Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In which I have knit slippers

I love weeks with scope for usefulness.  I also love schedules, and being tidy and organized, and having everything go as planned.  This past week had quite a few dubious moments. 

Since it was too hot for bike rides, I knit a lot.

Filius' first pair - Too big


Filius' 2nd pair - just right

Still waiting for my slipper yarn

The garden is flourishing, and there's always kale and swiss chard for a salad, and cukes for whatever I might want cucumbers for.  There's a quart of quick dills in the fridge right now (made with today's haul) and another 2+ pounds of sliced cucumbers waiting to become bread and butter pickles.  And a pound of fresh cucumbers for lunch.  The squash is flourishing, but not producing much fruit.  LOTS of flowers, just not many female ones.  It is very space-greedy, too.  While I weeded the garden today, I determined that the volunteer vine on the bean trellis was a watermelon.  And I pulled it up.  If it's Minnesota, and the biggest watermelon you have is on a female flower bud that hasn't even opened, and it's almost August ... chances of seeing it live to edibility are not good.  I've got lots of jalapeno and black hungarian peppers, though, and  a few bells, and my Orca Beans are happy, and the pole beans are just about ready for picking (although I don't see any Christmas limas yet).

And it's hot, and humid.  I am so glad that God made seasons.  I can enjoy this one and know that winter is coming.

Until next week!

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 ...