Monday, September 3, 2012

When I'm not gardening....




...I make stuff.  I haven't found a place to fire my pottery so I decided to take up the "fiber arts" about a year ago. It began with felting. I started a new job where I had to dress like a grown up so I bought some clothes and decided I needed to accessorize to make the outfits go further. Accessories are expensive! Felt is pretty but expensive. So I figured out via YouTube and books how to make felted things- mainly scarves. Above is a washed-out picture of a scarf I made with some silk bits (orange) and purple, green and orangey-tan wool. I really like felting but it's not something you can pick up here and there when you've got a free minute. It's a process. So....felting progressed to crocheting. I learned to crochet from my mom & grandmother when I was a kid but I had never made anything. I started fiddling with it last fall and was encoraged by a coworker to keep at it. Through the miracle of YouTube I got the hang of it and quickly progressed from scarves to blankets:


I made a bunch of blankets last spring and over the summer. I eventually put the blanket/afghan projects away for two reasons: it's too freakin' hot! and I caught wind of some summer yarn sales. I bought some   A LOT very pretty yarn (not blanket appropriate) and  I started making shawls. Why shawls?  because the AC is on full blast at the office and I had a lot of shawl appropriate yarn:


Next on my agenda is knitting. I have no idea how to knit. My grandmother tried to teach me when I was a kid but it was a disaster. I tried on my own (with YouTube of course) a few weeks ago and got very frustrated very quickly. I'm ready to try again. I was talking to my cousin this weekend and  she told me about a knitting group that meets on Mondays- all skill levels, she said it would be a great place for me to learn ( and keep her company).  She's encouraging me to learn to knit in the Continental fashion. I did a little research and it sounds like a good idea. She learned to knit Un-Continential (?) as a kid then learned Continental when she lived in Denmark. The word on the street is she's a fast knitter and pretty darned good at it. Soooo....my job this week is going to be to get some 6,7 or 8 knitting needles (hello Craft Thrift Store: all needles = $1), a ball of light colored, 4 ply yarn (I'm sure I've got something kicking around the house) and any illustrated "How to Knit" book.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Argiope aurantia


The garden was pretty much a bust this year. I scorched 90% of my tomato seedlings by accident while hardening off. The only ones to survive were the smaller ones I had planted in containers and wrapped in floating row cover:
Black Cherry, Tigerella, Matt's Wild Cherry, Coyote and/or Champagne Cherry. I ended up buying tomato and pepper plants from a nursery. I think they were traumatized from spending the hot spring in a green house. The tomatoes aren't producing at all and the peppers are pathetic. Except the Hungarian Hot Wax. They are going nuts. Serrano and Anaheim? Not so much.

It was a scorcher this summer, DH was strangely obsessed with watering the garden but the output didn't keep up with his input. Bunnies appreciated the exra water and ate the beans, edamame, peas, lettuce, chard and kale before we did.  The cucumbers did really well- Marketmore and a long, spiney Japanese variety- nice and crunchy. I'm giving them away at work, co-workers run like hell when they see me.  Zucchini are doing ok I think I was struck by the dreaded SVB but I ignored it and the plants seemed to recover. Interesting.  I planted 2 melons: supposedly a cantaloupe and a honey dew. I've got 1 melon on each vine and they look exactly the same. Not like a cantaloup or a honeydew - weird shaped greyish green things

I haven't done much with the flower beds this year. We had work done on the house and the back bed got trampled by the workers. I did rescue an oakleaf (or laceleaf- can't remember) hydrangea from someone's curbside. I dragged it home and planted it. I think it will make it.  The front bed by the mail box is pretty much on auto pilot.  I have to pull out the fennel and parsley (in their 2nd year and petering out) and replace them with something.  I also have to dig out the Spiderwort. I'm over it.

DH and I are going to start planning a new veg garden location (the current location doesn't get enough sun and is in the way of the new hockey rink). I say "we" as in the male interpretation of "we". Meaning: I will to dig out some graph paper and start plotting the whole battle plan.  I will figure out how to make the raised beds and a fence, get the lumber and cram it in my Civic. Bring it all home, borrow my brothers saw, try not to lose a limb while taking a day (or three) off of work to get it done and not have it look all jacked up. I will come up with a plan to get the new beds filled with soil. I will start the seeds and harden them off (hopefully with more sucess than this year). I'll figure out a way to get a bale of straw in the Civic. I'll get everything built, filled, planted and DH will water and eat. Teamwork. That's what it's all about.

The little lady in the picture is Argiope aurantia or black and yellow garden spider. Quite lethal looking (DH wanted to kill it immediately) but lethal only to things like mosquitoes and wasps and such. She lives by my mailbox and scares the neighborhood kids.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When Iris Eyes are Smiling....





















...Cheesey? Yes, but aren't they pretty?


PS: Hummingbirds have arrived! They showed up on Thursday!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Butterflies!



Saw my first Tiger Swallowtail in the yard today! This is a picture from last year. I need to get a lantana or something to tide them over until more stuff starts blooming...






Sunday, February 27, 2011

...And They're Off!


I started the tomato, tomatillo, ground cherry and some pepper seeds last weekend (President's Weekend). Some of the tomatoes are up! Black Cherry, Cowlick's Brandywine, Aunt Ruby's German Green, and Pruden's Purple have poked their little green heads out of the soil. I started everything in newspaper pots with seet starting soil- 9 rows of 5. I made a map of the tray and as they come up I'm moving the little pots (very gently!) into a 2nd tray and I'm starting a new map. The pots are fragile as they have absorbed some of the water and have kind of stuck together. The 2nd tray is put under a shop light. I have the timer set to go on at 7am and go off at 9:30pm. I might adjust the time, I can't remember how long I'm supposed to keep the light on. I also have a fan in the room, I haven't turned it on yet but I probably will before too long to keep the air moving in the room.

I think I'm going to start my Romanesco broccoli today. I tried it last year but just got leaves then it bolted. I'll try again. I think maybe last year I started it too late and it bolted in the heat before it could head. I have some old Organic Gardening magizines from the late 70's that give month by month tips on when to start seeds/garden chores. I'll check to see what I should be doing for February.
The picture above is one of my favorites from last year's garden. It's a new leaf from a lemon cucumber plant in my garden. I fiddled with the settings of the camera for about a week until I was able to get really good macro pictures. Each picture takes up a ton of space on the camera but the pictures come out really crisp and with a lot of detail.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Seed time

I ordered my seeds today. I feel that it's a bit late but it took me this long to get my act together. I have a lot of saved/leftover seeds but I still ordered over $50 worth-sheesh! They are getting more and more expensive! Victory Seeds has very reasonable prices and they have signed the sustainable seed pledge (which is cool). I also ordered from John Sheepers seeds (also signed the sustainable seed pledge)- more expensive but they have the wacky stuff I'm looking for. I also plan on starting my tomatoes and peppers this weekend.

The weather is absolutely horrendous. It was snowing so hard today I couldn't see the neighbors house across the street for over 2 hours. It's been snowing all day. If it clears up I'll make a dash to the store to get seed starting soil and run some other errands. It was -3'f yesterday morning. I think I *may* start seeing the light at the end of the long winter tunnel this week. It's supposed to warm up to the 40's for a day or two. It will be a good 2 months before it will be Spring-like but above freezing will be a nice change.

The picture above is from my trip to the Cornell Plantations back in August. Trycyrtis Formosana-Variegated Toad Lily