i put these nasturtiums in around the bottom of the bee balm pretty late in the season (sometime in july), but they are blooming, yay. i don’t have many sunny places for them to grow, but this spot is perfect; they took right off, once i got them in the dirt.
i cut the bee balm back after it bloomed in june (?), and now it’s blooming again and more plants are coming up around it. i’m glad i put it in a container; it would spread everywhere if not.
oh, it’s been really nice to be home, cooking and taking care of the garden again—and by the time you read this, i’ll be back on the road again, can you believe it? i’m just a rolling stone . . .
i just couldn’t turn down an impromptu invitation to tag along with my friends debby and robin to austin texas, where i’ll be visiting my brother’s family. some of you might remember that i flew along with them two years ago and had so much fun in my first small aircraft flight. plus, i really miss my family—the kids have probably grown a foot since i saw them last.
(i’ll be there from wednesday night through sunday night; if you live in austin, let me know if there’s a knit night or event i shouldn’t miss during that time!)
so let me update you on all the hands-on activity i’ve been up to since i got back.
saturday i spent some time cleaning up in the garden, pulling weeds, pruning those crazy-wild heirloom tomatoes (positively suessian, i tell you), picking lots (more on that later), and planting beet seeds.
yeah, i was so enthusiastic about the green beans that germinated just before i left for london, but as it turned out, those few were the only ones that came up, arggh. so when i got back, i decided i’d put more beets in—i think there’s time for them to grow before the frost; root vegetables usually do well into the fall. i enjoyed eating them enough that i’m ok with growing them just for me.
look—the eggplant are finally blooming, too. it’s been a real mystery about those this year; eggplant usually do quite well for us. and they are healthy alright, but man, the plants just sat there being small for weeks after they went in the ground. then, all of a sudden about two weeks ago, they bolted upward and now they are huge and covered with flowers. i don’t care, as long as i get a few eggplant to make ratatouille. it’s just interesting and different every year, you know?
(i really meant to start off with the knitting today, but once i showed that flower, it was all about the garden; scroll down if you’d rather look at some yarn!)
the okra is coming in faster now and i’ve been picking a few more each day. over the weekend i used the first small batch (a few days’ worth) in a curry with greens, tomatoes, squash, and peppers. now i’ll be able to put them up in bags in the freezer as the take is a little more plentiful.
in the far background, you can see the greens and leeks (which are waist-high now). i put up four more bags of greens on sunday morning and made a quiche with some as well, using up some more baby squash and a bunch of fresh red scallions (seriously, if you can grow these, do it; you’ll never go back to store-bought). i also cooked up the two acorn squash i picked to puree and freeze for later use. i topped off the weekend with a fresh tomato marinara for fish pasta, with generous handfuls of just-picked basil and oregano.
are you hungry yet?
i’m making myself hungry just typing this.
and wow, do we have tomatoes. our plants are looking VERY good for once—usually by this time in august, no matter how well they’ve been doing, they are beset by tomato woes, such as blight or bugs. but (knock wood) this year they are surviving pretty well. i have nipped off a few yellowing branches, but not many; we don’t have bugs at all—a first for us. keeping them pruned has really increased the production of fruit, i think. and beautiful fruit it has been—no black spots or cracks, no misshapen fruit
(well, except for these cherokees, but that’s normal for them).
i’m so impressed with how well they are doing—beautiful, plum-shaped romas, pumpkin-plump costolutos, and BIG, bulging cherokee purples. they are luscious too, with thick flesh and running with juice. (hmm, tomato prøn, who knew??).
i have a big bowlful of cherry tomatoes waiting now to be dried in the oven; i hope i have time for that tonight.
and then there are these yellow stuffers—these are new for me and i’m totally intrigued. they look and feel exactly like yellow peppers—they are very lightweight with firm flesh, which i assume is because they are mostly hollow (i haven’t cut into one yet).
i didn’t really expect much out of this plant, but it’s absolutely covered with fruit that is ripening daily. i’m wondering how many different kinds of stuffed tomatoes i can make for the freezer (and what vegetarian fillings i can stuff them with). i’ll have to do some research on it. always something new . . .
i think now i’ve got all of the garden news out of my system—on to the knitting. i’ve really missed writing about my knitting; i didn’t realize how much i depend on that til these last three weeks went by without sharing.
i spent a lot of my knitting time in london on my secret project. it’s a big project, but the knitting is fairly easy and i wanted to bang it out. between my plane trip and a few knitting sessions this week, i’ve got it all done now except for the finishing work. yay. now i can move on.
you already know i got my orange luciole done—i knit all of the beginning part while chatting with friends or between classes and then hunkered down on the hem section when i was alone in my room at night. this turned out to be a good strategy; by the time i arrived back home, i had a finished shawlette.
once i was past the easier sections of that one, i toted my briar rose les abeilles around to work on while socializing.
this is my third one, so it’s fairly mindless. i got about halfway through the hem section and there it has stayed, but i’ll definitely pack it along on this trip, where mindless knitting will be the best thing (did i mention that my brother and SIL have seven children?? so yeah, mindless knitting . . .)
and then there is my pea vines shawlette in woolen rabbit pandora. i cast on just before leaving home and worked the first few rows. it felt like i worked on it a lot in london, at night when i was alone—but once i was home, i saw there wasn’t much accomplished. it must be the long rows at the start, or that the beginning part of the pattern requires some attention because it was new to me. or maybe those nupps were slowing me down . . .
because once i was home, where it was quiet and i could focus, things moved along a lot faster. all at once, i was moving through those long rows like they were nothing (don’t tell . . . but i took a break from my secret project for two nights because i got so absorbed in this. you are sworn to secrecy)
soon enough, it looked like this
and you can get a much better feel for where this one is going now—a tangle of pea vines all around the hem, growing up toward the neck. then it turns to stockinette with a vertical pattern that looks a bit like that twig fencing used to train the vines. hopefully, it will all look more delicate and lyrical once it’s blocked.
isn’t this spring garden colorway de-LISH??
my nupps are shaping up; i’ve tried them every which way and you know what?? no one way is any better than any other way! how about that? each one has something about it that i like and don’t like.
we pretty much held the nupp-making world summit over dinner on our last night in london—everyone weighed in with their favorite, guaranteed-to-succeed method of nupping and i tried each one that we discussed, right here in this piece. some are smaller, some are larger, some face left and some face right, some even pop to the back, sorta. they’re all different and none of them is perfect. i think i’m ok with that.
i did actually put my mitt kit to work, but only barely (and now i have to face my niece in person, with no mitts to show for myself—yet). the problem was that i chose to knit mitts that need a bit more attention than i could afford them, most days.
i did start this very pretty little blue-lavender mitt as well as one other that i’ll show you another time. can you guess which pattern i’m using? i figured i should take the mitt kit along with me to texas; i might actually get something done there.
i still have to pack my bag and pick out which projects to take. the pea vines is almost done; i should be able to finish that up during the plane ride down there. les abeilles would also be a good choice. definitely the mitt kit. and i think i’ll also bring the sunna sweater project. i never did touch that one in london, but i’m totally ready to start it now. i may even cast on a sleeve or a front tonight, to make sure it’s on the needles before i go.
this time, i’m taking my computer for sure—not only do i want to be sure i can get online, but i have patterns to work on as well and i’ll need my full kit. so i should be able to blog without any problem, as long as the kids allow it (maybe i can rope them in to writing their own posts).
so long ohio, hellooo austin!