Good work

PeonyIt’s been raining all day today and the world outside is damp and growing dark. Inside, though, I’ve got these beautiful peonies to keep me company, in their awesome turquoise vase (which is actually a vintage Fiestaware pitcher that I found at a local antique store). It’s been a treat to watch these flowers unfold, and an added bonus to smell their delightful perfume as I walk past them.

Crochet buntingHave big plans for these little dudes. These crochet bunting flags, made using Lucy’s pattern, are going to be part of my first ever yarn bombing! Details to come, folks!

Spring saladWe enjoyed this lovely salad tonight for dinner, along with some Algerian flatbread Big Country made. It was delicious, but was made precious considering the salad’s source. In the summer I volunteer on a local farm every week, pulling weeds, helping build dirt beds, weeding the asparagus, whatever needs done. In exchange the farmers give me produce. And they are VERY generous in their giving. I really think I’m getting the better end of the deal. Anyway, this week I came home with a giant bag of mixed greens, four or five different herbs in bundles, a bundle of Johnny Jump Ups, chives, rhubarb, and green garlic. Tonight’s salad was garnished with chive blossoms and Johnny Jump Ups as you can see, because I just found out they’re edible! The Johnnies don’t taste like anything, but they sure are pretty. The chive blossoms on the other hand are divinely oniony. It makes me feel such contentment and wonder to know that with the exception of the carrots, every bit of that salad came from within 10 miles of my house.

Crochet bitsAnd here’s a photo of the projects I’ve got going right now. The three bunting triangles are done, just lying in wait for the yarn bombing, the two granny squares will be joined by four more and turned into a ball for Jonathan, and you can see the ripple blanket peeking out from under the table. I’ve only got eight more rows and the edging to do before that blanket is finally finished. I have to admit I’ve already cozied up under for a cat nap, though, yarn ball and crochet hook resting on my stomach, the cats resting on my feet. Naps are so much more rewarding when taken beneath the wooly good work of one’s own hands.

 

 

 

 

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Snowy morning

You’d think that just a few days before Memorial Day weekend you could count on the weather to be fairly spring-ish. And until this morning, the weather has actually been quite summery here in northwest Montana. So imagine my surprise this morning when I awoke to snow on the ground! It rained all day yesterday (in torrents, at times), and turned to snow overnight.

Snowy morningAll the poor trees and plants in the area were looking pretty droopy and pathetic. One of the first things I did was go outside in the backyard and beat snow off the willow tree, then went to the front yard to dust off the bushes in the bed in front of the porch. There are downed branches, big ones, all over town. Ahhh, spring in Montana.

Of course the forecast is for 70s by Monday.

Frankly we were glad of the snow despite worrying about the plants in our yard and at the community garden. It gave us the excuse to cozy up on the couch this morning while the Peanut napped. Big Country looked at land and houses for sale (no, we’re not in the market for buying our own house yet, as much as I WISH we were… we just apparently like to torture ourselves by looking…  sigh…), and I added a few more rows to the ripple blanket I’m working on (which has been much neglected since the weather has been so nice). It was a nice change from yesterday… I had food poisoning and when my body wasn’t trying to get whatever it was that didn’t agree with me out any way possible, I was sleeping. Yesterday felt like such a waste of a day, but being able to cuddle with my lovely hubby this morning was just what the doctor ordered.

The snow is now melted, which makes me glad. Looking forward to sunshine this weekend!

 

High summer garden

Sorry for the complete lack of posts the past few weeks, people. It’s summertime in Montana which means we’ve had some visitors! And I think those visitors would rather I hang out with them than update my blog. Apologies, blog friends. So, to make up for my neglect, I’m going to post quite a few times this week! I’ll update you from the backlog of the past few weeks.

First up: a little garden update. While I write this, the sky is darkening and there’s a dislocated thump of thunder in the distance. We are so excited for rain, and we hope it does actually rain instead of passing tantalizingly overhead. It’s been very warm here, in the 90s, which is not normal, folks. Aaaah, global weirding. Anyway, it’s finally cooling down, back into the 70s. And I think my poor plants will appreciate the reprieve from the heat. They’ve been rather limp the past week, despite their daily dousing.

These photos are from three days ago, but things haven’t changed much in the garden since then. Things are continuing to ripen well. We’ve pulled three nicely sized zucchinis out and we’re having a bumper crop of green beans. Here’s our Thai peppers reddening into ripeness.

I am excited for the heat they will add to our cooking this fall and winter. A good way to remember the warmth of summer.

My pumpkins are oranging nicely on the vine. Yes, oranging. I did just make that word up, but I think it works well.

Remember the pumpkin photo from July 31?

Here’s the same pumpkin three weeks later:

 

These aren’t the only pumpkins I’ve got growing. I’ve got another that’s still quite green that’s double the size of the other two.

We’re looking forward to pumpkin pies, cookies, and muffins. And pumpkin mush for our son!

The sunflowers are much taller these days. The tallest is about seven feet tall. Here’s yours truly again for scale. Seems like every few days we have a couple more lovely sunflower blooms out there. I planted two varieties of sunflowers: the standard yellow sort and one called Mexican Torch. I adore the Mexican Torch variety. Here’s a bloom:

Definitely saving the seeds from this flower. Isn’t the color just amazing?

The bees like the sunflowers too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It finally stopped raining…

…though it’s supposed to resume tomorrow. Sigh. I have so many veggie starts sitting on my porch waiting to be transplanted. We think today is the day! Here’s a shot from my back porch last night about 9:15 p.m. You can see the storm clouds over the mountain range.

The mountains had been hidden all day by low clouds. The clouds here tend to get stuck on the mountains, prolonging storms and keeping the valley cloudy. A few winters ago, we had 11 days of sunshine between Halloween and the end of March.

Hopefully the weather stays drier today so we can get the veggies planted. And hopefully it gets warmer  (it was 40 degrees Thursday for the high) so those veggies can grow! I’ll be back with another post later today about using the long arm quilting machine at a local quilt shop.

Make your own sunshine

It was a dreary weekend here in northwest Montana. The high yesterday was 53, I believe. It rained most of the day and the mountain near my apartment appeared dusted with a little snow (oh, it can’t be the end of summer yet, it just can’t be!). Rained and was chilly Saturday, too. Shawn came to town for the weekend and we did venture to the local farmers market. We bought celery, carrots and artichoke from our farmer friend Judy and pork chops and ground beef from the area’s longest-lived family-owned meat producer.

With the celery and carrots we made a delicious chicken and rice soup. When I cut the celery into little pieces for the soup, the smell filled the kitchen with its sharp smell. A prime example of why buying local food is the only way to go. Celery from the store tastes like nothing to me. This celery was vibrant. We modified  the original recipe we found enough that I have no qualms calling it my own (it only called for one stalk of celery and one carrot — we put in four stalks and about seven carrots, but then we do like our veggies).

And we bought the lovely hydrangeas you see above, of course. I don’t think buying fresh flowers from the farmers market is a waste, but rather aiding local growers and adding beauty to my home. I make do with silk blooms during winter, when shipping flowers from exotic locales is indeed wasteful, but during the summer I revel in flowers. I make it a habit to buy them as often as possible at farmers markets. I love them, they intrigue the kitties. Win-win.

Now isn’t that lovely? I placed the hydrangeas in the ripple vase Shawn bought me at Crate and Barrel and placed it on top of the side table/drawers that we refinished a few months ago. Complemented by a framed print I found on etsy.com. Sometimes a person must find sunshine inside themselves, inside the home, when all is gray without.