Monday, May 23, 2011

Can’t read a book without cracking the spine

We begin, dear readers, with a garden update, as promised:

The patchy grass is coming in nicely, the seeds starting sprouting about a week ago, and every day it looks a little more green.  One major problem still: Oscar.  The large brown-only patch of dirt is courtesy of my little doggy destroyer, who took it on himself to dig a nice cool patch of dirt to lie in.  Thanks Oscar.
Sad scene in the herb pots, the basil looks like he won’t make it.  We’ve had buckets of rain for the last two weeks, so I think he may have drowned.  The other herbs are all doing fine, but basil bit the bullet.  I’ll be digging his sorry ass out of the planter this week and taking him back for an exchange.  The garden centre guarantees their plants for the season.
More grass, slowly but surely filling in.  I haven’t mowed any of it yet, it seems cruel to cut down the fresh young grass, they’ve never been cut before.
Tomatoes are coming in strong now.  Soon I’ll have to play god and choose which ones live and die.  The package told me to plant two seeds in each hole, and then weed out the weenie ones so that only the strongest plants grow.  It’s too soon to tell, but enjoy this last picture of them all alive and happy.
The pretty plants have been planted in the side garden.  I left them in their planter pots for another week after I planted the vegetables because I thought it was too cold for them.  They seem to be doing well so far.  Oscar pees in this patch of garden each morning, then traipses over my plants.  They’ll be a strong and hardy stock by the end of the summer.
Veggie garden updates!  These are the only two things I can tell for sure are growing.  The picture on the left is my patch of radishes, in two nice neat rows.  I’ll have to thin them back in the next few weeks to let the strong ones grow.  The picture on the right is the beginnings of my carrots, they’re the thin wispy green shoots right in the centre. 
A better close-up of the grass action.  It’s still patchy, but some of the seed must have started growing ahead of the rest. 

Moving on to knitting, I’ve been a busy little knitting bee working away on a baby sweater for Fuzzyhead’s cousin and his wife, who are expecting a baby girl in August.  I borrowed a pattern for a cable owl vest from Catherine, and combined it with a pattern from Vintage Baby Knits, a simple garter stitch and stockinette stitch raglan sweater for a 3 to 6 month old baby.  The patterns meshed well together, I used an acrylic/nylon DK weight baby yarn from Shall We Knit, and both patterns used a similar gauge.  Here’s the real kicker – I’m short by about 2 inches on the second sleeve.  I originally bought yarn for a vest, not a sweater with full length sleeves, and I didn’t quite have enough.  Sugar.  It’s on the back burner this week until I can zip to Waterloo for a third ball of the yarn.
Immediately after I completed Fuzzyhead’s teatime socks (pictures coming eventually), I raced to start that baby sweater, and to pick up a new sock project.  This is from the small stash of yarn I bought form KnitPicks, the first yarn I’ve ever bought online.  It looks and feels good so far, and I’m hoping it will be enough for two pairs of yoga socks.  Buying yarn online for yoga socks is much more economical than buying the nice stuff at my LYS and spending just as much time knitting it up.  I’ve decided to keep my yoga sock patterns down to 3 or 4, rather than scrounging for a new and exciting (and also time consuming) pattern.  I’ve made this pattern before for a pair of yoga socks, it’s got some simple lacework up the front, with small cables running up either side of the foot.
Happy long weekend my readers!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dog pee is good for plants, right?

Happy spring readers! Submitted for the approval of the midnight society, I call this tale: Adventures in Gardening...with a splash of knitting just to keep it real.

Fuzzyhead and I don't plan to stay in our current house for more than a year or so. We're saving for a home of our own, so our gardening plans this year are unfortunately not long-term or permanent. We made a short list of the things we wanted to accomplish this summer so our little backyard could look its best.

Our list:

-Move brick pathway so that is actually leads to the gate, not to a random patch of the fence
-Make a small vegetable garden
-Plant flowers along the side of the house
-Keep a selection of fresh herbs
-Fix the bare patches of grass in the backyard
-Cover the pathway in gravel to keep the weeds away

Fuzzy already took care of the first one, he moved the path all by himself when I was at work about a month ago. The bricks have settled back into place now and you'd never know it used to be different.

The others got tackled by me today while Fuzzy is out on the town with his friends. We both took a trip to Belgian Nursery earlier in the day, initially just thinking we would price things out and head home to plan some more. I love this place, it's so full of exciting ideas and things I want to buy. We're leaning toward gnomes for the garden by the way.

First up, this is what I accomplished today:

Our baby herb garden! We had dill and parsley in seed form, so I planted those in the boxes along with the more mature and ready-to-eat herbs we picked up today. I love the boxes, they were on sale and they look very rustic and natural.

Box # 1 - rosemary, oregano, parsley, and dill

Box # 2 - cilantro, thyme, and basil

We also bought some shade-loving plants for the side garden. I chose not to plant them today because I spent so much time prepping the soil for the vegetable garden and I was worn out. I'm also a little afraid that it's still too cold for them to be outside without parental supervision. Momma Vrock is very protective of her plant babies.

The beginnings of our vegetable garden. We had tomato seeds, and the packet called for starting the seeds inside before putting them out in the big wide world. I will track the progress of my wee little tomato plants for ya'll.

Have you ever seen such patchy grass? I scattered some grass seed down today, after diligently digging up the top 10cm of patchy soil so the grass will have somewhere to go. The trick now it to keep Oscar from patting it all down with his little dog feet.

The worst patch by far, this is between the porch and the fence, right next to the house. Essentially a no-sun zone, we'll see how the seed does.

My pride and joy of the day! I prepped our little garden for planting - turned over all the soil a good 10" down, pulled out the grass that was starting to grow there, and fenced it all in to keep Oscars and bunnies out. I worked up a good sweat doing this, you better appreciate it!

The little rock pathway was added after I realized that I couldn't use the whole space for a garden because I need access to the compost bin and the far side of the laundry line. Also, if I ever wanted to pick any of the veggies I grow, I would have to go traipsing through my nice neat garden. Pathway solves all of those problems! The rocks were sourced from a wicked pile of big-ass rocks that used to be stacked up against the tree in this picture. I found even more when I was turning over all the soil.

And finally, we're going to put out our bird houses this year! They're all lined up and ready for a coat of paint.

A post wouldn't be complete without a knitting recap:

Fuzzyhead's teatime socks, originally started during my business trip as something to do at the airport. I've ripped these little babies out twice, and I've decided to just go with a written and established pattern instead of being adventurous with my own design. Le sigh. Once I finish these, I'm hoping to get cracking on some yoga socks. I want to have a few pairs knitted up and ready to sell so I don't have to do custom orders for everything.

The very best knitting-related purchase I ever made! I bought a personalized rubber stamp for all of my knitted giftables. It says "Hand knitted with love by ". I got it from an etsy shop that does custom rubber stamps. I highly recommend it if you have $14 + shipping burning a hole in your pocket. I'll be putting this stamp on all of my yoga sock care instructions tags, and also any knitted gifts I feel like making this year.

I had a spinning fit a few weeks ago. I spun 100g of roving that I bought at the knitter's fair last fall, all in 2 days. And then I got really crazy and did the other 100g the next weekend. Now I have 200g (about 680 yards) of roughly DK weight yarn to play with. Any ideas?