Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Summer School

Well, two days into school, we pretty much know what to expect. Just watch me disappear for a while again, I think. Lots of projects to do - at least they'll be interesting, even if they do take up a lot of time.

Our first little assignment in Urban Agriculture was to plan a garden based on the premise that we want to have a BBQ for 40 people, and get the veg and herb ingredients for the planned menu (given to us) from said garden. Not so bad, I've got most of that done already. But there will be more assignments. And, you know, the usual. ID quizzes, midterms and finals, outdoor lab time and logbooks.

The kicker is going to be the five (count 'em, five!) big projects for the Construction and Maintenance classes. To be done in the next 2 months - most are due the week before exams, so end of September.

Number 1 is a group project, which involves surveying (with theodolite and measuring rod) an assigned area of campus, drawing the scale map and two overlays, one noting possible drainage issues, and one drawing up recommendations to improve it.

  Numbers 2 and 3 kind of go together. For number 2, we have to design a front yard, using our CAD program, then do all the estimating for materials and labour to complete the project. For number 3, we have to put together a maintenance package for the homeowner in our design, with information on care for their new plantings (minimum 12 different plants).

Numbers 4 and 5 both involve creating manuals. One is a safety manual for 10 different types of equipment of various sizes, powered and not. The other is a quick reference manual for growth, description, and care of 25 of the plants we will be studying this term.

There's going to be a couple trips off campus, too. One is to a farm that grows and sells wild food - I forget what the name is, but they were profiled in the Citizen earlier this summer, so that's pretty exciting. A few of us are already into wild stuff - we were nibbling on purslane and serviceberries and stuff while weeding the vegetable garden yesterday. I think there's more purslane than legit veg in some spots; maybe we can add it to our market offerings (the class garden center is open Tues and Thurs, 11-1pm, offering plants, and vegetables as they ripen).
Our second trip off campus will be to the Cancer Survivors' Park near Hurdman Station, to do maintenance, then we're stopping at the Arboretum in the afternoon to do an ID quiz walkabout.

So, yeah. Lots to do. I think my policy is going to have to be to start on as much as I can right away, and just keep plugging. Apparently there were a lot of stressed students in the final stretch for the first group...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

In Pictures

It's been a crazy month or so. Work, dyeing, getting ready for the Corn Festival back home (my first show of the season), Tour de Fleece, picking and jamming berries (made a raspberry/peach orange combo that turned out real tasty)...Tomorrow is back to school for me, so yay for not being out of the house 12 hours a day. On the other hand, now I get homework, and volunteer work, and prep for teaching dyeing classes, and Huntingdon Fair  is in two weeks, have to get entries ready...

Now, I'm not going to blither at length about everything I've been doing since my last post, and make all those imaginary blog entries I've been planning into reality. But here's a few pics and notes.

Tour de Fleece: Good choice with the Lanterne Rouge group. I was doing all right until the last week or so, when I kind of fell off my wheel, as it were. Total spun: 3.5 skeins. I finally finished the second half of the last skein (another purple one) yesterday.

I didn't show off the last dye batch, did I? It's pretty. I figured some semi-solids would be nice for a change, being more versatile than variegated.

Remember the little wrens we had raising a family in the plants at work? No sooner did they fly off than two robin families took over hanging baskets. (Next year, if I go back, I'm going to change the sign to read Canadian Tire Garden Center and Bird Sanctuary.) The first ones hatched only one of their three eggs, but the baby is kinda cute, in an ugly way. Daddy robin was very suspicious of the camera. I'm glad I got to see the baby before end of work term, though.

There's been knitting too...a baby sweater I don't have a pic of, a pair of blue-and-white mitts in progress that I think of as my 'china' mittens, since they're rather like cobalt and white dishes, a pair of cabled mittens. Now there's a shawl in progress - a commission, in alpaca/silk laceweight, dyed coffee brown with walnuts.

 Next thing on my list? Make sure all my school stuff is ready for tomorrow. Janice has us at 9am for Urban Agriculture, so it looks like we'll be digging in the veg garden before afternoon theory class. Can't wait to see how that's doing, and say hello to Ginger the cat again.