Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Back to fairyland

As you know, while I was off on vacation, I did a fair bit of work in the gardens. One thing that really needed attention was my fairy gardens. I'd brought them both in for the winter, so they didn't freeze, but I guess the house just doesn't get enough light, because they didn't fair too well
 The one I'd made for Mom, which was nothing but sedum, fared much better. So as much as I loved the moss and elfin thyme... I bought a tray of sedum and stuck to that..
It looks like a wild and overgrown enchanted land now. Perhaps Sleeping beautiful lies in that castle..

The smaller pot was even worse off with just a few hens and chicks surviving...

 But now it's wild and crazy too!
The gardens now stand guard on either side of the Little Bee garden

Monday, May 30, 2016

Socks and suprises

As mentioned, there hasn't been a whole lot of knitting going on lately. My attention has been elsewhere.. obviously. But I have managed to put a few more rows on Dave's birthday socks
I'm down the leg, past the heel and onto the gusset. I've got plans for some other garments, but for now, the vanilla sock is suiting my mood.

And while I was photographing the sock, something caught my attention over by the fence.
 One lone juicy strawberry. I wasn't expecting to see any berries for a least a few more weeks, but I guess all the warm, sunny weather sped things up. It was small, but delicious - and I'm looking forward to getting some bigger ones from the local farms soon too!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

More cats and flowers...

...because right now, that's all I have....

The little one...
Is warming up slow as molasses. But he is warming up. He's not keen on being picked up, but as soon as you set him down, he remembers that those hands give scratches and he's all for that. He even likes his belly rubbed.
I had a brief moment of worry that he wasn't litter-trained yet. (not terrible, but not something I was quite planning for, given his age). We had three accidents, but today he seems to have found the box and figured things out. (I got an extra one and put it upstairs, just in case)
We've managed a little bit of play, but like Peno, he seems unsure what he's suppose to do.( As far as I can tell, he was a stray until May 13th, when he was picked up by the shelter, so he hasn't had a lot of human interaction). After a few minutes, he figured it out, and we played until Dave got up to go to the kitchen. Then Ru was back up under the dresser. He's come down on his own a couple of times today, but I'm not allowed to look at him or speak to him, because he just runs right back up if I do.

When I'm not kitten-wrangling, I've been keeping an eye on the gardens. Today is my last day of vacation, so I'm trying to spend as much of it as I can in the yard.
 The poppy did not turn into a poppy monster, though it it a little wilty from the heat.
Both Delphinium plants are covered in these flower heads. It's going to put on quite a show when it does bloom.

Blue Girl is ready to pop, and Tournament, and Chicago Peace aren't far behind. Queen Elizabeth shouldn't take too long.
Surprisingly, Navy Lady is doing well too. I figured I'd lose her, because she wasn't looking good heading into winter. But she survived and now seems to be thriving. Even more surprisingly, I lost Mellow Yellow. She looked like she was coming back, but then just died off. I almost bought a beautiful peach rose to replace her, but in the end, I've decided to wait. I'm not sure if I want peach, or red, or white, or another yellow. What I need is more room... so I can have them all!

Out in the tree garden things are looking great
I picked up some Portulaca to add a little colour here and there...
But next year, I probably won't have to...
The ice plants I bought are perennials.. and if they winter well, next year I'll get some more.
 Because they are so pretty, and like the Sedums, require barely any care. And check this out...
These funky ground sedums, are not only growing nice and tall...
They appear as if they may bloom too! There's also some Stonecrop in there, but it probably won't bloom until fall. But for now, I want to enjoy every moment of summer.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday blooms

Thank you all for your warm welcome of the new little monster. Well, he's not much of a monster yet, but I can see it lurking in those eyes. Right now, he's much too nervous to get into much trouble.

He's stolen Peno's favourite cat bed in the bedroom (don't worry, she has a favourite cat bed in EVERY room). He stayed there most of the night, but around 5 am something spooked him and awoke to the sound of him skittering under the dresser.

He was still there when I got out of bed a few hours later. A little while later, he laid at the top of the stairs and watched Dave install the air conditioner. He didn't flinch through the drilling and banging, but just as Dave was finishing, he heard something we didn't and went skittering into the closet. He's still there. When I'm done posting, I'll go and tempt him out with some food.

In the mean time it is hot, hot, hot here (hence the a/c installation) but the gardens are loving it!
The Columbine I started from seed three years ago finally bloomed. In the end I got a lovely pale yellow. Not at all what I was expecting, but still very pretty.
The lilac is putting on quite a show. I only got one bloom stem this year. (last year there were several). But i suspect it may be the proximity to the bird feeder. I was reading that you have to be careful about pruning in fall, because the nodes that create the flowers are already there. You cut them off - no flowers next spring. The birds and squirrels use the bare branches to get to the feeder all winter, and I'm wondering if the nodes got broken. I'll move the feeder and we'll have to wait until next year.
The red iris I bought just bloomed. Yesterday I was a little worried, Just the tips of the petals were showing and it was looking pretty purple. But then I went out there this morning, and there she was in her red velvety glory.
The Salvia is blooming nicely. This must be related to catnip... it looks so similar. Just looked it up.. yup.. it's part of the mint family, just like cat nip. The bee balm I bought it too - but it hasn't bloomed yet.
Last year I moved the Alpine Asters from the big bee garden to the little bee garden, and split the clump into several pieces. Only one piece survived the winter, but she seems pretty happy.
So its the Baby's Breath. She's out of the shadow of the daisies and spreading and blooming all over the place. I have it in white and pink
That one is totally pink... for some reason the camera doesn't want to puck up the colour wel. But it's pink, I promise.
The English Daisies are doing well.
And it won't be long before the English Lavender blooms. I really hope this one is more hardy than the Little Bee lavender I bought last year.
The poppies are about to bloom too... that or it's turning into some strange garden monster....
And look at all those buds on the Bachelor buttons. It's going to be Bachelor city soon. And it's not the only thing getting ready... soon we'll see roses and daisies, delphiniums and lilies....soon we'll be awash in blooms!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Felines

Thank you for all the name suggestions...
I'm very happy to introduce you to Rupert von Scrufflebutt.

Rupert was one of Mom's first suggestions... and since Rupert Grint is one of our favourite gingers...
 The "von Scrufflebutt" part came from a facebook fan, after Baron von Scrufflebutt.
I think they combine quite well.

It's going to take a few days for him to settle in - he's very skittish, but he's quite happy to sit with me for a good scratching
I still haven't gotten a purr out of him, but it's only a matter of time. He and Peno had a very good first meeting - a few small hisses, but no backs up, no puffy tails. Peno is mostly content to watch him from a distance for now.

I'm giving him the rest of the day to explore his new digs...
And he's obviously well supervised...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Stripes for the birthday boy

True to my word, I went stash diving, and came up with something for birthday socks for Dave.
White Birch Fiber Arts Self-striping merino  - the colourway is Mistakes Were Made. I've paired it with some blue Barn Cat leftovers for the cuff ribbing, heel and toe. I'm doing plain ol' vanillas, no fancy ribbing or stitches, so as long as I work on them every day, they should go quickly. Despite being for giant man feet.

While I was up stash diving, it was nice to see that I've put a fair dent in the stash the last few years. I actually didn't have a lot of sock yarn to choose from. It was an oddly good feeling. Today is studio clean-out day, so by the time it's over, I'll have an even better handle on the situation. More on that later...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

FO: Johnny-Jump-Up Undines

As mentioned, I'm using most of my vacation time to do a deep clean on the house and yard. We had beautiful weather over the weekend, so the yard is done, and now that the days are threatening rain, I've turned my attention to the indoors. But because I have a short attention span and a bad back, it means short bursts of cleaning, followed by a rest period with some low-impact knitting. And that means...
The Johnny-Jump-Up Undines are done. I love this yarn (base and colourway) and I love this pattern.
I love it because it's pretty, but simple. And I love it because it works with any yarn - solid, striping, semi-solid, or multi. This is the eighth pair I've made since I released the pattern - it won't be the last.
The yarn is Alley Cat. I love it because it's a nice strong, but soft 75/25 blend of merino and nylon. It provides a nice, smooth stitch definition.  It takes dye beautifully, and is a nice, sturdy sock base (though I'm thinking it would be nice for a cardigan too.)
The colourway is Johnny-Jump-Up. The Johhny's I started from seed didn't take, so it's nice to at least have the colour in a sock version.  It's a creation of mom's, and one of our few repeatable colours. We planned on making some more this spring, but cats, and puppies and broken knees have gotten in the way a little. It's still on our to-do list, so keep an eye on the shop.

But now with these off the needles, I need a new travel project. Dave's birthday is only a few months away, so I guess I should go see what I have in the stash for him...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This or that: A meme (with garden pictures in between)

I've been busy cleaning my way through vacation so far, and it doesn't make for great blogging, so here's another meme from Kathy B...
Do you love Noro or not so much? 
I like the long colour runs but that's about it. I hate the quality of the yarn and the many knots. So now if I want a long color run, I dye it myself using blanks, or I go with Crystal Palace. Their Mochi line is divine (though you still get the occasional knot)
The prettiest Lilac ever!
Are you more likely to wear a poncho or a shawl?
I love both, but I find ponchos more practical. With shawls, I'm constantly adjusting, and sliding and rearranging. A poncho is actually next on my to-knit list.
Which brings you more joy,Casting on or Casting off?
Casting off, hands down. Oh, casting on is nice, and there's always the excitement of a new project, but there's nothing like casting off and admiring you work.
Dianthan season!
Are you more likely to knit a baby a hat or booties?
Tough one - I'm not really keen on either. When knitting for babies, I prefer to knit cardigans or toys. But if I had to chose... let's go with hats!
Wee English Daisies
Does anyone in your family fall asleep in a chair or do they fall asleep in bed?
My grandpa was terrible for it. He'd fall asleep watching his hockey game, and as soon as you changed the channel, he'd wake up and yell at you because he was watching that dontchaknow!!! On the rare occasion, when we've had a very long day, Dave will fall asleep in his chair. But as soon as I notice, I boot him up to bed.
Salvia starting to bloom
 Would you rather win a hot air balloon ride or a dinner cruise? 
Hot air balloon. I went on a dinner cruise in Toronto once and it was horrible. Over-priced (I didn't pay but my poor date was out a pretty penny), crowded, terrible food, and bugs everywhere. Swarms of little black midges.
Lots of strawberries coming
Do you watch the awful news or do you avoid it?
I'm a former journalist, so it's hard for me to avoid it. Though I don't watch it. I hate video news*. I read it. Lots and lots and lots of it. I read the awful news and the good news. The boring news and the fun news. As long as it's well written, I eat it up.
I think reading about the awful things helps you understand the world a little more, and appreciate the good news a whole lot more. 
*I find video news far too short and seriously lacking in information and balance. Generally, they only have a minute or two to tell the story, so you know you're not getting anywhere remotely close to the full story.
My Columbine finally bloomed. Such a pretty colour!
Do you go to the movies or wait for them on cable?
We  watch at home. I enjoy the theatre (if not the expense) but Dave is not a fan of crowds. The last movie I saw in the theatre was Dark Shadows (I went with Aneesha), but the last time before that.... Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets... Dave and I had only been dating a few months, so I could still get him to do things he didn't really like...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Little stitches

Despite all evidence to the contrary lately, this is still a knitting blog. And I have been knitting
Not a lot, but enough to finish the leg, turn the heel and start on the gusset of the second Johnny sock. Today is a holiday in Canada, and I'm on vacation for the rest of the week; I got most of my outdoor work done yesterday, so that means I should be able to find time to finish up a project or two while I'm off. After all the chaos lately, it will feel good to clear a few cobwebs out of the closet...

And thank you for all the great name suggestions. I'm keeping the contest open until we have him home and he can try on a few of our favourites... so if you want to add some more... enter as many times as you like.