I tend to use a quart and a half more than that when I'm setting stuff into the stone- makes it easier to shake it around the stuff. If I'm casting stones with nothing set into it, I still  tend to add at least another quart of water. I use a half gallon measure for the water, dump it in, then fill the next half gallon. I add the second half as needed to get the consistency I want.
I mix my crete in a wheelbarrow with my hands. With a heavy pair of long rubbery gloves on of course because crete can be caustic.
I use a recycled dairy container as my scoop- scoop in a couple of crete carefully drizzling over your set in stuff, tapping, then pouring more on.

It is really important to tap out your molds a few times while pouring. You want to make sure everything is evenly distributed and you get air bubbles out.

Give your stones goodly time to dry well before unmolding. Sure, you can unmold in 24 hours, but I've found better success if you let it go for at least 48- and besides, you should let them cure for at least a week before setting them in. You risk cracking or weakening by unmolding too early, just like baking cakes.

So, I got some pics to load up...

 So this is the capping job I came up with when we got the freeze warning and I had three hours till the temps started dropping... The next day when it was all sunny and warm again like nothing happened. Over the black tubs with tomatoes are disposable garbage cans, milk jugs on the litter buckets, and some garbage bags with bamboo skewers doing a float over the beans.
 Another angle of the same thing. Along the back of the line you can see the spring plants growing in around the compost bin that have since this pic been cut down and stacked up on with more greens for composting.
 This is the first two quarts of bar soap to liquid soap experiment. Orange woodsy on the left, lemony citrus on the right. These soaps weren't originally this color- I added food color to tell them apart. The pick does not do justice to the cool pearlesent effect in the soap.
 This is the Neutrogena soap grated up- I had problems with this one, it stayed liquid through the reheat, but firmed up correctly under the addition of 3T salt= 1 cup hot water whisk in.

 These three pics show how a tray looks like with the fresh blanched and shocked asparagus, a tray full of fresh after drying, and what five pounds of fresh looks like all dried up and piled on to one tray for reference before putting away in the pantry.

 Pickled Asparagus, garlicky brussels sprouts, and lemony cauliflower all wiped down and rings off for their storage in the pantry.

 This is the cute vintage Hawaiian all done up and on the dummy. Picked up the fabric on clearance, and the pattern I traced off Bad Bear. Why yes, I have worn this while sipping morning coffee looking over the gardens.  Part of homesteading is making your own clothing sometimes.

 A couple pics of the irises I transplanted and the trimming I need to do to fill out the bed. This year a few of those stems are marked out to go to other gardens when the time comes to dig them up and ship them.
 This is the knotwork circle, prepped up. The pic does not really show the slightly heavier jelly where the moon is set in.
 The first of the hexes for the bee patio. This shows fairly well the swirling of prep before the caps were set in.
 These are aroundish one inch glass cubes- they were frosted with heaver jelly before being set into place.
 What all four filled molds looked like with the not needed right now border stone mold.
 A squirrel on the front porch, checking out some maple spinners.

Same squirrel, now it figured out Nova and I were checking it out.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gettin ready for summer

Yep, summertime.. and the living is easy... Well, getting ready is work, hehehee.

Yesterday was a lazy day of just enjoying my home. Wandered around and took some pics of the irises that are in full bloom. Need to seriously cut back some more of the bushy plant and trim a few branches off the bottom of the pine that they are under.
Blech, I honestly have a fuckton of trimming to do. The raspberry bed is buried under tall grass and frigging weedy trees again. Under all the pines needs to be cleaned up a lot. The whole fenceline has bits that need cutting, and the dead fruit tree needs to be removed. And the fruit orchard needs tending- good news is I can do some of it now.
Wandered down to the sanctuary to see where I really want to set in the first set of marigolds. I got heaps to go in and after much dithering around about where they will do the most good, I've decided to just stick with my original plan, sigh. While I was down there I took time to stop and smell the roses. The pink ones on the fence are bursting into bloom and already fattening up. I realized I'm really not pleased with the willow starts at all, and the rest of them need to be cut down. And I need to get into the roses more and cut out more dead stuff.

Today was pretty nice out. Went down to the pole barn and looked the lawnmower over well. Yeah, she probably needs a tuneup, but I figured I could eek out another mowing first. Everything was so snug and in place I didn't want to tear it apart yet. So I mowed the front yard and the back of the garage. If it isn't too wet, I'll do the backyard tomorrow. But I do need to pick up the stuff to give the thing a proper oil change and replace the fuel filter at least. Then run it out of fuel mowing, replace the fuel filter, then after shutdown, do the oil change.
Anywho, less notes to myself... Mowed the front yard- at least now it probably looks like someone lives here. And those solar lights I picked up I staked out along some of the trees lining the drive. Close enough in so that I can mow around them :) I was smart enough this time to grab the shootin earmuffs to wear while mowing. Really helped with the sound. And mowing around the pines reminded me again that I need to do a ton of trimming. The easement drive strip is looking good- Dave weedwhacked the whole drive side the other day, and I mowed in both edges as close as I dared today.
Weeded out a huge pile of tall grass outside the dining room window. Ugh, that is such a sore spot. But I pulled back all the danger line to the poppy, and set the rods aside for reusing. Found a lot of broken pottery in the tall grass- I tossed it all into a bucket so it can be used again in the bottoms of other pots. Decided to plant all the dill in on the house side of the walk, why not, it needed planting. Realized that the whole cement block and wires area is concrete in quite a bit more than I originally thought. Much like discovering the true line on the rest of the herb garden. Digging around in the area kind of made me think that maybe I should seriously reconsider my original idea of decking over the whole area. I can really sculpt in the concrete and walkway with stones and still have a lot of room on the house side for planting in good stuff too. I still have a ton of cleanup to do first, and the next corner of grass raked up will get dumped there to smother.

And of course, that means I need to make some stepping stones.. Good thing I picked up a couple bags of quickcrete and have an assortment of stone molds. And a bunch of fun stuff to use in the molds.
I have a large hexagon that I want to make several of to place down at the corner of veggie row. Eventually a bee hive will be going there, and I want there to be a nice area around it.
I want to make up several more of the round knotwork stones to finish up the line over the LP line and fill out the area a bit. Then it's a matter of encouraging in stone moss.
And several rectangular molds that I have a pair of. These will work in the permanent walkway in the herb garden.
Trying to do just one stone at a time is a real PITA. The small bags of crete come 60 pounds, plus a half gallon of water.. Wait, what? I want to make one stone, garg.. I have collected enough molds now that I can use a whole bag at once and have molds left over. The hexagon and round knotwork molds are actual stone molds.. The rectangle pair is really for making sand castles. I picked up a smaller and deeper pair too, but I'm not needing those now. Picked them up at the end of last summer for super clearance, less than a buck a piece. They are even sturdier than the other molds, and deeper. I also have a knotwork edger that I will prep up this time- I do want to use some more of those, though it's a back burner kind of thing. And as a third life to my recycled food cans.. I've used several for planting stuff in, and now they are dirty and piling up. I figure I will have a few of those handy for whatever might not work out in the molds.  But I figure I've never mixed up a whole bag before, better to have more containers handy to fill that find myself short and needing to prep a mold while the crete is already mixed.
And for set ins I have a heap of glass cabs and beer caps- I think I'm going to set the beer caps into the hexagons. Cabs of course will be set into the circle knotwork, I've done several in the past. Reminds me of when the tank first got set in.. I laid over the fresh line mark with the stones. Then when the maple got trimmed, one chunk came down right over the tank and broke a stone- but the buried line was A-ok. Whew.

So now it's beer o'clock on Thursday. Mama N gave me some grace this morning and I got the rest of the yard mowed since it was still dry. Of course that took hours, heh. But the yard as much as I love it kind of shaggy so all the little flowers bloom looks so nice when it's all mowed. Hauled a mostly filled wheelbarrow of weeds that I yanked out of the herb garden along with heaping over with weeds from the lower FOH garden to the compost heap. The lower FOH almost does not look like a weed patch. I think I'm just going to keep mowing it for now and concentrate on the upper FOH.
Got three containers of marigolds planted down by the firepit, each one holds 18 toilet paper tubes. I put in four patches- one on each side of the entrance down to the pond, and one on each side of the top of the circle. Not much, but if I keep up with planting in patches and seeding in elsewhere, I'll have a full border in 2-3 years. Learned this year that doing plugs is a major PITA, so next year I will try something different. Maybe try some wintersowing and milk jugs. So it's a start. I still have two more containers of marigolds, but I'm thinking I want to plant those in elsewhere.
About then it started sprinkling. I figured my yard time was up. Time to get into the garage and make some stepping stones. Found out one 60 bag of mix filled the four molds I wanted to use wonderfully. I put in a bit too much water, but I find it makes it way easier to handle for filling the molds. Especially because I like to set things in the bottom of the mold. Yeah, it makes the stones weaker by a bit doing that, but it's not like these things will be seeing hard traffic. And if one cracks, oh well, we'll live.
By the time that was done and I got the equipment cleaned up, it looked like the light sprinkle was just gonna stay light... Soooo.... upstairs for sewing or more yardwork? I went with tackling the raspberry bed. Shit, the tall grass filling it is almost as tall as I am, you can't even see the raspberries. I pulled out a heaping wheelbarrow of grass from the bee patio and the front of the bed. And cut a pile of starts off that motherlorn weed tree I've been fighting ever since we moved in. By then I was getting tired of yanking hard grass roots and flicking ticks off of me. The weeds get to die back for a day in their heap, and so do the tree cuttings. That whole area would be so much easier to deal with if it wasn't full of gravel and tree things that just won't die. But now I have access to all the raspberries, which is good since they will be ripening soon, all of them are in fruity bud.

And speaking of fruity bud... We are blessed with a lot of it right now. The mullberry tree is acting like it has to set double fruit this year to make up for last year. All the orchard is well set with fruit too- even the peach has several going on. All these yummy fruits budding up makes me well pleased about picking time- though yipes, we need to get our butts in gear to do something with all that fruit! And the tree that hasn't produced fruit before is fruiting now- still not positive what it is- the fruit buds kind of look like apples but kind of look like rounded pears too.

I think I have identified the little tree things that grow behind the garage. Sassafras. Like the kind you make beverages from. The leaves match perfect to a few ID sites, and smell like lemons. I haven't let any of them get big enough to produce fruit though. But huh, perhaps I should take my time with the things and harvest some roots and bark in season instead of just chopping the whole thing down. And I can make my own file powder for gumbo. I hate okra so hmm....

Monday, June 3, 2013


It was a pretty mellow weekend. Got some jewelry repaired that needed to be tended to. Some beaded chains that needed links repaired, some pearls strung with new hooks.. Made a couple of necklace fobs to go with the pearls, a carnelian goldfish with quartz bubbles, and a sunstone chicken in a nest with blue pearl eggs. And replaced a hinge on a bracelet. Put a new pinback on one of my favorite hatpins, a gold leaf with clear green enameling.
Got all of my herbs that needed potting up potted. The rosemary, lemon verbena, and sweet marjoram, the half dozen lavenders. I realized since there are blooms just starting on the big lavender, I will have to wait to take cuttings on it after the flowers have died off. I will probably only be able to take a few cuttings, but few is better than none. And whatever seed the plants produce might end up becoming part of the wintersowing project. I ended up splitting the chamomile pot into two pots it was such a cluster. Split up the toothache plant into three pots, and the lemon balm into four.
I sooooooo need to get my butt in gear and start setting in the marigolds down by the firepit. And get the last of the herbs into the ground somewhere.
Wandering around outside, the Cherry Nasturtiums are coming up and setting goodly leaves now. And oohh, we have blooms on the Mr. Stripey and Black Krim tomatoes already! The beans aren't quite taking off like I thought they would, but meh, it's early in the season. The luffas are finally all tall enough to go into the ground- and I think really that the cool danger is finally past. The catnip is looking healthy, and the horseradish looks so healthy I'm starting to wonder if I need to get a garbage can or something to transplant them into. And yay, one of the two might be dead irises is showing a little green blade! The other one is pretty much for sure dead though.
And fruit is on the trees, all of them. Except of course the plum we just planted and the dead one in the middle. After last springs killing frost, we were pretty wary. Didn't spray the trees at all, so we shall have to see what turns out for a crop.
I need to do tons and tons of weeding as always. Already need to mow the lawn again too- a nice back to normal after last years dryness. Need to do a tuneup on the lawnmower now that I'm thinking about it.
Started another housefrock today. I'm using a vintage 70's caftan pattern and some super light silk with crazy ass flowers on it- it served as one of the tablecloths at the wedding actually. That's the beauty of having all sorts of random fabrics. I was going to make it into an altar cloth, but I figured I would get more use out of it this way. Sometimes it just get's too hot to wear real clothes, and a roomy float of silk is just the ticket.
I was going to use a nice yellow sheer pinstripe cotton, but realized the big seam up the front might make the effect strange, so I think that it's going to be made into a 50's one piece dress instead.
Picked up some lights from Walgreens- they had a 6-pack of solar lights on clearance for 10 bucks! The big ones that are usually 3-4 bucks each. And they had really neat oil lamps, a big glass teardrop in black iron, those were 5 bucks each. I picked up two green and two amber. They are tabletop outdoor lamps, rather nice. 

It's Monday... A chasing around town day. I needed to get my license updated, and of course that took forever. I was the only person with a book waiting, and there were a lot of bored and impatient people. It always makes me wonder, has anyone ever been to the DMV and there hasn't been a wait? Of course not, so why not come prepared to wait? Anywho, now I'm all legal, all official, name changed, state changed.
Then it was on to some shopping. Picked up the oil for the lamps we got yesterday, and a waffle iron on sale for 10 bucks- it makes 6 large waffle sticks instead of one big waffle, and a couple suet cages on clearance. Hit TJMAXX and found what I knew they would have- a bar of lilly of the valley soap and it was even on clearance. Now I can make liquid lilly of the valley, happy dance! A whole frigging gallon of it since it's an 8 oz bar. Also got a nice grill scrubber for a couple bucks- we have been needing one for a while. It was a good day at the thrift shops too- found a 2 1/2 quart oval pyrex dish with a nice cover that fit great for 10 bucks, I've been looking for this size with a good lid for a while. Everyone seems to want to charge an arm and a leg for those stupid things. So I'm happy to get it, even though it wasn't in my favorite green with white flowers pattern. But it does have a chicken on it, so that makes it ok. Found a picture field guide to mushrooms, and Alton Browns Feasting on Asphalt. That was a little happy dance too! Checked out a new thrift shop today, it's a church run one, and it is HUGE. Big ole area of books, tons of clothes for decent prices, lots of interesting bits to be found. I didn't do serious shopping, but I will be going back again. They had a pair of display frames that had several exquisite hand embroidered and laced handkerchiefs, but yuck, they wanted 16 bucks each! You bet I didn't buy them, but I did gaze at them a bit. Just lovely, each one took a lot of time and care, puts my stuff to shame.