Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Thought He'd Never Leave

Isn't that a terrible thing to say about one's own husband? It's not that I can't do what I want when he's here but it's easier to blog when he isn't. I just realized this morning that I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks... again! It's spring. That's my excuse. It just feels more important to be out in the garden that to be sitting at the computer, you know?

There has been next to no knitting in the last couple of weeks. Even John commented on that this week. The second of the little pink hats is more than half finished and I should get it done this weekend. If the day warms up a bit more, I may even take it outside and work on it in the great outdoors. The monster pants have seen absolutely no progress and there's only a few inches left to do on them. The only thing that's seen any kind of progress is the second of the 10-stitch blankets, and even that has been very little.

We have been working in the garden, though. Things are being planted and things are greening up. John picked up and planted some Walla Walla onions. He went to Art Knapps last weekend and picked up a set of starter onions because the ones we started from seed just were not doing very well. We made the mistake of using garden soil in the starter pots and ended up with fungus flies. Seeds were coming up and then being nibbled. We've thrown pretty much all of the starter pots out and bought peat pellets to start more seeds. I love those!

Oh, I just remembered something I wanted to share. If you've read this blog for a while, you'll know that John works as a gardener at our local college. Last week, he was digging in one of the gardens and found these...

They're morels! If you were to buy them, you'd be paying some pretty big bucks. I've seen them listed online for up to $135 per pound. We picked some a few years ago and are still eating them (we dried them). I love them. To find them growing in town, at the college, is quite unusual. It was a nice, happy surprise!

Now, I'm off to do a bit of cleaning and then some cooking (I think). First, a cup of tea. Enjoy your Saturday!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

First off, obviously not much is growing yet, but gardening season is in full swing around here. Seeds are sprouting in the “nursery” (our spare room), the garden is (mostly) prepared for planting, and fingers are itching to get into the soil.

It’s show and tell time, boys and girls!

At the front of the yard, the butterfly garden is taking shape. Yesterday I found an old pie plate (Pampered Chef – never could get the pies out of it even though I followed their instructions to the letter) for the butterfly “puddle”. It’s filled with sand and rocks, then watered.

Also up front, the lovage did survive! And it’s doing splendidly!

I’ll be getting out there today to dig up the hens and chicks; I was going to simply remove them but I’ve decided to spread them out at the front of the garden. Behind them, I’ll plant a generous row of marigolds.

At the back of the house, our little flower bed has become the salad garden.

In it is the garlic I planted last fall (to the far right), which is doing VERY well. At the back is another row of garlic that I rescued from the garden. Apparently, the neighbours don’t use much garlic (we do) and it wouldn’t have been used. I had John dig up two of the clumps and transplanted them here. Along with the garlic, there’s half a row of mixed salad greens, half a row of salad spinach, half a row of lettuce, half a row of green onions and a row of radishes, along with a row of marigolds along the front edge. Once the tulips have bloomed, the bulbs will be removed to another location.

Also, in that little garden is my row of sweet peas! I started them in the house and planted them yesterday. They’ve been living outside for the last couple of weeks so I feel quite confident they’ll do just fine and I’ll have a bunch of lovely, scented sweet peas to enjoy this summer.

And then there’s the garden. (Clicking on the picture will take you to the larger version). As you can see, it’s pretty much ready for planting. Our section is in the foreground, where you can see the rows laid out.

John has decided that we and S (the woman who lives upstairs) can plant some cucumbers on the pile in the center of the picture. That’s last year’s garden waste with a layer of soil over it. Cucumbers should do quite well. I wanted to put one (just one!) zucchini plant in there as well but John figures we’ll have plenty of offers for free zucchini. He might be right but I might just sneak one in there anyway.

These will be planted today, if all goes according to plan. I bought three varieties of potato: Bintje, Innovator, and French Fingerling potatoes. Clicking on each name will take you to a page describing that varietal. Potatoes are not high on the list of foods that I enjoy, but I’m hoping that these varieties will be more to my liking than most of the potatoes we normally eat. John is always amazed that though I’m of Dutch heritage, I don’t enjoy potatoes.

Ok, I think this is a long enough post for today. There’s more I could show you but that will be for another day. For now, I’m just going to do some dishes and tidying up while I wait for the day to warm up a little more and then I’ll be heading out into the garden again.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

There Has Been Knitting!

Finally, I have some knitting progress. It isn’t that I haven’t been knitting, but I’ve been feeling that there hasn’t been much progress being made.

I’ve really been enjoying the 10-stitch blanket; I love seeing how the colours work together and how quickly it seems to go. I know the rounds are getting longer and longer, but the knitting is almost meditative, relaxing. As a matter of fact, I’m enjoying it so much I’ve started a second one. Yeah, yeah, Louisa, I hear you. I’m not showing you the second one yet. It’s only about 3” square at the moment and not very exciting; I’m using bits and pieces of sock yarn, those yarns that don’t have enough left to actually make anything else with but have too much to throw out.

The monster pants are nearing the completion mark. The stripes are finished and now it’s straight down to the cuff, then 3” of 1x1 ribbing. Then, it’s just a matter of embroidering the face, sewing the waistband casing down and inserting the elastic. I had hoped to have them finished last weekend, but that didn’t happen. This weekend is a little more knit-friendly, weather-wise. And what am I doing? Blogging.

This week, my order from KnitPicks arrived and I was able to start a small project for a friend, a consignment knit. P had a heart attack and a couple of strokes just over a year ago; as a result, she’s unable to use her left hand and knitting is definitely out. Another friend of hers just recently became the grandmother of a set of twin girls and P wanted to give her a set of pink toques for the babies. She asked if I would knit them since she couldn’t. Here’s one of the hats. The pattern is a freebie I found on Ravelry, the Tiffany Lace baby hat. This is the 6 month size. I’m using KP’s Brava Sport, a 100% acrylic dk weight yarn, on 4 mm needles.

Normally, I don’t knit with acrylic yarn, but I figured that the hats really should be machine washable and easy care. The yarn is surprisingly soft and knits up very quickly. I had this little hat finished in one day (while I was home with a migraine). The second hat will be cast on later this afternoon.

Tomorrow.. garden and yard update. Things are happening around here and it’s looking good (if I do say so myself!)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

April… finally!

I hope they (the ubiquitous “they”) are right when they say “April showers bring May flowers” because April has started out with showers. There was even the possibility of snow in the forecast. Ick! Our little corner of the world is definitely showing signs of spring, though.

This was taken yesterday, while on my walk behind our local skating rink facility. There’s a lovely park that goes past the Thompson Marsh and the Mission Sports Fields. The park bench you can just see at the top of the picture overlooks the marsh, a lovely place to sit and watch the ducks. Someone planted these, obviously, as a memorial and, since coming across it last year, I’ve looked forward to seeing it again this year. It’s such a lovely tribute, one that comes back year after year.

There are other signs of spring at the marsh. The ducks are pairing up, the buds on the trees and shrubs are beginning to swell, the redwing blackbirds are singing cheerily and though the air was brisk yesterday, it was a lovely day for a walk.

Here’s another sign of spring…

Construction! You may not know this (or you might), but we live in a fourplex. There was a fence between the two sides of the house but it was looking somewhat worse for wear and wasn’t centered to the house. Over the last few weeks, the old fence has been removed and a new one is being built. There’s a pergola at the back of the yard and we understand that there may be another one closer to the house. Needless to say, it’s a little difficult for us to do any kind of landscaping out there at the moment, but we’re definitely looking forward to the completion of the fence and getting the yard ready for the upcoming warm weather.

And speaking of landscaping and gardening, my little nursery is coming along very nicely. Right now, the following are up and thriving:

  • tomatoes (Brandywine and Marglobe)
  • Walla Walla onions (lots of them!)
  • jalapeno peppers
  • basil
  • butterfly weed
  • sweet peas (to be planted outside soon)
  • cabbage
  • lovage
  • salad greens (up in two days!!!)

I’m still waiting for the Italian parsley and the sweet peppers to come to the party. They’re the slowpokes for some reason. The salad greens, incidentally, are from a packet of mixed greens. The packet calls it “cut and come again”; there are about six or seven types of greens. When I was home last Monday, I filled a basket with dirt (plastic lined) and sprinkled some seeds into it. By Wednesday, some of the seeds were already poking their heads up! I could hardly believe it!

Because the sweet peas will be planted just outside our back door, a fairly sheltered spot, and because they’re thriving already, I think I may be planting them earlier than I’d thought. Hopefully, they’ll do well; if not, I have more seeds.

Oh, I am so looking forward to warmer days!