Saturday, 28 June 2014

Fluff and Stuff

Too bloody hot out there - so glad I'm not out working today. Instead, I'm out at the parents' for the weekend, in the country. Granted, I did go out and weed the dye garden after breakfast, and cut back the madder and the bedstraw - they were flopping all over the path, and the bedstraw was in flower, and I don't want it re-seeding all over the place - but right now, I'm staying in. Even the porch in the shade is on the warm side; I was picking fleece out there, but have given up and moved that in also.

And if you really want a picture that will make you sweat, this morning I finished the alpaca gloves I was working on, and got them blocked. They're nearly dry now.

This year's shipment of chicks arrived last week, including a few of different breeds and colours that will be kept for laying hens.

One of them, a Barred Rock chick, is a little smaller than the others, and she wasn't very lively this morning, and looked like she was panting, so we brought her in to keep an eye on her and keep her from being squashed or trampled. She's perkier now, and is back with the rest (she was feeling lonely, and making plenty of noise to let us know that), but we're keeping an eye on her, since she's still panting and not running about as much as the others. Hopefully she's going to be OK. She's very cute, and has a bit of an owl or a penguin colouring right now, dark on top and a creamy belly.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


So...has anyone noticed it's a little wet out today? I sure did, because I was out working in it. And after the four-hour job my co-worker and I had this morning, (during which we got soaked, rain jacket and all), we bargained for a half-day off. It's not good to be in gardens, compacting the soil, on such a wet day anyway. We'll have to work our asses off for the rest of the week to make up for lost time - but at least said asses will probably be dry apart from the sweat. Right now every item of clothing I had on this morning, from undies to rain jacket, is hanging up drying, and my boots are under the fan, and stuffed with newspaper, which will get changed a few times tonight, to help dry out the insides. I need them wearably dry for tomorrow - and steel-toed boots can't readily be tossed in the clothes-dryer.

Ah, well. Now I'm dry, it's nice to have the afternoon off. With cocoa and popcorn for a belated lunch, plans to make chocolate chip cookies later for a work BBQ tomorrow, and a chance to sit on the couch and knit on some gloves-in-progress, and no need to go water the plants outside!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

New Toy and Scrap Socks

So...both fibre and garden content today. For those who couldn't care less about garden stuff, here's the pic I promised of the scrap socks I'm knitting.

Caroline wanted neutral to warm colours, so this is just a bit of everything I had partial balls of that looked like it might fit the colour scheme. She even gets four colours that are natural-dyed. The yellow ochre for rib, heel and toe is dyed with rose canes, the black/grey variegated is logwood, the warm brown is walnut and coreopsis, and the dark olive-brown (in the center of the stars above the heel and the ochre/olive band near the toe) was originally dark blue, which I overdyed with onion.

I am digging the socks, and my mother would steal them except for the fact that they're the wrong size and have Caroline's name knitted in. So I expect there'll be another pair of these in my future.

And for the garden content, I just have to share a picture of my new toy. The head gardener at work introduced us to it, and it does almost everything. Officially it is I think a big grip garden knife. She refers to it simply as 'the tool', which is appropriate, since you can do the week's maintenance on a garden bed with only this in hand.

Sturdy as can be. Works as a trowel, a dandelion/taproot weed extractor (it's been super for lawn weeding), soil cultivator, and slices roots and stems. All those edges and teeth are sharp, though, so definitely keep out of reach of children. I did my garden weeding with it yesterday and it went really fast. Sweep under the surface to slice weed roots and loosen soil, use the tip for any stubborn taproots, and the serrated edge for any stems and branches on perennials that need removal, or root balls that need sawing apart. 10$ at Home Depot if you want one of your own.

Out this morning transplanting eggplants, cucs, and tomatoes, lavender and basil. I know it's a horribly hot day to do it (28C high predicted, and before 10am it was already hot to work outside in a t-shirt). But I only have time on weekends, so today it is. I gave everything a good watering, and shade cloth or a screen of some sort for the afternoon sun, so hopefully they will be all right.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Summer's First Dyeing

A gorgeous weekend, and one I get to spend out at the parents', having fun. Yesterday there was a trip to the local greenhouse to ogle their stocks (and their cat), then a run to Johanne's with my latest knits. The crescent shawl I was working on turned out nicely, and I had also finished a pair of short-row fingerless mitts (the Mixed Wave mitts by Sybil R).

Right now I've got a pair of socks on the needles, scrappy and in stranded patterns, for my brother's landlady. She loved the ones Mom made her daughter for Christmas, and has commissioned two pairs for herself, so we're each making a pair. No pics yet, but I promise there will be.

Today we have had some fun in the dye pots. One of the local weaving guild members who was in the dye course I taught last year wanted to dye some yarn for a weaving project, so she and a friend and her husband all came over. He took off for a nice rural bike ride, and the ladies and I ran an indigo pot. I made the pot fairly strong, and cooked up a batch of fresh greenweed for myself as well, then dyed a bunch of fleece after the yarn was done. Now the clothesline is cheerful with fleece in aqua from the greenweed overdyed with indigo, and sapphire from the indigo alone. I can't wait to see how they look as yarn.