Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Slow on the uptake and giveaway results.

Getting used to the 'new' normal is a bumpy road, to be sure.  I have seen a few prickly comments on Facebook about people being tired of hearing about the new normal.  That's too bad, as I don't think we will ever be back to what we were used to.  I was working in the garden yesterday, when I had a panic attack - I had forgotten to clock into work!  At least I knew what day it was, but didn't remember it was a holiday.  I calmed myself down and carried on.
The "new carport
After many fits and starts, the new carport went up (halleluiah!)  My neighbor's granddaughter's husband had it whipped into shape in no time.  I toted pieces and parts and held things upright.  How nice it is to work with someone under 40... with muscles.

There has been a lot of activity in the garden - seed planting (four kinds of beans, cukes, beets, radishes) was done first.  I had to put up the fencing before venturing out with my seedlings.  Sunday I put out onion starts and yesterday was the big push.  The fence went up and tomatoes, summer squash, more cucumbers and some of the peppers went in.  I also planted some sweet peas in the flower bed, and put in the remainder of my herbs (marjoram, English thyme, French tarragon, and parsley).  My sage is still plugging away, as is the Greek and golden oreganos.

Necessary equipment

Squash bed straight ahead; flower bed behind;
beans, far left; tomatoes and peppers front

I am trellising cukes, with rat tail
radishes sheltered beneath.  You'll
have to take my word for it - it's early days.

The tire brigade - perennials and

If you biggify, you'll see

Trellised beans and cukes (more)
in the far bed. Tomatoes and peppers in
the near bed.

Chives, lemon balm and comfrey are rampant!
I managed to keep a grip on myself, vis a vis the tomatoes, this year.  Instead of the 18 plants of last year, I have nine this year.  I have two black cherry plants, two pineapple, a tie-dye, a beefsteak, an ox heart, and two I can't remember.  Thank you, as always, Marianne!  I think she was very grateful that I didn't try to con her into starting all my seeds this year.  Her daughter and granddaughter and granddog are self-quarantining with them.  It's crazy.

I have four kinds of cucumbers this year, and four kinds of beans - two climbing and two bush types.  I am also trying a different kind of 'radish'.  I am one of six people on the Earth that cannot grow radishes.  I am trying a variety that grows radish pods - or rat tails.  They have started to pop up, so I am taking that as a positive sign.  I have kept a bed free for winter squash, as I really miss having it in the garden.  The seeds have germinated, but they're not quite ready for prime time.

I will leave you with a few shots of other parts of the garden, and a totally gratuitous shot of "Slimmie", bless him.
My lovely lilac

Hellebores with bee balm

Front deck geraniums

Luxurious in his vastness
Giveaway Update:

If I have it right, these are the quilting book recipients:

DFW - Quilting Bible
Ladybug - The Art of the Handmade Quilt
ErinfromIowa - Lap Quilting
Cindie - Little Quilts

Please email your mailing address to swomersley at gmail dot com, and I will get them packaged in on their way!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

How about a giveaway, while we pass the time?

I have had to face the fact that I am not going to learn to do all the things that I want to do.  Plus, there is that pesky lack of focus....and, when it comes to quilting, there is the math....

If any of you are quilters, future quilters or have an interest in quilting (and have more focus than a fruit fly), I offer the following:

the Patchworker's How-To Book (top)

Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel

The Quilting Bible - the Complete PhotoGuide to Machine Quilting

The Art of the Handmade Quilt

Little Quilts

I think, since there are a few of them, we will just have it be a first-comment, first dibs giveaway.  I'll post the names in next Monday's blog post.

Friday, May 15, 2020


And (seemingly) just like that, spring has sprung.  While I was inside, whining, nature just plodded on, doing her thing.
You can always count on forsythias
to boost your spirits.
I do feel, however, that I was justified in my endless whining..
Two days ago - my tender plants
bundled in towels and fleece
Just when I was ready to sigh with relief that the worst of the roadblocks between me and getting out in my garden are finally past, I wake up to this on my weather app (I didn't even include the hail and tornado charts - too depressing)
Seriously?  We are pretty
much smack-dab in the center.
I guess spring can 'actually' start tomorrow.  I had made a very quick sortie into the office to make sure there were no burst pipes, piles of important mail, etc.  There was only one casualty, the office plant.
Poor thing.  I was only able to buy it a little bit of time, by moving it by the only window and heavily watering it before I had to decamp.  Who knew it would be months before I could return.  There was a delightful lack of traffic and no end to open parking spots.

I am hoping that things calm down so that I can start to harden off my seedlings.  Time stops for no seeds and my squash plants are busting out all over the little greenhouse.

I am hoping to get some things in the garden this weekend, and to finish prepping the remaining three raised beds.  I am itching to get things moving along.  I will feel so much better, knowing that I have my own food resources.  I had family and friends on the lookout for flour for my neighbors (she is 94 and still baking up a storm) before someone found one remaining bag of King Arthur flour an hour and a half south of us!  I had baked them some Anzac Biscuits - I am baking out of boredom -   which only take one cup of flour and are mighty tasty with a cup of coffee or tea.  She said her husband ate most of them - a compliment, since they contain no chocolate.  I used a KA recipe, but switched molasses for the dark Karo syrup, as I don't use it and was out of golden syrup.

Tomorrow I finish dismantling the old carport wreckage so that I can have the new one put up on Sunday.  I found two little elderberry starts in the front yard that I want to protect until they are large enough to transplant - I love free plants!

It's hard to believe that Memorial Day is looming on the horizon.  We are still pretty much in lockdown mode, as our area has not met the benchmarks set up by the governor.  Even when we start to loosen the restrictions, I will not be sallying forth with confidence.  There is too much that is unknown about this virus and I still have friends and loved ones who are vulnerable.  Meanwhile, I am digging this work-at-home thing!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Welp. Things WERE getting a tad boring.

Since I fundamentally refuse to turn my heat on after May 1, I decided to start a nice fire to warm up paws and toes this morning.  After all, it was 34 freakin degrees.  Lovey and her partner in warmth, Slimmie, had just vacated the hearth when - WHAM BANG CRASH - one of the glass panels on the fireplace screen shattered.  Geezlouise.

Other than that excitement, things have been grinding along.  I decided to get all my little (and getting smaller) ducks in a row to ease me into retirement, so there have been phone calls and emails about the state of the market (stinks), the future of the market (stinks) and my options.  My new motto is 'whatever'.

Lovey highly recommends
 This past Saturday, we celebrated my youngest sister's birthday, along with our fourth sister, Barb's.  Champagne and social distancing.  I brought the cake.

 I've started my journey to use up as much of the pantry/fridge/freezer items that I can.  While the casserole below looks less than appetizing (I'm no food photographer), it was delicious - The Enchanted Broccoli Forest's Savory Apple Casserole, starring apples, cheddar and sauerkraut.
Thanks to a day and a half of spring-like weather, I have been able to get six of my nine raised beds ready for planting.  If only spring would arrive with it's entire wardrobe, instead of the little overnight bag she's toting around.  We are due for snow Friday night, with frost/freezing temperatures almost through next week.  While I'm waiting for the soil to warm up, I am using my Burpee Big Daddy onion starts as a center piece.
We're bracing for another round of shortages - this time it's beef, pork and chicken.  Makes me glad I have segued into a mostly plant-based diet.  I'll be even happier when the plants are from my own garden.  My favorite nursery opens tomorrow with all the bells and whistles of social distancing and state regulations.  Luckily for me, they offer order-ahead-and-pick-up service.  I sent off my list and will pick up curbside.  So many adjustments, although I am very aware that these are First World problems and I am very, very grateful to have the opportunities I have.

Meanwhile, my Meyers Lemon tree and I are waiting impatiently to be able to outside and stay there.