Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm tired...and my fingernails are dirty.

We've had a short break between rain - another storm is due to come in on Sunday so I've been working to clean up the garden, prune fruit trees, and the general, let's get things back in order. Did I really leave everything so disorganized last fall?

Yes, yes I did. I think I threw down my trowel and picked up my knitting and just moved on.

The garden has various piles such as the one above of cut branches and dead this and that. Hubby, kind and patient soul that he is, comes around and gathers them all up and moves them to a huge mulch pile. He kindly hauled four or five large wheelbarrow loads of lovely, rich mulch (really, the stuff was like black gold - just perfect and all from garden waste in the past) up to one of the raised beds for me this afternoon. I admit it, I claimed I only needed two. I lie. After everything was leveled out I planted sugar peas.

I even spent some time today repotting some of the pond plants. That hardly describes the pitched battle of me wielding two types of cutters and stabbing with a trowel. Gardening: the gentle past time. HA! It's Death and Destruction a goodly part of the time and we're not even into High Pest Season (coming soon!).

While moving wheelbarrow loads of this and that I always have company. A very fit looking Otis and the always beautiful furbot, Opie. Yes, Otis is just as fiesty as he looks. He's a scrapper yet high strung. I saw him freak out over a piece of lint the other day. Opie is much more mellow.

I am very pleased with my greens this year. Several types of lettuce and arugula, beets, and carrots grown in a cold frame. Yum.
Some knitting has happened. I am busy on the second sleeve of the sideways sweater. The purple has yet to grow boring. I have an incredible urge to cast on another hat but Must Finish UFO's. I've seen two gorgeous knitted bags with beads this last week. I feel the Lure. I've also been lusting after some linen/silk Handmaiden yarn but I just can't quite justify buying it.
While not yet spring, and I've lived here long enough to know that each and every February there is a false spring where the urge to start planting seeds is Strong but must be resisted, several things have started blooming.

Violets. Always such a romantic flower.

The first rhododendron. Brave soul.

Vinca. Something of a pest but it's pretty and flowers.
There are daffodils about to open, buds swelling on the lilac, and grubs starting to chew their way through the delicate, new greenery. All is right with the world.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mojo-less in California

The Gods of Creativity or even the minor god, Ms. I've Got a Clue But Am Not Sure How to Proceed, have not been with me lately. One project after another has required endless fussing with still no happy end product.
I've been trying to make a simple pair of pants. It's my generic use all the time pattern. The kicker is that it's rather expensive wool fabric I'm using and it really needs to morph into a wearable pair of pants. Well, I've had just one problem after another. Once I finally wrestled the fit into something approximating my shape and size I then took on the zipper assembly. You would think that I would have that down pat. Nope. It's like learning Latin for the first time (not that I speak Latin). I finally got it in so that it was darn near perfect but the inside seams just won't lie flat. Rip!
I then put the zipper in Omar's dog sweater. That stretched out so Rip! again.
I committed Crimes Against Yarn and crocheted a small rose using a Nikki Epstein pattern. The crime? I used some Sundara silky merino and felted it. Not much - honest! I'm thinking of doing a headband for a friend and she mentioned crocheted flowers. I hadn't followed a pattern for crochet for a long time. It was rather fun.

Speaking of: the latest Season's yarn arrived from Sundara. A very pretty blue called "Bluebells". I'm going to go out on a limb here and say something that has been rolling around in the back of my brain for a while. I have not been liking her colors as much. They're still very pretty, sometimes VERY pretty but that special, take your breath away I don't care that I've overspent my yarn budget I MUST HAVE IT - no, I've not seen that in some time. I have several skeins of lace weight that I bought strictly because the colors were so special. I have never done lace. One day I hope to but so far, no.

The first crocus has opened.

I asked my friend Luci to make me a needle bag. She had been working out a very nice pattern and I thought, "Yes, I could make my own and the chances of me getting around to it are zilch".

It's so pretty. I guess I'm going to have to actually sort out my needles and put them in.

All my lip balms rolled up empty so I made myself some non petroleum based ones using various oils and bees wax. They are very nice and scented with Garden Rose essential oil. I must remember to half the recipe next time. Let me know if you'd like a couple. I'd be happy to mail you some!

A little bit of the sideways sweater is happening. Not a lot. But some. Honest Suzy - it's your fault for having such long arms.

We have been having Weather! I can see snow across the valley but alas, none on us at the moment though it's very cold. Snow in the mountains, rain in the streams.

I loved the swiftly changing light the other night complete with rainbow.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Look Ma, I'm steeking!

My heart is still beating a little first steek. Not that I've finished it. Like all good people with ADD I've moved along and on to other projects but I'm circling back...honest. It's the dog sweater I'm making for Omar. He hates having his feet stuffed into sweaters so I'm putting a long zipper along the back so he can just step in. Taking a pair of scissors to your knitting though...breathtakingly hard to do.

I continue to dab at the Purple Wonder (Sonnet) for The Enabler. Must focus. Needs.To.Be.Done.Soon. She wants to have the Cascade 220 Superwash renamed "Enabler Purple". Sounds good to me. I thought I would get tired of such an intense color but not so far. I'm beginning to think I'm being overly fussy about the pulling up along the bottom. I also damped the body and put it in a cool dryer for 10 minutes which brought things back into better shape. It had blocked out so large I was thinking I could shelter under it with a couple of my friends.
I finally got a decent photo of the buttons at long last.

I made another beret using the Rare Essentials yarn. I just love the pattern and the yarn. It too blocked out a bit big. I might try the cool dryer but this is NOT a superwash so I am playing with fire. It briefly held the classic beret shape then slide into a slouchy hat. You have to go with what you are I guess.

We had company last weekend and we took them up to what little snow there is left. California is looking at a very dry year. Since we've already gone through 3 summers with well problems this is not what the hubby and I want to hear. The snowshoeing was lots of fun. Omar is still adjusting to his new booties. It wasn't really cold enough for him to need a coat but I picked him up now and again to make sure he was doing okay and to give him a break. His underside (read: private parts) were getting a little chilled.

Kate's friend, Helen takes photos of her Mr. Monk doll, a can of soda, (oh my gosh, what is it called? it's not a coke...Dr. Pepper?), and a little hat. I made her a snow person for the hat. I didn't get a copy of the obscene version. (Went from a person to a gender. Use your imagination.)
An aqueduct from Bowman Lake carrying water down to Grass Valley and Nevada City.
Eye Candy
I finally downloaded some pictures from the late fall.
The last of the roses.

Dusk coming on.

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