Author: denisemor

Big Pruning

This weekend’s main event was getting our larger fruit trees tidied up.

The King Apple is always a big job. But this year we felt like we needed to make a decision to keep the tree from taking a dive, due to the westward lean of the trunk.

It was a hard cut to make, and it didn’t come off quite as cleanly as we’d hoped, but I’m hoping that the tree will recover and have quite a few more years in it.

Might take a few years for the apple production to recover, tho. That was the most productive quadrant of the tree (southwest facing). I’d really like to do something special with the wood, but don’t have much experience with that sort of thing. Suggestions welcome-

Today we tackled the Big Cherry. Before:

and after

There are still some branches up pretty high that I wish I could have reined in, but they were a bit out of reach, so will have to wait for the next round.

We also did the not-so-big cherry

I suspect that the cherry trees are in shock about now. We’d mostly left them alone for the last few years. But hopefully this will help us get the leaf spot issue under control, and make the trees healthier in the long run.

I also managed to get Griff’s Smokeshow vest blocked, assembled, and off the needles during the in-between times. So it’s 99% done. But no photos yet. I’ll get the ends tucked in, buttons on, and give it a little steam bath and model it for you next time.

Here’s a preview of the fun buttons tho-

Have a good week, folks! 🙂

Couch Chicken

Introducing my chicken friend Buttercup

She’s got little forget-me-not-ish blossoms on her wings, as well as some other subtle embroidery on her winds and tail feathers that I’m finding hard to photograph. I think she’s so sweet. I’m really pleased with how the pattern worked in felt. I did all the stitching for this little girl by hand, so it was kind of slow-going. If I make another, I will probably go to the sewing machine now that I have a good feel for how the assembly should go. So many ideas for other felty chicken characters!

In other news, seed starting has begun! Yesterday I sowed tomatoes

+ Gladiator Hybrid giant roma that I don’t have a seed packet for.


and Eggplants:

It’s exciting to have the 2024 garden underway. I have big plans to expand the footprint of my outside growing area, and am hoping to go get a trailerload of mushroom compost to move that project forward as soon as our big blue truck is up to the task.

And the Griff Smokeshow vest is really starting to look like something-

As soon as I finish up the right front, I’m going to do an in-progress steam block to see how the cable pattern looks once the yarn relaxes a bit. It feels like it’s on track- If the back goes as smoothly (and I don’t run out of Griff singles) I think this project might come together pretty quickly. Guess I should start looking for the right buttons 🙂

Have a great week everyone-

Bring on the Spring

February is the longest short month.

Still winter, but so longing to be spring, it is time to prune, and start seed, and amend beds.

The ritual of pruning has begun. I usually start with the roses. Rugosas need a hard cut,

where other varieties require a bit more of a plan, with decisions about long term shrub shape and size in mind.

Then the fruit trees. The last few years we’ve just kind of let our giant cherry tree out back do it’s thing- but it’s developed some sort of leaf spot issue, and i think this year we need to do some thinning and try and get it back under control. That will be a two person job.

The “getting the big ladder out” grand finale of pruning is our King apple.

And here is the tree I think of as the Sheep Apple (because I use it’s new growth as sheep treats throughout the summer) complete with a robin shopping for the perfect nest location, and sheep wondering what I’m up to 🙂

Seed starting will hopefully begin later today or tomorrow with onions and shallots- and maybe poppies.

And I’ve found a local source for mushroom compost, so I’m excited about that. Hoping that I can arrange a pickup of a trailerload maybe next weekend. The volume of our homemade compost is down some since I don’t have chickens contributing anymore, but I’d probably need an external source anyway, as I’m hoping to reconfigure/extend my planting area this year.

It’s still pretty chilly outside, but I feel better, and less anxious about the general state of the world, when I can be outside working. Seedlings and buds on fruit trees work wonders for my psyche.

As does knitting, which is like watching something grow right under my fingertips. Twining cable stems, in a vaguely mushroomy natural color.

Coming along nicely. I’m just a few rows shy of the 4th buttonhole, and the beginning of the V neck shaping.

Not much spinning this week, but I took stock of all the little blendy skeins I’ve been spun up over the winter-

They make a nice little collection- no immediate plans for a project, tho. they might just need to cure a while in the stash.

Have a good week, folks-

Baking and Making

I might have mentioned a few times that we’re big fans of the Great British Bake off.

It has inspired The Man and me to try lots of new things in the kitchen- but we’d never attempted the notoriously tricky Macaron.

Well, this week, an unfortunate accident over at Schoonover Farm resulted in me filling in for Donna at a virtual baking class with one of the show’s contestants, Dan Beasley-Harling, and the recipe of the day was Rose and Raspberry Valentine Macarons!

(Thankfully Tom is recovering and home from the hospital now. And macaron delivery is scheduled for later today, just in time for the Super Bowl 🙂 )

It was a unique technical challenge! The Man got all my ingredients prepped and equipment staged, and I felt a little bit like a TV contestant- but having the guidance of someone experienced with this particular recipe really helped.

It took me a little longer to get mine dried and baked than most other folks- perhaps because of our cool damp conditions (a hair dryer on low helped get them over the finish line). So I finished mine up after the zoom session ended. But they appear to have worked out. I haven’t actually eaten one yet, because, according to Dan, the 24 hour maturation period for macarons “is not optional”. Who knew!?

Thankfully I have lots of other things to keep me busy while I’m waiting to sample the goodies. Like……

My Felty Yellow Chicken friend

Made lots of progress on this girl in the last few days, and am really excited about how she’s coming together. Wings aren’t attached yet, as I’m thinking I might do more embroidery embellishment, which would be easier to manage while the wings are separate. Here are the colors I’ve selected.

Will then do something similarly fanciful with her tailfeathers.

And, I’m also making pretty good progress with the Griff Smokeshow vest.

It’s quite enjoyable to work- and I learned a new thing with this pattern- Ysolda’s One Row Buttonhole, which is pretty ingenious. I’m feeling like this is going to be a really nice layering item for the wardrobe. I do love a good vest!

Have a great week everyone-