Sunday, June 26, 2011

Garden: Stones, Stakes and Thrums

I built this wall around my garden today.
Gardening kept me busy all day, and I know I have my farmer's tan from staking tomatoes and building the low wall you see above.  Our neighbor has had these stones stacked up behind his shed ever since he replaced his patio and he was more than glad to have my husband haul some away in a wheel barrow.  I did the actual building, and I must say it was a workout.  My eventual plan is to add more topsoil so we have a raised bed garden--and there's nothing better to use for a raise bed, in my opinion, than free stone.

Free stone is one of the advantages of suburban living.  With people coming and going from homes, there is always something stacked up behind sheds.  A couple of years ago, we took out all the paving stones our home's former owners had put in, and now they've been reincarnated into a raised bed for my tomato plants.

Yeah! More, more more!
 Thinking of tomatoes, I had to get into the garden and really get to work on staking them up!  I had neglected this.  We had to purchase stakes at our local Ace Hardware.  I go to our local Ace because I am trying to avoid the big box stores and support the little guy.  Anyhow, they have a great stake department, and we didn't have to walk 20 miles to find it.  I don't mind the big box workout, but when you have lots of gardening and wall building to do, I would just like to have a store where I can find things.  I also picked up some extra basil to complement the tomatoes and lettuce seed mix to keep us in greens all summer.

Because I weave, my tomatoes are tied with pure linen rug warp.  It is lovely stuff and I have tons of thrums left over from my earlier rug projects.  It was pretty enjoyable being out there, and working on the tomatoes.  I have 12 plants in all--two small potted ones and 10 that I hope will inundate me with tomatoes.   Oh, I hope so.  I'm also looking forward to the great zucchini and summer squash invasion. The plants are doing really well, but already two little summer squash are gone!  What varmint invaded my garden?  I don't know.  So that is where the wall idea came in because I thing some critters were slipping in under the fence.  Of course raccoons will probably just climb right over.  Sigh.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Strawberry heaven

 Oh Yum! I could smell the strawberries as I wandered into the farmer's market this sunny Saturday morning and these taste as good as they look, trust me.  Someday, I might try my hand at my own strawberry patch, but for now I'll cart them home all June long.  The bowl is handmade by an artisan in Vermont.  We came across her shop while driving through Dover--a tiny building filled with lovely hand painted treasures.  I've been waiting until last fall to see it full of fresh berries!

The garden is doing well, and yes, I'll have pictures next week. But for now, I have a project or two I made for challenges in the second round tournament for the Nerd Wars group on Ravelry.  I'll not get into details of the tournament other than to say each month there are new challenges and it's up to each contestant and their own creativity to figure out how to answer it to gain points for their team.  We get extra points if our project can be related to our particular corner of nerdom, which in my case is Star Trek.

So here I have a small makeup bag, which on Ravelry is billed as a "Ferengi change purse"  to illustrate Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #3: Never Pay More for an Aquisition than you Absolutely Have To.  So it is small.  We were asked to knit something that represented an adage, and what better "adage" than one made up especially for Star Trek so I can earn team points?  It will be great to hold all that loose stuff in my purse like lip gloss and eye drops.

And above is a potholder I made to answer a challenge asking for something that illustrates lightening.  There is a popular nerd T-shirt something along these lines--so the idea isn't completely original--but I figured out the pattern myself.  I hope to eventually have the pattern available for anyone interested in knitting it.

And so goes my sustainable life.  There's also been spinning (8 ounces of luscious white Targhee), fiber prep (picking through a bag of lustrous kid mohair) and then all the cooking and exercising.  I may have found a diet secret--I've lost 10 pounds so far this month--but I'll tell you more about that next week.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Luxury and lettuce

This Angora and Jacob crepe yarn is luxuriously soft.
The weekend has been a busy one--working in the garden, spinning at my wheel and cooking organic lunches ahead in the kitchen, and snatching a moment or two to knit. Our local farmers market is open and the strawberries are plentiful, ripe and sweet and filling the air with a tantalizing aroma.  It is nice to have fresh berries in the morning cereal again.

My fiber efforts have concentrated on plying my crepe yarns.  After doing the dark brown, light brown and gray yarns shown above--about 10 ounces worth of yarn in total, I still have half a bobbin of the angora singles! The angora was a joy to spin and has a softness that is silky, smooth and delicious.  It deserves to be plied with something similarly wonderful, so I dug out a bump of Targhee--a lovely springy fleece-- to create another crepe yarn with the angora.  Spinning that has also been a dream and I managed to fill a bobbin over the weekend.  I hope to continue this progress and have something to show you next week.

I also hope to be picking my own lettuce next weekend.  Did I tell you my garden is going great?  I have flowers on my tomatoes, two little summer squash forming, and the green beans are already climbing the trellis.  I felt a bit like a character in Jack and the Beanstalk planting them a couple of weeks back, all the time wondering if they would bring me the gold I craved--in this case loads and loads of beans, enough to save into the winter.  I love green beans.  With broccoli and spinach it is my favorite vegetable.  In the meantime, I have blank spots in my garden waiting for when I can plant the latter.

Thinking of broccoli, I planted all my little purple sprouting seedlings and they've grown quite big but give no sign of providing food.  I worry, because summer is coming on quickly and I'm not sure what will grow.  But this is okay.  I have more seeds for later summer when broccoli will have a chance to bloom in fall.  I am still fairly new to vegetable gardening, so I have things to learn.  Trial and error works for me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Indigo and Roses

Native plant blue false-indigo blooms at the same time as pink roses, creating a colorful contrast in front of the craftstead.