Planting the Garden, Springtime in Maine

We have had some amazing Spring weather for the last two weeks.  Beautiful, sunny, highs in the 60s.  But not a drop of rain until last night.  So, I planted all of my “early spring” veggies the last week of April, and have been diligently watering them.  Sugar snap peas, spinach, arugula, various lettuces, are all in the ground and sprouting.  Our herb raised garden has quite a few plants growing in it from last year — love that — and the chives, tarragon and oregano all look amazing.

Spring chives

Spring chives

Tarragon, planted from cuttings in 2012

Tarragon, planted from cuttings in 2012

I also discovered dill the other day that was not meant to be there.  That’s okay!  I transplanted it to a good square and we’ll see how it goes.  We have also been doing our spring chores because of the great weather, and I painted our entire front porch (back breaking work with something like 75 little spindles to paint, some of which are located behind prickly rose bushes), and Hubby cleaned and sealed our porch and decks.

Our hops plants are growing like….hops.  I think they’ve grown at least 8 inches in the last 3 days (or it seems that way).

Hops-Nugget-Spring-2013

Hops-Nugget-Spring-2013

The dogs are enjoying the lovely Spring weather too.  Hamp is 4.5 and finally settling down a bit.  Magnus turned 13 a few months ago, but is still getting around well.  I think Hamp keeps him feeling young a bit.  Even when he has to steel himself to go up the stairs at bedtime.  I think his old bones are happy it’s Springtime.

Magnus

Magnus

Hmm...Hamp, what's that dirt on your nose?  Digging in the garden already?

Hmm…Hamp, what’s that dirt on your nose? Digging in the garden already?

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Ball Heritage Collection, Vintage Blue Canning Jars

Heritage Ball Jars

Now, I’m know that I’m not the only one coveting these Heritage collection vintage blue Ball jars.  Wee Folk Art just posted on Facebook with a link to a tutorial that shows how to tint your own glass jars.  Which then reminded me about these jars and how I had wanted to go on the search for some.  They are $13.xx something on Amazon (Prime), which is of course pricey for 6 pint jars.  So, I checked my local True Value hardware store, and they had them for $10.99 with free ship to store (they weren’t in-stock at my local store).  I couldn’t resist!  Now, what to do with them when they arrive??  I wonder how canned goods would look with the blue tint?  I will probably save them for craft projects.  They would be great little center pieces or flower jars on the patio this summer.  Maybe some end-of-the-year teacher gift giving.  Thousands of ideas of things to do with  Ball jars — actually it’s a bit overwhelming.  I might just have to use them for drinking glasses so I can enjoy them all of the time!

The Start of Christmas Crafting

Now, what do we have here!?

I received an order from Casey’s Wood Products yesterday.  Amazing how many little wooden things they can fit into a small priority mail box.  Lots of little wooden peg people.  Most of these little ones are the “little boy” size.  I also got some of the big people size, some blocks, and some mini and small clothespins.  I have Christmas present crafting plans!!

The boys got right to work however with my stash this morning before school crafting together a ninja army.

And a ninja flying army.

I don’t have any plans for the big people.  They are just good to have around and I was placing an order anyway.  Likewise on the clothespins, but I’d like to try painting them for some art wire displays.  Now the little boy people were my main motivation for the order.  That I have to keep a secret for the time being, but no worries, I’ll be sharing if it all works out!

Do you need any creative inspiration for your Christmas crafting projects?  Sometimes I think that I have too much inspiration!  Seriously though, I highly recommend Pinterest if you are a visual person (or even if you think you aren’t!).  I was just scrolling through it to find something that I had pinned on my Crafty Ideas board, and I was once again blown away by all the ideas swirling about my head when I saw all those lovely pictures!

And just for fun….the puppy wants to say Hi.  Is he still a puppy when he’s three?  He still acts like one.  Unlike our “old-man dog” who tore his ACL six weeks ago, poor guy.  Trying to keep up with the puppy!

Happy Fall!

Yes, it’s fall in Maine!  Look at that beautiful color in my backyard.  I especially love that dead tree sticking up above it all.  It’s a favorite place for the crows to hang out, and I have even seen a juvenile bald eagle there once!  It has been busy this fall with the normal start of the school routine, and of course fall sports for the boys.  K started travel soccer this fall and it has kept us busy.  He’s having an awesome time and has improved a lot with the higher caliber of play and coaching.

The girls are doing wonderfully.  We have 1 barred rock and 5 golden comets.  They have been pretty consistently giving us 4-6 eggs per day.  I need to discover some new frittata recipes or something!  Too….many….eggs.  My friends are going to begin to be the lucky recipients of fresh eggs.  K loves hard boiled eggs, but I’ve discovered that you can’t hard-boil the fresh eggs.  Well, I knew that to be true, but I have also proven it several times.  Last time I hard-boiled some, I let them sit for about 10 days before boiling them.  That still wasn’t quite long enough.  The shells are really difficult to remove and you get a mangled egg.  I’m going to try 2 weeks next time.

I made a great kim chi fried rice with fried eggs on top last night for dinner.  I’ll share the recipe this weekend.  The kids don’t like fried rice, but Hubby and I loved it!

My annual Halloween display needs some new additions this year.  J wants to make more ghosts.  I’m not sure what to make though.  Hmm….maybe a floss wrapped bendy doll in the shape of a skeleton?  That might be fun.  Some mini hay bales?  Or maybe these hay bundles?

Of course, the month is getting away from me.  So we’ll see if I end up with time to make anything.  I have a project to make for a fundraiser auction for J’s old school, and of course I haven’t even started on Halloween costumes yet!!  K wants to be a red ninja, and J wants to be Yoshi from Super Mario Bros.  Ninja is not so hard.  Yoshi…..hmm…..more difficult.  I’m thinking this dinosaur tail, plus a hooded fleece cape with some spines down the back.  That’s my project for this weekend.

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything but how super-cool are these mushrooms growing up a tree in the woods behind our house??

Beer Craftiness

Squam Lake

Don’t let those cute toes in the water fool you.  It was frigid!

Where have I been???  Why HERE!  I have just returned from the most amazing five days at the Squam Art Workshops (SAW).  To be surrounded by so many creative and lovely people is inspiring and amazing.  Five days of soaking in the crafty atmosphere, hanging out with wonderful people, eating great food, immersing myself in the lovely New Hampshire landscape, and not worrying about anything else!  It was awesome.  I am going to devote a full post to Squam, but for now, let me talk about my pre-Squam preparations.  First on my list was making my first batch of homebrew to bring along to share with my cabin mates!  Hubby has been making beer for a LONG, LONG time.  Longer than he should own up to.

Squirrel and Needle Brown Ale

In honor of my first SAW, I decided to make some beer.  I settled on an English style brown ale.  I am lucky enough to have access to all of Hubby’s equipment and expertise, so the process went smoothly.  We made it about a month ago because it needs about two weeks to ferment in a bucket, and then you bottle it, and it needs another two weeks to carbonate in the bottle.  So, we had it ready in time for me to take to SAW.  All my cabin mates loved it!  Thanks ladies!  Now, I need to make some more.  Hmm…what should I make next?

Hubby wrote up a full-of-detail post over on his blog.  If you are interested in those nitty-gritty beer-making details.  I have to say though that the cabin mates might have liked the homemade cheesecake that I brought a tad bit more than the beer….

Ahhh….Squam….

April Fools Day Nor’easter

Last night I noticed that the weather forecast changed from 9-12 inches to 10-15 inches.  Gee.  That’s nice to hear for the first day of April.  And almost all of our snow was gone!  Sigh.  Not anymore!

9:30am with a full day of snow to come!

Therefore, on a day like this, I felt the need to share something a bit more spring-y.  How do you like my new-to-me train case that I found on Etsy?  I think it will be perfect to carry my crafting supplies with me to SAW (Squam Art Workshops) in June!

Vintage train case

 

Grain and Grain

If anyone is interested in what the hubby does while I am busy sewing and crafting, you can check out his new blog over at Grain & Grain.  He is usually busy being “crafty” himself with his man-adventures.  These adventures are good enough to provide me with furniture and adult beverages.  Win!  Title of the blog comes from his main hobbies which are grain=beer making and grain=wood working.