life’s a bowlful of berries

i know i said i’d be here this morning and here it is 10 pm or whatever—sorry!
i had some computer issues earlier on (some kind of software conflict or other) and i really needed to work outside today, so i bagged the deskwork in favor of the garden.

and look what i got, haha; our first measurable crop of strawberries.
i was so tickled with the bunch that i posed them in a variety of bowls for photos. do you think that makes me a garden geek?

do we care??

ok, i know you’re waiting to see who won the book, but can i just say?? that was a stunning number of comments, you guys; i wish there was a copy for each of you (well, there is, but 571 of you will have to pay for it or get it as a gift, sorry)

the winner is: YARNDUDE
and you know what? i’m really glad it’s ending up with him, because when i went to his blog to see what he’s up to, it turns out that this week he’s graduating from college, too. so it’s sort-of a nice reward for a worthy effort, don’t you think?

in fact, let’s give him some berries, too . . .

(i promise, that’s the last one for a while, hehe)

BTW, the reason i don’t have stitchionary 4 is because that is the crochet volume and i don’t really crochet much at all any more. i have enough crochet dictionaries for my purposes.

many thanks to sixth&spring books for their generous giveaway; we really appreciate it.

so yeah, i needed to work outside today and if felt appropriate—nothing like a national holiday for getting away form my desk and spending time in the garden.

it’s been twelve days since i planted all the seeds i wanted and the results so far are mixed. shallots, chard, and other greens seem to have sprouted well and are off to a nice start. beets are a little spotty, but not too bad; i think we’ll end up with as many of those as we need.

okra, carrots, and parsnips are a wash—i dunno what happened but the showing isn’t very good. same for green beans (and really, what could be easier to grow than green beans??)

but there you have it; just three or four plants so far. i reseeded each of these vegetables a little more heavily in a row lying just parallel to the original row (in case the first sowing does make an appearance).

hopefully that will work and this little guy will soon have some mates. i’m too paranoid to wait and see . . . it seems in our garden that there is a prime time for seedlings to take off and if i wait til later in june, it won’t happen.

meanwhile, all the plants i put in as starts are going great guns—my squash, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are getting big and beginning to flower. hey—even the asparagus are coming up; every one of them, from what i can see. just think—this could be the beginning of success.

on the other side of the fence, our red rambler has broken into a shower of large, sexy blooms in the last day or two—really spectacular, especially in the morning light. it’s been very hot and muggy this week, which i didn’t notice as much out at the fairgrounds as i did at home this morning (you can see how hazy the sky is in the picture).

there was a good reason for the intense heat and closeness—within minutes of snapping that rose picture

the heavens opened and poured down the kind of rain we only see here in the midwest—with all the shrieking fun stuff that goes with it. we needed it so badly—all that standing water you see was absorbed into the ground in very short order

that meant a hiatus from the garden, at least for a bit, so i went back to my desk and sorted photos from my weekend to share with you.

this was the weekend of our annual regional sheep and wool show—and this year i taught classes on both days of the event.

this is from sunday’s finishing class, which was a LOT of fun and really productive

just look at them go—nothing like a row of stitchers hard at work, if you ask me, haha. we did blocking, too and learned some new tips and tricks for wrestling those finishing projects into submission. on saturday we did sweater fitness all day and though i have no photos (bad me), i can assure you it was equally fun.

jocelyn and her SIL, geri came out for our event and we were thrilled to accompany her through her first sheep and wool event. obviously, wool fumes do wonders for her . . .
(geri has a blog, too, but i can’t seem to find it, even on jocelyn’s blogroll; hmm)

i even have evidence that jocelyn planned to blog her experiences here.

i managed to get outside the classroom long enough to spend time with her and my spinning class—look at them; do they look innocent to you??

(if you said no, you’d be right)

apparently, i cannot stay out of trouble either, no matter how many pep talks i give myself while standing on front of my all-too-full fiber closet. in the process of helping jocelyn select and buy her first raw fleece, i managed to agree to “split it” with her.

we couldn’t resist—it was a gorgeous coopworth AND it won best in show. 15 minutes before the fair closed, we were perched like heckle and jeckle at ten paces with one eye on the fleece, maturely discussing how we’d sleep on the decision and come back in the morning.

then, a woman approached OUR FLEECE the object of desire with hands excitedly outstretched and we lost it. we ran over and secured the sale.
we may have shouted.

the woman turned out to be the producer who raised this fleece and her excitement was all about winning the prize. we weren’t even embarrassed—just relieved.
we are SO lame . . .

but we have the fleece, hehe; well done, joce . . .

after we recovered our composure and became ourselves again, we headed over to the briar rose booth to pick up chris and christy for dinner. we spent an all-girls evening on the olde jaol house patio, gratefully downing food and spirits.

chris gave each of us a pretty skein of her new cashmere yarn—it’s positively dreamy.

back home, i hardly did any knitting this weekend—just a bit at night before collapsing into bed. i worked on my secret project one night for a little while, then moved on to my little shawlette for TV knitting

it’s knitting up very quickly; i’m on the second repeat of the hem section. and it gets smaller as it goes, so i don’t anticipate this being on the needles very long—i might have to knit a second one.

last night, after the show was over, i swore i would just knit easy stuff that did not require a brain. but then i got thinking about my next baby blanket in fearless fibers MCN luxury and how much i wanted to get it on the needles.

so i finished up the chart i had underway and cast on—just like that. i figured, it could be my second swatch and i think it’s working out ok.

i’ve got rosebuds and a corner panel i love . . . and don’t even get me started about how much i like the yarn—it’s perfect—lightweight, soft, and such a cheery color.

this morning when my computer froze for the 13th or 27th time, i walked away to work eight more rows and closed off the starting point at the center, just to make myself feel better (it worked).

(we’ve been having an issue with carbonite; we love the backup system, but it doesn’t play well with our apple system software, grr)

so that’s about it for knitting . . . actually, that’s a lot more than i felt like i got done this weekend, considering. we did get out to do some garden work toward evening; it was a little wet, but not too bad. we put down the soaker hoses and got half the mulch down as well, before it started raining again (it was also getting dark).

it was really a rather piecemeal day, but very productive, too. i like that.

it’s supposed to be fairly nice tomorrow afternoon and evening so i’m planning on getting the mulch finished; it looks like we have a week or so of rain ahead, so it would be prudent to get out there and get it done.

we might need to energize ourselves for that with some strawberry shortcake

37 Responses to “life’s a bowlful of berries”

  1. Liz Arrow says:

    Ohhhh, I’m jealous of your garden and your strawberries. We have something attacking our garden! I think they are rabbits…to ward them off I just installed a “chicken wire-esque” fence today. And replanted radishes…and carrots.

  2. jill says:

    Alas, I have only pretty little flowers in my strawberry bed. Your pictures …. ah, am I jealous! And not just of strawberries. That cashmere looks so wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing what you will do with it.

  3. Yarndude says:

    Anne, I’m so happy I won! I can’t believe that out of 572 people, MY name was picked! I’d say that’s the best graduation present ever! (The strawberries look delicious, by the way). Thank you!

  4. Manise says:

    I can see the purslane popping up around your onions! Perfect for glistritha salad! Greta photos!

  5. Rachel says:

    My peas took an extra week longer then everything else to sprout. The carrots took a whole month longer to appear. Granted I was using seed that didn’t get planted two years ago so you may still see your missing stuff sprout. Next year I want to add something fruit to the yard. It isn’t going to happen this year with starting a whole new garden bed. I tried strawberries 3 years ago and they never really produced.

  6. Mary says:

    Nice commando action when fleece “pouncing”–uh, I mean shopping. I “assisted” Nath in “securing” a skein of Sunna at Rhinebeck. Lovely berries, I got some at the farmer’s market and intend to make shortcake tonight. One of the best desserts ever!

  7. Donna says:

    Those strawberries look scrumptious! Congratulations! The closest I get to a garden is my CSA subscription – I made strawberry rhubarb crumble, yummm!

  8. You had me at the strawberries!!! I need to go read the full post now…but I suspect the posing in the bowls will be me favorite part!! I’m always amazed at how fast your garden comes in…those berries are just lovely….yum.

  9. Lorraine says:

    Anne- I get nervous when I see those giant strawberries in the grocery store- they aren’t real.

    And you can never have enough fiber-

  10. mary lou says:

    I got my first little bowl of strawberries today, too. For Minnesota, that is crazy, we are month ahead of normal. But I’m not complaining.

  11. Laurie says:

    Love the pictures of your weekend! The strawberries are to die for. Wish I could have come to the fiber festival – looks like a great time!

  12. Patricia Dixon says:

    Anne, Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful week-end from the strawberries to the fleece, the garden..what a wonderful time..Spring can be so rewarding.

  13. Rebecca P says:

    Hi Anne,

    As I was reading about your carrots not coming up, I could sympathize. I live in Northern New England, and none of my carrots have come up and was really bummed. Last night, though, I read in my “Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” by Edward C. Smith (http://www.storey.com/book_detail.php?isbn=9781603424752&cat=Gardening), that carrot seedlings are very finicky with regards to their sprouting conditions. They need consistently moist soil during their sprouting period of 7-10 days. He recommends covering the carrot bed with boards on top of the soil for 7-10 days to keep moisture in and intense heat and drying wind out. If your weather was anything like ours for the past two weeks, it was less than ideal for the carrot seedlings. I’m going to try it this method this afternoon when I plant new carrot seeds! Hope it helps some~

  14. oh, those strawberries look just luscious! I haven’t seen native ones here yet, but soon, maybe, with the warm weather we’ve had.

    It IS so discouraging to have seeds fail to germinate. I just keep planting ‘em till they do (I’m stubborn that way). Still, it looks like you’ve got some success stories going already! I’m crossing my fingers for rain today – it’s promised but only fog so far.

  15. Kim says:

    So fun to see Jocelyn on your blog again! And of course she’s wearing that beautiful necklace we “pushed” her into buying. . . .

  16. Kelli says:

    One of my most triumphant days was when I presented a perfect strawberry pie to my father. Grown in that little patch of soil that he claimed would never grow a single strawberry. :)

  17. Kat says:

    Anne, your garden is beautiful. Loved all of the pictures and the finishing class sounds like so much fun.

    Wish I could have been there to ooh and ahh over all of the fiber. I have to admit that spinning is taking a lot of time away from my knitting. And I seem to be acquiring a LOT of fiber in short order. Who knows if what I’m buying is right or even enough for a project. But I am having fun.

    Thank you so much for sharing your pictures. And WTG on scoring some great fiber yummies.

  18. Judy says:

    I just keep wondering how you keep the animals from eating those delicious strawberries…

  19. karolyn says:

    Those strawberries look SO delicious, I’d be showing them off in different ‘poses’, too! Yum. The recent swatches look yummy, too. I can’t wait to see what they grow up to be!

  20. Stephanie says:

    Oh pleeeeeease keep posting the pictures of the strawberries. I can only get grocery store strawberries and they aren’t anything like the ‘real thing’ – and through blogs like yours I can get the real thing! Thank you so much! I really love your garden posts.

  21. I just wanted to say how happy I am that my little brother won the Stitchionary book. I know I’ll embarrass him by saying this, but he was so excited about it that he texted me last night to let me know. Thank you for making his day!

    And those strawberries…now I’m really regretting missing the farmer’s market this weekend…

  22. fien says:

    cuddly wool and fresh, glistening plants : happy days to come

  23. Claire says:

    Delicious! Both the strawberries and the fibery goodness! And well done to Yarndude!

  24. nancy schwartz sternoff says:

    oooh anne if i lived close to you i would be your jam lady. now that i am a new yorker i have to buy all those berries at union square or prospect park farmers market to make my annual (way too many jars) overdose of jam.

  25. babyface says:

    Your strawberries are beautiful. I never did grow strawberries or
    blueberries, but now I wished I had.

  26. Jody says:

    Those berries look so yummy! We had some torrential rain here too–I’m sure it ruined many a Memorial Day picnic! Our grandson was fascinated with it (the hail) and the ‘funder’, although he didn’t like the loud ones that went “BOOM BOOM!”. I have a skein of that Briar Rose cashmere in another color. It is AMAZING stuff–I made your leafprint mitts w/it and should have enough for the neckwarmer (when it gets cool again).

  27. Ann says:

    The strawberries look so yummy & perfect! I tried growing strawberries but they always end up tiny & look deformed. Your garden is really productive.

  28. amanda says:

    I don’t think you’re going overboard with the strawberry pictures! I can’t wait to eat some local berries – we’ve only had the imports so far. Mmmm….my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

    Looks like you had maybe a little too much fun over the weekend! Did Chris have the cashmere for sale at her booth? If so, I missed it (but all things considered, that’s probably a VERY GOOD thing).

  29. Martha in Florida says:

    OMGoodness, if you show us one more picture of strawberries, I swear I will EAT the computer screen!! They look delicious and I LOVE strawberries. They also made me want to cast something on with that color yarn. . . now where did I put that skein?? ;)

  30. paisleyapron says:

    Envious of your strawberries over here…by the time ours are ripe, the birds get them! Do you cover yours with bird netting?

    The birds also like to eat my pea and bean sprouts. We have to cover those, too. That may be what happened to yours.

    I love watching your harvest come in through the summer. Makes me want to get out and work more in my garden!

  31. kyrie says:

    Those strawberries look yummalicious!

    And somehow, the baby blanket start with the little green cast-on yarn reminds me of them. Kinda funny!

    No strawbs at our place, but I am keeping a sharp eye on our raspberry bushes – soon.

  32. Leah says:

    Amazing strawberries! And I’m loving that golden shawlette, just beautiful.

  33. Steve says:

    That picture of you two holding the fleece is great. You both look the way kids look on Christmas morning.

  34. Torre Taylor says:

    what a busy time – too much on which to comment so I’ll just say – stop with the yummy strawberries already!! : ) though we did get a quart with our CSA today so I’m not too jealous!

  35. Susan says:

    The fleece scare just makes me crack up! I can just imagine the panic! Funny girls! It looked like a great event! I’m glad you had a good time!

  36. ruby louise says:

    There is no such thing as too many strawberry pictures or too many strawberries. The same may be said about good fleeces. I don’t know from whom you purchased your Coopworth fleece, but I’ve got zero willpower when it comes to resisting fleeces from Hidden Valley Farm.

  37. Jocelyn says:

    We are dorks in the best possible way :) And thanks for the reminder to update my blogrolls! I need to do that. Just got home from the Bay Area today, so I’ve got some serious updating to do in all areas of life…