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. :)


Sara said...

Hope the weather makes a turn for you. Love the garden. The other pics are great too! Kitty looks so comfortable and that is a huge catnip leaf!

mimi said...

I got your website from the HAP volunteer site and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your entries,adoring your cats and getting a couple patterns from you.

Really sounds like "Party Central"under your shed! We have a Ground Hog under ours too but I've only see him scurry under. I'd have loved to see the fight over the vegies! We have at various times had many cats,dogs, racoons, etc but as we get older we only have a very pampered Shih Tzu

I'm in Southern In, right across from Louisville KY. Thanks for giving me a pleasant break
Sincerely, Barbara Ariens