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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tatting

Lest you think I've given up tatting altogether, here is some progress on some projects.


First a project that I've been working on for a while. It's a Celtic Bookmark from a pattern written by LaRae Mikulecky. The pattern can be found here. I learned split rings and have been working on all the other pieces but I'm put off by all the ends that need to be dealt with. And it's taking me forever anyway but eventually I will finish it because it's going to be pretty.












And I decided to go ahead and make something fairly easy with the hand dyed thread I bought from Yarnplayer. It's called Stardate and it's size 10 lizbeth and it's very nice. It was just too pretty and it was calling my name. So, I wound it on one of the new shuttles I bought at Stitches from Carolina Homespun (the red, white & blue one). It's a nice shuttle because it's big enough to hold a ton of thread. I'm making a Dreams of Lace bookmark and it's going quite well - tho I will need to figure out how to do one thing . . .
In this picture, you can also see the Craig Huke shuttle I bought from his etsy shop. It's small, but it's really nice - has a bobbin and unlike the banyek ones I bought, when you tighten the screw on this, the bobbin doesn't spin and let loose all your thread. I haven't put any thread on it and tatted with it yet, but I'm going to do that tomorrow. This is a nice one made of Tulip wood and I really like the small size. The other shuttles are a clover and another lacis I got at Stitches just for size comparison.

Finished!


Finally finished the blue Mr. Greenjeans. I have to say that the waist is much tighter than I think it should be. The top of the sweater fits me nicely and is too big on my friend. The bottom is way too tight on both of us. But as long as I never try to button it up, it will be alright. Don't think I'd recommend this as a terrific pattern to make tho. I made this using the Berroco Lustra and it is the warmest yarn I think I've put on my body in several years.
Pattern: Mr. Greenjeans
Yarn: Berroco Lustra - I think I bought 7 or 8 skeins and I have two full ones left over and parts of another.

Summer Reading

Someone thought that since she had graduated from High School, she was done with homework . . . it seems she was wrong. The only difference is that now I don't have to go out searching for the books. Her summer reading came in the mail the other day - not a book she would have picked and worse than that, it's nonfiction!!!! It looks interesting tho . . . .


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden visit

First off, my waterlily is blooming. It's been blooming. I didn't know that because the buds/blooms were covered with leaves and the water was so low I couldn't see them below the rim. I will try to get pics of the open flower(s) tomorrow, it was too late to catch them open today.










This is my bog pot - in the front you'll see y taro and behind it on the left is the variegated spider lily (well, 7 of them), behind that the coffee. You can't see it well, but on the right, under the coffee is the pandan and it's doing really well.


















This is the pink coreopsis - the same as yours. Also in this pot are a juncus, a blue cardinal flower and something else I can't remember.










This is my aquatic orchid. It was doing much better in the greenhouse - there are actually two plants, one is below the bog violet but it's really hard to see. I think they might be too wet or they might be getting too much sun or maybe they just don't like me but they were much happier before I put them on the patio.



This is the coffee plant blooming - it's growing in the bog and it's very happy there. Last year I got about 18 coffee beans and this year I'm going to get a freaking ton.












And this is Miss S's tomato plant. We didn't know that it had tomatoes on it, but it does. And it has a bunch more blooms too. It's doing really well - but it's not growing out of the bottom of the hanging planter, this one is on the top.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ubu

How's Ubu doing? Just fine.
video

Gardens - My Herb Garden


I finally finished my herb garden this morning. And yes it is all weed barrier and bark mulch so I don't have to try and find the energy to weed.
The box up next to the house doesn't get rain at all because of the overhang so has to be hand watered. The big diamond shape gets rain when we get rain but since we don't get rain from June through mid September (the growing season) that doesn't really count. And the sprinkler system doesn't catch this part of the garden anymore, I get to hand water. In theory, IF I remember to water, this will be perfect for the herbs because they like it hot and dry. Unfortunately for me, I have thousands of weeds that loved it hot and dry also.
I spent a lot of time deciding which herbs I wanted (all of them) and which ones I was actually going to plant (only so much room). The garden along the house will be for annual herbs and the perennials will be in the diamond shaped garden.
The cats had used the garden along the wall for cat stuff and three feet from either end wouldn't grow anything. And the lemon balm had taken over the rest of the space. Both gardens are 13 feet long. And the wall garden is two feet wide with the diamond 6 feet at its widest. So I dug the wall garden out down to 18". Totally removed all of the plants that were surviving in the center few feet and all of the dirt. Fred was a sweetheart and hauled the dirt away for me and used it to fill in the holes in the driveway.
Then I mixed dirt from the diamond 50/50 with peat and refilled the garden. Then I finished digging out the diamond down to 18" and mixed half of that dirt 50/50 with peat and refilled the diamond. And Fred hauled the excess dirt away for me.
And it was during the days (and days) that I was doing that (along with mom's gardens) that Teresa was calling me and getting worried. I still don't have any energy in the afternoon, so I would work as hard as I could in the morning, for as long as I could and then just crash. I would get up long enough to spent 10 minutes making supper and then crash some more. Sorry to worry you Ritza.
Since I wanted to be able to both have mulch and to replant the annuals, I made buckets without bottoms and stuck them through the weed barrier and mulched right up to them. Then I planted the seeds for the annuals. I was kinda zonked when I planted or I wouldn't have put in quite so much basil and would have planted some of the annuals I had to leave out. Each pot is a foot across so I have thirteen pots. I planted three types of basil in 5 pots (I said I wouldn't have planted quite so much but I was zonked.) I planted salad mix in 3 pots so it is real close to the kitchen. I also planted chervil, caraway, cilantro, parsley and summer savory. The 2 genovese basil and the dwarf purple basil are big enough to think about grabbing a leaf from, the lettuce are teeny tiny little green smudges and everything else is nothing yet. Shows how long it took me to finish tho.
In the big diamond I was only putting perennials so I probably didn't have to put them in pots but I did anyway because some / much of the stuff isn't always hardy here and it will be easier to replant. I put in four rosemary, a bbq that mom gave me, 2 arp and a tuscan blue. I would love to replace one of the arp with a spice island if anyone wanted to send me one. I love spice island for cooking but it really isn't at all hardy enough for here. But I am willing to try again and again.
I put in 3 different thyme, sweet fennel, chives, oregano (both italian and hot & spicy), sweet marjoram, french tarragon, sage, feverfew and winter savory. And yes I know that for cooking summer savory and winter savory are similar enough to be interchangeable but they are different and I like them both.
Hopefully now that the herb garden is done, the hard hard work is done. The other vegetable gardens will need to be weeded but that isn't as physically challenging as digging. The woodland garden will be a slow work in progress so that will be easier on me also. Although some of the trees are arriving in a few hours and those two dozen or so plants will need to be planted.
Anyway, here's hoping that those who want to talk to me can and those that don't can't.
And yes, in the last photo it looks like the dog in the blue shirt is about to run right through my garden to get to me; that is exactly what he did. And not on the mulch but on the plants. (okay so half of them are seeds that were planted this morning but still, they don't like doggies running over them.

Gardens - Mom's Vegetable


I got a place weeded for mom's vegetable garden; well really, it is for her peppers and tomatoes. I know that I won't have the energy to weed the garden and mom is going to be busy weeding her front garden, so I put down weed mat and bark mulch. And no, I didn't make mom pay for the mulch cause I know she didn't want it to be there. I can't weed it, Teresa won't weed it, Jeff isn't going to come out in the summer and weed it, no one else has offered to weed it, so mulch it is. Besides, I think it looks so much better than the overgrown weed look that I usually have going on.

I think it looks pretty good.

My tomatoes and peppers aren't planted yet so I think it looks terrific. Much more terrific than my vegetable garden.

I used most of my tomato cages (6 of them) to protect my new weeping willow from the alpaca so I only have two tomato cages left. Since I have more tomatoes than that to plant (three I think) I need all my cages and then some. Home Depot and D&B have the most glorious tomato cages. They come in red, purple, orange, blue, yellow and green. Someone makes the square folding ones in the same gorgeous colors but I haven't found out who stocks them out here. But don't you think mom needs purple ones for her tomatoes? We can take a vote; in the comment section vote for the color you think mom should use.

Most of the irises are done but some new ones are blooming today. Today by the way is much much colder than Monday. Today's high is going to be in the mid 50's. I am trying to get stuff down and personally, I think it is too cold for me to be out there working. Of course I thought that Monday was too hot for me to be out there working. Yesterday however, was just perfect for me to be out gardening. It was up in the low 70's and overcast but not raining. Cool but not cold.

I read on the internet that you can use the very very dark dark purple iris to dye wool purple. I don't remember which site I saw that on but I think it said you use the flower. So I put in a picture of mom's very dark purple iris. Maybe next spring mom will let us dye something with her purple flowers and we can see if it works. We will have to figure out which mordant to use because that can totally change the color. Ah, since Teresa is the smartest about dyeing and the internet, it can be her job to figure out what we need.

I was taking pictures of the surprise that I am making for mother and I won't tell you what it is cause you will probably tell her, but I took a picture of some of the new iris blooms. Yes there are still a few irises that are just now blooming. And I took a picture of the wisteria hiding behind these iris. I didn't take a picture of the wisteria that is on the other side of those blue steps, so you can just imagine a pale lavender wisteria that is as tall as the top step. The little guy on this side got planted just before I left for Seattle while it was still very cold. We covered it with leaves to keep it from the frosts. It didn't die but it could have been happier. It seems quite happy now but I think I will fertilize it with fish fertilizer (unless someone knows that I shouldn't - I don't have a clue).
Just this week mom's pear tree has shot up almost two feet and the apple has grown over a foot. The crab apple is busy crabbing or appling and not growing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Passiflora seedlings


One of my passie seedlings bloomed today and I thought I'd show you what the ones I sent you might look like. These are seedlings from a hybrid, so you never know what they will look like as they will not grow true to the hybrid from seed. This is one of mine and the others were similar, some had smaller flowers and some had deeper blue corona but similar. I like them.

I haven't read Dena's posts yet but wanted to get this posted because my computer is going away very soon and I'll be offline for a week or so. I've been very busy taking everything off the computer so that it can be wiped clean, upgraded and all software reinstalled clean again. Hopefully, it will run faster and better and that might be the only way to get rid of that stupid Total PC Defender once and for all.



Monday, June 14, 2010

Flooding then, hot now





The rains started before mom left and continued for another week. The Payette River was at 6 feet towards the end of May with flood stage at 10 feet. It kept on raining and raining and raining. By the 3rd of June we were at 10 ft and going higher. On Saturday, June 5, I was out in the gardens trying to work between the rain and hail when we got a phone call from the county disaster that the river was above flood, the island was closed and low lying houses should evacuate. The river got up to 14 feet (the brown pillars show 20 feet mark). That Friday the river was still above flood and didn't drop below ten feet until last Saturday.

The one bridge across to the island got pushed off it's foundation and so is unusable. They haven't finished testing the other bridge for safety yet but are hoping. The island is the local sports complex with all the ball fields and soccer fields and skateboard ramps and walking paths. I used the near bridge for walking and biking for exercise cause it is way to far to the other bridge. Okay if I was in shape it wouldn't be too far but I am not in shape.

It has stopped raining and is now hot and dry. It hasn't broke a hundred yet but right now it is 96 degrees outside and still climbing. The humidity is back down to nothing so when you water the plants they are dry as a bone before you turn your back on them. Definitely too late in the year to be planting and transplanting.

We had some glorious sunsets while it was raining. You can see how the sunsets turned the hills the most wonderful shiny golden color. The pictures and the text are in opposite order, but Teresa will fix that because I am so sleepy right now.

Gardens - Mom's Front Garden


A couple of days before mom left, we started weeding her front garden and hadn't gotten very far at all. The garden was still 99% weeds.
As you can see the garden is all nicely cleared out. It is planted with some of her bulbs and with marigolds and wild flowers. Hopefully if it stays weeded (and I so am not up to that) the bulbs will come up and bloom in the spring and as they are dying off, the marigolds and wildflowers will be appearing and getting ready to bloom.
That is the plan anyway.
Her roses are doing awesome so I added a close up of each one. The planter is there to hold the light that Jeff gave mom. It is solar powered and lights up at night with ever changing colors. With it in the pot it is high enough to peak over mom's deck and she can see it from inside her house. I tried for night pictures to show you how glorious a light it is but I am not a good enough photographer. You will have to come and see it in person.
I am hoping that the flower seeds will at least be up by the time mom gets home. I know all of this should have been done months ago but it didn't happen.
If you double click on the pot with the light in it you will see the peruvian daffodil almost in bloom (in the rose and pot photo) and in bloom in the whole front garden shot.

Gardens - New Pond




Since mom's pond was in the wrong place (in the shade and under walnut trees) something had to be done. One option was to dig it up and move it. Again. And I wasn't going to do that.
The other option was to find something else to put her pond plants in. That I could do.
So we found a 165 gallon stock tank (2x2x6) and set it up right next to her bridge so she can see the plants coming and going.
Fred and I got it in place and filled with water and I added a water lettuce and a water iris (?). Anyhow two floating plants.
Next month or when my budget permits I will get stone and put around it and it will be adorable. And anyone who can do better can come out here and do it better. I will supply them with a place to stay and three meals a day. Every thing else you must provide.
I did put the water lilies in pots and put them in the new pond. This will let me clean out the half barrel and fill it with water and use it for plants in pots. Each of the water lilies has bunches of leaves and may / probably is more than one plant. Feel free to come and repot and replant and whatever.

Gardens - My Front Garden


I had flowers that liked a bit of shade in my front garden because it got the most shade. Lily of the valley, bleeding heart, Jacob's ladder, Jacob's beard, viola, something i can't remember the name of, another one without a name.

Well, it is so hot and dry here, especially the dry part. And the hot part. I suppose that comes from living in a high desert. But my plants weren't all that happy and were barely hanging in there. So I moved all of them out under the walnut trees. The photo was taken at 3 in the afternoon and facing due west. Out there I have shade. My husband has spent all these years trying to get grass to grow and it hasn't worked. I just moved the plants without asking because grass is never going to grow there and I think my plants will like it better out there.

As you can see from the picture of the front garden, also taken at 3 pm, it gets quite a bit of sun so I planted lavender (7 plants of lavender but only 3 in so far). I also planted yarrow, sugar-bowl clematis, south African river lily, silver edged horehound, purple Ozark beard tongue, pasque flower, blue mint bush (a zizophora not a real mint) and whirling butterflies (guara). In the fall I will a couple of variegated sweet iris. Up on top I left a couple of the Jacob's beard because they seemed to be happy up there since it got more shade and they don't mind the dry as much.

But someone had to dig up all the old bed and then move the plants around back and then replant them and then mix peat into the soil and put down weed barrier and mulch and plant new plants. And that someone took days and days to get it done and in the afternoons just crashed.

Gardens - Mom's Irises


Teresa has been trying to get hold of me and can't. I still don't have any energy in the afternoons so I am working hard in the mornings. Besides it is cooler then anyway. I have been working in the gardens trying to play catch up for not doing anything at all this spring and doing so little last year.
This is mom's iris bed with fruit tree border. Different iris bloom each day and they are going to be just about all done by the time she gets back here to admire them. These pictures are taken 4 days apart (6/6; 6/10 and 6/14). You can double click on them and make them big and beautiful.
In the first picture just about in the center of the garden right before the walkway is a shorter bloom that is lavender. There is a bird ornament next to the plant. It is behind the dark purple iris that isn't open in that picture. Anyway, if you can figure out which flower in which photo, that iris is named Elaine-alope (Get it? Mom's name is Elaine and her favorite color is lavender? Cute!!)
In the far back you can see the one named hot dog with mustard. I can't remember any of the other names so maybe mom will tell us some of them. But even without the names, aren't her irises gorgeous.
Especially note that I weeded and mulched the garden so mom doesn't have to weed it anymore. Plus I think it shows off the irises so much better.
The middle one of her fruit trees (the one right in front of the walkway) is a crab apple and is covered in fruit. The pear had tons of blossoms but unfortunately my pears didn't bloom at all and so didn't pollinate hers so neither of us have any fruit this year. Maybe next year we will both get some.
I forget what her other fruit tree is but I think it is cut off in all the pictures because it is right by the rail I am standing at to take the pictures.
If you look very closely at the top photo, on the back steps is a black cat. This is Ubu 2 for those of you who haven't met him. I am keeping him fed and watered while mother is gone. As you can clearly see, he is healthy and happy.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Boy Got A New Toy

Or something like that. Seeings as though that is what mom would call it, that is what I titled it. Its an adorable stuffed cat that enjoys playing on lawn mowers! (actually I'm joking) Its a wild orange lawn mower! So I have some pictures of it, too. The first picture is of the lawn- after he mowed a single streek, then the picture after that is of him mowing, him mowing, him mowing, and him mowing, though not in order. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Friday, June 4, 2010

Alien Invasion!




A pack of aliens has invaded my house! Actually, aliens invaded the school the day of Senior prank. It was pretty cool since the seniors were out of class by the time they did the prank, so very few people were expecting it. They took over the Awards Banquet and then the entire school. They filled one classroom entirely with balloons, and it was seriously chest high with balloons even after they opened the door and let the balloons spill out. The aliens kidnapped all the earthlings for a dance frenzy in the commons and took over again in the afternoon. I made these little aliens to commemorate the occasion and the girl has already given one to the principal and the assistant principal.
And for Jeff, a recipe - super easy, really flexible and totally delicious.
Take a large, ripe tomato and chop it in small chunks. Dump it in a bowl. Take some fresh basil and chop it and add it to the tomato. If I can't get fresh basil, they always have jars of pesto in the grocery and I add a tablespoon (heaping) of that. Sometimes I toss in a little garlic, but not much or it will take over. Get some Parmigiano or some Pecorino Romano and grate it - you want quite a bit, about a half cup grated - don't add it yet, pour it over the pasta as you toss it. I usually use curly pasta like gemelli or rotini but anything will do (and for Mom it really should be gluten free). Cook about a half a box to the al dente stage and then toss it, piping hot, over the tomatoes and be sure to dump in about a half cup of the pasta water. As you toss the pasta/tomato/basil together, add the cheese so it gets well dispersed. Pour about a quarter cup of really good fruity extra virgin olive oil over as you toss it too.
Serve warm or cold.
You can add barely cooked asparagus or any other veggie you like to this. You can also add spinach or arugula or any other green you like that can withstand heat to this (but not for Mom). And it's really good if you toss in some grilled chicken cut into small chunks. I have used pork but the girls didn't like that.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Catching up

So, things have been crazy busy here with all the stuff going on. Last week, it was a Graduation party, Senior project culmination, beginning of Middle Learning Immersion project, someone's birthday, someone else's graduation, an new car, driving lessons, and lots of other stuff. The weeks before that were even busier. So the blog was ignored. I wish I could say that I had lots of stuff saved up to post, but frankly, knitting and fiber were pretty much ignored too. My students in my knitting class were shocked and horrified to learn that between the last two classes I knit nary a stitch. One of them, who knows me well, was not sure I'd survive.

So here are some small bits that should have been posted and were not. Flowers - the hydrangeas in the blue pot were from the graduation party and the roses in the wine glass were from the reception after graduation. They are both lovely.


















During all this wild and crazy running around, I managed to get Casey her spring haircut. Here you see the before (with penguin) and after (with clip) pictures. This is actually quite a good haircut. Anita (the groomer) trimmed her legs pretty short (1/2") and her belly short (1") and took about 2 or 3" off the rest of the dog. I know, I know, it doesn't look like she was even cut. But I have to say that this is the cut I've been looking for the dog since I got her and I'm very happy. If I knew I could get a trim instead of a shave, I'd have taken her to the groomers a lot more often.






And someone had a birthday which we remembered at the very last minute and celebrated. Poor kid, the big day was the day before graduation so for this year at least (and probably another in 4 years) it almost went by without celebration. But we got a cake, went out to dinner and gave gifts.














I promise more posts more regularly starting soon. I am taking a bunch of grads to the beach for almost a week, leaving on Saturday. Next week will be slim pickins - Maybe Dena will pick up the slack. Maybe Jeff can even help Mom post a few things for me to read! (If you want/need a password, I'll set you up.) But I'll be back in action the following week and promise to do a better job.