Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm a Wanna Be Knitter

My friend Roz likes to knit. She learned how when she was a little girl I guess. My grandmother once told me that as a baby I would watch her knit and pretend that I was knitting too. I'd work my fingers like her knitting needles. I have no recollection of this but let me tell you I was one cute baby girl. Anyway, I digress. Roz urged me to learn to knit so I bought a CD and taught myself how. If ever I get in a jam, Roz rescues me. This happens more often than I care to discuss at this time. Anyway, she talked me into going to some knitting retreats that a local knitting shop started. These retreats are usually a weekend long so it involves spending the night. We've had some great times in a nun's convent (no kidding) and also in a great lodge with a pool. Always great food. And there's always someone there to give you a massage. Wonderful. Oh, and yes, lots and lots of knitting projects. But I must confess the very most fun I've ever had at a knitting retreat was in France. Somehow Roz convinced me to go to France to be in a class headed by a famous knitter, Louisa Harding. It was a fabulous experience I kid you not.

Each time I go to a retreat I learn something more; a new stitch, a new trick, a new pattern, a new yarn. I am still a struggling amateur. My main problem is that I don't really do it to relax and so I end up rarely finishing projects. I usually knit when I'm with my friends who knit. I have completed a couple of pretty purses and scarves. One purse was started in France at a chateau in Mont Blanc. We had to design an heirloom stitch. Mine was called Mary Gail's Oil Derrick stitch. Louisa really helped me tremendously with this project. She had beautiful books of stitches we could take ideas from. And she was an inspiration to me. She was working on swatches she designed for her next book. Roz stayed after me until I finished it although it took several months. Roz came to my rescue when I got tangled up at one point. I entered it in a contest and it placed 2nd!!! I won a $50 gift card to a yarn store. I bought a cardigan pattern and some yarn. Someday I'm going to start knitting that sweater. I'll probably wait until the next girl friends retreat at the farm!! Now that's another story all together. All for now.... now where are those knitting needles?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I'm a Wanna Be Gardener

I have so much to do outside in the flowerbeds and on the porches. I have been inspired by a friend's blog about Feng Shui. If it would ever stop raining I could really get excited about getting to work on making my porches more comfortable. But right now I'm just sitting in my easy chair with my cat Shui by my side. We're watching the humming birds. They drink sugar water, lots of it, and I've never seen a fat one. And I'll tell you what else drinks my sugar water: Baltimore Orioles. They don't seem to mind sharing their perches with the hummers. And some of them are brilliant orange. Such a treat to have them visit my feeders. I am sure I get my love of wild birds from my Grandmother Stover. She had a wren house that she watched each year. She had a pair of binoculars by her kitchen window and she let me watch them when I visited. She was always shooing the sparrows away from that wren house.

Well, I haven't addressed the flowerbeds. They grow weeds much faster than they grow flowers. I have tried to only put perrenials in so that I don't have to do too much planting every spring. I have purchased a nice little pruner and a nice "fork" type hoe that will help me get my work done... hopefully. But right now it's just too muddy. The rain has been good for us but like I said, it makes my weeds grow fast. I know I need mulch of some kind. It's so expensive. I have lots of planting around the house and I've tried to plant ground covers to help me keep the weeds down. We'll see how that plan works.

This year I have decided to plant some fruits and veggies. I have an herb garden that I have thinned out enough to put a tomato plant, a cucumber vine and some okra plants in. I also have a strawberry patch in there, with a pretty good crop of berries. This is the second year for those. I harvested ONE strawberry last year. I also planted a jalepeno pepper in the front bed. Gotta get some spice into my salsa plans. I have a concord grape vine next to my garden gate. This is the second year for that. So far it has not grown any grapes but I still have faith. My blackberry bush is at the end of that bed and it is really taking off. I surely will get some blackberries this year. This will be its second season too. I have it up on a trellis of sorts so that it will be lifted so as to make easy picking. I gotta get my berry baskets ready.
Well, all for now. I'll keep you informed.