Friday, August 31, 2007

IN VEST(S)-ED Now that I know that I don't have to add seam allowances the vests are proceeding. I'm having a lot of fun thinking of ways to make them linked but not identical.

BuddyDudeDog and his owner, hubby's DNA, are taking off tonight. The cats will be pleased. Buddy is actually a very nice dog and not at all aggressive which is what I was expecting for an unfixed guy. He does like to tear around which Omar finds delightful. Let's run here! Now let's run over there!

Ollie was brought home from the vet's this morning. He is decidedly snarky as you can gather from his expression. Well, he did suffer the indignity of having his nether regions shaved and a catheter inserted. He is looking much better. He needs to stay indoors for two days so I can make sure things are flowing. We have had a massive love fest and I am covered in fur. I noticed that his chart said "CAUTION!!! Class 4!!" in red no less. I asked and was diplomatically told that he was "not deemed friendly" by the staff. Well, who would be with things being stuck up your privates and your fur mis-arranged? It is so good to have him back.


Again, another week of just a couple of photos. Morning glory against a green/blue pot.

A caryopteris, "Bluebeard" I would imagine. It's from some seed heads I harvested at Annie's Annuals. I really should grow some more because by this time of the summer most things are past their peak. It's such a delight to have these burst into brilliant blue flowers that last until the first frost.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The West is baking away. We're having days of 99F and personally I'm rather tired of it all. Our well continues to give us many problems and very little water so my beautiful garden is dying. I do what I can but it seems I'm constantly finding stressed plants. I fear that most of my rhododendrons are dead or beyond saving.

I washed and blocked some of my mitered squares (using as little water as possible). It gave me a lovely sense of accomplishment. I have discovered though that the cats love to pull the pins out and the squares had acquired a lot of stickers. Obviously, this must be done behind closed doors in the future.

I and the garden are still hanging in there and hopefully before next summer we will be hooked into city water. Elinor, who appears here in her Simpsonized aspect has kindly sent me her pickled green bean recipes. Valerie suggested that I ask her and a very good suggestion it was. Thank you! I have my fingers crossed that green beans will pour out and overflow my kitchen. In a little while I will go and harvest all of those lovely cantaloupes. They are as ripe as they can be and they are like perfume.

I am walking Omar just before dusk when things are a little cooler. He is happy to have the canal to drink from. Yesterday I noticed that Ollie was not right. A trip to the vet this morning showed him to have urinary crystals and a distended bladder. He will have to stay at the vet's for a few days while they clear him out. He is not happy. I went to see him this afternoon and he told me so. I had worried that somehow he had swallowed one of my blocking pins but the x-ray cleared me of that guilt.

I've been fiddling way too much with this extremely simple pattern. While tossing and turning last night trying to decide whether or not to drive an hour to the emergency vet it occurred to me that this pattern just might have the seam allowances factored in. A quick call to Suzy the Enabler confirmed that this was the case (I waited until a decent hour). Now perhaps all things will fit as they are supposed to. I am hoping to make three of these out of the same fabrics, those lovely silk brocades so that they are similar, linked as it were, but not identical. They would be my gift to the friends I meet every year at the Sebastopol Celtic Festival. It's a plan.
Oh, and I've got jury duty. Their instuctions say I cannot bring knitting needles. What fun is that?

Friday, August 24, 2007

DNAThe DNA is visiting with his girlfriend. Actually, it's my step DNA and his name is Austin. He and Roxanne have driven from Memphis, TN to Seattle to see his grandparents then down to see us. Rox hasn't seen much of the US so she's getting to see Yellowstone and Yosemite for the first time. The US has some mighty fine scenery.

I've continued to keep busy and have finished the bubbly curtain. I took Mason-Dixon seriously when they said: "This is one of the times when a sure-nuff pin-blocking fiesta pays off." It did. The linen stretched and grew and I had " show it who's boss". I didn't have spray starch but I had spray sizing which is probably related somehow. I stretched. I sprayed. I pinned and repinned. Those little yo's opened up beautifully. It was too long which I had expected and I decided that I didn't want a curtain rod set up but to pin it around the outside of the window. I frogged four inches and finished off with my four rows of garter stitch. I searched around for decorative push pins and found some on Etsy that I liked. I haven't quite decided that they are what I want but for now life is good. In the words of the hubby, " looks better than I expected.".

Oh, and I was Brave and Strong and returned the extra skein of linen. I had 37 grams of a 100 gram skein left over. Knit on size 5 needles. I started out with some long, metal Susan Bates and switched to short bamboos, Crystal Palace I think. The whole thing took less than a week with my working on it just a bit most days. I am very pleased with it.

I continue to knit mitered squares. They just don't get old. I've enough that I think I will wash and block what I have and sew them up just to give me a sense of progress. I'm also fitting a vest pattern. My first run through showed that some adjustments were needed. I am using older bits and pieces of leftover fabric for the fitting. I made a run to our local fabric store for some silk brocades to be used once I am happy with the fit. I'm not an experienced enough sewer that my first time around is good enough. Practice does make near perfect.

Deciding against subtle hints I flat out announced that I wanted a serger for either my birthday or Christmas. Christmas came early today. Mr. FedX delivered a Husqvarna Huskylock 936. I will have my work cut out for me figuring out how it all works. Whooowheeeeee!!! My hubby loves me.

The garden continues to produce. That's a 6.5 lb cantaloupe with lots more in the garden. The deluge of green beans has begun.


The heat, the difficult water situation. Not a lot of ECF today. Basically, you're seen it all before. An abstract of banana leaves.

Opie in his favorite spot on top of the front door stairs. Shady. Cool. Good view of predators. The stepson has a very nice dog with him but he's unfixed causing all my pets to feel a little stressed.

Friday, August 17, 2007


It's been one of those weeks. I finally got around to emptying out the side pockets of my backpack purse which was full of various seeds from my urban hiking. Things are always a jumble so by the time I get around to starting up seeds (next year) I won't have a clue to what they are. There have been some fun moments in the past where I waited and waited for the plant to flower then the searching of databases and the Voila! It's a ________!!! Maybe you have to be a crazed gardener to get off on this but it does a lot for me.

My plum wine has been racked. That just means I siphon from one carboy to a new carboy. Each time you leave debris behind. I have another tree full of plums coming ripe. More jam. More wine. Chemistry can be fun!

Kate came up to view the Perseids with us. Omar was thrilled. Omar adores Kate. We had several other people come up and spend a few days watching the night sky. I think I was the only one who really stayed awake until 4 am. I base this on the snoring that filled the night air. The meteors were divine. Just sleeping out in the garden under the sky was such a treat.
Yesterday I mailed back some sad and lonely socks that various house guests had left behind. Goodbye little sockies!
While Elaine was here (unfortunately the photo I had of her using my ball winder and swift did not do her justice - trust me on this Elaine) we went to Meadow Farm where I finally bought the "wet spun" linen I'd been lusting after and started knitting a project from the Mason-Dixon book - a small window covering for our front door. I am very pleased with it. I stopped following their chart and started tossing in my yo's as I felt was appropriate. It's pretty small. Roughly 13" x 22" done on size 5's. I bought two skeins but I think I will only need one. This is a quandary for me. They were pricey - $20 each and I don't really have anything else that I need linen for. On the other hand, I have never returned yarn. I could return it and get a store credit or even the cash. What to do, what to's lovely stuff.


Being almost pathetically wanting and willing to please I been keeping my eye peeled looking for nice back lit photo opportunities. A complimentary comment from Lene will do that to me. A trumpet vine with a volunteer morning glory.

Hydrangea blossoms (the lovely "Alice", dried, on the bush - her leaves will turn a wonderful gold and russet when winter comes) and that still unknown yellow thing. Even the woman who gave it to me can't remember what the heck it is. I'll send you a skein of linen if you can tell me.

Two types of blanketflowers. Grown from seed natch.

Wild grasses along Rifflebox canal along with some watercress.

Sunflowers picked for a Friday bouquet.

Go figure. For the life of me I couldn't take a decent semi-color correct photo of the resulting bouquet. I vented via PhotoShop.
I feel a podcast coming on so check out Trueyarns soon. I'll be reviewing books on how to dye yarn from basic to advanced.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Cosmos with a pineapple sage in the background. In a few weeks the sage will be covered in red flowers. It's the best $1 I've ever spent on a plant.

A climbing rose, a Sally Holmes I think.

The redbud is covered in seedpods that make a nice sound when the wind blows.

Late afternoon light out in the meadow.

Turkey tracks. We have a long, oval driveway. It's fun to see what animals have come up from the woods below. Raccoons and turkeys are very common. Sometimes there are fox and coyote along with teeny tiny prints of various rodents. Quail along with skunks are often present and the ever present, always hungry deer.

Helenium. I love the various shapes and shades.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


For some time my friend Kate has been wanting to take me on an urban hike in San Francisco. Kate is of a rare breed - she was actually born there. We often talk during her lunch hour as she hikes around the downtown area. With one thing and other this hike was a while coming. Kate, a Morris dancer and a Merry Pryankster among other things, had seriously injured her calf and had to cut back on her urban hikes for several months. I am not in the area that often but finally we made it.
Our goal, among other things was to hike up to Coit Tower.
Coit Tower is "up there". San Francisco is a city of hills. Some sidewalks are so steep that they have stairs. So, we went up. And up. And up some more.
One set of stairs opened up to the next street up and on to the next set of stairs.
While climbing we watched a city garbage collector carrying OnHisBack a large plastic garbage bin up the stairs.

Note the writing to the right of this photo. I also like the vintage lights. There are WPA murals on the inside of the circular building with most of them done in fresco. The view from the top is spectacular.

Pausing, we looked down to the piers and across to the Bay Bridge. In with the good air, out with the bad air.

We heard, saw, and enjoyed the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. There's the Bay Bridge again in the background and just the southern edge of Treasure Island.

There were lots of lovely gardens and one black cat that wouldn't stay still long enough to be photographed.
We descended down the other side of the hill in search of lunch and other sights.

There was a funeral in progress at The Church of Dirty Harry so we didn't go in. That's Kate pointing the way. We had a nice lunch while watching the world go by. On our way to our next stop we drove by where Lt. Frank Bullitt lived and where Kim Novak stood (sorry Kate, I forget which movie - Vertigo I think but we also went by Ft. Point so I may be crossing my wires).

The Columbarium of San Francisco. An absolutely, way cool, MustSee if you're in SF place.

Wonderful building, lovely art and very moving tableau's to departed loved ones.

There were several magnificent stained glass windows including this:

A quick google showed that Flora Lewis Paxton was born in 1868 and died in 1898..
I didn't find much out about the Holy Spinner but I did find this:

O Holy Spinner of the bridge from Summer into Fall, apple-polisher, reaper of ripeness, harvest-maker, vision-keeper of the winter yet to come, We come, this morning, called to be your people gathered, called to celebrate the new beginnings you are bringing forth. You have said, "Seek my face." From our hearts we say to you, "Your face, o God, do we seek." Hide not your face from us. Turn not your servants away in anger, You who have been our help. Cast us not off, forsake us not, o God of our salvation, for we come to worship you in the name of our Savior Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
I am home again and my thighs are thinking they might start speaking to me again.

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