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Artistic Repose

November 10th, 2014

When I was a kid, coloring was one of my favorite activities. My coloring books were always done from front to back, in order, and the pictures were colored to perfection with outlines and a lot of shading. I remember once my little brother got ahold of one of my coloring books once and scribbled on a page halfway through the book. I didn’t even want to finish the book, but of course my parents weren’t about to buy me a new coloring book for that reason. If I remember correctly, I carefully cut out that page so it was no longer in the book and then I could proceed.
coloring 1
A few months ago I spotted Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book at a local bookstore. I was immediately taken and dreamed of coloring the beautiful pictures within. Impulse purchases are not my thing, so I didn’t buy it right then. Much time was spent mulling over whether I should buy the book. Last week I decided to go for it and got it and a set of Staedtler markers.
coloring 3
The markers are perfect, but the color does bleed through to the back page a little. I really like the saturated color they produce, so I’m using them on front cover and any pages that don’t have anything on the back. I have a set of Prismacolor colored pencils I will use for the other pages. Here’s the front of the book after I got finished with it (see image above before coloring).
coloring 2
coloring 5
coloring 4
The coloring pages in this book are highly detailed, it takes a lot of time to complete each one. It was definitely $15 well spent for the many hours of artistic repose I will get from it! You can bet I’ll be coloring through it in order, let’s hope Mr Chiots doesn’t get ahold of it and decide to color a page halfway through.

Did you enjoy coloring as a kid? Do you still color as an adult?

Quote of the Day: Faith Popcorn

November 9th, 2014

Handmade things with all their wonderful charming imperfections have a very rare value. Any craft as applicable and pragmatic as kitting has a great future.

Faith Popcorn (from The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty)
cowl 1
cowl 2
As I’ve been crocheting away I notice the mistakes I make. Of course not many people would notice, but I do. I have to keep myself from tearing everything out to fix my mistakes, making myself remember that imperfections make things unique. I’m trying to learn not to be a perfectionist, which is quite difficult for me. Sometimes good is good enough!

Do you find that you are too much of a perfectionist?

Friday Favorites: Mice Cubes

November 7th, 2014

You’d think with all the cats around there wouldn’t be mice in the house, but they manage to get in and keep away from the cats. The cats know they’re there and stalk them, but the mice seem to know a few routes in places where cat claws cannot reach them, mostly in the walls. For the most part I don’t see mice, we hear them every now and again. Last week I closed the door to the pantry and a mouse decided to take advantage. As a result I put out the mice cubes , which I should have done a long time ago.
mice cube 1
These things are great, they work very well and you don’t have to worry about finding smashed mice in a trap. My mom started using these many years ago and has always caught any mouse that made it into her house. They’re also nice because they aren’t the spring loaded types, which I don’t really want to have around with the cats.
mice cube 2
I now have four of these things baited with peanut butter spread throughout the house in spots that the cats can’t reach. Hopefully they will keep any future mice from feasting on any items in our pantry. Of course the pantry door will stay open now so the cats can patrol that area as well.

Do you ever get mice in the house?

Paring Down

November 6th, 2014

It’s that time of the year to whittle down the number of birds in my flock. While I’d love to keep them all, they are expensive to maintain over the winter when there is no pasture and I don’t like keeping too many birds cooped up in the winter. I’d rather overwinter a smaller flock so they have ample space.
scovies 1
scovies 2
scovies 3
scovies 4
The guineas all get to stay, they provide the valuable service of tick control. Some of the muscovies will get to stay, I’m hoping to cut down to 2-5 birds. That means I have about 15-18 birds to get rid of. I’m also getting rid of all but one of my Ancona drakes.
With the 15 chickens that hatched out this summer I also need to cull a few roosters, there are probably 3 of those that need to head off to Iceland, otherwise the snowy days in the coop will be lively ones! The hens will stick around to augment our laying flock and make up for some of the predator losses from hawks we’ve sustained this fall.
Broody Hen Umbrella
This is the difficult part of keeping animals. While it would be nice to keep them all, the nature of keeping birds as livestock means that there are far fewer losses to predators and thus more survive. Their numbers will steadily grow until you have way too many birds. The good thing is that I don’t usually have too much trouble getting rid of them. In the spring I sold off most of my extra stock to make way for the new hatches this summer. I definitely am looking forward to paring down on the number of birds I maintain throughout the winter. Feeding fermented feed will be easier and cheaper if I can keep the number of birds below 40!

Do you have to pare down on any livestock for the winter?


November 5th, 2014

Yesterday was voting day here in the US, one of those days most of us are happy to see come and go so the political signs can leave the corners and the ads can leave the internet & tv airways. There’s really nothing more annoying than the constant negativity that election season brings. While I vote each time the polls are open, I have long since come to believe that this is definitely not the most important way to encourage change and to make a difference.
I’m a big believer I vote each and every day with the food that graces my table and the places I spend each penny I earn. My most important vote is cast with the choices I make each and every day, where my money is invested, and how I choose to spend my time.
farmers market
I cast my vote for the kind of country/community I want to live in every Friday morning at the farmers market. I cast my vote every time I choose to buy from a small business over a big corporation. I cast my vote when I invest in my community rather than in big banks. I cast my vote when I spend my time helping neighbors and building my community. Sure I often spend more money on some things and don’t make as much on my investments, but sometimes looking at the bottom line isn’t the best way to look at things. Often we need to look at the long term effects of our decisions. I want this country to be a wonderful place for my friend’s children and grandchildren and I try to make sure each and every one of my decisions works towards that goal.
lucy and the kids
The best part of these choices is that it enriches my life greatly. Every Friday morning I am happy to chat with the same farmers and help be a part of that community. Building my local food system is my favorite way to cast my vote for what I believe in and the changes I want to see!

What’s your favorite way to vote other than in the voting booth?

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Tropical Traditions

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.