Sunny days are here again

You know you live in the Northwest when, on those fleetingly rare winter days when the clouds part and the sun shines, your initial response isn’t, “Oh hey, it’s finally sunny. I can stop being depressed now!”, but rather, “Why is it so bright in here? What is THAT?” Funny how quickly this Colorado-born and raised girl, who like all folks from her native state, craved sunshine (Colorado gets about 300 days of sunshine a year) has turned into a dyed-in-the-wool Montanan, who blinks in surprise on sunny winter days. Funny cloud-locked responses aside, I am more than happy to welcome the sun today. It’s just lovely to sit in the warm, bright patch next to the glass sliding door and crochet. And ignore the work I’m supposed to be doing. And crochet.

J blanket halfway

I’m working on a blanket for the Peanut. I showed a picture of it a few days ago in my “Yarn Therapy” post. The blanket is about halfway done after a week’s worth of work. I’m using a herringbone crochet stitch with a pattern of my own devising. You can find a great tutorial here for the stitch. It’s a very easy stitch, and right now I’m totally OK with mindless finger movements so I can concentrate on other things. It’s also a very tight, dense stitch, which I like for the warmth factor.

WEB 1-27-13 herringbone half double crochet

I’m using Berroco yarn, from the Vintage line. It’s nice yarn, soft and easy to work with. Though acrylic yarn is cheaper, I don’t like the way it feels sliding across my fingers as I crochet. Is that weird? There needs to be some wool in yarn for it to be, I don’t know, real.

We’re all finally recovering from the depths of illness over the past week. After three different doctors appointments spread out over the week and a chest x-ray, the doc finally diagnosed the Peanut with bronchitis. Which doesn’t surprise me in the least. I get bronchitis myself nearly every year. A round of antibiotics and every-four-hours treatments with a nebulizer, Peanut has rebounded and is finally back to being my smiley guy. A smiley guy who doesn’t mind sharing my husband’s lap with our cat, Pele.

Lap sharing

 

Had to get out of the sick house this weekend and found myself at my favorite local antique/consignment store. It is truly fabulous in there. And being friends with the owner and therefore getting discounts always helps. I was on the hunt for some chairs for the brewery. We ordered new barstools, but we have one low table and wanted some eclectic chairs. I searched high and low at the local thrift stores and was frankly disgusted to find that the thrift stores all wanted about $35 a chair for rickety sticks that would likely collapse if you looked at them wrong. So I ponied up another $20 bucks a chair and got some solid, nice chairs. They don’t match, but we wanted something “found” and eclectic anyway to go with the rustic theme in the brewery. So, three chairs down and one to go.

And of course, since that antique store is my very favorite, I couldn’t get out the door without picking up some personal things. (Did I mention that I only allow myself in that antique store about twice a year for that very reason?) I found a darling and sturdy teal blue child’s chair for the Peanut. It’s still big, obviously, but I look forward to him growing into it and enjoying his own little chair. It will go great with a little activity table in a year or two. Oh, and here’s the blanket I’m working on again draped over the chair.

Blanket and blue chair

 

Also found the flannel shirt my husband is wearing in the picture above. It’s a vintage Pendleton shirt, made in the U.S.! Sadly a lot of Pendleton’s stuff has been moved to manufacturing overseas. But this shirt, for a lot cheaper than a new one made in China, looked like it would fit so I snapped it up. And Big Country likes it a lot. My final purchases were a crochet doily and crochet table runner. I couldn’t believe how cheaply she was selling them (sssshh don’t tell her that!). The doily was $3 and the table runner $8. I could work on a table runner like that for WEEKS. And I sure as hell wouldn’t charge a measly 8 bucks for it!

Crochet runner

Isn’t it great? Fits perfectly on “Peanut’s shelf.” (This bookshelf, which is ancient and fabulous, used to be full of books and whatnot, but Peanut would always get into it and make a giant mess. So we cleared it out and put some toys in it for him. Someday it’ll have books in it again.)

So, despite a really stuffy nose, a cough, and a rough night’s sleep last night, I’m feeling a lot more at peace with things than I was last week. I guess sometimes you just have to let things do. Drink some coffee. Crochet. Read a book. And speaking of books… I’m reading a really special one right now that isn’t even published yet! I’ll share it in my next post.

 

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Renovation of the world

“There is, indeed, something inexpressibly pleasing in the annual renovation of the world, and the new display of the treasures of nature.” – Samuel Johnson

A week ago, before planting the transplants I bought, my husband built up five more beds in the garden.

We ran out of the horse manure compost that a friend with a horseback riding operation gave us, so we used organic compost from a local gardening shop in these beds. We laid a thin layer of compost, and I added some organic bone meal, too. I did this, because, as mentioned before, my soil test showed that the garden’s soil was lacking in nitrogen and phosphorus.

Here’s yours truly spreading the compost. Yes, I am wearing a fleece. Why? Because up here at 48 degrees (latitude), that’s also been the high temperature for a while. We have glorious autumns here, but cold and wet springs. In fact, there’s a winter weather advisory in our area today. Sigh.

Here’s the garden as it was about a week ago after planting the transplants. I apologize I haven’t posted this sooner, but I’ve been busy, ya know. The garden looks much the same now, except the lettuces and carrots are coming up, as are the onion sets and the buckwheat. And the weeds. Oh the weeds. I weeded for half an hour yesterday and got one half of one bed done. Well, that’s what I get for not weeding for a week: Now I get to spend my free time weeding!

Of the transplants I planted: I planted a pumpkin, a zucchini, a squash, two tomatoes, a pepper, mint, cilantro, shallots – all of these from the local Terrapin Farm. From a local greenhouse, I planted corn, more squash, cucumbers, cabbage, lavender, parsley, basil, oregano, and dill.

From seed I planted spinach, red romaine, rainbow chard, ruby red chard, carrots, acorn squash, cucumbers, snow peas, blue lake bush beans, onion (from sets, technically), sunflowers, and a bunch of wildflowers on the outside perimeter.

Here’s the herb garden we planted. In it there’s parsley, basil, oregano, cilantro, lavender, mint, and dill. We love to use fresh herbs in our cooking.

Here are the corn transplants. I will not be doing these again. At least not transplants that are this big. These transplants have taken an absolute beating with wind and rain, and yesterday, hail. They don’t have the established roots they need to stand up to the beatings, which, looking at the weather report, will continue until morale improves. Lesson learned.

And yesterday it hailed for fifteen minutes. The hail was about blueberry size. Big enough to cause some damage. I think I lost a squash plant, probably some of the corn, and time will tell what else I’ve lost once the lake in the middle of the garden recedes. We also had a bird get in the house, trying to escape the hail (we had the door open because we were standing on the porch watching the hail come down). It flapped around inside for a few minutes until we could get it out. Hopefully the hail didn’t kill it! It is supposed to rain more today (and snow up high). The picture below shows the hail. And the puddles full of hail that are probably three or four inches deep.

It’s supposed to warm up in the next few days. Hopefully, if everything didn’t drown, I’ll see some real growth out there!