Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stitch by stitch

Missandei is growing. But at a snail's pace - or so it seems. Each row takes about 20 minutes at the moment, and as you're increasing 12 stitches every two rows... that time is only going to increase.

It's probably already wide enough to wrap... but I'm still on the first skein. And I'm determined to use as much of the two skeins as I can stand. The bind off on this one is going to be killer!

But I've got to keep at it. There's less than a month left in the KAL!

Monday, May 25, 2015

... and then there were two

I woke up Sunday morning to see TWO poppies bobbing in the breeze. I'm so glad I bought this one.
The Alpine Aster is almost ready to bloom. We just need a  few more warm days. But the weather has been crazily up and down this month - who knows what will happen
The Lilac doesn't seem to mind. She's opened right up and that's all you can smell in the yard. I love it!
I've got six garlic sprouts coming up. Back in April, I asked my brother about his garlic harvest. And he warned me - they will grow fast. He was right - these things are shooting right up. I can't wait to harvest. I think this is going to be  a garden staple!

And look, the new strawberry bushes are already getting red fruit!
It's tiny, and probably barely edible - but it's nice to see that little bit of red!

But not everything in the garden is all rosey. All four roses bushes have buds (I expect Chicago Peace will bloom first) but they also have aphids! They all got a bath in nice soapy water, so we'll see if that's enough.

And you'll notice I said four roses bushes... not five. Yep - they white one didn't make it. The little sprouts it was trying to push up just withered away.  I'll probably pull her out of the ground on the weekend.

And my lettuce in my salad bowl is bolting.
And while the flowers are pretty (this is the Arugula) it means it's no longer tasty. If I'm honest, I wasn't really happy with the lettuce before the bolting. I found it all to be bitter, even before it bolted.
So, I've bought some seeds for sweet mesculin mix. I'll remove the bitter lettuce and plant some of my own and see if I do any better.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 9

You may have noticed, there hasn't been a tonne of knitting on this staycation. In fact, I didn't knit a stitch on Thursday or Friday. I only put a couple rows on Missandei last night.

So I decided the last day of vacation would be mostly devoted to knitting. Because I had a bit of a hiccup to tackle on Sherlock.
It was looking pretty good. I had almost six inches done from the underarms, so I gave it another try on.... yeah.... it wasn't going to work. I'd set aside too many stitches for the sleeves, so it just wasn't going to work on my ample upper body.

So....
... a whole lot of yarn spaghetti. But don't worry, it looks worse than it really is. I only need to rip back to where I split for the sleeves. And the Stray Cat holds it's shape very well, so it was was easy to put all the stitches back on the needle without losing any.

And once it was back on the needle, I worked back across the row, taking nine stitches from each sleeve and adding them to the fronts. I also added five extra stitches to each underarm - just to play it safe.

And in no time...
I was back on track. It will only take a few evenings of knitting to get back to where I was. No biggie!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 8

Today was all about presents!

A few weeks back, I'd ordered mom a couple pair of Croc sandals for Mother's Day... and of course I had to put a pair on the order for myself. I had them shipped right to Mom, so today I stopped by to pick up my pair.
Because who doesn't need hot pink shoes for summer?. Though seriously - if you've never tried a pair of Crocs (traditional clogs or otherwise) do it - you'll love them! This is my third pair of Crocs and I love them all.

I also picked up a pair of socks Mom made me...
This is a new self-striping colourway Mom and I came up with - and these socks were the test pair.
(I tried to get a picture of them on my feet, but someone thought that giving him attention was more important than sock photos.)
The colourway is called "Sock it to your Monkey" and it's in the shop now. There are also mini-skeins of natural available for heel and toe so you don't mess up the striping.

On the way home, I stopped at another garden center in search of pansies. They didn't have any, but their annuals were such a good price....
... I bought a whole tray.

Since the lack of returning perennials, as well at the monster dianthans, messed up my plans for that garden, I gave up any pretense of a colour scheme and just went crazy.
So now the tree garden has alyssum, marigolds, verbenas, celosias, petunias, lobelias, portulacas, violas, snap dragons, campanula, and four hens and chicks.
 I even added another dianthan because I loved the deep rich red. (I put a few in the bee garden too... watch these ones not come back!).

The front garden got a little bit of alyssum too, just to fill in where the forget-me-nots haven't spread yet.

And now I'm done with the new plants...

...at least until something else tickles my fancy.....

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 7

Today was grocery day.. and since the garden center I go to is part of the grocery store... yep - back to the gardens!

I wanted to get some mulch for the roses and the bush garden
I thought it needed something to make it look more finished. Not to mention it would help keep the weeds down, and the water in.
It certainly helps, but I think it needs a border of beach rocks to make it look truly finished. I'll have to make a stop on the way home when I get back to work next week.

And no - you're not seeing things... there is a little something new....
That circle of rocks is not containing evil spirits... but sunflowers! I loved the ones I grew last year, but there's just no room left in the bee garden this year.  But there was a space between the Queen Elizabeth Rose and the raspberries. I marked where I planted them with the stones so I don't accidentally pull them out thinking they are weeds.

And speaking of the Bee Garden...
I might have managed to squeeze one more plant in there... The poppies I started from seed last year didn't take, and this beauty was sitting at the garden center all alone - I just had to bring her home. There are several more buds on it, so I can expect blooms for months!

Also in the bee garden... there's a bit of a mystery.
It turns out this plant is the
Alpine Aster.... (and the blooms are almost open!)

Not this plant, as I thought
Whatever it is - it's huge and has lots of buds which are very similar to my Cupid's Dart. But Cupid's Dart has very different leaves... any ideas what it could be???

While at the garden center, I also picked up somethings for the food garden.
One of my strawberry plants didn't make it, but I got four more and another bag of black earth to make all the plants happy.

 As you can see, the new strawberries are much bigger than the old ones... but they will get there. And look...
 Itty bitty berries!

I was also hoping to get some annuals for the tree garden
If I'm honest, the tree garden has me quite vexed! When I first moved here, my intention was to keep it as an annual garden. But least year, I got seduced by Campanula, English Daisies and Violas and bought some perennials. But the only thing that survived and came back this year was the black clover
Which is coming back very slowly.
And one poor little hens and chick.
And the dianthans I planted that WERE annuals... came back with gusto!
 There are about seven plants in three different colours
And I'm not upset that they came back...
But they are so darn tall! If I'd known the were going to come back, I'd have planted them closer to the tree trunk, leaving room for shorter plants in front of them. But C'est la vie.... I'll move them when they die off this winter. 

In the mean time, I got some snap dragons
They will get tall enough to stand their ground. 
And a few yellow violas.

Honestly, the garden center didn't have a great selection of annuals - unless I wanted to buy 10 of the same plant in one tray...  so I'm going to check out a couple by  Mom's on the weekend... hopefully they will have some better choices... I'd really like some giant pansies!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 6

Today was a photoshoot day for Cygnus! But I'm going to save those pics for later... instead, I'll show you the location.

The backdrop of our session was Dundurn Castle...
Not actually my photo - we kinda forgot to take an
outside shot of the front of the main house!
 ... a beautiful country manor house built in the 1830s. Though the house isn't actually in the country any more - it's almost in downtown Hamilton! But the grounds and the buildings are a national historic site, museum and public park.

Pretty much every school child in Hamilton goes to Dundurn at some point in their school life, and the last time I was there, I was probably about nine years old.
It's still very much as I remember. The main house has 40 rooms, though only a few are as large at this parlour (though almost every bedroom has it's own sitting room).
Because so much of the furniture and fabrics are original, you can't use a flash on your camera - so my pictures are limited to the rooms with decent lighting...
...and even then I had to play with them - thank goodness for photoshop!
All the tours are guided by costumed interpreters, which is pretty cool (and makes me a little envious! I want that job! Well... really -  I just want the dress!)

There are several buildings on the grounds, and also a very large Kitchen Garden
Very large! I can't imagine weeding that thing!
There were also these beautiful white irises, with just a touch of pale blue (Mom wouldn't let me steal any for my garden.... spoil-sport!)

While we explored the grounds, we did our photos for Cygnus
 ... and goofed around quite a bit... but more on that on another day. Vacation is slipping away and I don't want to waste a minute of it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 5

There's something I've wanted to tackle for a while, and after getting my chores done today, I set to it!
Yup. Bread! Growing up, Mom made bread frequently. My brother makes bread and buns all the time. There really is nothing better than fresh bread - and with the price of loaves at the grocery store lately, making my own has been looking better and better.

I found a simple recipe online, and in no time, my dough was set aside to rise
 And not long after!
and then just 40 minutes after that!
Two nice warm loaves! (one with cinnamon and raisins!) And they taste like bread too. I think this will be a nice surprise for Dave when he gets home from work.

And there's other things a-rising around here!
Looks like my garlic was a success - I've got three cloves sprouting now, and I suspect there will be more to come. (And yes, I'm totally thinking about the garlic bread I can make now!)
And this is either Gladiolus or Lily..... there are about nine coming up in the side garden (and don't worry - they got watered right after I took this picture.)

Rocky, however, is not rising
 In fact, he's completely out.... seriously - you should hear him snore!