An extended holiday

A couple weeks ago when I did my last post of 2018 I was enjoying a planned week off from work…since the federal government shutdown has continued I am now enjoying my longest “vacation” since my son was born nearly 25 years ago! This year I turn 50 and I have to say this is a pretty great way to start 😀

I’ve definitely taken advantage of this situation better than the last time this happened – taking time for crafting, organizing, relaxing and using my gym membership as well as other things such as renewing my license at the DMV and organization tasks that have been on my to-do list for years.

Craft-wise I finished my Hocus Pocus quilt! I’m very happy with the way it turned out and proud of myself for keeping up with the weekly blocks. I covered the back in glow-in-the-dark bat fabric.  I did a simple straight stitch machine quilt around the major blocks.

Hocus Pocus Quilt Front

the front of my Hocus Pocus theme quilt

Hocus Pocus Quilt Back

the back of my Hocus Pocus theme quilt

If you’re interested in this project or the many others they have done or coming up, check out FandomInStitches.com.

After that accomplishment I took some time to clean and organize my craft room – which set up for the next bunch of projects! I had mason jar lids and wine corks stashed away for long-ago-pinned Pinterest crafts – a Champagne Cork Christmas mouse, red-white-blue mason jar canning ring wreath and mason jar lid pumpkins.  I also have wine cork Christmas trees in progress and am on yarn roll #3 for DH’s crochet blanket.

In between glue-gun sessions I was busy going through the other rooms in the house – which I had kinda done last year but with time on my hands I really focused on what I was keeping vs donating/trash. The only area left is the garage, which with temperatures coming up later this week in the 50s will be perfect to get that done.

Thankfully I’m concentrating on eating well to continue losing weight so am not whipping up decadent cakes, cookies or casseroles on a daily basis. I finally tried cooking bacon in the oven and it was a huge success! I absolutely love the texture of baked bacon. The key is to cover the slices with parchment to avoid splattering your oven. I am going to attempt a brownie recipe that is made with medjool dates this week.

I’ve also taken time for reading – I finished the new Lisa M. Lilly novel “The Charming Man” (I received an advanced copy for reviewing)  and am halfway through “Magic Hour” by Kristin Hannah.  I’m participating in the Goodreads 2019 reading challenge to read 16 books – between our local library and  unread books on my kindle this should be a breeze (haha).

So for now I’m enjoying this un-planned time off, I know when we get back work it will be very stressful as we will be so far behind our usual schedule.

 

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The sun sets on 2018

I really fell behind on all things blog-related!  I started this post in August when I began decorating for Halloween, then went to update it right before we went to Florida for Thanksgiving, and now finally getting it published and on the books before another year begins.

I did not accomplish all my 18-in-2018 goals so I won’t list everything out here (haha!). I did really well on some things like reading books, trying new recipes and crafting but not so well on others  – oddly I notice that all the things I did well on were indoor things, the outdoor things not so much. So one thing I’m going to do better with is being outside in 2019!

A summer visit from Mom saw us being adventurous with ocean kayaking and wildlife refuge touring (outdoor things!) – we saw a HUGE cottonmouth snake in the wildlife refuge.  This summer was a weird one weather wise – from 100+ degrees for days then massive amounts of rain – alas, some meager production in my scorched but drowned garden. Again the rain foiled most of my hard work, next year I need to devise a system to keep the rain from washing away all the soil nutrients. Good idea from Mom to use an old patio umbrella to deflect the water. My asparagus plot started to creep under the fence into the neighbors yard so I decided to cut them all and let it die off.   I did get a whole bunch of sweet potatoes, although in strange shapes which I believe is reflective of the soil not being airy enough – ?!  Right now the garden has heaps of rocks that the DH moved in from the driveway delivery spot.  I think I might say this every year, but next year is going to be my most supreme garden ever!!

I finished the Ambah Kimba scarf I started in late June – the colors of the yarn drew me in and it was daunting at first!  232 stitches to cast on yikes. By the end it was almost 500 stitches across but I really enjoyed the pattern on this one as opposed to the shawl I did last year – this pattern was much more forgiving of a missed count and it was also easier to follow the pattern once I got it going. Now if only it will get cold enough to enjoy wearing it.

I joined a quilt-a-long on FandomInStitches.com to make a Hocus Pocus quilt – such fun learning to paper piece. I’m on the last few blocks then will piece it together. Then turning my attention to the DH crochet blanket to finish up, I’m about halfway done.  My pinterest boards are full of things to move onto next!

So off we go into a new year (my 50th say whaaat?!), wishing you all peace and happiness 🙂

A Midsummer Garden

I heard the cicada’s start buzzing late last week and it seemed like it was too early for their shenanigans…but here it is the last 10 days of June!!  I am so happy (that better not jinx me) with my garden so far this year, everything is growing really well – lots of green and big plants – that I am crossing my fingers for actual production of something edible!

My peppers have started (regular bell, sweet mini bells and jalapeno’s) and I have cucumber vines that are covering up a whole box with teeny cukes every half foot or so.

cukes and peppers

cukes and peppers box

I am most proud of my Three Sisters planting! I have attempted this for at least 3 years now and every year it fails for one reason or another – mostly because my corn stalks get blown down in a particularly nasty thunderstorm.  This year I have supported each of the stalks with a metal holder and I may be reporting live from that box during a storm if I need to protect them from any harm!  I planted pea pods and pumpkins about 2 weeks ago and those are coming in nicely.

three sisters

Three Sisters Planting box

My two newest boxes that DH built are hosting tomatoes, basil and zucchini plants. As usual I didn’t prune my tomato plants enough so they are growing wild but I am supporting the branches much better this year. I’ve already had about a dozen cherry tomatoes, the other two are a Lemon Boy and a red Better Bush Hybrid. My purple basil seedlings didn’t like the transplant process but have sprouted new plants that are half green half purple!  As you may recall, my garden nemesis is the Squash Vine Borer (SVB)…I have been so vigilant watching for the moths, I actually managed to eradicate one late last week! My only ‘problem’ so far is I had about a dozen mini squashes starting but was disappointed to see them all shrivel up and fall off.  I think I have narrowed the problem to non-pollination, so each morning this week I’ve been out playing squash fertility doctor at 6am – manually pollinating the females from the males.  I would be so excited if that works!

tomatoes squash potatoes

tomato and zucchini boxes

I started a barrel of potatoes but I can’t recall if they are white ones or blue ones (!). I recently learned that these types do NOT like the super hot weather…so planting them in black trash barrels and leaving them in the full sun was not a great idea.  I didn’t want to dig them out as the plants are well over the top, but I did move them to a shadier spot.  I am also newly educated on growing sweet potatoes – they DO love the hot weather, but planting them and growing is a different process. I have slips rooting in water still so I’m quite behind on planting them, but DH located the tubs for me to plant them in so the slips that are ready will be going in this next weekend.

 

My asparagus plot is completely out of control (pretty sure the roots are under the fence and over into my neighbors yard 😮 (it’s that square pile behind the glads) and I decided I was going to start over next year. So after eating a few spears I cut all the ferns and have been letting this section die off.  I am going to dig it up this fall and replace it I think with a platform-like area for containers of sweet potatoes and maybe a container of asparagus which would be much more manageable.  The gladiola’s are growing great! I’m planning to create a circle around them using cement blocks on their sides, filling the holes with flowers and herbs.

gladiolas

And finally, my attempt at growing butternut squash and pumpkins out of hay bales and strawberries in containers on this great stair ladder that DH built me.  Neither of which are going so great!  It might be the scorching hot weather we’re having but the growth on these is…super…slow.  The bales have mushrooms growing out of them so it appears I’m doing something correct?!  I’m going to try to keep them going, but next year think I will use this patch for the butterfly wildflower mix that I grew last year – which would help with bringing some pollinators into my garden as well.

20180614_085857

Hay Bale and container strawberries

Hopefully in a couple weeks I’ll be rolling in the veggies from my own garden, although our CSA box that we have been getting every week from a local farmer has been great so far! It is very plentiful so I admit to having trouble eating everything we get each week…I have frozen some, mostly strawberries and spring peas. This week we received some pattypan squash which I’ve never had!

Happy midsummer to you! aka: a mere 6 weeks away from Halloween decorating 😉

 

April showers bring lots to do in May

I must say April flew by. I did some business travel 2 out of the 4 weeks which made those weeks go fast, so the whole month just kinda went poof!  And now we’ve had  days in the 90s so feels like we are in mid June. We took the cover off our pool and it was crystal clear this year as opposed to last year when it was alien green.  With these mid-summer temperatures it should warm up quickly.  DH did quite a bit of work in the backyard – a new closed off area for our dogs (because, neighbor dogs) and painting his new shed. My garden is in and coming along, the additional boxes are working out great – I am attempting one last time to grow corn, peas and pumpkins in the 3-Sisters method. If that fails then I’m going to use that box for strawberries. I’m also trying out using a hay bale for butternut squash, we’ll see how that goes. A Mallard momma laid 8 (last count) eggs in a nest in my asparagus box, good planning on her part as the ferns provide great shade for her.  We are at about 16 days since she started sitting on them so we’ll be watching for ducklings soon.  I was so hopeful that a Bluebird couple had decided to move into our bird house, but there’s just a nest in there now and I haven’t seen them for almost 2 weeks. Will keep an eye out though in case they decide to do a second brood!

18 in 2018 progress:

18 – Books Read. To date: 6. I was part of an ‘advanced copy’ group for a new book by Lisa M Lilly – “The Worried Man”; Mom sent me “Where You’ll Find Me” by Ty Gagne (one of my relatives was involved in the search and rescue!); and “The Black-Eyed Susans” by Julia Heaberlin.

17 – New Recipes Tried. To date: 6. The past month I made vegan date-nut bars (DH even likes them) and udon noodle bowls.

16 – Walks on the Beach.  To Date: 1.

15 -Bike Rides. To Date: 0.

14 – Local places visited. To Date: 1.

13 – New Restaurants tried. To Date: 5. We tried 3 new places last month!

12 – Blog Posts. To Date: 5.

11 – House Areas De-cluttered and organized. To Date: 2. The master bathroom and walk-in closet are complete, and are gorgeous!!  My new closet is fabulous and very functional, and the bathroom came out beautiful. The other area is our sunroom which isn’t too hard to keep organized but tends to become a dumping ground for things (not as bad as my dining room table though).

10 – Pounds Lost. To Date: 0. Still perplexed how I managed to train for and run a half marathon without losing any weight, but I’ve started a new Beachbody program and focusing on eating more protein so fingers crossed.

9 – Farmers Market Visits. To Date: 0. We did get our first CSA box which was great – strawberries, kale, onions, tomatoes, cantaloupe and white (!) sweet potatoes.

8 – Beading/Jewelry projects. To Date: 0. 

7 – Crochet/Knit Projects. To Date: 1 completed, 1 WIP (still making progress on a blanket for the DH)

6 – Sewing projects. To Date: 3. I finished my sampler quilt!! I chose 5 blocks to use – Jacobs Ladder, Evening Star, Missouri Star, Martha Washington Star and Ohio Star. I can’t imagine doing all of this by hand in the olden days – the hand sewing of the binding had my fingers cramping haha!  It did come out beautiful, I’m really proud of my work 🙂

SamplerQuilt

Sampler Quilt

5 – Painting. To Date: 0.

4 – Running Events. To Date: 1.

3 – Cross Stitch Projects. To Date: 1. I finished the Christmas alphabet, now to get the mat and frame.

2 – Songs learned on the piano. To Date: 0.

1 – Stand-up paddle board lesson. To Date: 0.

Almost halfway through 2018 can you believe it!?

 

Aaannndddd it’s winter again

Or maybe just “pre-Spring”?  After some really warm days in February, March is feeling much more like late Winter.  Everything is up and growing but it keeps dipping into the 40s at night brrrr! Of course today it is almost 80, but at least we have some rain showers keeping the pollen down.

The past several weeks flew by, I was training for a half marathon and was really concentrating on that and everything that went along with it (eating, sleeping, stretching) I started a beginner quilters class which after just 3 classes is PRICELESS for the tricks I’ve learned.  With 1 class left I think I’ll have the whole thing put together and will only need to do the actual quilting.

18 in 2018 progress, not a whole lot of progress in the past month I admit…

18 – Books Read. To date: 3. I finished the Elm Creek Quilters series with “The Master Quilter”. – or at least I thought that was the last one, but looking on the internet it looks like there are 14 more!  I started a Kindle book though so more Elm Creek Quilt books will have to wait.

17 – New Recipes Tried. To date: 4.  We tried 2 new ones since the last post – I’ve been toying with eating vegetarian (maybe not 100% but more often at least) so we gave Taco Tuesday a new spin using cauliflower and then mushrooms and sweet potatoes as fillings.  And we also tried portobello mushroom gyros (surprisingly like the real thing!).

16 – Walks on the Beach.  To Date: 0.

15 -Bike Rides. To Date: 0.

14 – Local places visited. To Date: 0.

13 – New Restaurants tried. To Date: 2. We tried a new place for lunch which was eh, we are going back again and I’ll order something different!

12 – Blog Posts. To Date: 3.

11 – House Areas De-cluttered and organized. To Date: I’m going to give myself a .5 on this one – the master bathroom remodel is COMPLETE! Yahoo!  And so I’ve begun populating my new walk-in closet (lovingly referred to as the “she-shed”).

10 – Pounds Lost. To Date: 0.

9 – Farmers Market Visits. To Date: 0.

8 – Beading/Jewelry projects. To Date: 0. 

7 – Crochet/Knit Projects. To Date: 1 completed, 1 WIP (still making progress on a blanket for the DH)

6 – Sewing projects. To Date: 2 completed, 1 WIP. I completed the St Patrick’s day table topper but I am unhappy with it so no picture!  I started quilting lessons so next post will have some photos of that one.

5 – Painting. To Date: 0.

4 – Running Events. To Date: 1. I completed my second ever half-marathon over St Patrick’s Day weekend. I was happy with my time and I felt much more prepared this time than the first one I ran, but have learned that I am best at runs/races less than 10 miles.

3 – Cross Stitch Projects. To Date: 0 complete, 1 WIP – still working on the Christmas alphabet.

2 – Songs learned on the piano. To Date: 0.

1 – Stand-up paddle board lesson. To Date: 0.

Now that the half-marathon preparations aren’t taking up all my waking hours and with the warmer weather coming soon (?!)  I am looking towards making progress on some outdoor projects and activities.  I am excited to have 2 additional larger planter boxes in the garden this year, and have decided my main goal is to NOT let the weeds take over…happy spring-ish 🙂

Spring is sprung?

Or maybe we are just skipping straight to summer, we set a record high yesterday (and the day before too)!  But they are saying winter isn’t quite done yet so don’t get comfy in your shorts and flip flops just yet.  If it weren’t for the training I’m doing for a St Patrick’s Day half marathon, my hibernation skills would be level = expert.

The main purpose of this post is to do an update on my “18 in 2018” list. And truth be told I’ve been working on this post for 3 weeks…just keep getting distracted by something else.  The life of a dabbler 🙂

So.

18 – Books Read. To date: 2.  I read “The Captain’s Daughter” by Meg Mitchell Moore on my Kindle, and “The Cross-Country Quilters” by Jennifer Chiaverini in paperback (part of a 6 book series I started in 2017, thank you Mom for those!) I’m almost done with the last book of the series, so to a Kindle selection in the next few days.

17 – New Recipes Tried. To date: 2. A few weeks ago I attempted DIY chocolate covered cherries (the key was to let them sit at room temperature for at least a week), and Orange Chocolate Chip Ricotta cookies (delish and they freeze really well)

16 – Walks on the Beach.  To Date: 0.

15 -Bike Rides. To Date: 0.

14 – Local places visited. To Date: 0.

13 – New Restaurants tried. To Date: 1. We went to a new Indian restaurant, very good!

12 – Blog Posts. To Date: 2.

11 – House Areas De-cluttered and organized. To Date: 0. One of the sort of hold-ups for this project is finishing our major remodel of the master bathroom which adds a walk-in closet – yahoo! I’ve been reluctant procrastinating  in getting started on any reorganizing so as not to have to do it twice.  And it’s turning out to be harder than I expected to furnish the walk-in closet, it’s an odd L-ish shape with a window and the door is on an angle wall…

10 – Pounds Lost. To Date: 0.

9 – Farmers Market Visits. To Date: 0.  I happened upon a post to join a local CSA (community supported agriculture) weekly box program, very excited to see what we get each week starting mid to late May.

8 – Beading/Jewelry projects. To Date: 0. 

7 – Crochet/Knit Projects. To Date: 1 completed, 1 WIP. I crocheted a scarf for a Harry Potter event we went to, it was a Hufflepuff design and I purchased the crest which I sewed on. I am making progress on a blanket for the DH using the same pattern as I used for the scarf.

crocheted scarf in Harry Potter Hufflepuff house colors

crocheted scarf in Harry Potter Hufflepuff house colors

6 – Sewing projects. To Date: 1 completed, 1 WIP. I made a Valentine table topper, lesson learned – curves are difficult to quilt!  For St Patricks Day I am working on a variation of an Ohio Star quilt block as a table topper (which isn’t coming out as great as I’d hoped, I clearly need a few introductory quilting lessons)

quilted Valentine table topper

quilted Valentine table topper

5 – Painting. To Date: 0.

4 – Running Events. To Date: 0. In training for a St Patrick’s Day half-marathon!

3 – Cross Stitch Projects. To Date: 0 complete, 1 WIP – I am about 1/3 of the way through a Christmas alphabet sampler.

2 – Songs learned on the piano. To Date: 0.

1 – Stand-up paddle board lesson. To Date: 0.

A very good start to the year! The warm weather has got me itching to start thinking about my garden, but I need to hold myself back because I always start it waaaaay too early.  It’s good to have other activities to keep me occupied 🙂

18 in 2018

Oh hi, 2018, where did you come from?! It seems like just last week I was making my annual appearance as Winifred Sanderson; Thanksgiving and Christmas were a whirlwind of activity and looking back it went by so fast after planning for them for the whole year.  I didn’t do much crafting after Halloween, just a few things here and there – I crocheted 3 bun hats (hole in the top for a ponytail) and a pair of wrist warmers (which was by far the most complicated pattern I’ve done).

knitting_Dec2017

Wrist Warmers and Ponytail Hats

Last fall I came across a post about “17 in 2017” – sort of like New Years Resolutions and goals for your year.  I decided to give this a try, it’s taken me this long to come up with all 18 things (not as easy as one would imagine!)

18 – Books Read –  I used to read a few books a month! I am going to get a library card before the end of January also so I’m not making un-neccessary book purchases and make it a priority to read the books I’ve already downloaded to my Kindle.

17 – New Recipes Tried – I’m pretty good at new recipes mostly due to my Pinterest addiction!

16 – Walks on the Beach – we live about 3 miles from the ocean!  And looking for sea glass and shells is a favorite past-time of mine.

15 -Bike Rides – we have quite a few restaurants that we could easily ride our bikes to, the beach is so close and a bunch of parks we can explore.

14 – Local places visited – there are quite a few historical sites and wildlife preservation areas here that would be interesting to learn about.

13 – New Restaurants tried – we are creatures of habit and always eat at the same places, we might have to venture out a little farther to find new ones but that will be part of the fun.

12 – Blog Posts – only one per month, I can do that! (and hey I’ll count this one!)

11 – House Areas De-cluttered and organized – We have too much stuff and I need to let some of it go. Eleven breaks down to every room of the house (including garage).

10 – Pounds Lost – last year some injuries and my IBS contributed to some weight gain, I’m in a half marathon training group now (half marathon in March) so that will help get me started and I’m looking forward to the new BeachBody program 80 Day obsession.

9 – Farmers Market Visits – another thing I don’t take enough advantage of, we have so many local farm stands around us.

8 – Beading/Jewelry projects – surprisingly (haha) I have all the required equipment (pliers, wire, findings, etc) and a whole box of assorted beads.

7 – Crochet/Knit Projects – would be great to start on some winter things before it’s actually winter again, and start on a blanket for DH and the fur-kids.

6 – Sewing projects – I have a bunch of fall table-topper quilt projects bookmarked and need to work on my Manger collection.

5 – Painting – another thing I enjoy that I don’t do often enough. Not sure I’ll have completed paintings but at least sit down and give it a try.

4 – Running Events – I’m already signed up for 4 which is 2 more than last year!

3 – Cross Stitch Projects – I started a Christmas alphabet one in December but didn’t get very far on it and I have 2 others planned.

2 – Songs learned on the piano – I took piano lessons almost 2 years ago but then kinda forgot about it. I would like to get in the habit of playing/practicing at least once a week.

1 – Stand-up paddle board lesson – I’ve been saying I want to do this for-ev-er.

So we’ll see how this goes!  Happy New Year to you 🙂

 

Spookiness abounds

My biggest crafting attempt yet –  I saw this Halloween mantle scarf on the Grandin Road website and decided to re-create it myself.

The letters I worked on first.  My first set after buying and painting I decided weren’t quite wide enough for designs…so back to the store for these wider ones.  I should have done the W in orange first then did the black design but the effect I got doing it the other way wasn’t too shabby.  I found scrapbooking stickers for bats and spiders and I glued each letter to a small square wood piece so they would stay upright.

 

For the mantle scarf, my crafty BFF sent me a link to a similar project to help with the dimensions of the triangles.  Not going half-at this project, I decided to have fabric on both sides so it would look very professional (!). After the triangles were cut I ironed interfacing onto one of each, then right-sides together stitched the sides to the points.

pennantsfaced

Our mantle is just a tad shy of 6′ long so finding space to lay out the pieces was a challenge. The other challenge was I sort of forgot about the one long piece I needed to join everything together!  After a trip to the fabric store, I then did a small test run of the method I was going to use to put this all together and then laid out the whole thing.

layingoutpennants

First I stitched the large and medium pennants. Then the next row was the small pennants.  Finally stitched the whole thing together (right sides in) like a big pillowcase, and then carefully turned it right-side out. Hand sewed the end shut and then to the mantle it went!

daytimebanner

And here it is at night, I am experimenting with different ways of lighting up the letters:

nighttimebanner

I really love how this came out and, as usual, I know what to do different next time…I do have enough fabric for another one 😉

I did some other Halloween projects which will wrap up my spooky project list for now: a crochet witch hooded scarf, crochet Bat, crochet spider and a hanging canvas display which has my great-nieces hands for spiders and great-nephews feet for ghosts/monsters:

 

 

I dressed up as Winifred again and went to the Petco annual Pet costume party – our Pug Toby was my “Binx”; and we had a spooky themed dinner party with friends. Besides trick-or-treating night, the last big hoorah for October was the Wicked 10k run (more like wogging) with friends as the Sanderson Sisters!

Until next year, stay spooky friends!

Projects Roundup

It turns out having all these projects <Too Busy to Work> was pretty stressful!  I thought it was a good idea to have different things going on, keeping my brain busy, but yeah… not so much.  After 2 weeks I decided to buckle down and concentrate on one project at a time, and happy to say I’ve completed four of the five!  (AND I got distracted and started and finished a few other quick and small ones which I’ll include in my Halloween post)

The Halloween alphabet cross stitch I really enjoyed doing. Watching the letters and different Halloween-themed objects take shape was so rewarding! The hardest part was finding a frame and a mat board to fit the tall-but-skinny finished product –

cross_stitch

Halloween Alphabet Cross-Stitch

The waffle stitch scarf wasn’t too bad, it was only 38 stitches across and the since it was going to be for my 10 year old great-niece I knew it didn’t have to be really long.  Of course it occurred to me I should knit a matching hat and/or mittens…

waffle_scarf

Waffle Stitch Knit Scarf

On to the spiral cowl…I have to say I did not find this very enjoyable, the pattern itself was easy enough (same 2 repeating rows) but 185 stitches per row…times about 27 rows per skein of yarn..times 5 skeins…pretty sure I have shoulder bursitis now!!  I am happy with the result -the colors are beautiful and I only made a handful of mistakes – I was ready for it to be over with…I’m going to try a crochet project next.

finished_cowl

Queen Spiral Cowl

The stuffed turkey project was completed just this past weekend, the end result isn’t exactly what I was picturing…so the remainder of the fabric will go into a quilted table topper.

turkey

Stuffed Turkey

My Christmas manger project is being not-so-patiently watched over by my visiting Wise Men…I got totally distracted by this mantle scarf project I decided to do for Halloween.  I came across this on the Grandin Road website (http://www.grandinroad.com/bewitching-halloween-mantel-scarf/373953) and saw it is no longer available so thought it was a grand idea to make one! My Halloween blog post will include the details on that project.

I joined a daily knitting/crocheting challenge for the month of October, chose this crochet scarf/shawl with yarn I already have (well, okay I had one skein) and to not make it complicated like the cowl I’m going to use just one color.  (The pattern was free on Ravelry too – bonus!) I really love the colors used in the pattern though so perhaps my next trip to the yarn store….

october_shawl

Augusta Shawl by Andrea Mules

SOOOOO excited that it’s getting closer to Halloween, now if it would just cool off here it would actually feel like October!

OMGarden

I didn’t spend as much time/energy on my garden this year, mostly because it was a new set up and I had way fewer plants.  For the past 4 years I had a fenced in area with large low raised boxes.  Here is a picture from my 2014 garden:

2015_Garden

old garden set up

Looks good, right?  It always started out great, and I would patiently wait and water and wait…but as the season went on I had beautiful plants but no produce!  The dirt was only maybe 8 inches deep, and beneath that was hard concrete-like dirt.  After a couple years of frustration with the limited output, I asked DH to help with creating a new garden.  He took the fencing down and used the wood to create new taller boxes.  It was a TON of work to take the dirt from the existing boxes and move it to the new boxes (my muscles got quite the workout for a few weekends this spring).

2017-Garden

new garden set up

I only got one of the old boxes totally moved (now the two boxes to the left), the other (to the right in the picture) pretty much stayed a big heap of dirt this summer.  In the two new boxes, I had tomatoes and basil in one and then summer squash and onions in the other.  For the first year in quite a few I had more than one beefsteak tomato – yay!  And the cherry tomato plant went crazy.  The summer squash I planted were of the crookneck variety and I did not like the taste or texture so I’ve since replanted zucchini here (which one is currently being slowly eaten by the dreaded SVB…I keep stabbing the vine with a knife in an attempt to stab the larvae …I’m hoping to get a few squash before the plant dies off!).

I grew garbage can potatoes again but while the plants looked great I did’t get quite the harvest as I did last year – I think the wildly varying scorching hot then cool and super wet weather made them unhappy.  I planted a jalapeno plant in a planter and it did quite well, next year I will ‘pretty’ up the space and have matching planters at the ends of the boxes with pepper plants.  I attempted to grow carrots in a deep planter but they didn’t do very well either and I think that’s a product of the heat waves we had – if I plant carrots again I’ll put the container on the deck where I can control the direct sun it gets.

 

asparagus_strawberries

asparagus – free range strawberries

For the other old box, I did separate out the asparagus plot, and let the strawberries grow free range (they are on their 3rd year and due to go this fall).  I attempted to grow corn and squash in the pile of dirt next to the strawberries, but not very well – my seeds were old (no telling how old Mom!!) and I wasn’t really expecting anything.  So far I have one ear of corn and one spaghetti squash trying to mature.

I tried out a trick with planting cucumbers in a bag of soil – worked out great, but my trellis set up was a bust – I had this vision of the vines climbing up over this decorative arch but there obviously wasn’t enough for the vines to grab onto.  I will try this method again next summer with a different trellis set up.  I totally let the weeds get out of control on the ground around the planter boxes…(looking at the ‘before’ pictures while writing this post I’m in shock at how bad I let the weeds get LOL)

cucumbers

cucumbers in a bag

I neglected my compost bin this summer, I still have some bags in the freezer with scraps I meant to put in there…perhaps this fall.  I also added a rain barrel this year, it was a very worthy addition!

rainbarrel

rain barrel

So I would say the new boxes were a success and I’m looking forward to asking DH to build me a couple more and preparing for 2018.  Now that it’s a permanent solution, I think we’ll have some pea stone delivered to go around the boxes and make it look nicer, I’m also going to re-position the flat stones for the garbage can potatoes over by the house for more shade. I have random clusters of gladiola’s that I haphazardly planted not expecting the bulbs to live so those need to be dug up and re-homed after they stop flowering and my resident Charlotte’s go into hibernation.  I am toying with planting some cool-weather/fall veggies but considering we were wearing shorts and flip-flops at Thanksgiving last year I’m not sure when that would be haha 🙂