Garden Notes

I’m really not sure where the weekend went, gardening-wise. I did manage to get everything potted up (four bags of potting soil later – I usually do one and half a year…)

Here’s my biggest experiment:

From left to right are the tomato, pepper, and Swiss chard. Since the Swiss chard was a whim, I’ll be the least broken up if that doesn’t work, but it’s so pretty, I am actually hoping it does well.

The pepper and tomato should be interesting. I’m far enough north that I’m pretty much at the mercy of the weather to see how well they do. Too rainy a summer, and they’re doomed no matter how well I feed and weed them.

I also attempted somewhat of a clean up of the side bed, which had to wait until after work today. The rose bush from hell is running rampant. The above is what it’s done to my hybrid iris. I’ve cut down everything you see above, but I think what I’ll have to do, once they die back, is take out all the rhizomes (and they’ve been in there long enough that they’re probably due for a clean up), and then dig up all the rose roots. I may even try to see if there’s something I can bury that will at least keep the rose from over running that side, though I suspect that’s a losing battle.

I thought my tiny iris hadn’t survived the winter, but I found a small batch of it in the middle of rose bush hell. I pulled those out and have them in a pot for the moment. I definitely need to figure out a better place to put them for next year. I missed having them bloom.

I also deadheaded the last of the bulbs. The bed is still completely overrun with daffodil foliage, but it’s so green it won’t be going anywhere soon. It makes the bed looked very over stuffed with all the pots I have in there right now. I have to remind myself how empty it looks once the foliage dies back.

My final act of today’s clean up was my first harvest. I picked the first batch of salad mix that I sowed a month ago. The spicy mix came up so much faster that I thought I’d only be picking that first, but by this afternoon, the regular mix had caught up enough that I picked both. Salad with dinner was very good tonight.


Garden Notes

Yesterday afternoon, since it was actually sunny out (rarer than you’d think, this year), and to anticipate the Memorial Day weekend crowd, I stopped off at the garden center after work. The haul is above. It’s pretty herb heavy – I’ve decided to try one of seemingly everything in pots in the garden, so to that end, I purchased: basil (a full flat), parsley (a full flat), Thai basil, dill, thyme, lemon thyme, sage, and two kinds of lavender (more for the flowers than anything else). With the cilantro I planted a few weeks back, that should take care of my herb needs.

I also purchased a large cherry tomato, a Fooled You pepper, which apparently looks like a jalapeno and tastes like one, but without the heat, and some bright lights chard. Those will all be going into pots in the side garden. I also bought some marigolds – one will go in with the tomato, and the rest will end up somewhere else in the side garden.

For the back garden, I got a small, long-leafed hosta, with white edged leaves, and my regular two large coleus, as well as some small coleus for the front of the “bed”. I’ve decided to skip the strawberry pot of impatiens this year.



Both in spite of, and because of the insane week of rain we just had, the lettuce and radishes seem to be doing well. The spicy salad mix is definitely growing faster than the regular mix, for whatever reason. I planted an extra pot of it last week, and the spicy mix is the only side that has sprouted, so far. I’ll probably be able to harvest the original batch of that any day now.

The radishes are also looking good, but I’ll try to give them a full month in the ground before I harvest.

It’s been a weird Spring so far. It was so damn rainy that the iris have yet to bloom. And yet, most of the bulbs and the fruit tree flowers went by super fast. I have almost no pictures of any of that this year, so will have to rely on my archives for pictures of Spring, if I suddenly have a need to see pretty flowers. At least the rhodies seem happy.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Curly Purly Soaker by Marnie Anne Joyce
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: Sizes 4, 6 and 8 circs and size 4 DPNs

With the completion of the extra large soaker, which I did in a combination of Blueberry Bliss Cascade 220 Paint, and Cascade 220 Purple, the soaker project for my niece/nephew to be is done!

This is a good, basic pattern – very easy to use, and scale for size. Granted, I won’t be using them myself, so I won’t be able to fully rate the finished product.

As usual, Cascade 220 is a wonderful yarn. It’s very pleasant to knit with, and you can’t go wrong with the color selection.

This has been a great project all around – here’s hoping they’re useful as well.

Swordspoint – Ellen Kushner

Read for the Once Upon a Time V Reading Challenge.

Swordspoint is the story of Richard St. Vier, a swordsman in a nameless city once ruled by a King, but now ruled by a council of nobles. These nobles use swordsmen as proxies for their personal battles, and Richard is the best.

Richard lives in Riverside, the older part of the city, where nobles once live, but now no longer come. They live up on the Hill, and it’s a different world than the one he inhabits. His lover is Alec, a poor scholar, who sometimes seems more than that. Both are men are drawn into the politics of the Hill when Richard is courted by some of the most powerful men in the city to do deeds that are terrible indeed.

This story is a fairy tale at its best – though I found it in the fantasy section, there is no magic, simply a landscape of lords and peasants, navigating a most complicated code of honor.

I come to this series a bit backwards, having first read The Privilege of the Sword, which takes place at least twenty years after the events of this book. The Privilege of the Sword is a lighter story, for while it does deal with politics, they are not as terrible and urgent as the politics of Swordspoint. I feel as though I should like one better than the other, but they’re such different books, I can’t choose one over the other. This is a most interesting world to visit – I highly recommend it to anyone that wants a fairy tale story taken to its grown up, logical extreme.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Read for the 2011 YA Reading Challenge.

I am pretty late to the whole Hunger Games phenomenon, but I finally got my hands on the first book. I can totally understand how this is the next big thing since Twilight.

This is a post-apocalyptic tale, where the US has morphed into a country called Panem, head quartered somewhere in the Rockies. What land is left is divided into districts. At some point, the districts rose up against the Capital, and lost. District 13 was completely obliterated, and to keep the other twelve districts in line, the Capital devises the Hunger Games.

Every year, a teenage boy and girl are drawn by lot from each district, and are brought to the Capital, where they must fight to the death. Only one will leave the district alive, and it’s broadcast live in television, with compulsory viewing for all.

Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12, what was once coal country in Appalachia. Her father died in a mining accident, and ever since, she’s had to care for her mother and younger sister. It’s her sister’s first year of eligibility in the Hunger Games lottery, and when Prim’s name is drawn, Katniss volunteers to take her place.

This book, the first in the trilogy, finishes with the end of the Hunger Games (it’s pretty obvious who has to win, but there’s plenty of interesting story to get you there). I’m very interested to see where the next two books go. This is definitely a worthy series to be the next big thing – it’s better written than Twilight, and has a much better story.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Ruffle Rib Baby Socks from Ann Budd’s Better than Booties Baby Socks
Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee in the Rosa Rugosa colorway
Needles: Size 1 DPNs

In my ongoing effort to use up yarn, I made baby socks to match the Jubilee Cardigan I completed a month or so ago. I really enjoyed making these – this is the first time I’ve ever had short-row heel instructions in a pattern that made sense to me (you use it for the toe in these socks as well). I was actually enjoying the short rows as I went along. So much so, I found a few other sock yarn left overs with enough yardage so that I can make two more pair for the niece/nephew project. This is definitely going to be my go to baby sock pattern.

Knitting Notes

The size medium soaker is done, this time in a lovely purple.

As a small side project, in a continuation of the get rid of left over yarn thing I started earlier this year, I cast on the Ruffle Rib Socks from Ann Budd’s Better than Booties Baby socks in the Quince Chickadee yarn I used to the make the Jubilee sweater. Hopefully, I can give them away as a set.

Elvenborn – Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey

This third book of the Halfblood Chronicles actually takes a bit of a turn, and is mostly the story of Kyrtian, a full Elven Lord from a most unusual family. He’s considered a bit mad by the other Elven Lords, mostly because of his father, how was lost on an expedition to refind the Great Portal that brought the Elves to Earth from their homeland of Evelon.

The other thing that makes Kyrtian and his family unique is that they don’t consider the humans on their estate to be slaves – they’re free citizens that his family has done their best to protect throughout the years. Kyrtian has been studying warfare, and has come up with an inventive way to train his men to fight without causing any injury. When the other Elven Lords get wind of this, they’re excited, though in their case, it’s by the opportunity to not be killing off good breeding stock over petty arguments. And so Kyrtian is enlisted by the High Council to head up their army.

He quickly realizes that he’ll be playing a delicate game to keep the Elven Lords happy, but also not expose the secret of his human servants. This maneuvering brings him to the attention of the half blood rebels, who must decide if it’s worth approaching him to bring him to their side.

This is a nice little continuation of the series, and leaves off on a bit of a cliffhanger. So far as I know, another book was never published, so here’s hoping Lackey has it somewhere on her list of series to finish, and gets to it some day.