Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Works Completed: A Toilet and a Table

Perhaps it's a strange thing to post about the inner workings of one's bathroom, but I can't help but share the completion of our compost toilet! Last week, we put the second coat of paint on and added a second toilet to our bathroom, which is still out of commission so Lars has been having quite a fun time "camping" inside the toilet box. Every morning, he looks inside…"No poop yet, Mama!" And without waiting for a response, he ploughs right in with a flashlight and some toys. 

It is such a simple thing: 
1). 5 gallon bucket under the toilet with a starting layer of leaves or sawdust.
2). 5 gallon bucket under the smaller, handled lid full of sawdust (to be added after each toilet time)
3.) Remove the 5 gallon bucket when it's 3/4 of the way full and dump it in your (this is important) humanure compost pile (not the one for food scraps).
4.) Human waste becomes viable soil once again after sitting in the compost bin for 1 year

There is definitely more detail that I would like to add one of these days for those who seriously want to take this on in their own home. We've been composting poop for about 6 years now, so there's a few tricks to making it relatively easy and sanitary. Once our humanure compost system is built, I'll go over the system in totality. Although it takes up a few extra minutes of your week to haul out and clean up, it's such a good feeling to keep what we can out of the septic system and recycling, what is considered filth, into viable earth for trees and perennials.

And now on to another project finally completed…our family table!
With about $80 of lumber and screws and a DIY guide from Pinterest, we've acquired a very lovely table that can take a beating from a toddler with a wooden toy axe or a misled craft project. The more worn and gouged it becomes, the more of an antiqued farm table it will be!

However, I shouldn't so flippantly say it was just a simple trip to the lumbar yard with little financial investment. It definitely was an investment of time and patience. Once I brought my father into the mix, asking for his guidance, since my husband really didn't want to get caught up in this project (and who can blame him since he ends up doing about 60% of the work), the table transformed from a simple weekend project into a semester of Intro to Stickley furniture-making.

Most of the Pinterest farm table projects are simple in nature, joining all the pieces with a Kreg jig. My father, on the other hand, strongly suggested that we additionally biscuit and glue all the joints, which took some time…but gosh, did I learn a lot! I feel way more competent as a builder prior to putting this table together but I also know there is so much to get the hang of, the Kreg jig, planer, skilsaw, ect. 

Now I just have to figure out how to keep all the oatmeal and applesauce from embedding in the holes and grooves of the table. All the more farm-tably, right?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Garden Playdates

I've recently discovered the trick to managing our massive garden with a toddler, which is to borrow other mother's children (aka playdate) for a morning or afternoon. I often feel as though I am "borrowing" them however when I find myself texting my mother friends, looking for a bit of distraction for Lars while I put in the next batch of carrots or thin the beets. This tactic works marvelously, though, and the "borrowing" becomes more than distraction, but rather joyful as visiting friends find pleasure in the space to roam and explore a rural landscape, while Lars gets his much-needed little person time and show off his little chicks or favorite new dirt mound for truck digging.
I find that having an extra little one around helps me take more breaks- since my gardening is so much more efficient while they are playing, the breaks come easily without feeling like I'm neglecting my seedlings or weeds. Snacks, guitar-playing, some knitting, and playing are woven into an already busy day, but with no anxiety, as I know I'll have the focus to go back to work when the friends are off on their next adventure.

Our break this afternoon consisted of last year's blueberries with the loveliest coconut cream, frothed in the Vitamix for a minute (thanks for the tip, Bernadette!). I added chocolate chips to mine after the boys had settled themselves down to their treats. Kind of sneaky, but just what I needed after an hour of hand-tilling a new carrot bed. A little extra boost... 

I'm really pleased with the abundance and beauty that is our garden this year. Being that this is the first year growing food, we sure got lucky with an exceptionally warm spring. Our tomatoes are even blossoming! I was certain that we would be doing a lot of greenhouse/hoop house gardening living so far North, and perhaps we will have to use more covering come next year, but this…this I will take with gratitude and a deep pleasure in this wild, beautiful garden that we have so thoughtfully sowed, thanks to our playdates with friends!