Wednesday, May 2, 2012

on Wednesdays

Every Wednesday afternoon is playgroup.  It's an essential part of our homeschooling rhythm, where the kids (and mom) get to connect with friends and benefit from group activities like art experiences, math games and other projects.  Last week, under Laura's leadership, the kids made mozzarella!  This morning I flipped through my copy of Earthways and landed on a sewing project - comet balls.

making comet balls

Let's see... first crank out some large circles with our Go! Baby cutter.  Oftentimes all the little threads aren't cut, so snip-snip to free them.

at playgroup

When our friends arrive and choose their fabrics, I zipped around each circle (right sides together) leaving an opening for turning and filling.

filling, pouring

Kiddos of all ages dig filling pouches with beans or rice.  Pouring, pouring, funnel, funnel.  Yes, it gets all over...

comet balls

Add a silk square for the comet tail, and then close up the opening with some really casual top stitching.  Success?

success!

Oh, definitely.  These balls are easy to launch, fly gracefully and are so, so easy to catch.  Hey, if you miss the ball, you can catch the tail!  If you want to make them and don't have silk squares for the comet tail, use ribbon or a cluster of thin fabric strips.

See that behind Liam?  That's the garden we do use and the barn we don't.  They both mostly came with the house, though we did have to renovate the garden.  As you can see, the barn is perfect just the way it is (wink), at least for photographs now and then.  Anyhoo, last weekend got a fresh pair of piggies, whose pen is inside the garden enclosure.  Do you want to meet them?

Munchy and Ham


our new piggies


Aren't they too cute?  Fortunately they don't stay this cute or life would be a little harder to accept.  We aren't vegetarians, so raising some of our own meat seems like a kinder way to live.  We're thankful for the opportunity to do so, and hope to add a few cows someday.   We've also kept Indian Runner ducks for eggs, and plan to have a new batch of them soon.

volunteers

In the garden there are some tomatoes blushing!  All credit goes to my mom who not only seeds them, helps me plant them, but even fertilized them when she stopped by the other day.  She's awesome.  But this healthy growth of volunteer zucchini was actually planted by last season's pigs.  It looks like it'll bare some fruit soon.  Sometimes, sometimes weeds are good.

Now the friends are gone and it's about time for this mama to see if she can turn turnips into a side dish my family might tolerate.  Such are the challenges dealt out by membership in a local CSA program.  We try to be brave.

always stitching

I'll leave you with this picture Aria snapped earlier today.  After the kids are tucked into bed, I'll be back at it in my favorite spot, stitching away.  Looking forward to showing you what I've been up too real soon!

47 comments:

  1. hey pretty lady, you look comfy on your couch! those pigs are so adorable and i wish so much i was able to do the same, someday i will have a house in the country again! i am amazed at your zucchini! it is huge and we haven't planted a single thing here yet... hopefully soon!

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  2. Aww, love the new family members! An ex of mine was a farmer's son, and he used to tell a story of a neighbouring farm's kids who used to name all the animals, then when they were slaughtered, all the bags were labelled with their names in the freezer, so you could end up having 'leg of Daisy' for Sunday lunch. Apparently they'd then remember whether Ermintrude or Daisy tasted better and choose accordingly the next time!

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    1. My husband's grandparents had chickens and such and the kids would name them. One year, they got fed up with their parent's eating their "pets" and named them after their mom and dad. Whenever they would go to try and kill them for dinners, the kids would ask how they could possibly go and kill Joyce or Charles?! So, long story short, they were spared lol.

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    2. Haha, great story! Don't give my kids that idea! It's my husband's rule that the pigs' names must be food names. Last time it seemed to keep things in perspective. "Munch" barely qualified this time, but it was too cute to pass up.

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  3. Very pretty pictures! Oh to have this amount of space for gardening looks tempting. Unfortunately this little country in central Europe that I live in is full of mountains and otherwise densely populated. Good luck with the turtnips! ;-)

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  4. Thanks Rachel for that lovely story! The pigs are too cute, and I love that you keep them for your table! Go sustainable you! Looks like the kids had a lot of fun, comet balls great to make. We have a huge range of bean bags here, some with tails for throwing, others without for all kinds of play and juggling. Ah the simple things!

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  5. Such a fun post Rachel, thanks for sharing life in the county with us! I can't get over how large your plants are, already. Like the comment above, we have not even planted anything yet. I used to do a veggie garden, but we are just not good about getting them eaten and I felt it was not worth the time and money it takes to keep them alive (so sad!) so now we just grow walking onions and my husbands hot pepper collection.

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    1. Gardening can definitely be expensive to start up. We moved to this place specifically so that we'd able to be grow more of our own healthy food. Unfortunately, I don't like gardening, but I'll do it anyways =)

      I do like eating.

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  6. love the comet balls!! i think we'll have to make some around here too...

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  7. The comet balls are great! I'm going to make some of those tonight!
    Raising your own meat is a good thing. We can have chickens but I'll have to check, quietly, if we can have a pig.
    We got some tomato plants that were volunteers from a pig pen...they were the BEST! LOL
    I look forward to your blog posts!

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  8. Love your cute little piggies. What kind are they? My grandson raises Yorkshire pigs for FFA through school. We have enjoyed getting to know what pigs are like and how smart they are!! Thanks for sharing. And your zucchini look amazing!!

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  9. I'm so jealous of your pigs and your garden! I can't wait to have a garden again.

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  10. First, I am defintely going to make those comets with my daughter this weekend! Second I checked out that book which looks really fun, thanks for sharing! And finally those are some really cute looking pigs!

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  11. What a fun looking afternoon! Wow raising your own meat and having a vegetable garden! So cool =D

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  12. This post was too cute. We're looking into getting chickens and ducks for our house at the moment. Unfortunately, your post also reminded me that I needed to go water my husband's tomatoes...

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  13. Ilovethis post! Definitely will be making some comet balls soon! Good to see that you are raising your own meat so you know what goes into your food and not participating in factory farming. I've recently switched to a strict non-GMO diet and has motivated me and my family to have a large veggie garden. Plus it tastes better and has better nutrition than storebought! Cheers

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  14. You got pigs! How fun! Your zucchini looks amazing! Ours are still on the small side but already blooming, so there's hope. Also planted tomatillos this year -a first for us. Hoping to have some fresh salsa verde this summer :)

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    1. Brandon made salsa last year with all the peppers we had grown. Oh, it was fab!

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  15. What a great idea!! We'll definitely have to make some comet balls!!! ... And the little piggies are gorgeous!!!

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  16. The pigs are adorable! You're right - lucky they don't stay that way. [smile]
    This is very tasty - I used to make it for renactment medieval feasts and none of it ever came back to the kitchen. Good with swede too:
    http://recipes.medievalcookery.com/turnips.html

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  17. Great post, Rachel! I love those comet tails - it's so fun to see a sewing project in action. :) And your garden is awesome. I love that you're able to live so sustainably.

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  18. Your zucchini plants looks wonderful! Believe it or not, but up here in northern WI, we can't plant stuff yet. Normally not until the end of May for fear of frost. Enjoy it!

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  19. Last year we made "turnip fries". They are not fried but baked. I can't remember the recipe exactly but it did include Parmesan cheese!

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion! We made rutabaga fries last year. I don't recommend them =)

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  20. Oh my goodness! I love that you have pigs! It's my daughter's favorite meat (she forgets that it's called pork). We used to have a cute little pygmy goat and were thinking about adding chickens and pigs. I'm eager to hear how it goes.

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    1. I love that the pigs will eat ANY food that we don't want. It's so nice not to waste.

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  21. You must have so much fun!

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  22. Your home has the feel I wish mine had! I love that you garden and have the animals... I kill just about everything so I have to live vicariously through people like you!

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  23. Thanks for the glimpse into your life, it looks ideallic!!
    Lovely piggies!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. For some reason, sharing this stuff makes me feel more vulnerable than sharing my sewing. But I like doing it!

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  24. I see a comet ball weekend ahead of me with my boys!

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  25. Oh man. I wish I could raise meat animals where I live! Plus I'd love to have some milking goats. One day, one day...

    And your zucchini looks beautiful. Mine looks terrible (Florida=mildew) but it produces anyway so I guess that's what matters.

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  26. wow such a nice idea de flying ball. I think i'll made some for my triplets boys! thanks a lot

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  27. Rachel thankyou, you have just saved my bacon - my daughter has a friend's 5th birthday party on Saturday and I've been looking for a great gift to make him - these comet balls are perfect. I thrifted a brightly coloured silk shirt a while back, it will make great tails! Wonderful photos as ever x

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    1. I love it! You know, I almost talked myself out of this post since comet balls aren't very high tech. I'm so glad it was inspiring to some!

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  28. Oh I love it! Love seeing your life, and your pigs! Thanks!

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  29. I totally love your pigs...but I will admit, I actually want a little one for a pet so I don't think I could ever raise them to eat. ha ha! Even though I see the awesomeness of raising your own food...I just.couldn't.do.it. LOL

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  30. Try chunking the turnips up along with some potatoes and boil them both, then make mashed! It adds a little something special to the mashed potatoes and tones down the flavor for pickier eaters.

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  31. How fun! We might have to make these comet balls this Summer as one of our weekly crafts! I'm glad you shared this side of yourself, it's a fun glimpse!!

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  32. Those little piggies are so cute! The hubs and I have talked about getting a pig but since we're both veg it would be a bit weird. She'd probably just end up being another pet!

    And can I say how jealous I am of your weather? All the way north up here in what is supposed to be the least wintery part of Canada, my baby pea plants are an inch high! I won't even be planting zukes for about a month!

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  33. You look so content just stitching away! I have never personally raised an animal for food, but I grew up in a more rural area where lots of families did and plenty of kids where involved in 4H too. My high school friend raised two very large breed pigs for show one year. By the time they were at their final weight, it was actually a very careful process to feed them since they were so big and anxious to get at the food (i.e. bitey). I have fond memories of jumping the pen fence as fast as I could to avoid being bulldozed after filling their trough!

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  34. Hmm, my comment just got eaten, it seems. I'm glad to see your happy face! I think the comet balls sound like a very fun project to share with the kids, and I love seeing the green in your garden!

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  35. lovely post, garden, and piggies! Spring turnips can be SO delicious-- Saute 1/8 inch slices in a little butter, let em' get brown and soften a bit. Salt, pepper, done. :)

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  36. The comets are so cute! And the volunteer plants are the best. We just picked the first of dozens of volunteer tomatoes yesterday. Yay for compost seeds you want to keep :-D

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  37. We so loved making these! I'm still impressed with how far they fly!

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  38. Love this!!! I'm taking this idea to my daughter's preschool to make with them!!! fantastic!!!

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  39. thanks so much again for sharing this!! we did make these with my daughter's preschool class, lot's of fun!! :) http://buzzmills.typepad.com/blog/2012/05/preschool-project-comet-balls.html

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