Thursday, September 27, 2012

onions that walk - and (rose) hips that talk.

after what seems a long hiatus - of almost no crafting - and after many a full day of 12+ hours working at my real job(s) as a mad gardener and market coordinator - i have finally settled into fall.  into a new home.  and have started planning out my own home perennial gardens, harvesting whole native perennial plants to divy up to the various school gardens around, and gleaning crafty bits to prepare for fire-side crafting this winter.

yesterday i ordered egyptian walking onions.  which are pretty dang incredible because 1.) they are beautiful and 2.) they walk.  and in so walking, they replant themselves.  along with that same order to southern exposure seed exchange i ordered a loverly bouquet of native and herbaceous seeds that looked lovely - including borage, wild bergamot (ie what gives earl grey tea it's earl grey-ness), thai red roselle, hungarian blue breadseed poppies, soapwort (the roots of which produce a natural soapy lather), purple coneflower/echinacea, and pacific beauty calendula.  o-so stoked about making many lovely teas, growing lovely flowers, and crafting new soaps!

and then today i bought some citronella plants to keep us a wee bit less buggy this fall time.

but last week i harvested gi-normous rose hips from the woodway elementary school garden.  to the children, rose hips are also known as little pumpkins on a stick.  rose hips are awesome because:
  • they are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C available
  • they also contain vitamins A, D and E, as well as iron and antioxidant flavonoids that may reduce the effects of aging and help prevent cancer
  • the iron in rose hips make them an excellent supplement for menstruating women
  • they have a tart-sweet taste 
  • they can be used to make tea, jelly, jam, soup or oil 
  • they can easily be gathered for free!
so expect to see more rose hips in wildcraft & co.'s crafting scheme.  also to come, more local beeswax in the form of candles and lotion.  hurrah for local!

Friday, July 6, 2012

an epic day in the life of a promiscuous* gardener.

*i am a promiscuous gardener because the garden in which i spend the least amount of time is my own.  rather i find myself happily weeding, watering, tending to the beds of other folks.  promiscuous.

that being said, most days this week have begun with me on the road at 6am heading out to the home grown farm to stand waist-high in an epic acre of okra - alongside another 3 or 4 agrarian-minded gals, doing the bidding of farmer brandon and his epic acre of okra.  this morning - however - i was butt scootin' along the rows, thinning out that epic acre.  i might add that i only worked one double row out of a total of 83 rows composing the epic acre of okra before having to scamper off to four more gardens.

which brings me to my harvest total for today:  purple figs.  gypsy peppers.  sweet bell peppers.  jalapeno peppers.  chocolate cherry tomatoes.  mexican mint marigold.  boxwood basil.  sweet genovese basil.  lemon balm.  apple mint.  lavender (with buds!)  sage.  peppermint.  and bouquets of wild sunflowers.

champanel grapes and sunshine.
but my favorite of all to harvest were the champanel grapes.  today was my first time to eat a real grape - fresh plucked from the vine, still warm from the mid-afternoon sun.  my mouth exploded in flavors that can only be described as juicy velvet (setting aside all preconceptions of velvet as an awkward fabric worn by awkward people).

if you have ever eaten a ripe cherry tomato in the heat of the summer day - you know the pure joy to which i'm referring.  except it was a grape!!  i have now come to term this experience of such deep gratitude and elation (perhaps obscenely as i am prone to do) farmer-gasmic.  please let me know the next time you have a farmer-gasmic experience - and then i won't feel like such a dork . . .

the beautiful bounty from woodway elementary.

anyways, i harvested many a basketful of grapes - uber-jazzed on my creative high - and decided to harvest native perennials into bouquets for the market in the morning.  thus, i will be carrying flaming canthus-turk's cap bouquets and trailing rosemary-crepe myrtle bouquets with me to market.  (in my mind, i imagine that beautiful women who bathe regularly smell of rosemary and crepe myrtle blossoms . . .)

days like today make me feel like i live a fantastical life of flowers and farms and fresh-cut herbs.  but that also might have been me becoming ever more hysterical after so many hours in the texas sun.  (disclaimer:  i started holding conversations with chickens whilst working the epic acre of okra during the 7 o'clock hour of the morn).  i did start to notice that by 3pm i could smell my flesh burning - under my glistening gleam of sweat.  smelled faintly of bacon - which made me oddly hungry . . .

napping beneath the grape arbor.  and yes, i am wearing cut offs and boots.

all that to say - i am epically happy.  i shall soon by removing all the dirt from betwixt my creases - and all the brambly twigs and crepe myrtle blossoms that have woven their way into my braids.  for not only am i epically happy, i am epically dirty.  and then i shall sleep and epic sleep before rising once again with the sun to go to market.  o life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

wide open spaces.

life is full of our wee little unexpected and beautifully frustrating complications.  we've been looking to buy a house and land - because we can't afford to pay rent.  doesn't that sound backwards?  but we'd rather be investing in the future, than living month by month.  and honestly, i want to grow some perennials - really massive rosemary bushes and asparagus and peach-plum-pear trees that i know i'll be around to harvest. so we're hoping to buy land.  

right now the leading option is located 15 miles from downtown waco - or a 15-20 minute drive.  4 acres.  with a round pen.  perimeter fenced.  and a large barn/storage building.  with utility and water hook-ups.  $60k.  and seeing as we're poor - and prefer the challenge of living simply - we're thinking of living out of a finished section of the barn.  which will basically be like living on a bus.  hopefully.  (doesn't help that i'm reading a book called Twelve By Twelve right now . . . ) so our future plans - or at least our discussed dreamings - include:
  • building a wrap-around porch (which will double our living space - and force us to be outdoors - piddling around with the sheep or the gardens)
  • perennial orchard - with all the fruit tree goodness, grapes, blackberries, rhubarb, asparagus, herbs - medicinal and culinary, and wildflowers galore
  • sheep.  we'll probably apply for a texas department of agriculture young farmer grant - which will give us $5k or $10k if we match funds.  we're interested in keeping our land mown - and i - in the art of shearing, carding, spinning, dyeing and beyond.  (see awesome cyclo-carder below.  i want to build this!)
cyclo-carder from felt the sun

brick-built oven
cob oven
  • wood-burning stove, solar panels, rainwater catchment.  any of the aforementioned.  as we will be living in a tiny space - this means low utility cost.  but we have a large metal roof - so we might as well put 'er to good use.
  • move-able sink for the out-of-doors
  • i want an outdoor kitchen.  built-up with a lovely cob oven/stove/grill that we hand build.  complete with some old reclaimed cast-iron sink.  and ready for processing all the harvested goods for market.
  • and i'd like an outdoor bath/shower.  a solar-heated shower would be lovely.  and we'll plan on growing some evergreens or some sort of privacy barrier so we can bathe out in the open country air.
the infrastructure will be there - but we'll get to hand-craft the home into what we frugally will.  i'm excited to piece together old bits gleaned from the habitat restore and thrift stores and freecycle and craigslist and friends.  as well as give away some of our larger possessions that won't fit into living quarters that are 12'x30'.

lord only knows what we'll do when the babies enter the picture . . .

Thursday, February 9, 2012

today's bizness. and a cup of lemon ginger tea.

morning started with an inspirational song to rev up the urban gardening coalition office:  'bizness' by tUnE-yArDs.  then the gathering of eggs from our lovely hens.  today's total:  8 -- all in a lovely array of beiges and browns and one lone white.  not too shabby for 9 layers.  biked to first meeting to discuss housing possibilities down at ye olde habitat office. 

then off to the goodwill as-is store - possibly heaven for folks who love to craft from recycled old clothes and shrunken sweaters and moth-eaten blankets (ie my love language).  here i dig through shipping crate-sized boxes for golden treasure. (i score raggedy carhartts for raggedy garden work, an old samsonite suitcase for farmers market, & old flannel pajama pants for diy flannel scarf).

bike with the dog and co-workers to the river for a meeting about ramping up the s.n.a.p. (food stamps) at the waco downtown farmers market.  then more house browsing and new dreams of living on land, semi-in-the-country with our own road-side farm stand where we sell our soaps and home-baked goods (thank you not-very-comprehensive cottage food bill) and vegetables.  first, the house in axtell.  next, the house on orchard lane.  dinner with the boys.  crafty work for the farmers market. 

and ending with lemon ginger tea, more inspirational music (thank you for your sweet dance moves, janelle monae), and bit of reading from the wonderful world of wildwood.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

mountain traditions project.

o hurrah!  friends in the mountains - making music, growing food, living simply.  this is my little way of promoting their new film project!

watch the trailer here:  the mountain traditions project trailer.  (an old waco friend is now a part of this community!  he's the bearded one on the tire swing!)