16 June 2009

Brown paper packages tied up with string

Today William received a cute crew neck sweater from my friend Jess. It's hand knit in Rowan's all seasons cotton. I love the slate grey and can't wait for the next chilly day to see William in it. I've always been a shoe and sweater girl! If you're on Ravelry, you can look up Jess's other amazing knits under her name "midwifejess".

Jess also remembered big sister who received a beautiful sundress. She was very happy to model it right away. Jess also sent some tea biscuits cleverly shaped like the letter "T" so of course we had to have a tea party in Savannah's new sundress. Jess is also expecting a baby this year so I am adding a baby quilt to my list of projects.

I also received two interesting fabrics from Elizabeth in Holland who sent them as a surprise thank you for the baby fabric squares I sent her last month. She's making a surprise baby quilt for her sister's baby with fabrics from all over the world. Can't wait to see it!

15 June 2009

Spring Blooms Mini Quilt Swap

Today I finished my mini quilt for the Spring Blooms swap. I changed my mind about a dozen times when it came to what I was going to make. Partly, I was anxious about having received a professional quilter to create for when my skills are more novice or intermediate level in the quilting department and partly, I was just occupied with other things; work, books, garden, recovering, baby...

In the end I decided to just play around and see what comes of it. I made a quilt that is totally "me", playful and imperfect with Kaffe Fassett and Martha Negley fabrics that I love and to me scream "spring". I quilted it with a meandering stipple.

I did use one new technique - I've never made yoyos before and I made two this time for the funky flower and its center. I also don't use applique very often so I hope it turned out well enough.

My favorite part is the tree. I love trees. This one is fun because the fabric I used had an enormous lettuce or cabbage print on it, so I fussy cut it out to serve as the foliage. There's a hole in the tree waiting for new tenants.

Maybe this bird lives there.

Tomorrow I package up and send out my mini-creation. I'll update this post on Friday with a link to my quilting partner's website so you can see her amazing quilt artwork. Until then, it's still a secret!

10 June 2009

Solar installation complete

We are now officially a solar farm (with the exception that the paperwork hasn't yet caught up to the work so the power we are generating now isn't being collected--ahh! bureaucracy getting in the way of "free" green energy!).

Here they are installing the panels. Even on a day this foggy, the test run showed it was collecting 4.9kW of energy on our 5.2kW system, pretty good!

I think the solar panels standing in a row of three arrays and turned up to the sun like sunflowers are beautiful, our own modern art sculptures. We plan to seed the area beneath with grass to keep the wild tall grasses and saplings from putting down root there.

The best part about this project? I haven't had to lift a finger, which is great because most days I haven't been well enough to do so. Instead I get to spend my time:

collecting laughs on my camera,

and first practices at tummy time,

and homeschooling this beautiful, smart, and rascally big sister.

05 June 2009

Solar installation continues - cemented, trenched and wired

The initial work on our photovoltaic system is complete. The three poles for our pole-mounted system are up, cemented in place and wired. They look great and they have a great view of the pond.

The poles stand about 15' apart. The grass will grow back in no time, hopefully the ticks and poison ivy will not. The poles are mounted on the berm we've called "Tick Hill" because we always had ticks when walking there.

The electrical wiring that goes from the PV system to the inverter is also in place. The crew dug a trench for the wires, which feed the DC from the solar panels into the inverter box in the garage.

In order to mount this 4' by 4' panel, the electricians had to rewire the air compressor on the left, but they did so so quickly that they didn't charge us extra for it. We have a grid tied system so we can benefit from net metering. We can't wait for the panels, that are sitting in the barn, to be mounted!

04 June 2009

Spring chickens

Now that the chicks are almost five weeks old they have entered their awkward teenage stage where they no longer resemble chicks but don't yet have their full adult plumage. Plus, their combs are emerging as awkward skin-colored growths over their noses. In short, the girls look ugly, but they are as sweet as ever, especially towards Savannah.

Savannah feeds them by hand in the morning and afternoon. When I clean the brooder, one or two of the chicks will sit quietly in her lap as she pets their feathers. The distinguishing marks they had as chicks are covered by their feathers now so we can't tell them apart any longer, although some are more plump than the others.

Here they are enjoying the sunshine in their A-frame mini-tractor (I made it from leftover bits of lumber in our garage while recovering from mastitis). The top bar hangs over the frame to act as handles for easy carrying. It's light enough that Savannah can help carry it. The girls are acclimating themselves to the outdoors and to eating buggies. We should have ordered 60 chicks to control the bug population out here. The girls provide constant amusement. Today Savannah gave one a clover and she ran around with her prize in her beak, trying to keep it all to herself while her curious sisters chased her around in circles.

I was able to complete this project today because William helped out in his own important way:

Fast asleep in his carrier looking a little like a turtle and a little like a Buddha. (I think of Oogway, meaning tortoise in Mandarin, the wise Kung Fu master in Kung Fu Panda.)