Monday, May 28, 2012

Extreme Measures

Last week S. was busy planting the corn that we'd started earlier in the greenhouse.  They are nice, healthy plants with a good head start on our short growing season.

Later that day Jim saw three deer already nibbling on the "new addition to the buffet."  That prompted some defensive moves on his part.

In one of the outbuildings there was a large spool of barbed wire left behind by a previous tenant on our acreage.  That would serve to protect the corn from depredation!

He found a supply of staples and got busy.  Soon the entire garden was surrounded by a perimeter of barbed wire.  That should keep them out.

Not long after that Jim looked again and, good grief!!! there was a deer munching on the pea plants.  To be honest, the beds with the pea plants are not completely surrounded by barbed wire.

The Mayday Trees are in full bloom, and theirs is a penetrating scent.  I'm sneezing and blowing full time this week.  Hope that's over when the Maydays are finished blooming!

In the meantime I've been working on those "Double Heelix" socks.  The first one is almost finished.  These socks are unusual in that you begin at the heel and then knit the foot, and after that the leg.  The directions call for a spiral pattern at the heel, using the contrasting yarns.  The toe of the pattern had just a few rounds of contrasting colour at the tip, but I thought it would be nice to echo the stripes at the heel.

The heel is worked with two ends of main colour and two ends of contrasting colour, so your first step is to make a bobbin of main colour and one of contrast colour with about 6 meters yarn. I had quite a bit of the contrasting colour left on the bobbin after the heel and thought I'd use that to make the toe.  Can you imagine coming out so exactly right?  That little light blue end is how much of the contrasting colour was left when the toe was complete.  I was sweating it!

The first sock is almost finished.  There will be pictures when the pair is complete.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I saw my friend Linda today and was very encouraged by how well she is doing.  The doctors did burn the tumour off her liver and also drained some of the bloating fluid from her abdomen.  Unfortunately, the drainage tube slipped out before all the fluid was drained.  But she is looking and feeling so much better.

We hope and pray that her physical troubles are now ended with this procedure.  Thanks for the prayers and support for her!

Our weather has been going from one extreme to another.  Wednesday was very hot--high 80's F, and high 20's C.  Then about 5:00 P.M. a thunderstorm followed by a cold front came through.  We had rain last night (much appreciated) and this morning the thermometer stood at 0ºC (32ºF).  Somehow the blossoming trees and shrubs are coming through anyway.  Here's our beloved Muckle Plum in the front yard:

We're so looking forward to warmer weather which is forecast for this weekend.  Monday in Canada we celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday, rather like the U.S. has a February holiday called "Presidents' Day," which was actually two holidays when I was a kid: Feb. 12 and Feb 22, Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays.  I sometimes wonder what these long deceased people would think if they could know that large populations celebrate their birthdays!  I think, really, it's just an excuse for a holiday, and that's a good thing, eh?  This is our first "long weekend" of the summer, and we hope it's a busy one at the Garden Centre!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Request

Tomorrow my friend Linda, a quilting buddy, is scheduled to undergo a serious medical procedure.  Linda has suffered a number of health problems in the last several years--more than any one person should encounter!  Recently a tumour was discovered on her liver, and tomorrow the doctors plan to "burn" it off with a heated probe.

One of the problems is that the tumour is near her heart, so the doctors are letting her accumulate fluids so that she is very bloated.  I'm sure you can agree that that's very uncomfortable!  But that will help to move the tumour a ways away from her heart, and make the procedure safer.

Please pray for Linda that the procedure will be successful in every way, and also that she and her husband may have peace of mind about this latest trial they must endure.

Thank you!

On a more cheerful note, here's a look at the newest sock project.  This interesting pattern, found on and called "Double Heelix," is a real challenge!  There's a helpful video that is linked on the pattern, showing just how to do this complicated cast on and beginning of the spiral heel.  Yesterday I watched that video about 20 times before I felt confident enough to start knitting on it.  It's going well, but it's just the very beginning.  I'll keep you posted as the project proceeds.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Finish

The socks I'm making for my dear Sis's birthday are finished!  And none too soon, either, as her birthday is this coming Thursday.  Plus the socks have to travel to Michigan in the mail.  Any guesses how long that will take?

I did try them on, and do they ever feel good!  Soft, warm, cozy! I hope they fit her well and that she will enjoy them for a long time.  They are that good combination of 75% superwash wool and 25% polyamid, a yarn called "Step It Up" from Mary Maxim.

Socks are a good project because they have enough challenges to be interesting, are not so huge that they take a long time to knit, and are generally much appreciated as a gift.

A strange thing happened the other day.  We have several small balls around the house for Dickens to play with when he's bored.  But they disappear very quickly.  I find them underneath the couch in the living room sometimes.  They also turn up under the stove or fridge in the kitchen.  Sometimes I find them downstairs under the sectional sofa there.  But this one turned up very unexpectedly in his food dish in the back hall.  How in the world did it get there?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Machine, New Project

I never got around to mentioning that a few weeks ago I bought another sewing machine.  This one is a fairly compact, portable Janome 4900.  It has lots of stitches, is an electronic machine, and has the option of stopping with the needle up or down.  It also has a needle threader.  What I miss on it is a thread cutter.  Those are two niceties that are on my good machine and on the Janome 6400 that I gave to our younger daughter two years ago when I bought the "good" machine, the big Janome Horizon.

When I first started going to quilt club back in 2003 I soon realized I needed a portable machine.  I didn't trust carrying my heavy "good" machine which had a handle on the case, and just two clips to hold the heavy machine in place.  At that time I bought a Janome SchoolMate, a very sturdy portable machine but a pretty basic machine, not an electronic.  It has proved its worth over and over!

Lately I've been thinking about making a present of that SchoolMate to D.S.#1.  He was happy about that idea, so I checked in Red Deer Sewing Center if there were any SchoolMates on trade-in.  There weren't, but Rollie, who is a really good salesman, began showing me some of their more portable machines.  There was this 4900, which had come in the night before on a trade-in.  It wasn't long before I told Rollie, "That machine is going home with me!"

After we went on our "shop hop" as a quilting club, a week and half ago, I was eager to start on the new project I had purchased: two kits for a beautiful single bed quilt.  (Two because I want to make a very large queen size quilt.)

This past Saturday was a totally rainy day, so I had time to start working on that project.  Here are some of the finished blocks.  They're not sewed together; they are just up on the design wall.  Lots more are finished now, in fact, all the blocks for the single bed size quilt are finished.

I've extended the pattern quite a bit, figured out what blocks I need, and made all the four patch squares needed.  I hope to get the opportunity to do a lot of sewing on them later this week, and get the top completed in record time.

We'll see about that!  The Garden Centre is swinging into high gear and I might have to be out there writing up purchases and helping out in other ways.  First though, today and tomorrow are violin lesson days.  We'll just have to wait until Thursday and see how things go.

Meanwhile, the thumb is improving greatly!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Blood and Pain

Last night I was rinsing a glass bowl when it suddenly broke in two, slicing my right thumb badly, and taking a little "divot" out of my left pinky.  A 1/2" square of skin was peeled back on three sides down to a deep level.  All I could see underneath was blood.

I considered cutting off that flap of skin, but thought better of it, and flipped it back over the whelming blood.  After rinsing the wound thoroughly I let it bleed into the sink for a while.  It wasn't going to stop, so I wrapped the thumb in a towel and went for some bandages.  It was hard to get a bandage on the right hand, especially since it was quite wet with water and blood, but it was finally in place.

I went back to the sink and waited a bit.  Blood kept welling up around the edge of that bandage, and soon it was useless.  Taking a clean white wash cloth, I held it against the wound for a while, hoping to staunch the flow.

When it slowed down a bit I was able to replace that bandage with a larger one, but when I went to the back hall sink to rinse out the cloths in some cold water I found that blood was dripping from the top and bottom of the bandage.  I found some gauze and wrapped that firmly around on top of the bandage.  Now I had a big, white thumb!  It still bled through a little into the gauze, but then, happily, slowed down.  Then I was finally able to bandage my left pinky.

At first my thumb really throbbed, and I thought it would be painful during the night.  It turned out not to be painful, and I was grateful for that!  This morning it was actually my left pinky that bothered me the most, as the "divot" was out at the knuckle, and every flexing of the knuckle gave a twinge of pain.  I can't put any pressure on my thumb, so knitting and things like that are out of the question for now.  Sis's birthday socks will have to wait a few days.  Lying on the couch reading a book is O.K.

All in all, though, I grateful that I came through that well.  And that was a good thing because this morning I had to be in the dentist's chair for a hour and half appointment to fit a temporary crown over the tooth that broke a while back.  My mouth is just getting over the freezing now, so it's time for a comforting cup of coffee!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fresh Stock

This week has been dark and rainy.  Not a lot of fun.  We call it "B.C. weather."  But it is a real blessing to have the rain because we ended last summer's growing season with very low levels of moisture.
So the farmers are torn: it's time to plant but they can't get on the fields because of the rain, but the moisture is deeply needed.

Last night the forecast was for clouds and above freezing temperatures, but when we got up around 1:30 a.m. to check, the thermometer stood at -2ºC.  Jim reluctantly went out to cover the trays of annuals.  Soon after he did that, the clouds came and the temperature rose to +2º.

You know how hard it is to get back to sleep after you've had two or three hours and then become totally awake?  Neither one of us had much sleep after that.  I went to the spare bedroom so my tossing wouldn't keep Jim awake, but he didn't sleep much anyway.  Part of it was that we expected a large delivery of trees, shrubs and perennials this morning.

The truck arrived just a little after 8:30, and we began unloading.  We didn't have a full load on this very long truck, just part of the load, and fairly near the back end.

Jim, S. and I were all busy with the unloading, and it went very well.  It's such a treat to see all that new
 stock, so fresh and healthy!

We also had the help of the bobcat from the neighbour/farmer.  This year we had only one pallet of moss bales to unload.  G. is a terrific operator and very carefully forked the pallet from the truck and deposited it where Jim showed at the side of the parking lot, handy for anyone wishing to buy a bale.

The truck driver, Rob, brought each of the pots and bundles to the back where Jim, S. and I picked them up and brought them into the #2 greenhouse, or stacked them on the tables around the Lath House.  In no time at all we had unloaded all our order, and the truck driver was on his was to his next destination.

We have always found these drivers to be pleasant and helpful, and Rob was true to form.

Now S. and R. are out in the quonset busy potting up the bareroot trees.  There's a whole box of tiny Colorado Spruce in the order.  We put them in one or two gallon pots for the summer sales, and in the fall plant however many are left in the triangle field south of the dugout.  They do well there, and when they are approximately 6 ft. high the tree mover comes with his huge truck tree spade and moves them to customer's yards and acreages.

We always wonder at this time of year if we will actually sell all these trees, shrubs and perennials.  Of course, up 'til now, we could always plant them in our own landscape, but that is getting to be quite full.  I tease Jim by calling it his "jungle."