Joyknits!

Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


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Yarn, garden and other bits

I received some interesting yarns to doodle with,

yarn

Seeds are coming up in the garden …bean row

Roma Italian beans.

Roma Italian beans.

Squash.

Squash.

and the planters are looking good planters

In a moment of possible insanity, I said I’d participate in the 250th anniversary celebration for our county seat, which meant digging out a craft show wardrobe that hasn’t been used in forever. We won’t discuss the fact that some alterations are needed, but if I do say so, I’m still rather proud of some of the trim details I did so many years ago!

Craft show clothes

Craft show clothes

Apron pocket detail.

Apron pocket detail.

Apron lace

Apron lace (yes, it needs to be ironed)


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Out & about …

We’ve had lots of birds and critters in the yard, including this wren, who was exploring below the deck yesterday,

Wren (again)

Wren (bug hunting)

(the rock “mulch” is the only way I’ve found to keep the chipmunks from digging up my plants)

Wren

Wren

and one of the pair of phoebes that’s nesting down under again (closer than usual – I snuck this shot over the railing)

Phoebe

Phoebe

and more of the local wildlife – I’m glad I’ve got a rabbit-proof fence around the veggies!

How many bunnies?

How many bunnies (trick question)?

and even caterpillars – since they’re Swallowtail caterpillars (actually 5 of them), I just picked up another dill plant πŸ˜‰

Swallowtail caterpillar

Swallowtail caterpillar

Prairie Sunrise has been spectacular, though the rains have made it a bit droopy. I counted 24 flowers and buds on it.

Rose bush

Rose bush

Prairie Sunrise bud.

Prairie Sunrise bud.

Just a little ways over, the hollyhocks are getting ready to bloom – can’t wait to see what color(s) are there.

Hollynocks

Hollyhocks

This was the sky last evening, and it’s supposed to be more of the same, which makes Toby one unhappy dog, even with his ThunderShirt!

Stormy sky

Stormy sky


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Garden and a little knitting

Lots of things in bloom now, with more to come. The peonies are right on time for Memorial Day. I’m wishing I’d put supports around them earlier, especially Festiva Maxima, which is so loaded it’s drooping badly, but it’s gorgeous!

Peony White Sands

Peony White Sands

Pink Peony

Pink Peony

Peony Festiva Maxima

Peony Festiva Maxima

I’ve made progress in the vegetable garden. There’s now a tomato plant next to each of the stakes but 1 – I’m still chasing a black/purple tomato plant for that spot. I had a Black Krim last year, but haven’t had any luck finding a plant this year. The asparagus (extreme right; planted last year) is doing nicely, and we should be able to pick more from it next year. There’s 1 row of okra in (blue tag, left) and a couple of rows of beans yet to plant – I get hungry just thinking about them πŸ˜‰garden0525

And here’s the gratuitous knitting picture – I finished a pair of socks in Lang JaWolle from stash (!); there’s another pair already on the needles. socks 0526Hope everyone has a lovely holiday!


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Long ago …

and it seems like far away, we used to go fly fishing, mostly on the Meramec River between Steelville and St. James MO. Because my mother-in-law lived with us, we were able to leave 3 then fairly small kids with her for the occasional weekend float trip. The original method was to put in downstream and motor upstream to where we planned to camp & fish. That way, if anything went wrong, the truck was downstream, so we didn’t have to paddle a loaded 19′ aluminum canoe up the river. We often went in the off-season, and woke up 1 morning I remember to temps in the 20’s, and a pretty good layer of frost on the sleeping bags πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately, life eventually got in the way and those trips are only fond memories.

This clump of Amsonia/Dogbane is one enduring souvenir from those trips, in spite the construction project, in which a number of plants were lost. In looking it up, I discovered that it’s closely related to the milkweeds, oleanders and also vinca or periwinkle. In fall, it’s a lovely golden color.

Amsonia illustris.

Amsonia illustris.

amsonia flowersThe yellow rose has more flowers open practically every day.

rose0516

Today we planted 2 new shrubs, after taking out a couple ofΒ  pretty, but extremely invasive honeysuckle bushes. The witchhazel (l) and the winterberry holly (r) will fill in the space nicely, once they get going. shrubs

Vine Lace Set is now up on Patternfish – please take a look!

Vine Lace Set

Vine Lace Set


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Mostly flowers & food

It’s been acting a bit more like May; this evening, I heard the first chuck-will’s-widow of the season, even though I haven’t heard a whip-poor-will yet (if you have cats in the house, click on the sound links and watch the reaction – it was pretty funny here!). The whip-poor-will’s range extends farther north, but we have both here – they’re rarely seen but we hear them a lot.

The Harison’s Yellow rose (heirloom rose) is in bloom, and the whole bush is loaded with buds. The other rose also has lots of buds, but isn’t quite there yet. πŸ™‚

First bloom: Harison's Yellow rose.

First bloom: Harison’s Yellow rose.

Mayapple.

Mayapple.

There are mayapples over by the side of the house – I’ve no idea how they got there, but they must like it, as they’re multiplying. I think that may end up as a fern and wildflower area.

plantsSome plants I picked up yesterday (lots of red for the hummers); several of the vincas, salvias and verbenas are already in planters, most of the others will go in the bed beside the deck, along with marigolds and nasturtiums, which did very well in spite of the hot dry summer last year. The 2 planters have lettuce and radishes in them. garden

Though the ground isn’t really dry enough to till thoroughly, I did make a start on it today, and it’s good to see progress!

Salt & Pepper Kingsnake.

Speckled (Salt & Pepper) Kingsnake.

I was actually quite happy to see this guy today – there used to be a larger one that lived under the back porch BC (Before Construction) and terrorized the varmints. I think this one is smaller, but maybe a descendant of the original one πŸ˜‰

The other day Toby kept barking and barking over by the corner of the fence. I never did figure out what he was upset about, but when I went to look, I spotted these, which made a nice little side dish for lunch:

Morels.

Morels.

Hash: leftover ham, potatoes and onions.

Hash for lunch: leftover ham, potatoes and onions.


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May, and still with the showers!

It’s raining again today – about 2Β½” when I looked earlier, and no signs of stopping for a day or 2. The creeks and rivers are up again (some of the low water bridges were covered), though it’s not nearly as deep as a couple of weeks ago. I just hope it doesn’t quit entirely like it did last summer! Things have gotten so green it’s amazingly beautiful.

Red buckeye in full bloom.

Red buckeye in full bloom.

Kitchen herbs.

Kitchen herbs.

I decided to add more cooking herbs in the end of the bed closest to the door, so I planted more chives, cilantro, 2 Italian parsley, and dill next to the first clump of chives and the thyme on the right. There’s also more thyme, oregano and mint in another bed even closer to the door πŸ™‚

I had a supervisor while I was working with the plants.

Toby0513

On the knitting front, I’ve added a jacket and tank set, Chesapeake Twinset, to Patternfish – please take a look!

We still have lots of birds on the feeders – the grosbeaks and orioles are still around, along with all the “usual suspects” (cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and small woodpeckers). orioles

Also most or all of the wren houses seem to have been claimed.

wren 2

House wren.

Β wren 1

Phoebe feeding Brood #1.

Phoebe feeding Brood #1 under the deck.


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April showers …

in this case, can cause problems! Starting way too early this morning with a wake-up call from Toby because it was storming (time for his Thundershirt and Rescue Remedy!), it kept raining most of the day (almost 4″ in the gauge), and a pond that’s nearly overflowing. We’re usually lucky to have a foot or 2 in it! pond

At times like this, we’re very happy to be 200-300 ft higher than the highway, because the creek running next to it went over the road in at least a couple of places (pictures on Facebook), and it was even worse in a number of areas around the St. Louis region.

While I was over by the pond, I sneaked a peek into the bluebird house, and saw what looked like a blue tail sticking up on the left, but didn’t want to disturb her, so it’s not a very good photo.Β bluebird house

Meanwhile things are blooming, and I saw the first hummer of the season this morning, though only briefly.

Serviceberry (top); flowering quince (left); lilac (right).

Serviceberry (top); flowering quince (left); lilac (right).

I tried a recipe from Essential Pepin today; Red Snapper with Leeks, Mushrooms & Shallots – with a few substitutions, that is. The recipe said it was suitable for any firm-fleshed fish and I had a piece of flounder, green onions, dried shiitake mushrooms and 1 red sweet Italian pepper, so I sliced, diced and seasoned a bit, simmered everything but the fish in a cup of white wine, then put the fish on top of the sauce, simmered until the fish was just done, and the recipe’s definitely a keeper! dinnerTalk about getting out of one’s comfort zone! Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t crochet very much – my skills there are pretty minimal, but a friend asked for help with his Mom’s treasured afghan. She’s in a nursing home, and the afghan had been sent through the big washer. Unfortunately, some of the yarn in it was wool and didn’t tolerate that at all well.

Granny square: before.

Granny square: before.

It would be nice if it were possible to insert rows/rounds into crochet like you can with knitting, but as far as I can find out, crochet doesn’t work that way, so I ended up taking the square out, adding 2 rounds with new yarn, then recycling the original yarn for the last 2 rounds. She was very thrifty with her ends, so it wasn’t easy πŸ˜‰ Hope I don’t need to do it again!

Granny square: after

Granny square: after