Monday, June 27, 2011

The Zucchini Bat

This is what happens when you don't keep up with them. We were there last Thursday; then the car broke down and we didn't get there again until tonight. The 16-inch-long, 3 1/2lb 'bat' was the same size as the smaller one 5 days ago. These are off the same plant.

Also, just for fun I've added a page called "Harvest 2011." I'm keeping track of the harvest, plus the prices (commercial and organic) with a running total at the top. It's interesting to see the numbers, and know we'll benefit all year from the garden. Anything not eaten fresh will be put up for winter - that's why we have a 40-foot row of tomatoes!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Harvest Note

Our garden is just getting started with production. We've lost a few tomatoes to worms, and had a few things not come up. There are still bare spots in there. I didn't pay for all of the seeds and seedlings, but we have put $100 or so into the garden for trellising, mulch, and the like.

Today, I decided to weigh our current harvest - what we haven't eaten yet, and harvested this week. I'm also listing what these items cost locally. Our food is organic; prices listed are commercially grown and then Organic.
  • 2 heads Cabbage (3lbs):
    • $.69/lb = $2.07
    • Organic:$1.69/lb = $5.07
  • 14 oz Turnip Greens:
    • $.99/lb = $0.86
    • Organic not available
  • 7lb 14oz Yellow Squash:
    • $1.99/lb = $15.67
    • Organic: $2.99/lb= $23.55
  • 3lb Zucchini:
    • $1.99/lb = $5.97
    • Organic:$3.50/lb = $10.50
  • 9 Cucumbers (5 3/4lb):
    • $.79 each = $7.11
    • Organic: $1.69 each = $15.21
  • 12 oz Tomatoes:
    • $2.99/lb = $2.25.
    • Organic: $4.99/lb = $3.75
  • 11oz SunGold cherry tomatoes:
    • $.30/oz = $3.30
    • Organic not available

Total Commercial Value= $37.23

Total Organic Value = $58.08, not including cherry tomatoes and turnip greens.

Looking at the price ratios (commercial vs. organic), it looks like Organic cherry tomatoes would be $.49/oz, so $4.90 for our harvest. Turnip greens tend to run half the price of collard greens, which they do offer organic, so half that price would be $1.25/lb = $1.09, bringing the total for Organics to $64.07.

$64 in food, plus what we've already eaten. And we're just getting started. Nice!

Prices for this post came from the online section of Harris Teeter stores in Virginia.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ripping a Seam - Skirt Modification

I made a skirt following these instructions - mostly. Instead of linen, I used cotton eyelet fabric with a lining of plain white cotton (since you could see through the eyelet, even where it was solid!). So instead of flipping the waistband over to form the channel for the ribbon tie, I sewed the plain cotton to the eyelet (front sides together), flipped the plain cotton to the inside of the skirt, and added two small grommet holes for the ribbon to come through. I then sewed the two layers together again about an inch below the first seam, forming the ribbon channel.

This all worked great, till I put it on.

I take long strides. Too long for the way I had made the skirt. So, I need to add a slit to the back of the skirt, where the seam in the 'tube' is. That's what I'm showing here.

1. Decide how long you want the slit to be. I made mine about 6 inches long. Using a fabric pencil or tailor's chalk to mark the length on the fabric. Don't worry, it will wash out.

2. Rip out the existing seam up to the mark you made. You'll need a seam ripper - they are inexpensive, and are sold at any fabric store.
Use the seam ripper to pick out one or two stitches, then pull them apart with your fingers. After about a half-inch to an inch is loose, you should be able to see the stitches much better and can use the seam ripper to pull them out easily. Be careful not to rip the fabric! In this picture, you can see two stitches on the seam ripper, one right behind the red knob.
Ripping the Seam
2. Iron out the wrinkles and folds.

3. Iron in the folds that you want. This will make hemming easier.
  • Fold once, 1/4" to 1/8" towards the wrong side of the fabric. Iron.
  • Fold again, the same way. Iron.
4. Re-enforce the end of the seam you just ripped open, so that it won't rip farther. I did this by sewing over the last half an inch, turning the fabric, and re-sewing what I'd just gone over. I made sure to lock the stitches both where I started and when I finished.
  • Lock stitches by sewing 3 or 4 stitches, and (1)sewing backwards over them, and then sewing forward again; or (2) lifting the pressure foot and moving the fabric so the needle is once again over the place you started sewing. Option 2 works on sewing machines that don't sew backwards, like mine.
  • Turn the fabric by making sure the needle was through the fabric, lift the pressure foot, then turn the fabric and put the foot back down. Once the foot is back down you can start sewing again. This is great for sharp corners, as well.
5. Hem the edges of the slit.
  • Looking at the wrong side of the fabric, hold the ironed folds so that they are flat on one side of the seam. Line this up with the sewing needle, starting at the bottom of the skirt, so that you're sewing towards the waist of the skirt.
  • Sew the hem in place, at the fold farther from the edge. You can see what I mean about the hem in the picture below.
  • Don't forget to lock your stitches!
  • Repeat on the other side.
Sewing the Hem

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Garden - Pictures!

Photos from 6/20:

South-east corner, above. Left to right: Chard, butternut squash on trellis, green beans, snacking tomatoes, onions.

Northeast corner, above. Left to right: Tomatoes, onions, carrots behind the onions, cucumbers, cabbage behind them; fresh tilled spot with beets behind.

North-west corner, above. Left to right: Various peppers , a zucchini in between bare spots, a bare 1/3 row in front of the carrots, then the canning tomatoes.

Snacking tomatoes - we have one each of Sungold, Tangerine, Sugar Baby, German Striped, and another red slicing tomato. These are just for eating fresh; the canning tomatoes are Big Bog to be pressure-canned this year. Everything is organic! The mulches are straw and wood chip; pine mulch is next. This is a learning year =)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicken notes

My friend has chickens - two breeds right now: Rhode Island Reds and Delawares, as well as the Bourbon Red turkeys. The links have nice information about the breeds but don't mention the sounds. Did you know the Rhode Island Reds cluck/chirp and almost sound like they're purring? While the Delawares squawk and are much louder! They're also twice as big.

The turkeys - they make a bit of noise but to me it was no problem. And they gobble back at you, which is kinda fun =)

I think they breed for white 'dark meat' on some birds - I've seen birds I know were pastured, and the 'dark meat' was as pale as the breasts. For those of us who like dark meat - on the Delawares and the Bourbon Reds, it's a nice red color. See? I don't know about the Rhode Island Reds, though.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Independance Days - 19 June 2011

1. Plant something: Put stalks of spearmint in a pot to root & start me a new plant - just have to keep it watered! The empty places in the garden are tilled and will be planted later in the week.

2. Harvest something: Zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, cucumbers, Tangerine tomatoes, Sungold cherry tomatoes, cabbage, baby turnips & greens.

3. Preserved something: nothing left to preserve yet; we're eating it all!

4. Waste not (preparations): nothing.

5. Want not (manage your stores): nothing.

6. Build community: Spent a day at farmer-friends, giving her a day off and learning from her. I know how to cure the onions, and how to tell if the cabbage is ready to harvest or not.

7. Eat the food: Turnip greens, yellow squash. Eating a lot of melons right now but they're all from the store right. Sliced cucumbers are a favorite snack & we've gotten the first ones from the garden!

8. Crafting: I finished the Gir hat, and started a 'Cold Shoulders' shawl. I also made lace-fabric fingerless gloves to go with daughter's formal gown, and lace-fabric 'sheers' for her window. No, she's not 'girly,' but black-and-red curtains always look nice =)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day of Surprises

Saturday was like Yule for me!

I had a major find at the thrift store, of something I have been wanting, and it's even more helpful than I had hoped. According to various internet sources, it's an Accordion Sewing Box from the 1950's:

1950's Accordion Sewing Box, Closed

1950's Accordion Sewing Box, Open
All we need to do is replace the 'pull handles' it used to have on the side. We've already bought brass drawer handles for it.

Also, my Blue Mountain handcards came in the mail today:
Blue Mountain Fiber Combs

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Independance Day - 5 June 2010

Just a quick update today - we've got a day full of thunderstorms and much-needed rain. Nice soaking rain in there with the downpours, which is good. We did get more wood mulch for the garden, plus the trellises we need. They'd be put in today, but it was raining at dawn, so we'll do that as soon as the weather lets us!

1. Plant something: Nothing this week.

2. Harvest something: Endive. Note to self: deal with freshly harvested food THAT NIGHT. Do not allow to rot on kitchen counter.

3. Preserved something: Nothing this week.

4. Waste not (preparations): Nothing this week.

5. Want not (manage your stores): Better organization of house. I cleaned all the things on Saturday - enough that I had sore muscles afterwards!

6. Build community: nothing.

7. Eat the food: yes =) Nothing special, no new foods/recipes.

8. Crafting: Lots of sewing, working on Grr hat. I'm on my last two started-and-stalled sewing projects!