Tag Archives: lettuce

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…

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Slowly simmering….

I’m slowly and only very occasionally working on my latest Lacy Batkus.  I still love the pattern as always, but I’m not falling in love with this version yet.  My handspun is a bit stiff and though I embrace all yarns thick and thin, it appears that the skein is getting increasingly thicker overall and thus the needle size may end up a bit small.

Lacy Baktus progress

But my old favorite pattern may start to feel the pressure of a new pattern in town…

Mimsy Hitchhiker

I’ve started a Hitchhiker by Martina Behm out of my handspun Pigeonroof Studios BFL “Mimsy.”

Mimsy progress

I wasn’t crazy about garter stitch and handspun before, but this single yarn is perfect for it.

Mimsy detailAnd damn near downright ethereal with incredible lightness and drape.

I’ve had problems in the past determining what to do with fuzzy yarn and this pattern is perfect in its simplicity – it was also perfect for some recent airport knitting time.  I do fear that I may run out of yarn before I make it the perfect size, but I should have just enough for an acceptable length, and I’m sure I’ll be able to block out a little more.

Other projects still in the works?  The cotton blanket is currently taking its last laps and I still need to decide how to do the border. I’ve started a quilt with applique letters that is kicking my ass at the moment.  And my spinning queue is bigger than ever.  My goals for the Tour de Fleece are spinning my recent PRS purchases:

PRS Tour de Fleece

It’s all superwash merino in colorways from left: Jadeite, Storm, and Lettuce.  Rather subdued and monochromatic for PRS, but I love them, and I love them combined.  I have plans for a shawl and I was initially thinking it might be something feather and fan-ish, but I’m on a garter binge now so it might be one of the trendy stripey patterns, or one of my own if I get my act together.  You may have noticed how “perfect” I’m feeling with my new handspun and Hitchhiker above, so now I wish I could make fulled/felted singles out of this, but it will have to be two-ply.  I have another braid of SW merino in a brownish colorway, but I don’t want to commit to finishing it in the near future and I’m determined to perfect my chain-plying skills on it, so it will be for another time.

And I need to finish spinning the zucchini blossom I put aside earlier.  I still want to turn it into socks, but I’m still on the fence about making a two or three-ply.  I found some complimentary commercial sock and other superwash yarn in my stash that could be used for stronger toes and heels, and possibly soles.  I thought these would be lighter summery socks, but if I make a three-ply they will be thicker… either way I’m happy I can eek out some more yardage with the commercial stuff.

PRS-squashblossomHmm, I will need to decide soon.

Decisions aren’t easy for me these days.

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Falling off the wagon and joining the crowd…

I’ve never been one for KALs, SALs,* or anything-else-alongs, preferring to shut up in my hidey hole and go about my business at my own pace.  But my last experience with Pigeonroof Studios roving was something I was craving to repeat so I decided to have another little taste.

Pigeon zucchini

I’m torn between actually making this into socks which I first set out to do with my original order of PRS superwash merino roving, or having it nearer to my head or hands… I’m quite the sucker for greens and oranges and this takes the cake!  I’m leaning towards socks, so I will make this a three ply just in case.  I know I won’t get very good yardage with a three ply, but this is so summery that it begs to be short socks.

PRS zucchini

And then over the winter it was announced that there would be a special color for a limited two-month window to act as a spin-along and um, I caved when I saw it was a green blend for May/June called “Mimsy.”  I’ve never done anything at the same time with a group with the exception of occasionally knitting the same thing along with (or after) a knitter friend (who I knew in life, not virtually).  I feel like it is what… too conformist?  Too creepy and whiffs of citizens of a bad government all marching as one?  Too… what?  I’ve secretly longed to be in a few quilt block contribution projects that I learned about after the fact, but I don’t want to waste the time trolling the various interwebsocialnetworkingblatheringblogtimewasting sites to find one currently open.  At the moment the greatest benefit I can see in a -along is the motivation to work with a material in a timely manner and/or other people might be able to offer suggestions, tips, etc., if something comes up or a decision needs to be made.  I’ve been lurking on the PRS group on ravelry and they seemed like a nice bunch, so I jumped into the common soup (you can’t make me drink the cool-aid though).

Mimsy

I also justified the purchase by requiring myself to learn a new technique with this spin, so I got the colorway in BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) so I could make felted/fulled singles or try Navajo/chain plying for the first time.  However, I jumped the gun and already experimented with Navajo plying and suck at it, so it is back to a question of the singles.  I was thinking that I would make mitts or mittens with the finished yarn since it matches one of my tealy-blue wool jackets, but if I make singles, I will have more yardage than hand wear would need and I fear the yarn might not be quite as hard-wearing as it would be if plied, so neck wear it will probably be instead.

PRS with turq

(I hesitate to mention that I also have some solid turquoise-ish** roving that could be blended or plied with it to stretch it further, but I could potentially screw it up.)  But that does get me thinking…  Spinning beautifully dyed wool always results in beautiful yarn, and in a way I feel a little bit like I’m cheating since I didn’t dye it myself.  Sure everyone spins differently and the colors can really change depending on the technique, but it all ends up being uniform in its gorgeousness.  So if I blend it with another color, my potentially f*cked-up skeins would at least be unique and more of a I’ll-do-it-by-myself-thankyouverymuch along… hmm…

And then what was that, there was a sale?

Pigeon two

Yeah, I have a problem…

And the even bigger problem with this last acquisition is that I’m contemplating getting a third braid to go with this project – a striped shawl/scarf – and a third would make it larger, and I mostly like a big-ass neck thing these days.  I’m thinking either a yellow or a brighter deeper green might work… and keep it in a monochromatic-ish palette, but what attracted me to PRS in the first place is its often joyful disregard of monochromaticity, but whatever, I love these colors.

PRS eye

This is your face on PRS.

*Knit Along, Spin Along.

**None of the pictures with the color blue are remotely accurate in terms of color – anything with blue should be more greenish.  The last one is almost right in terms of the wool, however I am not pink (and I do have an index finger on that hand).

The rovings are, from top picture to bottom:

Zucchini blossom in Merino Superwash

Mimsy in BFL

Jadeite in Merino Superwash

Lettuce in Merino Superwash

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