Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Garden porn

I'm having the most wonderful summer, all smiles and play and dirt-under-my-fingernails  :)

I start each day checking my garden plot, watering if there's no rain on the horizon.  And sometimes after work I stop back to inspect, gather, and weed....and chat with my garden-neighbors.

It's been a long road to get to this space in time....I haven't been gardening 7 years (unless you count my container garden on my deck a few years back)  Now I've spent the spring and early summer turning the neglected soil, planting, weeding, weeding, weeding ;)   and now checking for little garden pests, but I'm so gosh darn pleased with it all!  I've had my fill of snap peas and there are six servings in the freezer along with ones that I've given away.  I have salad almost every day.  There's a year's worth of cilantro in the freezer and more coming, plus I'm stocking up on basil and parsley.
I'm drying lemon balm (that plant is amazingly prolific!), stevia, and sage.

Here are some proud mama photos:

12 ft x 37 ft plot

lemon balm, stevia

beets, chard, onions, kale

Italian green beans (yum!)


yes, there are small yellow squash hiding under those leaves

There are winter squash coming, pickling and burpless cukes, cranberry beans, dill, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant (hopefully!)

I was so fortunate to find this community garden.  The folks are great, and we have fun sharing stories (and veggies).  From this scruffy little patch of dirt I've gained a new batch of friends and I'm enjoying wonderful meals.

Wishing you a terrific week!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

so swiftly did Spring fly past

I can't believe it's already the middle of May and my bike is still in the basement!  Just a few short weeks ago we New Englanders were complaining commenting on the cold, snowy weather that stretched into April.  Now we live in the mid- to high-80s.  Yesterday's rain brought out an amazing crop of weeds in my garden plot so I spent a few hours there (with sunscreen and a bottle of water.)

Earlier today I had also "weeded" through my clothes closets and filled three trash bags with winter sweaters, skirts, blazers, and coats for the thrift shop.  Everything was in very good condition, and most was hardly ever worn.  I've "settled" for clothing that I wasn't happy with.  Big (costly) mistake.  The solution to not having that happen again is simple; sew more so I can have the styles I like.

I think the best most recent year I've had (as far as clothing goes) is the year I enjoyed refashioning items using my older patterns.  I still wear this simple top from 2010!  So I'll be visiting the nearby thrift shops to find some clothing with usable fabric.

Please stop by Kerry's blog to see my pattern stash on May 18th!  Recently, she asked about my penchant for the 60s/70s and I told her a little about my past  ;)
She has a wonderful blog and is hosting the 2015 Vintage Pattern Pledge for some very interesting sewing folk!

Heading into the kitchen now to make some tortillas.  They come in mighty handy on these hot days!  Just fill and pack up for lunch at work  :)

I hope you have a wonderful week!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tonight's project

Simplicity 5133 is actually from 1981 but version 3 is close enough to some of the tops I wore in the 70s, and pleased to find this mid-weight knit that would do up nicely in this style  :)  

 I've pledged to make 4 pieces of clothing from my era for the Vintage Sewing Pledge and this one may squeak in under the bell as one of those...not sure yet!

It's going to be a busy, busy day!  Working in the garden, LOTS of laundry, and maybe a trip to the second hand store to find some SHORTS now that the weather has broken  :)   I've committed to dusting off my sewing machine for this pattern tonight so catch up with me tomorrow!

Wishing you a wonderful Spring day!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

New growth!

Ah, the joy of little green sprouts!

(snow peas)

I've been working at my new garden plot a little at a time (boy, am I out of shape!).  The ground is very heavy New England loam with rocks!  Even worse, the previous plot owner had used wood chips as a means to keep down weeds (and weeding).  They were somewhat mixed in when I started and my hand-tilling mixed them further.
I've added some peat moss to the raised beds, and plan on topping everything with a good layer of leaves this fall that will be turned in next spring.

But I'm getting too far ahead of myself!  Getting back to the present, I've been doing some research on planting by the cycles of the moon.  Since it's still early, this is a good opportunity for the experiment.  In my region, I can plant vegetables that bear their crops above ground until Sunday.  Then it changes to planting things like onions and carrots during the moon's waning period.  There's a wealth of info on the internet about this, including here and here.  I'll post about my little plot as the season progresses.

Of course, I bought too many seed packets.  Everything looked so good :)  

I'm enjoying my peaceful mornings of watering before going to work, listening to the birds greet the day.  I'm hoping you also have many wonderful mornings!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

a little bit boho

My son and daughter-in-law up North are very appreciative of lovingly-made-by-hand items. Their sweet baby daughter is the lucky recipient of many quilts and clothing crafted by grand- and great-grandmothers.

But I took this one step sideways and made the granny square poncho for my DIL.  I recently posted the "almost finished" photo:

I've just added the fringe:

And it's ready to go to it's new owner!  It has that sweet 1970s look to it, kinda crunchy and earth-momma.  I think someone who likes to go on hikes, work in the garden, and take the dog for loonnnng walks would appreciate this on a cool evening.

It came together very quickly (in about a week of evenings) and I'm thinking about making one for myself.  Maybe in shades of deep green for fall.....  But let's not think that far ahead!  It's time to enjoy Spring!  Wishing you the best for the upcoming weekend :)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

3 plus 1 plus 1

Ahhhh, this is so much better!

I received a message last Thursday that the community garden plots would be available, and to stop by on Saturday to find out which one was mine.  Luckily, the plot next to mine was not allocated so I asked for both.

They are roughly 450 square feet, which seems to be a good, workable size.  I've been there after work to get my hands dirty and even planted one packet of snap peas.

The soil is very heavy and stays wet.  It will need some peat moss and/or compost.  But for now I'm just trying to get it to dry out.  I've made 3 slightly raised beds (in the background of the photo) and turned the soil for the 4th.  That's the very dark section in the photo.  In a few days I'll turn that into another raised bed.

So that's the 3 plus 1.  The final "1" is the first well-earned blister that I've had in years  :)

I've met a few of my "neighbors", and they're great.  Gardeners are awesome when winter finally gives up and sets them out in the fresh spring air.

Wishing you a bountiful summer, whether you garden or enjoy the farmers' markets.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Time to come clean.......and get a little dirty

(Warning, there may be TMI in this post.  Feel free to skip down to the photos)

The past two years were…. challenging for me here.  I didn’t write about it.  In fact, I didn’t write much at all.  My posts slowed down to a trickle and then came few and far between.  When things get really tough I call back the troops, circle the wagons, and reinforce my defenses.  That, and I frequent the fast food drive through and hand over my kitchen to Ben & Jerry.  Well, now it is time to open windows, take deep breaths, and shed bad habits.  But first let me clean the slate.

Three years ago my sister passed on.  She had health issues for many years and was, at that time, in the hospital.  She was about to transfer to a facility for health rehab when something went terribly wrong, which her heart couldn’t handle.  Her funeral was on a beautiful Spring day.  I sat next to our 90+ year old mother to be her support.  I have only seen my mother cry twice in my entire life.  But that day, she was broken.  It took something out of her that has never come back, so since then my commitment to her has increased.

Then, last summer Mom was ill and spent almost six weeks being shuffled from hospital to nursing home for rehab, then back again.  She suffered greatly and we almost lost her but her body was determined to bounce back, though not entirely.  She still lives independently in a very small senior apartment.  And she’s slightly weaker than before.

It was a blessing that during all this time, work had reached a smooth flow since I was driving 7 towns away every weekend and some evenings.  We had good staffing and productivity.  Then we lost a key member last fall and went into a tailspin during a very heavy period.  It took until very recently to turn things around.  It was a very tiring winter.  I’m hoping that we catch up before summer.

During some of the very worst of this, another very close, very dear relative was hospitalized in early February and has gone through several operations.  We are still praying that the infection is controlled before any more damage is done.

With all of that and the “normal” bumps in the road, something had to give.  The “something” was taking care of my health.  Meals were generally obtained outside the house and more often than not would only require rolling down the car window and placing an order in a speaker.  Although my apple every day habit stayed with me.  I stopped going to the gym and settled in at home each evening, in my cocoon.  The day I did venture back to the gym I wrenched my back something fierce.  For a week I had trouble getting out of a chair or rolling out of bed.  The doctor said that there was no herniated disc and gave me instructions for some stretching exercises and a muscle relaxing medicine.

Then came an email this past Thursday saying that the garden plot I signed up for was available and I could stop by on Saturday to check it out.  Oh, happy day!  Fortunately, I was able to also get an adjacent plot so the two together total almost 450 square feet.  Go big or go home :)  I’ve pulled my tools up from the basement and I’m calling in a seed order to High Mowing Seeds this evening.  Seven years without a garden was too long.  I can't wait to to my hands in the good dirt.

But I think the first event that started bringing me back to reality was an email from my daughter-in-law asking about crocheted baby sandals.  They were cute so I made a pair in time for Easter.  They fit my granddaughter right now, so I’ve just made another pair in a larger size for the late Spring, early Summer.  The pattern is from Whistle & Ivy.

I also found a few bloggers posting about this poncho (here and here).  I thought my daughter-in-law might like it.  It crocheted up quickly.  I’ll post about it separately sometime this week.  (The pattern is from the November 2014 issue of Simply Crochet magazine.)

I also went thrift shopping.  I found a few books, a basket with knitting needles and crochet hooks, and a good amount of new white fold over elastic.  And a very old wool skirt (metal zipper) with wonderful detailing on the front pocket.  The skirt hem is cut off as if someone was going to shorten it, and there is a rip in the middle of the back, so it is not usable as clothing, but I am going to salvage the zipper and take the skirt apart to create a pattern for that pocket detail :)

Well, my tea is waiting.  I’ll be back very soon.  There's lots more to show you :)    Have a wonderful rest of the day.