Sunday, May 29, 2011

Knitting and Garden Surprise

Well, our Pinkknit-a-thon 2011 is off and running. So I've been knitting like a mad-crazy woman. This is the first hat - it's super easy, and I am thrilled with the results! The yellow mannequin is a bit much - but don't worry I painted her sky blue pretty quickly after this photo shoot. I've been knitting for other people as well. My friend Babette in Australia was diagnosed with a brain tumor last fall (northern hemisphere fall) and I have been planning to make a hat for her ever since. I finally manage to pull together this little number based on a hat my great Aunt "helped" me make. Babette said - Grey and red - I said I don't have grey - I hope silver will substitute.
Here's the front:

and the backI decided she also might like some variety so I knitted her one of the simple knitting hats from the pinkknit-a-thon as well. I used the fabulous alpaca yarn my aunts brought from California last fall. Ugh - it is so luxurious to knit with! So soft... I hope Babette likes it.
The colors of this yarn are beautiful... I'll probably make myself, there is still plenty of yarn.
In the mean time - for me - I make fun funny things:
for example: a slug and a toad stool
Swee'pea is still "helping." I don't know how he finds the yarn anymore! I think I'm doing a good job hiding it - but more often than not, in the morning there is something he's found in the night. He also started bringing me the just-finished items. I wonder if there is something about the smell of my hands on it or something? He brought both of Babette's hats and the pink one too when I left it on the table. What is going on in that little noggin of his?

When I'm not knitting I'm fighting the ever present war on the garden. I don't know where these weeds come from. They show up over night! So there's a lot of that kind of maintenance. But of course I'm also trying to grow stuff. Go figure.
Last week after I was done planting some tomatoes, I thought I'd just try out throwing some turnip, beet and zucchini seeds into the rest of the prepared ground. The packages said germination 10-12 days.
Surprise! I have a magic garden. In two days this is what I had:a tiny stripe of beets at the bottom and a massive stripe of turnips!
The little beet greens are struggling to come up:
While the turnips don't seem to be having any problems
and the zucchini's are just doin' their thing. Tomorrow will be the winnowing day - and more gardening.

Monday, May 23, 2011

and a little more garden

and today I have a beautiful purple iris
and several gorgeous peonies:I think I'm going to have to do some research on the peonies though, I don't think they are happy. They are much smaller than last year and wilt very easily. They probably want to be in the ground and not so much sun. Just a guess.
My allergies have abated for the time being. But I was pretty miserable at work this morning too. Somehow they've calmed down this afternoon. Is it because the humidity went up? I wonder. I'm still a little stuffy but not like last night. Gettin' me a dose of Claritin tomorrow! Maybe then my brain will return.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Befuddled and bemuddled

I have allergies. I don't really - have never ever before in my life! But for the last month or so, I've been miserable. Today's been the worst so far. And I just feel like whining. So. Woe to me...I feel like I've got a head full of cotton balls.

The roses around the front door are blooming again. They were blooming when I bought my house. I can't believe its been three years.

Raspberries are on their way. I can't wait!!!
Primroses are blooming:

The blasted porch project is not moving along as fast as I'd hoped. Probably mostly because of these allergies - they just wipe you out. I need to get some drugs. Better living through chemistry.

I don't know what this plant is, but I'm pretty sure I planted it. I'm hoping it's a hollyhock? But so far it just makes leaves.

A little more garden in the garden:
More tomatoes planted, beets, turnips and zucchini's. Hopefully something will grow!

Another mystery plant but I think these are lantern plants. This is where I planted them last year and they didn't do anything. This year... explosion! Plus the package said, plant this year for blooms next year.
Baby Blueberries. I was afraid they didn't get enough sun - but maybe they do. Yum.

Yesterday was a beautiful day - sunny warm, perfect day for reading on the deck.
Jacques surveyed his domain. Watchin' out for the other black kitty he had to chase away earlier in the day.

We are very happy when there is a fresh barrel of rain water in the house.
And a very cute Swee'pea. He loves to help me make the bed. He's very good at making the sheets stay put.
And we are just cute.

And if that's not cute enough, we have taken to wanting to be under the sheet on the chair we always sleep in.
still working out the situationhappy now. Rear end sticking out and everything.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jeff the Giant Orange Cat

Hi Everyone - I have a new blog I'm following. And yes, this blog is really only for cat lovers. Click on the link for Jeff the Giant Orange Cat. Jeff is a hoot. From being the sheet tamer to funny sleeping positions, to the laziest playing I've every seen. Check it out. Jeff has staff. 'nough said.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden Work

Last Tuesday I decided it was time to put the screen door in. I bought it three years ago without really examining the doorway it would be going into. The door 's been sittin' in the first floor kitchen for three years because there were a few problems. For one thing, the door frame is metal, for another there was a great big pipe sticking out of the lower left corner for no apparent reason. I just couldn't face trying to saw the thing out. Turns out - there was no need to worry. I wouldn't have been able to saw it out because the saw wouldn't have fit in the skinny space between the doorframe and the pipe. Fooey. So I got the sledge hammer. Bent it right flat down flush with the door sill. Ready to go.
Now of course it still didn't go very smoothly. I didn't have the right drill bit for the metal door and it was a little precarious trying to reach the top stuff. On Friday, after going to Home Depot and getting the right drill bit. I finally gave up on trying to drill holes into the metal and used gorilla glue and clamps. Ya know what? Works just fine.
Part of the motivation for getting the screen up was so that I wouldn't always have to lock Swee'pea up on the 2nd floor. He likes to be where I am so the "open" door is a good trade off.
I spent the rest of the afternoon working on my herb garden.
The before:

Last fall I put in this tulip bed. Unfortunately the chili powder I threw all around the place didn't keep enough squirrels away and half of what I planted was not there to bloom in the spring.
The plan was always to put in a next row - but I wasn't sure what it would be planted there.
I've had a thyme bush, melisse, rosemary, and chives hanging out in pots on the porch. I thought they deserved a bit of earth for their own. I also added basil, chives and parsley. I hope everything makes it. It's supposed to rain for the next few days. This is a good thing, but I'd really like to get my tomatoes in the ground too. That's a whole 'nother weekend project.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Oh right, I have a blog!

Here it is the eve of the three year anniversary of owning my home and I should really post. I've been meaning to since last time. But you know how that goes when you have too much to do - sometimes you just let it go until it really IS too much to do and well... this is one of those times.
Since the last post - I had to purchase a new computer. Yes, my poor baby kept kept suddenly falling asleep on me. Having a narcoleptic computer is not fun when you are trying to create new documents. Each time one fears that everything has crashed and all is lost. So I preemptivley bought the new one.  And it is fabulous! Moves at the speed of light, everything uploads quickly, and oh there are so many wonderful bells and whistles.  But I lost a few of my favorite things from my vintage computer. There used to be a button to press and all of the open windows would go away so you could see what was on your desk top.  That's gone. And I don't like the screen. It is too reflective. It's beautiful in the dark - but working outside in the yard is a nightmare. My face starts to hurt from squinting too much.  But let's talk about the life of the house shall we?
So after putting up the o-so-subtle-10ft-tall fence, I decided to add a "deck." I don't like having my table flying around in the middle of the grass. It makes it a pain to mow. Because of course I don't move it. So I decided it would be nice to have a deck that would be level. I've been thinking about laying bricks or flag stones down in the back to create a bit of a patio. But funds are low and that is a heck of a lot of work. I'm not sure where the brainstorm came from to get four shipping palettes from work, and lay decking wood across them. Looks good, eh?
Looks even better with the decking on it But you'll have to trust me on that because I can't find the picture. That's what happens when you wait so long to blog. 
My outside garden finally came to life - six weeks later than last year. We had such a cold miserable April. Most of it was the 50s and 60s. We finally had a few scattered days of 80 and the garden took advantage of that and exploded - weeds and all.

 Who knew? Violets are weeds? Well I'm okay with that. All of the violets I transplanted last year came up exactly where they were supposed to and the yard was very purple.  After the initial blooming, the wild strawberries bloomed too - it was quite lovely to have the little purple and yellow flowers everywhere. 
The indoor garden was also started at the beginning of April. I started all kinds of seedlings from various seeds. My most proud achievement are the tomato seedlings made from the seeds I brought back from Germany. I really hope they are as good as the ones they came from. 

They were transferred outside this week and then next weekend I will put them in the ground. I need to get some more compost and decide where to put all of these plants. Flowers from last year are coming back stronger than ever. The echinacea flowers and mini sunflowers are doing very well. And something that I know I planted is back in full force. But beats me what in the heck it is! I guess we'll find out together. 
And for some reason blogger has "updated" all of its fabulous features and I cannot upload vertical images!? So you will have to use your imagination.
Of course my house has not been without its charming problems. Towards the end of April, we had some really crazy rain storms. It must have been residual from the tornado madness from the south. At any rate my window-of-the-perpetual-leak on the second floor couldn't take it. It just started raining right through. It did not go to the 1st floor thank goodness. But I had to have some major buckets ready. 
 A roofer came on Monday and caulked everything up. It leaked a bit the the following storm but nothing like before.
And Jacques and Swee'pea? Oh they are getting along famously.
Yup, those would be my boys snuggled up together. I wouldn't go so far as to say they are best friends but I think Jacques is happy for the company. They play together a lot, but Jacques is happy when he gets to be in the garden with me - without Swee'pea. Swee'pea is happy when we are alone together in the apartment. He's my little buddy - he follows me everywhere. It's fun having him. We are still at the learning stage where Swee'pea is learning to trust me. Before when I would pick him up he would freak out and have to be up on my shoulder. As of a few days ago I can cradle him in my arms. Water is still a fascinating thing and he has finally discovered the toilet - Jacques favorite fascination as well.

Of course the month couldn't pass with all good things. My great aunt died on April 19th. She would have been 100 in August. And while I am very sad that she has passed - it is still okay. She lived a great life. She lived with no fear or worry. She enjoyed people, talking, good company, and good wine. I am so glad I got to see her in March. Despite her delirium it was a good visit with good memories. My poor uncle though... I don't think he knows what to do with himself. They were together for almost 60 years. I talked to him this morning on the phone and he said how much he misses her. I can only imagine what he's going through right now. 

In other news, today was spent working on blogs - this one and the Pinkknit-a-thon. This was the knitting project we did last year, and I hope that this year goes even better than last year. Check out the new design. I even had postcards printed. I spent this morning down by the Art Museum passing them out to all the awesome people doing the Komen Race for the Cure. I had some good responses so I hope we get some people to join.  Feel free to let all your friends know.

And last I will leave you with a recipe.
Sesame Beets.
a bundle beets
sesame oil
sesame seeds
salt - optional

slice beets very thin. Toss in sesame oil. Roast in the over at 350 for half an hour, tossing every 10 minutes. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the dish before serving. Enjoy!