Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Autumn is closing in for real. Working outside is getting to be an exercise in perseverance; frozen feet and fingers and it’s still up in the 50s during the day. And wet. Thinned two big beds of strawberries for a  client and we ended up with two full feed sacks of strawberry plants. I trimmed them all and planted them in the vegetable garden yesterday. Today I went around harvesting herbs- lots of parsley and catnip, some sage, but the lemon balm had all gone to seed and was shitty. Just as well, I suppose; I really only use it as sugar free flavoring for mixed drinks. Still have to process the herbs and keep the cats out of the basket of ‘nip while it dries. I thoroughly expect to find Silver passed out in it.

Tomorrow we both go up to a place on Gold Creek and rake and clean up the yard. That will be my job, while Tim helps the owner put covers over the basement windows- they’ve been broken before by heavy snows fall on them. At least he’ll be home so I can warm up- and pee- when needed. Then probably three days cutting back shrubs at one job but I really hope I have some dry days for that. Then I should be able to stay inside and do things in here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Finally we have (supposedly) about 4 or 5 days without rain, so I should have been at the painting job that the masking has, by now, turned into paper mache. But a migraine kept waking me up last night and I just felt too much like I was going to throw up, so I stayed home. Around the middle of the afternoon I felt good enough to go out and continue the great weeding project.

About 80% of the weeds are various types of clover. I’d been in the habit of allowing clover to stay put, since it provides nitrogen to the soil and keeps a lot of other, worse, weeds from coming in. I only took it out when it was interfering with the garden plants. Last year I never got any of it taken out, and this year it reached critical mass and exploded all over the garden, covering every inch of soil and most of the garden plants. This, and quack grass, are the main things I’m dealing with. Both of these things (and the sorrels and wild raspberry plants) have roots from hell. My back is starting to tell me that round up might not be such a bad idea after all, although so far my brain is still winning that argument.

I think the hummingbirds are gone for the year. The last two days I haven’t seen or heard one, even when I was working by the Scarlet Runner beans. I think a lot of other birds have left, too- it’s eerily silent out there. There are still finches beeping, but there aren’t even as many of them as there were. I hope this doesn’t presage an early, horrible winter for us. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It’s been cooler- and stormy- the last couple of days and it’s been lovely to work outside for a change. Especially lovely is that the power didn’t go off for hours like it has the two storms before this one. Last night’s storm, though, was throwing lightning down perilously close to us. There were a couple that were so bright Tim thought they hit in the hay field (I don’t think they were really quite that close) and the thunder was right on top of the light and so loud I levitated off the sofa.

Finally finished the log house kitchen the other day; all lacquered and put back together. I had a reprieve in doing them because the guy who was going to be staying in the house put his visit off. Now he has put it off again. Not sure when he’ll get here to do the work or if we’ll have to find someone else.

A few more plants have followed me home and I’ve still not gotten any of them planted. I am making some progress on the weeding, though and expanding part of a bed to make room. I was going to prune the dappled willow today to unshade some unhappy roses and make room, but when I stepped close to the bush hummingbirds shot out of it and a chorus of panicked finch voices arose. So that project is out until everyone is done nesting. I thought it was late enough that they’d all be done with that.

Staying the course on eating less. Can fit into things I wore last year but not into things I wore a couple of years ago. Damn. I’m hungry. 

 This is daylily 'Ice Palace Pink'- it actually followed Tim home instead of me. Beautiful; it has the glitter effect when the sun hits it. 

 This is a salpiglossis- sorry no common name for it. They're supposed to be tall plants and mine are only about 9" tall but at least they're blooming! I'd been told that the season was too short for them here but I had to try them anyway.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We’ve been eating lettuce, arugula and endive from plants in containers for a few weeks now. It’s been very nice. Then day before I found a slug on a leaf. I threw it away and washed the rest very thoroughly.

Last night I went out later than usual to pick for dinner, and found every last lettuce just crawling with slugs. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen that many slugs before, even on the Olympia peninsula (mercifully, these were small slugs). This grossed me out so badly I nearly threw up- and it takes a lot to gross me out. I’m usually the one at the table grossing everyone else out. But this did it.

Never eating salad again. And definitely buying slug bait next time I go into town.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

 A couple of my jobs are really near to the lake. About two weeks ago, there was a killdeer running around in the driveway of one, doing the fall down and play injured thing they do to draw people away from their nest. Today I went back there, and needed to weed a bed that I hadn’t touched for awhile. The killdeer got frantic, running around on the lawn behind me, dropping to play hurt. Then two young ones- fledged but still with some baby fluff sticking out between feathers- popped out of the shrubs and ran around! The mother started calling wildly. They peered at me for awhile, then ran around the corner of the house. The mother stuck around for awhile, cursing me loudly. She also flipped out when the babies decided to peer around the corner at me, except that time she ran at them to convince them to go back and hide! 

A killdeer, from Wikimedia Commons. Uploaded originally by hart_curt.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The tall bearded iris, the Siberian iris and the Japanese iris are all blooming now, although today the rain is pushing a lot of the stems down. This year they- like the peonies- are taller than they've ever been before. Some come up my chest! Also, the iris and peonies are both more fragrant than they've ever been before. When I go outside, the air is perfumed; normally I have to walk up to the plants and stick my nose into the flowers!

This is the tall bearded iris 'Gnu'. I love the broken colors; they're like water colors running. This is the only broken color iris I have, although I hope to buy a few more. This one came to me free, because a friend asked me to divide his iris beds. Neither he nor the person he'd bought this from had any idea of the name, but I got lucky and IDed it on the internet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's sad when the brightest thing in the garden is the weeds...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

It’s amazing how lovely dandelions look with the grape hyacinths. I think I’ll use that as my excuse for having so many of the things in my yard!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The primula auricula opened it's petals today:

It's a wee thing still. The others are even smaller and I'm sure won't bloom this year

One of the auricular primroses I started from seed a few years ago is going to bloom- and it’s a dark burgundy color!!!! All the hyacinths are in bloom and making weeding heavenly.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gray sweater makeover

Some time ago I found a plain gray cardigan at a yard sale. It had interesting stitching around the neck and down the front, but other than that it seemed to be crying out to have something done to it. So last fall when I was looking for something on the 'net, I was happy to find some chiffon flowers in the perfect color to go with it.

I measured out from the collar & front binding all the way around and down, then pinned the edge of the trim (the roses are on a net base) along the line. I was going to machine sew them down, but knew that I'd end up catching the roses themselves under the foot. So I hand sewed it; it only took me an hour to do both edges of the flower strips.

Okay, it's hanging crooked on the dress form. I really did manage to get the flowers on straight down the fronts! Now I have a cute cardi for if I ever get a lady-like job!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Sewing Machine Classroom, by Charlene Phillips. Krause Publications, 2011

 A very good, basic, introduction to using a sewing machine; written clearly enough that a teenager would have no trouble with it but thorough enough- and with enough handy tips- for the sewist who is beginner to intermediate. Introduces basic stitches and feet that are usually provided on a modern machine, as well has having sections on fabrics, threads, installing zippers & buttonholes, types of seams & hemming, and simple decorative techniques like tucks and smocking. The spiral binding allows the book to lay open for easy reference while trying out the techniques.

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