Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city.

Page 3 of 18

Creating lawn habitat for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee

Bumblebees are important pollinators of native and fruiting crops, and Rusty-patched Bumblebees have been decimated by 90% of earlier population counts. They have finally been granted Endangered status in the United States. This article gives you all the details on the bumblebee and its status. In one of the comments, a reader writes that people in the midwest can create habitat for the bees by ripping out their manicured lawns, and creating meadow replacements with water features.

My quilting-from-scraps project

In 2011, when I lived at the cottage on Sand Lake,  I started reading up on patchwork quilts and cutting up blocks of cloth to make a queen-sized quilt for my bed. Ever since, usually over the winter months, I put in a few hours here and there stitching it together. It’s made from honest-to-goodness scraps that my adorable pets made from non-reparable, almost-unforgivable holes in various sheets sets and a duvet cover.

As soon as I had the top layer stitched together and found a bottom piece to match, I ordered a wool batt from Cedarview Farms in southwestern Ontario. I’ve “bagged” it, though it won’t be a complete bag where all seams are sewn, like a duvet or sleeping bag; instead I might need to create borders on two sides. As my theme is a windmill, I’ll use the border called “Flying Geese.”

I’m getting ready to start quilting it. This is where the handy book The Quilting Bible, and a website called Quilting Made Easy, come in handy. I have a quilting wheel I inherited from my grandmother, which I can use to perforate the copies of the stitching patterns I’ll use. Then, one rubs coloured chalk into the pattern to transfer it to the area for stitching.

Thanks to the help of the ladies in the Westmount Quilter’s Guild, I’ve tacked the quilt. I’ve partly quilted it too, along the seams, and as soon as that’s done, I will finally be able to quilt it by machine. I’m looking for a long-arm sewing machine, because it’s going to be hard to feed a queen-sized quilt through any other kind.

I’ll show pictures when I’ve made more progress. It’s been six years since I started it. The going is very, very slow.

How to give wildlife fresh, unfrozen water in winter

With the onset of truly cold weather now, with snow on the ground that sticks around, water is pretty much everywhere – in solid or powdered form. That makes it hard for our furry and feathered friends to get enough to drink. In fact, in winter, birds can suffer even more from lack of water than from lack of food. Today I’m going to show you just how easy it is to help your backyard wildlife friends get the water they need,

Don’t feel guilty that this might not have occurred to you yet. I’ve provided my house sparrows and their wild friends a wonderful backyard habitat with a pond for water (the kind of space which Rewilding can help you provide and certify for wildlife), but after November, it’s frozen. It took me years to finally give them this basic need in winter.

Until one day, I had the brilliant idea of how to do so with things I had on hand, in under 5 minutes (once all objects were located). And when you read to the bottom of this post, you’ll know why this is very timely, indeed! 

DIY Heated Watering Bowl instructions

All it requires is: Continue reading

Ripening your green tomatoes

This is going to be the shortest blog post (aside from link shares) ever. In fact, here in October, I feel some chagrin for not posting this earlier, but if you still have tomatoes in the garden, they’re not going to ripen this season, unless you do this:

Pull up the plant in its entirety and hang it upside down in your garage or cold cellar. All the cherry tomatoes on this plant – and there were many more; I’ve harvested them regularly – were green when I pulled it up at the end of September. I’m getting a lot more than I thought possible – at least 40 off of 3 plants!

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with artist Françoise Bernardin to conceive and develop a new logo for Big City Little Homestead. What do you think? Feel free to send comments this way… (why? Because we haven’t developed any merchandise yet, so if something truly needs a tweak, we’d rather know now. Thanks!)

In case your browser doesn’t show the Featured Image for this post, here it is again:

 

Big City Little Homestead logo

 

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