fruits and fancies of summer

Posted on Posted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

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 thoughts on “fruits and fancies of summer

  1. This past April I traveled home from London to Washington DC on United and had no trouble taking bamboo circs through security and onto the plane. Without knitting, a flight that long is unbearable!

  2. Bunny is SO cute, Anne. I think you should adopt him. He seems to be really at home in your garden and very photogenic and friendly.

    The new shawlette with nupps is really pretty. Can’t wait to see how it progresses. Love Kim’s yarns. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

    So sorry to hear about Michele. Thank you for letting us know about her accident. Broken anythings are so not fun.

    I’m loving watching the Tour de France and seeing Lance ride so well yesterday was a bonus. Makes me want to hop on a bike – except not in this heat.

  3. How about putting up a little bunny fence around the areas that are especially vulnerable? He is so sweet. Don’t forget to have a cream tea in London and to visit the Victoria & Albert Museum if you have time!

  4. A 9-hour layover in Detroit? That’s awful – especially when GoogleMaps says you can drive home from Detroit in 3.5 hours. No wonder I don’t fly. But have a great trip!

  5. I am so jealous of your beautiful tomatoes! In Nebraska, ours are many and green, but not yet ripe. Rumor has it that rain is delaying the ripening, but I am longing for a tomato sandwich! Also, I enjoy your sweet comments wrt the bunny following the death threat. 😉 Last summer, my boyfriend had a tumultuous relationship with a woodchuck (which he called a “whistle pig”) that culminated in humane trapping and a relocation. Casualties of the encounter were several cucumbers and tomatoes, oh no!

  6. I seem to remember that my mother had cleomes in her garden years ago, and I believe they self-seed like crazy – just saying. Your coleus is so gorgeous! Our yard is too sunny to grow it, but we too are being inundated by Queen Anne’s Lace. I assumed it was a local phenomenon but Sheri at the Loopy Ewe posted a photo of it, too. Good thing it’s so pretty! Anne, I recently finished a Pine and Ivy but am not sure I blocked it to the “correct” shape – haven’t actually tried it on yet so will have to see if it sits nicely. I’ve just about forgiven you for all of those nasty p2togtbl’s, heh! Although I actually switched to ssp’s about halfway through as being marginally less annoying to work. It was a challenge, for sure.

  7. Your tomatoes look just delicious….I hope the bunny doesn’t like them. It’s too bad you don’t have longer hair, dp needles work to hold your hair. 🙂 Have a great trip!

  8. Anne, you are so sweet to mention me – I’m being good, with my leg propped up on pillows, drinking iced coffee and knitting Les Abeilles! Crutches are quite the workout, but I crave a good bike ride. Maybe in the fall…

    It’s so fun to see you ready your projects for the trip. I think hiding needles separately is a great idea!

    That bunny is adorable! But they can be sooo destructive, I know. He seems quite comfortable in your yard/garden! I hope he stays away from the calla lilies – they are breathtaking.

  9. Anne,
    Your garden is beautiful. What is your secret for blue hydrangeas? Are you lucky enough to have very acidic soil? I have been adding muracid and coffee grounds to my soil like crazy. (per the horticulturist I consulted) I bought them blue, but the new blooms seem to be sort of greyish/blue instead. Yours are fabulous!! Please share your wisdom on this.

  10. A friend suggested to me (when I wanted to take knitting needles into a court house–the marshall said that I should be worried about a prisoner stabbing and garrotting me) wooden DPNs in a pencil case. Maybe that could work for plane-knitting coming home?

  11. Your tomatoes are Gloriously Red and yummy looking! No ripe ones here in Montana yet, thanks for the vicarious thrill. No bunny problems, but I do have “hopper” trouble. In another month there will be some too big for me to stomp comfortably. A friend swears that keeping some clover in your grass/lawn will interest bunnies more than flowers and veggies. Perhaps worth a try?

  12. Don’t forget that you’ll probably have access to your checked luggage to go through customs in Detroit – if they won’t let you carry on needles in the UK, you can snag them there and knit through your layover and last leg home.

  13. Love your garden and knitting, but that bunny…ah, that bunny. Reminded me of my adventure in bunnyland this week. Had to rescue a baby bunny from the pool skimmer, then the silly thing ran right back in the pool. Had to chase it down the length before I could grab it again…who knew bunnies were such good swimmers? 😉 Bunny was saved, my DH had a funny story to tell his co-workers, and my kids thought it was all quite humorous. Safe travels to you.

  14. Lovely blog today, fills the eyes and gives plenty of ideas! I enjoyed the video! Very nicely done. Enjoy London and please take plenty of pictures to share with us.

  15. I just love your garden, and I even love your bunny.

    You must be the speediest knitter on the face of the planet, and still able to keep up with flowers and veggies? I’m a great admirer of your knitted shawls, so very lovely. Peeking in on your blog always makes me happy.

  16. Anne: I knit from St. Louis to London and back eighteen months ago. I had bamboo sock needles in a pencil case with pencils. I knit a sock in the lounge at Heathrow that they put you in after you pass the last security. Lucky they didn’t take it away from me after I watched a group of security officers with all sorts of equipment board our plane to check it out. I understand you are allowed to knit at Heathrow now.

  17. PURSLANE! That’s what that crap is called? It’s a scourge of my garden too. The true bane of my garden is crab grass, for which I nevertheless maintain a grudging respect due to its many and determined methods of procreation. But I have to get it all out, so I hate it as well. But after you mentioned purslane, I googled it, and now I know its name! (It’s too bad you can’t really google a picture.) I didn’t know it was edible, thanks @Meredith!

  18. Lovely garden, gorgeous knitting! That’s my favorite tomato too.

    Young purslane leaves are delicious in salads or lightly stir-fried. Our farmers’ markets charge handsomely for them!

  19. Just a thought on the Bay Tree, get wheels for the bottom of the pot. They sell them at most garden stores. A friend of mine had a ‘roller christmas tree’, every Christmas they rolled the spruce in and rolled it back out after! 🙂

  20. Anne, you’re hilarious! If David isn’t going with you to KnitNation, can you please get him to guest blog once or twice in your absence? Some garden photos, maybe a little home reno photo or two, and some photos of the new office layout and the yarn cupboard he made for you? That would tide us over until you get back.

  21. I tried the South’s legendary Fried Green Tomatoes, but never really cared for them. Do you put mayo or salad dressing on your tomato sandwich?

  22. So what *were* you doing wrong that caused the nupps to pop to the back? I’m having the same issues with mine right now.

  23. Yikes! The buns in my parents’ yard are so aggressive that they even take bites out of their tomatoes. I put rabbit wire around my tiny little garden one year, and I caught a pregnant female sailing over it and nesting inside my little fenced off area. I think she felt secure in there because the fence did keep my Yorkie out. (Yeah. . .all eight pounds of her.) I am going to plant some lettuce this weekend, and I’m going to try containers on my deck. Hopefully, the little beggars won’t be brazen enough to climb up the stairs and eat it. My mom has some potted flowers on their back steps, and she has caught one of their buns on the back stoop, grazing on the petunias. They are merciless.

  24. Looks like some fall colors in your stash. It’s getting that time of year.

    I LOVE the bunny sticking his tongue out! We have bunnies too, and have to shoo them away from the tomatoes.

    But honestly with 40 tomato plants for 2 people… there’s enough to go around.

  25. I have not had trouble w bamboo needles from Heathrow to Newark…all the stuff you read leads you to believe you can not carry them but no one batted an eyelid!

  26. Cherokee purples are my favorite tomatoes in the whole wide world. I’ll eat them endlessly with just salt and pepper, mmm… (In fact, that’ll probably be dinner tonight, come to think of it). When do you leave? I’m so excited to hear all about your trip — living vicariously is a good thing 🙂

  27. I have a fondness for those lil buggers! I’ve NEVER known them to touch the shallots, Anne. But the beans will be open season! It doesn’t surprise me to learn that you like the appearance of the cleome – so do I – it’s very interesting and varied and comes in really nice colors. Plus, it is drought resistant, which means a lot to me! What I wanted to say is – if you let it go to seed, and you don’t disturb it next spring, you’ll have a bumper crop and they really reach magnificent height!!!! But watch out for the thorns.

  28. I am so jealous of your garden! I live in an apt. & my tomatoes are so few so far.

    And thanks for letting us know about Michele; I’m one of her regular customers.

  29. Maybe a dumb question – can you actually use the leaves from your bay tree as seasoning like the bay leaves I buy in the store?

    Oh please do a Bricker mitt. They would be so cool.

    Happy and safe travels to you.

  30. Beautiful flowers. Good luck keeping the bunny out of your garden. I’m in a constant battle with about three of them and it gets real old some days.

  31. I came home today to two bunny heads — yes, baby bunny heads — left by the front door by my cat. She also left one little, teeny, tiny bunny foot. She got into major trouble. Do you think I could spray the baby bunnies with kitty stopper?

  32. I always carry a spare set of DPN’s in the pen & pencil pockets of one of my bags (purse, carry on, or backpack usually will have a couple) along with some real pencils/pens. If not, I pack them with my eyeliners, which are usually accessible since I’m a carry-on-only junkie. Never once been an issue.

  33. Ditto on the the Queen Anne’s lace here too. My guess is it’s because of all the late rains, combined with a SLOW start to summer heat. My tomato plants look great and are full of still green tomatoes. My theory on that one is that even though the days have heated up, a lot of our nights are still mostly cooler than average. I am NOT complaining…..

  34. Your bunny is adorable! I hope he behaves himself and gets to stay. And I’m anxiously awaiting the firefly shawl…

  35. Ok, I put a link and it probably ended up in the spam filter. Heathrow has new rules and they now allow knitting needles. Here’s what it says on heathrowguide dot com.

    Knitting and crocheting supplies, including knitting needles, are allowed in your carry-on luggage. Please don’t include sharp scissors or other sharp objects. Plastic and metal blunt-nosed scissors are permitted.

  36. Cute bunny! Why can you not knit on the way back to the US? I’ve never had problems carrying needles through UK security. Last time we went to Norway I carried 3 sock projects in my hand luggage with 3 sets of metal dpns. I even had my hand luggage searched and was convinced I’d loose my dpns. but the officer barely looked at my knitting which was in 3 separate bags and was more interested in a lipstick I’d forgotten to put in teh little clear plastic bag. My dpns were safe. Normally I take circs or wodden needles just in case but sometimes I like to live dangerously. have a good trip to London.

  37. A trick for getting DPNs on the plane – haven’t tried myself, but somebody told me it worked for them. You need to be knitting with wood DPNs, not metal. Get yourself a notebook and a pencil box (the notebook is to make it all look convincing). If your project has already been started, slip it onto a lifeline and put it in your carry-on. Put the DPNs into your pencil box along with some wooden pencils. It’s unlikely the screener will be a knitter and recognize some of the “pencils” don’t have any lead or erasers.

  38. Your garden and flowers are beautiful. And soon, that bunny will be too fat to bother visiting your garden … except he’ll have gotten fat off your garden. Sort of a catch-22, I suppose!

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