The Weather Backstep

The past three days have felt more like early spring. Gray and rainy, highs in the low 60’s (mid teens celcius). No walks, no garden time, just hunkered down inside in long sleeves, long pants, and socks, all of which had been put away clean a few weeks ago until fall.

I go out to do chores, to drop packages of stuff I am selling to minimize, stuff that has life in it, but not being used. On our way to the post office drop box, we saw our first fawn. Doe and fawn were standing in the middle of our gravel road. Mom seemed unsure how to proceed, fawn was confused about the big brown animal on 4 wheels that made loud noise. Mom finally veered to the left, over a wire fence. Junior couldn’t manage the fence and seemed even more confused, finally turning the other way into the tall wet uncut hay field. I’m sure Mom went looking for Junior as soon as we passed on to the main road. And of course, I didn’t get a picture.

This time of year, the Iris have all faded, the summer flowers are all blooming. I especially love the Day Lilies. They are in a bed that runs down the east side of the garage and a few in the back of the garage. The tall “Ditch” lily is from my Dad’s gardens. He loved Zinneas and the tall orange wild type day lily. When we bought this farm, the prior owner had a herd of miniature horses on it and prior to her, it had been used for grazing cows. As a result, the top of the property was pretty void of much vegetation except some grasses and multiflora roses with some cedar trees scattered around and the run off creek that flows in a slight diagonal across part of the north edge of the property. That area is much too rocky to hay and without the horses or cows grazing on the vegetation, many volunteer trees and a few we planted have grown up. Along the creek, I planted a few clusters of the lilies and we planted 4 River Birches. The creek has divided and spread the lilies over quite a good length of it’s run and the Birches have gotten tall. After my Dad passed away, the following spring, I went up and dug a small amount of the lilies and brought them down to the house to add to the others. They are the tallest currently in that bed, but there is a yellow one that will be taller later in the summer. Currently 6 different cultivars are blooming and the bed is getting full, crowding out the Autumn Joy and the Coral Bells tucked between them. In another year or so, I will have to divide them. The Iris already need to be divided behind the garage.

The grass desperately needs mowing and edging, but it has to stop raining and dry up some before that can be done.

Time is being spent spinning on my spindles and knitting on my shawl. I am trying not to be competitive in the Spin Along which only requires 20 grams of spinning a month. By the time I finish the Peacock braid and take the Jacob off the spindle, I will have probably 140 grams. It adds up when I am not in the garden.

In desperation for something new to read last month when the library was only doing curbside delivery and everything I wanted to read had a hold on it, I downloaded an E-book from the monthly Amazon list. I have chosen from the monthly options before and been happy with the selection, discovering new to me authors. This one was about a serial killer who found his female victims on the World of Warcraft game. Well, I’m not a gamer, so the settings and terminology were foreign to me, the story line predictable and the ending making me want to write a review on Goodreads suggesting the author go back to writing school. No, I’m not going to do that, nor am I going to out the author or title here, but I felt like I had wasted several hours of my time on it. The library has reopened to check out books, I placed a hold on one a friend recommended and it became available yesterday, so masked and hand sanitized, I went in and picked it up and left. We will see how this one goes.

Stay safe everyone.

Productive Crafting

Once masks were recommended, prior to them being required in businesses and other buildings other than your home, I made each of us 2 masks. Then I made daughter one, later another and two for each of her two kiddos. It seems like they are always in the laundry even though we aren’t going out much. This morning, I decided that we should each have two more and I had seen a short video on the construction of the pleated kind that seemed a better design and simpler to make, no pattern required, no elastic, no bias tape. Simple job, but the folding chair at my sewing machine is so uncomfortable.

They are designed to be tied behind the head, however when I was making the first ones, I bought a dozen cable locks and slide the two ends through which makes a tight fit and does not come untied.

I have been spinning on the Peacock gradient braid of fiber with my spindles. Last night I finished spinning the first two colors and plied the yarn. I wasn’t happy with the twist, it was too loose, so this morning, I ran it through the wheel a second time and careful not to over twist, put more in. It is 190 yards of very light fingering weight, it is only 47.78 grams.

When the gradient is finished, it will become the yoke of a sweater for me with the body and sleeves, the gray Shetland that I have been spinning. There is more of it waiting for a turn on the wheel, I got tired of spinning it on spindles.

The reddish wool that I have been spinning on the tiny spindles is being knit into a lacy edged shawl.

The garden got a couple of Bull Nosed pepper starts and some basil. There is more basil started from seed and it will be added to the garden as well and some dill started also from seed.

I had to replant the corn bed. Then it got two heavy rains, so I am hopeful that it will come up this time. The seed is not from the company I generally use, but it is packaged for this year and I didn’t do a germination test first. If it doesn’t come up this time, I will do a germination test.

The tomatoes are being trained up 7 foot poles as a single leader per plant so suckers are being removed every couple of days, the tomatillos are also being trained up poles, I don’t need them sprawling all over the beds. The peas are heavy with pods, the tomatoes have blooms, the onions have bloom buds on top. The potatoes are getting large. I need to top them again with more soil and then start piling on spoiled hay. Spoiled hay needs to be put on the asparagus bed and soon a containment rope will be needed to contain their ferny tops away from the other beds and the paths.

Rainy Day Activity

Bertha has been providing us with rain all day long. Another front has stalled over our area and we are looking at 3 or 4 more days of rain on our saturated soil and full creeks. Another flash flood warning is in place. We are high above the creeks and sloped, but flat enough hopefully to not have mud slide activity, though there has been a lot of that including destroying a property and making a home uninhabitable in our tiny village.

With my spindle spinning, I am participating in a spin along using only the Jenkins spindles. Since I had filled them all a couple of days ago, I elected to report my results for the month and wait until June 1 to work with them again. I have a new to me spindle due in the mail tomorrow or Friday and received a gorgeous braid of wool a few days ago that I am anxious to begin spinning. To occupy my time, I have been using my wheel to try to make a bigger dent in the pound of gray Shetland that I have been spinning on spindles for two months. And knitting on the shawl that has been on the needles about that long. The first Shetland bobbin is nearly full and I will fill another before plying. The shawl was finished tonight, soaked and is pinned out to dry. I played a bit of yarn chicken with it and finished with only about a yard left, not enough for another row.

I have enough yarn spun to begin my sweater, but knitting a sweater when the weather is hot is not something I want to begin. With the current pandemic cancelling events daily, knitting more items for my shop seems futile, there won’t be craft shows and holiday markets this year. Most people don’t want to buy knitted or woven garments online without being able to handle them, try them on. I have a knitting request from a family member, but it will need to be superwash wool, which I haven’t purchased yet, and it is another sweater. Maybe I will just work on the Shetland, perhaps even one spindle that I can clear before the first of the month. We are going to be indoors for a couple more days, but I did get a bit of weeding done in the walled garden between rain showers today.

When the rain ends, I plan to make a compost bin to put in one corner of the garden. If I can make it sufficiently large, I will gather the composting material from where I moved the chicken run and use it as a base to finish composting along with kitchen scraps to have it ready to supplement beds as they get harvested and replanted. I really hope to fill the freezer and the canning shelves with homegrown produce for the winter season.