Friday, June 26


You would think we live way out in the country (instead of a bustling suburban area) from all the critters that have visited our yard recently.

For example, this week:

Foxes are now living under our neighbor's shed to the east. They must have run off the ground hog who was living there. On the bright side, they won't eat our garden and may keep some of the other critters away who do. We had noticed a strong musky smell around a few times lately. And several weeks ago a rabbit had been killed in our front yard. Nothing was left but fur. We had suspected that a fox did this.

Raccoons are living under our neighbor's shed to the west. Early Thursday morning, hubby saw two raccoon babies on the wrong side of the fence. The momma raccoon was hollering at them and they didn't know what to do. Hubby got a shovel and carefully dug a hole under the fence (with mama and babies watching) so that babies could get back to momma. As soon as they were on the right side of the fence, momma grabbed them by the scruff of the neck and towed them back under the shed.

A ground hog is still living under our shed. :( This after being run off by another one several weeks ago.

Last week, a mother deer and a fawn were in our yard. (During the winter we sometimes had 7 deer visit our bird feeder.) Mama deer jumped the neighbors fence, leaving the fawn behind. She was too small to jump that high. She ran up and down the fence hollering until she figured out she could go around the end.

Pookie and Boo like to go outside during the day. Yesterday, when I went to check on them, I found two big dogs coming up to the house. I ran them off. Boo and Pookie were hiding in the bushes. They came in as soon as the coast was clear.

Hubby and I have thought several times about fencing our yard. It would be expensive and probably would not keep all the critters out. We also like the open space and the view we have.

I can't resist posting another picture of Pookie. He was intrigued by a fold up crate that I usually keep in the trunk of my car. He decided it was a good place to lay down. Love the glowing eyes through the crate handles! LOL! He seems to like having his picture taken.

I finished this crocheted baby blanket last night. I call it Sunrays. It's an easy pattern to crochet. I'm working on a shawl version of this using 4 wedges instead of 6. My original idea was inspired by the lace pattern in my Wings to Heaven shawl. I wanted to see if I could reproduce it in crochet. It took about 5 tries and lots of ripping and crocheting before I got it figured out.

One of these days, I'll get some more patterns ready to post. I'm on a felted bag craze. I have about 3 designs that I need to test knit.

Friday, June 12

Gardening, new patterns, and more

Our normal spring temperatures can swing wildly between cold and hot. The clash of these air masses can and has produced severe storms and tornados in our area. This year has been different, one of those springs that comes once in a blue moon. We've stayed in the cool range with a few nights even getting down into the upper 30s. Not good for warm weather plants but great for us. Flowers have bloomed like mad with no storms to knock their blossoms off early.

These cool nighttime temps have made it hard to get our warm weather veggies planted. The last few will finally go in this weekend. We need some 80 degree days and warm nights for the corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and beans to do anything but sit there. The weatherman says that next week we will start to see some of those warmer temps. Here's a peek at the potatoes coming up.

As usual, we have ground hogs living under our shed and our neighbor's shed. Early the other morning, my hubby called me to come watch what was happening in the middle of our garden. Two big ground hogs were fighting and screaming at each other. It looked to be a territorial dispute over our garden. They both must be males. They ran around the yard rolling, biting, and screaming at each other. I've never seen anything like it before!

We make cages out of heavy gauge fence wire to put around individual plants like broccoli that ground hogs love to eat. If we don't, they will eat them to the ground. Ground hogs don't share. Fencing the entire garden doesn't help. We've tried it. They dig under the fence and eat until they are stuffed. One of the cages hubby put around a broccoli plant this year was made from some flimsy wire. The ground hog has managed to get it off the plant and chewed it down to a nub. We've bought more wire that we will use to build more sturdy cages this weekend to put around vulnerable plants.

The mystery shawl kal I hosted is over. Though I loved seeing the shawls knit from my design, it was a lot of work and took up too much of my time. The shawl kits and other prizes have been awarded. All packages were mailed on Monday, June 8. I've received email from two people that their packages have arrived. The one that went to Denmark will take awhile to arrive. Crystal Garden is the name I've given this shawl design. The pattern should be finished sometime this summer. It's going to take a lot of work. The entire shawl has to be charted (and the instructions written up). There are no motif repeats as there are in most shawl patterns. It will require me to use a new charting method as my current software program can't handle the size charts I need.

I have a few more patterns almost ready to release. The Lotus Blossom felted bag (pictured at the botton of my May 8 post), a Blossom Coaster (like the Blossom Facecloth), and Le Petit Fleur (a small shoulder shawl with beads and a flower border) are in the final stages. Test knitters are working on them. I need better pictures too.

My spinning wheel has been busy. This pink and peach merino I finished last week. My Rav friend, Jamie, dyed the fiber. It was a joy to spin and made a laceweight 2 ply yarn---4.2 ounces and 926 yards! This will be saved for a special shawl project. Jamie recently got a drum carder for her birthday. I sent her a box of fiber from my stash to help her get started. In return, she's sent me these batts she made as a thank you. I was overwhelmed by her generosity and so excited. Lots of fun spinning ahead! (Psst, don't you think she should sell some of these beauties?)

My fiber arts group is having our second all-day retreat on June 20th. I'm helping out with it. We couldn't do it without volunteers. One member found us a venue. Another one has worked hard since January contacting various companies for donations for goodie bags. I can't wait to see what she's come up with! Another member is teaching a top-down sweater class. Plus we'll have a demo about Ravelry and how it works. I'll be putting together some notes and a handout for that demo. Several vendors will be there selling yarn, fiber, and other goodies. Lunch is an all-you-can-eat buffet downstairs in the university dining hall. Members are encouraged to bring along things for a sell and swap table. It's a lot of fun!

Finally, I'll post a picture of Pookie. Here he is all relaxed and asleep. We humans could learn something about relaxing from kitties. He's found a catnip plant growing in on of my flower beds. Look at how big the leaves of this plant are! That's my hand next to the leaf for comparison. Pookie loves catnip. :)