Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gardens are Grand Things

    Spent Friday and part of Saturday out-of-doors, raking out the flower beds (I don't do the lawns, unless there are big sticks. I do pick them up, but otherwise they can sort themselves out). There were a number of surprises hiding under the sticks and leaves of last year. And what a great time for digging - before the cooch grass takes hold for the season. I finally finished putting the railway-tie separators behind the perennial bed in front of the lilacs (this is to prevent the lilacs from moving next door). Now I have some room to move things, and I put in a few foxgloves and a big Shasta daisy which was much too big for its place in the front of another bed. The two roses on the wrought-iron trellis are both alive, thanks be, and I have big hopes for roses on it this summer.

I had to weed under the pink mini rose in that perennial bed - and I discovered that it is not one, but three roses. Probably they were like that in the pot I bought them in. I separated them, anyway, so they're not competing for nutrients and room.

It's a perfect time for transplanting, too, so I hope to move some more roses to the roadside to brighten up the view for passers-by and save the trees from salt damage at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the realignment of the road has somewhat removed the problem of salt damage at the corner - the road is much farther away and so will the salt be - maybe we've had the problem solved for us! I still plan to plant rugosa roses there, though - they will be tough and beautiful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's here at last, and I'm too busy to enjoy it!

Yes, double-digit temperatures and rain today to wash away all that remaining
snow. The garden needs work, but I'm working nights this week, doing training, so I have no free time. I'll take Friday off in lieu, and it looks to be a lovely working-outdoors day. So, no more excuses. The small glimpses I've managed to take show progress from that mass of bulbs planted last fall, and of course there are crocus out, so it should be exciting from now on, garden-wise. I'll have to dig out my garden journal and find out what's what and where!

I'm trying to sneak in a little sock knitting betimes - finished Round 2 of Sock Madness 3 and didn't make the cut, so I can make the new patterns at my leisure from here out. The new pattern is called Talia's Wings, and I'm making it in Sisu Fantasy, from LK Yarns in Halifax. It's a lovely yarn, and I suspect I'm using a slightly too large needle for it, but I'm not going to change now. They'll just be a little less hardy, and I'll have to give them to someone who will take care of them.

We're in the thick of planning for the May long-weekend Irish event. Fred's doing the actual planning, and I'm trying to get some accommodations settled for the crew who will stay at ours. There's the bedroom to be painted, and I think a new bed is needed as well. It needs decent light to see where the plaster is required - and when it's smooth enough to paint - so it's a daytime job as well. This working just eats into my free time something chronic!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter in Halifax!

Just back from Easter with Pat Murphy in Halifax - what a wonderful time! Great dancing and a bit of knitting - I worked a bit on my Tokena socks from SM III but didn't manage to finish - when I got home and could check the web there were 18 finished in my division, and 20 by the morning. Had I been TRULY dedicated, I would have sat up all night finishing, but I was very tired after dancing all weekend. I knit quite successfully in the car on the way over, and on the way home, at least until it got too dark to follow the pattern any more.

We had snow again on the journey. It started at the Cobequid Pass as before. I'm beginning to think that snow will not be out of the question for June - perhaps even July this year! And the ground was covered this morning again. However, from the glimpse I had last night, it looked as though some of the last January stuff had gone over the weekend. It's chilly all week, however, according to prognostications.

The dancing and socializing was grand! We learned a new set called The Boyne set, as well as a couple of others, including one from Inis Oirr. We bought the new book (Apples in Winter) so I am sure that they are in there, and I could look up the names if I had the time. Painting is calling to me - I have to paint K's bedroom. I started before Christmas but got distracted by painting the living room.

While in Halifax, H. and I had a flying visit to LK Yarns - I got some Fleece Artist sock yarn, as well as some Sisu ( recommended by Colleen at the dance workshop, she was making some lovely picot-edged socks in mauve). Fondled lots of other stuff. Forgot to ask about the First Book of Modern Lace Knitting, which I've been seeking. Oh well, I got the owner's card, so I could email her and ask about it. The library has the second one, and I've reserved it. I got a note that it's in, so I must go pick it up. The First has a GORGEOUS lace curtain pattern that I must make. It's very Arts & Crafts - looking, and is called the Rose Leaf design.

Off to get into grubbies and assemble the painting kit! Who cares if it's not gardening weather yet!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Little by little, spring is creeping in.

We had a glorious weekend, weather-wise, and visited friends & had friends visit us, so it was great socially as well. Much rain and sun meant some flooding on Saturday, but it was a complete surprise to return Sunday evening to find the first of the flowerbeds out from under the snow, with exciting green sprigs appearing - muscari, narcissi, and even some of the perennials are peeping up. No sign of the new bulbs yet, but the bed at the corner of the house is almost bare, so there may be shoots soon.
Because of all of the snow cover, we will probably see lots of mice damage - already I spotted a rose which has had all its bark gnawed off. It's not well-protected with spines on the stems (like the Rugosa hybrids) so it was probably a lovely snack. I am hopeful that it will come back from the roots - they often get pruned pretty severely. Fingers crossed.

Because I was away from home, I didn't get the second Sock Madness pattern until Sunday. I got the cuff on the first one done last night (late, as we had some friends over to play music in the evening). It's a colourwork sock, and I usually find them quite fast, so I hope to have some progress to show soon. My version is in dark green and off-white. The pattern is Tokena, based on Maori basketwork, apparently.

About 7 pm, we were outside and there was a huge flight of Canada geese - we think there were literally hundreds. They all landed by the Creek, making a LOT of noise. I took pictures, but they were very far away in order to take in the vast numbers. Inspiring anyway, as well as spring-like. I don't think I've ever seen so many as I have this year.

On Sunday we visited the "hydrogen village", which is really a plant to make hydrogen from wind power (to allow the power to be stored for the future, thus evening out the load). It's being built in North Cape, and we have photos, but it's "technical. Pretty though".* Well, not pretty but really interesting!

*Homage to Local Hero, the best movie EVER.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oh to be in England...

EVITA was an acknowledged triumph. Everyone had really good things to say about the music, the dancing, the acting...a spectacular indeed! Those who missed it are asking will it be presented again. Ha! This is live theatre, folks, not a DVD you can stick in the player again and again!

I am quite glad it's over, however, as it was a bit of a strain to go to work all day and then spend four hours in the theatre each night. But who am I to complain? The actors worked on this EVERY WEEKEND since September! They must be truly glad. I'm sure that they are missing it quite a bit, too.

My Sock Madness sock is done and its photo is posted. They go really easy in the first round, I think - 40 people (in each group of 50) go on to the next round. I really couldn't knit at the theatre (despite having a lot of free time) because I had to follow a chart. However, I did finish up a toe backstage one night, and the second sock was much quicker. The afterthought heel was a challenge, but it's good to know one, in case heels have to be replaced again. Grafting 32 stitches at the sole was - interesting. I had lots of time for the second one because - guess? - we had yet another snowstorm, on Monday. Anyway, done and now I'm awaiting the second round pattern, which comes out on Saturday apparently. Because one gets pretty keyed-up, knitting-wise, I had to keep going even after the socks were done, so I finished up Fred's hat and the scarf grew another few centimetres. Winter continues!

No, apparently it's sunny and beautiful out. I may have to go and observe this meterological phenomenon.