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. 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.