Friday, 15 April 2016


The chiengora scarf I was working on is done, shipped and received.

Now I'm trying to get my quilt square done this weekend, and working on my Hypnosis socks, which are coming along slowly (I'm still on the first sock).

And since it's supposed to be a gorgeous weekend weather-wise, there will be garden time. I want to re-arrange the back garden here, maybe turn the compost (if it's thawed), plus all the plants I was holding over the winter for a friend get dug up and go back to her this weekend.

It's kind of a warm-up and finish-everything-else idea for the weekend, because work starts Monday. Well, I suppose it's about time. It will be nice to get back to work, once I get used to the waking-up-early part again.

I tell you though, one thing I'm going to be doing more of this year is checking for ticks. I've been lucky so far, and never had one. Not sure how prevalent they are in the Ottawa area, even. But my parents aren't that far away, in southern Quebec, about two hours from here, and the tick situation seems to be getting bad there. Several people in their area have been diagnosed with Lyme in the past few years, one probably from a bite months, if not a year, earlier. Both parents and almost all the pets have had ticks, and get checked almost daily. This was a warm winter, with lots of mice around (which are carriers), and the first ticks on the pets showed up before the snow was off the ground. And one of those ticks gave the dog Lyme disease. She was all lethargic and not eating, and seemed in pain, so Mom took her to the vet. And this one vet said she's seen 13 cases of dogs with Lyme so far this spring.

It's treatable, especially if caught early - the poor dog is on antibiotics and vitamins, and is starting to feel better. But obviously the ticks are out there already, hungry, and infectious. So please, keep your eyes open. Check yourself and your pets. Save your ticks if you get them, so they can be tested if necessary. Watch for symptoms in yourself and your pets. Untreated Lyme can cause permanent damage, and it's not pleasant. The Canadian Lyme Foundation is a good place to start for info on prevention, symptoms, and treatment.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Little Bit of Everything

So what about this weather? Can't make up its mind - Easter Sunday it was so warm I sat out on the porch at the parents' in a t-shirt and bare feet and was too hot, then it got cold again this week, and today it's snowing. My library pile, with books on famous English gardens at Sissinghurst and Munstead, seems a nice escape from the snow.

The preparations for spring are moving forward, though. Clean-up outside is mostly done. My seeds have all arrived, and all the windowsills are occupied by flats (spaced so the cat can still jump up in her usual places, though). The zinnias and salpiglossis are up already, and I check the window boxes more often than I check my e-mails, waiting for the next little plants. I feel really happy about the salpiglossis, since they haven't had a textbook life so far. The package said they had to be sprouted in the dark for 20 days at 80 F. Well, I wrapped them in black plastic and put them in the windowsill right by the stove, since I couldn't think of any other way to keep them warm. After less than a week (!) they were up, tiny, pale,  spindly things, so I thought they might be better off with light, and switched the black plastic for clear. And promptly managed to drop the flat upside-down while putting it back on the windowsill. But there were still seedlings on top, in the soil, when I turned it back over - thank goodness for that bag I had over it - so I thought no harm in seeing if they'll live. And they are - they are bigger and they have little green leaves, so all is well!

Assorted items done: Got things up in my Etsy store again - and this time they are set up to auto-renew if they expire. Yay, because I'm really bad at paying attention to that little job. Got my taxes done today. Finalized the garden plans I made for Liz last spring (she had a busy year too, so it wasn't like she was twiddling her thumbs waiting on me), and did some estimating for a patio a friend wants.

Work hasn't started yet, except for our first job of the season, which was building a garden at the Home and Garden show the other week. We took a day and a half to do the planting, between deciding how things would look best, and juggling the plan when some plants didn't show up in good condition. Trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs in bloom, we had it all, in a stone and wood backyard patio setting the construction team built. I was worried tear-down would be a long job also, but it went like a team of army ants had gotten in. Three hours only, and we kept all the plants for use this summer.

A treat Easter Monday - a whole flock of Bohemian waxwings showed up and hung around for a while, eating the little crabapples on a tree in the front yard at the parents'. Gorgeous birds, and watching them eat crabapples is a hoot. They were eating them whole, but if the apple is too big...bird opens beak wide, apple slides down, bird closes beak, apple slides back up!

There has been fibre stuff going on as well, of course. Mitts for the ranch store, and now I'm on an interesting project; a request for a chiengora lace scarf. The dog is more of a hair than a fur type, so I mixed it with half Romney wool, spun a couple bobbins of fairly fine 2-ply, and now it's on the needles in an Estonian floral lace pattern.

The mitts are both from a book by Solveig Larsson, and it is a lovely book.