Not a Paris vacation

We headed north to the Adirondacks for a much needed vacation recently.

adk-weathervane

We packed up our hiking gear, the dog and his gear, and lots and lots of our garden’s bounty.

adk-tomatoes

We usually stay in the High Peaks region where good grocery and produce options are few, so we usually bring a week’s worth of food with us.

N still manages to make fancy stuff with limited ingredients.

adk-tuna tomatoes

(Tuna balsamico is a regular staple either in a sandwich on the trail or stuffed into things, or both).

adk-rain

The trip up sucked, and the weather was somewhat crummy on and off, but thankfully the cabin had a generous covered porch. And the rain brought somewhat cooler temperatures that seemed downright lovely for our heat-soaked hides.

Cabin bathroom was a wee bit humid… #fungusamongus #toilettoadstool #shrooms #mushroom #mushroominthehouse

A photo posted by astitchmatism (@astitchmatism) on

(And mushrooms in the floor.)

But it was cool enough to consider touching wool again, so I immediately cast on for a Paris Toujours.

adk-stitch marker

The beginning wasn’t without incident and I might go into detail later – a very minor pattern issue – and it’s a pattern that doesn’t really need a pattern anyway. And of course I forgot my stitch markers again – and I think I prefer the twist tie now…

The yarn is frogged from a thrift sweater and is kitten/bunny/puppy/mouse soft.

I ended up frogging a few more short sections from between the button holes before we left and I’m glad I did – I got nearly a foot of shawl for it and the yarn easily accepted the spit (hot air huff) splice.

adk-rocco model

The dog failed as a knitwear model.

And as a trail dog on the busier park trails – he’s still too much of an asshole to be around others – but he made a good porch companion and was so much calmer that week without kids on bikes, runners, dogs, cats, certain kinds of jalopies, mail carriers, and garbage trucks going by.

adk-porch with dog

I didn’t get much time on the trails but I got a good chunk of knitting done – the most I’ve done in months. I knocked out a heel and instep on one of the pair of yellow & teal very occasional socks, a few more rows on the last washcloth, and worked a bit on a very long-term hexagon quilt.

adk-shawl start

The weather was the most glorious on our last day and I felt like the vacation had only just begun – yes, a common feeling, but this time it was too real.

adk-shawl in sun

And now this oh-so-soft shawl has remained untouched since we returned – the garden called for too much tendon-aggravating attention and the temperature has once again soared…

Too short vacation. #sunset #latesummer #adk #adirondacks #highpeaks

A photo posted by astitchmatism (@astitchmatism) on

 

Leave a comment

Filed under gardening, hiking, knitting, recycling, thrifting, travel

Late summer garden

I’m still having issues with the phone line/DSL and I’ve been on vacation, so more random garden notes for now…

late summer-cicada shells

There were many early successes and now some dramatic hits – the early tomatoes came down with late blight and the late came down with the early – at least I think that’s what happened.

Squash vine borer took out the zucchini just when I figured out what was happening (there weren’t any obvious early telltale signs)…

late summer-vine borer

and to some degree at an okay time – we were getting tired of it and my most hated garden pest – squash bugs – hatched.

late summer-squash bugs

Despite squishing their eggs every morning, I still missed a bunch.

(And the dog will miss eating portions of the missed monster zukes daily.)

Now we’re worried about the butternut squash, but we’ve already got a few near maturity, so if they get hit, it won’t be a total loss.

The cucumber beetles (both spotted and three-lined now) continue to be a massive plague and introduced their bacterial diseases again which the plants have mostly powered through – I squished these daily as well and used sticky traps, but neither made much difference…

The dried beans will only amount to a meal or two – totally not worth the effort, but I could have been a bit more attentive to them and thinned them out a bit better for better air circulation – but – their close-togetherness keep them happy during the heat so either way it was certain doom for them this year.

On a happy note, we’ve been back to salads with some nice lettuces again and the bush and pole beans are doing fine.

late summer-lettuce

And despite the tomato plants taking the huge blighty hit, we canned and froze at least 100 pounds and probably ate the same… Most are still hanging in there after aggressive pruning and organic fungicide, but we’ll have to be far more proactive next year – I was too cocky about not getting hit with blight before. We’ve thankfully got enough beds to rotate everything well, but the southern ones are getting the least amount of sun starting in mid-July, so they aren’t a great place for them.

The yard didn’t get the attention I said it would have this year – we’ve got a couple large (maybe expensive) projects that I feel should be done before I spend time doing other things that might have to be undone, so hopefully we’ll figure that out soon, but in the meantime, the deer have been parading their babies through the yard.

late summer-deer

And the dog continues to be an asshole to them and other beasts, but we’re still trying hard – many dollars of behaviorists and prescription drugs later… (he’s kinda making me feel like I’m the one in need of prescriptions) and the issue of fencing for him is one of the yard holdups – he’s a jumper, the town has height limits, the back yard is pretty big, and the front the perfect size but probably wouldn’t work after all… and so it goes.

I’d hoped to start a few plants indoors for a fall crop, but we’ve yet to set up the grow station – it will happen for spring though – but I’ll be trying for some more root veg and greens – perhaps attempt keeping kale and whatnot through the first frosts – it’s been to hot to put in anything yet and I’ve still got to clean up a few beds first.

And nature has helped a bit too – we’ve got the resident praying mantis or two back, perhaps some assassin bugs (one baby snuck in on some veg), and birds that I’m also keeping my eye on – good now, but once we get blueberries I’ll likely be raging at them with a broom…

late summer-assasin bug

I let some volunteer watermelons do their thing as well as some more butternuts – we’ll see how well the mostly ignored, unwatered volunteers do vs. the painstakingly tended intentionally planted ones (squash that is, I didn’t plant watermelon this year).

late summer-watermelons

And there have been a few interesting surprises as well.

The swallowtail butterflys (I’m pretty sure this is black swallowtail) are snugging up to the garden again – this oddball preferred nothing natural to make her home:

And the damp weather brought out the mushrooms.

I know very little on the mycology front and only trust myself to pick morels in the wild, but I’m becoming slightly more interested – enough to try making spore prints next time I find some – and these in the bean patch are likely boletes of some sort, but I can’t quite determine which one…

late summer-shrooms

But the best has been a stinkhorn that popped up in the tomatoes – unfortunately we left the day after so I didn’t get to watch, or rather smell, its life cycle.

late summer-stinkhorn

The hot and humid weather finally broke a couple of days ago, but is likely headed back soon, so I’ll be busy in the meantime…

3 Comments

Filed under gardening, home

The sewing station south

Hot, humid weekend days sent us to ReStore again over the last month and some. Wintertime usually means thrifting time, but when it’s too hot to hike or work in the yard, it is the second best option to staying cooped up in the house.

I don’t like spending much time in our basement during the day, but I was drawn to it regularly this summer – seeing bright daylight day after day became inexplicably depressing to some degree for me – I yearned for a rainy grey day (then we got a bunch and they nearly killed the garden). But I finally took N’s advice and set up a work area down there despite my earlier protests that I hated being down there in the day and needed bigger windows to work.

On our first summertime run, we encountered a motherlode of old school furniture – desks, tables, horrid attached chair-table hybrids that brought back lunchroom nightmares, and some awesome lime green lockers that almost came home with us, but didn’t because we’d have to rent a larger vehicle.

But this little desk did.

I thought it would be perfect for my not-used-enough serger.

And it is – the serger was previously on a nightstand or side table of sorts and I had to sit at it uncomfortably side-saddle. Moving it out of my tiny upstairs workroom freed up some much needed space too and hopefully by wintertime I’ll actually be able to go up there and work rather than spend most of my time organizing and re-organizing it or shifting the piles that covered one rare surface or another… And then pop down to the basement to use the serger when need be. (I’ll also be able to iron fabric more comfortably in the space, and I have my other machines that need work down there, so perhaps it will be the main work area and upstairs will be more for spinning, stash, and whatever else “art” I might get up to).

There was another table that I wanted very badly – a not too wide, but wide enough for quilting cotton, and gloriously long – 8 feet or so, mid century table with a coral formica top – possibly from a lunchroom too, or perhaps an art classroom… It was cheap (I don’t remember how cheap, but at or under $50) but again, we’d need a truck of sorts to get it home (not to mention we didn’t really have room for it – yes, it could go in the basement, but then the basement would have a giant table in it and we already have one largeish library table down there anyway).

So I forgot about it.

But then it was still there about a month later and only $10!!!!

But I still didn’t get it, but took a picture instead. Someone will be lucky and happy with that thing.

(I’m still having connectivity issues – apparently my phone line is hooked into a buried line at a cookie-cutter condo complex down the road – I like the aesthetics of buried lines, but when I’ve lived with them, they’ve had way too many problems…)

Leave a comment

Filed under collecting, home, home decor, recycling, sewing

Playing/paying telephone…

I am somewhat resistant to change in general – the big life ones, not the truly beneficial ones – but especially if it costs more.

I still don’t own a smartphone or use a cell phone on a regular basis.

But my landline has been sketchy since a batch of thunderstorms a couple weeks ago, and along with it, my DSL (yes, I’m in the sticks and refuse to buy cable). So I’ve had intermittent service, and just when I think all is well, I realize I blew the only good 10 minutes of connectivity of the day reading ravelry forums and dicking around on my Instagram with my non-phone tablet.

My cellphone is a pre-paid thing that costs less than $10 a month, and I’ve had it for so long and use it so little that I’ve built up thousands of minutes (good thing for when my landline craps out). The company recently sent me a new flip phone because the one I had became obsolete. I hate the new phone – I have to charge it more than once a week and I never remember to do it. It has more options I’ll never use and a color screen I don’t need and all I want to do is make a call if I absolutely have to or get the occasional text if I’m expecting it (or traveling) and I’ll go days without looking at the thing.

Wiping out the old phone was interesting – the camera was entirely shit, so I only used it if I saw a floor pattern I liked…

Hex - phone

(first appeared in this post)

telephone-nm

…or to send a pic to N if I was traveling without him.

But it’s off to a donation site as well as an international one that only worked for the two weeks I needed it for initially, but not for the next two weeks that were supposed to justify its purchase…

Since 1996, I’ve owned 5 cell phones – all discarded due to obsolescence (I know this number is remarkably low) but I still have a rotary dial phone since then that was already several decades old, and still works fine – nay, it sounds way better than all cell phones now. (I do have another button phone for calls involving menus though).

But I should keep this post short since I may loose it and I was going to go into a full-on rant, but the gist is we’re creating so much garbage with these cell phones, toxic garbage, and though we can think we’re donating and recycling them, they’ve still been manufactured (by polluting facilities and exploited labor) and they’ll still reduce to some unreusable parts.

And they essentially run on coal.

(Unless your electric supplier is clean and green).

Old landline phones don’t use electricity.

And “regular” cell phone plans are needlessly expensive in the states.

 

6 Comments

Filed under recycling, travel

Dripping into August

July was far too humid – I felt like I was (and still am) pushing through the air after sweat bath mornings in the garden.

If I had to commute to work every day, I’m not sure the garden would survive, or at least organically. So far, squishing bugs and eggs and more bugs for a couple hours a day has been more effective than traps and lures and early barriers.

It’s exhausting, and the tomatoes are in full, delicious, swing but I’m worrying over those plants now (might be in early days of disease or nutrition issue or too much rain after not enough, and while focused on the tomatoes, I ignored the borlotti beans that sadly began to rot/sprout and I lost at least a third of the crop). And cleaning up tomato goo from inexplicable places days after each canning session.

august-lilies

I transplanted several formerly deer-destroyed day lilies to the confines of the garden late last year and have been rewarded with continuous blooms so far – and different colors on each. Another 3 or 4 plants (with quickly munched blossoms) showed up in the yard this year so I’ll have to eek out a bit more space or plan another fenced area at some point. I refuse to do as my neighbors and spray deer deterrent nearly daily…

august-wildflowers

N and the dog (who continues to be a challenge and I’ve got to pick and squish his nasty bugs (ticks) daily too) go on canine-exhausting adventures every morning and have been bringing back foraged goodies, both delicious and lovely.

Several quarts of berries (which I recently learned are wineberry and yes, an Asian invasive like many of the “wild” things around here) that didn’t make it into homemade frozen yogurt, ended up in our new chest freezer along with much of our recent excess produce – we’ve suddenly become very ungenerous with the neighbors on that front, but I am stupidly, grinningly pleased that we’ll be eating our own veg well into the winter.

august turtle

(One of my favorite vintage tea towels and rare cheap local flea market find from last year.)

And on the fiber front, very little is going on – I’m knitting a few rows here and there and stitching up some paper pieced quilt shapes from time to time. And I’m still organizing my supplies and collections, deciding what to keep and what to sell, though my workroom is still too hot and to be avoided on most days, and I’m so unenthusiastic to start up the huge batch of online auction listings I’d hoped to have up and running by now – I miss the old days of selling shit online – perhaps I’ll try the even older days and do a flea market table instead…

 

2 Comments

Filed under collecting, gardening, home, unemployment

Zippity do dads

Last winter I picked up another sewing basket full of goodies at an antique mall in the sticks.

zippity-basket

I spotted the basket first, thinking it might be Gullah/South Carolina sweetgrass, then saw it was full of sewing notions, then saw that it was priced something ridiculous like $6, then it was in my hands and going to the cash register.

Some of the contents were lovely – I’m not much for over-the-top femininity, but I love the package designs of the things for “women’s work” of yesteryear.

zippity-hooks

And there were the usual odd spools of thread, mismatched buttons, bindings and zippers.

I disassembled the contents of this one into its like parts to display the basket elsewhere, so I actually don’t remember what exactly was in this one…

zippity-boning

But I’m fairly certain it was in this one (or one of the estate sale cigar boxes I unpacked around the same time) that had a little wrapped bundle of steel boning.

I thought that the wrapper might have been a quilt square for a crown pattern…

zippity-pocket

…but it ended up being a very sweet scalloped pocket either made for something, or removed from something.

(I don’t know what I’ll do with either yet – I can’t see myself ever using boning, but the pocket will go with my little collection of vintage fabric I’m loath to cut into and/or sew, but it’s mostly scraps anyway so maybe a quilt will come of it one day…)

zippity-more zippers

And the zippers made their way into my stash of packaged zippers…

zippity-zippers

…and wad of unpicked loose zippers.

I love the old zippers with nods to art deco design, sturdy teeth and strong but faded cotton.

I do re-use the old (used and new) zippers for bags and the very occasional skirt, but I’m doubtful I’ll ever make much of a dent in the small stash – mostly the more delicate garment ones. I’m also on the fence about artistic use of them – like buttons, they can appear very “crafty” – I don’t have a desire to make zipper roses and things. Sometimes they can look interesting as trims and whatnot, but not on bags where they can be grabby or scratchy against a bare forearm.

But first, more research on that basket…

 

3 Comments

Filed under collecting, recycling, sewing, thrifting

Green[bean]sleeves and more deturtling, desleeving

I don’t like wearing tank tops in public – I feel too naked – and our garden is on the side lot facing the street, so it is a bit too public once the neighbors and walkers are out and about.

But I also don’t like tan lines on my arms – a rare petty personal pet peeve of mine.

So I decided to increase my almost-but-not-quite-tank sleeveless shirt pile – now I have 3, and yes, they’re all in the wash, so I’d like to make a few more…

The last time I went a’thrifting, I picked up a couple of thin, lightweight, close-fitting but not too tight, long-sleeved t-shirts for a buck or less for the purpose of desleeving before I started chopping up shirts I already have in case it was an utter failure.

I used that shirt I overdyed last year (that hasn’t faded as much as I thought it would) as a guide for cutting the neck depth of the one to be deturtled.

greenbeansleeves-before

And stitched up the bagginess at the armhole with an ad hoc bust dart.

greenbeansleeves-during

And I have to say, the fit is good – maximum sunage with minimal neckedness – and the fabric (though evil and mass-produced likely in a sweatshop) is comfortable.

I didn’t finish the edges, and I don’t think I will – they roll slightly and it looks intentional.

greenbeansleeves-on

And I realized the cut off sleeves (with pit width reduced and stitched up) would make perfect bean rash guards.

greenbeansleeves-sleeve

They just look a bit silly when worn together, and they’re not perfect – the knit fabric snags the little bean prickles a bit more than the old man’s woven long-sleeved shirt I usually wear (the shirt is a button-down meant for a man and many years old, not a shirt off an old man’s back) but I can wad up these sleeves and leave them in a handy spot whereas the shirt is often on walkabout…

The turtle became a headband.

greenbeansleeves-headband

And the moon sliver left of the upper chest became an impromptu hair tie but will eventually make its way to the garden.

greenbeansleeves-scrap

The second shirt was a tighter fit, so no sewing was necessary, only satisfied snipping.

greenbeansleeves-2 before

And I’m left with a spare pair of beansleeves and more needed plant ties.

greenbeansleeves-2 after

I’m starting to think that none of my old favorite, but slightly too tight, t-shirts will be safe from the snipping now…

1 Comment

Filed under gardening, recycling, sewing, thrifting