It's still hot outside, but there's something in the air that's telling my brain, "It's time to stock up for winter!" Since I have suffered a 100% fail in the garden and orchard this year (thanks to the ground squirrels, gophers, deer, and rabbits), all of our winter food will come from the grocery store, not my canning and freezing efforts. It makes me sad.
So, instead of making my own spaghetti sauce, I'm sewing and crafting like a maniac. This week's project is square catnip cat toys. I don't have a cat right now, but I grow organic catnip, and I am always looking for something to do with it. Hey, maybe if I had a cat or two I wouldn't have all the trouble with rodents!
I sell sprigs of dried catnip at The Coarsegold Emporium in Coarsegold, CA. A lot of my catnip will be ground into powder and added to the next batch of Castile soap I make. It acts as an exfoliate and adds color as well as a slight scent to my soaps. Still gentle on skin, my catnip soap is popular with cat lovers. I don't know if it will do the trick, but I recently read that catnip is a natural mosquito repellant.
The catnip in the squares I'm making is fresh and pungent, having been picked just a day before it's sewn into a toy. I have a couple dozen made and will post pictures on my website.
Hand Sewn Catnip Square
How I do it:
Clip catnip and let it dry. This will take from one to four days, depending on the temperature and humidity. It's hot and dry at Nana's Ranch right now, so mine is drying in just over 24 hours.
To make a square, simply cut out a couple of pieces of fabric to act as the front and back. Stitch around the outside edge, leaving an opening to stuff the catnip into. Once you have enough in the pouch, stitch it closed.
I use felt and add decorations. Most of my button decorations are handcrafted from polymer clay. I usually make buttons with no idea where or when I'll use them, so when a project like this comes along, I'm happy to drag out my button bags and search for the right one.
Because both of my sewing machines need repairs, I'm hand stitching the squares while I sit and watch TV in the evenings.
Hand Stitched Final Product
I hope your efforts in the garden were better than mine. If not, maybe you can find the time to do some crafting. Either way, enjoy this late summer/early fall season.
Hello, I'm Nana, and I live with Grandpa in the country on a little piece of land I call Nana's Ranch. Because I've only lived here full-time for a little more than a year, a lot of my blogs will be about discovery and overcoming things I never envisioned possible.
How did we end up in the country?
My husband and I moved from our beach house in Central California to our country property when we got tired of coastal fog and cold summer days. The transition was easy; it was something we had been looking forward to since we bought 20 acres in rural California ten years ago. Weekend visits throughout the years gave us time to put in electricity, a well, a water storage tank, an orchard of fruit and nut trees, fences, a bunkhouse, a pond, and a good sized chicken coop with a fenced yard.
On one trip back to the coast after a weekend visit to the ranch, Grandpa bought a two-month-old orphaned Boer doeling. She was on my lap, wrapped in a comforter, the entire three hour drive home. I didn't know what we were going to do with her in our little cul-de-sac yard, and it turns out, neither did Grandpa! We built a fence around an extra large Dogloo, and she happily ate alfalfa and grain and played with our Catahoula. I took her for walks on a leash, and we even took her to the dog park so she could run, play, and cause a stir.
It wasn't long before little Bordeaux was jumping out of her pen and into our yard. She liked the ferns and Swiss chard very much. She also liked harassing the chickens. You see, even though I lived in town, I had chickens. At the time, I had a flock of Bantam Silkies and a handful of dual purpose hens for egg production. I sold baby chicks at the pet store, pullets to others wanting to start a flock, and eggs to a few regular customers. Roosters were donated to the local zoo when neighbors complained about their noise. Now that we're at the ranch, Bordeaux has goat friends, we have grown our chicken flock, added more fowl creatures, and we have equines.
One of our rescue donkeys, Guillermo, is a sweet boy who loves hugs, scratches, and treats.
Sometimes I'm brilliant and other times I make colossal errors in judgment. I hope my mistakes will serve as a warning to you but also offer support and comfort when you think you're the only one things like this could possibly be happening to. Please celebrate my successes with me. If you've lived in the country for any length of time, you have learned that things don't always go as planned, nor as they did for the neighbor, and they surely don't go as the 'How To' books said they would! For these reasons, every good thing that happens in the country deserves a moment to drink in the victory.
Two cage-free Americauna hens scratch for bugs and grass in the yard at Nana's Ranch.
With so many critters at Nana’s Ranch, it is an exciting place where the drama never seems to stop. Stay tuned!