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!