February 28, 2013


Happy Birthday my littlest one!

On this day one year ago you came into our family and hit the ground running. You've been a blessing and a joy to us since before you were born.

I can not believe you are already one year old. I just had you yesterday. I clearly remember bringing you home from the hospital. But then, your bubbas are nearly 6 and they are still babies to me as well.

I'm so proud of you already! You are so smart, and I love how you have decided that you are "one of the guys" and won't let things like lack of walking keep you from doing what your bubbas do. I love to watch you figure things out, my favorite being "put it in the bucket and take it out". I love to watch the little wheels in your head turn. I love your goofy little grin you get when you are so stinkin' proud of yourself. And I love the way you light up and snuggle on my shoulder when I scoop you off the floor.

I love you more than you can possibly ever know. You've come so far already, and I am excited to see the little boy, the young boy and the man you will eventually become.

But... try not to grow up too fast.

Love you always and forever,
Your mama

February 27, 2013

Knitting And Reading

Remember how I said I was going to make something with that pink yarn last week?

Ignore that. I changed my mind. I'm doing a simple feather and fan stitch stole/scarf thing. (I just cast on some stitches and started knitting, heh.) Apparently I needed something fairly mindless and less demanding than lace. Not much counting for this. :)

As for reading, it's all gardening all the time around here! My brain is consumed by nothing but gardening, thoughts of gardening, reading about gardening, planning for gardening... And I'm terribly afraid that I started my tomatoes much too early, because I'm thinking it might not be safe to get them in the ground until April and they are a foot tall now...

Anyhoo, the book is Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman. I'm about halfway through and so far it's been mostly talk about cold frames. I hope he expands into a bit more - I was hoping for more talk on when to plant certain things - but we'll see. Even so, the talk of cold frames and keeping your garden going long into the winter is interesting. He states that the cold frames are not for growing, they are for extending the harvest period. The growing is done during the warm months. We have such a long growing season and such mild winters around here I'm not sure I would have the need for cold frames, but the knowledge is good none-the-less.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along!

What are you knitting and reading?

February 22, 2013

A Walk in the Garden

Cabbage - I think. I found it in the compost pile. I planted seeds last year and they never came up until now.

Wee lettuce

New growth on the mint

Uhh.... Hydrangea? We've planted so many bulbs I'm not sure which is which.

Blueberry, with new buds and leaves.

The seed leaves of the collard greens.


Just a little bit of what's been coming up around here. 

We finally have sunshine again after the storm at the beginning of the week. It is supposed to warm up again and get into the 70's next week. I'm very excited for that. I'm really tired of being cold.

The garden, while things are growing, is quite pitiful. All but one of my radish sprouts have been munched by slugs/snails, and most of the spinach has too. The peas are pathetic, the leeks are puny, and the carrots haven't gotten any bigger around than a pencil. I'm sure part of the problem is because I planted the leeks, carrots and peas last fall and they had to overwinter. I think I might just rip out everything in the beds, prepare everything with the GROW BIOINTENSIVE methods, and try again. I can't tell if it's our abysmal dirt, or just the weather. Since these are all cool weather crops, I'm thinking it's the dirt that needs some TLC. Let the experiments begin!

Happy Friday!

February 20, 2013

Knitting and Reading

I'm still working on the shawl, ever so slowly, but the progress has hardly changed at all so I didn't want to bore you.

Plus, it's time to start a new knit! And I'm going to be doing it out of this yarn (or something similar). It's spring, and my chronic Startitis is acting up.

As far as reading, I think a better question would be what am I not reading? I've had an addiction to the library lately and my pile of books to read is literally over a foot high. It's exciting and daunting at the same time.

My most current of the current books is How to Grow More Vegetables* by John Jeavons. He is the creator/founder of Ecology Action, the group that came up with the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method of gardening, and they also run the Bountiful Gardens seed/garden supply company. This book explains their methods. I am about half way through and it has been a wonderful book so far. I think I will be adding this one to my personal library as it has opened my eyes to a lot of gardening information and would be a good book to read every year as a refresher. For a gardening newbie like me, it's been a great "this is how you get started" book and explains a lot of why you should do it, which I like. I'll be using a lot of the principles this year as I try to get my garden in working order... again... for the third time... I really hope it works this year!

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along!

What are you reading and/or knitting?

February 19, 2013

Don't Buy It: Croutons!

Now that the whole blog renaming fiasco is over with... Gosh what a mess. I really hope it updated everyone's feed and didn't get lost. How about a recipe?

I have a unnatural completely normal love of croutons. I love them on salads, like them in soups, and have been known to snack on half a bag before dinner...

I've tried making my own before, but they always wound up being burned to a non-tasty crisp whether I tired making them under the broiler or frying them in a pan or any other method.

Then Ben got me Jaques Pepin's Essential Pepin for Christmas. We watch his show on PBS and he's so charming and wonderful and he makes me want to make everything he cooks, even if we really would never eat it (like liver pate wrapped in cucumber and topped with roe.) I wish he was my grandpa!

Anyway, he has a few different soup recipes that use these croutons and they have been the easiest, quickest, and most delicious things I have ever tasted. I've made them three times already and they've turned out perfectly every time. I've been adding a bit of salt, garlic powder and onion powder for extra flavor, but they are really good with just the olive oil. My favorite part is that this is just one more skill/recipe I can tuck into my pocket and I never have to buy these again! Plus they are a great use for leftover bread that needs to be used up.

Homemade Croutons
3-4 slices stale bread of just about any type
1-2 Tbs olive oil
My Optional addition: Salt & seasonings

Preheat oven to 400*.
Cube bread into bite sized (around 1 inch) pieces.
Pour olive oil into the middle of a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle on some salt and seasonings if you like. Add bread on top of oil, then toss with fingers to coat evenly.
 Bake 8-10 minutes, tossing half way through to brown evenly. 

Happy Eating!

February 16, 2013

New Blog Name! And Why

Our oh-so-slow growing peas.

I've been thinking about renaming the blog for awhile. I am a creature of change, always evolving and growing, at least I think of myself that way. I love to learn and try new things as often as I can. My life has taken many different turns in the last few years, and my focus has changed. I felt it was time for something that reflected where I am in my life now, and while Little Bit of Life did encompass that, it felt like it didn't quite... fit. So, I've decided to rename the blog to

Little Homestead

with the new blog address being www.our-littlehomestead.blogspot.com. I think it should auto update all your feeds, but if not be sure to make the change!The www.bitoflife.com will bring you here as well.

 Now, I'm not sure if I should technically call our little patch of earth a homestead considering we don't have animals, and probably won't while we are here. But I believe homesteading includes all manner of subjects, from growing your own food, making your own clothes, preserving said food, living debt free and frugally, and being as self-sufficient and sustainable as possible. Knowing the skills of life, should the zombie apocalypse arrive and you need them..

Plus I just like to consider myself a Homesteader. ;) As Mary Jane Butters puts it, "Farm girl is a state of mind." Well, so is homesteading!

As a lot of you know our ultimate goal is to buy a fairly good sized chunk of dirt, grow and raise most of our food, and see just how self sufficient we can be. Why?

Well, why not, for one! It sounds like fun (albeit a lot of work, but I'm not scared of work). Second, we strongly feel it is better for our health as GMOs and chemically enhanced/farmed foods become more prevalent in the market. And in addition to that, I think it's very wise to be as independent as possible. I don't consider myself a "prepper" or "survivalist", but I do think you can't really go wrong with relying on one's own abilities and resources more than relying on others.

That being said, we're still far off from that point of buying land and I have been getting the message lately to "Bloom where you are planted." Why should I wait until I have ample space to do the things I believe in? In fact, it's better to learn on a small scale and fail miserably with a smaller investment. I can still do a lot of things here, in my growing space of 260 square feet and my little home that I love.

Thus, the Little Homestead.

February 13, 2013

Knitting & Reading

There has been more reading than knitting lately, but I've picked up the needles again and have put on a few more rows.

The knitting is the shawl I am designing and creating for the charity auction. I'm liking it so far, and I especially love the color of the yarn.

The reading is Seeds of Deception by Jeffrey M. Smith. It is about, well, the deception of big corporations and government in hiding the dangers and effects of genetically modified (GM) foods (with their own political and financial interests in mind, of course). I knew a lot of the points that have been made already from other sources I've read and watched, but it is still nice to get another viewpoint on the subject. I am only a chapter and a half in, and I am already feeling the renewed desired to get our produce exclusively from our backyard, farmer's market, or other organic and natural sources. This stuff really gets me going!

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along today.

What are you reading? And, since I'm curious, what are your thoughts on GMO foods?

February 4, 2013

Garden Journal 1/14 - 2/4

Today's weather: bitterly cold and clear. 45 degrees.

Picked up seed start potting mix and started: broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Anaheim, jalapeno, habanero and bell peppers, and Roma tomatoes.

Today's weather: a bit warmer and nicely cloudy.

All of the cole crops have sprouted and today I noticed the tomatoes have sprouted as well. Still waiting on the peppers. Need to start other seeds. Spinach in garden never sprouted... again.

Started spinach in a cut up milk jug! Seeing if starting it inside makes any difference. A walk around the garden showed the cherry tree and blueberries have buds on them!

Today's weather: sunny! And warmer!

Started strawberries and herbs. Cut the top off a coffee can to start lettuce in.

Today's weather: sunny and warmer, with a bit of clouds this afternoon.

Ripped out the wisteria from the pergola this afternoon. Next comes digging out the stumps and moving the grapes from the garden to the wisteria's spot. Noticed the boysenberries have buds on them. The kids are finding ladybugs all over the place.

Today's weather: sunny, mid-50s, smells like spring outside!

The milk jug spinach has sprouted! We'll see how far it gets.

Today's weather: sunny! And warm! Sweet, glorious outdoors. Fresh air! It smells wonderful outside.

Reading a book called "Weedless Gardening". Very interesting, hoping to try it out this year.

Weeded the blueberries and mulched them with sawdust from dad's shop. Read that they like sawdust due to it's acidity. Who knew?

Also weeded the back corner by shed and mulched with leftover compost from spring to ready it for green beans.

Having a hard time figuring out where to put everything I want to grow...

Today's weather: warm, but really hazy and not very spring like at all.

Today was birthday garden shopping! Bought things for staking, and trellising, and planting, and potting, and fertilizing... and a pitchfork! Picked up more grow lights. And new boots, which make me a real farm girl now, right? I love them.

Ran a ph and nitrogen test on the north raised bed. Completely deficient in nitrogen, but the ph is in the mid range. Nitrogen test on the compost from green waste shows very high nitrogen. Will be getting more for mulching.

Peppers have sprouted. Started potting up tomatoes. 

Today's weather: foggy at first, and then sunny for the afternoon.

Weeded the back corner raised bed and put a board at the halfway point to mark the compost pile. Got to play with my pitchfork!

Today's weather: still hazy, but very warm! Thought about putting on shorts, and opened up both sliding doors for fresh air.

Got the area around the lime tree weeded, fertilized (Miracle Grow Organic fertilizer) and planted with first batch of lettuce. Will plant next batch in two weeks for continual harvest. Fertilized back corner bed and planted beets. Hoping they do well even with lack of direct sun package calls for. Planted more radishes. Pruned the grapes to ready for move to pergola. Started Ancho/Poblano chili seeds.

Noticed the two spinach seeds in garden finally sprouted.

Potted up more tomatoes.

Happy gardening!

February 1, 2013

Hello, Anybody Out There?

Just nod if you can hear me...

We don't have blossoms yet, but everything is budding!
Hey y'all! Did ya miss me? Are you even still here? It's been nearly a month since my last post! I'm so exciting, eh?

Well, I keep trying to find time to blog, and when I finally get a chance to sit down without kiddos climbing all over me, I tell myself I can't blog without pictures, so then I tell myself I should wait until I have pictures, which then means I missed my chance and I need to wait til I can sit down again without kiddos climbing all over me and... It's a vicious cycle.

So here I am and you get to have pictures from the Ghost of Blog Past.

We've had deliciously warm weather this past week - mid 50's to 60's, and looking at 70's for the coming week. The kids and I have been outside at every possible moment, soaking up as much sun as possible. I wish I could tell you spring was here, but the weather is a fake out and we always get another cold snap before Easter. But I'll take it while I can get it.

Looky, his clothes don't even fit!

This precious little thing will be a year old at the end of the month. Can someone explain to me how that happened? How is he already 11 months? I just had him. Heck, I just had his bubbas, who will be 6 this year.

Basil seedlings from summer past
I have spring fever so painfully bad that I have been devouring seed catalogs, starting seedlings, ordering more seeds, going over planting charts and dates, ordering more seeds, weeding the flower beds, mulching the flower beds, ordering more seeds, trying to figure out a succession planting schedule, and wanting to plant anything I can get my hands on.


I realized today I only have about 100 square feet of bed space, with a wee bit extra if I squeeze stuff into the flower beds.

So. Not. Enough. I keep trying to convince Ben to let me rip up the lawn. He just stares at me. :)

Not at all what I'm working on.
I've been working on, and nearly finished with, an order for a customer. A week with the flu two weeks ago kind of screwed up my schedule but I'm back at it now.

I'm also working on a shawl design. Have I told you about this? I am creating the shawl for a fund-raising auction. I'm pretty excited about this design and hope I can get the pattern out for spring. If not, I'll have to wait til fall. Anyone care to test knit for me?

I have lots of garden journal to post, and I think I've decided on a new name for the blog. More on those both soon. You know, when I don't have kids climbing all over me. :)

Happy Weekend!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...