Thursday, 29 August 2013

Harvest and Foraging

For those of you who read my weekly articles in the Strathclair & District Review, you'll know that I found a grove of trees that has chokecherries, pin cherries, saskatoons, rosehips, and hawthorns. All within town (right by my old house, in fact). My mother and I gathered 2 litres of chokecherries before the mosquitoes ate us alive (and I twisted my ankle on a tree root) and I made some awesome jelly with it. Sadly the saskatoons were all dried up and the rosehips weren't dark enough. I think by now they should be ready, although they have a better flavour after the first frost. A local lady has decided to try to start up a farmers market here in town so I called and signed myself up for a table. A word of advice that I gave to myself is not to sell any leafy greens - whatever doesn't sell would have to be eaten before it wilts, and I'm the only one in the house who eats lettuce. So I'll just be selling beets and canned goods. I'm already crafting Christmas items - knitting and crocheting bath sets for family members. For those of you on Ravelry, I'm making "Grandmother's Favorite" washcloth, "Spiral Scrubbie" and a generic soap saver. Can't start Christmas items too early, because (due to my wrist surgery) my knitting is so slow.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

How are the Resolutions coming?

I just looked back at some of my New Years Resolutions... and I must say I'm doing splendid!
1) Learn how to make maple syrup: failed - lost my maple-tapping supplies that I'd ordered online.. they are somewhere in the house but goodness if I know where...
2) Save at least 80% of my monthly grocery bill through gardening: I think I accomplished that in July. Our grocery bills have dropped down to roughly $30/week and 1/3 of that is just milk. Honestly, if I had a cow and chickens, our grocery bill would be zilch.
3) Learn how to can with rubber rings: Successfully canned 4 jars using rubber rings with glass tops. Only one of them did not stay sealed. That's a pretty good success rate for my first time, but I think I'll stick with "normal" lids from now on.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Fair Prizes

I just realized I never posted my winnings from all my fair entries!

Firstly, after all my jam/jelly submissions, they were all disqualified due to mis-categorization. In other words, nobody had explained how to tag my submissions properly and so none of them were accepted into any category due to confusion.

However my sewing/knitting/crochet did great. I won:
1st prize on a sewn kids vest;
1st prize on a sewn kids sunsuit;
2nd prize on a sewn ladies blouse;
2nd prize on a crochet kids pullover;
3rd prize on knit adult socks
My sewn kids pyjamas didn't place, nor did my knitted dishcloth or sewn clutch.

In total it cost me about $9 total to enter all my entries and I won $14.50 in cash prizes, minus the $5 automatic membership given to vendors, which means I got a cheque for $9.50. Just enough to cover my entry fees.

Next year, my advice to myself:
1) One item per category.
2) Go for the big-payout categories. Even if you only win ONE it will pay for all your entries.
3) Concentrate on handiwork rather than food, which spoils - after the judges taste it, you have to eat it ALL or it'll go to waste.
4) For sewn items, try to make most items reversible or reinforce seams - some judges are picky about seams and will completely disqualify a piece for a personal opinion about seaming.
5) Don't bother having a vendor table, just focus on crafting items for judging. Sitting at a table is a waste of time - prize money will earn more than sales.