Wednesday things

garden, July 21

Garden view, July 21 – you can see we finally took out the crappy, sad zucchini at the back and have planted some beans that I hope will spring up quickly.

garden, July 21

eggplant flowers

Eggplant flowers!

Matt's Wild Cherry

So close!


more and more tomatoes

seed stitch

Swatching for a new sweater – Anzula Haiku, a cool blend of superwash merino, bamboo and nylon.

new shawl project

New shawl project, too.

ready for action

Is three projects enough for 7 days away?!

carrots and bread

Garden: things are just going along, the very first cherry tomatoes are juuuuust starting to get a blush! I think we’re going to have to pull out the peas and zucchini this weekend, because they’re just not doing well. I might plant some bush beans in their places, those always do well!

We pulled another carrot, and this one was actually of a decent size! Yum.


The peppers are doing pretty well – first baby serrano!

baby serrano!

And check out the crazy flower clusters on this guy:


Knitting: I finally finished up a pair of socks that’s been riding around in my purse for at least six months. They’re Malabrigo sock, which I know, KNOW isn’t good for socks but they’re so nice anyway.

malabrigo socks

The colour is a really pretty stormy blue-grey – I’d love to knit a sweater in this colour. Pattern is my own, top down with tubular cast on, 68 stitches on 2mm.

And since we’re headed to Vancouver in a week, I need to think about what knitting to bring!

travel knitting considerations

I did eliminate that yellow madtosh from consideration, because although beautiful, I don’t want to take worsted weight on a trip. I’m thinking a shawl, a fingering weight sweater, and maybe a pair of socks to work on.

Oh, and I did I say bread? This loaf came out great.

delicious bread

Very Monday

I’ve finished the knitting on my deadline project, so I’m finally able to go back and pick up some projects that have been on the needles for way too long!

almost complete handwarmers

Ah, the quick knit – some little handwarmers to match a hat that I finished awhile ago (patterns forthcoming).

lacy sweater

This lacy cardigan is so close to done! I think I’d love to have it ready to wear on vacation at the end of the month. Just a couple inches of body and then the short top-down sleeves.

Also! We picked our first garden carrot, mostly out of curiosity. It was pretty tiny (thickest part was maybe 1 inch long), but tasty!

tiny carrot

Garden Update, July 10

The peas are dying off now, but we did manage to get a few snacks out of the spoils. Next year I’ll plan snap peas since you can eat the whole thing!

Garden, July 5

Garden, July 5

I couldn’t wait any longer to pull the radishes, because the eggplant was looking mighty crowded – they were super tiny, only a couple of gumball-sized ones. Ah well, they were yummy in a salad! The eggplant is much happier now too.

Garden, July 5

Garden, July 5

Garden, July 5

The only tomato plants that haven’t set fruit yet are the Reisenstraube – there are some pretty awesome clusters of flowers on them though! All the other tomatoes have fruit, but none have ripened yet. I’m feeling impatient.

Garden, July 5

Garden, July 5

Garden, July 5

Garden, July 5

Unfortunately, the zucchini and squash are a little sad looking – lots of powdery mildew, and fruit that shrivels after only a few inches. Since there are fruit, there should be enough pollination. I think it might just be that it was too early and they decided to peace out? I pruned the plants back quite a bit this past weekend, cutting off the worst leaves, and it looks like there are some bigger ones on there. It’s hard to grow zucchini in a container.

sad squash

We didn’t eat that one in the foreground, but the others were just fine in a noodle stir fry.

The long view, today:

garden, July 10

You can see the peas dying in the front corner there! I think I’ll rip them out this weekend and put in some beans.

garden, July 10

My First Landscape Design!

My good friend (and fellow handbell ringer) Yvonne and her partner Jeremy have been renovating their house for ages, with rather too many setbacks, bad contractors, and overall headaches! So when Yvonne asked me if I’d be willing to help them design a new front yard, I was determined to actually do a good job and get it done on time. I told them I didn’t have much experience with garden plants, but they trusted me enough to do the research and design anyway.

We went through a few iterations of the design, and a trip to the garden centre helped with picking plants and colours. The overall idea was no lawn to mow, very low-maintenance plants, and some pretty colours. This past weekend was a long weekend for Canada Day, and with lots of people to help dig, we managed to dig up the entire lawn, fill a dumpster with dirt, put in new walkways, and plant. In 3 days!

Here’s the before…

yvonne's yard design!

There’s a big tree up front, which provided some much-needed shade for digging. There were some straggly flowers in front of the house, and some weedy stuff along the property line. There was a rather giant hump in the middle of the yard that needed to be dug down about a foot!

Getting started with digging…one of the rented wheelbarrows had a completely flat, broken wheel. Typical.

yvonne's yard design!

So much digging. So many tree roots. In case you’re wondering, the tree isn’t very loved and isn’t big enough to be protected by the city’s bylaws, so we just kind of went for it in digging up and cutting off roots. If the tree dies there won’t be any love lost – though I think it’ll be just fine. It’ll probably grow stronger just to spite us.

yvonne's yard design!

Empty yard. It took about 5 hours, with lots of helpers.

yvonne's yard design!

Dale and I took the Sunday off to go to a family thing, but Jeremy was still hard at work – they put in the walkways, which took all day (and still wasn’t quite done).

yvonne's yard design!

Monday we were back at it for the fun part – putting in the plants! Here’s when I realized I’d left several important flowers off the shopping list (oops).

Yvonne's yard design!

We were able to find a cute little garden centre nearby that had just the right plants.

Yvonne's yard design!

Placing the plants in the tree bed. These are mostly shade plants.

Yvonne's yard design!

Along the property dividing line we put in some adorable cedars.

yvonne's yard design!

Planting is, of course, the prettiest part. House bed plants: Laceleaf Japanese Maple, various daylilies, coneflowers, daisies, Russian sage, Little Blue stem grass. (That pipe is going to be painted black.)

yvonne's yard design!

Lots of black cedar mulch. It smelled awesome. Tree bed plants: Little Giant globe cedar, Northern Maidenhair Fern, Coral bells in several colours (I love the Obsidian ones), Dwarf Japanese garden juniper, Hidcote lavender, Magic Carpet creeping thyme, several hostas, Little Blue stem grass, Coreopsis.

yvonne's yard design!

Finished! I stole this photo from Yvonne since apparently I didn’t take any full finished photos.

done and done!

I was pretty nervous about this whole project since it was so far out of my experience, but hey – researching plants on the internet is fun! It was awesome to see my idea actually come to life.

Warning: Garden Carnage

Someone asked in the comments why we’re wrapping all the containers with mesh – it’s like a plastic chicken wire, much easier to work with than metal wire.

zucchini carnage

It’s because we have horrible, horrible squirrels (and other critters, but I’m mostly blaming the squirrels).

zucchini carnage

Everything was looking so nice, especially since this is the first time I’ve managed to actually grow zucchini on the balcony.

zucchini carnage

Came home on Monday to discover that apparently surrounding the bin with mesh wasn’t enough! They totally got in there and messed up the plants but good, trampling the flowers, eating chunks off the zucchini, ugh. We ended up putting even more mesh over the top of the bins and tying them down. So now even we can’t get into the bins without some effort. I know squash is very resilient, and it’ll make more – as long as we keep the critters out. I’m glad they only attacked the squash this time.

Otherwise, things are going swimmingly. Some rain and heat this week means BIG GROWTH!

garden, June 25

garden, June 25

garden, June 25

The cucumber has to climb outside the bin – I hope we’ll be able to get the cucumbers before they get attacked.

go peas go!

The peas are starting to plump up!

sweet cherry peppers

eggplant leaves

I love going out each day to see what’s new in the garden.

Crafting content? I did finish spinning up some new yarns! These are from Woolgatherings on Etsy, and they were totally beautiful to spin. On the left is Blue Faced Leicester, on the right is superwash merino.

woolgathering handspuns

I also have a new post up on Craftsy: Preparing Fiber for Spinning. Check it out!