Sunday, May 30, 2010

What A Haul!

Today family and friends and I visited The Great Lakes Fiber Show. (I would link to their website here but it mysteriously disappeared just today. Make getting directions there kinda interesting.) The day was beautiful, although a tad warm. Kate met some very nice alpacas, sheep and rabbits. Mom wandered about looking for yarn to use for the patterns in this book, (her birthday present). Aunt Hazel trolled for good stories to write about. Dad spoiled Kate as often as possible, and Rick followed me around with an indulgent look on his face encouraging me to spend money. Of course he knows that the more I spend on my hobby, the more he gets to spend on his. And I fell for it. He had some help from my friend Diana who brought along her friend Sarah. They have lots more knitting, spinning and dyeing experience than me, and are looking to get me some more. Once again, mission accomplished.

The place was filled with lovely things being sold by even lovelier people. like this:

from Winding Creek Alpacas and Llamas 4 oz. of Alpaca Rovings.
When I learn to spin I bet it will be beautiful. (FYI that's sarcasm, it'll be some time before I learn to spin and my first efforts won't be beautiful.)
I also picked up this.

Also 4 oz. of alpaca roving from Blumoon Valley Alpacas
I scored some yarn from Creatively Dyed Yarns, and Weaver's Loft. And my most prized acquisition, 144 yds. of handspun rambouillet worsted weight. A recently reintroduced family friend has offered me some of her handspun, and after a token refusal, I scarfed it up like potato chips. Basically, by the end of the day, Kate had to walk because I had purchased a Kate sized amount of yarn.

Once the heat got a bit much, we said our goodbyes and headed home. Diana's trip home was a bit more interesting than ours. See here. I'd write more, but I've got to go roll around in all my new treasures.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Good Start

The days are getting much hotter around here, so my April/May routine of coming home during my lunch hour to let out the dog and weed the garden is not working anymore. (They don't appreciate it when I arrive back at work covered in sweat with dandelion leaves stuck to various parts of my self.) So this morning we were up at 7:00 to weed and water everyone before it got too hot. For the most part, all the plants are enjoying the warmer weather. The blue speedwell is blooming:

It usually starts out in a nice round mound like this. However, after a few days we get this kind of halo effect.

Any ideas? Too much water, not enough? Anyway, it kinda ruins the effect. We aren't harvesting much from the garden yet, but I did make a spinach omelet this morning. My favorite thing to order at the local coffee shop is spinach quiche, so I figured this is close right?

You know, minus the crust and several pounds of butter. (Although I'm no slouch with the butter myself.)

And finally, we'll end with a public safety announcement. Do not go outside early in the morning to weed without your glasses. Otherwise you will be within two feet of this

before you see it and scream like a little girl. This is the second turtle to turn up in our flower bed in three days. They are laying their eggs there. (The dirt is already loose enough to dig. Turtles are slow, but not dumb.) The other was slightly larger and most definitely a snapper. This one is smaller and also a snapper I believe, but I couldn't swear to it. It sure woke me up, either way. Have a great day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garden Log May 23

Well, we have officially eaten something out of the garden. Hurray. Rick loves baby spinach, so he gets a little salad out of that planter, and I pick the big leaves and cook them into things where they won't be noticed much, but will hopefully impart some nutrients. Tonight I hid it in some taco pie.

The vegetable garden was finished today. We planted six tomatoes and two broccoli plants. Last year I had WAY too many tomato plants and they all got blight and died, so this year I'm going to subscribe to the, "give them lots of room so light can reach the bottoms" line of thinking. I hope I won't regret it. We put in two early girls, two better boys and one heirloom called red beefsteak. Along with a cherry tomato. I've also got four cherry tomatoes in pots on the porch. I'm terrified they won't make it and I'll be tomato-less this summer, but I'm trying hard to remember how crazy it was last year with something like 15 or 20 tomato plants. NUTS.

As for seeds, Kate and I planted two rows of carrots, two hills of zucchini, one of yellow squash, and two rows of onions. There are two rows of onion sets as well. Rick really likes green onions, so I'm trying to provide. There are also four green pepper plants in the upper garden. It's hot up there, and I'm hoping they like it.

And now...on to the bragging.

The white peonies are blooming, although they are also falling over.

And the reds are about to bust out.

The ice plant is really making up for last year.

And my pride and joy, a lupine. I'm just about busting over this one.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My name is...

Hello, my name is Chrissy and I have a problem. I am incapable of visiting almost any store without buying plants or seeds. And Kate is my enabler. She sees no reason not to buy seeds, any seeds, all the seeds. It's getting NUTS. After a visit to Lowes today, we planted green peppers, strawberries, basil and spearmint in the upper garden, cherry tomatoes in pots, creeping phlox in the lower beds and onions in the vegetable garden.

But, like many a shopping addict, I'm less than careful with the objects of my passion once they are mine. For instance:

The sweet basil planted last week and forgotten about during a frost warning, and the basil purchased today. And, have I checked the weather yet tonight. Why no, I have not.

Also for example:

A strawberry plant, one of two purchased today to replace the duds we planted several weeks ago in a little pot. I asked Kate if we could dump out the pot, plant these, but she apparently holds out hope. I may have to sneak the pot off the deck some night while she's sleeping.

And, my pride and joy...

I grew me some spinach. Problem...what problem.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Garden Update, May 1

The real work begins. My flower beds are not what you would call professionally installed. They are kinda tilled up yard, so every year there is a battle against the grass, the weeds, and the bloody @#$%^ violets. Please don't tell me how beautiful violets are. Yes they are a pretty color, and yes they are even edible, but they also have an awesome ability to spread, and to strangle anything I want to grow. I planted two sedum last year, and this spring I had to find them under the violets. Anyway, I've cleared both lower beds, and most of the upper bed. What remains is a terrible strip of ground that is rock hard, and filled with grass and pokeweed. Pokeweed is a horribly embarrassing plant. It will hide in your garden and when it hears people driving down the driveway to visit it will suddenly grow about 5 feet in height, and look absolutely hideous. I dug out three of them last night. We are considering landscape fabric and gravel for this area.

Anyway, on to the good stuff. Kate and I planted some butterfly garden seeds in the lower garden, and the dame's rocket is coming back, although I am limiting it to some smaller clumps this year, rather than letting it go wild. (It is picture #1 in the name that plant below.) These things get really tall, and my sister says they are weeds where she lives, so I try not to let them get out of hand. Coral bells and ice plant that were planted in this garden a few years ago still exist, but haven't grown very much. I'm hoping getting the weeds off of them early on will help. The silver mound looks like it will go well again this year. And there is a lupine coming in the lower bed as well. (Pic #3 of name that plant)

The upper garden is also looking well, although I forgot I had planted some basil during the cold snap and it is now black. The rosemary I planted at the same time however, is just fine, as are the rest of the herbs. I've got some chamomile coming back. I'm to the point of nearly considering this a weed. I planted some two years ago and it keeps coming back volunteer. Oh, and *excitement* I found the stargazer lilies. I've fenced them in, so there will be NO mistakes. The middle picture below is also some lilies from years back. The bee balm has spread which is great, and some hastas returned although they usually find this garden too hot and dry. The hollyhock looks GREAT, and two out of three peonies have come in nicely. Last night I added two mums to this garden as well.

And finally, the dreaded antennae garden (the old antennae and new dish are located here.) I unearthed some veronica that has survived, some daisies and two yucca that are not happy, but not dead. Plus the peonies here are doing really well, oddly enough. And that's the flower beds.

Foodwise, I've planted the peas, the garlic looks good, and I've got tomato babies coming along inside. They are in that scary phase where they could keel over at any moment. I've planted them for myself and the library, we'll see what comes along. I've got a seed starter at work as well, and it's even got peppers coming on. (The pepper seeds I planted at home did NOTHING.) The indoor herbs however are a dud. I really, really want to get some chives to survive, but so far, nothing last year or this year. I think I've got some dill coming, and maybe some cilantro. Hard to tell since Kate and Daddy planted it and didn't label anything.

So that's the update. We'll see how things progress.