26 February 2011

Rain Barrels & the Guest Room (Phase II)

Willis and I with my favorite niece, Teagan, in Stuttgart, Germany.
As I type this, Willis is making some butternut squash chili nachos and I am drinking delicious Elderberry Mead, brewed by Nick and Courtney!  The wood stove is burning and I have two dogs snuggled up on the couch with me.  Tonight is a good night.

Willis and I just recently returned from a trip to visit family in Ireland and Stuttgart.

Before we left, Willis chopped down the out of control Wisteria in the back yard.  Although I love it and it makes a great bird habitat, it's a little too much to handle as it creeps over the fence and into our neighbors yard.  We are also hoping to use  the space for a few more dwarf fruit trees.  Probably cherry.  When spring comes around in full bloom, I plan on posting before and after pictures of our backyard to see the slow transformation.

After our trip, we finally purchased a stone base for our rain barrels.  Willis installed the base last weekend.  We can't wait to install rain barrels at every down spout to maximize our water catchment system.  I purchased the 55 gallon barrels off craigslist a few years ago for super cheap.  Willis attached all the necessary hardware to turn them into rain barrels.

This weekend, we did something we rarely do: go thrifting together.  I purchased two end tables which brings our Guest Room into Phase II.  Willis also bought the bedside lamp that he has been thinking about ever since we saw it at a local thrift store a few months ago.  My next goals for the guest room are to buff and refinish those end tables and frame and hang pictures.

20 February 2011


Foraging can be unpredictable.

I planned to go look for nettles yesterday, but the frost on the ground and the ice on the roads made me doubt I'd find anything worth while. I went anyway. The sun was out, and I figured I'd enjoy the time outdoors regardless of what I found.

The hike into the nettle patch was great. I had the river shore and forest to myself, and it was good to be in sunshine after a week of rain.

Ciara and I found the nettle patch I was heading to a few years ago. We had good luck there, but that was a week or two later in the year. I was enjoying myself on the hike, but doubted I'd find many nettles.

About half a mile or so of walking along the river shore I ducked into the forest. I looked around the forest floor and within a minute I found what looked to be a good patch of nettles. I was worried that they would have frost damage or be too small to harvest, but they looked great. I put on my gloves, got out my scissors and started to work.

I hope this patch continues to be productive. I did my best to harvest sustainably and left more than enough for other foragers to find. It's my second year going here, and I hope to come back many times.