Monday, June 29, 2009

Food glorious food!

Our garden is doing well. I haven't had much of a chance to walk around at look at our neighbor's yards for other plants lately since Moira insists on walking her ownself, so I'm slowing down on pictures for this project.
Raspberries
81. Raspberries
Already knew: Raspberries are tasty and delicious. They grow on canes, like the Salmonberries they are related to. They are much sweeter though, and usually red when ripe, although I've seen golden raspberries. (usually at Walker's work, those seem to come predominantly from California, but that may just be that most produce comes from California right now.) The canes and under sides of leaves have prickles on them when immature, but they seem to lose them when they start fruiting, which is nice. The leaves are similar to blackberry leaves in shape. You know they are ripe when they pull easily off the stem, leaving the leaves and little center pip behind. This is true of all berries. Raspberries are very vigorous once established and can take over the area surrounding where they are planted.
Recently learned: There are actually blue raspberries (Rubus leucodermis), I always thought that was just a perversion by the Slurpee industrial complex. I wonder what they taste like. Rasberries like sun and lots of water, with good drainage. They are traditionally planted in the winter. The little thing that holds the berry onto the plant is called a torus (that's the part that should be left behind). Do not plant raspberries where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants or bulbs, unless you have thoroughly fumigated the soil, as those crops host a disease that stays in the soil a number of years and that can kill Raspberries.
Wild strawberries
82. Wild Strawberries
Already knew: Wild strawberries are tiny and terribly fragile. The only thing you can really do with them is eat them immediately after picking them, because even holding on to them for a few minutes will cause them to fall apart in your hand. They are exceptionally sweet and delicious though, so it's worth the trouble. They look exactly like commercially grown Strawberry plants, only smaller. Strawberries are a shrub and will propagate themselves if you don't manage to eat all the berries off them, which you likely won't since birds and slugs love eat them too, bot don't tend to finish the whole berry. They like shade and leaf litter compost.
Recently learned: Strawberries are a member of the rose family. The part we eat is not actually the fruit of the plant, which is technically the seeds. The fleshy part doesn't actually come from the ovaries, so it's considered a false fruit. This variety is also called European, Alpine or Woodland Strawberry. It propagates by runner and by seed. Archeological evidence suggests that humans have been eating this kind of Strawbery since the stone age.
Hybrid Tea Rose
83. Hybrid Tea Rose
Already knew: The Hybrid Tea Rose is a crossbreed of Tea roses and a climbing variety. They have been specifically bred to have long stems with few prickles leading to a single bloom, for the floral industry. They tend to be less fragrant then other versions, but with very pretty blooms. Roses have been wildly popular for most of recorded history, and there was a complicated system of meaning behind different colors of roses that reached it's peak in the Victorian era, but the remnants of that system show up every year on Valentine's Day. To keep your rose happiest, you should treat it like a weed and violently whack it back every year after it's finished blooming. We didn't do that last year, and now this one is very sad looking. It's about 6 feet tall, and had 3 blooms at it's peak of flowering. It's also got a bunch of dead branches. Most roses sold nowadays are new cultivars grafted onto the base of Rosa Multiflora, a particularly hardy variety, and since the grafts frequently fail if they aren't taken care of properly, many of them revert back to the base root. You will also sometimes end up with two kinds of roses growing off the one bush for the same reason.
Recently learned: The information I can find about Hybrid Tea Roses that I don't already know is mind numbingly boring. I will save you and not repeat any of it.
Lettuce
84. Lettuce
Already knew: Lettuce is a plant where we eat the leaves. If you let it get to flower, you've let it go too long, and it will no longer be tasty. This is the lettuce before our little period of rain, and they have about tripled in size. We should be eating it every day to catch up. Eating green leafy things is a great way to get phytochemicals, and the sooner you eat lettuce after you pick it, the better it will be for you. Lettuce is a fragile plant, and if it has started to get mushy even a little, you cannot eat any of the leaf, unlike, say carrots, where you can just chop of the bad bits. It is also too fragile to do well when cooked, so it is usually eaten raw. There are about 5 varieties of lettuce in this picture, but I don't know the names.
Recently learned: Lettuce is a member of the same family as sunflowers and daisies. Dry conditions can cause it to flower (also called bolting) early. Lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac in Ancient Egypt. Ancient Greeks thought it aided sleep. It is an easy plant to grow from seed, even for beginners.
Trellis Rose
85. Trellis Rose
Already knew: Much of what I said about Roses in general when I was talking about the Hybrid Tea Rose also applies to this rose. The main difference is this one can be easily trained to climb up a trellis or wall or what have you. It's also more fragrant then the Hybrid Tea. The edible part of a rose is called a Rose Hip. Once all the petals fall off, what's left is a vaguely oval, usually red fruit with a frill around the top. Dried you can make tea, beads, jams and jellies. You can also make oil and syrup from Rose hips.
Recently learned: This is a climbing variety of a modern rose. "Old" roses have fewer petals. Most climbing roses grow to be 8'-20' and repeat bloom throughout the summer.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Nana & Grumpy
A few weeks ago I posted pictures of my Mom's parents on their wedding day, thinking I didn't have a similar one of my Dad's parents. Lo and behold! Maggie and Sam (Nana and Grumpy) Hillinger met on a ski trip while on leave from service in WW2. She helped wounded servicemen write letters home I believe, but I don't remember what he did.
Grumpy & Dad
Grumpy & my dad, Ellis in 1950
Sam was born in Germany, and because his parents were married in a religious Jewish ceremony, the government refused to acknowledge the marriage when the children were born, which is why my last name is Hillinger (his mother's maiden name) and not Seneft. This is good, because I can't pronounce Seneft. I can't imagine how it would be mangled by telemarketers.
Siblings
Carol, Howard, Ellis & Bev Hillinger in 1958. I don't know who the brunette sitting next to Howard is.
Both sets of my grandparents had 4 children, two boys and two girls. How funny is that?

For more vintage photos visit Paperdolls for Boys

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The cuteness! It burns us!

Fine, I'll pose
Last night I pulled out the 18 month sized clothes since some of Moira's 12 month stuff is getting too small. (the Metallica onesie was the first to go. It was super short.) This is the second of these outfit she's worn, and I can't get over how much cuter this bunch of clothes is! I think it's because she's out of the infant section and into the toddler clothes. The leg warmers are Huggalugs from my Aunt. She rarely wears this pair because up until now they didn't quite work with her clothes, but I LOVE how they look with the little dress.
I talked myself out of going shopping for some more tops for her today, but now I really wish I had gone.
There are so many little ways in which she's grown up lately. She goes to the fridge when if she wants a snack, she casually leans against things, sometimes when she is falling asleep she'll open her eyes, smile at me and then roll over and be out like a light. You can see her processing things when we ask her questions. She gets a mischievous look on her face when she does something she knows she's not supposed to do. Suddenly she's growing up so fast.

Aargh!

Cranky
For the last few days a lovely high pitched screech has been the predominant sound out of her mouth. I am working on the concept of 'indoor voices' with her, but I can't realistically expect her to understand that for a few years. Although she did come up to me earlier today and did a stage scream (mouth all the way open, tiny little 'aaaargh' coming out). I'm trying to use more signs, since she has started waving bye bye whenever she wants anything, a nap, food, to go somewhere, and it's a little confusing. I believe in letting her chose her own forms of communication over a rigid standardized baby signs lesson plan, but I think I must not gesture enough. She hasn't even started shaking or nodding her head yet. So I'm trying.
Moira
The change in nap schedule is driving me batty. When she dropped her third nap, it just disappeared one day and never came back. The switch from two to one seems to be much harder. She'll go for a week with the old two nap schedule, and just when I get used to planning according to that she'll switch back to one. Repeat as necessary. I can't count the amount of play dates I've canceled lately because of that. I also can't count the number of times we have stuck with the original plan, and had a miserable time. I should say, she usually enjoys herself right up to the point of complete meltdown. And then there's an absolutely miserable drive home. We tried to go to the Aquarium on Monday with a friend who is in from out of town, and despite being absolutely exhausted, Moira didn't fall asleep on the way there, or while we were there in the stroller, or on the way home after I'd given up until we were literally three minutes from home. So I had to poke her to keep her awake. And then she was really pissed. We made plans with the same friend to go to the zoo tomorrow starting at 11, so Moira could have the morning nap she had wanted on Monday and has wanted every day for almost two weeks. Until today. When she finally went down for her nap at 11. Perfect. At the very least, she is more interested in the animals at the Zoo then she is in fish, so she will be happier to sit in her stroller. And maybe this time I won't knock most of our snack onto the floor five minutes after we get there. And if all else fails, Red Mill is a short walk away, and I can ply her with french fries and milkshakes.
Wish us luck.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday - Lesbian edition!

A little shout out to my gay and lesbian friends. I think Obama's refusal to do anything about DOMA is horrifying. I'm so disappointed in our president right now.
On to the pictures!
Edith Matlack
My husband's great-aunt Edith Matlack in Japan in 1947/1948. She worked for the airline industry starting during WW2, and because of that, she got to do a lot of travel when visiting a different continent was something normally reserved for people in the military and the very wealthy.
Edith Matlack
Edith in Japan, same time period.
She was a kind and giving person. When Walker's grandmother was pregnant with his mother, and her husband had a few months left of active service far from their families, Edith used her vacation time and her connections in the airline industry to fly out and drive her sister-in-law home to California in July. They traveled across Texas and Arizona with no air conditioner and a non functioning gas gauge. It was so hot that they tried to sleep during the day and drive at night. They blew a tire and had to plead with the ration board in a small New Mexico town for another. They ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere and traded cigarettes with a trucker to siphon some of his gas.
Walker & Edith
Edith & Walker Matlack at Fort Ord in 1944.
She and Walker were each other's favorite siblings and remained close for his entire life. After he died, she kept in close contact with Alice and their children. She was also a lesbian. She died about two years ago and was survived by her partner Betty who took care of her full time after she developed Alzheimer's at the end of her life.
She is missed.

For more vintage photos visit Paper Dolls for Boys

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And that was that

And here you see a fern
Moira is going through, lets call it a phase, but really it's the eventual development of her independence, and I will be enjoying for the next 20-30 years. She's good enough at walking that I felt comfortable taking her for a walk in the woods where she got to walk the whole way on her own, except for the big road, where I carried her. I've started telling her that she has a choice, she can hold my hand, or I can carry her across the big road, but she still gets really angry whenever I try to hold her hand. For that matter, she gets angry when I pick her up, but crossing the street holding onto a wiggling child is slightly more safe then letting her wander down the street by herself.
Up and over
The really cute part about our walk was that she picked up this huge rock on our way there and carried it for almost our whole walk. She finally dropped it trying to get over a big log on our way out.
I am struggling to remember to let her make her own decisions on unimportant things. Like whether or not to bring her outside toys inside the house and vice versa. It makes life much easier when I do, and easier on her when I insist on something if she's not constantly being thwarted.
In news of easier to deal with living things in my care, we have baby tomatoes, apples and raspberries. We have full grown wild strawberries too, and have eaten salad from our lettuce, which we need to do again. The potatoes are flowering, but I haven't gone back and reread A Self Sufficient Life's post on potato growing to see what I should do now. I know I didn't hill them as long as was suggested, but I think that just means I'll have fewer potatoes, which for the first time out isn't necessarily a bad thing.
My first time.
I have been holding onto this quilt top for about 3 years. I originally was making it for one of Walker's nieces, but then I decided it wasn't girly enough for her. I really like it though. Both the fabrics for the top were from my Grandma's stash. The blue squares were a cheater print I cut apart. I've resurrected it for Craft Hope's next project. They are collecting blankets, hats and booties for newborns in India and this seemed a better end for it then sitting in my closet unfinished. I even decided to finally take the plunge and try out free motion quilting. I like it more then I expected, but it is, as promised very tiring. This blanket is maybe 24"x40" and I've only got 3/4s of it done after about 3 hours of work.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How's my driving?

I have been wanting to take a look and see where I'm at on my 101 things in 1001 days project. Now that there's so much html code all over my original list, it's starting to confuse me. I might need to start editing it in compose, just so I can understand it better.

Things I've finished:
5)Finish Dillon's quilt 2/4/09
6)Put together birthday block quilt 6/14/09
25)Research and buy new stroller 1/19/09
31)Replace high kitchen windows 3/13/09 (Contractor says they already are double paned, so that's not where the heat in the kitchen is disappearing)
35)Get curtains for living room 5/23/09
44)Kit out sewing room closet 4/21/09 (Now to organize in there. Bleah)
46)Plant vegetables (5/28/09) (Going okay so far, but I wish it would rain so I didn't have to water everything every day. I live in the PacNW because I like the rain!_
65)Don't get premade food for one month just because you are tired/sad/overwhelmed (30/30) 3/24/09
66)Have at least 2 home cooked meals ready in the freezer for 2 months (60/60) 4/21/09
78)Organize computer info onto one computer (I don't remember when we did this, but it was in March) 3/31/09
80)Contribute 150 pictures to flickr groups (150/150) 4/18/09 (I upped this goal because I was doing it much faster then I thought, and I still finished really quickly.
82)Find earth friendly feminine hygiene product that I will actually use 5/30/09 (end of first period where I actually used the mooncup the WHOLE time)
91)Buy a proper fitting bathing suit 3/4/09


That's 13 things in 6 months. My end date is Oct 7, 2011. If I keep up this pace I will on be 3/4 of the way through. BUT, I have a lot of things I'm working on right now, a bunch of which are almost done.

Things I'm working on right now:
1)Finish Sika's quilt (Just needs the binding and label)
4)Finish Etienne's quilt (Quilting, binding and label)
7)Make Becca & Andrew's quilt (Rip it, rip it. I'm hoping to get this done by their wedding at the end of August, so it will be my main quilt project until then)
8)Mail quilts to Michigan family (6/10) (I have one that just needs a label and then it can be mailed, but I haven't started on the other three)
10)Make quilts for Aaron's kids (Pieces cut for Mariah, online quilting bee working on Taylor)
13)Finish road trip quilt (Yeah, this one probably won't get finished before the deadline. We'll see)
14)Finish Sarah's cross stitch (It's maybe half done. I should put it in the TV room and work on it while watching So You Think You Can Dance)
17)Make plushie dice (I stalled when I discovered I'd accidentally made the 6 sider too big. Hopefully this will get finished for Christmas this year)
18)Crochet 6 dishcloths (1/6) (I don't know where my yarn went. Hrm)
20)Make six pieces of clothing for me(2/6) (This was originally 3, but I want to make it a habit, so I upped the number. I would be happy if I made one piece of clothing for me per month. I might actually use up enough fabric to get my sewing room organized if I did.)
23)Successfully participate in ten swaps (3/10) (Currently participating 4 more)
24)Have a family outing 12 times (2/12) (We went to the Aquarium and Pike Place Market on President's day, I think. Walker is taking some time off before the 4th of July, and we might go to NW Trek then. This one is harder then I thought. We like to stay home and play video games too much. Oh wait! We went to on a family picnic, that totally counts)
26)Go on at least one baby free outing with Walker every two months for a year (3/6) (Dinner, Savor Seattle tour, a movie. We've actually managed to do this more then every other month, so go us!)
27)Make at least two mom friends with children close to Moira's age (1/2) (I should probably actually count this one as done, but it's hard to say, 'yup, you are my friend now.' I feel like such a dweeb)
28)Go someplace new with Moira at least once a month for 6 months (3/6) (I'm not sure what I was thinking when I put this on here. She hasn't been anywhere, so every place we go is new. Although, we have been to a lot of places now, and I guess I'm just trying to keep myself from developing a rut. This one might change, we'll see)
32)Find out if insulation can be added to kitchen floor (Yes! We will get this done before winter, and then this will become a done)
34)Put bathroom in downstairs (Our basement is below the water table, which is good for the rasberries I haven't watered since we moved in, but bad for this. First phase is done, with new plumbing installed to make this possible. Very expensive)
41)Deep clean the house once a year (1/3) (Is it cheating that we paid people to do this this year?)
45)Tame vegetable patch (We don't seem to know anyone with a weed whacker, so I just started chopping everything down by hand, mostly so I could get to the raspberries)
50)Turn yard into meadow (This is another one that will be hard to tell when to classify it as done. We probably have more non grass then grass in there right now, but I just haven't decided what this means)
51)Make at least two vegetarian meal a week for 2 months (0/8) (Start 6/16/09) This was originally one per week, but then I realized that I've been doing this easily without noticing)
54)Spend at least one hour outdoors 2 times a week for a year (4/104) (Start 4/24/09) (We are also doing this easily right now. Moira cries when I make her go back inside)
60)Bake bread 5 times (2/5) (I'm not sure this will be something I ever excel at, but I've at least made bread that actually rose)
61)Cook 5 indian meals (Not pre made Tasty Bites) (1/5) (This stymies me, although I just tried something strange with lentils that Walker liked so I should look at lentil recipes)
62)Make 10 different meals in crockpot (5/10) (Will not be doing this much during the summer I think)
63)Try 25 new recipies (4/25) (I hate recipes, but I really want to expand my repetoire. I've used recipes more often then this, but I alter them so much, I haven't been counting it)
68)Scan negatives & slides from Pickle (Oh my god I love my new scanner)
69)Finish uploading photos (I have to decide where I'm putting these. I'm not happy with picasaweb's interface, but I don't want them cluttering up my flickr account)
73)Comment 100 times on blogs/LJ (85/100) (I'm shy. This is ridiculously hard. I probably shouldn't have counted the comments on pearl's LJ, since that's a third of those comments, but I am)
76)Get rid of Drizzle account (Hi, yeah, I'm changing to shannon (at) hillinger (dot) org, KTHNX)
79)Make 5 playlists (1/5) (I just remembered that Walker said when he put all the new music from Gamercon on our server it probably deleted my playlist and now I have to start all over!)
81)Finish 100 species challenge (80/100) (I have at least 5 pictures for this on the computer right now)
85)Don't use wrapping paper for one year (Easy peasy so far)
86)Go one year without paper towels (We are only missing them when we cook bacon, but I keep having to convince people to use the dish towels and napkins to clean up messes "It's really okay! I do plenty of laundry already!")
87)Visit Canada twice at a time other then Halloween (1/2) (Walker wanted to look at electric bicycles, which are popular in Vancouver, but not here yet)
99)Get dressed every day for 6 months (start June 1) (15/180) (Suddenly easier then I expected, given my predilection for staying in my jammies all day in California. But then, I frequently have to change my outfit because of baby mess at least once a day, even if I stay in my jammies)
101)Get Anime haircut (I left long bits in the front the last time I cut my hair, but it looks pretty weird and accidental right now. I think it will be better once it's longer. Or if I used a flat iron. Maybe I should braid them for now, and pretend that I'm an Elf)


So, that's 37 things in progress, some of which should be finished soon. I think that makes my progress look much better.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ta da!

New quilt for our bed
I finally finished the binding on our new king sized quilt on Saturday, and got it all washed, so we got to sleep under it last night. (although looking at this picture just now, I realized I forgot to put the buttons back on the fish and one of the stars. Oops.) So nice to have a blanket that fits the bed! We could even tuck it in at the bottom if we wanted to. It's also warmer then our previous one was, although that could just be that there's enough of it to actually fully cover our bodies. Once I get the two other king sized quilts I'm working on finished (for other people, I swear!) I plan to go back and hand quilt this one, since many of the blocks are just crying out for specific quilting patterns. That should be fun. And labor intensive, but I'm hoping to be able to do it in a way that will keep it usable at night.
Matching
I made a skirt for me and a matching shorts for Moira out of a thrifted sheet. I was going to say something else about them, but Moira woke up from her nap and now I can't remember. She's wearing her shorts now and we went for a walk in the woods. She likes to pick up rocks when we are walking, and I took one and it put it in her pocket, which made her very angry. She didn't believe me when I tried to show her still had it. Then about an hour later when we were home, she was giggling and rolling around on the floor because she found the rock. so exciting.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Vintage Photo and Drawing Friday

Forrest Cooper Holly
I have been wanting to post some of these drawings by AP's brother, Forrest Cooper (otherwise known as FC, shown here in Texas, date unknown), but I didn't think it was appropriate somehow. Then today Tracy posted a beautiful collection of vintage ephemera for her Vintage photo Friday, so I'm striking while the iron is hot.
Look Into This
These were drawn for a book he assembled in the '40's about his childhood in Michigan in the late 1800's. This is the cover. The gate opens and inside is the subtitle and the author's name. I sadly do not have a picture of that. It's terribly well constructed though, still in perfect shape, after all these years.
Good Evening
This picture illustrates a story about one night, when he was still a baby and his parent's heard a horrible clattering outside, followed by banging on the door. When they opened the door, this pig was there. She wandered around the house for a bit, and then went back outside.
Pig Thief
The book isn't all pig stories, but they are some of my favorite drawings. The family moved to the South and opened a general store when FC was around 11. One day, while he and AP were left in charge of the operation for a few minutes, this pig came inside, stole a corn cob and ran back out. AP ran after her for half an hour trying to get it back, but she was too fast. Fortunately, she also really wanted to eat the corn cob, so she kept laying down when she got far enough ahead and then he would catch up. Eventually she dropped the dirty, chewed cob, and he returned to the sore triumphant, amidst much laughter.
This story is directly followed in the book about a rant about how much better pigs were in the 1880's then they were in the 1940's. More cunning and daring and smart. I have to agree with him, but he also goes off about how much better umbrellas were, and corporal punishment, and a long list of other things.

For more vintage photos visit Paperdolls for Boys

Monday, June 8, 2009

Learning experiences

Go!
On Saturday we went to Robinswood park and had a picnic with a couple of people I've met through my parents group. A good time was had by all, and bonus, Moira carefully watched her friend having a super fantastic time (She seriously laughed full throttle and kicked her legs the ENTIRE time she was swinging. I've never seen someone have such a good time) on the swings and decided that maybe swings weren't so bad after all. We went to a different park today and she kept going over to the swings and asking to try it. She didn't seem to be having the best time, but she wanted to do it anyway.
This place is cool!
It's strange that she's so hesitant with the swings, since she not in any other way. She's always walking off without checking to see if I'm following her, she climbs up the stairs on playground equipment, only pausing when she gets to the top and is trying to decide which slide to go down. I let her go when we were at the splash park, to see how far she'd get before checking back in with me. The answer? Farther then I'm willing to let her go, although she did stop before she got to the hill, so that was good.
Steering
She's stopped heading immediately for the street when we go outside, so I can weed with her help again. She's also started laughing a lot more when she's playing or reading, not just when she's exhausted. She's also learning how to act silly, to make me laugh. Today she figured out how to move her car while sitting on it, so most of the time at home has been trying that out. She tends to go backwards, but it's still movement. Oh! And she figured out how to get Stewie to play with her. Steal his bone and pretend that you are going to give it back. That was about 30 minutes of good fun. Then she sat on her car, put the bone on the steering wheel where he could see it, but not get it, and then read. Good times.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gone fishing

Gone fishing
From the slides I've been scanning in. This is Walker Matlack (hubby's grandfather) with his brother's in law Wally Walpole and Forrest Holly on a fishing trip in Ensenada, CA in 1948.
Ed Nelson
From the same fishing trip, this is his best friend, Ed Nelson, who is somehow a relation of Wally's, but I forget how. This is how I feel today, only replace sleeping on a boat with wanting to play Sims 3 all day long. Either way, I'm not catching any fish.

For more vintage photo goodness visit Paper Dolls for Boys

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's like found money!

Bearded Iris
75. Iris
Already knew: It's a little odd that I know what a Bearded Iris looks like, but I don't know what any of the other varieties of Iris are called. I have a pictured of a little tiny Iris that I haven't used for this because of that. I don't appear to have any of the Bearded Irises in my yard, but this is a very typical looking Iris. Well, except for the color. Anyway, Irises are a plant that blooms in the late spring. They are normally yellow, purple or white. They have big floppy outer petals and smaller petals inside. Irises also have tall pointy leaves, usually two to a plant. Iris is the Greek word for rainbow.
Recently learned: This looks a lot like the Yellow Flag Iris, but that is a plant that likes wetlands and acidic soil, so it's probably not what's in my yard. Iris is the common name for a wide variety of plants covering three genus. The arrangement of petals and stamens makes for a perfect landing pad for larger insects, which is why Irises do so well in most places.
Potatoes!
76. Potatoes
Already knew: Potatoes are an edible, starchy root in the nightshade family. If you do not dig up all the little potatoes you plant in your vegetable plot, you are very likely to end up with volunteers the next year in your garden, that's where these came from. You shouldn't eat the sprouting eyes, because there are trace amounts of toxins in those. You can't plant potatoes you've bought commercially because they are sprayed with a solution to keep them from sprouting. Even though they will sprout if you leave them in your cupboard too long, they won't sprout well enough to be a good crop. When you plant them, you want to keep most of the stem and leaves covered. The traditional way to do this is to keep mounding dirt up around them resulting in a hill, but if you have the time, you can dig a deep trench instead and just fill it in as necessary. You dig them out of the ground when the plant starts flowering.
Recently learned: The flowers of a potato plant can be blue, purple, red, white or pink. White flowered potatoes generally have white skins and the colored ones are generally red. The fruit of a Potato plant resembles a cherry tomato, and each one contains hundreds of seed. The fruit is highly toxic.
Magnolia
77. Madrona
Already knew: This is an evergreen tree, with red wood. It's bark falls off in big hunks when the wood is mature. The leaves are dark, glossy green on one side and brownish on the underside. It has small white flowers, but this one doesn't seem to want to flower, so I gave up waiting. When the white settlers first arrived in Seattle and saw the area now called Magnolia, they thought it was covered in Magnolia trees, but it's actually covered in Madronas. I don't really see the resemblance, but whatever.
Recently learned: It is part of the Arbutus family. European varieties are called Strawberry Trees, because of the red wood. They are called Madrone south of the Siskiyou Mountains and Madronas to the north in the US. In BC they are called Arbutus. How confusing. This is the Pacific Madrone. The berries are edible, but high in tannin, so they are very astringent. Local natives used to chew them or make them into cider. The Pacific Madrone is difficult to transplant, so it should be set into it's permanent spot when small.
Wisteria
78. Wisteria
Already knew: A vine that has cascades of tiny purple or white flowers that blooms in the late spring. There's one of these a the Arboretum taking over a Rhodedendron. It's an awesome sight.
Recently learned: The world's largest Wisteria is in Sierra Madre and is more then an acre big. Even more awesome. The seeds are poisonous. Wisteria has a nitrogen fixing problem, so if you have too much in your soil, it would not bloom. Whatever you grow it on should be very sturdy, because a mature Wisteria has a big woody trunk and is very heavy. The flowers grow near the base of the last year's growth.
Cornflower
79. Cornflower
Already knew: Cornflower is an annual blue flower with pointy green leaves. I like the way the petals are arranged, but I've always preferred Bachelors Buttons (a variety of the species). I have a seed packet I should plant soon. These bloom in the spring.
Recently learned: Cornflower used to grow as a weed in crop fields, which is how it got named. It is now endangered in England, it's native habitat, due to the over use of herbicides in industrial agriculture. It's flourishing here though, because people like it as an ornamental planting. Cornflower is one of the ingredients in Lady Grey tea. It is also traditionally used as a treatment for conjunctivitis and as a wash for tired eyes.
Foxglove
80. Foxglove
Already knew: Foxglove grows with lots of bell shaped flower up one long stalk. It's usually purple with white spots or white. It self seeds pretty well in this area, but not well enough to take over from the California Poppies. The latin name is Digitalis, and an extract from this plant is commonly used to treat heart problems. Certain varieties are also deadly.
Recently learned: Foxglove is biennial, and the compounds used to treat heart problems are derived from the leaves of the second years growth. Herbalists don't use this as a treatment anymore because of the narrow range of usable dosages, although Western medicine has refined the technique. This is Common Foxglove.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Silly baby

As Moira is getting more interested in the world I'm trying to do more things with her outside of the house (you know, other then shopping), and since it was supposed to be so hot today, getting out of the house was an even better idea. We met up with our friends at the Crossroads Splash Park, and had a great time getting damp. They have a lovely toddler area with smaller sprays, but Moira mostly ran around and tried to go anywhere but where I put her. She and her friend decided to eat each others snacks, which was adorable.
I left the step stool pushed in a corner in the kitchen so that she could practice going down steps on a small set. She figured that out last week. It's really cute to watch her start backing up for the stairs three feet away, realize her mistake and get up and try again. It's less cute to watch her back down the stairs to the patio where all the construction debris is over and over. Today I walked into the kitchen to find her standing on top of the step stool, playing with the batteries on the counter and waving at the plumber on the deck. The step stool is now folded up.
Now that she's figured out walking and eating, she's working much more on talking. She has tried out more, nap and that recently. She's also taken to waving enthusiastically at everything; the bed, the car, lunch. She occasionally waves at the right time, but she's still working that out.
I've been checking board books out of the library (the ones with pictures of real babies and things) to hand to her in the car. This kind of book seems to come in two main varieties; books that are just an excuse to show close ups of different babies faces (Moira's favorite, Eat!) and books that help you teach your baby sign language. We went to the library the morning and got two of the second type that Moira is particularly enthralled with, one about animal signs and one about food signs. She especially likes the last pages in both books that just show pictures of all the things that were shown in the book. She held onto one of them for 10 minutes, turning pages and staring without complaint.

Picture taken by Lori Glickman. Thank you Lori!

This is not a title

My new dress
I finished this dress just in time to wear to help friends taste food for their wedding. Just so you know, if you are going to Becca & Andrew's wedding, the food will be goooooood. I used Simplicity 2930, which only reminded me why I stopped using patterns for my clothes for the most part years ago. It was not as fitted as I had hoped, and the bust shaping was in the wrong place, so I had to make a lot of changes. It's supposed to be a shirt, but it was so long on me, I decided to make it a dress. The ruffle was added because I love floofy things and I never put them on my clothes. I have a huge stash of lace and ribbons and I never use them.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but after wearing it all day, I discovered it really needs pockets, so I think I will go back and add those in.
I like this one best
Pearl invited me to a dyeing party at a friend's house on Saturday. We both had a lot of fun. I just brought fabric to play with (this is my favorite one of the four pieces I did). The only thing I'd change if I was doing it again, is I'd start with colored fabric instead of the white. I think I will have to invest in some supplies so I can do this on my patio. Plus, pearl accidentally discovered that soaking something in Soda Ash will get pitch off perfectly. Good to know.