groundbreaking

strawberry06_06

truly a sight for sore eyes, am i right? sigh!
but hard to believe that the berry brigade is just around the corner, waiting to march forward and unroll its riches before us week by week. where has the year gone to?

it’s been a busy week around here, between trying to get our yard in shape and keeping up with work in the office. i’ve got a couple of secret projects on the needles but plenty of public knitting to share as well. and new stuff we’ve been playing with—let’s get started.

the honeysuckle along the back fence is in bloom and i see it from the kitchen window first thing each morning.

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of course it lured me out to take a walk in the garden—it has been so nice to pick this habit back up; i missed it last year, when we didn’t have a vegetable patch.

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what i saw amazed me—pea shoots just coming up out of the earth from seeds i planted on tuesday. wow, just WOW. we had some good rain over the last few days, which must have made them very happy.

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and teeny little potatoes from spuds i planted last saturday.

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nearby, at the side of the garden is a much bigger volunteer growing from leftovers of a previous year; i thought we’d pulled them all out, but we must have missed one, haha.

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ok, i could not get a good photo of this because the camera just didn’t want to focus on the right thing but i’ve got baby bell peppers growing already; these plants went in the ground on memorial day.

but my favorite discovery of all is this sunny smile

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i thought i saw buds the last time i was out there but i wasn’t sure. now i know. and there are bees hovering about as well, making sure the pollination gets done, so we should soon see some tiny squashes. and hopefully, we’ll see them before any invaders get in there.

isn’t it amazing how fast it all takes off, once the plants are in the ground? we’ve been eating from our asparagus patch pretty regularly for the last month; we collect a few or six stalks each day and store them up until we have enough for a meal; they are so good grilled and added to eggs with mushrooms. mmm-mmmm

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the tomato plants are also growing like crazy; i can even see some improvement in the too-tiny roma tomato plants we bought, though they seem sluggish in comparison; hopefully they’ll catch up. david got the trellises up and rigged a climbing system for the plants similar to that you would use for peas. some of these tomatoes will need pruning soon, yikes.

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the climbing hydrangea is so heavy with flowers that they are literally laying on top of one another in layers. when i think of all the years we waited for it to grow to climbing height (five) and then for that first single flower to appear (another two), i can hardly believe the size and fecundity it has achieved since then.

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it bloomed this week, spewing heavy pollen dust from each of the thousands (or maybe millions) of tiny buds that make up its lace cap flower heads. it’s quite astonishing in total size, actually.

but the truly amazing thing is its thickness. we never prune it back because it always seem very full and healthy; now when it’s in full leaf, it completely obliterates the trellis that supports it, creating a nice bower over the entry to the back yard.

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well, apparently this year it has caught the eye of the robins, which normally nest up in the eaves of our front porch. a couple of weeks back when it was just starting to bud out, i saw them scoping out the back yard all week for a nesting spot. after poking around in every nook and cranny, in the end they took a fancy to the deep leafy cave at the top of the bower.

one day in a chilly, pouring-down rain, i noticed the male and female pair carting nesting material into the cozy hide hole while the squirrels scampered through the garden ferreting out the last of their nuts and acorns.

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but not directly—every time they’d approach with a load of dry grass or twigs, they would first land in the tree just outside the kitchen window in full view of all the other creatures, standing there with mouthfuls of nesting material, not doing anything at all.

then they would quick dive into the cave.

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and repeat.

it was hilarious—i’m sure the squirrels were laughing all the way to the oak tree “hey, get a load of those robins, won’tcha!” in fact, they no sooner had their nest built than the cardinals moved in for a fight. for one whole day the robins fought them off and eventually won out—now they seem to be living a more or less undisturbed life there. i can’t see the nest at all, but i’m pretty sure there are eggs; one bird is always on it and the other goes in and out with food.

hopefully the squirrels will leave them alone.

the iris are gorgeous throughout our neighborhood this year, including the small patch we have—huge, showy dark purple flowers came out and i couldn’t be happier, though none of my photos from that day were very well focused.

my autumn fern has finally opened though

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it’s a bit more brilliant than it appears here—this fern is orange, gold, and burgundy in the spring; it really stands out against all the bright green now. then toward fall it greens up and stays that way all winter. it’s nice to have one plant with a reversed color pattern.

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it kind of matches the mohair lace scarf i’ve been working on with sweet georgia silk mist in the woodland colorway. i admit this project is moving rather slowly but that’s ok with me. it’s my current traveler project; it folds up teeny tiny into a little purse sized project bag and weighs just one ounce—less than my sunglasses. i memorized the pattern during the first repeat so i can whip it out anywhere and work on it wherever. perfect.

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in contrast, the raglan cabled jacket i’m knitting in our confection worsted is much to large to bring anywhere at this point—i don’t even like to cart it up and down stairs (well ok, that might be my laziness in play). but if i keep it upstairs where we watch TV, i get lots more done on it. it’s perfect for that time of night when i’m tired but i still want something to do—i really don’t have to think or even look at it to get a few rows done. that’s my kind of late-night project.

as you can see, i’ve now got past the underarm and have joined the sleeves on.

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that means that i’m working all around the yoke as it circles my upper arms—the rows are as long as they get in this garment and yet, they still seem to fly along. that’s the beauty of worsted weight yarn. i am on my fourth skein with about half of that left; i’m thinking i just might get away with using only five total skeins, but it’s really too soon to tell.

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AND i’ve been swatching and playing with our new romney/mohair/silk blend, cabécou and can i just say? it’s stunning.

i have much to tell you about it but i need to wait til next time—david has not added it to the store yet and i want to be able to give you links for it. suffice it to say that if you’ve been waiting for us to restock the chévre worsted, this could be the answer to your prayers—only better. i’ll tell you all about it as soon as david organizes a yarn page for it.

until then, please check out the other two new things we announced this week. first, signups are open now for our rhinebeck after party, a fun followup to the wool show festivities, specifically designed for participants to kick back, play with their purchase, and do some fun investigative work into new knitting knowledge. click here to read more and to join us.

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and then, inspired by last year’s summer of cotton knitting (which really went far to soothe the frayed nerves from a house-wide summer renovation project)

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our newbie knitter sarah is hosting a cotton KAL in our ravelry mothership, kicking off with a group cast on for the summer solstice (you can PM sarah for more info).

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we’ll be stocking some deliciously cool organic color grown cottons in our online shop and featuring them in both rejuvenated designs from our back catalog as well as some new ones that are percolating in my head. and of course you can BYOY; we don’t discriminate—we just wanna have fu-un.

small, soft accessory knits make for excellent summer projects—they travel compactly and are wonderful conversation pieces, yet totally easy care enough to knit at the beach or a barbecue if you feel like it.

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and with sarah at the helm, this one promises to be tons of laughs and little stress—so please join the fun!

i think that’s it for today—hope you have a great weekend. i’m running two races (i know, crazy, but they are for good causes); one is a night glo—a 5K at 9:30 pm this evening and the other is a 10K first thing tomorrow morning. on sunday we’re having company and i’m going to cook something yummy—ciambotta, a fresh summery vegetable stew that was one of my grandma’s  specialties. and a strawberry rhubarb pie, because i’ve had a craving for too many weeks now.

pictures will be taken and shared, i promise (beckie, please make sure i do!).

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9 Responses to “groundbreaking”

  1. autumnsky says:

    Your climbing hydrangea is to die for! I’m jealous of the blooms. We had a colder than usual winter down here in SC and most of the old growth on my mature hydrangeas didn’t make it. Lots of new growth, though, but no flowers this year :( I have one Endless Summer variety that’s sporting a half-hearted bloom, but that’s about it.
    You know, I’ve never had strawberry rhubarb pie. This may be the year I search some out!

    Donna

  2. josiekitten says:

    I love the garden at this time of year. Thank you for sharing so many photos of yours. We have strawberries too, but none ripening so far. The new yarn swatch looks amazing – I wanna play too!! Looking forward to seeing which cotton yarns you stock, I would love a cotton infinity scarf for the summer.

  3. Ellen Norman says:

    I love when you blog about your garden. It makes me smile.
    So wonderful that you have your own line/colors/buttons!

  4. Ruth Ann says:

    If you call yourself lazy, Ann, I tremble to think what you would call me :-)

    I’ve never seen an autumn fern, it’s gorgeous.

  5. Alhbooks says:

    I nearly licked the screen when I saw that strawberry…to die for gorgeous! I can almost smell it from here!

    Cranking as fast as I can on the Amalthea for the upcoming virtual grandson. The Chebris lace is so seductive, I can only imagine how much I’m going to love the Cabécou when it arrives, never mind the organic cottons!

  6. GeniaP says:

    Alert! Totally non-knitting question
    The ciambotta sounds wonderful, but my stomach doesn’t like eggplant. What could one substitute? The rest sounds fabulous.
    Thanks much

  7. nancy schwartz sternoff says:

    ooooh the garden. you know how i covet that!

  8. Mary says:

    The garden is looking good. I made a strawberry rhubarb pie last weekend–and bought more rhubarb at Union Square yesterday! It’s been a long wait this spring. I think is my favorite pie.

  9. DavidA says:

    Unfortunately, my Autumn Fern did not make it through the winter (after surviving 6 winters with me). However, that was the only plant I lost over the harsh winter. I will be looking for a replacement since I loved that fern.