Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's Starting to Look Like A Garden!

I finally finished filling in all the boxes. I have planted all that I am going to plant. At least I hope so. I am now into maintaining what I've got. I mowed this morning. According to the weatherman, we were supposed to have 100% rain all day yesterday. That then became an overnight storm moving in. We haven't had any of this rain he promised. We had a sprinkle that left a pollen-laden mess on my deck and porches.
The front bed is beginning to sprout some of the seeds I planted. It is also sprouting weeds and grass faster than I can get it out. The pink azalea is almost done. It is fading and dropping petals. The other azalea on the other end of the house is holding it's buds tightly, and what few have bloomed appears to be white. They both need feeding and some nurturing.

And I got gravel put in for my driveway. I didn't really like the way the curve goes to the carport, but that's the way it got dropped from the truck. My neighbor was nice enough to smooth it out with his tractor. Today while mowing, I decided to be okay with the curve of the driveway. It breaks up the monotony of the long, rectangular front yard. This fall I am going to plant trees or tall shrubs, but that's a long way off.
All of my herbs I brought with me on the move survived. I am very pleased with them. Noodles ate the catnip down to nubs, so I planted some more. My Solomon Seal is doing much better in the front yard than the back, but both locations survived. My water iris and regular iris are putting on lots of green.
Knitting has been put on hiatus. I just haven't been in the mood. I fell down a week ago and my hand still hurts a little bit. Last night I did pick up one project and knit about one hour. I have been reading my crazy fast reading speed. I have read two books in ten days.
I think I am going to visit my friend in Jasper for a coupla days. I need to get away and not do anything for a coupla days. If I don't do that I will start some other project that I don't need to do right now. She has a knitting problem, and she was going to wait until we see each other to fix that. So now is as good a time as any. I think I just want to go to the mountains and check on things.
It is always a little bit cool around the first of May, and then it gets really HOT! And that seems to be what is happening now. Yep! I finished just in time. It is time now to just maintain what I got.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

I felt I should at least acknowledge Earth Day! It was a day I used to celebrate, but now I seem to celebrate every day. I feel I am constantly thinking of how to care for my little piece of the earth here, and how am I impacting the earth globally? This azalea was inherited with the house and is quite gorgeous. It will be pruned and fed dutifully after blooming it's fool head off. The other azalea still has tight little buds, so I can't wait to see what color it is going to be.

Enjoy the day. Remember that we are all responsible for our actions on the earth. Be kind and considerate of all the living creatures that share this earth with us. And thank God daily for all our many blessings!

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Friends!

I went to CJ's house for our Saturday knit day with JE. As I passed this farm I noticed that the llamas haven't been sheared yet. So after some lunch, we went to meet the neighbors. The owners of this little family just moved here from Wisconsin six months ago. They are leasing this farm until they can find their own place.
The male's coat is sunburned, but the owner said it is a bluish color underneath. The young'un's coat is sumptuous dark chocolate and cream. Mom's is a lighter brown and lots of cream. They are shearing on the 27th-next Monday.
I was told that they blow on you as a greeting, and since I haven't really been super-duper close to a llama before, I was forewarned. I did not know that it is not a soft blow-like from a horse. This was a forceful, full-diaphragmed blow through the nostrils. Think yoga breathing to the max.
But they remained close by, and appeared to be very curious about us. It is good to know your fiber neighbors.
I am steadily knitting on my surprise jacket and my summer tank top. Since the tank top is only stockinette right now, it's boring. So I can hardly contain myself to get knitting on my baby stuff. I have three washcloths I can give her right now. Because it is so lacy and cute, I want to do the EZ February baby sweater. I also want to do some socks. But I am trying to hold myself back and work on my boring project. It's hard.
I listen to podcasts on Sundays and spin. Yesterday I have to say my favorite podcast was Y Knit. They are so comical and I would love to meet both of them. The main part of the podcast was the interview from last October of The Yarn Harlot while she was there on her book tour. It sounded like a conversation between Mike and Stephanie instead of an interview.
I also listened to a new podcast that was really interesting. Her name is Marly and she interviewed Linda (?) from Wild Fiber Magazine. There is now movement afoot for the U.N. Year of Fiber. Linda has organized a project called The World's Longest Scarf. It is a fundraising project for Heifer International. One of the purposes of the year of fiber is to educate people about the plight of people who raise fiber animals for sustainability. Linda actually went to Italy and talked to the man in charge of the proposal in 2007. She proposed that they make a documentary project that would show over several weeks of different countries and different practises of raising fiber animals. Well, that never happened, so she thought why re-invent the wheel. Heifer International is already doing work with these people, so why not do something to help them out. Thus this project was born. If you are interested in participating go to Keep The Fleece.org. I think it is a neat idea. I think it is an international project and the goal is to earn $250,000. Which I think is doable. Once people get behind this, money will start coming in.
Linda also has organized a contest to make something out of natural fibers. The info is on the Keep The Fleece web page. She mentioned a remarkable ballet outfit that she has seen made of felted bison in the bustier, and a long ballet skirt with tulle and bison fibers. My only thought when she was describing it was "God, it must be hot to dance in that thing!" But I bet it is beautiful.
At last the sun has appeared. This means I can get the yard dried over two days and mow again. The trees are slow to put out their green. I think the ice storm was very traumatic to them. It seems to me that this is the longest April in a long time. It has been cold and wet a LOT. No real warm days to get the seeds and garden going. Maybe this week that will happen. It's supposed to be in the 70's I think. I really need to weed the front flower bed. It appears the weeds are winning over the seeds I put out. Maybe this week will boost the little seeds to get going.
And maybe the potatoes are going to push on out. I hope not too much rot there with all the cold/wet stuff we've had.
Nothing else to report. Have a good week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It Feels Like Late October!

For some reason today felt like late October. It has been cloudy all day with winds and cold. Yesterday it rained, and everything is soggy and wet, wet, wet.

But the GOOD NEWS is-I finally have a baby to knit for. Not my grandchild, but my childhood friend's daughter is having a baby. Two years ago this is the same girl that dragged out the pitiful crocheted baby dresses I made for her when she was born, and proudly said, "I'm going to bring my baby home in these." I just shook my head, and told her to throw those away. I think we can do better things now with all this luscious yarn out there.

So after she told her mother about the pregnancy, she told her to call me and tell me to get knitting. She waited until she found out for sure it is a girl. So many things to knit for girls! Yeah!

This young woman is 33 y.o. and I think she will be an excellent mother. She loves all the quilts and stuff that my friend has given her. I have made her a coupla things, and she is very careful with these things. She is very sentimental about family heirlooms, and of all the young people I know, she will appreciate everything that is made for this baby. She will pack them away when the baby gets too big for them, and she will save them for her baby just like she has saved those awful little dresses I made for her. I mean, my friend did not save them for her. The young woman saved them for herself in her "hope chest".

And she will like "girly" things. Some new mothers want gender neutral things, and no pastels. R will love every little frilly thing I can make. I can't wait to get started.

But I have two sweaters I am knitting right now. And those have to be finished before I will start baby stuff. But-whew!-just like that, my summer knitting has been decided. I was thinking along the lines of washcloths or socks, but now It's Baby Time! I can't wait to start looking at baby patterns! And girly stuff! Yeah!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Socks-Finished!

Here are the Socks From Hell-Now Renamed "The Easter Socks". Don't be confused. The first sock started with a really nice Herringbone Pattern. I don't think it is so easy to do a herringbone pattern in the round, but I struggled valiantly along. I ripped, I knitted, I finally ripped one last time. It became a plain, ole stockinette sock. The stripes are still pretty enough. Then came the second sock. I started out okay. I got maybe an inch on the cuff, when suddenly out of nowhere I had two extra stitches! I mean the ribbing is k2,p2, how hard is that? I couldn't fathom where I picked up two stitches! I looked for any yarn overs-none! I took it to the LYS, and Colleen couldn't figure it out. So I started un-knitting, to see where the mistake was. I couldn't find it. So rip it all out. Did something else during knitting group. The next morning I cast on, and again I had a problem. SIGH! How hard is this? I have knit socks all my life practically. So last Wednesday, I cast on, and got going. No problems since.
I decided I didn't really want these socks, and that my friend GK in Kansas needs a pair of Easter socks. She just started a new job, and I don't know what size clothes to buy for her. But we wear the same size shoe. So Easter socks they are for GK. Until last Thursday I realized that Easter was really soon. I began a knitting frenzy to finish that last sock. I set goals, and I stayed up nights. But I finished them at 9:55 a.m. yesterday, took a picture, washed them, and laid them out on the deck to dry. They are already in the box full of Easter goodness, along with a dishcloth, and a pretty pincushion. Easter is Done!
I think any obsessive frenzied activity is okay as long as there is a finished product in the end-don't you?
I love surprises, so she will call me and cry. But it is fun, and I enjoy giving away my knitting when it is something that someone will like, will take care of, and will enjoy for a long time.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Is "Tump" A Real Word?

Our Thursday Night Knit Group is such a diverse group. Yes, "Tump" is a real word-it's in my dictionary. Unfortunately, around these hills, tump means to fall out of, or off of, something. Like- "Don't lean your chair back like that or you will tump out of the chair." or "When you are paddling through the rapids ahead, don't lean to the right of the canoe or you will tump out of the canoe." In my dictionary "tump" is a chiefly diag Eng meaning a small rise of ground (like a mound).

Also, what is the etiquette for taking pictures of people's headstones? Okay, so it is not normal to take pictures of people's headstones? I was raised by two great-grandmothers and two grandmothers and a grandfather. They were always-always- dragging me to cemeteries. Remember the days of decorating gravestones? Remember the big celebrations of getting together and having HUGE picnics at the cemeteries? Well, I do, and I learned a lot about families and family history this way.

Of course, this is a very Southern thing to do. I remember reading the first page in a book once that summarized with a girl in the back seat of the car going to another cemetery with her mother and aunts. And she talked about the Southern tradition of visiting cemeteries. I had to read that book, because that was me. Only I didn't have aunts, I just had great-aunts and great-great-aunts.

I remember going to Mississippi with my great-grandmother and grandmother one very hot summer to visit relatives. The next Saturday we were heading to a very obscure, rural cemetery that had not been taken care of by the caretakers, so my cousins' church made it a project to clean it up and make it "right". We spent the entire day out there, cutting vines, mowing, trimming around the headstones, and "making it right". My great-grandmother disappeared at some point while we were all inside the chapel building cleaning that and eating our lunch. It was years later that I found out that she had been engaged to a young man that died the night before their wedding of some kind of flu. She went to visit his headstone. Isn't that remarkable? She became a "real person" to me when I heard that. I was too young to understand the day we went to the cemetery, but when I was old enough she gave me his picture to keep.

So with this heritage, that is why my cousin and I went to the cemetery the first thing we got to town last Sunday. He was not raised in the South as I was, but he has a degree in history. He has a connection to the past. My connection is cultural, his is research. But we did enjoy looking at the headstones and reading the inscriptions. He explained the veteran's stones to me. Each war has a different style of monument. So as one looks around the cemetery, one can spot the civil war veterans, the Spanish-American veterans, the WW I, the WWII vets, etc. I am still fascinated by the shuttle on the headstone. I almost want to go and meet this lady.

Anyway, we had a nice group last night at the knitting circle. Tracie is still working on her shadow knit piece. Colleen is working on her sweater. But for the most part, people are bringing in small pieces to work on. It is hard to concentrate with the loud talking, the discussions we have, and the eating. Yes, there were three plates of cookies. I was really good-not one cookie. I have lost 20 lbs on this diet I am on. I messed up big time eating out with my cousin, but I have lost the three lbs I gained in 24 hours!

I have decided to give these socks from Hell to my girlfriend in Kansas for Easter. She just started a new job, and I think she needs something. She won't let me buy any clothes for her, or give her some money for new clothes. So a new pair of socks it is. I finally got started on the second sock after three attempts to get it going. I got high behind Wednesday to finish this one and mailed in time for Easter. So last night I stayed up late to get to the heel flap. I am halfway through the heel flap now. So maybe-just maybe-they will be done next week and washed and blocked and ready to go. I like to make a complete CARE pkg for her with plastic eggs with trinkets and candy. I also have a new dishcloth for her. She always needs a new dishcloth.

I am still chugging along with the Surprise jacket. That's all I am going to say about it. I LOVE the colors that I dyed and it will be pretty. Just heavy.

I listened to Suzy Orman yesterday on Oprah about how to get through the recession. I am really, really, really happy that I was raised by all these older people. They taught me how to do things for myself, and I am always questioning any purchase for frivolous things. Like clothes. I am happy that I know how to knit, sew, and put food away. I also know how to do a lot of my own home repairs, and I have a bunch of power tools I hardly use. My brother gave me the nicest circular saw that I would consider to be a professional model. He is in construction, and he just handed it to me.

I feel sorry for a lot of people that do not know how to give up all the unnecessary things. Yesterday Suzy was helping this one couple cut even more of their expenses. One of the things she cut out was manicures and pedicures. It was a shock that they could save over two hundred dollars a year by just cutting that.

So we are in our April showers/cooler weather pattern. We had a frost this morning. Today is supposed to get up to around 64 degrees. Then more rain this weekend. Then cooler weather for a coupla days. Then more rain. You get the idea. I did get high behind this week and finished out the flower bed in front. I have more seeds in there that I cannot tell you what all I planted. I have horded flower seeds forever, and a friend and I had an exchange of seeds. I have broccoli, spinach, and three kinds of lettuce up in the veggie garden. The spinach is making it's second leaves now. I planted my potatoes, although it is too wet and mucky for them. I couldn't wait any longer. I am waiting for the rest of the veggies to plant. We are supposed to get two cold snaps next week.

My neighbor got the tractor going again, and maybe, just maybe, we can get my dirt pile moved to around back. Then I finish out the front of the house, and be done. Yeah! The back is an ongoing project.

So that's the news of the week. Not a lot going on. Just the normal work that has to get ready for summer, and just my continuous knitting projects. Will get back later.