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Garden Work

Garden Work

May 20, 2010
In between the days and days of rain have been a few nice, warm, sunny days. We’ve been able to use those nice days to get our garden started. The past couple years have been pretty embarrassing in the vegetable garden department. The first full summer we, under my ambitious direction, plotted out a 20 by 26 area of our yard and dug up the grass, roto-tilled, planted tons of things and actually harvested a lot. The second year I couldn’t put the time into it that I wanted/needed to, so I grew mostly weeds. Last summer was the wedding and we knew we’d be busy and gone on our honeymoon for a whole week and didn’t plant anything. But we also didn’t do anything out there to prevent the whole 500+ square foot area from being completely consumed by weeds that eventually grew into 5 foot tall tree-type things!
So the task of clearing out the “garden” was a big one. Ryan set to work and got it cleared out in half a day’s time. The following weekend he bought landscaping timbers and started building raised beds. The weekend after that we salvaged a lot of great soil from other areas of the yard to fill our new raised beds.
Last weekend I planted cherry tomatoes, red peppers, brussel sprouts, carrots, radish, parsely, borage, thyme and oregano. Last night we filled another bed with more salvaged dirt and I planted two lemon cucumber, two bush cucumber and four zucchini. I learned my lesson with zucchini that second year. I only planted one plant and didn’t get a single zuke from it. If you only have one plant, there is nothing around for it to cross-pollinate with, and you get no fruit. (it’s still called fruit on a veggie plant, yes?) So this year I’m making sure and planting four. Because I LOVE zucchini! And I want to try to stuff and fry some zucchini blossoms, and don’t want to feel bad about picking the flowers and tiny baby zukes before they get big.
Here is how it looked out there this morning.
We have two more beds to build and need to find dirt to fill three of them. I think we can salvage more dirt from the rest of our yard, enough to fill one more bed, but then we will probably have to buy some for the last two. If we dig any more, our yard will look like a quarry. The next bed will have broccoli, cauliflower, and jalapenos. Then we’ll have one whole bed for Watermelon, since that is a vine and you need a lot of real estate just to get one or two melons. And the last bed will be for lettuce and spinach. We are also going to plant sweet corn around the west side of the garden (so as not to block sun all day) and green beans and sugar snap peas on the north side, to grow up the fence. I had such a problem with japanese beetles the last big garden year, I hope these past two years of no garden has fended them off a bit. I still got A LOT of beans that year, despite the beetles, so even if they do come back I’ll have a squirt bottle filled with soapy water at the ready!
On the rainy days, I’ve been knitting. A lot actually. I have my Whisper Cardigan about 18 rounds away from casting off for the 2nd sleeve.
I am still working on the second toe-up sock, I carry that one in my purse but rarely knit on it.
And for some reason, decided to start a second pair of toe-up socks using my Twizzle sock yarn that I coveted for so long.
I have already turned the heel on the first sock! This yarn is a bit bigger than most of my other sock yarn, so it is going really fast. I should probably be using size two needles I think. But the density of this sock will be great on size 1.
Today is only Thursday. Every day this week has felt like Friday for some reason, and I keep waking up and 3 seconds later being pretty disappointed that it still is not Friday. Looking ahead at the calendar, this weekend appears to be the last weekend we have totally free until late June. I plan to use it to it’s fullest!

This post originally appeared on Textile Stockpile on May 20th, 2010.  A year’s worth of posts were lost when I switched servers, but they’ve been found and I’m updating and reposting them here. Stay tuned for more!



May 17, 2010

A few weeks ago, on a normal sunny Tuesday morning I left work for a couple minutes to get a cup of coffee. I generally make coffee at home but that morning I had run out of time.  And being the coffee snob I am, I drove not to the nearest coffee place, but to one that had exactly what I wanted…more milk and chocolate than coffee. 

I was driving back to work with my coffee when I got to a busy intersection with a McDonalds, a big box grocery and gas station and Best Buy store.

THIS busy intersection

There were about ten cars all stopped at a green light. I could see something small and white in the middle of the road, not moving. I thought it was a McDonald’s bag crumpled up in the road. A woman up at the front of the line of cars got out of her car and walked around it, looking underneath and around. She must have been satisfied with whatever she was looking for and got back in her car. Just then, I saw a tiny little duck dart across the busy street. It was running back and forth under cars and stopped for a minute in the shade of another car. The duck made it into the gas station parking lot safely and the cars in the road started moving again. As I inched forward, I saw that the white object in the road was not litter.  It was a duck. It was the mommy duck. It had been hit by a car and was lying belly-up in the road. 

I watched as the woman at the front of the line made a last minute swerve into the left turn lane, I assumed she was going to go into the gas station and save the baby duck. I got into the left turn lane too, ready to help her. But she did not go to the gas station, just went on her way. I pulled into a parking spot and barely had the car in park when I hopped out and started running after the baby duck. A hundred thoughts were racing through my head all at once. “is it dangerous for me to touch a wild bird?” “is it dangerous to the duck for me to touch it?” “what will I do with it if I catch it?” “am I crazy to chase a duckling around a busy gas station parking lot?” “can I keep it?” So I grabbed my phone and called my office. I was so relieved when it was my fellow animal-lover co-worker who answered the phone! I asked her what to do and she said, “YES, get that baby duck!”. 
I proceeded to run around the gas station parking lot, with my phone held between my ear and my shoulder, hunched over trying to grab this baby duck. He was so scared, running with his little wings splayed out to his sides. He ran back toward the road and I swerved wide around him to force him back toward the relative safety of the parking lot. Finally, as I dropped my phone, I grabbed the duck and went back to my car. I sat there for a minute, shaking, patting the duckling’s little head and telling him it would be ok. I started the car and drove for less than a mile and started crying. I found the nearest parking lot, pulled into a parking spot and totally lost it. I cried so hard. All of a sudden I realized that this little baby was an orphan. His mommy was gone and now separated from his siblings. I started to think about my own situation with my mommy gone and my sister and girlfriends who live far away and the parallel was overwhelming. 
I had this crazy feeling that I found and rescued this baby duck for a reason. That we both now have no mom and must stick together and now I have to step in and raise this wild animal.  I took a deep breath and called my sister. No answer. I knew she was at work and normally can’t answer her phone. So I texted her and asked her to call me. She couldn’t, so I just briefly told her what happened by text, but obviously couldn’t convey that I was loosing my shit over it. I asked her if I could keep it, and she, being the cute-and-fuzzy-lover she is replied YES.

I pulled myself together, now only sniffling a little bit, and drove back to work with the duckling still in my lap. After another deep breath I went inside and showed my co-workers my new little friend. Not leading on that I had just fallen apart over it. I put him in an empty paper box and put him near my space heater while I googled “how to raise a duckling”, texted Shannon, called Ryan, and also tried to work (luckily it was a quiet day).
While I was daydreaming about Bella having a new best friend and the little house and pond we’d have to build in the back yard, the little guy was just hanging out in his box being cute, calm and quiet. That lasted for about an hour and a half. Then he started quacking. A lot. Then he pooped. I called a local Mallard rescue and took him there on my lunch break and didn’t look back.

They’re so cute until they poop.

This post originally appeared on Textile Stockpile on May 17th, 2010.  A year’s worth of posts were lost when I switched servers, but they’ve been found and I’m updating and reposting them here. Stay tuned for more!



April 21, 2010

How did it get to be the middle of April already? Taxes have been done and e-filed. I’ve finished a few projects, oh, and I turned 30.

We had a big party and it was a lot of fun! I was so busy having fun that I didn’t even pick up my camera.  I brought it outside just before the first couple people arrived and set it down on a table near the food.  I meant to hand it off to my dad or a friend to take pictures but didn’t.  The picture above was taken at the beginning of the night by my sister Shannon with an old 70’s camera that uses FILM!  So we did get a few images to capture the evening.
I finished the cabled baby cardigan I was working on.  It turned out incredibly cute and got many oohs, aaahs and fondles at the party.
Cabled Baby Cardigan
Cable detail

I got some really nice Crystal Palace yarn from my friend Crystal for my birthday and I have already cast on for the Whisper Cardigan from Interweave Knits.  I’m only about 2 inches into the first sleeve, so no pics yet.

Recent news from the sewing room:  it is clean!  it is semi-organized!  and it has NEW fabric!  I even have new inspiration.  As if the room being clean wasn’t inspiration enough!  For my birthday in 2009, my mom-in-law Gayle got me a gift certificate to a great big quilt shop in Ohio called The Door Mouse.  It took us nearly a whole year to put it into our schedules and trek down there.  It was definitely worth the wait and the drive!  One reason we waited to get there until now is because this place has so much fabric, that you really have to have a project and a plan in mind when you go.   So I took my great tree fabric that I bought in North Carolina about 5 years ago and had designed a quilt for it and needed supplemental fabrics for it.  I think I have everything I need now, I just need to find the time to start working on it!
When we got home, Gayle gave me part of my birthday present for this year.  It is a signed copy of Frieda Anderson’s book Fabric to Dye For.
I was so excited to get this book!  I have looked through it quite a bit and am very anxious to try some of her methods.  I am accumulating quite a list of projects that I want to start, work on or finish.  So if someone would come over and clean my house, cook for me, and also go to work for me, I can get right on that list…  yeah, guess I’ll just have to squeeze in some time wherever I can find it.

This post originally appeared on Textile Stockpile on April 21st, 2010.  A year’s worth of posts were lost when I switched servers, but they’ve been found and I’m updating and reposting them here. Stay tuned for more!