A rare "finished object" post

knitslug
Used to be that every time I finished knitting something, I would post some pictures of the item, along with a description of the process. And friends, mostly non-knitters, might comment that something was pretty or impressive or whatever. Or not. Then I joined Ravelry, and started using the linked databases there to keep track of projects and yarn and so much more rather than posting descriptions of projects here.

But today, I feel so much like bragging on myself that I'm going to talk about it here. A few years ago I went to what was billed as a knitting retreat. Actually, most of the people there were spinners. They set their wheels up on the dock and spun yarn, while I knitted, secure in the belief that I didn't need another fiber obsession. I went back for another year, and sat and knit while everyone else spun. While I still didn't want another fiber obsession, there was something compelling about the ease with which they were making yarn. Somehow at that fall's NY Sheep and Wool Festival I came home with a spindle and some fiber. A month later, I joined the Nutmeg Spinners Guild, and, at each meeting, it seemed as if there was another spindle I needed.

In the following April, I went to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival, and came home with this:

greenramboulet

It's 2.5 lbs of gorgeous fiber, and my intention was to spin myself enough yarn for a sweater. But that's a lot of spinning on a spindle. So, I started browsing the Ravelry spinning forums for information on spinning wheels. Right, I don't need another fiber obsession! But Kromski Sonata wheels, especially in the walnut finish, looked like exactly what I wanted, never mind that I'd never spun on one! A month or so later, somebody in Rhode Island offered a used walnut Sonata on one of the Ravelry equipment forums. A little back-and-forth negotiation, and a day spent driving to Woonsocket, RI and back, and the wheel was mine.

Of course, I had to acquire some proficiency in using it. And, with 2.5 lbs of nice soft green fiber, that wasn't difficult. First, there was

Ramboulletbobbin2

It was plied to become

Skein1

And another skein

Skein2

And several more, not photographed.

Then, I decided the time had come to actually knit something with it. So, I started small, with a swatch:

Green Swatch

And, finally, in August, I started the sweater. It's a plain sweater, following Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system, so I could, essentially, make my own pattern, fitted to my measurements.

There were a few hiccups along the way, but nothing major. And, when it was clear that I was running short of yarn (handspun yarn tends to be denser than millspun yarn), well, I just spun another skein.

I finished the sweater a few weeks ago, and finally wore it last week. This morning, I attempted to take the final photograph. The time delay on my camera forces me into uncomfortable poses, but, so be it.

greensweater

Friends, I spun a sweater!!!!!

And Ravelry has now made it possible for non-members to see project pages, if given a direct link. So, you can see my Ravelry notes for this here.

Walkability

View
I live in suburbia, in a subdivision. While my house is only a few blocks from a well-maintained rails-to-trails trail, that's about it. When links to websites that grade neighborhoods on "walkability" (and hence the potential of minimizing car usage) move through my friends list, my Facebook friends, and various mailing lists I'm on, I don't even bother. I know my neighborhood isn't very walkable.

Today that was brought home to me very vividly. You see, I was carless for most of the day. Yesterday, I brought my car in for its 120,000 mile major service. It's a 2000 Subaru Outback that I bought used in 2003. It wasn't quite due for the service, but it was having issues that I thought should be addressed before winter sets in. So, I dropped it off at the mechanic on my way to work and took the bus in to work. At the end of the day, I took the bus back to the mechanic, but the car wasn't ready; he'd found out why I'd been having some of the issues I'd been having, but hadn't yet worked out how to fix the problem (essentially, the car was sometimes running only on three cylinders). He really didn't want me driving the car until it was fixed, so he dropped me off at home and told me to call him in the morning.

So there I was at home with no car and almost no cash, certainly not enough to pay a cab to take me back to the mechanic. Today was a beautiful day for a walk, and my legs certainly work well enough for me to walk places. So I headed out for the closest Walgreens, which has a fee-free ATM (at least there are no fees for members of my credit union). This Walgreens is about a mile-and-a-half from my house, on a main road. But it wasn't an easy walk, for a variety of reasons. First, there were the hills between my house and the main road. But they're not that bad. The real problem is the lack of sidewalks. Sure, there are sidewalks in my immediate neighborhood. But some of them were mightily chewed up. And then I had to walk along a series of roads with no sidewalks at all. Furthermore, in many instances, there wasn't even a grassy verge to walk along, due to topography or active landscaping choices of the homeowners. (And, of course, there were big piles of leaves blocking some of the grassy borders, even though town requirements are to bag leaves we want to town to take away for composting.)

Even on the main road, the sidewalks were kind of hit-or-miss, and to make things worse, there was no warning that the sidewalk was ending at the nearest cross-walk. Beyond that, despite the fact that local ordinance requires that cars stop for pedestrians at zebra-crossings, there were no signs reminding drivers of this, and the reflective paint on the zebra-crossings was worn away at many of the crossings.

On the plus side, the Walgreens ATM wasn't out of cash. And it's about a block from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. So I rewarded myself for walking by ordering enchiladas suizas. While I was waiting for my food, the mechanic called and told me that the car was ready. I finished my meal, and walked on down the main street to get my car, on sidewalks and lawns, and staring down drivers at some light-less zebra crossings. It turned out that the problem with the car was its ignition computer, so, along with all the new filters and topped off fluids, I have a spanking new ignition computer. And, according to the old but still functioning odometer, I had walked approximately five miles.

But this is absolutely not something I could do on a regular basis. Today I was carless, and didn't have anything urgent to do besides be ready to get the car. It was a beautiful day for a walk (and broad daylight), and there were no weather-related obstructions on my route. This isn't always the case.

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Memories

Snapdragon
I recently signed up for a Tumblr account (not that I need another bloggish platform not to update!), so that I could comment on some friends' postings (if you're over there, I'm Theoriginalaliceq. Mostly, I post pictures.)

The occasionally send you a prompt to write on a topic Earlier this week, I got hit with "what is your earliest human memory", and I'm actually kind of happy with what I wrote. So, here it is, with light editing.

**********************

This is complicated, with layers.

Inner layer: I am lying in a stroller—an old fashioned stroller—on the back porch of the house I grew up in. I see trees in the backyard, with no leaves. They are the trees on the line between our lot and the next lot down the hill. I also see objects that are much closer, less than a foot away, moving in and out of my field of view. At some point I realize that they are moving in and out of my field of view because I am moving them. I can make this happen. They are my feet and my hands and I can move them and decide whether I want to see them or not.

Second layer: I am older, perhaps 12, and I have a sudden, vivid, wordless memory of discovering my hands and feet. I analyze the scene, and realize it must have been between November and April, as there were no leaves on the trees, and that, therefore, I must have been somewhere between seven months and a year old.

Third layer: I am in college, taking a class in Memory and Attention, and writing a paper on earliest memories. I learn that it is unusual for people to have pre-verbal memories. Of course, the memory is no longer pre-verbal, and what I am really remembering is my 12-year-old self’s remembering something much earlier, with the verbal scaffolding I then assigned to this earlier memory. It is harder, much harder, to access the physical memory of discovering my body and my potential control over it, and impossible to do so without the verbal description.

Outer layer: I am sitting in the living room of my mother’s retirement cottage, with my mother and my aunt (her younger sister). They are reminiscing about many things. At one point my mother talks about moving into the suburban house, in a post-war development outside of New York City. After I was born, my parents lived in their walk-up apartment on the East Side for a month, then with my grandparents on Long Island for another few months; finally, when I was about 4 months old, their house was finished and the moved in. Part of my mother’s routine as a SAHM (of course, they didn’t call it that, back then), was to bundle me up, and put me in the carriage on the screen porch every day for my nap, even until it was quite chilly out, as it was important for me to get fresh air. She doesn’t remember now, almost 60 years later, whether I was so bundled up that I couldn’t freely move my arms and legs. But that doesn’t matter. In my memory, I could and I did.

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I'm still here

Lighthouse
Yeah, well, it's been like 8 months since I've posted, though some of you have seen me on Facebook and/or Twitter, and a few more on Ravelry forums.

So, in bullet form, here's what I've been up to:

  • My father died in January. He was 90, and it wasn't just any one thing. Essentially, he was 90. I've spent a lot more time with my mother, who lives an hour and a half away, so that's a lot of driving.


  • I finally got serious about spinning. I mean, I'd spun yarn, both with spindle and with the wheel I bought last year. But it was all at a beginner level, never mind that I've made hats and scarves with my handspun yarn. At the beginning of the summer, I just sat and spun, every day. And right now, I have enough gorgeous green yarn to make a sweater. It's still kind of lumpy, but I'm going to re-cast that as "textured". Yeah, it's textured. And it's a gorgeous deep green that I haven't been able to photograph satisfactorily.


  • The garden has been kind of meh this year. Actually, it's been very meh, thanks to an enterprising woodchuck. There are still bits of Swiss chard, but when I pick what seems like a reasonable handful, it cooks down to something that makes a lovely accent on the plate.


  • I've set my settings so nothing here should be automatically posted on Facebook. There's nothing here that I wouldn't post there, but I don't want to sandbag anyone who might comment. On the Facebook side, I *did* have public entries sucked in to Facebook notes, but I've tried to disable that, for now; given Facebook's clunky interface, I might not have succeeded in this attempt. (ETA: Apparently not. This showed up on Facebook, with my default Friends-only setting; it shows up as a note, so comments here shouldn't show up there, and the reverse.)

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Waiting

Snapdragon
The forecast is for a big noreaster, and, indeed, the air smells of snow. I've seen the pictures from Virginia and Baltimore and Philadelphia (from friends who have power, cameras, and Flickr accounts!). But it's not snowing here.

Because of the forecast, I'm reluctant to go out, which doesn't make any sense at all. Sure, it's cold. But it's not snowing. And the forecast could be wrong. And, even if it's right, the snow isn't supposed to be heavy until this evening.

I have a cup of tea, the early sections of the Sunday Times, and plenty of knitting. So, I shall drink tea and knit and wait for the snow to start.

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Yoghurt

Snapdragon

yoghurt
Originally uploaded by theoriginalaliceq
I eat a lot of yoghurt. But I'm picky about my yoghurt. Essentially, the only commercial yoghurt I like is Stonyfield Farms Whole Milk Plain yoghurt (also sold by Trader Joes, with their own label). A 32 oz tub of SF tends to cost $4+. The Trader Joes yoghurt is only $3 per tub, but it's a 30 mile round trip to the nearest store, so it's not so easy to just run out for more yoghurt.

Meanwhile, various friends of mine have posted and blogged about making their own yoghurt, using some commercial, live-culture yoghurt as a starter. So, Thursday night, I gave it a whirl. I started with a quart of whole milk ($1.19 at the supermarket) and the last 1/4 cup of commercial yoghurt. The various web sites that I read made heating the milk seem like a big production, which put me off for a bit, until I realized that nobody has double-boilers anymore. Except me. So, I put the milk in the top part of my double-boiler, heated it to 180°F, let it cool to 110°F, put it in a larger bowl, and mixed in the starter. I had already preheated the oven to 110° and turned it off. So, I put the bowl of yoghurt in the oven, turned on the oven light, and left it to sit overnight.

And, in the morning I had yoghurt. I brought a little cup of yoghurt in to work for my afternoon snack. By mid-afternoon, it had firmed up nicely. And it was delicious.

Amnesia

Snapdragon
A friend of mine once posted to a mailing list, or maybe he sent me email—I don't remember and it doesn't matter—that when he's going to go out and exert himself more than usual, he takes ibuprofen preemptively. Why, oh why, did I only remember that some 7 hours after I spent an hour and a half shoveling slush?

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sock
I learned to knit when I was a child, and have, for most of my adult life, considered myself a knitter. For much of that time, I was a knitter in isolation; I didn't go to knitting groups and, mostly, didn't even know other people who knit. With the growth of the internet, that's changed. There are many on-line communities of knitters, and, through them, I have found more local groups of knitters. And more.

I have learned to spin my own yarn. (Not that that's stopped me from buying more yarn. But I have spindles and I have a spinning wheel. So, in addition to the lifetime supply of yarn that I've purchased, I've been accumulating skeins of hand-spun yarn, as I hone my skills (and accumulate more semi-processed fiber to spin). While acquiring a new skill is worthwhile in its own right, this shouldn't be the only goal. Spinning yarn produces, well, a product—yarn, and this yarn is potentially of use.

So, yesterday, as I realized that I really need a new hat, one that will keep my ears warm, I pulled out some of my handspun, three small skeins of some maroon Romney wool. (Part of being a spinner is that breeds of sheep and the properties of their wool matter; wool is no longer a sufficient designator.)

maroonromney

This yarn has been marinating in my stash since June. Rather than make a generic hat, as I'd made with my very first handspun, I decided on a pattern, Coronet, that I'd had my eye on for a while. This hat consists of a cabled band, out of which the remainder of the hat is built.

Because this is "beginner yarn"—yarn that is uneven in ways that would be obvious to a knitter or to a spinner, if not to a random "muggle"—, I decide to average some of these out by holding the yarn double for the cable band. I started the band last night, and I'm about half done now. The fabric is, as I'd expected, quite firm, but the cables, if I must say so myself, look very even and nice.

coronetband2

Now, all I have to worry about is having enough yarn. Because this is handspun yarn, it's unique. There is no more. But that's OK. The yarn looks much nicer knit up into a hat than it did sitting in an opaque bin.

Cheer for a drab, cheerless day

Snapdragon

Saturdaysock1
Originally uploaded by theoriginalaliceq
Seriously, this might be the brightest, most cheerful sock I've ever knit. The colors are awesome.

I started it last night, and have knit most of the afternoon. The pattern, Sunday Swing is really easy, but I can tell I'm going to want to make the second sock the mirror image of the first, so I'll have to do some re-charting. The yarn is Trekking HandArt, colorway Brazil; I'm not sure what exactly about these vibrant greens and yellows evokes Brazil, though I can see some kind of Amazon parrot. As always, I'm modifying a pattern written for an overly loose 8 stitches/inch to have a firmer fabric that's far less likely to blow out the first time I wear the socks.

Errands and such like

Snapdragon
I actually got a bunch of errands done before lunch. First, I had to take a package to the post office. And, therein hangs a tale.

I had heard rumors about paying the postage on-line and printing out a mailing label, so I decided to try that. I went to the USPS web site, registered for an account, input the particulars for the package, and prepared to print my label. So far, so good. The instructions specify that you should print a sample label before printing your actual mailing label. The sample didn't print. The instructions specified that you need to have Acrobat Reader installed, so I downloaded Acrobat Reader (and, once I installed it, discovered that I already had it). But, Reader didn't pop up when it was supposed to. I had some vague recollection that Reader plays more nicely with Safari than with Firefox, so I tried again in Safari. (The account information was saved, but I had to enter the credit card info yet again.) Still, no dice. And, when I looked in the list of Safari plugins, there was no sign of Acrobat Reader. So I started googling for info about how to make it appear on the list. After about an hour of reading useless stuff, I finally hit paydirt. I'm running OS 10.6.2 on a relatively new Macbook Pro. OS 10.6.2 and other Apple-provided software, like Safari, runs by default in 64-bit mode (normally, quite desirable). However, the Adobe PDF plug-in for Safari is 32-bit only, and the trick to having it available is to force Safari to run in 32-bit mode. So, I did that (in the Get Info panel), and, to my surprise, I was able to print my label. And next time I have to send a package, it will be a piece of cake to print the label (and save a few cents on postage, and get free delivery confirmation).

So the first errand was to drop the package off at the post office. Then, I decided to head for Milford, about 15 miles away. Normally, the Milford shopping run involves the LLBean Outlet and Trader Joes. (It used to include Costco, but I decided not to renew the membership this year. While there are products I really like, I just don't buy enough there for it to be worth the membership fee.) But today there was an addition. Whole Foods has come to south-central Connecticut. I've heard all the stories about high-quality organic food, not to mention all the complaints about prices. And, yeah, the quality did seem to be good, and I liked the way they highlighted local products throughout the store (even though their notion of "local" was a bit more expansive than mine would be). But, the prices... At some level, I suppose I really thought the complaints about the prices were based on a comparison with Walmart. I know that organic, grass-fed meat and wild-raised fish cost more than their factory-farmed counterparts. But, really, I can't justify blowing my entire weekly grocery budget on enough meat for 3 or 4 dinners. At least the wild salmon fillets were on special, and I could get a small one. And their base chicken (not the super-crunchy organic) pieces were OK. But I don't see putting Whole Foods on my regular shopping rounds. Except for one thing...they have a bin in the front of the store for recycling #5 plastics, which I can't put out for curb-side recycling. That's worth something to me.

In the LLBean outlet, I found a new pair of heavy winter mittens that will serve me well when I have to shovel snow on really cold days. And in TJs, I stocked up on frozen food for my parents.

Then on the way home, I stopped in at the farmstand for cabbage and a few other things. To my delight, they have kale, so I took some local sausage out of the freezer, and tomorrow will make sausage and kale soup. I picked up the sausage at a local farmers market—I'm not sure which one—and, while it was a little more expensive than supermarket sausage meat, even the local brand, it was still about half the price I would have paid at Whole Foods.

And, now, I should be doing laundry, but instead I'm puttering around online.

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An impulse purchase

Snapdragon

newshoes
Originally uploaded by theoriginalaliceq
I didn't need new shoes. Really I didn't. I actually didn't need anything at the LL Bean Outlet. But I always stop in anyway, when I go to Trader Joes, as it's in the same plaza. And I saw these. In my size. And, unlike some other shoes LL Bean sells, these ran true to size. So I have lavender shoes. Yep, purple shoes.

Done and undone

Snapdragon
The task list for today:

1) Freecycle
2) Clear out a flower bed
3) Rake some leaves
4) Plant a metric buttload of bulbs

Accomplished:

1) Half the stuff I offered has been picked up. The other half hasn't gotten any nibbles. On the other hand, the last time I offered stuff, there was a lot of drama about when people could pick stuff up, so I just pulled it back. This time, I used anti-drama wording. So it's probably a win.

2) The flower bed has been weeded and dead annuals pulled out.

3) I dumpled about 5 tubs of leaves into the woods in back of the house. This is an excellent start, as there are still many leaves on the trees, so I will have to spend a lot more time at this as the leaves fall.

4) I got about half the bulbs I wanted to plant done.

What should have been added to the task list:

I (re)discovered the bag of day lillies that a colleague gave me (in exchange for some bearded iris). These have to be planted also.

This was probably three hours of work, punctuated by lunch and chatting with the freecycler who took the coats and sweaters. It's a beautiful day, a perfect autumn day. And I'm glad I spent a good chunk of it outside. I had a radio with me, allowing me to experience the real time Schadenfreude of the abrupt end of the Red Sox' season.

Thanks for nothing, City of Hamden

Snapdragon
I moved into my house in Hamden a bit over eight years ago. I pay taxes to the City of Hamden, at a fairly high rate for cities in my state. In exchange for those taxes, I receive municipal services, including trash and recycling pickup. For the entire time I have lived in my house, trash pickup has been every Friday morning, and recycling pickup has been on alternate Fridays. So, I have a routine: Thursday night before bed, the trash and recycling are moved to the curb. Generally, due to the alternate week pickup and the fact that I subscribe to two newspapers, I have substantially more recycling than trash, in weight and volume. I have no garage, so the recycling is stored in the house until alternate Thursday nights when I take it to the curb.

In the past few months, the recycling pickup has slipped to Saturday morning. Whatever, so long as it gets picked up. Well, this morning, it wasn't. My neighbors' recycling was picked up, but mine wasn't. It's at the same curbside location that I've used for eight years, in the same city-issued recycling tub that I've used for eight years. And because the pickup slipped to Saturday, every single office that I can call for an explanation is closed, and will be closed Monday for the holiday. They'll listen to their voice mail on Tuesday.

In addition, the city has a transfer station for items that are ineligible for curbside pickup. In addition to its weekday hours, it's open on alternate Saturdays. Today isn't one of them, and I have all-day plans next Saturday.

So, I guess I'm going to be one of Those People who leave stuff at the curb for weeks at a time. I simply don't have space in the house for a huge pile of damp, rained on newspapers. And I don't have a garage. I really hope the next-door neighbors, whose house just went on the market, don't mind too much. Meanwhile, I'll just steam.

Chores before lunch!

Snapdragon
In a departure from off-day routine, I actually got something done before lunch! It's a dryish day out (at least the humidity is no longer at mid-summer levels) and there's a light breeze. So I finally pulled out the duvet cover that was lying in the spare room. It needed to be washed and put away until November, or whenever I decide that it's time to bring back the down comforter. So, the duvet cover (along with two pillowcases) is hanging on the line. While I was at it, I washed my old winter coat that I want to freecycle this winter (I feel guilty freecycling stuff that needs serious maintenance); that's heavy enough to rate dryer time. And while I was at it, I folded about half the laundry that I did last weekend.

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A very local lunch

Snapdragon
Lunch today was a salad, sourced as follows:

Lettuce, from a local farmstand
Radish, from the farmstand
Sliced onion, from my garden
Cherry tomatoes, from my garden
Cucumber, from the farmstand
Hard boiled egg, from a local farm (may have been bought at the supermarket)
Havarti cheese, from a local cheese shop (I'm not sure whether they made it or not; they have both cheeses that they've made and cheeses that they get elsewhere)
Dressing, home-made, from my standard ingredients, all mass-produced
Half an apple, from the farmstand (new crop!)
Peanut butter, all-natural brand from the supermarket

Credit card fail

Snapdragon
I am hopelessly disorganized. I'll admit it cheerfully. So, I have my credit card accounts set up to send me email reminders for various reasons. Different issuers have different options (one, for instance, will email for purchases over some threshold). But they will all email you a few days before a payment is due. This is great, as I can check the credit union bill-pay site to make sure I've paid or scheduled a payment, and, if I haven't, I can remedy that in time to avoid a late payment fee and, possibly, a ding on my credit record. So, today I got email from my backup card, one I almost never use, reminding me that a payment is in 5 days. Well, I hadn't paid or scheduled a payment, and I couldn't find a paper statement. So, I went to the credit card web site to check the current balance. Yep. The payment that's due in 5 days is for the sum of $0.00. Phew!

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Boring weekend

Snapdragon
It only seems like I haven't done anything all weekend. OK, I haven't done a lot, but I did get some things done.

Yesterday I did two loads of laundry. Since it was grim out, I hung them on the racks in the basement, and they're almost dry. There's a third load in the machine now, and I left enough space on the racks to hang everything in it. (If I'd been energetic enough first thing in the morning, I could have hung this load outside on the line, but now I'm not sure that things will dry before dark.)

I also went out briefly in the afternoon because of a chocolate emergency, the emergency being that I had none. While out, I filled the car (it was running on fumes, and filling it over the weekend will save time on Monday morning). The closest sensible place to buy chocolate is my local health food store. While much of what they have is natural and organic junk food, they do have some bulk items and natural ingredients. In their gluten-free section, I found something I've been looking for for a while: chick pea flour. It's lower carb (and higher fiber) than conventional wheat flour and is, I think, the breading for the fabulous cauliflower I had at an Indian restaurant a few months ago. And, they had free samples of locally-picked early-harvest apples. So, I came home with a Gingergold, which was every bit as good as I remember them being last year.

On the agenda for today, aside from the remaining laundry, is figuring out what to do with the cup or so of blackberries I have. I'm thinking some kind of syrup to put in yoghurt would be good.

And, of course, there will be knitting, and, if I get energetic, the bathrooms need cleaning.

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Sproutage

Snapdragon
We have sproutage, yes indeed. Three out of the four seed packets that I planted from on Sunday said that germination would occur in 7-14 days (the fourth, beets, said 14-21 days). Yesterday, when I inspected the plot, I thought I could convince myself, if I squinted just so, that the spinach was starting to germinate. Today, no squinting was necessary. There are definite little sproutlets in the areas where I planted spinach and lettuce. That's 4 days! I hope this turns out, in retrospect, to have been an auspicious beginning rather than false promise.

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Fall planting

Snapdragon
A few weeks ago, I pulled up the last of the arugula (and harvested a huge number of seed pods). I also did a serious weeding, and laid down some more fertilizer and watered it in. But, I didn't plant any fall greens, due to a variety of circumstances that meant that I didn't have any free time on a good day for planting. Finally, today I had time and it wasn't raining or too hot. I had leftover beet seeds and, when the thought of fall greens had occurred to me (there's more space than usual because the beans got eaten by bunnies), I had acquired spinach seeds and more lettuce. In the meantime, I had read somewhere that kale is more winter hardy than any of the other greens. So, when I went out to the farmstand, I stopped in to a nursery for kale seeds which, of course, they didn't have. So, when I got home, I started calling, found a garden center that still had kale seeds (they were nice enough to check for me), and made a special run. For kale seeds. Yeah, for kale seeds.

By the time I got home, the Mets were behind 3-0. And it went downhill from there. As soon as the game ended, and the less said about that the better, I went outside, did some cleanup weeding, and planted my greens. They should start germinating in a week, and I have some anti-bunny pellets to put out then. With a little luck, I'll have greens into November.

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Today in the garden

Snapdragon
It's been a strange year, gardening-wise. I planted beans, lettuce, beets, radishes, scallions, and arugula. The radishes, scallions, and arugula did just fine, but they're done now, and I have plenty of arugula seeds for next year. However, the lettuce, not so much. Once the leaves were large enough to sample, a critter got them. So, I've had very little lettuce. This same critter got most of the leaves off of the few bean plants that germinated. In addition, it ate the leaves from a number of perennials, in two different flower beds. The beets were an experiment. I'm not sure what possessed me. But they've been a grand experiment, an experiment that keeps on giving. I've been eating the thinnings in salads since June. I've sautéed up greens on a regular basis. And I've had borscht for lunch. So, all in all, a very successful venture. Here's today's harvest.

beets08_13

There's a small stand of wild black raspberries on the edge of the woods. They don't get a lot of sun, and because it's been so cool this summer, they're only just now starting to ripen, about three weeks later than usual. The tradeoff is that there are more than usual, even though it's still not all that much. This bowl is three or four day's worth.

blackberries08_14

I also picked one purple bean. It may be the sum total of my bean harvest this year. And it's entirely fitting that the picture I took of it is totally out of focus.

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