December 12, 2016

New bunny suit for Old Bunny


I've been continuing to make these bunnies as baby gifts these last few years, never actually catching up with how many I'd like to make. Meanwhile, Violet still keeps her bunny (the first I made, in 2010) as her favorite, and it has gotten pretty ragged looking. This bunny has been slept with thousands of times, and has soaked up an ocean of tears (plus some drool and a little blood). It has been on trips in suitcases, on planes, and in the car. The ears were near to falling off completely, and the rest of the outer fabric had degraded to a fragile spider web like layer. The ones I've been making since the first one have used a double layer of muslin for the outer shell to help with durability and to prevent wool fibers from escaping.


I proposed making her a new one, but she was adamant in her desire to not retire her old one. So we came up with a scheme for preserving the old bunny but protecting it from further decline while still keeping it in constant use. A bunny suit!

October 25, 2016

Cider 12 - Winter wheat from the orchard and a bicycle powered apple washer


Another great year of cidering at Five Islands, Maine with a good group of people, excellent weather, and delicious food.

A complementary writeup and different set of photos can be found at Ben's blog.

May 4, 2016

A Quick and Basic Frame Saw


I bought some rough cut green oak from a local supplier early this spring, for making into some plant trellises and a little perch on a maple tree for the kids. Feeling that this by itself was not enough of a challenge apparently, I decided to try to do a bit of carving on the tops of the posts to make these installations more interesting.

April 11, 2016

Tapping the Urban Maple, and Boiled Cider


Last year, I read about tapping trees that are NOT sugar maple at the blog of Anna Hess, and I resolved to tap the handful of trees on our small city lot. We have two Sycamore Maples and two Norway Maples. I had no idea what to expect, but I thought it would be fun to try. The easiest way I could come up with to test the waters was a piece of metal tube stuck in a hole, with a length of tubing run down to a container sitting on the ground.

April 7, 2016

Violet's Tiny Embroidered Buckwheat Hull Pillow


She has had this project going for a couple years now, but recently wrapped it up.

March 24, 2016

Garden Review 2015: Strawberries, and other Permaculture Plants


Perennials are coming along, most of them more slowly than I'd like. Some died. Strawberries were a huge success, others gave a couple fruits and berries. We planted some new edible vines and shrubs.

In other recent posts I have written up Apples, perennial greens & herbs, and alliums. But there are plenty of other plants I feel the need to write up!

March 15, 2016

The Children Assemble a Nixie Tube Clock


Violet had been wanting a clock in her room for a while, to know how late it was getting when she is up reading after bedtime, and also to be able to set an alarm to get up in the morning. We could have just purchased a cheap clock from any number of retail sources, but I thought it would be a good opportunity for a project.

March 1, 2016

Aggressive Composting, and Retiring Chickens


Reading The Humanure Handbook, by Joseph Jenkins last year really inspired me to try to compost (almost) everything. So this last season we started ignoring those picky commonplace composting rules often given to home scale composters. Such as: No Meat or Animal Products, No Fat, etc. We just started putting it ALL in there.

February 17, 2016

Enterprise #25 antique iron sausage stuffer, plus sous-vide sausage




In our menagerie of hand cranked food processing machines, I've long felt we were missing a sausage stuffer. I was attracted to the cast iron vintage beauty embodied by the line of small stuffers manufactured by the Enterprise company, of Philadelphia.

February 6, 2016

Cutter Family Clothing Archive: 19th Century Striped Plaid Silk Dress


This is another wonderful dress entrusted to us by Becky's good friend, taken out of her mom's attic in Cambridge. The fabric handles like a medium weight, plain weave silk. It has a lustre about it and is very smooth, and a little stiff, like a taffetta.  Looking at the construction and style, I'm guessing it is late-ish 19th century, but it could be earlier or later than that. Maybe some costume or historical clothing people out there can offer their opinions...

January 26, 2016

Garden Review 2015: Popcorn, Fiber Flax, Wheat


We grew a little popcorn, which gave a higher yield of easy to process grain than any other grain I've tried, even though by the standards of corn it didn't do great. A small patch of fiber flax, which did nicely and looked great while growing. Tried a bit of Red Fife wheat, which was an utter fail.

January 16, 2016

Urban Micro Orchard: Year 2


The 7 apple trees in the micro-orchard did very well in the beginning of the season, we ate our first couple fruits in the fall, and got plenty of production from the companion plant understory. Overactive management on my part led to the destruction of 2 trees in late summer. Nevertheless, I have high hopes for next year!

You can find a post about the design of the orchard here, and a review of the first growing season here.

January 10, 2016

Garden Review 2015: Garlic, Leeks, Ramps, and other Alliums



Alliums are a fantastic group of plants. I have loads of alliums planted in different areas, some growing as perennials, some as annuals.