Saturday, April 28, 2012


I'm in the process of saving up some money to do some more rennos in the house.
The most pressing? The bathroom... the tiny pit known as the bathroom.

See, when the house was built (in 1867) there was no bathroom... just the main house, 20 or 30 years later, someone attached the "summer kitchen". And when the house caught up with society, the summer kitchen was split in half lengthwise to add a bathroom. What does all this mean? Well, I moved the kitchen out of the 7x12 space that remained- and put it out in the dining room- it's great, there are still a few pieces to finish, but I love that it was moved... and the bathroom sits in a 3.5x12 space. 3.5? oh yeah... it's a 3/4 sized tub, a pedestal sink, and a toilet that isn't friendly to people with long legs.

The biggest issue with the bathroom, aside from the fact that it's unheated and was built with midgets in mind- is that the 3/4 tub has a giant rust spot that is nearly a hole... AND the previous owners pained the tub to hide it... twice... badly.

Here is where our hero enters... I have a friend who can fix anything and has a heart of gold... he spotted a replacement tub at the ReStore- brand new! For 1/3 of the price of the tubs I'd been pricing out online.

So, bathroom rennos are one step closer.


Friday, April 27, 2012


So, I've been playing around with podcast things for a while now- and forever ago I said I'd be the Canadian Correspondent for the UkuleleHunt Podcast... I couldn't get the planets to align, so my first submission coincided with the (temporary?) end of the Podcast.

Bumps in the road included: Deciding to finally learn how to use GarageBand on the Mac... super easy once I found an old tutorial... completely USELESS until then. Help links no longer work, as my version is something like twenty million years old.
World's laziest dog decided to PACE for the entire interview... there was a point where I went and picked her up and pinned her on the couch... till she jumped up and went back to pacing... Eventually she got bored and snored thru the last half hour of the interview...
And trying to cut an hour and a half(ish) interview into 15 minutes including songs....

Great learning experience overall- and I'd do it again. Podcast can be found below...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring concerts!

So, As most of you know, I run a tiny house concert series here in Cobourg-  2-6 (affordable) shows a year, with 20 seats (unless weather permits us to set up in the back yard). It's cozy little space, but the company is warm, and the tunes delightful. PLUS, there's usually some tasty treats too.

I have three fantastic shows set up for the rest of the year, and the first is coming up quickly!

THIS weekend (a surprise opening as they pass through Ontario....
David Simard and Steve Gates

David Simard hailing from Montreal (but previously Ptbo) is one of my favourite voices- David is one of those singer songwriters that just keeps getting better and better. It's just a matter of time before we start to hear him everywhere. In 10 years when he's beyond famous, you'll want to be able to turn to your friends and say you saw him at a tiny house concert first. (I may have embarrassed myself and kissed his CD the night I got it- thinking he wasn't looking- but he was.... I was that excited)

East coast's Steve Gates just released his debut full length album including the vocals of SVFF friend Rose Cousins and the lovely Jenn Grant. He's touring Canada, and there's a tonne of great press out there about his new album "A Bee In Her Mouth". The link will bring you to a cbc blurb and a sweet little video about Steve. Steve is being backed by two bandmates.. it'll be snug in the hobbit house Saturday night!

Show details: Saturday April 28th, 7pm, $15 or PWYC, call or message to reserve seats!

Coming in June-

Paper Beat Scissors- Tim Crabtree makes some of the most lovely and haunting music I've been lucky enough to hear. His video for Flicker is a treat for both the eyes and ears. Tim is living out East these days, and it's a treat to be able to host him in Northumberland... And I'm super excited to get my hands on his album, my copy of his EP has long since been stolen by some friend who fell in love with his sound.

Show details: Sunday June 10th 7pm $15 or PWYC, call or message to reserve seats!

and... this one I still can't believe...

CR Avery- anyone who's a friend of Corin Raymond has heard him rant and rave over CR's work, I listened to his advice and took in on of his showcases at OCFF last fall. I was AWESTRUCK. And I cried thru a good portion of the show. This guy has so much passion, and so many words to show that passion. Um, my current favourite way to describe CR ? "spoken word, beat box, harmonica, banjo, hip hop guy". If you're not cool with some crass language, this probably isn't the best show for you, but if you love words, and you love people who know how to use those words to make beautiful stories and songs and poems... this IS the show for you.

Show details: Sunday June 24th, 7pm $15- tickets to be paid in advance (e-transfer is an option)

message me at ladylesley at hotmail dot com for tickets

Friday, April 20, 2012

by touch

I spent the morning last week at the wool shop again.
It's a little bit of an addiction.

While I was there- for a spinning lesson- I spent most of my time walking around following the shop owner (we'll call her "Tiny") around, just learning about fibers and the process.

It was a "feel good" boost sort of morning. I brought in my latest skein of wool and Tiny was quite happy with my work. I sat down and started on my next when a woman was led in by her daughter...

She's 87, a master spinner, runs her own guild, has taught a huge number of people to spin... and she's blind. She hasn't always been blind, but she's been carrying on by touch. I learned so so much from her while she wandered around the shop- touching different fleeces and mixed rovings! She'd touch some, and know what type of sheep it was from! Then she'd talk about the differences in how it spun. Really cool.

Tiny handed her my last skein and said "guess how long this one has been spinning". Her daughter looked at it and commented about how she was excited for when her own skeins would start to look and feel like [mine]. The older woman took it in her hands, played with it a bit and said "this is coming along nicely, you've been spinning for quite a few months now haven't you? Nearly a year?" Tiny starts to cackle "Two WEEKS! It's her 4th skein!" The woman's mouth drops open and she starts playing with it again... "that changes everything... this is fantastic, you have to keep spinning!"
Pretty much my head wouldn't even fit out the door after that conversation.

I really want to try out some different wheels. This one is nice, but I'm getting frustrated with some parts of it. Maybe it's specific to this wheel? Or my technique? It gets stuck at the top and bottom of a rotation if I'm going slow... and I'm trying to go really slow right now to break my tendency of pumping my feet like a mad man.

Monday, April 16, 2012

eye spy: I scent edition

All the smells are heavy in my nose, in the air...

wet dirt

wet pavement

a poplar's buds, dripping sap

a cigarette

wet dog


wet grass

tonight's one of those nights where walking the streets feels like the right thing to do. The air is still a novelty after winter, but heavy like midsummer. Fog is clouding the street, my hair jumps to ringlets the moment I walk out the door. If my eyes could stay open I'd walk all night.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

eye spy

a table topped with roving

antique suitcases

mug of cream of chicken soup

book -"alchemy of mirror mask" opened to something beautiful

chewed bone- dog firmly attached


Thursday, April 12, 2012

setting. sitting.

I've just read 4 articles on "breaking the broody"...
Poor Cheepers, tomorrow's the day that we work on ending this broody stint of hers.

Hot Tub is fixed. After work tonight it may be difficult to remove me from the tub.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

dry land

breathe on these dry bones....

Today I watered the garden... again.
It's April 10th. Has it even rained yet this month? I mean, more than that splattering this morning. Not going to be much of a 1000lb challenge- unless it's a 1000 litre challenge? How much water can you pour on your garden?

I want to avoid writing work related stuff right now- I feel like I'm there so often though, there's not much more to life. Ug. I'm so boring.

How about a picture of one of my future sheep?

zwitserland 2008

picture from flickr.

Monday, April 09, 2012


There was an Easter miracle.. other than the obvious.
Maria laid her first egg, and the hot tub worked.

They were short lived miracles, no eggs today and the hot tub stopped working.

Tub is scheduled to be fixed on Thursday- when on thursday? "he'll be there before noon, unless he isn't, then he'll be there after."

I just cried my way through this video....

Sunday, April 08, 2012

blue eggs

Happy Easter~

Easter eggs.
I've been eating them... Right now I'm waiting (impatiently) for an egg from one of the "littles" - one of the bantam cochins I purchased 10 weeks ago.
I was sure that the splash (Darlene) was going to lay first, but Maria has been squatting like crazy, and today she's turning in circles in the coop- meanwhile, Cheeps won't get off the nest.

I've got a serious craving for chicken wings.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

dream a little dream of me

I have vivid dreams.
Followers of this blog will remember the Larium Delirium that followed me home from Togo. Sometimes I wonder if it's a sort of flash back that I'm experiencing.
I remember every detail.
SO many details.
Not necessarily the story line... I'm talking the colours and textures and smells and objects.

This one is a gross one.

Last night I was in a greenhouse/ basement.
It was my maternal grandmother's basement, but it was a greenhouse (hey, I make up the rules as I go). It was near the ocean (not in real life). This room had been housing an individual under the care of some people- but they hadn't been watching him closely to see how he was really doing.
He wasn't doing well.
At some point he'd turned into a hoarder.
A hamster hoarder.

They were nearly all dead.
Shelves and shelves of plastic multi-coloured cages, wire cages. Hamsters, guinea pigs, bunnies. A few birds... but they were all called hamsters. Some were mummified, some were rotting. The ones that weren't stiff and flat could barely lift their heads- I started with eye droppers, trying to nurse each one with water- then switched to just filling water bottles as fast as I could... just in case.

Meanwhile, I'd been keeping a parrot in a glass of water. Hopeful that it would revive itself.

On top of the shelving was a terrarium... the kind some people keep lizards or frogs in. Deep water though.. filled with stinking algae, and duckweed, and scottish fold cats.
4 of them.
I wanted one.
The grey one.
but it was really sick, and needed help from someone who knew about sick scottish folds... So I said I'd take the black and white one home. And the parrot in the glass of water, because it was getting attached to me- we'd been sharing songs.

There was a lot more to the dream.
But I woke up more fully as I was explaining to someone why I wanted the black and white one, and what my medal should look like after the rescue was done.

I love lucid dreaming.

Friday, April 06, 2012


Really, the only thing I want right now is for it to be flip-flop weather.

I am so sick of stinky winter shoe feet.

Random thought... can I use sewing machine oil in my type writer?

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Week 1

Welcome to week one of the 1000lb challenge!
While I still haven't built the two new beds, I did chop down some bushes, and got some seeds in the soil.

I have a problem.

I'm addicted to the kitchen garden planner on . The pre-planned gardens are really cute... but it's the square-foot template planner that I'm in love with. You drag and drop the pictures of the veggies you want on your plot, and it gives you a list of when to plant, how many to plant, and how to plant it... So cute. I've redesigned my garden a million times in the past two days.

But... I did finally break down and got some seeds in the soil.
I'm doing the square foot thing, sooooo here's the run down:

in the ground-
12 square feet of garlic
4 sf golden and red beets
4 sf of rainbow chard
2 sf sugar snap peas
2 sf snow peas

to be planted-
(in that first bed after the frost is done, seeds have been started in the house)
4 sf sweet bell peppers
2 sf HOT chilli peppers
2 sf eggplant

I've noticed the squirrels aren't so into digging in a moist bed- I've been really laying down the water (as we've gotten 2 good days of rain in the past month), but my plan after work today is to cut the squirrel net to size and figure out a nice neat way of attaching it.

ALSO! I got word this week that I can team up with one of the farmers market booths to sell grocery bags (crocheted market bags and sewn veggie bags) along with some worm stuff ... This is with the victory garden guys (Richard's son and his partner- they moved into Richard's place in the fall). I'm pretty pumped, they're doing some really neat things over at the garden, and I'm excited to be a part of it too.
I'm wondering about sprouts.
I know the guys are doing pea shoots and some other things... I'd like to do the spicy sprout mix to sell too.

ok, too many ideas.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Biggest relief

I've been worried about approaching my immediate neighbour in regards to the hens. She's grumpy. And strange.

I've decided she's just really awkward.

Anyway, Monday she was outside (honestly, I've spoken to the woman maybe 6 times since I moved in two years ago)... so I approached her and told her that I've had chickens since last summer. And then I gave her some eggs... and waited to see what would happen... and she was SO excited!!! She even came over to meet Darlene and Maria (Cheeps is broody right now, so she remained invisible inside the coop).

Fears relieved, the hens haven't made any enemies... fingers and toes crossed as I wait for the other neighbour's house to sell.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

challenge accepted.

I'm taking on the 1000lb challenge.
With a few adjustments....
The 1000lb challenge is a friendly year long competition going on between two gardens down South, one of the competitors is an online friend....

Basically- they each have 500 square feet of garden and are going to try to get 1000lbs of food out of it over the next year.

I have (nearly) 100 square feet, so I'm going to try for 180 lbs of food over the year.

I'm trying out "square foot gardening" but might end up squishing a few things closer than the recommended spacing to take advantage of my plots.

The garden space: One built 8x4 raised bed, one nearly built 8x4*, one 8x2 hot bed (it's first to thaw and last to freeze, but too hot for anything mid summer). the 12x1 straw bale garden, the 2x3 asparagus bed, and tonight I just chopped down the yews out front to make room for a third** front bed (4x4).

I'm feeling good about it. I'm excited to see what I can do now that I have land that gets some sunlight! The garlic babies are doing GREAT! 32 of 34 have come up. Last year I planted 12, 8 came up, and the newspaper kid crushed them all by throwing the papers on them. This year, it's a little more obvious that things are growing.... so I'm hopeful the newspapers stay out of the beds. I found a really great little site that looks at square foot gardening in raised beds. It gives a few example layouts and notes how much space each plant needs. Then you can go and plot out your garden, and drag and drop the plants into place- I like visuals... it shows what the garden will look like mid growing season- a good reminder to pay attention to the esthetics- especially since it's out front of the house now.

* nearly built... I've told myself I'm building it. Maybe I'll even buy the wood for it this week.
** nearly 3rd... see above.

Monday, April 02, 2012


In the past 48 hours, 3 people have said they'd like to follow me around and watch what I do in a day.

Do I tell them I've been spinning wool and watching Transformers?