Sunday, May 30, 2010

This is why you double dig

We've never had vegetables that looked this good before. While Keith had thought I was out of my mind for wanting to do all the hard work of double digging the bed, the other day he was saying that we've never had tomatoes that looked this healthy and thick. All the hard work paid off, or it will once some of those tomatoes start ripening. I saw the first fruit yesterday, and I'm looking forward to eating it soon.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yarn and gardening

I updated FiberCharmer with so-so pictures of new yarns today. In case you want to go peruse them.
For those of you who don't knit, I've got some kitty pictures today. The weather here has gotten downright hot, complete with humidity, and that has an exhausting effect on kitties, as well as giving some of them bad fur days.

Hmm, I'm not sure why the photo of Hopalong checking out the yarn has turned sideways. It doesn't look like that on my computer. Oh well, take some anti-vertigo meds and don't look at it too long.

Grey found that liriope makes a wonderful, cushy, cool bed for the long haired kitty who is in dire need of a lion cut. Until then, she searches out cool spots, both inside and outside. Inf fact, we can hardly use our bathroom sink as that's been her bed of choice the past few weeks. I have to move her every time I want to brush my teeth. I've given up about the handwashing and just do that in the kitchen.

Lily finds that knocking everything off the top of Keith's dresser and snoozing there, fairly close to the ceiling fan, is the way to go. Well, that is until everything has been knocked off. As soon as Keith finds other homes for all the bits of paper, etc, she decides it's time to find someplace new to try.

Don't let the sweet, angelic face fool you. She's a cunning, plotting cat who would excel at world domination, given half a chance. It's just plotting her next move can be tiring.

In the garden we have more carrots sprouting (finally). The tomatoes are all blooming like mad, so we should see tiny fruit pretty soon. The beans are climbing the trellis now. I've got to get another planter going in order to grow lettuce. I ordered some lettuce that can tolerate warmer weather from Cook's Garden, and I'm eager to see if they really can grow well down here in the Deep South.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It must be time for pictures

I dyed several skeins at a time here.

The two brown and pink ones are very interesting to me. I used the same color dyes, but I used different fibers, different dye methods and different percentages of the dyes.

Here you see Mama and Hopalong snoozing together on the bench. Mama is the feral kitty who got me started on the whole TNR mission. After all these years she rarely lets me get close to her. I think about bringing Hopalong inside since he's turned out to be such a lovebug, but I think Mama likes him too much for me to do that to her.

The hat is a shop sample. It's the Bobbles and Cables Hat from 60 Quick Knits. That book has some great and fun projects in it. I plan to knit one of these up for me soon.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Radish update

As of yesterday, all eight of the radish seeds I'd planted had sprouted. I'm still waiting on the carrots, but I think they have a longer germination time. I'm also wondering if I accidentally planted them too deeply. I'll give them a few more days, then I'll replant them.

I know eight radishes doesn't like much, and it isn't. However, since they grow so quickly you can plant more all season. Also there's only one person in the household who really likes them, so eight at a time is plenty of them. I'd hate to have thirty be ready at one time as many of them would go bad.

I have knitted a great hat in the past few days, and I've got pictures to upload. I think I will need to purchase a model head from ebay. Keith took pictures of the hat on my head. I was having a bad hair day, having napped with wet hair earlier. I was also wearing one of those old, disreputable T-shirts, so all in all it's not a good picture. The photographer has skills, but the model wasn't ready for a photoshoot.

I've also got more yarn to photograph that I dyed yesterday, so I'll post those here tomorrow too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Waiting for sprouts

One thing about gardening is waiting for the seedlings to pop up. I realize it takes a few days, but I'm sure I'll be outside looking for carrot and radish sprouts several times daily.

I won't bore you with more pictures of my bins filled with dirt, but I did go outside and look. No sprouts yet, but it's only been about 24 hours.

In the meantime, I found this at the Farmer's Market, and I just had to buy it. It's pretty good.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And some knitting

I haven't done very much knitting this week. I've spent the past 3 days skeining the nearly 20 kilos of sock yarn that I bought on Wednesday. That was a bit tiring, but I had to get it all (or as much as possible) done while I had the skeiner that I'd borrowed. Believe me, a skeiner is on my to get list!

However, I did get a little time here and there. First of all is a sock that I've started with some of the yarn I dyed. I've got to get a better camera! The colors here are close, but there's a luminosity to it in real life that I can't seem to capture.

Anyway, I took photos of the front and the back so you can see how it's knitting up.

Next you can see that I've almost finished turning the heel on Keith's second sock of this pair.

The last picture is the progress that I'm making on my wrap sweater. I've finished the first sleeve, and I've started on the second. I can see that this sweater will need some major blocking to keep the stockinette from rolling so much.

I've been a little worried that I may run out of yarn before I get to the edging around the neck and front, but I discovered that Sublime's Extra Fine Merino DK is very similar (if not the same yarn) as the Zara. They probably come from the same mill. That was a huge relief as I can get the Sublime at Needle Nook if I need more yarn.

The square foot garden

These pictures are from a couple of weeks ago. I know, I've been promising pictures, but I've been actually kind of busy and haven't had the time.

This first is of our compost bin. I have no idea when we last emptied it out, but I know it's been several years ago.

In the next picture you see the black gold that is compost.

Here is our garden bed that has been double dug. See how lovely our Georgia red clay soil is?

The first load of compost shows the contrast between the soil and compost much better.
The final picture is after the entire composter has been emptied out.
I didn't take any pictures of when we added the other soil amendments to it, but we added 3 bags of composted chicken manure, a bag of vermiculite, some sulfur and fertilizer.
I'll add pictures of the happy plants after I go take some.

Self watering container garden

Remember those two blue bins from my post the other day? Today I put them together, and now they're just waiting for me to water them and plant them. I got the idea about making them from this article in Mother Earth News.

Here's the exterior bin. It has a hole to let excess water out, and you can check the water level that way on dryer days. This is a great example of measure twice, cut once. I thought I had the two containers put together correctly, so I measured and cut the upper hole. Then when I put them together, I discovered that I hadn't pushed the inner container all the way down! Yikes! At least the first (and wrong) hole is too high instead of being too low.

The inner container has a larger hole for the funnel and several smaller drainage holes.

Next you see the two containers put together with the funnel in place and waiting for the soil.

Finally, you see the containers with the soil, along with my supervisor, Monster.
I've got to water the container to let the soil settle, then I get to plant radishes and carrots!
ETA - It's 10:41 a.m., and I've planted it with carrots and radishes. Grow, babies, grow!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dyeing blog

I decided to start another blog dedicated just to the adventures of dyeing. That way you won't have to wade through me babbling about the garden or kitties if you're just wanting to know what's going on with the yarn.

It's kind of bare bones right now. I've got to find the right graphic artist to help me get it all purty, but I'm in a yarnwinding state right now!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Here's why I haven't been blogging.

These blue bins are the beginning of a container garden for growing radishes and carrots for now, beets for later.

Six tomatoes, four cucumbers and sixteen beans in our square foot gardening experiment.

And finally, some dyeing experiments.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

More birding news

Sometimes I find small masses of feathers in my yard. It looks as if a bird has exploded, leaving nothing behind but its feathers.

I've usually blamed cats. It makes sense the pets and resident ferals might want a little fresh meat. I'm not happy about it, and I make sure the cats stay well fed. I hope full tummies make it less likely that they will hunt and kill birds.

Today, I found that I was probably mistaken about what causes the leftover feather piles.

I had stepped outside to feed the two feral/stray cats, and I noticed something odd in the street. It was a bird, about the size of a crow, but most definitely not a crow. It was one of the smaller raptors that I see sometimes, but I've never seen one closely enough to identify it. I usually see them backlit against the sky, streaking across at a speed that makes it impossible for me to identify them.

It was quite busy ripping into something, so I was able to step back into the house and yell for Keith to get out of bed immediately and look out the window. I went for the camera.

He was able to see it, but when I went back to the door, the bird had turned my way. Great. I knew my camera wasn't strong enough to get a picture through the screen door from as far away as I was, so I decided to take a chance and go outside. It let me get out the door, then it took off with something dangling from its talons.

I went to my trusty Roger Tory Peterson bird identification book and found that I'd seen a peregrine falcon. Then I checked the range map for it. After looking at that, I checked the copywrite of my book. 1980. Bird populations have changed a lot since 1980. I think it's time to order a new bird id book.

After that, I just had to go outside and see what it had been eating. There in the road was what looked like a feather explosion. Now I know I can no longer blame the cats for them, and I have evidence that the raptors do circle around our house, checking out who is visiting the bird feeders. It's been an interesting morning.