Sunday, May 18, 2014

Two dresses, frog and fish

 I've done some sewing recently;  I made myself two dresses.  The first above, is a copy of a dress I already own and love.  It's a fairly simple shift dress with pockets, and it just slips over my head, with no fastenings.
This second dress is inspired by a vintage style dress;  I took a commercial bodice pattern I own and modified it (to be shorter, have a deeper back, and to have a zipper) and then I attached a full circle skirt to complete the dress.  Even though I cut out the smallest size bodice pattern, it's still a little big on me.  The last time I used this pattern it fit me just fine!

We've had a week of warm sunny weather (unheard of, particularly for this time of year), and I've been sunbathing every day.  Just in my normal clothing, mind you.  I don't go for full body sunbathing any more;  the last time I did that was the summer of my wedding, and I religiously sunbathed every day in nothing but a thong, and put suncream on for the rest of the day so as not to get any tan lines.  My wedding dress was strapless and backless, and my tan was flawless.  The weekend after the wedding, I hid the suncream and went to the beach with a clear conscience.

My new little frog pond has a frog!  She's been sighted regularly for a few weeks now, so we think she's here to stay.  She's recently been joined by two goldfish from the pet shop, to help keep insect larvae at bay.  The pond is a bit bigger than their tank at the shop, though not by much.  Still, at least they get insects and some privacy.  We also got a couple oxygenating plants for them.  The frog looks nice and fat;  hopefully this means she's full of slugs.

Most of my seedlings are planted out by now;  the runner beans went in yesterday, and there are just a few cabbages, broccoli, and cosmos to go out now.  We're still eating purple sprouting broccoli from the garden, though the sprouting heads are pretty small now!  Also eating some kale still, and a cabbage or two from last year.  I made the most amazing garlic and rhubarb pickles a couple weeks ago, using this recipe;  it was so crispy and garlicky and delicious!  Too bad my rhubarb is still only small;  I hope it grows quickly so I can make another batch.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Another cardigan, more garden projects

 Here's my newest cardigan, knit from a lambswool/angora blend yarn.  It has 3/4 sleeves, and I've been wearing it almost every day now. 
 Partner rebuilt the chicken house;  it used to be six straw bales stacked in a U-shape, two bales high.  He added another layer of bales and made a front from some old fence posts and an ancient plastic table top--classy, I know!  But it works great, and the chickens have perches on two levels now, which they take full advantage of at night.  I've put in a request for another four chickens from our favorite hen charity--hoping to pick them up within the next month. 
I have built/rebuilt three raised beds in the veg patch now, and all three have seedlings coming up.  I laid a criss-cross of sticks on top of each, mostly to keep stray chickens and neighborhood cats off them. 

I've also sheet mulched three existing veg beds, and planted up two of them.  The first got various brassicas, leeks, and a few flowers.  The second got potatoes, as an experiment  (Partner and Franklin also planted some potatoes the usual way).  I'll plant what leftover seedlings I've got in the third, but I'll give it a couple of days--I put a load of fresh weed clippings on top as mulch, and I want them to wilt down before I plant. 

I built another raised bed on the patio, using some paving bricks we had lying around;  that makes three brick raised beds on the patio, although this one is partially on top of a flowerbed, too.  I put in a layer of well-seasoned branches, then filled it up with a mixture of topsoil and sand, and sowed some carrot and shallot seeds.  I edged it with some scented geranium cuttings as well.  Geraniums are really easy to grow from a cutting:  I just snap off a small branch, pull off all but the top two or three leaves, and stick it in some soil.  Then treat it like a normal plant--water it when it's dry, and it'll grow some roots.  I've had almost 100% success with my scented geranium cuttings.