Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A hot day in July

Today is an excellent day for sitting the air conditioning, sipping iced tea, and reading a good book. Unfortunately, I'm rather fond of finishing my to-do lists, and those things are not on the agenda. Drat. Tomorrow may come a bit closer, as I will be gadding around the county and unable to work on the normal to-dos.

Here, we have a sample (admittedly, the worst one) of a portion of our 'turf restoration'. For spraying seed in November, it's pretty bad. For spraying seed in June, it's not that great. Although it wasn't the fault of the landscape guys that they sprayed the seed the day before or morning of a nice 5+ inch rainstorm. And that much of the seed washed away into my newly mulched flower beds. 

I finally finished the socks I started during Canis's second surgery.  They're for me, I think, and I rather like them.  I'm having doubts about using superwash and non-superwash wools in the same item, though.  What was I thinking?  Time will tell.  The current projects are felted clogs.  One pair for Filius is done and felted and too big, one pair for Mom is knitted and not felted, and today I hope to cast on a smaller pair for Filius.  My pair is on hold until I get the yarn for the upper.  Three soles are done for mine, though!

Here, we have an unusual picture.  In the 6 years we've had Canis, he has Never Once took a nap while touching another dog.  He'd rather not touch another person, either.  He likes his space.  Unless there are food dishes being filled, and then he will do whatever is necessary to get into the proper spot to watch.  But yesterday, after he came in from his rounds, he sacked out TOUCHING mom's dog.  (The floor fan is about 3 feet away from the other dog's nose, off towards 2 o'clock.) 

In other news, life is busy, I made another 3 pints of bread and butter pickles, a quart of pickled onions, and have 4 pounds of cucumbers sitting downstairs that I picked today.  Time to go figure out what to make!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Of pickles and velcro

I went out to the garden last Friday, intending to see if I could find a cuke or two for my salad.  When I came in with over 2 lbs of the little fruits, I headed to the internet to find a pickle recipe.  Mmmmm!
1.2 kilograms on Friday

This morning, my cucumber foray yielded over 4 lbs of cucumbers. 
More cucumbers on Wednesday
Now, there was a question about how I harvest (and weed) things in my garden with my handy-dandy rabbit fences.  The answer is ... VELCRO

The magnificence of Velcro tape
The panels themselves are 2' high.  Each garden corner has a piece of rebar or other upright, (hopefully) sturdy object.  I run a piece of velcro tape around the the PVC pipes and the rebar, and voila -- the corner is fairly secure.  And the friendly bunnies see that they are not welcome, so they don't force the issue.  When the time comes that I want to do a serious cucumber search, I undo the velcro at a corner or two, swing the panels away (if they're still attached at the other side), and start hunting.
Oh where oh where oh where are the cukes?
This removal of the panels is only possible because for a few weeks earlier in the growing season, I went out twice daily to remove any enterprising vine that thought the chicken wire was going to be PERFECT to cling to.  (Enter more velcro tape.  It's great for redirecting vines to the trellis, or simply keeping them from leaning on the chicken wire.)   Now that the vines are taller, a check every day or two seems sufficient.  I am wondering about the 5' vines on the Bushy Cucumbers.  They've topped my trellis, which is over 6 ft, and it's only July. 

The rabbit fences work without corner stakes, too, as on my bean trellis (and clothesline).  You can see the velcro tape in the lower left corner.  The beans seem quite happy.  Limas and Green Beans, they are. 

Today's cucumber haul is going to become dill pickles.  Happily, I have dill!
I'm supposed to put one head of dill in the bottom of each pint jar.  Problem is, I think one head of dill will fill a pint jar.  Or maybe a quart jar.  This head is as wide as my forearm is long -- from elbow to crotch of thumb.  I'm glad there is an equivalency given for dill seed.  I'll just use that.  Somewhere else I read that a head of dill is 3-4" across.  My dill was not informed of that.  (The plant behind the volunteer dill is summer squash.  Early white scalloped bush, or some such order.  I'm still waiting, but there are flowers!) 

This morning's bike ride was cancelled on account of threatening clouds during the cucumber hunt, and it's a good thing.  I was debating another 30 miler, and there was ping pong sized hail reported along the route I would have been on.  Yeowch!  Thanks to the rain, I crossed 'water garden' off my to-do list. 

Biking-wise, I did put in 34 miles on Saturday, and had fun.  Actually saw two other cyclists!  Mom and Pop's Ice Cream store is only 21 miles away -- I may yet bike into town for some ice cream.  Or not.  We shall see!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

In which I again resort to pictures

Sock #2 is done.  The stockings that I started during Bandit's second surgery are also nearing completion -- one toe left!  One commission awaits starting and finishing after that, and another (once the yarn arrives).  I've ordered yarn for 3 pair of slippers, replacing 3 pair of well-loved slippers, and, well, my knitting life is doing just fine. 

Gardening!  Behold the first cucumbers...
I decided to be unique and go with Bushy Cucumbers (short vines, good in cool weather), as well as Boothby's Blonde Cucumber.  Guess which one is blond?  These are the first two, and it looks like there are many more to come.  I am looking forward to trying my hand at pickle making this year.  I've made some before, but don't know where the recipes went, so I get to experiment from scratch and http://

Biking!  Last week, I decided to take a Longer than Usual Ride.  This is done, not by pedalling faster or harder, but by not turning towards home in the usual spots.  So, rather than turn north on road A, I turned north on the next paved road after it.  And, because road B jogged along road C to the east before resuming its route north, but no signs told me that it jogged east instead of west, I got in a Longer than I Was Really Thinking of Ride.  Taking road A is a scant 20 miles.  Taking road B should have been about 25.  And, had I zigged instead of zagged at road C, it probably would have been.  (hmm, I'll have to try that.)  But as it was, the zag ended up being a 33 mile ride.  So much for increasing my mileage by 10% each week.  However, it was a delightful ride and I hope to do it again when the weather is good and my time is available.  (If I take the NEXT paved road, road D, then I go right past a friend's house and don't add any distance.  I'm looking forward to it.) 

Until next time ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


The past week or two has been such a blur of staying on top of things that recalling what has been happening would be a serious effort.  The pictures shall speak for themselves.

One of four or five plates found tucked in with Gram's china which was not part of that set.  My aunt tells me these were the everyday plates used when they lived in Illinois. 

 Cherries, from our tree, for cherry pie filling.  Twenty-three cups of pitted cherries.  Yummmmm!

Cucumbers, with trellis

Peas and Beans and Peppers, Oh My!

Herbs, Greens, and Onions.  And finger.

Tomatoes and Basil and Purslane

Beans - Kentucky Wonder and Christmas Lima

Sock #1 (Sock 2 is now further along than this. Yay!)

Thursday, June 16, 2016


June is such a lovely month, full of scope for activity. Last week was full of biking; this week has been not so full of biking. It's been full of other things instead. Tuesday was particularly spectacular. We had a near miss of a tornado (2 miles outside of town counts as a near miss, doesn't it?), a torrential deluge on a morning with a 10% chance of rain, and the grass seed which was placed on the nicely filled and leveled dirt strip in our front yard got mostly washed away. Poor landscapers! Speaking of landscape ... here are some photos.
Perennials with Mulch
The Clematis finally comes into its own


Wednesday wasn't a bad day either. Filius started his summer job at an area grain elevator, and I look forward to hearing about his days.

Today, well, today has a zero percent chance of rain, but the air is heavy and I think I am hearing thunder rumbling. All sorts of things call. Cucumber trellis-making, knitting, reading ... I shall be off and get started.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

In which there are no photos

Life continues to be full of things to do, places to go, and weeds to pull.  This week has seen the addition of things to knit, which delights my heart.  The weeds in the new grass are growing faster than the grass (of course) and there is not much grass to begin with (which is supposed to be getting fixed), so I am pulling 100 weeds a day at a minimum in order to keep the whole strip from being overrun by pineapple weed, knotgrass, walnut trees, apricot bushes, lambs quarters, and that ilk.  Today's weeding project will also include the garden.  We (I) have been enjoying radishes, kale, and chard from it already.  Filia and Canis also like the asparagus. 

Busy day, short blog.  Until next week!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In which I share photos

First, we have photos of the finished Nattrojer, which if I were on an Apple product, would be spelled with a slash through the 'o'. Since I am not, just pretend one is there.  I blocked the sweater at the point of 'body+sleeve' to make sure that I could live with the sleeve opening - which is largish, but definitely livable.  Then I knit the second sleeve, and snapped a photo to answer the question 'does blocking make any difference in how my sweater will look?' 
One sleeve blocked, one sleeve not.

Then I got the sweater nice and wet, let it soak, spun it to dampness in the washer, and popped it on my wooly board.  (Thanks, mom!)   It was so nice outside that I stuck the board under a tree and got some more photos. Now I can look forward to fall, when it will be sweater-wearing season once more!  Yesterday was 85 degrees .... not sweater-wearing season.

Next, I bring you some mitten photos. (Disclaimer: I didn't knit them)  These mittens were found in the bottom of a box of non-descript things at an auction.  They're quite felted, well-worn, personalized, and have absolutely no provenance. 

A few things struck me about them.
  • The ribbing is k1tbl, p1, rather than the more typical k1, p1. Once I get my bookshelf, I will have to fish out my Norwegian books to see if this is a common thing that I just haven't met before.
  • The numbers and initials were worked so that they are upside down, with respect to the wrist.  Sanquhar gloves and just about all the writing that I've seen on knitting is worked so that the bottom of the number/letter is closest to the hem/cuff, not the fingertips/top.  
  • The decreases at the top were all worked k2tog, AND there is a decent swatch of speckled pattern between them.  
I may have to chart these out and/or knit them up one of these days.

With the arrival of springsummer, reseeding work on The Construction Zone has begun.  We're still waiting to have our miniature 'ravine' filled in.  Word has it that it will happen shortly -- the thunderstorms today kind of nixed a 'today' date, but it shouldn't be long.  Yesterday, the truck with dirt parked right in front of our ravine and we watched them tote tractor-fulls of dirt to other parts of town all day. 

I snapped a few pictures in the rain of my wee little perennial beds, which are to either side of the sidewalk out to the street.  With the steps in there, it's just not an easily mowable area, so I'm converting it to flowers.  (The landscaping guys reseeded one section of it with grass, hours after I pulled the grass out.  Argh.  But they haven't driven a tractor over it, so I count my blessings.)

It'll be fun to see what these areas look like in the fall, and next year.  I have daylilies, purple coneflowers, lupine, comfrey, and dutch iris tucked in there.  Someone in our area must have had lupine last year, as I've found 3 lupine growing randomly in the post-construction weed-bedecked lawn.  As I find them, I dig them up and move them to my little perennial bed. 
The garden is just about complete now.  I may replant some squash -- there's a nice tennis ball-sized hole where I think I had stuck the seeds.  Everything else is in, though, and most everything else is up.  We're enjoying fresh radishes daily (and radish leaf smoothies!), and chives, and should have peas in about a month.  The sage is behaving so bountifully that I may yet move a plant out of the herb bed and stick it somewhere else ... it's dwarfing the swiss chard.  Asparagus, kale, and rhubarb are also on the menu already. 

Until next week!