Tuesday, November 29, 2011

toothbrush rag rugs

Hey I have just finished 2 toothbrush rag rugs.
What a wonderful experience. I read about them in some ones blog, sorry I can't remember. Then I googled the technique and got onto some great you tube videos about how to get started. M made me a needle or toothbrush.
Originally the needle was made from a toothbrush. The old ones which had holes in the handle for hanging it up. The brush was chopped off and the end was filed to a point. The fabric strips were threaded into the hole.
Well they stopped making those toothbrushes about 20 years ago. Then some inventive people in the US got some made but I didn't want to buy one and have it shipped across the world and who knows where you buy one here.
So a clever girl on you tube
showed how to start and what the needle her hubby made. So I got my hubby to make me one. Don't know why, I could have made it but I felt like I was following some tradition. Or maybe I just wanted to include him in the process.
Anyway it works a treat.
And now are you ready for the great unveiling of the rag rugs?
112cm across

132cm across
All made from scrap fabrics that I couldn't throw away because I have some mental block that won't let me but I was seriously starting to resent.
Well now I have loads more room in my stash boxes so I can go shopping for more!

But seriously I have been wanting and trying to make rag rugs for years and couldn't hit on a way that was easy and quick and makes a rug that is sturdy and long lasting.
The Scandinavians have been making rugs like these for hundreds of years apparently.

If you would like a needle, let me know and I can make you one for you or give you the dimensions. Just need some reasonably sturdy wire and some electricians tape. I used paper tape after the electricians tape melted on a hot day with all the work it was doing.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spring flush

Gee the garden has been riding on the Spring flush, surfing the wave of tremendous growth!
M does get a go on the mower some times. See Julia looking on, watching out for the flock. They did get in the way a bit, following the mower around as it mowed, watching and catching lots of bugs that got thrown up.

We had our first taste of this years broad beans, I do love broad beans. I picked several small ones 4cm long and some tips out of the plants and put them in with the other veg we had for dinner. I little taste of spring.

Garlic are not coming on so well, they are skinny and a bit yellow. Perhaps because they went in so late? I put down some lime, just a sprinkling to see if that perks them up. The onion tribe like a bit of lime, usually when planting.

The rhubarb is tremendous, wouldn't think it had been wrenched out the ground from Croydon, split up into 6 plants and stuck in here just as they were waking up. We have had a feed already.
 I have several large bins of weeds covered with water and rotting nicely. Stinks to high heaven but who cares, we have no close neighbours to worry about. Gee that is a wonderful feeling, not having to worry if the neighbours might get upset or dob me in for making bad smalls.
The veggies love it!
The weeds get recycled without reseeding!
Or the bin doesn't get them and they go off to the tip to off gas methane!
So a win win situation and the plants love it!
The golden zucchinis are flowering, small tomatoes will be forming. Broad beans as I have said are podding up. Rhubarb is being eaten too.
Last years capsicums have come back to life and are filling with leaves and lots more too.
So make some weed tea for your plants, water it down to the colour of weak tea and pour on, every week.
Keep the lid on if you have neighbours and decant it when they are at work or just before it rains.
ps don't get it on your clothes or skin, it takes ages to stop stinking!

These are coming up all over the place, glad they are not the common death lily, wonder what other colours I'll find.

Planted out my Dahlia tubers this morning, they were shooting so it must be time.
They will be a surprise, I have some of my own I raised from seed a few years back and we dug up a lot in the netted area where we put the blackberries. So we have a mystery unfolding. I love Dahlias, perhaps because they are almost my name but more so they are just beautiful and I have grown them since my child hood off and on.
Put in bean seeds and planted out 3 butternut pumpkins to grow over the avery house. Sowed beetroot, 3 varieties. M had better eat these or that will be it! No more beetroot to be grown by me. I know, I'll give him the seed and they can be his responsibility.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Calico Bush

Do you know this plant?
It started flowering a week ago and I had never seen it before in my life. The buds look like Mr Whippy icecreams.

Growing amongst the Rhododendrons and Azaleas, it looks right at home.
Well my friend Joy found out what it is.
Kalmia latifolia common name Mountain Laurel or Calico bush
Grows to 2m and comes from America.
The leaves have a curious sticky feel and the flowers are apple blossom pink.
It will grow in below zero temperatures. So it is in the right place.

thanks Joy for that bit of info.


Monday, November 7, 2011

strawberry coulis

mmmm, yum! Strawberry Coulis is a must to have small containers in the freezer for when you need a fruity sauce.
Recipe: 5 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
Put in a saucepan, bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Turn off the heat, cool a bit and then blend. You can sieve it to remove seeds but I don't bother, they probably contain vitamin E or something.
Freeze or keep in the fridge a few days.

I used double the amount to get these containers.

I like to put a tub into my icecream maker with some blackberries and raspberries, whatever I have really. Some low fat milk a couple of eggs, some sugar, not much, some cream if I have a bit, some times not then it is more like gelati than icecream.
I still have 1 kilo of my home grown blackberries in the freezer, from thornless blackberry plants, so easy to grow.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What we did today.

These are my 3 thornless blackberries, not doing badly after their transplant from Croydon, got flowers on too.
Found a home for my last 2 thornless blackberries. Did a swap with my friend Janet for lettuce seedlings. Put them in with some tomato seedlings outside the back door in the protected area there that I should like to make into a mini kitchen garden as it is close to the house and hopefully rabbits and deer won't venture into it.
The parsley is going to seed there and no new ones have come up. The pepino has put on a lot of growth since I put it there and has buds. The mint is fabulous. These are all in large pots, some I have converted to wicking pots.
It is a long skinny strip between the house and the side fence (seems strange on 2 acres to be up against the fence like that, but it was an historical thing the way the land was divided).

We did some mowing today, at last the rain has stopped. It was still very wet the grass, but you have to act or it'll rain again. the grass was knee high again in places, just grows and grows. Would really be nice to have a sheep to eat it and then we eat the sheep. In the Trading post they are selling weaned sheep for $150 each, seems a lot. My friend Linda has bought a sheep for $100, butchered and cut up into cuts. So why spend $150 on 1 and maybe it escapes or dies before it gets fat. I have never kept sheep before. And then you have to pay someone to come and butcher it for you.
This is what we mowed and what we left because it was too boggy. In the background you can see the averies/shed mentioned below.

M and I had a great idea today as we were wandering around in the sunshine just enjoying our holiday.
The little sheds in the photo, we haven't used for anything and had no plans for them. M thought we could remove the tin from the roof and replace it with clear plastic like laser light and use it as a veg garden. It is rabbit, chook and Deer proof. So why not?! Sounds like a fab idea to me.
Found deer footprints in the front garden, not far from the house. They are wrecking the fence up the back of the block, they just crash into and climb through fences and stretch the wire. So any sheep we had would probably run away.
Deer footprint/hoof print. Nice root.

 Our chooks are doing well after the fox came a few weeks back and killed 2 of them. Was very sad.
They have been much more vigilant and any sign of dasnger they run for cover. I am pleased the fox bounty has been brought in, although people say rabbit numbers will rise because of it.
I am not sure which one is doing it but we are getting the most amazing eggs. Double yokers weighing in at around 150 grams each. Seem to get one every other day.
Now I have read that older chooks do this as do very young chooks. A lot of my chooks are old, they have thick ankles and a few walk rather carefully. But they are laying between 6 and 8 eggs a day, not bad for 9 chooks.
the egg on the right is about 60grams. The other is more than double and we had bigger but ate it yesterday made into scrambled eggs. Best ever!

I am making a rag rug. I have been trying to make rag rugs for years but always failed to achieve the end result. I tried braiding but found it got too heavy and stretched our of shape and twisted. I made rugs by pinweaving, they were quite good and I still use them. But on a blog the other day someone mentioned toothbrush rag rugs. I followed the link and googled some more and was thrilled with the information available about them. Seems the idea came from Scandinavia a long time ago and was something that women did every year, make new rugs for the house. Neighbours would swap fabrics to help out with colour choices. Was a real community thing. Well I have made a stat. M made me the needle as I didn't have a toothbrush to convert. Seems you need an old one with a hole in the handle, they stopped making them some 20 years ago. I couldn't wait for one to be sent to me through the post and I could only find them in the US. Can't bear the thought of the miles it would have to travel to get to me so we improvised. Very satisfying too!

Well enough prattling on, goodnight.