Thursday, July 28, 2011

July's garden and goals

I have so many lovely things in my garden right now. Here's my top five:

5) This amazing purple clematis. It's happily married to my white climbing rose.
They make their home against the south-east corner of my garage. I'm still waiting for them to have children.
4) Little poofy dahlias. They come in several flavors: orange, yellow, red.
3) Are your corneas, like mine, burned out by this red rose?
And tied for first:

1) My potato plants are yielding around 2lbs per plant right now. It's not even August. It's french fry heaven.
One plant! Two pounds! In July!

1) The floral resources to pick bouquets every week. My house smells fabulous. I don't notice (insert flaw here) when I have these flowers to goggle over.
For July's goals: I missed the boat on the second strawberry haul. Or rather, it missed me. I went back to the farm twice during normal business hours and it was closed both times. I sent a very brusque email to them, though haven't heard back. However, the rest of my goals have been more successful. I sewed 10 pairs of undies for Franklin, submitted two assignments, and am nine rows away from being finished knitting my cardigan. Photos to follow!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I've been collecting...

Vintage linens! I love them. I especially love hand-embroidered tablecloths and hand-worked doilies. My collection's not large, but it's composed of special pieces.
In my mind's eye, these linens were made by dreamy-eyed young girls for their hope chests, and proudly displayed in their homes all their lives. I never had a hope chest, but now I have an established home, I delight in having (and making myself) lovely things such as these.
As a one-time embroiderer (on the back burner now, along with many of my creative endeavors due to time constraints placed upon me as a toddler's mama, but here's an example of my own), I truly appreciate the time and care taken to make a beautiful object.
One of my favorites is this green appliqued doily. From even a few feet away, the design looks printed: only close-up the amazing hand-sewn detail shows.
I began collecting when Partner and I became engaged, in 2003 (our seventh wedding anniversary was this month!). My first piece we bought together, and it remains my most cherished tablecloth; with rainbow-colored flowers in delicate stitch-work, it's pictured on the left, on top of the stack. This is a working collection. I use my tablecloths on my table--and despair when someone spills tea again. One much-loved tablecloth became four napkins recently, when the wear and tear--and the large hole in the middle--overcame it. And my doilies pull their weight, augmenting ornaments and furniture. I collect them, therefore I use them. I look for linens in second-hand stores, jumble sales, charity shops, antique fairs, markets, and in the cupboards of family members; my mother knows to check her local thrift stores for me--occasionally I get a mystery package and a note: "I knew you'd love it." I hope you've enjoyed seeing my collection; I had such fun pulling everything together and photographing it; I've seen it with new eyes today.

Posted as part of Casey's Elegant Musings cherished collections blog tour.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jam and cabbage, pictured

I wish there was a way to transmit fragrance over the internet. My pink rose is the most prolific flowerer, brightly colored, and highly fragranced rose in my garden. I have spicy roses, delicate roses, almost-fruity roses; and then I have this one which could knock a grown woman flat with one whiff.

My strawberry jam, batch 1. Technically I made batch 1 over two days, all from the same batch of strawberries using the same measurements. We planned on going back to the farm to pick more yesterday; we drove all the way there--half an hour's drive--and had to turn back around because they had a sign saying they were closed. Not happy. We may not have another chance to pick them, as I have to request time off work specially.

I save jars for future use. My strawberry jam is in ex-salsa jars. Just perfect.

This is my Amazing Supercabbage, after we'd eaten three meals' worth from it. I tried to use Franklin as a size reference. It's bigger than his head. It's taller than his knees. That water on the floor is not from Franklin peeing, but from the cabbage peeing (it had a lot of water between its leaves from when it was washed).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First potatoes, supercabbage, jam

While watching Gardener's World, a weekly tv show, the presenter remarked how he traditionally digs up his first potatoes on July 8th. Partner and I looked at each other. He got out the hand spade and bucket. And then he dug me some fresh potatoes. And we now eat our own garden potatoes, and they are definitely big enough for eating. Partner makes the most excellent chips (AKA French fries) from them.

Speaking of big enough, I also grew a cabbage which Partner claims is heavier than Franklin. I wish I'd had photographic evidence, but Partner harvested it and we ate some of it before I got the camera out. However, it was still enormous (and in the fridge) so I thought I'd still take a photo of it--and then my batteries died so I had to recharge them. And we ate some more of it. As it's still really big, when my batteries are recharged, I may get a photo of the remainder*.

*I say remainder, but I think we'll be eating this cabbage for at least another week--maybe two; we've hardly made a dent in it.

After picking almost 5kg of strawberries from a pick-your-own farm, I proceeded to make fabulous jam. We, that is, Partner, Franklin, and I will be returning this Sunday to pick a similar amount; jam is our Christmas present of choice to local family members this year (sorry, international family!). Plus we need plenty for personal consumption. Please see previous paragraph about photographic evidence. When and if, I will post a photo of all twelve jars of jam (there were 13, but that one has also since been eaten). When we brought our two plastic shopping bags full of strawberries to be weighed at the stand, the cashier's eyes nearly popped out. I guess not a lot of people pick for jam-making there.

Pictured is my current kitchen table bouquet: lilies, roses, hydrangea, crocosmia, and laurel.