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All the Small Things

Yesterday I potted up the rest of the little seedlings that I’d started in the big plug tray- the second wave (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and dye plants- marigold, scabiosa, madder and dyer’s chamomile). Starting the seeds that way worked out ok, since the sections were small it meant I could start quite a lot of seed in one tray, and it was nice to have a built in dome to keep them moist.

But what I hadn’t thought of was that all the various things I planted in the one tray would germinate on different schedules. The marigolds and madder got way out ahead and I had to pot them up before any tomatoes, peppers or eggplant were ready to go. And since it’s all one tray, then you’ve got empty space on the seedling heat mat that you can’t really fill with anything else on the fly.

Oh well. Live and learn. In any case, now everyone is out of the plug tray and into 3 inch pots so they can get busy growing.

Tomatoes are looking pretty perky. Peppers are not as far along, but hopefully will start to catch up soon.

And of the things I just planted last weekend, some little cukes have already popped!

Also very excited about having sunflowers this year- “Mammoth Grey Stripe”

Also got some of that Fiona wool spun up- decided to go with a bulky weight chain ply. It’s a lovely oatmeal color, nice and lofty and squishy, but with a little bit of hairy toothiness. Lots of character, just like the girl herself. 🙂

And it is pictured with the Brioche of the week, a green multi paired with creamy white Esther. Here’s a closer look at the Brioche, and from the side to show off it’s architecture-

And speaking of cool structure, I found this amazing artifact from last summers poppies this morning while doing some garden cleanup.

I think it looks like a royal scepter. Such beauty in the tiny details.

Pushing my Luck?

Been a nice few days here, with spring-y temps and lots of opportunities for working in the garden.

Seedlings continue to make progress, and I just started another wave today -squashes, melons, cukes, sunflowers.

You might remember that back in October, I took cuttings from a few tomatoes to root and overwinter. I’ve managed to keep those guys going, and they’d become a bit unwieldy of late- so I decided to take a chance and put them in the ground (in the hoophouse)

I’ve got Sunrise Bumblebee, Pink German and Blush trellised, and Purple Cherokee in a cage. Here’s hoping we don’t get a hard freeze going forward!

Also put snap peas in the ground, and strung up a trellis for them made of apple whips.

Little red fence around them is to keep Yellow Chig from mowing them down. 🙂

And scallions and broccoli are getting settled in the first two stages of the Greenstalk planter

Won’t be long now ’til I’m shearing the sheeps! Most fleeces look pretty promising, tho I’m not sure what is going on with Fiona. Her wool is kind of short and seems to be somewhat felted, like a spongy mat across her back. Guess I’ll see once I get into it.

I hadn’t yet done anything with her fall fleece (which was quite nice), and so made a start on that the other day- once batch washed, dried and carded-

That’s her taupe-y fluff in the front. Not quite sure how I’m going to spin it yet. Will have to do a bit of sampling.

And on the knitting front I’ve been continuing to Brioche- enjoying the interplay of the colors and the cushiness of the fabric. Brioche has a nice easy rhythm to it, and is very satisfying at this gauge.

Alrighty folks, That’s all I’ve got. Have a good week 🙂

Spring, Not Spring

Just the way things go this time of year.

The seeds and seedlings are on heat mats, so they are riding out the chill just fine. It’s only me that is anxious.

Broccoli, peas and various onions coming along nicely

And most everything in the second wave is popped as well. Dye plants, tomatoes, eggplants all underway- Peppers taking a bit longer, but I kind of expected that.

Despite the rain and chill, I got some more compost hauled, and the raspberry canes thinned (tho not tied up yet), so felt that I’d met my garden productivity quota for the weekend 🙂

And I’m feeling good about having something back on the needles- a little brioche featuring the fun little multicolor chain ply skeins I spun up a few weeks back

I think that Esther’s creamy white really sets off the multicolor blends nicely.

I took a guess at the gauge and cast on 66 stitches, figuring that would get me in the ballpark of a hat or cowl, as brioche is pretty stretchy.

And it’s a good fit! Light and lofty, comfy and and cozy. (for future reference- knit 6 inches of two color brioche in the round, then crown shaping in three parts, brioche (double) decrease every other knit round.)

Have a good week everyone-

Motorized by The Man, redux

Longtime readers of the blog might remember the original run at motorizing my Pat Green drum carder .

That worked for a while, but then I started to experience slippage due to the belts stretching, and at some point I went back to hand cranking. The hand cranking isn’t bad, but because of the forces of the hand cranking on the machine, it does require that the carder be clamped to the surface it sits on, to prevent it shifting around. And the spot I like to work in isn’t ideal for that. So it seemed like a good time to revisit the motor-driven idea.

And thankfully we still had the assembly hanging around in the shed. So The Man recently turned his attention to the issue, and arrived at an improved arrangement of the components.

Neat, eh? The one last bit will be to put a protective shield around the belts. But it’s up and running- and doing an excellent job. 🙂 More photos:

In other news, I finally tackled pruning Big Apple (couple hard-to-reach branches will need to be managed with the pole saw, but checking it off my list!)

It is actually pretty cool being up in the top of the apple tree. It’s its own little world up there- thick with moss, lichens, ferns. I meant to get a photo while I had the ladder out, but forgot- so here is what I can share from ground level.

Also came across a robin next from last year

I can see why birds love this tree. So many good spots, so much good nesting material.

And seed are starting to take off! The earliest guys (peas, broccoli, onions) are looking good

And I’m just starting to get some germination on the second wave that was sown last weekend (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, dye plants)

It was a beautiful day today- and got so warm in the hoophouse that I rolled up the west side a bit. (first time this year).

The forecast is suggesting that perhaps we’ve turned the corner and are headed for spring. I sure hope that is true.