fruits and fancies of summer

so, what do you think the chances are that i’m having a tomato sandwich for lunch today?
i’ll probably dig into this big, ugly, yummy, cherokee purple—my favorite

don’t let the color or the homely appearance fool you—these are fabulously juicy and sinfully delicious; the fine wine of tomatoes.

as i was filling the coffee pot at the sink this morning, i looked out the window to the garden and what do you think i saw?

bunny, you are so dead if you go near that row of green beans.
i mosied out to see what he was up to and sure enough, he was not eating, exactly, but definitely browsing. that could mean only one thing

sprouts. the seeds i planted on saturday are coming up, yay!
the bunny seems to be on to the situation, booo!
i’m going to have to keep an eye on them, though he didn’t eat the last bean plants when they sprouted, so maybe we’re safe.

the chard has sprouted as well (oh! the wonders of water, isn’t it amazing?).
it’s just too much temptation isn’t it bunny?

that’s right, you just stay on YOUR side of garden path and we’ll be fine

he says, “MOI???”
of course later, when i was busily snapping pictures out there, he wandered back, softly creeping toward me, then pretending he didn’t see me and wasn’t interested anyway

he looks very innocent here, but he’s actually nibbling a pepper leaf out the other side of his mouth. he thinks i didn’t see him do that, but i did.

i also saw this

nibbling at the edge of the winter squash leaf. and i definitely saw this

can you see he’s sticking his tongue out? little bugger.

i really don’t mind him nibbling on the leaves of the larger plants; i inspect the whole patch every day and he doesn’t seem to have damaged anything in a major way, except possibly the shallots, the tops of which have been nibbled down to the ground (except a couple, isn’t that weird?)

jody tells me they are probably fine underneath the ground; i’ll know in a month or so, haha.

there is an upside to the bunny though—he loves the fine grasses that are growing up out of the straw in places (i think that straw had a lot of seeds in it; it wasn’t the best quality this year). we had a lot more grass coming up a while back and i wondered this weekend where it had all gone to. i thought maybe it died back from being too dry. but no—the bunny has been eating it. if he keeps up this behavior, he can stay.

and if he takes a shine to that hateful purslane growing everywhere, he can definitely stay; i’ll make him a little bed to sleep in, haha.

but he has to stay away from the bean and chard shoots.
if not, i know where to get bunny stopper and i’m not afraid to use it.

i have very little actual knitting to show you today, but before we go inside to look, i want to show you all the new flowers. i thought we were pretty much done with flowers but i was wrong again—david had a few more secret plantings up his sleeves and then there are some perennials i forgot about.

our hydrangeas couldn’t be more stunning this year—we have at least 15 shrubs and they are all still in full bloom and maintaining beautiful colorations, from deep blue to pink to pale green and carnelian. it takes my breath away that we actually grew them

even our fledgling hydrangea hedge is in good health and showing signs of making it over the hump of the last few bad years. we have a couple that are still undersized, but all are healthy, with at least one bloom.

the rose of sharon, which david mistakenly cut to the ground last year, came back and is flowering now. and then we have these, which i discovered today

beautiful calla lilies (i think) with spotted leaves in the most gorgeous colors. another thing i didn’t know david planted.

my friend anne c. gave me a little start of this cleome just a few weeks ago, neither of us knowing exactly what it was. and look—it’s really cool! i stuck it in a bare spot near my lupine and it just took off. it must like it there. and the flowers are quite unusual; i like them a lot.

the coleus are having a great summer and show such rich color this year and my bay tree seems to have doubled in size, yet again (i dunno what we’ll do with it when it’s too big to carry indoors for winter).

i don’t know if you’ve noticed this where you live, but holy cow, where did all the queen anne’s lace come from this year??

we never had any of this around before, but this year, it’s everywhere—i mean everywhere. and it’s huge. and plentiful. good thing i love it, haha.

we have so much dark green foliage that i’m grateful for these sparkling white flowers, accenting the darker corners of the yard.

and last but not least, the black-eyed susans bloomed this week

i think tomorrow morning, i’ll pick a bouquet for the table.

ok, then let’s take a look at my much less spectacular knitting progress since the other day. first, i’m working on a biggish secret project, trying to get the bulk of that done before i leave for london on monday. so there’s actually a whole LOT of knitting going on, but i can’t show it to you.

but i do need my variety, so i have a couple little things i slipped in between marathon sessions of hidden knitting.

i’ve been working on swatches for the pea vines shawlette for a little while—you might remember this one that i knit in woolen rabbit bambino a couple of weeks ago, where i struggled with getting the nupps right.

kim is sending me a nice skein of grassy green pandora to knit the actual sample, but i wanted to swatch it in her abeilles bamboo/merino yarn as well, to see if that might work as an alternate choice.

a similar swatch in abeilles, colorway, steel magnolia (it’s sopping wet here, which is why it appears so dark)>

though they are almost identical in actual weight and gauge, they are slightly different in the way they drape, the pandora having a little more body and bounce and the abeilles having a little more sheen, drape, and fuzzy bloom. i like the pandora best for the body and stitch definition, but the abeilles is definitely lighter and dressier.

i’m still struggling to get standout nupps—they’re better, but not as dimensional as i’d like. i figured out one thing i was doing wrong and at least now, they don’t pop to the back anymore. i’ll be seeing janel and cookie in just a few days; i’m sure one of them can give me a lesson in the best way to do them. i might just be knitting them too tightly.

so that’s another project i’m trying to get charted before i go, in order to take it with me. and whatever is left of my secret knitting will come along; i can do that on the plane over or in my room.

if the baby blanket isn’t finished by sunday, it will have to stay home—i’m not in a position to buy a separate seat for it, haha.

my niece asked for fingerless mitts for her birthday and since i’m a little burnt out on socks at the moment (have you noticed? the boy socks never even got off the ground; maybe for september) these will be a brilliant substitute (note that i am sneaking in british phrases here and there in anticipation of my trip).

mitts are just like socks in terms of portability, but much less knitting and a little more fun, for some reason (remind me of that if i gripe about them later). plus, they are a great use for those remainders from neck warmer projects that i seem to have lots of.

i took a little break the other night to go through my stash and pull a few things out. my idea is to knit some mitts based on some of my sock designs—ones i feel i’d like to knit again, maybe, but in a different format, you know?
so i put together a mitt-knitting kit that will fit right into my suitcase or tote, with a few yarn balls, a few sets of DPNs, and a few charts.

i know i can knit on the plane going over, but i’m not supposed to bring needles on the flight home. i may try to sneak the mitt-knitting kit through with just one set of DPNs scattered throughout my bag, in order that i don’t go nuts on the flight back (it’s crazy-long, with a 9-hour layover in detroit).

i have the orange firefly shawlette all set to go in a project bag, too. i’ve started a little pile on the spare chair in the living room for my travel knitting lineup (because, you know, what’s a spare chair FOR . . . sitting??)

i’ll be filling in that space to the left as the week continues.

speaking of project bags, our friend michele, maker of the loveliest bags, fell while hiking this weekend and broke her ankle pretty badly. i’m sure she’d love to hear some encouragement from any of you that know her—you can PM her on ravelry or send a note through her etsy shop

today we are supposed to finally block and film the firefly shawlette—production was delayed due to the artistic concerns of the director, but i think we are all set to go now.
as soon as he gets up this afternoon.

i’ll let you know how that goes.

66 Responses to “fruits and fancies of summer”

  1. Nik says:

    You’ve got a beautiful garden going there. I’d love to have one myself. That is, if I could just learn to keep flowers alive.

  2. Rani says:

    Oh, that vicious bunny makes me shudder. Have a great trip.

    Anxiously awaiting Fireflies,

    Rani

  3. Judy says:

    This is JUST the kind of post that keeps me reading Knitspot- beautiful photos and GREAT captioning as well! Thanks so much!

  4. Tara says:

    I know what you mean about the Queen Anne’s Lace, it’s everywhere here too! Love the cheeky bunny shot, by the way. He actually blew you a raspberry! LOL.

  5. Eleanor says:

    Anne – check out Robert Bissell’s artwork online for some serious rabbit!

  6. Bekky says:

    I manage to sneak my knitting on to flights by using wooden needles/tips taking them off and putting them in my pencil case – they then just go through the scanner as thin pencils. I have had no problems doing this flying out from Heathrow terminal 1, 3 or 5. Knitters are more dangerous without needles!

    I once managed to smuggle metal straights inside a brolly (sorry umbrella) but I would not try to repeat that.

    I also don’t get the knitting out until after take off as then there is nothing that can be done about it.

  7. josiekitten says:

    Your garden is fabulous! I love the bunny poking his tongue out. I have flown from Heathrow, transatlantic, with wooden dpns, all put together so they look like a pencil, in a project bag with yarn. There was no problem.

  8. Laurie says:

    Don’t ever worry about Rose of Sharon not coming back when it’s cut to the ground. We pretty much do that with ours every years since it tends to be so invasive.

    Wouldn’t it almost be easier to drive home from Detroit than hang around the airport for nine hours?

    Lovely knitting and swatching, always. :-)

  9. Carla says:

    Your garden is gorgeous! Thanks for posting photos so graden-less people like myself can get a fix.

    Also, I have a Bay Leaf plant that is way over 10 years old . I keep it in a 12-14 inch clay pot and prune it. I prune both the top and sides. Because I pruned the top it encouraged side shoots from the ground so it got bushier rather than tall (it’s only about 4 feet tall). I also remove the plant from the pot every couple of years and remove about 20% of the root mass and give it new dirt and put it back on the same pot. I found that was the only way I could keep on bringing it indoors for the Winter, plus the cuttings gives me a steady source of bay leaf for my soups, stews, beans and marinades!

  10. Diana says:

    Darn bunnies…..they are so cute….but you cant tell them to “eat this and not that!” I chase bunnies around my property too. Good luck with the garden!

  11. Marisa says:

    Hey, no need to hate the purslane, it’s edible and actually quite tasty :) Just don’t mistake spotted spurge (kinda similar looking, though purslane is definitely a succulent and spurge is wiry and not something you’d want to eat) for purslane because I think it’s mildly poisonous.

  12. Ayben says:

    Hi, also purslane has so much omega3 in it that if you feed it to chooks, even their eggs will have omega3 in them. It is a very healthy green. It can be cooked or eaten raw in salads. It is very valued in mediterranean countries :)

  13. Robin says:

    You are just too funny catching the bunny with his tongue out! Yep, those that is a Calla Lily. Had all colors in my garden in Virginia. They were perennials there. Used to love cutting them and bringing them in. Just beautiful!

  14. Beth says:

    Ruth is right – cleome self seeds like crazy. I didn’t pay attention to mine last year and this spring I had cleome seedlings over my entire garden. They’re easy to pull though. Let me know if you’d like seeds for pink cleomes.