24 May 2011

lessons in gardening

We're having our first little heat wave and the veggies are loving it. The tomatoes are climbing like mad and the peas are coming in. So far most of our efforts have been at least moderately successful. I am still amazed each time I pull something edible out of that garden.

One lesson learned is to sow radish seeds more sparsely and thin more aggressively. Our first patch of radishes was too crowded and they all ended up undersized and oddly-shaped. Luckily they still tasted good. Above is our one perfectly round radish which I photographed carefully, then ate.

It seems that carrots also appreciate a bit of wiggle room while growing, though I found it very sweet that carrots planted too close together will sometimes entwine themselves around their neighbor. We're calling them lover carrots. They have magical powers and bestow good luck in love. I'm sure of it.

We grew four different types of lettuce, all of which came up beautifully. We have realized, though, that we don't actually eat a lot of salad. And we are no more likely to eat salad when fresh greens are only steps from our back door. This is a sad truth, but a truth none the less. So I harvested all the greens last night and took a cooler full of them to work today. I am very glad to have all that lettuce in the happy bellies of my coworkers tonight. I am going to plant okra, squash, and zucchini in the empty spaces. I know we will eat those!

With temperatures spiking into the 90s this weekend, it was high time for strawberry-rhubarb pie. This is my favorite pie of all. Our local strawberries are almost done, but I managed to find a pint of local berries for my pie.

I also finally broke down and turned on the AC this weekend. I always resist as long as possible. But there comes a night--usually in late May for us--when I wake up and the night air is so hot and still and humid that sleep is difficult. So I give up, pad down the hallway, and turn on the AC. It pours out deliciously cool air and I flop back in bed and sigh a most happy sigh.

Welcome, summer, we're so very glad you're here.

13 May 2011

ups and downs

I've been in a bit of a crafting rut the past couple weeks. Isn't it funny how that happens sometimes? Creative inspiration seems to dry up and a few failed projects snowball into a general feeling of frustration and inertia. I'm not sure which is the cause and which is the effect, but it is disheartening.

Last week I cut a simple shirt pattern out of a lovely voile, then decided to go off-pattern slightly and replace the gathers with pintucks. Sadly, the pintucks ended up completely off-center (curse you, math skills!). It looked like the pintucks were sliding sideways off my bust, rather than draping oh-so-elegantly across it. Then I cut the back piece too small. Then I couldn't figure out how to attach the straps. Then I threw the whole damn wad of fabric into the scraps bin. Phooey.

Small and simple projects seem to be the best cure for a crisis of crafting confidence. And it doesn't get much smaller or simpler than baby bibs. I used this pattern to make three infant-sized bibs for a friend who is expecting. They are so tiny!

I used a cotton print on the front and a soft flannel on the back. I added a little hippo applique to one. Done and done and couldn't be cuter.

And for another friend who is expecting (it's high baby season around these parts), I have a baby quilt underway. I love the methodical, repetitive process of piecing a quilt. It's almost like meditation. Most restorative for the crafting mojo.

Rather unrelated, but I got home from work today to find these three beautiful little bouquets sitting on the coffee table. All picked from the garden. Yeah, this husband, he's a keeper.

Happy weekend!