Sunday, May 30, 2010

Garden fence complete

The garden fence is complete and today we had the dogs in there. They loved it! Yesterday while Josh worked, Maegwin and I hung out on a blanket. We alternated between sunglasses on and off (though I got no photos of her with them on). The sun hat doesn't really fit so I had to roll it back to keep it off her face.
First we rolled off the blanket.
hat falling off
Then spied the bright green, tasty looking grass.
tasting nature
Mmm, don't mind if I do!
so succulent
Into the mouth it goes...
mmm delicious grass
Ooh I'll try that blade next!
ooh I'll try that blade next
we don't need no stinking blanket

Obviously staying on the blanket alone was not an option so we layed together and looked up at the leaves.
chilling under the tree
They were pretty cool.
ooh pretty leaves
Then we snoozed for a bit in the shade.

All in all, it was a great time outside. She took a really long nap today so we got the chicken wire laid out to have on the ground and fold up along the fence. We also twist tied it all to stakes on one side. It got ridiculously hot though and we came in. I have no pictures-I was working too hard. We'll take some when the brutal sun goes away. We bought a bunch of plants to put out. The plan is to line the fence with marigolds and geraniums to repel pests. We also have some foxglove to discourage deer. There is sedum that we will put out probably along the far side of the house to start spreading over the area where the geothermal pit was dug. We also bought shasta daisies to fill in the area under the tree next to the paver patio. Between those, the black-eyed susans, and the cone flowers the area will look great by the end of the summer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

vegetables & such

We were all laid low by sickness. I had a sinus infection which after my first course of antibiotics turned into an ear infection bad enough that I almost ruptured my ear drum. I'm just able to hear out of my left ear now. Josh had an upper respiratory infection and Maegwin had a perpetual runny nose. Good thing we all see the same doctor. Now that we are feeling better I wanted to catch you all up on the happenings of the house.

This week our seedlings have started exploding from their little containers. It is so funny how we went from just a few random brussels sprouts to literally tons of plants. Our tomatoes, green beans, soy beans, peas, beets, and cabbages are up. We are still waiting on the lima beans, summer squash, butternut squash, and black beans to peep up their lazy heads. I think I wasn't watering quite enough at first to really soak the seed coats on the harder beans so they are behind. We are a bit delayed from stuff we would buy at the nursery but honestly we had a late spring this year so we will probably also have a late fall. Or so I hope...

Josh finished building all the raised beds and they look really good.
completed raised beds
We've already planted our leeks and onions. It is amazing how quickly they shot up. We got a medley this year so we can decide which ones we like the best to plant in the future. There were so many onions in the set that we could not plant them all. The closer plants in this photo are the leeks and the further ones are the onions.
onions-leeks bed
And for some close ups....leeks:
leek close up
and onions...
onion close up
We also FINALLY had a weekend without rain so we used our newly acquired tiller (it's an attachment for our weedwhacker, isn't that cool?!) to till all the beds and plant our butter lettuce and seeds for arugula, romaine lettuce, more butter lettuce, and spinach. Crossing our fingers that all the subsequent rain will make them come up soon.
lettuce-spinach-cabbage bed
The strawberries and asparagus are in the perennials bed. As you can see, there has been some nibbling already. Need to get that critter fence up!
strawberries close up

Yeah, yeah you say...all well and good but what about that adorable baby? We're sick of all these garden pictures! Patience is a virtue my friends. The heavy snow and lack of below zero temps for much of the winter made our herb garden (and the weeds) go nuts! Our chives, oregano, thyme, and mint all survived and are spreading like wild.
herb garden
chocolate mint

Maegwin and I have done two weeks of Mommy & Baby yoga and she LOVES it! The whole time she is rolling over, laughing, chattering to the other babies. It is so nice and I plan to keep going with it for as long as we can. The first week three of the other women invited me to breakfast and we hung out for a few hours at a restaurant called Northstar in Clintonville. It was really good and I'd never have known it was there if I didn't go with them. So funny because it is just down the road from the farmers' market we go to regularly. It has been open for three weeks now but we haven't made it out there yet. I was going to go this week but the weather is crap and I didn't want to trudge around in the rain.
Maegwin graduated to the exersaucer and she has so much fun in there. Her favorites are what I call the "baby slots" and this sort of gummy circle with a star on it. She bends the stick down and gnaws on that thing like there is no tomorrow.
come on three of a kind!
We also tried solids a bit this week. She was intrigued by the avocado though I'm not sure if she liked it or was just puzzled by it.
The rice cereal on the other hand was a total no go. She hated it and made very unhappy faces.
icky rice cereal
We concluded that she probably is not quite ready so we're going to wait a few weeks and try again.

In knitting news, I finished a little sun hat for Maegwin to wear. It was quick and used a skein of yarn that was the second one I ever bought.
new sun hat
I'm also making progress on the wedding afghan for Josie. I'm about 3/4 of a way through the first repeat. I plan to do four repeats of the pattern plus a border to match the one on the bottom. It is actually five feet across so I only took a photo of one section.
wedding afghan part deux
Why yes, those are little cupcake stitch markers. I made a little visit to the Wee Ones store at Etsy. If you knit and haven't looked, go now. Her stuff is too cute! I also learned how to spin. Ok, I attempted to learn how to spin. All the history of spinning was very interesting. We learned how to prep fibers, how to spin, and how to ply yarn once you have spun singles. Here is my sad little skein of yarn which took me 30 minutes and a lot of frustration.
first handspun
It's not very even but I'm told that once I get better I won't be able to spin like this again though I might want to.
handspun close up
I might buy a drop spindle in October when we go to the Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs but I probably won't be buying a wheel anytime soon. I just can't justify the expense when I'm not very good. What's that you say? You won't get good if you never practice on one? Probably true, but I'm told that all the skills you use with a drop spindle are the same as for a wheel and they are more affordable. I'll put that on my wishlist with a sewing machine, eh?

We got an estimate on getting the final bit of knob & tube wiring taken out of the house and it came in under what we thought which is great. The electrician is coming tomorrow morning and while he's at it he's going to replace the rest of our non-grounded outlets for free! We had enough extra from our budget that we got an estimate on getting the ductwork extended upstairs for our geothermal. Right now, the upstairs gets a bit hot in summer and cold in winter (as Mom & Laura can attest to) so we want to get that all fixed up before Maegwin moves up there. That bid was very reasonable also so we just need to get it scheduled. It will also add value to the house to have a central heating/air flow.

I think that is all the interesting happenings here. Tune in next time for the critter fencing and the firepit improvement. Dun dun duh!
fire pit reference

Friday, May 7, 2010

When will it stop raining on weekends?

So sorry I have been remiss in posting a blog, we just get busy doing other things and these things take time. We finally got to start our seeds a few weekends ago. We also planted our onions, leeks, and strawberries. Something has been nibbling on the strawberries already so we need to get a move on getting the critter fencing up. I think we've found a good compromise solution with a meshy sort of fencing for the top and then chicken wire on the bottom and fanning out onto the ground. That is supposed to deter those animals that would dig underneath to get in. So far the damage is minimal and we didn't expect to get berries this year-we more planted those to start establishing the patch. The seeds are doing well under their light. So far we have a few cherry tomatoes, soy beans, brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas, and broccoli. Hopefully more will come up as the week goes on.
As you can see we used a lot of egg cartons we had saved. They work great for keeping in the moisture and they also stack! It is definitely a technique I would recommend and we'll be using it again in the future. I just wish we had thought of it sooner and saved more. We eat a lot of eggs. Our potatoes will definitely be ready to go out by the time we hit our frost free date. They have some pretty long sprouts already. They look like some kind of weird alien life form.

We took Maegwin for her four month check up. She is doing really well and is still measuring off the charts on height at 25.5 inches and I believe is somewhere around the 75th percentile on weight at 14 lbs 3 oz. The doctor said she is growing like a weed! We finally caught a video of her laughing and it cracks me up everytime I watch it.

and more...

In knitting news, I finished a sweater that had been a year in the making. I wore it to work and decided it was really about three inches shorter than I'd really like it to be. I dutifully ripped out the bind off and added three more inches. I decided I should wash it again to even out the stitches and block it. Something happened in the washer which I still don't really have an explanation for. I've washed countless knitted items in there on handwash. I have a front loading washer and I use wool wash. Long story short it felted...all except for those three inches I added on. So now I have an unwearable sweater. I was so upset about it. Once it sits in time out for a while maybe I will cut it up and make a pillow or something. Right now I don't want to see it.
stupid felting
After that incident I had to do something fast to make me feel better about knitting so I cast on for a sun hat for Maegwin. That turned out great and was just the one day project I needed to use up some cotton that had literally been in my stash since I learned to knit.
The yarn is Blue Sky Organic Cotton and the pattern is a free one called On the Sunny Side. (Ravelry linked for those so inclined). Still working on the wedding afghan and it is coming along. I had to take a break to let my thumb heal which is now totally back to normal thanks to a cortisone injection.

I was down with a sinus infection last week and am slowly improving with the help of antibiotics. They really are wonderful things. I'm so used to not being able to take any medicine now that it was almost luxurious to have my symptoms addressed. I'm feeling better just in time for the start of Mommy & Baby yoga on Saturday. I'm really excited. May is a super busy month overall for me. I'm signed up to learn how to spin on May 16th, Mothers' Day is this weekend, stamp camp was last weekend, and somewhere in there we will be filling out the garden more. I'll probably blog tomorrow with pictures of what we do in the garden. In the meantime, I leave you all with this cuteness to ponder.

snoozing with seahorse