Saturday, February 23, 2013

School-marm Saturday Session #2

****School's in Session!!****

Today we're going to talk about Latin.

One of the oldest languages, Latin is the basis for many languages including our own. There are remnants of Latin nearly everywhere and if you have a dictionary that tells you the etymology (derivative) of words, it's really quite fascinating.

Now, I don't know a lot of regular Latin, but in college I was taught botanical Latin for the proper identification of plants.

You see, every plant that's ever been discovered in the entire world has a Latin name. The name for a plant in Latin is the same whether you are in the USA, Europe or some remote island nation. It doesn't matter, the Latin (or botanical name as it can be called) is the same. This does away with the fact that some plants' common names (the name most of us call plants) can vary depending on what country, state or even what county you live in.

Common name: Myrtle, Creeping vinca, Vinca, Periwinkle
Latin name: Vinca minor
Vinca minor

Vinca minor has four or more common names. My husband calls in Myrtle, I call in Periwinkle. To me, Myrtle is Crepe Myrtle (a completely different plant!) and a shrub to boot whereas Vinca minor is a low-growing ground cover with purple flowers, invasive in some areas.

So! Latin is awesome in that if everyone used it, there would be no confusion about what plant you're talking about! And, if you want to be super sure you know what plant you are getting, consult the Latin name. A reputable nursery will have them in their catalogs. I tend to avoid ones who don't because there are no laws governing common names and unfortunately, some nurseries create common names to make something sound new or exciting and get more sales.

Latin names are decided on by Taxonomic scientists whose job it is to delve in to the minutiae of plant anatomy. They include the texture or shape of a leaf, the flower parts etc. so the Latin words actually describe the plant itself.

Vinca major
Let's take Vinca minor again. Minor means lesser. There is another Vinca called Vinca major. So basically you have two different plants (vincas) and one (major) is larger (flower size or stem size etc.) than the other (minor). Make sense? The differences in them can be quite small so the photos on here may not look like it but they are two different plants. There are lots of great examples of this kind of descriptive feature of Latin but I think that's enough for one lesson.

*A final note: I italicize all Latin names in this post. That is one way you can tell a name is Latin. Latin has to be italicized in type and underlined when hand-written to denote and basically say "Hey! I'm LATIN"*

This concludes today's lesson. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Theoretical Thursday take 2

I have a theory:

I think that at some point in your life, you were a version of yourself that was the best version that God wants you to be. Be it when you were 12 or 8 or 20. He gave you a taste of what it was like so as life whirled along at a break-neck speed and you journeyed further and further from your best self, you'd remember it, be reminded of it in little ways and journey back to it...........and him. 

Then, when you finally pick up that strand in your life's weaving that was the best version of you, it is familiar, good. and you never, ever let it go.'s just a theory.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sewing Day Groove

***Disclaimer*** If there are any pregnant nieces reading this they should STOP.  ;-) Pretty sure she doesn't read this, though her mother does......

The pattern pieces
So here I am making something.......again.

I like to sew but it takes me a long time since I'm so new to it. Usually what happens is I get in to a groove.....I get motivated and I run through an entire project from start to finish.

If I have to let it sit for a day or two, I find I don't have the time to get back to it (as the half completed knitting needle caddy is a testament to. :-( )

Enter Motivation:

My niece is expecting her first baby in about three weeks. Well, new babies are the best excuse for making things. LOTS of things. I really have to be careful here. I could go a little nutzo and before you know it this child will have an entire wardrobe courtesy of me. Luckily I'm too busy. Imagine that, busy-ness saves me from insanity.....not sure that that's not a bunch of b.s. but we'll go with it for now!

But I did use aforementioned expected child as an excuse to practice my sewing.

I found a pattern for a simple but very cute bib. I bought a yard of fabric and was able to make three (with some fabric saved out to make one for my hope chest as well!)
OMG have you seen these? Thread with pop top thread end holders, I was impressed! I impress easily.
An update from my old clunker, my husbands machine, it's nice.

Iron, iron, iron, love your iron if you sew and love it more with lavender water sprayed on everything!

Who knew bias tape could make things look so cool? Yup, beginner  seamstress here!

Inside out, don't forget to leave a hole in the seam to flip it rightside out!

Minor boo boo, missed the edge of the fabric.

Another one in a different fab

All three! It took me a lot of time but it was a great project for a beginner like me, hope my niece likes them!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

School-marm Saturday Session #1

Alright so my new favorite thing to do to encourage writing on my blog is to assign a day of the week a certain topic.

Remember Farmday Friday Yaaaay! posts? It's been so stinkin' long but I still want to keep doing those. I'm shooting for next week.

Anywhoo-I think School-marm Saturdays will be posts about some kernel of knowledge I think is pretty cool, pretty farmy, and or pretty.....just pretty. They say with every person who dies, an entire library of knowledge dies with them.

Let's fight that off shall we? I'll share, I'll die eventually, but allll you readers will maybe learn a bit and my library won't go with me. How cool is that? Feel free to jump in and share your 'library' with me too!

Because spring is coming and we are all aching for a bit of warmth.....let's talk soil.

School's in Session!
Soil; the technical definition of which is NOT dirt. I remember very well being told again and again not to call soil, dirt. Dirt is what you sweep up off the floor but SOIL, oh noooo soil is very special indeed. You see we would all die without it.

Dramatic, I know but very true. Soil contains millions of microbes that break down grass, leaves, scraps, bodies, name it (almost) and soil disposes of it. Quietly. Slowly. And without much ceremony it saves us all from a slow death of being suffocated under millions of pounds of debris.

Maybe that's why we take it for granted?

See, here I will get on my soap box about nutrients. Nutrients are great. They are in us when we eat food, they are in soil, they get taken in by veggies and then given to us as we digest said yummy veggies in our tummies. BUT we cannot live on nutrients alone, neither can plants, neither can animals. There are all these 'things' in our food, in our soil, in the foods animals eat that we simply.....wait for it......

don't understand.

Yup, that's right, as humans we really don't know everything.

So if you are farming, gardening, growing on a piece of land and all you ever do is dump the big three: 
NPK = Nitrogen,,,,Phosphorus,,,,Potassium
on your land to get your plants to grow, that's like taking steroids, uppers, caffeine and multivitamins to your plants.

Can we survive on steroids, uppers, caffeine and multivitamins? Well, maybe a college Freshmen can. 
But typically the answer is NO.

Studies were done at the University of Illinois that prove that plants given regular doses of Nitrogen fertilizer were more susceptible to insect damage by aphids. Why? Aphids are these teeny little bad guys that are attracted to new, succulent growth which Nitrogen forces plants to put on. Aphids insert their mouth parts in to the stem of a plant and suck out the sugary sap inside (all plants create sugar as their food). Aphids can make a plant struggle to live, produce small crappy fruit and they poop sticky stuff (called honeydew....ew) all over the place which attracts ants and fungus.  Whoa.

Fun. are you just dumping nutrients on your soil?

Good soils are made from good ingredients. Add compost, not just nitrogen (aka Miracle Gro etc.). Invest in your soil because just like anything else, what you put in, you will also get out.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Theoretical Thursday take 1

I hope your day is filled with love and if there's no one to make it so, enjoy your freedom and do what you love.
And I love you, because you are human, because you read my journal and because you have something to offer, I know you do. 
So here: <3 <3 <3 Take some love with you wherever you go today, from Fearless Farmgirl, to you.

And now today's post:

An ongoing joke between me and my husband is my need to create theories as part of contemplation. We’ll be in the middle of making dinner and I’ll say, “You know? I’ll bet if such and such then such and such and such would such and such.” Catch that? I usually end with; “But it’s just a theory”
So I’ve decided lovely readers to share my theories on here as often as I can come up with them in the form of Theoretical Thursdays.

Some may be wise, some may be wise-cracked but usually, they are fun and often they are full of it.


Theory: I’ll bet if people had to make everything from scratch, they wouldn’t eat near as much. Take butter for instance.

I have a problem with butter. It’s ridiculously yummy. I can’t say no.

When I eat corn bread…..every bite must have a fresh dab of butter on it.

Now if I had to make butter myself instead of buy it in a store, do you think I would use as much, go overboard, use it in everything and always want more?


Of course not. It wouldn’t be practical. I neither have the time nor the resources (a cow) to make butter every day, which is what I’d need to do to keep up with my addiction.

But….it’s just a theory.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hanky Panky

I've come to love ironing.
One of many in my collection

Yup, you heard right. This thing which I literally NEVER did when single, I joyfully do now married and cohabiting.  Last night I was standing over the ironing board, apron on, lavender water spray bottle in hand thinking "Simple life is best." It's not what you have, it's how much you appreciate what you have.
Bought this somewhere along the way

I thought I'd share some of what I have with you.

Ironing simply brings out the best in some items. Just like life, heat and pressure help you to know what you are made of.  
Grandmother's hanky w/edge tatted by my mom.
Part of an auction winnings.