Friday, May 31, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Notes from the Garden

Things in the garden are moving along. It feels like the vegetables grow so slowly but the weeds grow mind-blowingly fast. I did a major rotation in my garden this year and everything seems to be doing well where it is. I have yet to move my tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and beans out of the greenhouse but I'm sure once the sun returns they will be happy in the soil.

We have had a rainy week around here. It's good for the garden, it needs a good soaking from time to time but with the rain comes the slugs. They ate, right to the ground, all of my chard and started in on my cabbage and beets. I sprinkled a few crushed eggshells around but I just don't have enough for the whole greens area of my garden. So I filled 6 cups with beer and sunk them in the soil around my greens. It's still raining so I'm not sure it will work, the cups may overflow but at the very least I hope it slows them down.

The fruit is now visible on the trees. Cherry, pear and apple all seem to be very happy with our busy bees. The peach and the Asian pear are not doing well this year and it's too soon to tell for the grape. Our raspberries appear well and it looks like we will have a decent harvest. We have decided that it is time to replace our blueberries. Only 1 of our 4 bushes even produced flowers this year. Our blueberries were transplants from my parents yard and it seems that they did not adjust to the change. It's been 2 years and no improvement. Sadly, it's time to move on.

The garden is certainly a busy place. We have more birds, bees and butterflies than ever before. It makes me so happy to see nature working as it should. We plant flowers like nasturtiums, sunflowers and calendula in between our vegetables so that all the insects feel welcome in our garden (or at least the beneficial ones. Slugs, that does not include you!). This is my favorite part of the coming summer season. Watching my garden blossom and change grounds me, it is a integral part of our lives now and sharing it with April makes it all the more fulfilling.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Couple of Spring Shirts

I always like to have a knitting project going on those sunny days. It is so relaxing to sit under our pear tree and knit while April plays in the yard. This little top has been a fun, quick knit. The pattern is called Girl's Capped Sleeve Spring Shirt, it couldn't be more perfect for a spring project.

The blue one was a gift for my friend baby. I used a slightly thin worsted so my gauge was a bit tighter. It worked out just as I was hoping, this shirt fits about 6-12 months. I used some blue Misty Alpaca yarn. I love alpaca for baby clothes. It's so soft but less irritating the sheep's wool (or at least I think so). The blue is utterly perfect on little Miss H.

The multi-colored one is for my girl. This is a heavy worsted, almost aran, yarn. I was really hoping it would be bigger than it turned out. As pretty as this shirt is it isn't going to fit for long. I used some Mosaic Moon Woodland Friend yarn. I got it from a local yarn swap so I only had one skein. I used all but the last metre so this shirt is a tad short. Oh well, it's too cute not to wear so we will get as much use as we can before she outgrows it.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ice Cream Dress

My latest sewing project has been the Oliver and S Ice Cream Dress. I can't believe that I've had this adorable pattern sitting here for a year and I haven't made one until now. It's cute and simple and April loves that it is loose and the pockets. The pockets are a huge hit. She keeps walking around trying to find things to stuff in the pockets. Lately the pockets have been used for pacifier storage.

The fabric is something I bought 2 years ago at Spool of Thread. I think it was originally intended for the lining of a rain coat but it seemed to suit this project well. I decided to switch the grain on the pockets to give the dress a unique little feature. I also used a branch button as a natural touch. Oliver and S patterns have so many finishing details that I decided to add a few of my own to make it even more special.

I see this pattern getting more use in the future. I made it in one evening and it has 2 other variations that I would like to try. The little top variation especially appeals to me. Oliver and S: this one is a winner!

Friday, May 24, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, May 23, 2013

After the Weekend

After our camping trip this weekend we came home to find this precious thing in our backyard. It takes my breath away, this amazing process going on right outside our door. She is so vigilant. She made her nest on a very low branch so we need to be careful not to bump her as we go about our work in the yard. April is fascinated. She wants to check on the birdie every time we go outside and let's face it, so do I.
We have heard that hummingbirds return to the same nest year after year so we are hoping that if well protected, this may be a process we can observe for years to come.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Newcastle Island

It was a holiday on Monday here on the island so we decided to get away with friends for the long weekend. We chose Newcastle Island for our camping trip. It is an undeveloped island with no permanent residents aside from wildlife. No roads, so you must carry with you all you need for the visit and the only access is by ferry.

It was nice, peaceful (for the most part) and refreshing. April became fast friends with the boys we were camping with and it was nice to spend time with a friend that I don't get to see as often as I'd like. We shared meals together, shared stories and laughed. It was a much needed break from everyday life.

There was lots to explore. We took a rainy day hike to the sandstone quarry, examined an ant hill or too, spotted some mushrooms, climbed trees, inspected some tide pools, played in the surf, caught shore crabs, built sandcastles and did some bird watching.

The wildlife was everywhere. The geese could take over the island there are so many of them. They were not a welcome sound in the wee hours of the morning. However, it was fun for April to see a goose family with their 6 goslings. We watched Bald Eagles try to catch fish in the surf and several herons wading the shallows hunting for their dinner as well. Although I never saw one, we found lots of raccoon paw prints in the sand. And during our 3 days there we only saw 1 deer. That was amazing to me because in my parents neighbourhood you could see 1 deer per hour!

It was beautiful. I'm so glad we went. We got our fill of rain and sun, sand and forests. Being in nature like that is like a reset button. I'm come home refreshed and more grounded. We are already planning our next camping adventure.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Birdie Bonnet

April and I have very fair skin and it is important that we take steps to protect our skin on sunny days. I have already had several bad burns this year so I'm on a mission to cover up. April was the first to get a new sun hat.

I used the Peekaboo Bonnet pattern that I have used before. It is reversible but we prefer the bird print. It is a quick pattern with a super cute result. I appreciate that I don't need any interfacing for this hat. The fabric is something I've had on my shelf for a long time and I think this hat is the perfect use for it.

Usually I don't chose bonnets for sunny days but April's hair is so long now it keeps her neck well protected. I also like that when she needs a hat break that she can just push the bonnet back, like a hood, and I'm not searching around for the missing hat.

It's been a real joy to be sewing again, using fabric and patterns I had nearly forgotten about to make beautiful things for my family. I hope to be sharing many more handmade creations with you soon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Weekend Sewing

It has been far to long since I've sat down to sew clothing for my family. Maybe it's because my sewing space is in transition or that I seem to be able to find the time to start a project but never finish it. Whatever the reason I have made a date this weekend with Weekend Sewing. For now I've chosen fabric and will spend the next day washing, ironing and cutting these fabrics in preparation for my sewing weekend. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Because Once Just Wasn't Enough

When they say caucasian bees have a tendency to swarm they weren't kidding. Since the start of April we have had 3 swarms. I find myself running out to check for swarms if I've been out all day. We now have 3 hives going and all seems well. We have verified the queen in both of the smaller hives but our large hive just had too many bees to actually find her.

The second and third swarms actually happened at the same time and fortunately in a more accessible place than last time. We kept the second swarm but gave away the third because we didn't have the space for it. This collection went much, much smoother. See, we are learning!

We also decided it was time to go into the big hive and look for swarm cells. I'm not keen to lose any more bees. Jon ended up doing this hive inspection and found 15 swarm cells! So glad he removed them before we have to repeat this procedure over and over again.

We are carefully watching our bees now. Doing regular inspections, making sure we have given them enough space for honey and brood, keeping an eye on mites. They have a really good nectar flow at the moment so they are very very busy. Let's all hope that these bees are happy enough where the are not to take off again.

Friday, May 3, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 1st

Today we celebrated May Day. I had always wanted to have a May Day festival but I didn't feel April was old enough until this year. I couldn't have asked for better weather. It was sunny and warm and we all enjoyed walking in the grass barefoot. Toddlers and babies alike had ample fun.

We enjoyed light snacks and lemonade. Danced around our small May pole (while listening to my lovely friend play ukelele) then sat down to plant flowers with the children. I gave each of them a small pot, we gathered around a basin of potting soil and I chose to let them plant sunflowers. The seed were easy to hold for small fingers and should sprout quickly with minimal care. They all enjoyed it, even I had fun with that activity.

We finished our day with ice cream and strawberries then we shared May baskets with our friends. I love festivals that ground us. Based in the natural world and coming together with friends makes for the best kind of event. It was simple yet joyous. This year I chose to make simple paper crowns with paper flowers (and I decided to get in the spirit of the day and wore a flower in my hair) but perhaps next year I can get April involved in the preparations and we can make flower crowns together. This is a festival worth repeating!