I have been wanting to screen print at the cabin, since I have more time for artistic things, etc. but wasn’t sure I would be able to expose screens in sunlight … or more accurately, I was unsure I could expose a screen in the usually-overcast, low-in-the-sky, short-day winter sun.
My first trial I overexposed the screen so badly that I couldn’t even see the image. Then I realized that maybe the strong light bulbs and light tables that people usually use for screen printing are much weaker than the sun.
This morning, I exposed the screen at dawn, and left it for about 2.5 hours in a south-facing window. Today is overcast and rainy, but that was almost too much exposure!
So, good news: it’s easy to screen print without electricity.
It’s mid-November already, somehow. I am still eating a lot of squash, and also Jerusalem artichokes, beets, chard, garlic, beans, and probably some other things from the garden. I pulled some ripening but anemic-looking tomatoes out of the box, wrapped in newspaper. Life is pretty good. It’s still pretty mild here, but starting to get colder. Fortunately I have a lot of firewood.
Pictures above are: Byron and Carina’s pigs (for Mom) – they are not mine. I fed them some dumpstered candy yesterday. A cross section of one of the warty Galeux d’Eysines squash, and 6-month-old miso. I tasted it for the first time today. It’s pretty good. We’ll see what it is like in another 6 months.
One thing that is exciting is that an organic farmer nearby plowed a huge, huge garden plot for us to plant next year. It will be so great not having to dig everything by hand. I want to grow so much food, especially things that can be stored a while, and extra-especially things that can be stored in the ground, like rutabagas. I never did build that root cellar, and next year I am doing no building projects. I figure if it’s here in writing then I have to stick to it.
Here’s the new room – almost done- I need to finish insulating the ceiling, and finish covering the floor, and that’s about it for the major things. Also, the clouds were cool yesterday.
With frost warnings coming up (despite yesterday’s 19C temperature), it was time to bring in the squash. For now, it is taking over what will be the sleeping loft, once the addition is finished. Well, it is sharing the loft with the dry beans and chickpeas that haven’t been shelled yet. I guess I can see why most people have a barn. There is also a picture above of some rose hips I picked with Travis at the beach yesterday.
To add to the ridiculous story of the flat tires the other day, when we left the library, heading to get a new tire, it turned out the spare tire was flat. At least we were in Charlottetown already, but still, 3 flat tires in less than 24 hours!
Yesterday was hilarious. Travis and I decided to bike to MacPhail Woods, an eco forest project that grows native plants and trees, has a demo organic garden, a walk in the woods with barred owls, etc. It was really nice out – cool and sunny, and perfect for a longish bike ride – it is a bit less than 3 hours, round-trip, at a leisurely pace, and is partly on a less-developed rail trail.
Last time we tried to go on this ride, we got about 3/4 of the way, and then my front tire violently exploded on the trail. When we passed this point yesterday, we laughed and joked that we hoped it wouldn’t happen again. To make the story short, that is of course what happened. After spending some time walking around the place, basking in the sun, and collecting some acorns and seeds (mostly Travis), we went to get going and realized that Travis’ back tire was totally flat. The route there is not at all conducive to hitchhiking, so he was in for a 1.5 + hour wait while I biked back and then drove to pick him up. It was a weird coincidence, and not the worst thing in the world. The ride back of course felt longer than usual, since I was a bit tired, and knew he was waiting for me. I got in the car, and drove a few kilometres before I felt a weird clumping on one side of the car. I couldn’t believe that the car, with fairly new tires, actually had a flat. But it did. And I had no way of contacting Travis since neither of us had phones on us. I had also never had to change a car tire, and only seen it happen once in high school when it was demonstrated for my class of 35 people in industrial technology. Fortunately, changing a car tire is even easier than changing a bike tire, and when I inspected the mini spare tire (which I knew was there), there were also the tools to change it, and a crusty old jack that I am sure had never been removed from its hiding place in the trunk. Once I realized I was fine and could do this, some guy in a pickup drove out of his way to see if I was alright, and I was happy to say I was. And now I am one step closer to being able to actually fix something on a car, ha.
Above are a few of the pictures I’ve taken of the cool spider webs all over the place on our land. When it’s dewey in the mornings, it looks like we decorated for hallowe’en or something. I really appreciate seeing all the spiders (including a giant orange one, with a body the size of the tip of my small finger), and still some frogs and toads around, a grouse the other day, and the small brown birds that jump around outside the cabin.
I harvested the first Nippon Island squash the other day. I thought they were big in the field, but somehow the squash looked much bigger in the house. I had high hopes for this squash, as it is not supposed to be sweet at all. I like squash, but get tired of the sweetness of it pretty quickly, and don’t like to eat it that often. Nippon Island totally exceeded my expectations. It’s not sweet at all, and is comparable to plantain. It also grew really well, and the squash I harvested (average size) was the main component of 3 suppers and a breakfast for the two of us, and there were leftovers at every meal. Not bad. I want to grow more next year.
Things have been going well, and it’s been warm: 22 degress C, 24 degrees C … so the winter squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes are still growing.
I made a blanket with the wool I dumpstered, using the process I mentioned in the previous entry. It really did just take an evening, and is a blanket. There is a picture of it above.
The new addition to the cabin is coming along. It brings the cabin up to about 200 sq. feet, plus a storage loft (which I am sleeping in now) and the new sleeping loft (which is now storing drying beans). It also has a reading nook. I am really excited about having the extra space one it is more finished. I am Insulating with wool again, and have it about half insulated now.
it’s fall, and Travis says I have been doing country-time pursuits. This is mostly because I am telling him the good stuff – making 2 batches of blueberry wine and one of blueberry ale with 2 colossal bins of reject organic blueberries, supervising the making of a cider press from scrap lumber and bicycles, baking, weeding, watching the squash path die down, and the rutabagas begin to get big, harvesting the dry beans and black chickpeas. It is all pretty wholesome.
I dumpstered a ridiculous amount of yarn the other day, and then found this video about how to knit fast and easy without needles (a blanket in an hour) so I am going to try it.
Mostly I have been working on the addition. It’s a shock to have another room in the cabin. I will take some pics of the inside soon. I am just working on insulating it now. It’s the home for some drying beans and the fermenting beverages for now.
I am still getting a lot of cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden, and some summer squash and other things too. It’s good times.
That’s about it for now.