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Gathered some fiddleheads today. Well, edible ferns anyway. There's more than one type of fern where the curled up leaf is edible. I should have been out last week but was a little busy and didn't get to it.

My first time really harvesting in and around our property -- before I've done it near the family farm. Here...usually been too busy to remember in time, but I made sure to note where the ferns were last summer so I knew where to go looking this year. The ones I transplanted are starting to spread, too.

This week though I got the treat of seeing red Trillium flowers and purple/blue Creeping Myrtle flowers (Vinca Minor) -- and learned that honeybees like the Myrtle. Vinca Minor is not native to New England but it doesn't shut out other plants and critters from co-existing...too much. It is considered invasive in some states but is under assessment in Massachusetts. Since our dandelions are just barely starting to bloom, it's hard to begrudge the honeybees food this early in the summer.

Put in my monthly order with DoTerra - arborvitae's on the way! That will be going into my bug spray, along with a few other oils :) Good thing too, as my old bug spray's pretty much empty. This week we're learning about the floral oils -- Clary Sage is good for balancing the hormones (male or female people) -- thinking that's going to be a good addition.


About this time a year ago Fitzw came down with Shingles. He still has the nerve pain from time to time and it's hard to say when/if that will go away completely. But he's miles away from the shape he was in last summer, and steadily improving.

Celebrations remain fairly low-key for us, but a number of Peeps have been sacrificed (among other things) and the land seems to be happy and thriving.
helwen: (Default)
FERC continues to suck:


Mysogynist Republican legislator heads up Red Pill group in NH:

-- To be clear, I'd post if he was a Democrat or other party as well.


On the home front, made some foaming hand soap and the decoupaged the jar I put it in -- yes, I'll try to take a photo. Also made after-sun soother spray, some Light Blue for my travel kit (helps with tight muscles and can have some relaxing/calming effects).

Debating the "hand sanitizer" -- non-triclosan homemade stuff. I'm sure it's great, I'm just trying to decide if I'm that often in places where I'd need to clean my hands and there's wasn't a sink handy. I have another one I've made that's for minor scratches and abrasions...I need to look at the different options and see if it makes sense to have separate things.

Lots more reading - and writing - to do. I can't always sort things out just in my head, especially if I'm comparing things, so paper is better. I may print out some of the sheets on different plants and highlight the bits I look at most...will probably end up creating my own pages for them -- then I can lay the pages out and look at everything at the same time.


I have a lot more energy than I used to, but still get overwhelmed sometimes by stuff out of left field, so I know I have a ways to go.

That said, have managed to move a bunch of furniture and stuff around the past several days. The warming weather helps, as some things can leave the house now or go different places.

I think I've made enough space in the living room again to do a review of the backpacks before they go out to the minivan (offsite storage of emergency supplies in case of house disaster or unexpectedly staying somewhere away overnight). That'll free up space in the dining room, yay!


I did a tiny bit of handsewing last night (mending). Hope to do some actual creative stuff soon.
helwen: (Default)

Yes it's on Facebook, but it's a public post so you should be able to see it without having an FB account?

Very cool young woman, started learning to make knives when she was six, and now at 14 is also teaching others.
helwen: (Default)
Trying to do some copy/paste/mod from FB posts, don't always remember. Still doing better than I was on LJ I think...

This past Monday Ray's guy Al came and finished the greenhouse foundation. Next day Al, Jimmie, Lyle and I moved the two frames onto the foundation. I think it rained Wednesday. Thursday or Friday, Al and Brendon showed up with some beautiful compost -- really, looks more like top soil, only not having all the bio stuff that real top soil has (time will help with that).

Frames are bolted well and truly down to the foundation, yay! Lyle removed the last porch railing, as it was in the way of caulking and we don't need it anymore. Caulking where the frame meets the foundation, inside and outside of the structure, was started. More this coming week, I'm sure.

Lyle started bringing glass panels over, getting ready for the next phase. Al and Lyle moved the new sink/cabinet up from the barn to the upstairs bathroom. I helped some with unpacking the thing and moving small stuff into the house -- unpacking shed 25 lbs. of stuff and the other bits shaved off some weight as well -- otherwise it would have been a 185 lb. box with no handholds...

My major contribution was vacuuming, and clearing the path through the house (two possible paths), moving furniture, etc. to make it possible to get the thing inside. They ended up coming into the weaving room, turning left, then a right into the kitchen, then a right into the hallway and up the stairs (which has some winders instead of a full landing), and then second door on the right.

It's probably going to sit in the bathroom for a few weeks but it's in the room so that's an improvement.


We've been moving stuff from the family farm to our place, taking stuff to recycle or trash, etc. I've also been getting more into learning about and using essential oils and it's been helpful. More energy and brain power than I've had in ages.

Trying something completely different like stilting hasn't been bad either :) That's through a local theatre company, Double Edge Theatre (DE), which is putting on an event celebrating our little town. They travel all over the place but their home base is here; just another oddity of our little place in the hills.


The kung fu school is moving down the road, and as a way to help them with that we took all the school crafting stuff home. It took a while, but it's _mostly_ organized. Had to get a few more containers so I can play with what will work best -- and then label everything. I re-cut some of the damaged paper to smaller, more useful sizes, threw out some things, re-packaged some things, etc. I have a better idea of what we have now, which is useful for planning crafts for the summer adventure camp.

Hm....I need to schedule in some time for experimenting, so I know if/how things work and come up with time estimates...


I'll be doing some work with the DE artists on making big puppet(?) heads - papier mache, plus some independent work for some other bits. Also some costuming. Volunteer, but I could use the practice as it's been ages since I've done this kind of work.


Definitely spending more time on my feet, getting in better shape. I have a very long road ahead, but I finally weigh less than when my mother died, and with essential oils I was able to stop using Sudafed, so there's some progress.
helwen: (Default)

Found reference to an English translation on this page (above), plus an excerpt of the poem!

Then come the showers of Spring, from time to time
Watering our tiny crop, and in its turn
The gentle moon caresses the delicate leaves.
Should a dry spell rob the plants of the moisture they need,
My gardening zeal and the fear that the slender shoots
May die of thirst make me scurry to bring fresh water
In brimming buckets. With my own hands I pour it
Drop by drop, taking care not to shift the seeds
By too sudden or lavish a soaking. Sure enough,
In a little while the garden is carpeted over
With tiny young shoots. True, that part there
Below the high roof is dry and rough from the lack
Of rain and the heaven’s benison; true, this
Part here is always in shade, for the high wall’s
Solid rampart forbids the sun to enter.
Yet of all that was lately entrusted to it, the garden
Has held nothing enclosed in its sluggish soil
Without hope of growth. What is more, those plants that were moved,
More dead than alive, to the newly dug furrows are now
Green again; our garden has brought them back
To life, making them good with abundant growth.

—From Hortulus by Walahfrid Strabo. 9th century. Translated from the Latin by Raef Payne. The Hunt Botanical Library, 1966.
helwen: (Default)
Ran some recycling to the transfer point this morning, then off to the family farm to put out a few bales of hay for a customer, then off to Elmer's for breakfast. Did a little with correspondence and research.

Car excise tax payment delivered to town hall.

Found a couple of tax papers we missed; Helene Leue at HR Block fixed it all up and the corrections will be in the mail tomorrow (got back to town too late to do it today).

Defective air bag (recall) has been replaced, and we looked at a few vehicles for sale in passing -- new, but now I have a better idea of the size and insides. Picked up some more containers at Target (some for us), plus a few other odds and ends -- oh, and an Easter lily for Ma, of course! Managed to get to Ashfield Hardware in time to get a carabiner for the new suet feeder at the family farm. I managed to get in a few minutes working on one of the fingerless mitts and will likely do more on that tonight. Not a bad day, all told.
helwen: (jug)
Found this nifty site just now...This page is on Walahfrid Strabo's Hortulus, with a little overview on Walahfrid Strabo and his garden-poem, Hortulus. There are links for more detail on various things.

He was a 9th c. monk on an island in southern Germany. The poem lists what he considered the most useful plants (and why they're useful), including the gourd (lagenaria). I'm still looking up the history of bottle gourds but so far Strabo's my only connection for it in Europe. I haven't really spent more than a few minutes here and there, so I'm sure there's more out there. I did find out that when the bottle gourds are young and small that they're edible.

There's other gardening info at this site as well. People may find it to be of use.


Please note that the link is to Walahfrid's page, as I'm working on tracking down his text in English. Menu for the site is in a sidebar on the left.
helwen: (Default)
Finally migrated from Live Journal. (helwen.livejournal.com)

Will not be posting there any more. I'd like to post over there that I'm not posting over there but their log-in system is giving me grief right now...

Hope to post here more often than I've been posting there!
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Long not as in having a three-day weekend, just a lot happening, starting Friday afternoon.

Got a massage - yay!

Went down into the valley and made a quick stop at CVS, then on to Applebee's for a quick supper...and ran into some of L's relatives who were in the area for the reunion on Saturday. So of course we had dinner with them...then a quick shop for ingredients for the fruit salad for Saturday -- got home late.

Saturday we went to the reunion and stayed for about 2-1/2 hours and then L was toasty so we went home. L mostly took it easy, I got a few things done, like picking a few blueberries and giving them a few gallons of water.

Sunday we went back to the family farm in the morning for pancake breakfast (and leftovers) - and yes, there were GF pancakes. No blueberry ones, but hey, can't have everything. Hung out long enough to be in a couple of family photos and then back home. L took a nap while I made a trash and recycling run and made another fruit salad for the Pennsic Pity Party. Not that we're feeling sorry to not be at Pennsic, but it was a chance to hang out with some people we haven't seen much in the past year. It was a cozy gathering -- and really, just about perfect for us. I got some really old artwork back from Fiona, from back when cut-and-paste was a real thing using actual scissors and glue :D


Today we'll be pretty low key, but I at least have more energy today than I would normally have after that much activity and traveling. I picked a _lot_ of blueberries today, and gave them more water. Normally I wouldn't be watering established plants but it's dry enough here that the poor things are already dropping leaves...

I also worked on getting access to a small piece of furniture (moving stuff on and around a table) and finished getting it clear today. It's part of an effort to make the office less cluttered and more usable...we'll be getting a filing cabinet from L's mom soon too, so I have to keep working on opening up space. It'll be nice to get the table out of its current location in the dining room, which is still serving as a storage space for things from all over the place, but esp. the future greenhouse space.

Oh, and we finally got the tiger tapestry up on the wall in the weaving room. It's on the large side and in a frame, so it was a challenge; only took seven months...yes, another year of chaos, but we're making progress.


Made appts. with an acupuncturist for Thursday. Let's see what she can do for L's continuing nerve pain and my various issues. Meanwhile, I've dug out the acupressure book and looking at and trying some possible points to use. I used to have a routine of points I did regularly but whenever something new is added to my or our lives I tend to lose other bits.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
I'm actually looking at different ways to assemble a Chinese headdress, but when I mentioned to [livejournal.com profile] fitzw that [livejournal.com profile] danabren was working on a complex headdress with parts that stand up and away from the head, he suggested looking at kabutos (Japanese helmets).

Didn't have a lot of success until I did a search that brought up a page from Sengokudaimyo.com. Of course. I didn't know Anthony Bryant well but we had some lovely online chats about Japanese clothing; he is missed. People interested in Japanese armor and underpinnings of same will be happy to know that a devoted group of volunteers are continuing to maintain his site and fill in the gaps - things that were lost or he hadn't had the time to finish are being recovered and worked on as well.

Also, there are links near the bottom of the side menu bar to his related sites on clothing, miscellany, and intro to Classical Japanese.


A few pages from his site:

http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/katchu/katchu.html (Chapter 8)

- Dealing primarily with describing different methods of helmet assembly, but there is this mention of crests: "Datemono (crests) could be attached to the front, sides, back, or even top of the helmet using a fixture called an oharaidate. Some helmet were even fitted with several different types of crest. Crests were usually removable. Even grotesques might have crests attached to them."

http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/katchu/katchu.html (Chapter 9)

- More detail on helmets. PDFs of templates linked in each section.

Key phrase for oharaidate: "Cut out and form the oharaidate (crest holder). There are more complex versions, but I’ve provided a simple one that should serve you well. Attach it to the front of the kabuto. Note that the central of the three dome rivets goes through the oharaidate. There is a second rivet lower down on the crest-holder, but it must be ground flat and is invisible."


- This is the PDF for the exemplar oharaidate. Diagrams and instructions.


When I get to seriously designing and making a Chinese headdress (Chinese opera-style), I plan on photographing the process in the hopes of sharing it with those interested. The opera hats seem to use hook & eye and ties, but I'm thinking snaps and velcro may also be of use. I was also remembering today about how for straps it can be useful to make slots/holes for them to go through - either one or two, depending on which side of a surface you want to have the fastener. The bending of the strap or tie to go under/over a surface redirects some of the force of the tension the strap is under, and makes for a "stronger" attachment because it takes some stress off where the strap is sewn/riveted.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
A method used in dry places for watering plants with minimal water loss. The most popular searches bring up the terracotta pots (olla pots), from South America I think, but the method goes back to BCE times in China. And of course there's permaculture sites that talk about it as well.

The olla pots are not cheap. Even regular terracotta pots are not inexpensive, but sometimes you can find them at transfer points/dumps. Or look at the garden center for chipped ones -- they're going to be underground so who care what they look like? I've also found sites where people used regular pots and put the pot plate on top of the pot (just make sure there's a small hole in the plate), and sites where people caulked two pots together. Your local Freecycle may be a place to look for terracotta pots as well.

Water needs to be able to pass through the sides of the pot, so no plastic or glazed pots. Although I did notice that some people paint part of the pots sometimes - to direct the water flow I'm guessing.

I'm trying out a small pot in one of my pots, just because it worked out that I had space in a pot to do that yesterday. Didn't have a clay pot plate to use as a cover, so cluged a cover with an old CD and some Gorilla tape.

Plants still have to be watered, via the pots, but the release of water is more regular and if the pots are appropriately sized one shouldn't have to water as often.

Some sites for more info:

Info and diagrams and stuff:

The pretty version of pots but has decent photos of the process:

Picture of pot with potplate: https://myfolia.com/journals/102148-completed-clay-pot-water-jar-irrigation-system


Jun. 21st, 2016 02:05 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Monday was a relatively quiet day, but L was up for some yard work. He did some more mowing (there is always more mowing), and got the grass in the grove to a manageable height. By which I mean that barring enduring rains it can be kept up with the reel mower if we do it weekly.

And, he put a lot of stones on the altar. We started stacking stones last year, then it sat over the winter. This was actually a good thing, as this gave the stones time to settle or heave if we'd chosen badly. We've been adding a few over the past few months -- the goal was to have it done by Solstice but of course with L getting ill I didn't think that would happen. It needs a thin stone under one corner of one of the top stones but otherwise it's pretty nice. We'll let it sit for a bit and see if it needs more than that. I think it looks pretty good -- I mean, it's essentially just a big cube-like stack of stone, but still.

We kept things super simple for the day, otherwise.

I did some work on making sun catchers -- good time for making them :)

The fireflies treated us to a lovely show at night, and we were fortunate that clear weather held for moon viewing. Apparently the rain we were going to get decided to pass us by -- my BIL R, who has been bringing in hay, is fine with that.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Hey, at this point I'll take what progress I can get :P

L's rash has finished with the scabbing and is on to being red marks that are slowly fading. Pain is a continuing problem -- off to get more pain meds today. So far, seems to be progressing like a "normal" case; we can only hope.


L started to change out the old dining room ceiling light yesterday, but our replacement has a small crack in the glass so that needed a little glass glue and overnight set up. He needs to pick up a few things at the hardware store anyway -- yay trying to fit new things onto old things. The replacement was the floor model and deeply discounted, plus the crack/repair won't show once it's attached, so it's all good.


New mattress and box spring delivered yesterday. Not a bad night's sleep last night, although it will take a bit to get used to, of course. I think the last one had a 7-year warranty...which we exceeded by a few years...this one has a 10-year warranty.


Turned a curtain I wasn't using that way (made for previous house) into a body pillow case, and turned half of a pair of old curtains sideways to convert it to use in our hallway window. The other half is in the living room doorway now. So on bad hot/humid weather days we can work in there without trying to cool off the entire house. I may also hang the translucent white curtains around the stairway, to help keep the first and second floor zones more separate. I've done it before, but I wanted to wait until after yesterday's delivery.


Fiddled with cutting out pieces for making a bag last night. I think I'm at the point where I can sew today.


Oh! And not finished, but I found and have been working on finishing the edge on an old bag project. This one is a big one based on camel bags IIRC -- um, Persian? Anyway. Started two of them back when we were still going to Pennsic but the seam edges are to the outside and then wrapped in yarn, so at some point I just stopped, because of whatever life thing was happening. We've actually used them -- they're sized to hold the walls and ceiling of our oval marquee tent. But it would really be nice if the edges were done and the toggle closures attached.


Hung up a wall cabinet in the downstairs bathroom to test-fit. Needs magnet closures at the top of the doors so the upper parts don't stick out from the frame. Once that's done we'll screw through the back to anchor it to the wall.


Hung up a few pictures, moved some things back into place in the radiant room (from when I moved them to the side for the washer and dryer earlier this year), mailed some Japanese prints to a friend who is a devotee of the culture, gave a few other things away, moved some books and games into the trailer (L helped with that), did some digging and weeding, moved a trellis/hanging-pot-holder-thingie near to the patio, repotted two tomatoes and hung them on the thingie.

Hm. I guess I did a few things. Of course, what I wish is that I could do more, but hey. I suspect it's still more than I was doing a year ago?
helwen: (Due Consideration)

So I'd had a possibly good idea and shared it with L -- who then got a major part of it done before I got outside. *sigh* And the air conditioners are now in the house as well. Neither one is set up yet, but we're one step closer. L is now laying down for a rest.

Oh, and he also got a single seat and bench seat from our old minivan out of the trailer, which will eventually make it to the transfer point to be trash. Unfortunately mice found a way to get into the trailer and made their homes in these.

We had an 8' long table taking up space in the center aisle of the barn -- it is now set up along one wall of the trailer. Boxes that were in that space are now elsewhere or underneath. I moved some of the lumber for the trailer project into the trailer and put it on top of the table, along with a rolled up rug that was in the way in the trailer; ten trips with two 2"x4"x8' boards at a time. The 2"x6"x8' boards will have to wait a bit; weather is horrible. But we're making three areas more open for passage and construction purposes at the same time, so yay.


The boards are part of a project to insulate the trailer so that it doesn't suffer as extreme temperature swings. We're also working out ventilation, etc. The end goal is to be able to safely store most of our books out there, as well as games -- sort of a library and entertainment area. We've been working toward this but with the mouse incursions plus being really tired of not being able to find books, etc., this year we're pushing it.

The far end of the trailer has some wood rot in the very end part of the floor and there are some smaller holes in the wall corners (where bolts or something used to be?), so first is cleaning, stabilizing and sealing, then construction. We'll do a section at a time, so as we complete a section we can move things over and do the next section. If we don't get it done by next fall, we can always hang a curtain between the done/undone sections to maximize stable storage.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
A slower pace this weekend, but still a few things accomplished. Yesterday we chatted with quite a few folks at the market, giving and gaining knowledge. Picked up a small flat of leeks and a couple of Juliette tomato plants. Later we went to the family farm and finished taking apart our old Sycamore shed (BIL Ray had started the process but it's best done with two or more). He'd been quite busy already with loading other things into his truck to take elsewhere. Lyle and I moved the shed parts into another pickup for the night.

Sunday L went and brought the shed over to our place. We cleared most of the accumulated detritus off the cement pad (nearish to the road) and offloaded the parts. Even disassembled it's a bit of a job.

And of course I got in a wee bit of sorting, and emptied another box from the trailer, did some laundry, and no doubt other things I can't remember.

A cabinet I ordered came sooner than expected; it is now mostly assembled, only needing leveling and figuring out what height to set the shelves at for the books going into it. Still have plenty of flatpack and plastic shelving, but I'm slowly working on either moving the old plastic shelves out of active living spaces or retiring them. A good deal of our shelving is 20+ years old, so it's perhaps time for something nicer.

Also, I just ordered a mini-trampoline...I'd like to be out walking every day but my knees aren't so keen on that, so something lower impact is in order. There are a few changes on the horizon, mostly geared toward reducing stress and inflammation, and hopefully moving toward better health.

L's meds seem to be helping, at least to make things more tolerable. Also using colloidal silver on the rash (thanks for the gifting loosecanon!).

Not a bad weekend at all.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
I succeeded in moving the claws off the sewing machine and onto a tray table today. Of course I couldn't just move them :P So now they're a bit smoother, etc. Maybe tonight I'll poke holes into the tabs for holding them onto gloves...unlikely I'll get to actually baking them tonight, but soon.


Unpacked some crystal water glasses I bought in my 20s and found a space for them in the cupboard. Some travel mugs I think L wants to hold onto for a little longer are now tucked in the back of the coffee machine cabinet.

Unpacked a bento box too, so I can see it and remember to use it at some point. If one isn't using something, even just for display, why keep it?

Put the boxes from those in the barn loft. Yay tidying!
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Nearly all the plants indoors are now outdoors or on the porch (easy to enclose if it gets below 40F at night). I've a few more upstairs to move out, but it's too late in the day for that now.

Moving plants onto the porch entailed moving a bunch of stuff around or off the porch, then moving a table and a long bench onto the porch -- bit of work, but got it done.

Also transplanted a few new plants into pots on the patio: Petunias, Pansies, one Lady's Mantle (to keep my remaining one company), and a mix of leaf lettuces.

Did you know that Petunias come in black? I didn't know that until this past Saturday - now I have two of them :)


I've been looking for a couple of nearly-finished tent bags for a week or so now, then figured I'd probably have to move the plants to find them, and I was correct. Hate have so much stuff jammed into one space; now I have room to go through what's still in the dining room and get things sorted.

Hoping soon to either rearrange or otherwise make enough space in the trailer to move a coat rack into it. It's a lovely old thing with a center post and the rack is a spiral with acorn-like knobs to keep things separate. I've used it for a few different things but it really isn't fitting into the house anymore. Since we're working on insulating the trailer and making it more usable, a coat rack is an eminently practical addition.


May. 16th, 2016 12:24 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
...still snowing...

Car's been towed.

Might still go out to the trailer...after lunch.


helwen: (Default)

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