Thursday, September 16, 2010


Here is my latest finished knitting project - socks for Fred completed today. The pattern is "Classic Socks" from 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. The yarn is a colorway of Zitron's Trekking XXL. They have contrasting gray heels and toes because I didn't stop to think that 100 grams would not be enough to cover my husband's size 13 feet!

This was the best of my three pictures - unfortunately my toes wanted in also! Since I've not yet learned to use Photoshop Elements I'll call them the comic relief.

I will have some quilty content soon - I finally bought the fabric for Emily's quilt - which I'll start as soon as I have time to clean the sewing and knitting room.

Front yard redo - part 1

Now take a look at pictures of the front yard taken last week and early this week!

Today - Thursday - we are looking at new trenches in the backyard leading through the gate to the west of the house, into and all over the front yard. Little yellow and blue flags are everywhere marking where the sprinkler heads will be.

Tomorrow, weather allowing, I will take up to date pictures. They hope to get all the pipes, sprinkles and other parts of an irrigation system installed and the trenches filled. The rush is to get the grass planted so I has time to grow and be cut a time or two before winter dormancy. I sure don't want a sea of mud in the front yard all winter long!

In this picture you can see - to the right of the dogwood - the Autumn Flame red maple that is replacing the sweet gum tree that used to be there. It's roots were invasive and heading toward the foundation so we got rid of it. I'm really looking forward to the brilliant red of leaves come next fall on the new tree.

We used old brick we got from the kids to edge all the beds in the backyard. I've not gotten a great picture of that yet, but I assure you it looks terrific. Fred can run the wheel of the lawn mower right on the bricks instead of having to trim edges after mowing. We have some bricks left, but will need to buy many more to do this in the front. I will investigate other possibilities, but I must admit I'm partial to the brick. This bare space on the east of the driveway will house the tent trailer on the left. Bushes and perennials of various sizes will be on the half by the street. I've always wanted to get rid of that little bit of grass - a huge nuisance for Fred every time he mows.

Backyard Redo - Part 3

Shrubs planted in the back yard and waiting for planting in the front yard include (clicking on each name will take you to a page with picture of that plant) :

Arbutus unedo - "strawberry bush"
Abelia "Edward Goucher"
Euonymus alatus rubus
Ceanethus victorius
Deutzia gracelis
Philadelphus coronares
Piers japonica
Enkianthus capanulatur

Kalmia latifolia
Fuschia - both dwarf and bush
Blue diamond rhododendrons
Hino crimson azaleas
Mock Orange
Beautyberry bush

Most of these meant nothing to me in the long list of possibilities that was presented by the landscaper and my gardening friends. After carefully checking out each one on the Internet - love Google Image search! - I made the final list.

Having the watering system is heaven after dragging around sprinklers and hoses for 36 years!

Backyard Redo - Part 2

The backyard is nearly finished for now - and has been for a couple weeks. There is still lots of planting to do - bulbs a couple weeks from now, and then perennials and annuals next spring. I'd hoped to plant a lot of the perennials now, as this is the time people divide them in preparation for winter. Unfortunately, it's not the time that nurseries carry much of a selection at all - just fall bloomers. This gives me all winter to thumb through my gardening books and design exactly what I want to plant next spring.

Looking west at the raised bed garden. This is for vegetables every summer, or a cutting garden if I get tired of growing food. At the rear next to the fence is 20' of raspberries, three rhubarb plants, and three blueberry bushes. In front will be a 7' deep perennial garden, with climbing roses on the trellis and bulbs and annuals to accent the perennial garden. There will be color and bloom from early spring to late fall.

Looking east from the arbor is the path leading back to the house patio and branching to the patio underneath the cherry and apple trees. Shrubs are planted at the back of the beds which will provide privacy from the neighbors.

A closer look at the patio under the trees.

The patio near the French doors in the dining room.

Looking to the east side of the garage you can see the woodpile, potting bench, and the space ready for my rolling composter.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Backyard Redo - Part 1

When the kids were preschoolers our front and back yards were beautiful. The backyard had wide beds around the entire perimeter, filled with edible plants - vegetables, berries and more - and fruit trees. The kids played outside happily while I worked in the garden. In spite of the very heavy clay soil we managed, digging through the rock hard soil to root out every weed as needed. It wasn't fun struggling with the soil, but the results were marvelous. I canned and froze all summer and we ate wonderful home grown food all winter.

As the kids grew up and I went back to work off and on, the back yard deteriorated little by little. I stopped canning and freezing, turned into a chauffeur and struggled to get everything done that needed doing in between work and kids activities. We worked to keep the front yard in shape - just barely - and that was it. We were so tired of struggling with the soil. Shrubs became overgrown and many years I didn't even plant annuals. I hated the way everything looked, but never found the time or energy to do anything about it.

This year we were able to do something about it. My 63 year old body can no longer do any of the heavy work, and I hated to ask Fred to do much of it as he really doesn't like yard work and he really needed the summer rest after a long, difficult school year. So I did the basic design, then hired someone to do the work. We will have a nice area for relaxing and an area for growing vegetables, roses, cutting flowers, or whatever else we want. So far we are thrilled with what has been done.

Roundup was applied everywhere, and then we waited for all the grass to die. The ancient, completely overgrown, leggy rhododendrons were removed, leaving only one compact rhodie, and apple tree, and a cherry tree. It took two weeks for the grass to die.

The ground was tilled very well, with 50 pounds of gypsum worked into the clay. Over 50 cubic yards of topsoil was then spread over the top.

The old concrete slab was demolished, and new patios and walkways of stamped concrete were installed.

It was fascinating to watch the process of turning flat, uninteresting concrete into what looks like beautiful stone - a very time consuming process that happened over the course of over a week.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Unidentified teasers


Thanks so much for the welcome back comments everyone! I've really missed each and every one of my readers. It's going to take quite awhile to catch everyone up on what's been happening. I certainly won't lack for posting material for quite awhile! I decided to change the blog name to something that covers almost all parts of my life. I do have an obsessive personality. When I get excited about something it almost takes over my life to the exclusion of almost everything else. My obsession was quilting - for over 20 years - the longest time an obsession has ever lasted for me. I've not really done any quilting for over a year, but that doesn't mean I've stopped quilting forever. It just isn't a current passion. For awhile early last year it was cooking.- That didn't last long - just a few months. Starting last September it became knitting. Now I can feel something else coming along. I've never been able to maintain more than one obsession at a time, but I've decided that MUST change. I need to add gardening - you'll see why in a post later this week - and get back to quilting so I can make Miss Emily her quilt. It also needs to be cooking again, so I can really get back on track with Weight Watchers. Right now I'm 8 lbs above goal, and new clothes are getting tight. Must keep knitting too - I've made too many new friends in my two knitting groups and I have WAY too much yarn accumulated. Therefore - a blog title to cover all of this! I'm posting some teaser pictures here from the last 8+ months. Stay tuned for more!

Pictures from top to bottom:

1. We finally got sewers late last fall. When we moved in we were told they'd be done within two years. That was 37 years ago. We hooked up in February. Good thing, as our septic system was ready to fail for the second time. We'd already fixed it once over 25 years ago to the tune of several thousands dollars even then.

2. Miss Emily - taken with my phone about 90 minutes after her birth. She is a big girl!

3. One of about a half dozen pairs of socks I've made myself. (Yes, this really is a pair!)

4. Premie baby caps for the hospital. Four of them are mine.

I'm back!

And I've renamed the blog. I'm getting back into quilting, but also obsessing in other ways. I'll explain the new blog title later tonight. Now I'm headed to the Labor Day sale at a Portland quilt shop - I need to get started on the quilt for our new granddaughter! Emily Alexis was born on July 30th - 8 lb 14 oz - joining big sisters Sophie and Lily. Here she is at about two weeks in the purple sweater set that grandma knitted for her.