Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jumping for joy

Not because anything is done on the knitting front, but just because, well, you know. . .

Halloween is just so exciting. We had dinner at a friend's house (well, some of us did). The older one has her own tribe thing going every year.

Eric worked hard and made a useful pumpkin guillotine. Many evil winter squash were dispatched.

And Sarafina was fierce as Trinity.

The little ones got tired early enough so that I was able to hang out with our neighbors while they played with light sabers. A good night all around!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Making it up as I wait in line

One reason I try to make up my own sweater ideas is that I can't always find exactly what I have in mind in a pattern. Not that they don't exist out there, but even with the power of Ravelry, I can't always find them, and I'm certainly too impatient to keep hunting until I find The One. Besides, I generally alter patterns in some way anyhow. And this way, I can go, "yarn first, then pattern," and since I buy faster than I knit, well, there you go.

Ha. It sounds as though I know what I'm doing. I don't; it's just that this is the way my person leans. Doing otherwise would be like doing bonsai: possible, but a lot of work.

At any rate, the sweater that's fun to wear but a bear to knit now has one shoulder:

I tried, I really really tried, to make this a seamless saddle-shoulder. I did two or three iterations of picking up the stitches along the fronts and backs, only to find that I had picked up different numbers on each side; that preloading the stitches to be picked up on needles felt like wrestling a catatonic octopus ; that finally what I wanted wasn't a purist "no seams allowed here!" sweater, but one with a saddle I liked.

Bowing to the inevitable, I knit a saddle, seamed it in, then proceeded to do some sort of knit back and forth cap for a few rows, then joined in the round, discovered I had picked up enough stitches for a nice sleeve cap but too many for an arm, and while standing in line to see Mortified in the city with my sister and some friends, figured that I could create a little reverse-gusset by placing markers on each side of some underarm stitches and decreasing them as I went down the sleeve.

And it worked! Easy-peasy lemon squeezy, as they say. Click for a sort of gussety close-up.

So now I'm just chugging along, enjoying myself. That is, until I get either to the end of this sleeve and have to try out my stylish idea and see if it makes me look like a dork, or love it and then just have to knit a. whole. other. sleeve. Not to mention something around the neck, I guess. Also, not to mention that "counting to three" is still a skill I'm struggling with. I just noticed two purl stitches lurking down in some knit ribs. Thank goodness for crochet hooks!

Either way, I want to get it done and out of the way, to make mental room for the gloves I just swatched for. Yessiree Bob, 14 stitches to the inch and I just can't wait.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Denise's spring/summer harvest totals

As the year's last Early Girls slow roast in the oven, I'm totaling the season's harvest. I thought I'd wait until all the beds were empty, but that's not going to happen: some of the Sungolds are still fruiting, plenty of kale is going strong, and both the jalapeƱos and the jalapas are still producing, too.

So it looks like about 430 pounds. The biggest producers were
  • the summer squash: zucchini (89 lbs 4 oz from 3 plants) and scallopini (39 lbs 3 oz from 3 plants)
  • the tomatoes: Sungolds (27 lbs 15 oz from 4 plants) and Early Girls (63 lbs 6 oz from 4 plants---I didn't count the bush EGs, which hardly produced)
  • the winter squash, of course: butternut (14 lbs 15 oz from 2? 3? plants) and Lakota (18 lbs 13 oz from 3 plants)
  • the cucs, of all things: cucumbers (17 lbs from 4 plants) and lemon cucumbers (22 lbs 11 oz from 4 plants)
  • and the greens: True Siberian kale (24 lbs 2 oz) and Lacinato (13 lbs 13 oz and counting)
Like Stefani's total, mine doesn't include all the foraged food: blackberries, huckleberries, and mushrooms. I'll keep better track of those this year. In the last week or so alone we've gathered over 33 pounds of oyster mushrooms. Yippee!

Some were quite large.

All ended up sliced and fried up with garlic and plenty of olive oil, then frozen: instant dinner starter.

I'm not a big hot-pepper fan, so today I had to process over a pound of jalapeƱos that have gathered in the fridge. I pickled some with tiny potatoes from the garden and carrots (all prepped on the beautiful cutting board Kevin made for me of reclaimed redwood, black walnut, and cherry).

Some I just canned with lemon juice. I'm not sure the latter is officially sanctioned; I'll let you know. Pretty, though, isn't it?

And as we prep the back bed, we've given the chickens their first field trips. They're such dirt monkeys! And they left their first contributions to the soil.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It fit on paper

It is entirely possible to triple the size of one's garden and immediately run out of room.

One achieves this by not realizing how much garlic or shallots constitutes a "pound." Couple that with only the vaguest perception of how many broccoli transplants a 2x10' bed will hold, et voila! I'm starting to stick garlic and shallots in, well, other places in the garden. Places which had been set aside for things like carrots or turnips.

Is it possible I've planned to plant too many peas, also? Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2009 spring totals for Stefani

I just changed things around on the settings. Denise and I were talking about keeping track of totals, and she said that it made sense to divide our totals between fall and spring, since that's how we conceptualize our growing seasons. Spring/summer, fall/winter.

I didn't total everything from the spring -- there are still some winter squash and apples out front, and I haven't weighed the final tomatoes I plucked off the vines when I pulled them, but it's close enough for a first year.

384 pounds, pretty much. (This post also gave me a chance to catch up with the totals on the kitchen calendar. We are nothing if not high tech here.) That included a bit over 128 pounds of honey and some foraged apples, but not the blackberries we picked for free, nor the eggs -- they got a separate count. It will be interesting to see how the new square footage stacks up. That poundage came from roughly 188 sq feet under cultivation, plus the front yard (and beehives, and city parks, and neighbor's trees. . .). And personally, I'm not thrilled with that harvest. Between rotten soil and poor watering, I guess I'm lucky I got anything! And thank you again, bees. Thank you very much!

Here's to a prosperous and productive season this winter. I'm already able to give fresh food away. Three pounds of Siberian Kale is coming with me to homeschool park day. I've got a lot in the freezer and it's a year-round vegetable, really. Being able to share makes me feel like a rich philanthropist!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The camera's fixed! Long post. . .

So I figured I'd just throw everything at one post. It's kind of like if you came over and innocently answered, "Sure!" when I said, "So, you want to see the garden?"

Bwaaa haaa haaa.

There's more out there these days. An overview first, from the deck! This was the day after we got 4" of rain. (Just trust me; I didn't take pictures of the rain gauge.) The new beds are all installed, but the back ones and the front left/west one aren't full of soil yet. Neither have I finished cleaning up the half-done patio area, or leveling, weed-blocking and mulching paths, and the laundry line looks a little . . . well, declasse. Oh well, I'd be talking so much you wouldn't get to say anything, anyhow.

The first stop for my morning rounds is the chicken coop. They crowd the wire, demanding some kind of treat -- in fact, I think I need to refill the feeder tomorrow. They also occasionally flip the waterer over. Eric and I are going to have to talk about retrofitting or rebuilding that coop. It's not holding up to the weather and spilt water. Lessons learned, I guess.

Sometimes it's leftovers; sometimes it's weeds or thinnings, but they're pretty appreciative.

I have enthusiastic help gathering the eggs. Cat is getting almost tall enough to check all by herself. In fact, she's pretty enthusiastic about most gardening . . . for a few minutes.

She points out new-sprouted peas (very back right bed, unfortunately where the oregano still is). Canoe and Alaska, both short varieties are in there. Canoe is supposed to have a lot of peas per pod. I may put some brushy sticks there but not a huge trellis.

She also weeds and is getting much more able to tell a grassy weed from a carrot seedling, which, admittedly, can be a challenge. This is the spinach/beet bed, down where "anything green is a weed; I haven't planted here yet," as I told her.

Patiently waiting the arrival of the soil mix that's going to top off the old bean bed is the flat of different-length broccoli seedlings. You can see where the best water and light were happening under the light unit. I'm working on increasing each shelf from 4 light bulbs to 6 to avoid the dark spots on the edges. I think it will help (and it was fun to kind of MacGuyver it some). I have high hopes for broccoli. Oh, and I'm trying something new -- I'm marking the plantings with little stakes made of old blinds, and on each stake is the variety name, date planted, amount planted, date sprouted, percentage (roughly) sprouted, date transplanted, and on the back of each stake, the days to maturity according to packet. If I carry a sharpie and keep up with this - and don't forget what day it is - that makes a good record backup for my garden log.

I may also punch holes and tie tags to certain plants with notes, such as "save for seed."

Front right bed -- Danvers half long and Nantes half long carrots, and . . .

Pretty lacy red kale. I hope it tastes as good as it looks. Still so small compared to the big kale planted much earlier!

The "Cute Fancy" zucchini is still going gangbusters. Who needs male flowers? I guess it figures it might as well throw everything into fruiting. The leaves are big enough to serve as umbrellas. Just the first bitty bits of powdery mildew on the lower leaves.

Next to that -- and these are both older preexisting beds - is the pepper patch. Still going well. Today I was wondering if I liked any of them enough to try to keep them over the winter. The Poblano/Ancho, probably. If digging it up or building it a mini-greenhouse made it get going faster in the spring, I might consider it (a greenhouse would make crop rotation tricky). Very very nice pepper. It's sort of in the middle with the dark green peppers, behind the ruffled pimento.

To the west of the peppers, the happy happy True Siberian kale. I've got some other stuff seeded past it, but only a few things have sprouted. The kale almost vibrates with vitality. Huge leaves, and so very tender and tasty. Only a few aphids and such, too. Sweet peas towards the house (that's what all the strings are for). I hope to have nice smelling bouquets in the spring.

Past the kale is the Asian greens bed. Tat soi (pictured), carrot mixes (pictured, just in front of the last, powdery mildewed zinnias), komatsuna, and pak choi and Napa cabbage. I may have to reseed some as I'm getting spotty germination.

Turning to look back toward the house, you'd see the tired tomatoes. I think tomorrow is P-day for them, as I pull them out readying the bed for the Snow Pea Invasion. Hmmm. Our window looks crooked. I hope it's a camera trick and the house isn't listing.

The Lacinato kale/transplanted lettuce bed. This is a good view of how I've tried to use the soak hoses as well as possible. The outside corners are dry for seed starting, but any bigger plants would do okay with reaching, I think. There are definitely sweet spots. though. I'm looking forward to being able to fine-tune the system, and maybe run it off a pump from the water bins, which are full from that storm!

These tomatoes, Stupice and Cherokee Purple, were planted late, but have done well. Stupice is still trying to flower. I may pull it just because.

On the other hand, someone is eating well among the tomatoes.

Finally, when you really wondered if I would ever. stop. talking. I would turn and there would be the whole thing laid out the other direction. The west side, with the chickens and bees on your right,

And the east side, with our lovely neighbor's house and the tip of the earthquake supply trash cans.

Then we'd go inside and have scones and tea and you'd tell me to finally finish the porch and clean the place up, why don't you?

Friday, October 16, 2009


Call me the intermittent blogger.

Actually, I thought up that title a couple weeks ago but was so uninspired I couldn't bring myself to post. I'm less uninspired now, as opposed to more inspired, which might be an overstatement.

In July, I sing the praises of Early Girls, my very favorite tomato. By October I can hardly be bothered to pick them. The squirrels apparently feel the same way.

I have harvested many pounds, though. The last two batches became slow-roasted tomato sauce, just because it's easy. I discovered if you forget about the sauce in the oven, what you get is more like slow-roasted tomato paste, which is pretty, um, intense.

The squash gets big points for beauty.

I've never eaten a Lakota. Considering the poundage, I hope I like them.

Late-summer blues isn't the only thing sapping my gardening energy right now. We've done a lot of big-ticket work lately, like thinning and topping the 30-plus-foot bamboo to allow more sunlight.

That apartment building is such an eyesore, and it feels strange to thin our optical barrier. The difference in the garden is noticeable, though, and that means more to eat. We have our priorities in order.

The other big change is the wisteria, which grows vigorously over an archway of three cement-footed 4x4s. The original idea was that it would form a kind of doorway leading from one "room" of the yard to another.

The effect, while lovely, was also sun-blocking, so off came the branches, out came the 4x4s, and up came the tree.

It now lives near the remaining bamboo closer to the fence. Since it stretches toward the light, we're hoping it'll reach back toward its original site, again forming that lovely archway, but without stealing light from the garden. I love the carpet of lavender blossoms underneath in the spring. Fingers crossed.

The result of all this work is that the yard currently looks something like this:

We have lots of 20-plus-foot lengths of bamboo to build with---heck, maybe we can refloor the house---and a lot of cleanup to do.

The summer garden is slowly ending. I've pulled up all the squash, saluting the ridiculously productive zucchini and scallopini as I went, except for the butternut that has three tiny, probably ill-fated squash on it. I pulled most of the beans, but couldn't bear to cut the one that's still blossoming and climbing the apricot tree.

And finally, to the planting. Yippee! So far I've planted about 80 onion sets and transplanted 50 or 60 spinach plants, which is what dragged me out of my gardening malaise, I believe.

And after Kevin's egg joke, it was gratifying to return from a weekend away to find this:

And lastly, a surprise treat in the harvesting basket:

That's Dodger, our pest control. I've been on him to get the rats that have been scuttling around outside our bedroom window, belittling his paltry mouse offerings. I think he finally took it to heart, because last night he showed up with two startlingly large bite marks under his arm, and this morning we're off to the vet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pre-fall review 2009

So much happened in the garden this year, and I learned so much, that it seems to hardly matter that my camera isn't working well and probably needs to be sent away for fixing so I can't offer any good pictures. Grrrr.

I had planned to spend today shoveling compost mix into the few new beds that hadn't been filled, but since a storm is forecast for tomorrow, complete with "heavy rain and wind," I didn't feel as confident that I could get it all moved as I wanted to, and Eric certainly didn't think I could get it cleared. Trying to tarp a mountain of topsoil in the driveway while it washed into the gutter didn't sound like a lot of fun, so I managed to delay it a week. Updated -- it's now Tuesday and raining cats and dogs. That was a good decision!

That's also nice because I have to yank the tomatoes to make room for topping off their beds, too, and I was feeling a little wistful about that. They might not be pumping out fruit, but they are still bearing steadily. This gives them, and me, a few days of reprieve. I had better go out and make certain the chickens have everything they need inside too.

So instead of current pictures, I figured I'd go over what did well, what didn't and how I'd change it next spring. Fall is starting up well, and I'll have to review that in, oh, May or something. I apologize in advance for the unbelievably long and wordy nature of this post. Feel free to treat it as a page of my garden journal that you're not really too interested in, even though I've tried to tell stories to liven it up. Go on, now, move along. Nothing to see here. . .

Fruit trees: The espaliered apples were a wonder this year, really coming into their glory. Fireblight devastated some of them, primarily the Fujis. I may spray a fungicide ahead of bloom this coming year, especially if it's damp and cool like this past spring. In January, I may try my hand at grafting to repair the chopped-up espaliers. There's just something unbelievable to me about strolling out into my handkerchief-sized front yard and pulling a delicious big apple off and eating it. Sometimes I'd pull a few before I picked up Ellie and Tor from school -- they were generally greeted by cheers. I'm starting to wonder where I might fit in another row of espaliered trees. . .

The plums were a disappointment. Either it was the year-on/year-off thing or not enough water or a combination. Hopefully they'll do better this year. I got not a single apricot from the Katy tree. I have hopes for it this coming year, as well as the baby Blenheim.

Persimmon tree didn't set any fruit this fall, which wasn't a complete surprise. It's still there, though, so maybe next year? We still need to thin the municipal tree so we get more light through it.

Citrus in the front yard is coming along nicely. I look forward to a serious lime crop this year, and the lemon tree is starting to mature enough to have a steady supply of lemons. I guess we'll just have to investigate some kind of cocktail. We may try to put in a Lisbon lemon also -- one doesn't always want the sweetness of Meyers. Tangerine tree is still fairly pathetic. Bad site, not enough water. It may just have to stay pathetic.

Tomatoes: Some blight, but not an unmanageable amount. I planted four or so Principe Borghese, and that was more than enough. I have about three quarts of dried tomatoes in the freezer, and am constantly looking for ways to use them up. I would plant them again, but maybe only two plants.

Sungold did what they always do -- throw out handfuls and handfuls of sweet cherry tomatoes. I'd probably plant another two of those, even though I swore at them a lot.

Early Girl was a disappointment -- I think she needed much more TLC than the others. I'm definitely going to plant again, and hope that the real watering system makes a difference.

Amish Paste was a nasty looking plant, but the fruit is nice. Dilemma! I need a paste/canning tomato, and I need a lot, but I'll have to try different varieites.

Stupice didn't make the cut for me. It was "just" a tomato, and I don't need its earliness. The flavor wasn't that interesting.

Cherokee Purple I will plant more of. Such interesting flavor, and big fat tomatoes, much more than any of the other varieites. In fact, we had a fried-in-butter half tomato to go with our eggs this morning. Yum.

Peppers: The hot peppers did well, and I would plant more Anaheims and Anchos definitely. I don't think I'll do ruffled Pimiento again. Seriously -- who needs Pimiento peppers. I have some new varieties to try and I'm going to grow a lot more sweet bells. Granny inspired me with her pictures of frozen strips. I want some of my own! I won't, alas, grow the piquin peppers again. They are so incredibly cute, ripening from glossy purple to orange to red. The fact of the matter is I'm afraid to eat them -- I bet they're too hot. I'm getting more adventuresome but not that much! I'm also going to grow frying peppers again, maybe more of them. One or two Jalapenos -- they're useful but not a huge standout.

Kale: The love affair continues unabated. I'm so excited about the seed saving that I've already picked out one or two plants showing the best characteristics of the True Siberian to save seed from this time. I've got Lacinato and red kale planted, so we'll see if they make the cut. I could eat kale four times a week. My family generally goes along with this. Tonight I think I'll make kale calzone. Yummmmmmmm.

Flowers: I'll grow more sunflowers and pansies this year, and plant out the Lisianthus I finally got to start. Maybe I'll get the poppies dug out of the vegetable bed finally. They're just too big. I have sweet peas out in the yard - we'll see how they do. And more zinnias! I know they're an "average" flower, but they make such spectacularly nice cut flowers for so long. They're still going out there. I'll have to sucession plant to keep powdery mildew at bay. I will definitely grow much more indigo this year. It was such fun to dye with it and I bet some of my spinning friends would be interested in their own dye bath.

Cucumbers: I grew some pickling and some lemon. The Marketmore never bore -- again, I think it was a lack of care on my part. The lemon cucumbers are a dream. I love the taste, love their enthusiasm, and still would only plant two. I don't eat that many. Either I need to plant way more pickling cukes or not plant them at all -- the two or three plants I had didn't produce enough to pickle; they just trickled in.

Winter Squash: Yes, oh yes. Many more butternuts and I may try to banish them to the back yard on trellises. I have a hard time not trying every odd Italian pumpkin I can find, but there are space issues. I'm also thinking that growing Halloween pumpkins would make the children happy and the front yard less bizarre-looking for passers-by. Folks seem to understand Halloween as they don't Marina di Chioggia oddness. . . I tried to cook a Triamble last night and its shape made it difficult to bake it evenly. There might be good sense in smoother, less-loby squashes. It tasted okay, but not much better than a Butternut.

Melons: I won't be growing more cantaloupe-style melons. They don't do that well,. and they take a lot of room. I'd rather buy handfuls from the melon ladies at the farmer's market. I may grow some more small red watermelons, though. Those were good.

Herbs: I'd like to get a small isolated herb bed started so we can get them out of the back bed, for example. Maybe I'll transplant that True Greek oregano into a small dedicated bed. . . Everything did well, and I just want more. Marjoram, Tarragon, etc. Basil was a bizarre disappointment. I think it needs to go out later and get more water (sense a theme?). If I'm going to have good pesto, I have to stay with the basil more. Parsley I always feel as though I should dry, but it grows year-round here, so I'll just have to remember to succession-seed it so it isn't bolting. More cilantro! I love it and it definitely wants to bolt, so a regular succession program for that is a must. I may have to revise my garden plan again. . .

Eggplant: I broke down and planted a Japanese eggplant. I will try very hard not to do that again. I don't like eggplant. I use it only under protest. . . why am I growing it?

Artichoke: I think we need another one out front, and the established one needs more food and attention. We love, love, love artichokes.

Carrots: They did well and we are growing lots more this year.

Asian Greens: More, as they did well, especially the tat soi. More, more more. . . I have a large jar of fish sauce to use up, three drops at a time.

Grapes: They, like the plums, need more water. They also need much pruning. I got enough for some yummy yummy jam.

Summer Squash: I grew both yellow crookneck and a light green hybrid called Cute Fancy. The yellow was yummy, but got terrible powdery mildew. I'd have to carefully succession plant it and yank at the first sign of white spots. The hybrid was/is a very very nice squash. I'd grow it again. In fact, I'm still harvesting from it and it's just now beginning to show any mildew. It's so light green it disappears in most food, which can be a plus for the zucchini-phobic.

Cabbage: Another "not again" plant, right up there with eggplant. When I want a cabbage, which is about two times a year, I'll happily buy one at the natural foods grocery. Even at the most expensive organic markup, they're very affordable. Maybe we should eat it more, but we don't. I'm always seduced by how beautiful they are in the garden. That's me, a sucker for a pretty face. Still. Must be realistic, I suppose. If I had a farm, I'd grow not only cabbage, but I'd grow keepers, and the pointy-headed, and red, and savoyed. Probably I'd take lots of pictures of them, and then feed them to the chickens or something mostly.

Beans: I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, we like green beans, especially sautee'd with garlic until there are burnt spots on the beans -- sprinkled with salt and sesame seeds, it's such a treat I've snuck them into movie theaters for a snack before. But I didn't keep up with the beans. Partially it was the disappointing harvest. I think I might concentrate on bush beans so I could freeze them, and maybe some Romano pole beans. I also would like more keeping beans and more shelly beans, but I'll have to stay on top of them much more if I want to eat green beans. Maybe I would have to instantly blanch and freeze any I don't want to eat right away, so they don't sit on the counter and become very very sad.

Peas: We want lots more snow peas, as they are the winners of the pea world as far as my family is concerned. The kids pick them out of soups and stir fries and fight over them at the table. Oddly enough, I don't find the prospect of more table bickering coupled with the need for constant picking and blanching and freezing troublesome -- it sounds like a way to store up something we love! This may explain the bean/pea thing -- we just like these more. I've also planted a large amount of shelling peas. We're trying that for a new thing, as Sarafina likes peas in her macaroni and cheese and I'd rather she were dropping our homegrown home frozen peas in than even organic ones from a bag. The tomato bed is planned to be fully replaced by snow peas. I wish I'd bought some yellow ones, but we'll enjoy the green ones too and they'll help the bed's fertility.

Potatoes: These were an awful disappointment. I grew two pounds of Yellow Finn in a cubical stack, and I harvested. . . about two pounds of Yellow Finn. I may have harvested them too early, and I may have not watered enough. I'm going to try with a lot more this year, but in the beds in hills like traditional planting. Do I have to use "official" seed potatoes? Can I just put some from the organic grocery in the ground?

Swiss Chard: (I accidentally typed "swill" for "Swiss" in that one -- Freudian vegetable slip?) As a child I was encouraged for my Sicilian father's sake to eat Swiss Chard. Unfortunately, it was cooked in fairly nasty ways and the squeaky effect of the oxalic acid on my teeth. I have four plants of orange chard growing, and that's about the perfect amount. I can stay on top of the leaf miner eggs for that many leaves, and since I only use a few leaves at a time, to round out a pan of greens or fill a calzone or soup, I can pick a couple from each plant and feel pretty happy. Same with the cabbage, though. I'm so tempted by the pretty. Maybe if I grew them as a cut and come again baby greens bed I'd eat them in salad and feel less guilty about enjoying their colors yet not using a big stand of them. Worth a try, I'd say.

Tomatillos: I liked these and liked having them. They got some nasty rust or blight just before they were all ripe, and didn't get as big as they might have. More fertile soil and regular water has to make a difference. I want more enchilada sauce!

Bees: They're not a crop, necessarily, but they're an integral part of my gardening. I look forward to another bumper year because I have (carefully-stored) supers of drawn comb. I'll have to mark them for rotation, though. No sense allowing any disease spores to build up. The poor bees have enough trouble with mites. I hope to check them regularly. I'll do one more after this storm passes, then leave them alone for a few months until January or so.

The garden expansion is so exciting that I spend some of my down time drawing and redrawing rotation plans. The lesson I learned, though, is that every project takes a lot longer than I had hoped and I get to exercise patience whenever I do outside work. It's going to be a long, happy addition, though, so a bit slow at the start is not a bad thing. I hope I learned good things this year that make next year abundant and me a more effective gardener. If you've read this far, thanks, and I'd love to hear some suggestions if you have any.

Also, I know Denise has gone through this kind of exercise also and I'd love to READ hers!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Finally done

So, four weeks after the baby, the sweater is done and gifted:


Lazy Daisy detail:

The yarn, Mission Falls Superwash, seemed splitty and a little fussy to work with. That reminds me -- I had better tell the (understandably sleepy) new mom that it can be washed. I hope it still fits -- it seems quite wee when I look at it. I'll start the Christmas knitting now, after the camping trip this weekend when I intend to make great strides on my gray sweater. Inspired by Denise, I'm contemplating bell sleeves. . .

Melon time

We don't get a huge melon season here -- it's usually not hot enough, long enough.

But persistence, hope, and a reckless disregard for reality conspired together to make something sweet:

We've had about three melons all in the six pound range. That's doable. They're quite full of seeds, which the kids find challenging rather than a spur to spitting contests. No imagination at all, some of them.

I know these aren't Moon and Stars, and I imagine they're Picnic. Whatever. I won't grow Persian melons again, because they're too sweet, but I might tuck a couple of these guys into a sunny corner again.