Monday, September 24, 2012

Too neat to eat

Too neat to eat.
The Voices for Animals coordinated 16th Annual Cville Vegetarian Festival is this coming weekend, September 29, 11 am - 5 pm.  Over 6,000 people attend this festival located in Lee Park in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.

Activities have been expanded this year to include lots of music and cooking demos held nearby at The Haven.  Several interesting speakers are booked this year that can enlighten and encourage your journey with vegetarianism.

My little laying hen to be with me until natural death.
Ninety vendors have signed on and applications are still being accepted.  It sounds like a really good event this year!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Monticello Heritage Harvest Festival a Winner

Thomas Jefferson's Garden
Saturday I wallowed in Gardener Heaven at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. This festival is a must, must, must, must attend if you are a gardening junkie like me.  There is exhibit after exhibit related to gardening, homesteading, farming, nature, plants, natural eating, and DIY. 

This year I made it out of my house at 8:15 am to get first dibs at the Old Timey Seed Swap.  It's amazing to see the generosity of gardeners.  There was a vast assortment of containers full of copious amounts of SEED fresh from the gardener.  Some seed swappers had made the trek from other states!  This is a big event for those that especially grow vegetables.  It seemed a little less crowded this year so I had plenty of time to look through all the colorful offerings.
After about an hour of this I began roaming the festival, searching out food samples and checking out the few chickens and Jersey cows that were in attendance this year.  I'm not a big fan of bringing animals to festivals but all were in the shade and well cared for.  It provides a chance for city kids to see farm animals and shockingly, some have never petted a farm animal!

The festival seems to grow each year, and I discovered several interesting booths.  The Xerces Society had a lot of timely information about our vanishing bees.  Typically we think of raising bees in handmade hives but this group is focused on native species and the lack thereof.  They currently are in search of 2 native bee species and sightings should be reported.

In the midst of booth hopping I came across the top freebie at the festival - hot liquid CHOCOLATE.  I am ashamed to say that I snuck back six more times to get a shot glass of liquid lava.  At first I tried to disguise myself... putting on a hat, taking off a hat, putting on glasses, taking off glasses... in the end deciding to just duck down and stick my arm through the hordes of people that had also caught onto this delicious delight.  I dreamed about it that night, bathing in hot liquid chocolate.

During the day a large array of seminars are held.  There were so many things to taste, booths to see, plants to view, and music to hear, I barely made it to two seminars.  I found the "You CAN bake bread" seminar interesting hosted by Deborah Niemann.  One recipe of yeast, flour, water, and salt - does it all.   I also enjoyed the well attended Chicken Whispering discussion by expert Patricia Foreman.   I loved the part of her discussion about involving your chicken in dinner parties and TV viewing... chickens are more "pet like" than most people realize.

Lastly, I sat at the local chicken groups booth for an hour, CLUCK.  Talking to chicken owners and those planning on having a flock one day.  The numbers are certainly growing and I always advise those interested in getting a flock to look for chickens in need.  As the popularity for a certain pet expands, so does the discarding of those pets (Dalmatian explosion from the re-release of the movie 101 Dalmatians is just one example).  My six hens are "rescue" hens and I would not do it any other way.

Yellow Hibiscus with Monticello in the background.
It was a glorious day, one spent relaxing, observing, and learning up on the top of the world among fellow gardeners... sucking down chocolate... BLISS.



Friday, September 7, 2012

DIY Reclaimed Material Storage Cabinet

We've been dragging around these huge heavy shutters for years now.  Storing them in our shed and even moving them from SW Virginia to Central Virginia.  I knew that one day we would find the perfect project for them.  Our neighbor had taken them off his parents house and of course we took them off his hands.

Gear eating up our patio.
We had a lean-to Greenhouse on our old home where I stored all my gardening pots and gear.  When we moved there was no place for my stash and the pile was getting out of control so my smart husband decided to finally put those 70 year old + shutters to good use.

I just love my new cabinet to keep things tidy and out of sight.  I still have a little tidying up to do but it is much improved.  This was a 2 day project that used up 100% scrap wood and screws that we had on hand. 

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