I am in love... I ordered a yard of the IL020 bleached 100% linen from http://www.fabrics-store.com/, and made myself a simple half slip from an A-line skirt pattern with elastic in the waist. It is so comfortable! This is their "handkerchief weight" linen. It is amazingly easy to sew, a little crisp and yet very very soft at the same time. Fabrics-Store.com has very good prices on their linens and linen blends as well as regular sales.
I used Butterick B4803
Linen is so durable, I'll probably have to mention this article in my will. ;)
This is a picture of my favorite neighbor. Her name is Heather, and she is 9 years old. I asked her grandma (with whom she lives) if it would be alright if I were to teach Heather to sew this summer. Today was her first lesson. She is a natural! The first thing I had her do was use the sewing machine, without thread, to sew over lines I drew on paper. She did very well, even on the curves.
Then, she made a pillowcase under my scrutiny and frequent suggestions. I helped her a little with the ironing, because that's kind of scary, but she did most of it. I just showed her what to do, and she did nearly all of it, and her pillowcase is very nice.
Last week, I helped her plant a small vegetable plot in our garden. This is going to be a good and productive summer!
About the composting... my efforts at "composting" amount to throwing kitchen scraps (not meat and things like that) into a bin outside and just letting it do it's thing. I have no desire to do it in a faster way, that requires formulas and turning. I've always just let it rot for a year and then used it. It works just fine, but is slow. I read about this other thing I am doing, somewhere, and finally decided to do it. When my little bucket of scraps gets kind of full, I put some water in the electric blender, add the scraps and puree them. Then, taking a hoe to the garden, I dig a small trench, pour in the gloop and cover it with soil. I'm sure the earthworms will be pleased, and, in time, this should really help the garden! FYI, I have an extra blender container that I am using. That's probably not important, but reduces the "ick" factor. I always wash it well anyway.
When I went out to get the mail this morning, I found this beauty on a tree stump in our yard! Not knowing if it is safe to eat, or even worth eating, I talked to my daughter who has some knowledge of mushrooms and also researched online.
This is an "oyster mushroom." Beautiful! Smells so nice and when I weighed it, it came in at 5 pounds! I fried up a little of it for lunch in butter and am going to dehydrate a lot of it. So delicious! Free! I feel so blessed!
Here it is sitting in a basket on the stove. It took quite a while to clean. It is now all washed and draining on a towel on the table. By the way, it is a myth that you should not wash mushrooms. They don't absorb water.
My husband has not yet built a chicken coop for our new chickens. They live in a crate in the garage right now, but when the weather is fine, we take them out to this lovely chicken tractor! I took this picture before it was completed. Now, there are two small wheels on the back end, and a mechanism on each side to lift it slightly. We move it onto a fresh patch of grass each day. They love it!
The "tractor" is made with "hog panels", chicken wire, and covered with a tarp.
The first time it rained, I was looking out the kitchen window and saw them... they were all clustered in the corner where the rain was blowing right in, looking out and up with fascination! They are so funny.
There are certain things my DH loves to eat with crackers... and I wanted to get him some the other day. I carefully read label after label, trying to find something that didn't have any scary ingredients like soy oil and other things that he doesn't eat anymore. There was NOTHING except some little round "melba toast" garlic-herb thingies and they were made with white flour. I did get those for him. And I got to thinking I might be able to come up with my own version. Here it is and we like it. They are very crunchy, but nicely tasty with some liver pate or broken into soup.
Sourdough Garlic-Herb Melba Rounds
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, packed down well
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage, packed down well
2 large garlic cloves, put through a garlic press or minced very finely
1 teaspoon Realsalt
Freshly ground whole wheat flour
Extra-virgin olive oil for bowl
French bread pan for two loaves (optional)
Combine the sourdough starter, water, garlic, herbs and salt.
Begin adding whole wheat flour, a little at a time and stir in thoroughly.
Add and stir in flour until the dough is stiff enough to knead.
Using a little more flour to prevent sticking, knead vigorously for 10 minutes.
Wash and dry bowl.
Put a little olive oil in the bowl and rub it around.
Put the dough in and turn it over to oil the top.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Let rise for 12 hours.
Moisten your work surface with water and place the dough on it.
Divide it into two, and form into two long skinny loaves that will fit in your French bread pans that have been buttered well.
Alternately, you can put them on a buttered baking pan, but they will be less "round."
Allow to rise in pans until when you touch it lightly with your finger, the dough springs back slowly.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F. for 30 min.
Cool completely on wire rack.
Slice into 1/4 inch slices.
Place slices on baking sheets and into a 200 degree F. oven.
After 2 hours, turn slices over and put the baking sheets back into the oven for 1 more hour.
Remove from oven and check to make sure they are dry and crisp.
Do not let them cool before putting into containers if you live in a humid climate.
Store in air-tight containers at room temperature.