Friday, April 30, 2010

Me and My Dad Hanging Mirrors

This might not seem like the biggest deal to an outsider, but hanging mirrors with my dad was special... and fun. And the word "bastard" was only used once, which was directed towards a mirror. My mom was super nice enough to buy me two fancy mirrors for the Luck Cabin, both of which I decided to put in my bathroom.

The first one was rather easy being it was small and only needed one hook to be hung.
The second big mirror, we pulled out a leveler, made notches on the wall, made use of the tape measure again and again- and generally I followed my dad down a path of perfectionism (a path I rarely take anymore)...
I would have left the thing crooked, but he wanted it done right. He said "I only want to ever do this once."
I am not sure I am prepared to see my own face this much when brushing my teeth or bathing or churning my composting toilet, but I guess I bettah' get ready!!! Doesn't it look so beautiful - my mom has such good taste and my dad did an awesome job making them perfectly straight. :) Yay for my family!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eco DIY : Turn A Silk Scarf Into A Halter Top

Check out this cute q-bert style 80's scarf! My friend Heather gave this to me as a gift, so that I could make a craft project with it and a simple DIY halter top is what I made...

Here is how I did it (it only takes about 5 -10 minutes to complete!) :::::

Step ONE: Take one of the corners and fold it over slightly, where you get a flat edge a few inches across.
Step TWO: Sew (with a machine or by hand) a line across the folded triangle, leaving a space at the top big enough to run a drawstring, necklace or ribbon through. The space it will create is a drawstring type hole.

Like this picture below... (you can cut off that extra fabric hanging under your stitch.)
Step THREE: Cut a drawstring out of stretchable jersey cotton fabric - or alternately grab a awesome necklace (sparkling bling!), fancy ribbon, braid some fabric, or even a piece of hemp twine will do! Get as creative as you want, as long as it can clasp or tie in the back to hold the halter top up.
Step FOUR: Run the drawstring through the drawstring hole you created when you made the stitch across the triangle. Attaching a safety pin to the end to pull it through always makes it easier...

(((Note: If the scarf is not large enough to tie in the back, add more fabric/drawstring to the pointed corners on the right and left sides for a simple tie.)))
ANDDDDDDDDDD, WA LA! A quickie fancy fun summer shirt you can sport with jeans, a skirt, to a party and to the beach...
The back ties together at the corners (but ties can be added to the corners if the scarf is too short!)
Funky Cold Medina! That sh*t is hawt! ;) Now I just wanna come up with one that is reversible...

Giant Mosquito on Native Mountain Mint

Does anyone know the purpose, function, life of these really big non-biting mosquitoes?

Growing up in New Orleans people said they ate the smaller biting mosquitoes and were good to have around, so no one ever killed them. But as an adult I am not so sure this is really what they do. People in North Carolina have told me that they lay eggs to make the smaller ones!??!
So which is it? Or neither?


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spooky Tree: Portal To Another World?

The thing about nature is even the worst disease, the most scarred, damaged and dead thing in the woods is sometimes the most powerful, fascinating and attractive bit of beauty amongst the mundane. (Mundane, as anything we become accustomed to seeing.) Me and Bort found this giant melted, twisted, knotted, hollowed, mangled tree in the forest behind my cabin...
Seeing things like this always bring out the best of my imagination - if there is ever any glimmer of hope that things will turn out to be all multi dimensional (like it was in the Golden Compass book series) ... and just like in the movies you can just accidentally lean against a bump in an old tree to get to the other side(s) ---> finding things like this puts the spark of opportunity and mystery in my eye.
Bort began moving towards the other side of the tree first...
And then I followed to find a whole other realm of interest --- a blackened bark with knots following upward like a ladder made for critters and gnomes. ;)
With a big hole in the ground, which I stood in and tried casting a spell with a stick. Maybe it worked?!? But I lost my concentration when I realized I was standing in a wet hole, soaking into my boots. bye bye big spooky fantabulous tree.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Help Me Identify This Plant!

Hey ya'll! You are so good at helping me identify plants & trees I don't know, I thought I'd ask my special detective readers to help me out again!

This time we have this totally Nightmare Before Christmas, dark and striking striped flower in a deep brown, purple, maroon type color contrasted by the more icy yellow green lines.
It's leaves are hanging down (may be because spring is still in it's early chilly stages here) - but each flower comes from a thick watery stem (resembling the stem of a blood root) and one set of the three leaves on a separate stem.
Pictured below, it is growing underneath a large violet colored trillium. These striped beauties are growing in a group together, in a shady area. I have this vague memory from back 7 years ago when I lived in Bethel, NC that a woman who loved native plants showed me one of these and called it Jack In The Pulpit?

Ya'll tell me what it is.... :)

(Partial) Life Cycle Of The Tadpole

It's cool when nature let's us see the process of conception to birth right through the clear water... unlike a human embryo/fetus which will always have the air of mystery blanketed by a belly- even with our fancy ultra sound.

I have been watching the tadpoles in the pond closely - from being just dots in the bubbles, to when the bubbles began to look melted and the tadpoles kinda poke around in the goo...
And now they have big fat heads, long skinny tails which will soon turn into tiny feet made for hopping! They are able to swim around in their tadpole herd and move from spot to spot freely because all the bubble goop is gone. They wade in the most shallow part of the water still though - I haven't seen anyone stray from the group.
The frogs they will become are really freaking huge... One big guy in the pond is so large that when he jumps into the water the splash is so belly-floppin' hard that the water has hit me in the face from up to five feet away!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Forest & The Sling

Meet Forest. Not the trees and flora but my friend who came by the Luck Cabin for a visit. A true local mountain guy who is the spawn of Appalachian people of many generations past ---> and who was super sweet enough to make me my own handmade sling (like the girl uses to hunt with in Clan Of The Cave Bear!) He made the sling from upcycled leather of an old wallet and hemp twine, woven so tightly it has a spring to it.

Forest brought his sling too and showed me how to use mine...
Only issue was, I smashed my finger (on my right hand) last week between two huge rocks I was moving around to make a garden bed --- so he had to teach me how to sling rocks with my left hand.
It wasn't all that easy, but the hardest part really is to not be afraid to peg the other human standing nearby with a fast flying rock. Since it is a weapon that can actually kill things/break things.... mine did not exactly the sound barrier and making whipping noises though like Forest's did...
But I did get the hang of it, and slung a few straight shots!
Then with a little team effort we took apart the back of my GMC Jimmy because the back hatch wasn't closing anymore, and i was being choked out with car exhaust when driving....... (freaking gross) --- we didn't fix it 100% but we got the hatch to close again! yay.
AND we looked at plants around the cabin and in the woods. Remember how last week I saw this plant and asked if it might be a type of trillium... it's definitely not.
But it's "Spanish Plantain".
This next one looks just like mint! I think it might be the native mountain mint but it has a real strong herb smell similar to more of a bergamot, oregano type scent... Forest ate some of it and said it had a mint after taste. But I am pretty sure I saw him spit some out after ;)
Thanks Forest for coming to visit me ova' here in Luck, it was fun!!!

PS- btw, I can't believe how short tall people make me look.... ;)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Clearing A Space For My Organic Garden Part 3

Remember this crazy sh*t? I have been clearing this spot slowly for the last month, because it is the only sunny spot on my land and was already somewhat clear due to it being under the rural power lines. I lucked out majorly when my cousin Matt came over the last 2 weeks with a chainsaw to move all the big trees that had already been felled - then he came and tilled the space yesterday!!!!

Most the clearing was done with just clippers and a handsaw - the chainsaw & tiller are the sprinkles on my happy cake! I have already started to put out some seeds including carrots, collards, lettuce, turnips, broccoli raab, green beans and red onion sets. And I am not going to stop there, in about a week I am going to set out all the hot plants like squash (winter and summer varieties), cucumbers, melons, and those unreal penis shaped peppers I bought ... :)
In the large tree stumps that were hollow, I filled them with dirt and planted lettuce, kale, dill and chamomile in them ... the kale is already sprouting! Dead tree stumps are like big awesome pots to plant in. (Thanks Matt for the cool idea!)
Woo! Can't wait till it all grows and I can eat it all up! It's worth every second of 'hard' work.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Big Sandy Mush: Nodding Trillium, Blood Root and Cassette Tape Dance Party

Yay! I got to go for a visit to Big Sandy Mush yesterday - in my GMC Jimmy... the drive was a descent into a deeper more green spring then I've been experiencing high on the mountain in Luck. Every moment was one of magic... seriously filled with butterflies, color, flowers, with various smells of trees, honey combs and blooms.
There were some of my favorite wild & native plants growing over there - and Bort dug up some blood root for me to take back with me to the cabin. He dug it up with a neat handmade 'shovel' cut from a piece of bamboo... (see pic below) ... (i like that alot!)We found some nodding trillium too! The flowers of the nodding trillium are underneath the three leaves (hence the name.)

But the party REALLY got started when Bort helped me fix the cassette tape player in my GMC Jimmy ---> which was holding a big ole' grocery bag full of my cassette tapes thanks to my mom who brought them all the way from New Orleans.

We opened up the doors and back hatch, and turned those old mix tapes on high volume... and of course when I hear things like Billy Idol singing 'Rock The Cradle Of Love' I naturally must jump onto the hood of my funky ole' truck and dance like the girl in the video did!!!

We blew on the wishie flowers (dandelions) but I forgot to make a wish.... not feeling like I have any wishes must be a good thing, maybe cause it feels like all my wishes have come true lately. :)

What was Bort's wish? I wanna know.
Bye bye Big Sandy Mush... the rain clouds rolled in and I rolled outta there back to the Luck Cabin.