Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Autumn Anemone
          Today I was out in the garden, planting more garlic, harvesting leeks, and digging up gladioli corms. It was an incredible 17 degrees Celsius out there, most pleasant for working. In fact, I should still be out there, cutting the grass. I wouldn't be the only one doing that on PEI today.
        Removing the gladioli made the anemones stand out rather. I am so pleased with them. They are even more lovely than the spring ones. Quite a few came through the summer and are now blooming - I hope they increase in size as they go on.  They are all this colour save one - a white with pink centre. 
     The frost has gotten a lot of things, however - my painted ferns are all frozen, as are the pink pelargoniums - I did mean to bring them in, but too late now. I have some cuttings, however. And, most distressing, I missed the opportunity to bring in my Mary Garden (which David and Sue made for my birthday, with all sorts of plants which are now or were once known as Mary-something: ie., Mary's Gold = marigold). There was a lovely white tuberous begonia I had hoped to overwinter indoors.
      I also cleared up a couple of beds - though there's more to do. I was listening to Scotland's Gardens about hardwood cuttings today - they are easy to do, all I need is a bed where they can be undisturbed for a year (but weeded and watered). Hmmm.
     We went cranberrying recently, and I collected some more plants for the cranberry bog. I think these ones will be more successful than the last, as there were many more roots on these. I plunked them into the bog immediately, to join the 4 or 5 from last year. Who knows. Maybe there'll be no more need to go cranberrying - some time in the future!
     The Christmas cactus, which spent the summer on the deck, is now full of blooms. A strong suggestion to get on with Christmas presents! Even though the weather is belying the late date.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


This will be the last year we can have fun with the calendar - oh, I suppose we can have 11/12/13 next year. But I had fun (anyway) writing that on cutting slips at work today. It was a pretty dead day at work, so I volunteered to come home early, and, after picking up some groceries I was here by 1:30. So much better than *6:30*!

       I have some scalloped potatoes in the oven, and I'm making raspberry chicken from the Silver Palate Cookbook to go with. And some vegetables of some kind.  I've always had trouble with scalloped potatoes - they *always* curdle. I've tried using higher-fat milk, but with only partial success. So, today, I'm trying lower heat. I think I'm always in a rush and try to cook them quickly, at a high temperature, and milk doesn't like that. We shall see.

         I got here early to let the chimney sweeper in - and now Fred is cleaning the pipes. Finally, we can have a wood fire again!! The wood is still outdoors but I think we can find a few scraps to burn this evening, and then we'll put the big wood in tomorrow. I am sure this is the latest we've started up the wood furnace, but I may be wrong about that. In any case, I am looking forward to that lovely, steady, wood heat - not the wretched hot-and-cold, hot-and-cold, of the oil furnace.
Garage doors, with insulation!

        It's not terribly cold out today, but there's quite a wild nor-westerly wind, and the insulation we put over the garage doors is cre-e-e-eking when the wind gusts come. I bought two thermometers, and both are registering 8 degrees C out there, so everything is fine in terms of food storage.

          Next I must dig up the dahlia bulbs and gladioli corms and leeks that have to overwinter in there - and plant another batch of garlic - I *found* my garlic at last, hanging in a cloth bag on a nail in the garage. So now I can safely plant some more. The ones Lloyd gave me, and which I planted, are sprouting already!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Back from Abroad

         We travelled to Maine last week, in the week which also saw the visit of Super-storm Sandy. We had a good time despite the storm, which prevented us from going any father south than Portland. We actually holed up in our hotel there for two days,  in case the power went out, or anything. As it happened we were perfectly safe.
         One of the things I wanted to check out was yarn shops. On this I struck out, absolutely.  In Bangor (our first stop) we didn't spend a lot of time looking for the 55 yarn shops within 50 miles of Bangor (according to Ravelry). I thought I had plenty of other opportunities.
        We did go to The Christmas Tree Store, which I had checked out beforehand. I had planned to buy the LED battery operated candles recommended by Paula - they were in their flyer, at $2.99 each!! But of course they were all sold out, by the time we got there. I did find the 32 oz. jugs of maple syrup, marked down to $12.99...and bought 4. Katie was a bit disparaging, suggesting that we shouldn't be buying "American" maple syrup when we make so much at home. But, but - the maple syrup at The ASS (Atlantic Super Store) is $12.99 for 500 ml, which is about half the amount? Anyway, it was really reasonably priced, was in a cute jug, and seemed perfect for Christmas presents. Don't you agree?

        It wasn't until I was home, and sorting through our purchases, that I had a good look at the *back* of the jug, and noticed the very last line of the text: "Product of Canada".  I guess I can give these as Christmas presents with no guilt at all. We have cracked open one at home, and there is not a thing wrong with it at all. It's lovely. And nobody will know how little we paid. Is that line copyright?

        In Portland, we spent the day before Sandy, shopping. I was allowed to go looking at yarn shops recommended by Ravelry, having agreed to just visit 5. As three were on Congress Street (the way to downtown from our hotel) I thought I could walk from one of them to the others, and meet up with the other two after they did things more interesting to them. Well. The first one was closed (papered-up windows closed!!) so I walked on to the second one. It was closed Mondays (this was Monday). Then I was hailed from the car by my family, who told me that the third one (at 50 Congress St.) was closed as well. Three strikes out of 5. Sheesh.
       Then we went downtown - we had had a lovely dinner at an Irish pub called Ri Ra (I think) the night before, but we had wanted to see the area in daylight. There are a lot of specialty (tourist) shops down there at the waterfront, and one was a yarn shop that wasn't on the list! But it had closed early because of Sandy.  (Strike 4 out of 5!) I love, love, that downtown Portland has decorated its streets with Ginkgo Biloba trees...they are quite young yet, and the leaves were mostly still on the trees, but there were some lovely leaves on the ground, some of which I collected. They are SO GORGEOUS.

Gingko Biloba on the streets of Portland

        The next day we went to Freeport, and a lady at the L.L. Bean info desk said that there was a great yarn shop in town (hurrah!) but it was closed on Tuesdays (boo!). So that was it for yarn shops in the U.S. of A. 
        I did visit a Mardens store in Ellsworth, and I found a bag of Reynolds Revue (6 skeins of beige 100% wool in a fingering weight) for 2.49/skein. The only yarn I bought on the trip. I searched diligently, but there were no other colours, or any other yarns there that weren't acrylic.  It did not help that the lady in the fabric department said that they were opening up a big shipment of yarn the next day. Not a bit did it help.
      In Bar Harbour the next day we went to an alpaca store, but they only had Peruvian alpaca yarn for $15/skein, and only about 6 skeins of that. In different colours. I think I can get Peruvian yarn any time, or if I want to spend that kind of money I can buy it from local alpaca producers. 
     We had a great time, although the drive home through New Brunswick in Sandy-related downpour was horrific. I think my fingers have made deep impressions on the steering wheel which will be there until Bridgit keels over.