Vacation Days

As is usual for us, our vacation days have been packed right full of fun activities. As it turns out, the paved bike trails here are smooth and lovely, and also very confusing. Which means we’ve spent a lot of our time riding around lost. But, not distressingly so. I mean, it seems like as long as there’s a lake around, we know we are fairly close to where we need to be. However, we are off route more than we are on I think.

On day one we got so off route following a bike path that led to a dead end we found a sea dragon. A lake dragon maybe? He was hiding in some lovely flowers.

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We started day 1 of biking pretty early, so ended up back home early, in time for a snack and a late nap. Then we went to the local grocery store, picked up some steaks and charcoal, and Mr. Ink made me steak, baked potatoes, and green beans. It was so delicious, I feel certain we could not have found any finer cuisine anywhere in the area.

On day 2, we weren’t quite so eager to get started early. Instead, we drove out to a local winery, tried their wines, bought a couple bottles, then headed to the movie theater to see the new Star Trek. Once that was over, we noticed we had passed a greenhouse, so we HAD to stop there as well, and Mr. Ink picked out a souvenir sedum for the front bank.

Once home we snacked on cheese and crackers, and THEN headed out on a bike ride quite late. We headed on a longer route, and had truly assumed that we would know where we were going this time.

That particular route started out at an arts area, and had some large art installations around the trail, fun to look at!

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We ended up going to a state park about halfway through to enjoy a beer.

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A beer with a view.

And, pretty soon after that I bonked hard. I guess cheese, crackers, and popcorn being the only thing eaten since breakfast does not make fuel for a long bike ride. I was at that place where I could only ride about 8-10 mph and couldn’t think straight either. This gets scary when crossing roads. Bonking on the bike also brings out extreme angry feelings for me, so when Mr. Ink would ride off, or cross a road without me, I’d get further irritable.

Thankfully, we made it back in one piece, as the sun was setting. Mr. Ink asked where we should go to dinner and I irritatingly said “I am in no position to make decisions, you decide.” He said “Why don’t you have a peanut butter sandwich and a shower, and then we’ll see how you feel.

Naturally, a little food in me, I did feel better. We ended up going to a mexican restaurant at about 10 p.m. and once I had a meal in me I said “Now that I’ve eaten, I can say I had a really fun time on that bike ride!” Mr. Ink says “I thought a meal might change your mind about the ride!”

As is usual for us, we haven’t really been relaxing, though activities and no time frame are relaxing for us. So, we are going to try this relaxing thing this morning, and head out on a long bike ride this afternoon. I am hoping to ride into Minnesota just to say I did! We have already purchased lunchtime food, so we should at least be well fueled for this one.

I don’t have very much spinning to show off. I had really hoped that Mr. Ink would do things like sleep in, as he so loves to do, so that I could get some coffee and spinning time on the deck. But, he’s just been so excited about every vacation day that he gets up when I do. It’s so weird!

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I’ve been squeezing that time in when I can though, here’s where I am right now. And spinning is on my list of things to do this morning before riding bike. Naturally, he’s already up and asking if it’s time to make breakfast, so spinning….soonish. Hah!

Scenery for Knitting

My knitting has some new scenery this weekend.

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That’s the foreign correspondence scarf, modified to eventually be a cowl, in Miss Marja’s handspun. It’s a pretty one, and thus far fun to work with.

We headed out to Okoboji IA for a quick vacation. We have a lovely friend with a lake house, and when she asked if we’d like to use it one weekend, we took her up on it. And now I spend most of my time trying to figure out all the ways I can pay her back! (I know she likes day lilies, I’ve got a really pretty lavender one on order.)

It’s our plan to do a lot of biking and exploring. There’s even a tandem bike in the garage. Though, when I suggested giving it a try, Mr. Ink said “But I didn’t bring my helmet!” Point taken Mr. Ink. Point taken.

The weather is downright blissful. We got in after midnight last night, and it was 60F. This morning was quite a surprise, since getting in at midnight means you can’t really see anything. You wake up to a world around you that you previously didn’t know existed! It’s quite fun.

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This is my other cowl project, out of my handspun. I am in the second to last color now, and I am hoping it may even get finished before the end of the trip. But if not, no worries, it just means we had different adventures.

And now, I am off to spend some time spinning on the deck.

New Project

We quit goofing off around the yard last night and got the lawn mowed. Every single time we get the lawn mowed, I look around my yard and think “I really LOVE this yard!” It clearly has something to do with enjoying a freshly mowed lawn. We’ve been lacking in rain lately, so tonight I’ve scheduled a really good watering of all the plants. That’ll be priority 1 upon my arrival home.

But, I am also hoping to have a little more time to spin on this project:

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Yeah. I started something new. I finished up my fat cat knits batt, removed the bobbin, and started on this. It’s from The Dyeing Arts, and I’ve got 8 oz. of it. I am planning a 3 ply. One of the nicest things about getting a jumbo flyer is the opportunity to use my regular bobbins for more than one project at a time. Prior to this I was strictly a one project on the wheel at a time gal. Sometimes I’d add some spindle spinning to that, but really, I’ve been the most monogamous spinner.

That’s it from me today! I should have some knitting content tomorrow if all goes as planned. 2 projects on the needles but I never manage to take photographs!

Some Spinning

You know, I’ve been spinning more the past few days than I did during TdF! I don’t know why exactly. I mean, we are having decent weather, comparatively, and that should have us working in the garden, but it doesn’t.

I think we are on prolonged vacation mode. Meaning, we are soon off work for a long weekend, and we seem to be acting, around the house, as if we already ARE on vacation. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. It certainly has been good for my wheel time.

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I am still working on that crazy fat cat knits batt that I am totally in love with! It’s so fun, so bright, and every chunk I pull off to spin feels like a lovely surprise. It is pretty close to being done now.

I’ve been knitting as well, Still working on one handspun cowl but have begun a second handspun cowl. Those projects, too, have been quite enjoyable.

Most of my gardening time has been spent picking japanese beetles off my plants, treating them for budworms, and keeping up with weeding. Doesn’t make for great photos, that’s for sure. BUT, I did go back and find original pictures of the veggie garden and the rose of sharon garden, so we can do a tiny compare and contrast of what they looked like when we moved in, and where we are, just one season later.

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This is the original photo from when we moved in. You can see the burning bush on the left, and then it’s just a crazy mess. We went from there to this:

And it’s actually even better now. Most of the lilies are totally gone, except for very tiny ones which happen because I’ve removed the larger ones. As soon as they pop up, I have to dig again and find their root system. Same with the phlox. I have removed the irises, some major weird weeds with thick roots that now I understand why I couldn’t get rid of them, basically all that remains is the veggies I put in this year, 3 mums which are going to be moved soon, and my huge peony that I’ll divide and move in the fall.

And then there’s the rose of sharon garden.

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When we moved in. The rose of sharon is huge, and desperately needed to be cut back. That yarrow was spilling out all over the place. And there was a weird vine system that we could never understand choking out some nice plants. Now?

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The rose of sharon is trimmed back beautifully, smaller, tighter, fuller, and it’s still way taller than I am. Since this photo was taken, I’ve removed the phlox and the rose bush in front of the rose of sharon, and added some mums from the veggie garden. I spend a lot of time out here right now, as the japanese beetles are having a feast on my rose of sharon. Since it’s taller than I am, this means I am gently finding the branch with beetles, and pulling it down to remove them. This also means I often find myself dislodging beetles that fall on my face and clothing. It’s unpleasant. But I am SO thankful that bugs don’t really scare me.

Revisiting these original photos really do show me how long we’ve come in a fairly short time. I can see in both gardens the fairly well established volunteer trees in the original photos, growing unchecked. Removing those alone the first year was this huge insane job that took up so much time!

We’ve come a long way, and I am glad I have started blogging about it so I can continue to see progress!

Riot of Color

I did a lot of spinning yesterday! In fact, I’d say both Mr. Ink and I had a relatively lower key day than is usual for the weekend. We picked up more rocks for the rock wall project but didn’t bother to get them in, I did some house cleaning, since I’d been on a kick for that with company, but neglected the rooms company doesn’t see, and we decided that the poor lawn desperately needed watering. We don’t typically water the lawn, just the plants. For the most part, the lawn manages on its own, with the rain we get naturally. But, after the dome of heat, and no chance of rain in sight, Mr. Ink decided it was time. But, he also didn’t want to water any weeds, so he spent the better part of the day picking weeds out of the lawn by hand before watering it well.

Now, I will tell you this. Mr. Ink likes to tease me for being very obsessive. I obsessively deadhead my flowers, pick off japanese beetles, search for bagworms and bud worms, to the point where I just cannot leave those plants alone. But yesterday? As he was picking weeds out of the lawn? I reminded him that I am not the only obsessive person in this relationship.

After his weed pulling day, he mentioned that he’d like to eliminate as much lawn as is possible. I reminded him that this has been my goal from the start, that I’ve been consistently planning and working on removing sections of lawn. I’ve actually got bigger plans than my current big plans, but I don’t want to overwhelm him, so I am just working toward the original plan, in hopes we can manage to get that done initially, then I’ll keep suggesting other lawn edits.

I did also take out the rose from the rose of sharon garden that I hate. Mr. Ink mentioned that the weeds were established in the rose and asked me to remind him what we were going to do with the rose. I told him to cut it off at the base, and then once that was done, I just had to dig it out. Then I mentioned that there was no way for me to weed that bed without taking out the phlox as well. Mr. Ink, from his seat on the lawn picking weeds, said “Is that another plant genocide I hear beginning? Sure sounds like it.” Sure enough, I removed the phlox so that I could also remove the weeds. I REALLY do need to get in there to mulch, but we are out of mulch at the moment.

I also spun! On the patio, and indoors. Just, every spare moment was spent spinning.

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I am totally and completely in love with this riot of color! It just makes me so happy, and I am so eager to work on it all of the time!

I also have a finished object to show off.

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This is the Themeda Shawl (or scarf really) out of some of my friend Marja’s handspun. It’s gorgeous! I love the handspun, and I think the pattern is beautiful too. I got started on this pattern by using my queue and a random number generator, as suggested by Dyeabolical Yarns. It’s….quite frankly, brilliant. I quit hemming and hawing, and I just use the number, wind the yarn, and get on with it. In fact, I so just get on with it that I don’t even bother to take in progress photos!

And finally, I had my first anaheim pepper harvest.

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Aren’t those just stunning? We made chicken and cheese stuffed peppers with mole sauce. It’s one of our favorite dishes, and it’s all the more fun when you don’t have to purchase the peppers!

That’s about it from here! It was a busy weekend, but for me? Also a short week. We are taking a little vacation time at the end of the week, and I am so eager for it.

 

 

As Per Usual

Spinning and gardening, as per usual. We got our house back to ourselves around noon yesterday. I hear Mr. Ink’s mom is safely settling in her new home. I think it’ll be a good change for her. The first thing we did once company was gone was gather up all the rotting wood and put it in the truck. This included time with the chainsaw attachment on the weed trimmer, as a lot of those wooden edgers wouldn’t fit in the truck. Then we mowed, and headed off for a trip to the dump. Directly after that, we went to the place where we get our rocks, and got some rocks for a new project.

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This is the area in which we are having erosion problems. One of the areas, that is. Our neighbor’s property sits higher than ours, and when it rains, that rain just pours into our yard, and one good rain displaces the dirt from the garden onto our lawn. It’s HIGHLY irritating. There’s another issue as well. The neighbor has a long line of railroad ties behind that fence which hold a bed of lilies. But, there’s a gap between the fence and the ties that no one takes care of. So, it’s just an area for weeds which grow rampant, and through our fence. We are also hoping that this rock edging along the fence will help that little problem. The section of grass up there you see will eventually become garden space, so there’ll be the line of rocks across the back, and then the edgers we’ve slowly been adding in front. Mr. Ink had to take out more plants in that garden, the former rudbeckia garden! The sedum is now almost gone. Mr. Ink replanted a small section of it, but I told him I wasn’t the least bit attached to it anyhow. I’d just left it in to help with the erosion issue.

We then worked on a different garden section. Remember this mess we made when trying to remove the spiderwort?

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Now it looks like this:

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It’ll get another layer of rocks for the wall, and then we’ll edge up to the patio. But we are out of rocks again! I am so extremely fond of these sweet little walls that are going in. And, while Mr. Ink works to the point of extreme back pain on them, he spends the rest of the evening muttering “Such and improvement. SUCH an improvement!”

Last night he decided he’d better do some stretches for his back before bed, so I told him I’d stay up with him, and knit while he did that. All of a sudden, I heard what sounded like sleeping. I look over and thought “He can’t POSSIBLY have fallen asleep while stretching?!” But, it was true, he had. I decided to just wait it out, I continued knitting, and then when he woke up, just burst out laughing. That man works SO HARD around the yard. I am extremely grateful that I have someone in my life who participates in this at the level I do or beyond, meanwhile never acting like he’s been nagged into doing so.

In spinning! I did pull out a new batt. It’s a fat cat knits batt, from my personal spinning subscription. It has a ton of color, this picture is the inside and outside of the batt.

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It’s also got great chunky stuff in there, and it sort of reminds me of Loop!’s Three Ring Circus clouds. I have a set of those as well, and I am thinking I’ll ply the two together. Here’s what it is looking like on the bobbin:

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Pretty slick! I am enjoying it.

Despite the constant state of digging, and rearranging, the garden continues on. Here’s my latest photo of caladium. This set with smaller leaves, but more leaves. Just as charming, in my opinion!

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And then, I’ve got glads in all sorts of colors now:

Naturally, just as much as I’ve got beauty, I’ve got pests. The japanese beetles are working hard to overtake my rose again, so that needs tending, and most of my in the ground petunias are being eaten by some sort of caterpillar. I found one that had chewed straight through a rosebud too! So, I’ll need to get out there in a bit and figure out what to do about that. As of right now, I’ve just been hand picking the pests, but this morning it’s looking like larger measures are now needed. Who knew that tending a large yard so carefully could also bring so much joy?

 

 

Actual Knitting Content (no FO!)

We had a lovely visit with Mr. Ink’s mom, brother, and various family members. I am sitting around this morning with Mr. Ink’s mom waiting for brother and wife to stop by, as she’s moving to Oklahoma to live with them. She seems rather excited actually, it’s probably time she had a little adventure. But mostly, she’s happy to be out of the home where she was for her rehab of her broken hip, and a month early too! She’s got a clean bill of health and she can get around quite fine with her walker. I’d say, it turned out as best as it possibly could for an 88 year old woman with a broken hip. Better than I ever imagined.

It’s still the kind of miserable hot that takes your breath away. The flowers are still melting. And yet, it’s the weekend, and Mr. Ink and I are eager to get started outdoors. We’ve got mowing on the list, and a trip to the dump, and a trip to the rock store for more rocks. He’s outside wandering around, I can tell quite antsy to get a move on, despite the fact we still have company. I am eager too, but not at the expense of time with family. Those chores will all get done. Family won’t be here long.

I snapped a photo of my current knitting project. Do you remember this handspun?

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It’s an inglenook 2 ply then plied with a silk hankie single. I loved it. And, I started knitting with it, and now I love it even more.

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It’s got this really rich, rustic look. That silk hankie single gives it a lot of variegation and color it wouldn’t otherwise have. This will be the Foxy Loop cowl once I am done with it.

I DO have a finished object, but just as imagined, I haven’t had a moment or a space to block it. Hopefully it’ll be done tomorrow. Spinning definitely hasn’t taken a front seat, I didn’t even get one spinning moment yesterday. The wheel sits lonely in the corner.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Finishing TdF

Yesterday was a little coconuts! I got home, the feels like temp was 116! Mr. Ink had watered in the morning, and had watered at lunchtime, but by the time I got home, everything was looking totally wilted still. I watered in that hot mess outdoors, and wishing to get inside ASAP. I told Mr. Ink later that my flowers, especially the ones that were close to blooming but not there yet, really looked so….ugh. And I made a whole body demonstration, because I couldn’t even think of the words for how they looked. And Mr. Ink said “Everything just looks like it’s melting.” Yes. Yes. Including me!

We have company in town, they arrived last evening, but stayed at a hotel. Now, this company isn’t known for mad organizational skills, and communication skills also somewhat lacking. For the record, this is the company of the “I helped myself to stuff in your craftroom” fame. They have invited people over for a party tonight. I decided that since everything was last minute, I was going to stay out of it. I kept saying “I will have the house clean and company ready. The menu is up to you guys and Mr. Ink.” Despite this, I’ve been dragged in repeatedly, and there have been about 5 iterations of a menu, the 3 menu planners not communicating with each other about it, and trying to go through me. I do NOT like triangulation, so I keep saying “That’s up to you, speak amongst yourselves.”

I thought I had tonight, before guests arrived, to finish with the cleaning chores. Last evening I was informed that they would be arriving mid day, to use the house and to cook. Thus, all cleaning needed to be done last evening. I found this out at 9 p.m.

Guys, I was on a roll last night! I’d already been cleaning and tidying, and sitting down to ply when I got irritated. I ended up finishing my loop project, and left it on the bobbins for later. Once I finished up ALL OF my cleaning chores, Mr. Ink said “Hey, I am going to make chocolate chip cookies, want to stay up for that?” Well, how could I resist? OF COURSE I want to stay up for that. So, while waiting for warm chocolate chip cookies (And a little dough!) I skeined and soaked my yarn.

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It’s like….the most amazing. I love it! So much! It’s 1050 yards of 2 ply heavy fingeringweight yarn. It’s better than I could have even imagined. I can’t believe I got that from these:

Spinning is just so fascinating to me!

Funny story. I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, where this skein was hanging to dry. I’d JUST cleaned the bathroom for guests, and I walked in and there was this smell. This SMELL! And, I got myself into a bit of a panic, I mean, I’d just cleaned, what could it be? And, where is it coming from? Maybe I have a leak under the sink? OH NO! A LEAK! I am going to have to pull everything out from under the sink and it’s gonna be moldy and we have COMPANY coming and OMG! Because this is how my brain works at night.

I got up this morning, wandered into the bathroom to smell the terrible smell, and realized it was wet wool. That’s all! Just, wet wool, a skein of yarn drying. A smell I’ve encountered countless times in the last 10 years.

I do believe this is about it for my TdF. Meaning, I cannot possibly complete another project with company in town, so, while I’ll try to get some spinning in, it’ll all be long term project spinning.

Happy Friday everyone!

Road Trip

Yesterday, Mr. Ink and I took part of a day off work to head to Kansas City for a concert. He didn’t want to take an extra day off and spend the night, so it was just an out and back trip, getting us home about 2 a.m. Not….ideal for me. I am one of those people who pretty much ceases to function after 11 p.m., and while I am generally the primary road trip driver, I told Mr. Ink from the start that I could not drive home.

We headed out, and I got a little knitting time in before my driving shift. There’s a project on the needles that I haven’t even taken a WIP picture of, and I got it to the point where I began casting off. So, soon, actually knitting content again!

We ended up at a beautiful theater in Kansas City, not one either of us had been to before. We like seeing live music in Kansas City, the crowds are generally happy and free and moving around. They always have a really nice crowd vibe. This time, we went to see Chris Isaak.

It was an amazing show. I knew it would be! Made even more amazing from the ease in which we arrived. No traffic on the interstate, we found the theater easily and without the use of my phone’s gps, we even found a free parking spot about a block from the theater! And, when we got out of our car, a kind young man let us know that we had to tuck that car in a little farther, as the free parking was next to a trolley line, and that trolley might hit our car, and the city would do nothing for us. So, we tucked the car in to the curb even better, and enjoyed the benefit of the free parking and the kindness of a stranger.

The theater was beautiful! Really that old style theater that’s so ornate that even the exit signs are stained glass. Mr Ink had gotten us extremely good seats, though we were packed in there a little tight. But, the people who were to sit next to us didn’t arrive, so we were able to spread out a bit, keeping the people on the other side happy, as well as ourselves.

And thus, we settled in for a night of the crooning tones of a great musician. And we got exactly that. We got the full sequined suit, and the great, classic style show complete with band banter, and yet a show that still felt modern. We got Chris Isaak hits, and new stuff, along with other great hits from the ’50s and ’60s. He repeatedly told the band to add songs to the set list, since the theater sounded SO amazing to him. “Music sounds SO GOOD in here!!!” He kept repeating, and we could feel his excitement and love for what he was doing. So, we also felt like we got more than we paid for. He even came out into the crowd more than once, and at one point was singing so close to us that there was only one person between him and us.

All in all, a fantastic night. I got a bit of sleep on the way home, thankfully, and kind of suffered through the rest of the car ride, miserable and exhausted, and worried that I would be a mess today. But, I am not feeling TOO bad. Thanks in part to the large coffee I picked up from a local coffee shop I am sure.

The added bonus? One of these super hot and miserable days we spent almost entirely indoors and comfortable in the AC. The car was nice and cool, the theater was nice and cool, the car was parked so close to the theater that we didn’t feel miserable between the two. When I got out of the car at 2 a.m., it was still 90F here. Hopefully our current dome of extreme heat will move on soonish.

A bit of spinning was done, as I managed to get home a bit sooner than Mr. Ink yesterday.

One full jumbo bobbin, and the next jumbo bobbin started.

Mr. Ink’s family will be in town tonight, so getting home from work means nap, then cleaning. But, I am hoping I can manage to sneak in a bit more plying time. I am so near the end now! But, I can tell that the bobbin full of singles on the bump I spun all of are more than the one I pulled white off of. So, I’ll be plying to the end of the lesser amount of singles, then spindle spinning up additional singles to finish the remainder of the skein.

I will finish this by the end of the tour though. I will, I will!

All Work and No Play?

The work I get paid to do has been extremely busy lately. I never seem to have anything come my way these days that doesn’t have a hard deadline staring me in the face. I think it’ll slow down again at some point, but I see this being the case right through October.

Because of this, it seems like other things keep getting missed. Small errands that need to be run, but I don’t have the energy for at the end of the work day, things like that. Yesterday, after an extremely busy work day, I also ran two errands. I got home, and I was beat.

It was supposed to be gross out, but we’d had a surprise storm, keeping the temps a bit lower than expected, though the humidity was still very high. Once home, I eagerly checked our stop gap measures on an erosion problem, and they seem to have worked! I wandered about the garden a bit, surprised at one of my pots seemingly having a particularly luscious bloom cycle.

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The petunias and the alyssum are going nuts! Too bad there’s no proper red geranium bloom to support all that white. I couldn’t quite figure this pot out. WHY does it look so much better than all the rest? Then I remembered, a couple days ago I added some slow release fertilizer to it, and it’s been raining daily since then. I bet that fertilizer released! Maybe I’ll get another geranium bloom before too long.

After wandering the garden, and after Mr. Ink came home, I decided I wasn’t up for much. I took a walk around the neighborhood, did a few household chores and got laundry started, and then settled in for some plying.

At some point in the evening, sitting out on the patio in the humidity but with enough wind to be comfortable, I realized I was feeling ridiculously relaxed. I’d done enough in the garden in the last few weeks to feel accomplished and I wasn’t berating myself for not being more productive.  (I know, I know, we are productive. But that doesn’t stop me from often feeling like I should be more so.)

It was me, and a podcast, and my wheel, in my garden. Just the way it’s supposed to be. Just the way we’ve been working so hard on the gardens to achieve. It might not be perfection in the garden, but last night that didn’t matter even a little bit. It was very good.

I don’t anticipate much spinning tonight. I leave work early so that Mr. Ink and I can go on a short road trip. We’ll be headed back the same evening, but we are eager to get out of town, and do something that we enjoy that’s out of the house. And then the insanity of Mr. Ink’s family in town begins.

I guess I did last evening exactly correctly for the busy few days ahead. 🙂

Actual Knitting Content

I finished a thing! For real! I actually finished it awhile back, but couldn’t be bothered to block it. And it desperately needed blocking. It’s my Quadri stole, out of handspun laceweight singles. I am thrilled with it!

It was an enjoyable knit, although a long knit. The stole is just about the correct stole size, even though I did the 4 rather than 6 blocks across. I love love LOVE the navajo knit squares in it, and I suspect I may knit this one again, maybe in scarf size, with each and every block containing a square.

I had a pretty quiet garden day. I cleaned up the mess of erosion the overnight storm had left us, putting all that dirt back INTO the garden bed. Mr. Ink quickly made a stop gap at the fence line to make sure that didn’t keep happening, until we can get some stones in there for a permanent solution. Neither of us were overly interested in doing much gardening, Mr. Ink killed some weeds, I deadheaded and pulled garden weeds and then went in to spin.

However, we did have a new garden surprise! I blackberry lily is blooming!

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This is one of the plants given to us by a friend recently. I planted these in two different places, both of which are iris beds, because the leaves and root system looked like irises. So, you can imagine my surprise to find them blooming! As it turns out, they are blackberry lilies! I think they can stay where I planted them, blooming late in a surprise show after all the early blooming irises are done.

Since I was rather gardening uninspired, I got some plying done yesterday. And, I love the results! I think this is going to be a pretty fantastic skein of yarn when it’s done.

I admit, with the heat and humidity climbing, I find my garden enjoyment tanking. Maybe that’ll change, if we can get more used to this heat, but I am not sure. Or maybe it’s just a really busy week, so we don’t have time to devote to it in the first place. All I know is that I’d really prefer to just spin. (Might also just be the end in sight of a project so I don’t want to put it down!)

 

 

Weekend Productivity

I finished spinning a second loop! bump!

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Now I can get down to the business of plying. This morning was rough though, we had a major storm overnight, and that kept me very awake, so I didn’t wake up this morning with enough time to get started. I DID have enough time to put my jumbo flyer on though, that’s as far as I’ve gotten today. I am really excited about plying these together though, I like how one is bright tones and the other muted. I can’t wait to see how they work together.

There was more garden progress! Yesterday I showed you photos of where I left off in the rudbeckia garden, basically having exposed the lilies that I needed to move and that’s it. I am glad I left it overnight, though there wasn’t much choice since it was late and daylight was leaving. I had to decide just how far back I was going to take that garden!

As it turns out, pretty far. I only left one small portion of rudbeckia, a sedum that is nicely established against the fence and probably holding dirt in where it needs to be, and a peony (Which had to be cut down due to a case of powdery mildew.)

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I didn’t do quite as good a job with the sifting of the dirt as Mr. Ink would, but I did dig up some firmly established vine root system that was probably about 2.5 foot in diameter. And then hacked through the entire thing with a hoe to make sure the flower roots were mostly gone. I then began the process of planting.

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I had dug up the crazy tall lily and it’s neighbor which was too close to it, separated them, and then replanted. I also took a few pieces of those bulbs to see if I could propagate some new ones myself. If that works out, it’ll be 3 years before I have viable lilies, but with Mr. Ink’s mad skills with indoor plants, we can probably keep them going if we can get them growing. I added in a third lily that I picked up at the plant rescue this year. It’s yellow, and we’ll see how that one goes.

I pulled out the phlox from this garden bed, separated them into two sections, and replanted those toward the back of the garden, and then moved my 4 little purple coneflower plants into this garden, since that seems an entirely appropriate place for them. Yes, yes, it still needs to be edged and mulched, but it’s SO much better!

I asked Mr. Ink what he thought about all this. He said “It seems like you enjoy destroying gardens more than you like creating them!” Touche! But, I still think going from picture one to picture two is an improvement.

Next up? That veggie garden edger disaster. I shouldn’t even call it a disaster, as I’d said from the start that it did not matter, but it felt a bit disastrous. I finally came to the conclusion that for $5, even if the edgers didn’t match, it would be ok. So I put them in, but first, we cut back the burning bush like crazy. Mr. Ink needs to get in there and cut some of the branches farther back, but it is much more manageable looking now, despite being a bit scrappy looking.

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Here’s the part of the edging I really like….

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And then there’s this part. Ah well, it will hold in the dirt, and that’s important. And after a couple hours devoted to that burning bush, it’s smaller, and tidier, and there are no more shoots around it, and no more weeds under it.

Edging did also give me the opportunity to take out more flowers, which is great. Little by little, I’ll get a handle on this veggie garden bed!

Mr. Ink planted two more trees, and prepped a sight for another. We’d discussed starting on some edging or a rock wall garden, but we’d spent SO much time on everything else that getting started would just mean we’d have to stop too soon after starting.

This week is a very busy one for us, AND, it’s going to be the hottest week so far. I am guessing we’ll be in maintenance mode with the garden throughout this week. Then next weekend? We have decided to just remove the remainder of the rotting wood edgers and take the entire pile of rotting edgers and rotting fence pieces to the dump. It’s time to get everything out and cleared up, starting fresh.

In other news…I finally took the time to block a finished object that’s been done for a week or two! So, you can look forward to Actual Knitting Content tomorrow!

Sunday Morning Ugh

Guys, it’s back. The extreme humidity and climbing temps. Ugh. So Much Ugh.

But, yesterday stayed fairly pleasant. Upper 80s, but the wind was blowing nicely so it didn’t feel too bad.

I made some progress on my loop bump in the morning:

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Mr. Ink was at work, so I also did a bunch of house chores. We are throwing a party for his mom on Friday so I’ll be forced to keep up on those chores throughout the week. Should be slightly easier with the nasty heat index, I’ll be wanting to stay indoors.

Not too much progress in the garden either, despite being out there for a long period of time. I had a little bit of a snag in my veggie garden edging plan. I picked up 3 more edgers, only to find out they are MUCH shorter than the edgers I already put in. Trouble is, no one actually sells ones as large as we have. Mr. Ink said “I guess matching 30 year old edgers is rather tough.” So, I am going to have to find a way to be ok with what we’ve got. Didn’t I say that it’s utilitarian rather than beauty for my veggie garden? I guess I’ve got to accept my own statement.

We did have our way with the burning bush though, it’s quite a bit smaller than it had been. I told Mr. Ink I couldn’t finish the edgers without a good trim, and once he got started, he really cut it back from underneath. It’s still tall, but it isn’t hitting the house, isn’t causing a ton of shade and hiding weeds, and he also took out the extra suckers that were showing up. At 3:30 in the afternoon I said “Well, looks like it’ll take ’till 4 to clean up this mess, and then I’ll have a 3 hour window for another project.” (We’d decided to give ourselves a deadline for once, rather than gardening ’till it is dark and then being grumpy and hungry.) It, naturally, took until 5 to clean that project up.

Nevertheless, I got started on the rudbeckia garden.

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Here’s the overgrown mess that I started with. Can you see that huge lily on the right hand side? Step one, remove rudbeckia, and then move lilies.

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Here’s my current progress. I am removing. The lilies are exposed. In the front are phlox I want to keep, so I think today’s job will be cutting out some sod on the right hand side, as it’ll be garden anyhow, and then moving the lilies and the phlox. Then, I plan to save some rudbeckia, just a small bit, and some of the other thing that is in there which I can’t remember what it is. And then I’ll do what Mr. Ink did with the rose of sharon garden. I’ll dig, turn the dirt, sift through for weeds, and ask for help when I get to a big root system. I can then put the rudbeckia in the BACK of the garden (FOR THE LOVE!) and we can edge it in with our pretty stones. PROGRESS. Progress is being made.

I did also pick up a load of stones yesterday morning since Mr. Ink would like to get the viburnum in the ground soon, but that requires some proper edging. I am eager to get rid of ALL of the wooden edgers at this point, so we can then take a load to the dump.

Mr. Ink got down to business too, he put in a tree. It’s a weird one! It’s a contorted beech tree. Kind of rare, but apparently pretty easy to grow, and not too pricey either. The leaves are fascinating, they look like silk leaves on silk flowers.

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And look at that square cut in the sod! That’s for me. For mowing. I am on strike from mowing circles.

AND….Mr. Ink just headed out the door hollering “I AM READY TO WORK!” so I think I better get my butt out there too. I think finishing one project would be good, so I think I am starting with the veggie garden edgers. Off we go!

Saturday Morning Tour

I promised a few more yard/garden photos, and then there’s the stuff we got done last evening, and there’s also more pretty flower pictures, and there’s spinning too!

Last evening was pretty much perfect. We were enjoying a day of cool weather, only about 75F out, and eager to garden. Last time I blogged, I was pondering if I would work on edging the veggie garden, or work on the rudbeckia garden. I chose the veggie garden edgers. For two reasons. First, the stack of scalloped cement edgers was really bugging me, and second, I figured I should do the work that’s always in the sun while the day was cool. You may remember last photo of veggie garden looked like this:

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Well, I’ve got a problem with slugs and pill bugs in here, and knowing that wood in front was rotting, I figured taking it out might help a bit. Also, the edgers weren’t staying in place, and the dirt from the garden was spilling over onto the concrete, and plants were growing on the spilled over dirt. So, my plan was to use the cement scalloped edgers I yanked from the rose of sharon garden.

The trouble was, because the dirt was spilling onto the concrete, I had planted a bunch of veggies too close to the edge to leave them there and still edge this garden in properly. I did a hopefully not final harvest of lettuce and cayenne peppers, and then moved them.

This was also a tough project due to the day lillies which had established so close to the edge that not only were they hanging onto the concrete, their root systems have grown under the concrete. I yanked out as much as I possibly could, but without digging out under the concrete, the rest will remain, and hopefully not cause too much of a problem .

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Here’s where I am now in the project. At a stopping point, due to having ran out of edgers. The one last edger that isn’t in is a partial. I need about 3 more. I figure I can probably find them at the local hardware store, so I am not too worried, and I suspect it’ll still be pretty cheap. There are also some out front that we intend to remove, but digging them up will be annoying, and they are grey rather than brick colored. I also need to cut back the burning bush again before I can continue adding edgers.

All in all though, it’s already a lot better. That was a tough job, and I did it all on my own! Mr. Ink would walk by and say “That looks great!” “That’s a great job!” but he was busy planting my hibiscus!

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Which looks perfectly charming in its permanent spot!

Mr. Ink is working today, and I am tasked with going back to the rock place to grab more matching rocks. You know, it’s funny. I envisioned this entire garden thing, and he kindly built my wall. And then told me he assumed I’d be working on the edging, since I said I would. It wasn’t until after the rose of sharon garden that he decided he was all in on this project. It took a couple days, and then it was “I just really LOVE how that edging turned out!” and “I don’t want to plant the viburnum until I get that garden edged!” This thrills me to pieces, because it’s hard work, and because his eye does a better job putting that natural rock in like a puzzle. My brain just gets confused. But I can go get rocks, and help dig, and get water and tools, and crumble dirt. I am still useful, but I am a better assistant for this edging project.

In spinning, here’s where I am on TdF. My loop bumps are moving along nicely, and relatively quickly for the amount of time I am spending (or not spending) on them.

And now for the final bit of the yard tour. I really did venture out on the median this morning! I have never done that before. And no one honked at me! Must be too early.

So, standing in the median looking at our house I took 3 pictures, from left to right.

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When we purchased this house, that entire bank was covered in sticky weeds. Once removed, we could tell that the bank had once had creeping junipers all over it, well established. But, the weeds, left unchecked over the years, had choked them out. It will probably take us 10 years to clean up all the old dead juniper wood and roots. But, Mr. Ink keeps making great progress. All those rocks, too, could not be seen. There were weeds and plants growing over top of the rocks, and landscaping cloth under the rocks. It really was a mess. I do wish we’d had a before picture on this. It’s so much better.

I had a lot of fun at my favorite plant shop this spring, I’d go, look around, and anything that caught my eye and said it was good for a rock garden would come home with me. Then, Mr. Ink would come home, and I would show him which plants were his, and he’d take them out front and plant them in the spaces he’d cleared of debris. A lot of them are doing very well! This bank really does look lovely in the spring, whoever put the spirea in did a good job figuring out how to space them out. One type blooms, and as that one is beginning to quit blooming the next type does. So there will be pops of white, then pink and lime, then purple.

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Here’s the driveway with a picture of both banks. The right hand bank is a little less carefully cared for than the right side, but it’s coming along. Last year Mr. Ink spent a ton of time on the left side, this year he’s spent more time on the right side.

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The right bank, and now you can also see our erosion problem. Mr. Ink keeps trying to get sod to establish. Every time we dig up sod out back, we add it to the front of this bank, but then rains come and erode everything away again. We are continuing to work on a solution. It’ll probably involve boulders. Behind that bank are 3 trees that Mr. Ink planted. They are currently very small, but should, again, grow and help with street noise and privacy.

That’s it! That’s the entire place. It’s huge, yard wise. It sure does keep us active. But, I have to admit, since the original owners stayed there their entire lives, what does that mean for us if we stay? Will it become too much? Will the bank be covered in sticky weeds? But, I suppose that’s just borrowing trouble. For now, it’s a very enjoyable hobby, even though there’s really no end in sight.

Because there’s a payoff each and every day.

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The payoff of a canna, blooming beautifully.

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The payoff of a new color of glads coming up.

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The payoff of a well established rose beginning it’s next bloom cycle, when you clearly managed to tend it well enough to get rid of the thrips it was plagued with during it’s first bloom cycle.

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The payoff of a caladium having gathered a perfect drop of condensation overnight.

The payoffs are great. So I think I’ll have another cup of coffee and head outdoors!

Subtle

The subtle color shifts on this loop bump make me wonder if I am making progress at all. And then my bump keeps getting smaller and smaller, and I realize what’s under the top layer is MUCH lighter than what I am spinning now.

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I’d say it’s pretty good progress.

Not much from me today. We took the evening off from gardening to go on a great bike ride with some friends. It’s funny, we haven’t biked much at all this year. I have been walking/running though, and then all the gardening. And that’s kept me stronger than if I were just biking and then being otherwise sedentary. I was able to run with the big dogs and lead the pack last evening for the majority of the evening, even faster than. Mr. Ink.

We rode fast, wearing ourselves out, then stopped at a bar/restaurant on the river, sat outside, socialized, and had dinner. Then back into the city quite late at night, enjoying a stop on a bridge along the way to, again, socialize and see the stars. City living doesn’t provide you with much of a clear view, but if you just get out of the city a little bit, they are beautiful. I didn’t take pictures, I was too busy participating. But it was lovely.

Tonight? It’s supposed to be exceedingly pleasant, weather wise. I told Mr. Ink I wanted to garden tonight, since we’ve got a bike ride on Saturday, and on Sunday, a heat wave arrives for who knows how long. It’s time for more digging and rearranging so we can go into predominately maintenance mode once the heat begins. At this point, watering properly takes so long when the heat is extreme!

I’ve got it in my head to start working on that rudbeckia flower bed, removing a section of the rudbeckia that are overtaking that bed, moving the lilies that are ridiculously placed, trying to make sense of the weeds in the back of the bed that we can’t get to, and moving some purple cone flowers in to that section. I’ve also got some more phlox that can go in that bed sitting in my veggie garden. Those are big plans for an evening, but if the weather is pleasant, they shouldn’t be completely out of reach. (I roll my eyes as I say this, since every project is bigger than I imagine) Added bonus? That garden is under shade at the point which I’ll be messing with it.

Wishing everyone a very happy weekend!

More Tour

I’ve got some from the spinning tour and some from the yard tour.

Since I didn’t have time to blog yesterday, here’s my Loop! bump spinning over the past two days.

This bump has far more subtle color shifts, so subtle that I didn’t even know I was into a new color until I took the wheel outside.

As for the gardens tour, I had a lot of trouble convincing myself to take these next photos. Maybe in part because I am far less happy with the front of the yard than I am with the back of the yard. Maybe that has something to do with the front being mostly Mr. Ink’s territory, and I keep requesting he work on my gardens.  Maybe because the projects out front are just SO big.

Let’s start with the side of the house you’ve already seen.

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That’s Coco’s memorial tree, that I edged this spring. It’s doubled in size since we dug up the dirt, added new, and edged it nicely. Those petunias I just grabbed from other areas of the yard did really well too. I have some fall planting bulbs coming in for this area, I am thinking crocuses and hyacinths for spring beauty and color. You can also see the front of the house, but here’s a shot of the front without a tree in the way:

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To the left, Mr. Ink’s new trees. The large on being the bald cypress that we just found bag worms on, and 3 other tiny evergreens that should grow, give us some privacy, and cut down on the sound of the busy road. BUT, they should not grow so high as to remove our fantastic sunset view from the front window.

Right in front of the house there, what looks like bushes are sedum. I took one on the corner out this spring, because I really do NOT like them. Maybe one or two, but we’ve got all of those, and then we’ve got more on a picture I’ll show you in a bit. PLUS, I keep digging them out of the back yard too. I had really hoped that I would be able to plant other stuff with that sedum, but the ground is SUPER poor in there. Probably why there’s just a bunch of sedum there.

Now I’ll take you around to the other side of the house, where the shop and parking lot is.

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This mess is/will be my veggie garden. In the middle is an insanely huge peony. Like woah. I’ve never seen one quite that big. It also was packed full of orange day lilies, the ditch lily variety. I’ve been digging them out regularly ever since we moved in, and I now just call them weeds. I don’t even attempt to save them anymore. But, there have been other lovely day lilies that I’ve rescued and moved. Basically, I move a couple flowering plants per day, if it’s a gardening day. I am waiting to move the peonies ’till the fall, because they really are a beautiful color. That burning bush to the front simultaneously drives me nuts and I appreciate for the privacy it gives me. There’s an evergreen in front of it, so maybe someday I won’t need that bush. In the meantime, we need to cut it back again. It’s already out of control again, and there’s a bunch more of them coming up to the back of it. In the fall, we are hoping to dig up ALL the dirt like we did with the rose of sharon garden, sifting through everything, and making it nice and clear for spring gardening. Also, those edgers are going in the near future, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ll replace them with those scalloped edgers, because functionality comes before beauty when it comes to my veggie garden.

Now, here’s a shot of the other side of the shop.

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All along this side of the shop are peonies. It’s why I don’t ever feel an overwhelming need to save peonies in other areas. I keep saying I am going to properly deadhead these to make them look less sloppy for the remainder of the year, but the reality is, we don’t get out here that often. So it doesn’t end up being a priority. We also have two elderberry bushes we got for free at work, they came as bare root plants, and are doing GREAT! They are at the back, and hard to see.

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Again, the front of the house. This is the retaining wall, from standing at the bottom of the driveway. The top part, up by the house was the area that Mr. Ink cleared out earlier this year. I’d asked him to spray the house, since I’d noticed some ants in the living room, and that triggered him doing a massive clean up of that wall. It looks amazing now. To the left of the stairs is a bit of a mess. We have been working on it regularly. Those bush like things? 4 more sedum driving me nuts. Above that? Weeds, weeds, weeds. We’ve been trying to nuke that area from space. We are STILL working on it. Mr. Ink wants to put some pretty boulders up there since we can’t seem to get it to clear out properly. The stuff hanging off the rocks is all rock allysum, which is WONDERFUL. I love that stuff so much, it just grows like mad and the overwhelming yellow in the spring is so pretty! We’ve also got a ton of ground cover type sedum growing on that wall, which is also very welcome as it looks great, and is highly stable. There are a few other things, some creeping phlox, some pretty grasses, but mostly it’s allysum and sedum, and then a bunch of true geranium down by the street.

There are just a few more pictures to take for this tour of our yard and garden, namely the big hills on the front. But, due to the busy streets, I am going to wait until Saturday morning to run out into the road.

In the meantime, some close ups of Mr. Ink’s little garden out back? He’s finished. He planted spiderwort, allium, and balloon flowers of various types. And it’s all mulched in.

I think it’ll look pretty darn good once those balloon flowers really grow and the spiderwort comes back. We had to chop it, it was too tall to keep when we replanted it.

And…I’ve got some lovely caladium! I planted 10 bulbs, most of them were pretty slow to start. As of this morning, I’ve got 6 coming up. So, I’ve got some high hopes for the remainder of those bulbs! After all, I planted 10 dahlia bulbs and got 9 plants. I’d be pretty happy if I could get 9 out of the caladium bulbs!

Here are the two that are out.

There are two more that are that green and pink variety coming up. I am REALLY hoping for some pink and white! There’s the tiniest shoot coming up in a box with my basil, so we’ll see what that ends up being! Those caladium are currently my garden obsession. I love them, and I watch them daily to see what shows up and what changes they are going through.

That’s it for today! Believe it or not, I have been knitting, just not terribly inspired to get any pictures taken. I probably need to rectify that in the near future.

 

The Tour

As has been requested by our friend Salpal1 at Whatimuptotoday, I am going to take you on a virtual tour of the back yard at my place.

But first, we’ll look at some spinning. I finished my first loop! bump for the tour! And then I immediately started on the coordinating bump I purchased to go with it.

That feels like some fantastic progress! And, I am enjoying spinning my loop up, as it really is some of my favorite spinning fiber.

Now for the tour. I can’t do the entire property at once, so I am starting with the back yard. It’s funny, I got home last night and mowed. Then, I worried about taking pictures. Mr. Ink wasn’t home yet, so he couldn’t trim, and what if it looked sloppy, and what if people notice how NOT done the gardens are? (Well, DUH, they aren’t done, and I’ve never claimed they were!) And what if you notice that we don’t have decent patio furniture yet? Or that there are still plants hanging around waiting to be planted? And then I started taking pictures, and realized you can see so little of it anyhow in a photo, it really does NOT matter.

So, now for the tour. I stepped out the back door and onto my patio for this, and then I turned to the left. I’ll start at the left of the yard and move all the way to the right.

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You can easily see the wooden edgers that I am slowly removing in this photo to the left. That bed used to be full of irises, well established, but I ripped them all out. There were just too many. The bed was a mess, the irises were growing under the wood edger, they weren’t producing well at all, and I started by thinning them, then as is typical for me, I got a wild hare to just rip them all out, and that’s what I did. After that, Mr. Ink kindly sifted through the dirt, removing anything unwanted, and there it’s sat, mostly, since then, not even mulched. I planted some tuberous begonias in there, only one has made an appearance. I planted some caladium in there, 3 of which are beginning. When we worked on the rock wall, I needed to move my lady’s mantle, so it’s in there, as well as some of the plants from our recent huge plant acquisition from a friend. But, the ones I put in there were in pretty bad shape. Bee balm, phlox, and something I couldn’t identify. No telling if they’ll come back next year or not.

Above that you can see my rudbeckia garden. It’s got some phlox as well, and those ridiculous lilies that are too tall. It’s slated for a major overhaul as well. But, I haven’t gotten there yet. One thing at a time, I keep telling myself. As your eyes move to the middle of the photo, there are two small black lace elderberry bushes that Mr. Ink planted, along with an evergreen of some type. And to the right, the rose of sharon garden that we majorly overhauled. That’s it for there, let’s keep moving!

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Now you can see the rose of sharon garden to the left, and the red fence we spent so many hours fixing this year. Along that fenceline are cannas, dahlias, and gladioli. They are literally just in the ground, with grass growing all around them. Because I didn’t think we’d be this far along on the gardens this year, and I just wanted them to grow. But, long term plan, that entire fenceline with be garden, lined by those lovely rocks we’ve been putting in. It’ll be a nice curved swoopy bed. There’ll be a tree up there somewhere too. Mr. Ink has it on order, it should arrive soon.

Want a close up of glads and cannas?

I snapped these shots this morning after a nighttime rain. I am curious to find out if I get ANYTHING other than red cannas and yellow glads!

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I’ve turned to my right a little more in this photo, more glads and cannas by the fence, and then you can see the edge of the big garage. (I am going to start calling it Mr. Ink’s shop, because the reality is that we get confused when we say the word garage. Neither of us knows which one we are talking about.) There’s a gap between the garage and the fence that gives us access to the area that was to be a street, leaving us a place to walk to a quieter street since the one we are on is so busy. In front of the shop is the corner of the garden with the wall Mr. Ink did earlier this year. Next step? Bring that garden edge all the way up and get it moving along the red fence. There’ll be a boulder, flat on the bottom, set into the ground where you can walk through to the back access, with more garden space in the back. I’d like to move my hostas there.

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And now I’ve turned all the way to the right. You can see the shop, Mr. Ink’s garden of trees and purple flowers (not done yet, but he thinks he might get it done tonight) and behind that the garden with the wall we worked so hard on earlier. My hibiscus is going to the left of that grey garage door. To the right of the door, where the gas and electric lines are, we are going to build that up with a small walled garden, and probably just throw one big hosta in there. That shouldn’t harm the lines, and should keep them nicely covered. Then, along the house is the iris bed. Or, the bed that we destroyed trying to get to the spiderwort. It, too, has those wooden edgers, though we did take a bunch of them out already. Actually, if you look all the way back to the side of the shop you’ll see a pile of wood from the fence project and the garden projects. We need to take a load to the dump, but EVERY time I want to, I realize we just have more to pull out and add to that pile!

So now I am walking back to red fence, standing in the middle, and taking two photos. To the right:

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You can see our parking lot. If you live on a busy street, you NEED a parking lot. On that side of the house is my veggie garden. Or, what will become my veggie garden once I get ALL the flowers moved. That’s a picture for another day. Then, again, that’s the iris bed of wooden edger destruction. It was a raised bed on the corner of the house, but I don’t see any real need for that. I think I’ll just edge it in and call it good. That’s also the bed my new viburnum is going in.

And to the left:

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Again, the kind of empty bed at the back of the house, and the rudbeckia on the right. Again, the garden will eventually come down the fenceline, over that gap in the fence, and connect to the one at the back of the house. At the fence gap, I am envisioning an arbor with wisteria and/or clematis. Mr. Ink envisions a pergola in front of the sliding glass door.

Let’s move on to the side of the house, behind that fence gap, shall we? After that, the tour is over, I am saving the rest for another day.

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Just one photo here. This area needs a TON of work. The junipers to the right are beautiful and well established, they are staying. I have put a few plants in on the left, some astilbe, some sweet woodruff, and some lamium. It did very poorly until I did two things. First, I dug down deep enough to realize that landscaping cloth had been laid down, double thick, and then dirt poured over top. The roots just couldn’t grow properly. I moved the dirt and mulch, and cut out the cloth. Second, I amended the soil with a huge dose of manure. After the slow start, they are doing much better, but still much work is to be done. On the right side of the stoop, there’s a bleeding heart. I probably have to find a new place for it. It’s doing so poorly, and the pill bugs keep eating it. It can’t catch a break!

And, I guess you can also now see the stack of edgers and bricks we keep tearing out of everywhere! Mr. Ink has plans for a firepit, and wants to use the bricks in it. Those scalloped edgers are going to replace the wooden ones around my veggie garden, where I really don’t need pretty, I just need functional.

That’s it for today, I’ll have to take you around front another day. Mr Ink and I were sitting having a beer on the patio after some yard work the other day. I said “I really didn’t imagine I’d do this much gardening at this place. Honestly? I thought it was just fine. Then, all the pretty flowers started coming up, and I kept thinking I wanted more, and more, and then suddenly I was a gardener!” Mr. Ink said “Really?!?! Because when we looked at this house, I immediately thought that I could do so much better! And that’s why I garden!”

Mr. Ink looked at this place like it was a blank canvas he could paint on. I looked at it just knowing I could already live with it. Two people, coming at this yard from very different angles, meeting in the middle for a hobby they both absolutely love.

 

Spinday!

Guys, I had an actual spinday! I woke up Sunday morning and did a bunch of spinning.

That’s a great amount of progress for me! And then, as is desirable on Spinday, Mr. Ink and I went on a mountain bike ride. Heat index was over 100 again, so it wasn’t exactly a pleasant ride, but getting out there was a good idea!

No pictures of that hot sweaty mess, of course, but I do have more garden pictures. We thought about the garden a bit more, and I realized that I didn’t even want to dig up the rose and move it. I just want that rose GONE. I think we can do better! So, Mr. Ink plans to cut down the rose, initially, and then we’ll dig out the root later. What we did get to yesterday was stone edgers to match the stones on the other side of the yard.

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It’s a much more organic look than those initial cement edgers were, it makes the garden a bit smaller, and will blend very nicely into our long term garden plan. It’s definitely a relief to see this one come together so nicely!

We also had a discussion on Sunday about another area in the garden, one which probably needed a shrub of some sort. I told Mr. Ink he should look up what he wanted. He decided on a viburnum, and we headed out to go get one. We came home with a viburnum AND….

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A stunning hardy hibiscus! Mr. Ink should not take me plant shopping if he doesn’t want to come home with extra plants. He thinks through his purchases, decides on a plant, and a place for it, and then goes out to find that plant. Me? It’s more of a “Ohhhh! SHINY!” situation. I see a pretty, I bring it home, and then we figure out where it can live. Though to be honest, this one was pretty well received by Mr. Ink as well. He decided on a spot pretty quickly. Though, one of the potential spots was at the front of the house, which is “his” area. I told him if he wanted a hibiscus in “his” area, he can get his own hibiscus. This one is going where I spend the most time. Maybe….I don’t need ALL the roses after all. Maybe I need ALL the hardy hibiscus!

In any case, that’s the current story from our lives on a Spinday. Pretty good stuff! It’s going to be another brutal hot day around here, and we have to mow. Desperately. So I doubt there’ll be much in the way of garden progress unless something new opens up that I can take a photo of. But it’s hot, so that could potentially happen!

 

Dig Dig Dig

Oh man, did we ever have a day of it in the garden. I’ll tell you what, it was hot. But not the type of hot that means we’d need to do sprinkler gardening. Let me show you what happened out there yesterday! Actually, it’s a project we started on Friday and continued yesterday. A very long and difficult project, and we aren’t done yet.

This is my rose of sharon garden:

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I didn’t get before pictures, naturally. but, all that dirt in front? We dug two to three feet down all the way around the front and sifted through the dirt for weeds and junk. Prior to this, the garden was edged with those cement scalloped edgers. But, they weren’t curved, just straight, even though the garden is curved. And then all along the front was yarrow, and the yarrow was so well established, it had pushed the edgers over almost onto their sides, so that the yarrow, and the weeds, could spill out onto the lawn. Did I mention the weeds? I don’t think I did. The yarrow perfectly hid weeds, henbit and paper mulberries.

Mr. Ink has been hoping to “nuke” this garden for awhile, but I didn’t let him initially. There were also 3 peonies in there, and there’s a rose bush in front of the rose of sharon, and I really loved the irises. Well, we have enough peonies, and the rose keeps growing taller than the rose of sharon, so I want to move that, and I can’t see the irises for the yarrow, and the weeds would NEVER go away and the edgers annoyed me and all of that led to the perfect storm where I agreed it was time to “nuke” the garden.

We dug out the peonies, they were probably put in when the home was built. Their roots were the thickness of my arm. We also found paper mulberry stumps and roots under the ground, those too were the thickness of my arm. Mr. Ink pulled them out, and followed those roots to the edges of our fences to cut them out. Digging deep and sifting, we hypothesize, will keep that irritating weed population down. Once all the dirt was dug and sifted, and the edgers removed, I put the irises that I’d removed for the dirt sifting project back in, along with two other iris varieties from my friend who donated parts of her garden to us. I also added some very nice coreopsis along the fenceline. We still have to move the rose, but Mr. Ink’s back had been completely done in by the digging and sifting, so we have saved it for today.

Today I would also like to edge this garden with the nice stone that matches the new wall and garden. I have plenty, we haven’t gotten any farther with that project. Then once the rose is moved, we are going to mulch the heck out of it.

Mr. Ink decided to work on his garden too, do you remember this photo?

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Those 3 trees that Mr. Ink planted started to annoy me when mowing. So, I told Mr. Ink he’d better remove the sod and make it so I only had to go around them once, or I’d go on a mowing strike. Since our property is fairly large, this would make a lot of extra work for him. So, he dug out the sod in the middle, and decided he’d call that “his” garden. He’s going to be working in shades of purple.

He had his eye on some spiderwort that was well established in another garden area that I don’t show off. (I know, we are flush with garden space and we keep making more!) But, he couldn’t for the life of him get that spiderwort out. That garden had the same wood edgers that my new rock wall garden had, and I hate them. So, naturally, my solution to every problem is “Destroy!” I told him we should just take out the wooden edgers/wall, and his spiderwort would come right out. I was right, and we are left with this mess.

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It’s ok though, I really don’t think that area needs a wall anyhow, we can just add our pretty rock edgers, and it’ll match what’s up the hill.

Mr. Ink planted the spiderwort and all his collected balloon flowers in “his” garden. He’s also decided to steal the allium bulbs I had ordered for fall planting. (I don’t mind.) His garden should look quite nice, and be far less of a mishmash than mine.

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He also gave me a couple of spiderwort plugs, since it desperately needed to be divided, so I planted those up by my freshly sifted garden. Mr. Ink’s garden needs a good mulching as well.

Guys? Despite all this insanity, and it TRULY was an all day project, I got some spinning done! Look where I am now!

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That’s some pretty decent progress right there!

And, then, this morning’s view of the garden? My first caladium leaf has unfurled. I’ve been tending these bulbs very carefully, so eager to see them grow. I planted 10, only 3 are above ground, and I’ve lost hope on the rest. But check this out!

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As you can see, the main one should be opening shortly. but I am so thrilled just to see this one! And, I can’t wait to see what variety of the other two I got, as I bought a mix. I am hoping for something different, but I won’t be disappointed if they are all like this.

Until tomorrow, where I’ll hopefully have more great pictures for you…

 

Heavy on Yard, Light on Spinning

Yesterday was a fair bit more kind, weatherwise, than it was the previous few days. I’d had the kind of day at work where you sit down before 7:30 and don’t get back up until 3:20 unless you need a bathroom break, and even those were hard to come by. So, by the time I got home, between finishing a large project at work, and it being Friday, I slept so hard during my naptime, you wouldn’t believe! By the time Mr. Ink got home, I was awake again, and ready to venture outdoors.

We started with a beer on the patio, rather than getting right to it. In the end, we chose lighter work for our evening. Mr. Ink planted a new quince bush he’d purchased a few days prior, and that I think is just fun and goofy. Then he chose weed killing. I worked again on getting some of the plants I was given into the ground, though I have more to do, and mulching the areas I’d dug sod out of the day before. I snapped a photo of our moss roses, which are going nuts.

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It’s so hard to believe they were the tiniest plugs. Moss roses are flowers that Miss Bug always insists we purchase and plant, she has good memories of them being in the garden at the old house, and her helping put them in.

Then-we discovered something creepy.

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This was on our bald cypress, and we didn’t know what it was. There were a bunch of them. And they were moving. Seriously creepy looking. I asked the collective on the book of faces, and found out they were bag worms and would kill our trees. So, Mr. Ink set to picking them all off and putting them in a ziploc bag to throw in the trash. Now he’ll have to be hyper vigilant about all the other evergreens he’s planted this year to make sure they don’t get infested.

After that little upset, I did take some time to do a little spinning. I kept stressing, thinking “It’s TdF, I gotta get my spinning time in!” But forgetting the fact I’d been spinning that morning before work. In the end, I did get a bit of spinning time in. It wasn’t much, but, there’s a tiny bit to show for it.

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Mr. Ink made a lovely dinner, and I made parslied potatoes with loads of fresh parsley from my garden. It was a very pleasant evening. And this morning? I woke up to this:

2 of my gladioli are finally blooming! I’ve been waiting on them for over a week. I’ve got a few right behind them. I purchased a bulb mix, but so far, everything has been yellow. I am not truly complaining, but I might have to diversify next year. I just love these!

Let’s see what today brings us, shall we? There’s nothing so lovely as a quiet morning with a cup of coffee, reasonable weather, and a day of no obligations in front of you.

Finished Spinning

I’ve got a few things to show off!

How about a skein of 2 ply, 210 yards, pictured on a wet hosta?

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Yep, it rained during my gardening time last evening. And then the sun came back out, but it was certainly cooler. A lovely evening in the garden.

The blue fiber for this skein is something I created on my drum carder. It doesn’t really fit in with my loop spinning for Tour de Fleece, but there it is anyhow.

And then there’s some loop clouds, pictured on my rudbeckia:

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That’s 430 yards of 2 ply Loop clouds colorway Sierra Nevada.

I gardened all evening long, Mr. Ink and I tore out the front of a very well established flower bed, digging half of it up about 2 feet down. We had a bunch of yarrow in there, and all it was doing was hiding henbit and paper mulberries, the bane of our existence in our yard. We are about halfway through the digging portion of the project, and we plan to move a rose around as well, so we’ve got a lot more work to do in that bed. But, I also planted the plants a friend gave me. Not all of them, it was easily a 2 day job from the start. But, I got some irises in, all the day lilies went in, a nice pale yellow to add to my collection, some bee balm, a bit of the coreopsis though I have about 5 more large sections of it to plant, and some columbine. This meant digging up more sod, making the project even longer. Mr Ink is finally at the point where he’s ok with tossing less than amazing sod, which is a great relief to me!

So, needless to say, I don’t have a lot of spinning to show for myself. But, I can show you what I have.

On the left, the picture from yesterday. On the right, the picture from this morning. About half a bobbin layer. Thankfully we’ve got a lovely weekend coming up! And I am looking forward to some spinning time during it. If I can manage to get away from the garden.

TdF update

Hello all!

I got a lot of spinning done last night, but very little to show for it as of right now. I finished plying my loop cloud, but was unable to get that in a skein and washed last evening. I also plied some other singles I had, but couldn’t get those in a skein either. I did, however, leave those on bobbins for later and start a new TdF project!

One of the loop challenges is to pair 2 different bumps. I chose these two:

Now, the bump on the right is 4.2 oz. and the bump on the left is an entire ounce more. So, I had to make an adjustment. I took out all the white from the inside of the bump, and most of the white from the outside of the bump, bringing both bumps down to 4.2 oz. I decided to spin the left bump first.

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And…it’s looking great! I am spinning it from the outside in, and as with all loop bumps, it is awesome, and feels so easy to spin up quickly.

We had another hot day. Technically hotter than Tuesday, but it wasn’t quite as humid. I was outdoors watering plants quite late last night, only to have a HUGE storm roll through and soak everything early this morning. I am not complaining! I just could have saved myself a little time.

I also went to pick up a load of plants from a friend who divided her very well established and beautiful garden. I came home with bee’s balm, phlox, irises, day lilies, coreopsis, and some ground cover I don’t know the name of. She warned me that she could fill my garden. It’s true. There’s 4 laundry baskets full of plants on my patio right now!

That means, this evening will be devoted entirely to digging and planting. It’s going to be over 90 again. On the plus side, it looks like a storm may roll through around the time I’d be digging, if that’s the case, it’ll probably be welcome, and bring in some cooler air.

As for the current plants update, I’ve got two cannas that should bloom fairly soon, two gladiolus that are about to bloom, 2 caladium finally making an appearance, and 2 tuberous begonias that probably won’t flower this year, but are finally slightly above the ground.

And…my brand new rose looks dead.

(I suspect it may have been accidentally sprayed with round up by Mr. Ink on a windy day. I tried to tell him that, he told me it was the crazy weather. I don’t believe him, since it was doing GREAT until the round up was sprayed. Plus, that round up ALSO got on my pink rose and killed a section of it. I guess, in the end, I don’t need him to believe me. I just need him to be more careful, knowing I’ll accuse him if he doesn’t cover them!)

In any case! Lot’s of gardening goings on, I’ll hopefully get some pictures tonight to post tomorrow. And maybe my spinning will have time to dry!

 

Just One Thing

Yesterday the heat index was 108! But I was madly productive even so. I had a productive day at work, then I had to take a trip all the way out to Bug’s camp to pick up the pair of boots she left there. Once home, I cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen, then went out and mowed the lawn. After that, since I was already sweaty and disgusting, I took a walk. It was dead around the neighborhood, unsurprising since no normal person wants to be out in that mess. But, I admit, that was a welcome change to taking a walk with fireworks going off all around me. All I had to do was navigate all the fireworks trash. Once my walk was done, it was 9 p.m., so time to start cooking! (I left that task up to Mr. Ink. I told him I’d done enough for the day.)

Naturally, this didn’t leave a lot of plying time. So I worked on it this morning. I’ve got just a bit left to ply, it really is SO close. It was actually quite difficult to drag myself away and go to work, with so little left to do.

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I feel extremely confident I’ll be able to get this done tonight! Which is great, since I’ve got so much inspiration for my next TdF project, 2 loop bumps plied together.

TdF Sunday

Yes, I did get a little bit of spinning done!

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I finished the loop cloud singles, colorway sierra nevada. And yes, if you peek over the top of that lazy kate, you’ll see my yellow mini roses blooming nicely!

I then got an opportunity to start plying, but not a lot of that was done.

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The remainder of the day was spent in fun! We had our annual tank wars event to go to, complete with a proper tank track with a leveler on it.

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Tanks were lit, battles were won and lost, and this year we had the most lively tanks I’ve ever seen. These things bounced off the track, pushed each other off the track, lit each other on fire, it was good fun!

We also had good company, a fire in a firepit, and mountain pies with our mountain pie makers. A very good evening, and great distraction from the “war zone” that is this area around this holiday.

(I’ll attempt to spare you the lecture on the absolute privilege of a country who uses simulated war sounds on a holiday that will make anyone who has lived in an actual war zone nervous to downright terrified, while at the same time continuing to say things like “Support our troops!” I’ll also try to remember that I live in a state that allows this, and not every state does, and it was never like this back east. I guess this is more of a “the culture of this state” lecture rather than a “this country” lecture.)

I know, I know, I didn’t do a good job. I went for my morning garden walk, and realized that our entire property is strewn with cardboard paper from other people’s fireworks. I really do try to not be too much of a stuffed shirt about the entire thing, but every year a fail!

Now we just have to wait for everyone to finish up their fireworks purchases illegally for the next month or so, and we’ll be back to peace and quiet.

TdF day 2

I finished a bobbin!

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And as you can probably tell, it quit raining. Late last evening. We had a late dinner, and then I decided I’d better go take a walk, rain or no. Mr. Ink decided to go to, so I took him through parts of our town he’d never walked before. During the walk, it FINALLY quite raining. Today it’s quite mild, and not at all sunny. Miss Bug is heading to a visit with my parents, so we’ve spent the day packing, preparing, and doing chores. I woke up far too early again, so I am thinking a nap as soon as my homemade bread is out of the oven!

I also finished up some knitting! I finished the Dangling Conversation shawl, and I do love it! It’s out of yarn spun from a loop bump, and I used up all but a very small amount. I had to add an extra few improvised rows to do so, but it was worth it!

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I have to say, if I had the appropriate yarn, this is certainly a pattern I’d knit again. It’s simple, comfortable, doesn’t really need the beads, and memorizing it wouldn’t have been a problem either.

And finally a quick moment in my garden. With all the rain yesterday, I figured I’d take today to dig up a few more of the orange day lilies in my veggie garden. It’s a constant battle with them, I suspect they’ll be showing up for years to come unless I sift through every inch of that dirt this fall. But, I did get an opportunity to remove a bunch more. They were mostly done flowering anyhow, and Miss Bug took any remaining blooms and made me a vase.

This year, some yellow day lilies just as tall as the orange ones are blooming in two different spots. They look really slick in there with the orange. I’ve got some in back of my rose of sharon garden bed, and while I cannot reach them to remove old blooms and get photos, they do have a nice color pop in the back of an overgrown bed.

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This is the one remaining in my veggie garden. It gets to stay for now, as I’ll be transplanting it to another garden once that other garden exists.

That’s…about it from here! It’s been a quiet and lazy morning despite being busy. A day that feels like my own. And that’s certainly something I enjoy. I am looking forward to seeing if I can make it through another bobbin by tomorrow so I can have one skein of yarn soon after!

 

Tour de Fleece day 1

Our unrelenting heat gave way to something else….

I noticed that the weather report was that it could rain on Saturday, and that the high would not even be 70F. Clearly I was going to wake up early for some patio spinning before picking Miss Bug up from camp!

This is what I woke up to:

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Unrelenting rain. It’s still raining, but after pacing the house quite a bit assuming he’d be able to get outdoors in a moment of clear weather, he has finally given up and is now working on the front hill in the rain. It’s not pouring anymore, so that’s something.

We had to pick up Miss Bug from camp. She goes to camp and rides horses most of the week. She had a GREAT week this week, having made a friend she told us was just like Mr. Ink’s stepdaughter (whom she absolutely adores) and telling me all about the rat snake that kept coming onto the porch of her cabin in an attempt to eat some baby birds. (The latter part she didn’t like much.)

In the unrelenting rain, the entire camp was a muddy mess. But she insisted we go to the barn anyhow, and we did, practically slithering our own way down the hill in sticky mud. She, naturally, had to show us her horse for the week, and every other horse she’s ever ridden and then some.

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I was surprised to see, and enjoyed seeing, all the confidence she’s gained in the barn this year. She’s still so slight compared to those horses, but she’d head over to them, if they were in her way, she’d lean on them until they moved, and she absolutely expected them to do HER bidding. She was the boss.

After that, we stopped at a hardware store to pick up a tree. I’d noticed a lovely dwarf weeping spruce the day before, originally $150, marked down to $75. I told Mr. Ink that if it was still there today, we were getting it. We went back, it was there, and we took it to the check out counter and it rang up for $35! It’s a gorgeous tree, at least 10 years old already. And then we realized the reason for the drastic markdown. It was broken. The top of it was cracked badly, and Mr. Ink had to prune it quite a bit. Well, no matter, I suspect it’ll fill back in just fine eventually, it was just a bit disappointing.

I have had a limited amount of time for spinning, since now that Bug’s home, there’s massive amounts of laundry. But, I did get a loop cloud started, colorway sierra nevada.

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It’s pretty, but this cloud seems to be spinning up a bit differently than others, and I am not sure why. It’s not particularly easy to keep an even yarn. That being said, I know that it’ll puff out nicely when it’s done, and look great even so.

This day has gotten away from me a bit, with all the rain, I’ve just been so sleepy! Plus, it’s so cool it is perfect sleeping weather! (Doesn’t help that for some reason I woke up at a ridiculously early hour of 5:30 a.m.)

 

Long Weekend!

Boy was I pacing the floor at work today, waiting for my long weekend to begin! It’s going to be a busy one! And it’s the start of Tour de Fleece. I’ll be spinning on the Loop! team this year, only the one team. The reality is, it’s so busy that I don’t have terribly much spinning time, so I can’t really afford to divide it out.

On the knitting front, both my active projects are quite near to being finished! The handspun singles project I left at work, so all I’ve got here at home is my dangling conversation shawl. And it’s looking great, I think I picked a great pattern for the yarn.

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I am enjoying working through the turquoise. I know that there’s another black or dark grey after that, and there’s really not many rows left either. So, I’ll have a finished object quite soon.

It’s supposed to be cooler and rainier than normal here this long weekend, and that’s great news. The break in the heat is so so welcome! If it’s not actively raining I think we’ll be trying to get yard work done, more garden building, or maybe the fire pit. Whichever Mr. Ink is feeling inspired about. If it’s actively raining, I am thinking it’ll be good to get housework done and fit in some spinning in between.

I did get one more photo a friend took from the bike formal and I figured I’d show it off. It’s another champagne on the roof pic. But it has us both in it, which is nice.

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Happy Friday friends! Tomorrow, there’ll be spinning to show off!