My nose was buried . . .

in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows . . . which I greatly enjoyed. I think I will go back to the beginning and read the whole series at once.


Dance Time

Doin' a little happy dance . . . cuz I made pickles! They won't be ready to eat until August 10th or so . . . so stay tuned for taste testing results.


Getting a Grip

I'm starting to get a handle on things now, what with the new job, and the new schedule, and developing some new habits. It's keeping me busy (can't ya tell?). I have some garden pics to share - not terribly new ones, but they're pictures.

The cucumbers are starting to come, mostly from the seedlings I'd bought, the vines I planted as seed are really close though. The "True Lemon" cukes are starting to make male flowers, so I'm hoping to be able to show some of them off soon.

The green zebra tomatoes seem to only grow to about the size of a plum, but they have great flavor - AND . . . I've figured out how to tell if they're ripening - the light green bits start to turn yellow (I could also give them a gentle squeeze, but I try to avoid that one). The sad part is that parts of at least one of the green zebra vines seems to be suffering a bit, either from the dryness and heat or from some kind of pest or disease. I've started adding a little milk to the fertilizing mix, which I should have done a long time ago, so I'm hoping to see a little good come of that.

This tomato is growing on a vine that I stunted. (Ooops! Shame on me!) I was picking off suckers, like a good kid, and I accidentally mistook the growing top of the vine for a sucker and snapped it right off. It seems to be recovering nicely, but it took a while.

Growers notes for '08:

Add 1/2 cup milk to fertilizer mix for tomatoes and peppers - use weekly
Add Bone Meal, Granite and Cow to the soil Spring '08
after that just bone meal and cow, maybe some blood meal
Some lime might be good . . . not too much, but some
Make more room for zucchini
Design a layout, making space for all the fun veggies
Start more tomatoes from seed, that was fun
Tomato "patch" needs more nasturtiums, marigolds, basil, and thyme


What's up?

Well, I had my first day at the new job today. My head is only a little swimmy, and I think that has more to do with being up so early than it does with the training. I've done a lot of what I did today before, though their automated decks and software are a bit unfamiliar.

I played a little dumb today, to make sure I didn't miss anything. To that extent, it worked, but it was a little trying on my patience - so tomorrow, I'm going to be smarter.

No earth shattering news on Seth's job front, but he may have lined up a new interview today. Here's hoping.


Garden Cuteness

As promised, pictures of itty bitty vegetables! I'll tell ya though, I had to hunt for a while to find a tiny cuke - all the tiny ones I'd been watching have grown up considerably.

For scale comparison - the stems surrounding this baby squash (yellow zucchini) are about as bit around as my thumb, which, it should be noted, are likely bigger around than yours because I have fat fingers. But still - the squash isn't even as big around as a #2 pencil yet!

And this is the baby cuke - he's so tiny! And see? No flower yet - they grow to a point before the flower blossoms to be polinated. I saw a bee making the rounds in my cucumbers yesterday, so I'm hopeful for a decent crop. I want to get a picture of my other cukes - the lemon lookin' ones - but they are not quite to this point yet.

Mmmmm, pickly goodness! Yep, that's right, I'm makin' pickles! Sadly, I don't think my dill will be far enough along to use in making said pickles, but that's ok. I'm also hoping that I'll have cukes late enough into the summer that I can make some hot pickles with a jalapeno or an aurora pepper tucked into the jar. We'll see.


You learn something every day!

I was wandering around inspecting the plants in the vegetable bed the other day when I discovered something strange. While my cucumber and squash plants had been flowering for a couple of days, now there were flowers with miniature squash and cucumbers growing behind them. Now I expected to see this, eventually, as I knew that's how the squash and cucumbers developed, but the thing I couldn't understand was why the flowers growing on the ends of these tiny veggies were either new, or hadn't even opened yet.

Now, my vegetable growing experience consists mostly of tomatoes - and tomatoes flower, get polinated, the flower dies and a small green tomato forms where the flower had been. So these squash flowers were confusing me.

Enter the internet - answerer of many questions. I hit wikipedia and found this little tidbit:

"the flowers come in pollen-bearing male form, and the ovary-bearing female
form, with both forms being present on the plant."

So there you go - those first flowers were all males, and now my plants are starting to make female flowers. And let me just add that the tiny little yellow zucchini are really adorable. I will attempt to capture the cuteness this weekend.

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire - Second Years

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?

Gryffindor - I must be a tough sort, I was a Ravenclaw last time

2. Shoe size? Foot length? Foot circumference?

Women's 10 1/2 - 10 inches long - 9 inches around

3. List your three favorite sock yarns.

Fleece Artist, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport, Knit Picks Bare Superwash Fingering

4. Would you like to try a new brand of sock yarn? If so, which brand?

I haven't tried any Regia yet, but the silk and bamboo both look really fun. And I want to try Koigu someday. I'm still new at this, so there are lots of yarns I haven't "tasted" yet.

5. Do you prefer variegated or solid sock yarn?

I like variegated for simple patterns and solid (or heathered, yummy!) for lacy or cabled patterns.

6. What colors would you like to add to your sock yarn stash?

Oh . . . I dunno . . . blue, gray, green, purple . . . cool colors

7. What kind of sock patterns do you gravitate toward? Lace? Ribbed? Fair Isle?

My fair isle skills are not up to snuff - I knit too tight and things pucker, so I'm not up for fair isle socks yet . . . but I'm game for anything else.

8. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, animals, etc.)

Nope . . . bring it on!

9. Will your socks be exposed to cigarette smoke or animals as you knit them?

No cigarette smoke, and while we don't have any pets, my mom has two cats and we do visit her house fairly often, but I can promise to never take these socks over there if I need to.

10. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal?


So there you go, my Hogwarts Sock Swap answers. Does it sound like fun to you? Want to play too? Take this portkey to the new blog and sign up!

Sign up's for first years start July 14th! Come join the fun!


A Knittiversary

As I was photographing the yarns in my stash for record keeping purposes, I found these two balls from my first pair of socks. I realized that it's been about a year since I started knitting that pair of socks. I can't remember the exact date, so I'm adopting the first of July, since I think it was July when I started.

Sadly, in the last six months or so, I accidentally felted those socks to the point that I cannot wear them anymore. It was a great pattern, one that I really enjoyed knitting and wearing. I will need to knit another pair someday. Maybe this time I'll make them a bit taller.

Like these. I just finally finished these this past week. I started them as travelling socks, good for plane and car trips, but eventually I just wanted to finish them so I could wear them.

Pattern: Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe, from Knitting Rules
Yarn: Trekking XXL, colorway 140? 104? it's blue
Details: roughly 1.5 inches of ribbing, an eye of partridge heel

I've moved on to taller socks as time has passed, although I liked my anklets. I've also discovered some neat knitting things on the web, like swaps.

This is what my awesome Hogwarts Sock Swap pal sent me - lovely socks, awesome sock needles, lavender soaps and a candle, a bit of Eucalan for washing woolens, stitch markers, and a dpn holder for keeping my projects together in my backpack. I was sorted into ravenclaw for this swap. Man what fun that was! They're going to have another swap (part II) and sign ups open July 14th. I can't wait to do it again. It's pretty nerdy - but then again, so am I.

I think I've come a long way in a year, and I look forward to seeing where I go from here.