Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back by Popular Demand: Garden Journal #4

A dear friend hinted the other day that not much gardening has been posted. In fact, the last time was at the end of March... So much for staying accountable for all the individual acts of planting and growing with Ginny this year. Let's have a little review of the Spring and Summer then. Of course, everything was unseasonably warm ridiculously early and I should have planted seeds even earlier than I did. But those frost dates do give me pause. Here is May 12. In my former winter garden we have bean seeds ready to sprout. Behind, an entire bed devoted to cherry and grape tomatoes that came up in a friend's garden.
Fast forward to June 10. The grass is already crunchy. It hasn't rained in two weeks, won't rain for another three. This was the day that I left for Europe. I went away for 24 days... Hence, no garden update.
I had a wonderful garden waterer, however. My next door neighbor, who is 18 and always looking for spending money, has excellent watering skills and brought the garden to the next level. (Picture below still from June 10!)
The garden lives, but the grass is dead... We are now looking at last week. Recent rains are making the lawn look better again, but the back area was hit hard. What are we looking at here? The front right bed is overflowing with the grape and cherry tomatoes. I made the mistake of throwing my Rottweiler one while I was picking... He instantly figured out how to pick and eat great quantities by himself... To the left we have beans under netting (to keep the bunnies out), 4 pepper plants, and 6 tomato plants that my mother raised for me from seeds.
The winter garden, left, is filled with green beans. The green bean plants have been flowering like crazy, but producing very few beans. I think they won't grow in temperatures above 90F. As it cooled a little, I have been able to pick more, but I have to admit that I am underwhelmed by the amount of green beans a 4x8 foot bed produces. Maybe it was the seeds. They did not come up in the numbers that I planted... To the right I have a giant zucchini plant, a very small cucumber plant, and a watermelon plant. The zucchini is producing well (6 of them in my refrigerator as of last night), 3 cucumbers, and several watermelons are working on growing. The edge of the most right bed shows some of the 6 remaining tomato plants. The memory of 2006 and eating a giant tomato salad daily for 2 solid months is making my mouth water... Fingers crossed, though the drought has made most of the tomatoes develop very tough skins. The flesh is very tasty!
Amana Orange tomatoes that I ate Thursday and Friday!
Delightful peppers, harvested last night.
Veggies harvested in the dark on August 3rd.
One of the zucchinis disappeared into this divine lunch today... Hello new comfort food! Another will disappear into this tomorrow morning. Check out other links on that page. My zucchini will be enjoyed with great variety - hooray!
How about another flashback to May 12? My lovely pea plants. In between the rows was a lettuce mix that we enjoyed just about every night for a month. The peas eventually grew as tall as me and produced delicious pods. After they were finished, I pulled them out and replanted with two types of carrots. Only two plants came up... Drought? Bad seeds? Anyway, I plan on starting some fall veggies here tomorrow: spinach, chard and beets.
Till next time, my dear Sweet Peas!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


"Yellow!" was the first word that my niece #3 enthusiastically exclaimed when she opened her early birthday present from me last Thursday. I knew that yellow was her favorite color after my visit with her during Spring Break. I brought her a coloring book and she delighted in saying "yellow" over and over again, demanding a yellow crayon, marker, or pencil in turns. So when I was shopping for souvenir yarn in Innsbruck, Austria, in June, my eye drifted to this luscious pale yellow yarn, and I knew this would turn into a perfect little sweater for her. The yarn is Lana Grossa's Linea Pura Latte. What a mouthful! It is a cotton/milkfiber blend, which was a little more comfortable to knit than regular cotton. I used size 5 and 7 needles using three out of four skeins of yarn.
The next step was looking for a pattern. I searched Ravelry under "child, sweater, worsted" and this lovely short-sleeved pattern named "Lucia" popped up. Someone else had also knit it in pale yellow, so it was not difficult to imagine my own finished product. I also thought it was perfect with short sleeves for summer and easy to layer a long sleeve T-shirt underneath for cooler times of the year.
Project started on July 18 and finished July 25. Very easy knit, though the yarn was splitty. I really enjoyed the easy lace pattern.
Photo above shown with long sleeve T-shirt layered under sweater as well as fun plaid shorts. T-shirt and shorts are a birthday present, compliments of a loving grandmother!
As you can see, it was NO PROBLEM getting the child into the sweater. She insisted on putting it on right away! (I love that!!) These pictures are a more true representation of the light yellow color.
Silly face!
I am joining up with Ginny today. The book I am reading is "Where Are You Wearing," by Kelsey Timmerman, which is the Freshman required reading book at the local university this year. It is a very eye-opening commentary on where our clothes come from and by whom they are made. I'm sure a knitter's group would have a lively discussion about this book! I highly recommend it.