A hodge podge update

  • After last week spent in the hospital with Kathleen, this week is just zipping right along. Kathleen is doing well although the antibiotics aren’t sitting so well with her and so she is much fussier than normal. But we finally got an almost decent sleep last night so I almost (not quite) feel sane today. Dan does so much better than I on less sleep.
  • It’s turned a bit colder again and since the girls can’t reconcile themselves to pulling on hats, boots and coats, they have been spending more time at inside arguing play. Actually, they mostly play really well, but there are definitely sibling squabbles when they get a little stir crazy. Lately they play fairies, dress “their children”, raid my kitchen to stock their kitchen (sounds like something I did back in BC), climb furniture, and slide banisters. I should mention that their kitchen is a garbage can, a mop bucket, and our little red electric stove. Their house is the mud room.Two nights ago they were friends coming to visit me for supper and so I was Marissa to Aneliese and as Cecily was her child, I was Auntie Missy to her. We were friends for about 1.5 hours with only an occasional slip. This morning Cecily was upset at Aneliese and getting mad until as Aneliese said “I just gave her some time to take some deep breaths and we worked it out.” and Cecily wasn’t hitting, by her description, she was “patting”. Oh my.
  • We are getting a goat at the end of the week. Well two actually, a doe and a baby. We are going to attempt to drink goats milk as our raw cow’s milk source is gone. I am hoping that we like it but not too sure. I love goat’s cheese though. And goats are fun, provided they don’t get into my garden.
  • I’m also realizing that just because I grew up with animals and worked with them my entire life, I don’t know as much as I need to. Which why I really appreciate sites like this one to fill in the things that I need to know about goats.
  • Dan is building a barn in his spare minutes (?). It’s just a little one that we can add on as we are able. Right now it will house our goats and the fifteen chickens that we have on order for the end of the month.
  • We are also getting a steer in a couple of weeks so that we have our own beef for next year. We are almost a little farm don’t you think?
  • We have our first guests coming at the beginning of May to stay in our very unfinished guest house…for a few weeks. My good friend and college dorm room neighbor. I am so very excited.
  • I love pussy willows and I spied some in our neighbors orchard the other day. I was very brave (for me) and asked if I might have some.And on that note, I bid you good night.

Vernal Equinox & Eggshell Seed Starters


, , , ,

We celebrate the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox today. The sun and earth are celebrating in style with their warmth calling little ones to run about in bare feet and cats to laze in the sun. I believe that I shall fold my laundry outside in the beauty of it all.

We celebrated the first day of spring by starting some of our seeds. I’m not sure how great our garden will be this year as we haven’t a prepared garden plot but we are going to give it a go. With starting seeds in mind, I have been saving eggshells for the past couple of weeks to start my seeds.

I’ve used eggshells for a few years and always find that it works well. Not only are they a free pot, but the calcium in the shells is good for the growing plants, they are the perfect size for starting plants, and they break down completely in the soil while still providing essential nutrients to the plants.

This idea is not in any way original to me, even though I was the first person I know to do it, and I think there are probably plenty of other how-to’s on it but really I just want to share pictures of the fun that we had together. That is the fun, when I remembered to let go of control and not stress about it being done exactly as I would do it.

You will need:

  • Eggshells ~ when you are using your eggs for cooking, just crack off the top third and save the bottom portion. It’s a good idea to give them a little swish with water but I often forget.
  • Egg carton ~ to store the egg shells and to hold them once you have planted.
  • Seeds~ I ordered my seeds from Hope Seeds this year. They offer local seeds with a commitment local and sustainable agriculture, which includes the avoidance of genetically engineered seeds. I’ve also heard lots of good things about Salt Spring Seeds, based on Vancouver Island.
  • Dirt ~ I use a seed starting mix.
  • Pen
  • Needle
  • Scissors

How to:

  1. This is the step where you should carefully poke just one hole in the bottom of the clean eggshell using the needle. This is for drainage. I forgot. I’ve forgotten before and the seeds have been fine because I just water lightly. So if you remember, great. If you forget, don’t stress.
  2. Fill the eggshells with soil. Fill them full and even compact the soil just a little. If the soil is dry you might want to lightly wet it (a spray bottle works well).
  3. Plant your seeds. I usually do one or two seeds per egg, depending on the size of the seed.

    This is a very good opportunity for practical math

  4. Cut the most of the top of the egg carton off, leaving enough to write what you have planted in the rows. Actually, it would be a good idea to do this as the first step but I had some eager planters that got a little ahead of themselves.
  5. As was implied in step four, write above each row what you planted. I try to do it as I plant each thing otherwise I forget. I also record it in my garden log with the date, how many, and other info that I want to remember.
  6. Lightly water. My little water girl occasionally soaked them but I wouldn’t recommend that too often. The idea with seedlings is to always keep them damp, especially as they germinate. I find that a spray bottle works well.
  7. Keep the egg cartons in a warm sunny location. Once the seedlings have sprouted and grown enough to be transplanted in the garden or a larger pot, gently crack the shell before planting. It will biodegrade, the roots will grow out into the soil and the shell will continue to provide calcium to the plant. 

May you experience Light and Life on this first day of spring!