Sometimes Ya Gotta Roll with It

Back in March, I was all excited about my garden and starting seeds. I thought my over-wintered cole crops might produce an early spring harvest. Everything was going to be sunshine and rainbows.

Ok, so it’s western Washington, I knew sunshine was iffy. What about the rest you ask? It’s been a mixed bag. While I had a healthy supply of broccoli for about a month, I did finally pull out the storm-ravaged plants that had stopped producing. As for the brussel sprouts and cabbage, when they started bolting, I cut them off at the base, too. But before I tossed them in the compost pile, I decided to nibble on a leaf to see if it passed muster. They tasted great, so I wound up with some for coleslaw and a bag for smoothies. I’ll admit, I did really want a beautiful round head of cabbage.

All may not be lost. I’ve put in a few transplants I picked up, and remember how I cut off my failed crops at the base? Well, they’ve started to sprout new growth. You can look at that as a bad thing, since I’ve already planted new vegetables around them, or you can say I’m getting a second chance. I’m just going roll with it for the moment.

And now, let’s talk about those seeds I started. Well, the idea of mixing seed starter soil and worm castings may seem smart in theory. You have better moisture retention and more biological matter. But I know my worms, I should have seen this one coming. They have a hard time digesting tomato and squash seeds. My tray of lettuce seedlings was filled with some unnamed squash. It could have been cucumber or watermelon, but my bet was on butternut squash–knowing our eating habits. The thing is, squash has a notoriously wandering eye and will cross-pollinate with anything. That being said, I decided not to give these seedlings a premium spot in my walled garden and planted them along the driveway.

I don’t know if it was lack of water or simply animals, but I don’t think any of them have made it.

I did learn something recently, potato leaves are poisonous. That’s probably why they do so well in the garden annex. I have a few starts from last year pushing up along with some blue and red potatoes I picked up at the hardware store. When I was there, I saw some shallots and thought I’d give growing them a try. Shallots tend to be pricey, and experts always recommend growing expensive vegetables to save money in the long run. I was expecting an onion-like sprout, but these are so much more fun. I do like fun surprises.

On a happy note, two of my kiwi vines are growing like crazy. Me and the MR thought the third one had died, but I’ve seen new growth in the last few weeks. When I thought it was dead, I took a close look at the tag and saw that it was a female. That’s especially good news, since I know I bought two females and a male, so I’m hoping for fruit this year. I know, I know, I’ve said the same thing for the last two years. I’m hanging onto hope.

We’re also looking forward to some good crops in the orchard. Trees were blooming at the right time, and no late storms or frosts. The strawberries, currants, and pears were covered in blooms, I’m crossing my fingers.

I’ve got my pea trellises up and have a spot for the bean towers. I saved a few bean seeds from last year to try. Apparently, seeds from a particular spot will grow even better in that microclimate. I know what my dad meant when he said farming’s a gamble.

Our local farmer’s market opens this week, it’s probably a good thing we don’t have to rely on my garden and orchard to provide. I ran across a few containers of our blueberries in the freezer this week. It does make me smile; there’s something to be said about the pride of growing your own food. When company visits, I’m planning on apple pie from our orchard.

How are things in your garden? Direct seed? Transplants? Grow your own? Enquiring minds want to know.

It All Works Out in the End

With spring just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about my garden. It’s had a lot more attention this year than in many of the past. No outings, no travel, no work, so I sign up for seed summits, and garden summits, and make all sorts of plans.

Last fall, I was disappointed with the cole crops I’d planted in late August. (I mentioned how excited I was about them in A Bear Ate My Pears.) When I had all sorts of trouble finding transplants in the garden centers, perhaps I should have caught a clue. August was too late for my daydreams of eating brussel sprouts from our own garden for Thanksgiving. I blamed it on the beans that provided too much shade, or the kiwi vines that blocked the light. Maybe it was the slugs. Oh Kim, sometimes it’s just poor planning on your part.

The cabbage is starting to get bigger, dare I say head up? the brussel sprouts remain the same size as when I planted them, and the broccoli, oh the broccoli… It looks horrible; showing signs of wind, rain, snow, and storm, but I’m continuing to pick a bag full of florets each week. I have to beware of the slugs, but it’s fun to be able to pick enough for a salad or a bit for broccoli stir-fry.

For now, my winter crops will remain in place. I moved all of the cabbage to the inside of the fence. Something tried to tear it out early on when it was in the garden annex, but it seems to be staggering along in the confines of the main garden. I also noticed a proliferation of holes on some of my plants, so I surrounded each head with a scattering of crushed egg shells. I’ve been keeping shells in a bag under the sink and crushed them up last week. My bag didn’t remain intact with all the bashing, and the MR pointed out I’d left a few shells on the counter, so I was quick to sprinkle them before he took care of the bag for me.

Maybe with a bit of warmer weather I’ll have an early crop of cabbage and brussels sprouts rather than a fall harvest. Cross your fingers, and wish me luck.

Even though we’ve had our share of cold and gray days that don’t lend themselves to gardening, I received a fun gift for Christmas from the Fella’s dad that’s perfect for winter months. He sent us a sprout growing kit from Hamama. It took me a few weeks to decide to try it. I mean weird little blocks of coir grow into something I willingly eat? Well, I was hesitant, but oh my goodness, this is amazing, and fun, and healthy. Me and the MR have been enjoying green smoothies in the mornings–think heavy on the greens, light on berries, with a dose of chia seeds for a fiber boost. Our first harvest of lovely broccoli sprouts were a welcome addition to our morning routine.

It was pretty gloomy while I was growing them, so I decided they needed a little more time to reach their perfect height. If you push out the harvest, remember to make sure they don’t dry out. When mine wilted, a little water perked them back up in no time. I was pleased with our first harvest and have the second in the works.

I’m not as on task as some, but I do have tomato seeds and lettuce planted. The waiting part is always the hardest. In one of my gardening summits, a presenter mentioned that worm castings and coconut coir were his favorite seed starting medium. Well, I have plenty of worm castings, and the MR had bought some coconut coir, so I made some extra special seed starter mix. I’m not sure what that guy was talking about; I wound up with a very lumpy, coarse mix. Perhaps the block of coir wasn’t as fine as I needed. Anyways, I made another trip to the store and picked up some seed starter mix. Then not to totally give up on the idea, I added some worm castings, fished out as many worms as I could, and used that for my seeds. I guess we’ll wait and see how that turns out.

I’ve also decided to try a spot near the windows on the floor for my seed starting. In the past the MR installed automatic switches on the lights of the buffet, so I could ensure 16 hours of light. And then I read about heating pads for the seeds. Well, our floors are heated, they get light from the windows. It could be the perfect match. Another wait and see moment.

For the tomatoes, I have a recent find to try out. We love snacking on cherry tomatoes, sitting on the deck, and watching the sunset. The heat on the deck seems to give our tomatoes an extra boost, but we’ve had disagreements on how much to water the plants, and we have to be extra careful not to overfill so a stream of muddy water isn’t running across the light gray deck. Anyways, I was listening to an interview with a famous knitter and author, Clara Parkes, and she started talking about tomatoes and gardening–No. She started talking about items made from wool byproducts that help small sheep farms. Next thing I know, I’m ordering wool pellets from Wild Valley Farms. These pellets are 100 percent wool. They are a natural fertilizer, improve the soil, and reduce watering. Maybe they’ll even help keep our deck pristine. I am looking forward to the sweet fruits of my labor.

In other outside news, the MR has been building more paths. He ran out of pavers last spring, and his order to finish up the job didn’t arrive till late fall. We’ve had a string of sunny days that are perfect for this kind of work–dry and not too hot. It’s a big job, but they’re turning out great. They’re turning out so good in fact, that the MR has expanded his original vision and is making a path next to the well room. It’s going to be wonderful. Our Portland kids are borrowing the tile saw, so the MR still has some bits and pieces to go. But isn’t it lovely? Now when the well breaks down in the middle of winter, we won’t have to slog through the mud trying to get to the well room with the plumber. (You can check out other lovely paths built by my guy in Catching Up.)

What’s going on at your house? Are you in the gardening/planning/landscaping mode?

In other news, Baby Girl is spending a year a continent and an ocean away from her family. We miss her, and want to wish her a very happy birthday! I’m thankful to merchants in Northern Ireland who are helping her feel loved.

Sometimes I miss having my baby at home. Happy Birthday BG!

More Pillow Talk

Necessity is the mother of invention. The MR was visiting his parents last month, and I was tired of the pillows on the couch.

Back when I made the pillows three years ago, I bought more than one choice of fabric. That’s the joys of ordering online; sometimes its the perfect color, and sometimes it’s not. Well, my second choice back then has become my first choice now.

Cutting out simple square, sewing them together, and adding an invisible zipper to one side gave me two new pillow covers lickety-split. The marry well with the aboriginal pillow cover I picked up in Australia a few years ago.

A little success motivated me to tackle a project that has been stalled for a few years ago. In one of those catalogs that comes in the mail, I’d seen a beautiful pillow cover. It was off-white with a bit of embroidery off to one side. I loved it. And then I saw the price tag; I didn’t $156 love it. That’s when I picked up some yarn in a lovely natural, and used tunisian crochet to make a pillow top.

The next step was to add the embroidery. What if I got it wrong? What if the thread got snagged? What if the main fabric got all bunchy and looked horrible? I had a million reasons to just let it sit. Well, with the MR gone and time on my hands, I went for it. Somehow in the last few years, I had lost the picture of my inspiration pillow. Maybe that was all for the best. I just winged it and am oh-so happy with how it turned out. I sewed the embroidered front to a plain gray back and decided to sew the turning spot closed rather than deal with zippers, and matching crocheted fabric to woven fabric. It adds a little freshness to our leather easy chair.

And then there was the fabric I’d bought before Christmas when Spoonflower was having a sale. Somehow the colors just didn’t seem right. The fabric seemed a little lightweight for a pillow cover. Would it be OK? I know; I’m just full of angst. Well, I had some batting from the short time I dabbled in quilting, so I decided to quilt the fabric to the batting and make a more substantial pillow cover with added depth. It’s still a little on the bright side, but four pillows from what I had on hand was a great way to spend the weekend.

Then with pillows on the brain, I was scrolling online and came across a pair of cowhide pillow covers that look great on the chairs by the windows, and they pick up the rest of the cowhide accents in the room.

And finally with new pillows scattered about, I finished a decorative blanket in some lovely Noro yarn that I’d set aside when the kids were visiting at Christmas. Their puppy, Hoagie, has a thing for knitted items, and I didn’t want to put him to the test. (The design is Leaf Afghan by Anna Stoklosa, available on Ravelry or in the book Noro Knit Blankets.) It adds a bright and cozy look to the chaise.

It’s funny how fabric that seemed all wrong at the time comes back and is just the thing. I’m glad I let my perfection go and wound up with some pillow that brighten up the great room.

How are you freshening up your living space? Hope you had a Happy Valentine’s Day.

There’s Beauty in the Gray

February has arrived, and the new year quickly marches on. I’ve been in the doldrums lately. Our Portland kids left after Christmas, and Baby Girl has moved to Belfast for a year, Seattle had nearly 9 inches of rain in January, vaccines are coming, but our age group is supposed to just stay home and wait.

I’m tired of the uncertainty; I’m tired of the stress; I’m tired of the worry.

The midday gloom of February.

It’s times like these I’ve got to focus on all the good things that have happened over the last year.

Baby Girl wouldn’t have spent the last nine months at home. We wouldn’t have plodded through endless best pictures, sewn dresses, and cooked along with Yotam Ottolenghi–thank you Masterclass. We’d have played less cards, enjoyed less laughter, and had less fun.

Sweet Miss’ and The Fella might not have gotten a puppy so soon if she hadn’t been laid off for two months. Then we’d never have met Hoagie.

Her school might not have expanded to include kindergarten, and she might not have found her calling teaching a great bunch of kids.

With our travels canceled or postponed, we’ve been able to take on and hire out a few projects. The MR’s stairs are beautiful. After having the water tested over the summer, this fall he had a new filtration system put in that will help soften the water. That may or may not be the reason I had to load 800 pounds of salt into the back of my car and then into the garage. The delivery man wasn’t supposed to touch the merchandise, but he took pity on me. He probably realized he’d be here all day if he had me do it by myself. We also had the soffit patched. It’s rather frightening to see men walking around above the french doors in the Dining room–at least it wasn’t me.

When your spending lots of time at home, all those little things that bug you get replaced or fixed. The barstools that came with the house have vanished to be replaced with swivel ones that mimic the dining room chairs.

Our undersized footstool has been replaced with a larger version.

Move the bar to the side to see the before & after.
Just look at that tufting.

The MR has been writing a program and spending lots of time on the computer. We now have a desk that adjusts in height and a new desk chair arrived this week. Not only does the desk have four custom height positions, it’s also on wheels, so when the sun blazes in, in the morning, you can simply wheel the desk to the side.

I’ve listened to summits on gardening, healthy living, and healthy eating. VogueKnitting in Seattle was cancelled, so I’ve been able to virtually attend four classes and two lectures and still have a credit.

I’ve had lots of time for knitting, crocheting, sewing, designing, and learning. But this post is long enough. I’ll save that for another day.

And to add a little brightness to your life. Here’s our grand doggy all decked out for February. He gave us a custom calendar for Christmas.

Hoping you see the bright side in the everyday.

Season’s Greetings

The other day, an old photo popped up on my phone. It was from our first December in the house. While that year, we had a Christmas Eve celebration here, we didn’t officially move in until after Christmas. The girls wanted to celebrate the holiday in the home they’d grown up in.

It’s hard to believe, we’ve been calling this place home for nine years. Both girls have graduated from high school and college. Sweet Miss married the Fella, and the MR has retired. We’ve taken far flung trips around the world.

Little Buddy is buried near the orchard, and Sweet Cocoa has had to make room for the kids’ new puppy when they visit. Life marches on.

In the middle of a global pandemic, we’ve been enjoying sweet time together as a family. Baby Girl is headed to Belfast to get her masters in January, so this may be the last time we can play cards, exercise, and stay up late talking into the night for a while.

Sweet Miss has two weeks off from teaching kindergarten, and the Fella is working from home this year. My sewing room has morphed into an office, and we’ve crafted, cooked, and laughed our way through the last week.

Staying at home has given me lots of time to work on Christmas balls, pj’s and gnomes. The mantel looks so different from that first Christmas here. Life is full. Sweet Miss and the Fella came home with an Elvis nutcracker the other day. When we moved into this place, I never would have imagined I’d be so excited for such a thing. I also didn’t know we’d be rationing water, and all the other ups and downs of living here.

Me and the MR have toyed with the idea of moving closer to our Portland kids, but for now, we sit on the deck, watch the sunset, and reflect on all our blessings. Even in the midst of troubles, life is good.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Not In the Plans

Sometimes you expect things to go on and on forever–until they don’t. At the end of August, we were getting ready for our Portland kids to come for Labor Day weekend when the MR noticed the fridge wasn’t as cold as it should be. We called and had the Sub-Zero repairman out within a few days.

He saw rust under the condenser and with a 28-year-old refrigerator didn’t recommend trying to repair it. OK, it had a good run; it was time for a replacement. He was able to add some coolant to keep it working for a short time–no guarantee on how long–until we could get a another one. One nice thing about Sub-Zeroes, they have separate cooling systems for the refrigerator and the freezer. So while our fridge was having troubles, the freezer was just fine.

Since it’s a built-in refrigerator and the original worked well for us, we decided to buy another Sub-Zero to replace it. The salesperson showed us three that would work our particular dimensions (no need to complicate things with new cabinetry), and we went with the Pro Series. One of the really cool things about this fridge is that it doesn’t have shelves in the door so the main shelves are really deep. The bottom shelf is a drawer with short metal dividers that slides out–no more losing the black bean sauce in the back of the fridge.

It also has an air purifier to stop mold, and a dedicated produce drawer that you access from the outside of the fridge complete with moveable dividers.

All these changes are a lot to get used to. The old refrigerator had custom doors that matched the cabinetry; this one is sleek stainless steel and sticks out a few inches further than the other. While we’re still getting used to the outside, the inside is gorgeous. I love the produce drawer and being able to easily organize what I have, and corralling all the condiments on a sliding shelf is very handy.

The freezer is smaller than the old one, and came with an ice maker that we didn’t install (no plumbing coupled with heated floors would have made ice difficult). I’m glad I have an extra freezer upstairs and a small amount in the butler’s pantry.

OK, ok, after all my rambling, you want to see it. It really is a beauty.

While we started this year perfectly satisfied with our kitchen appliances, we’ve replaced everything but the dishwasher and the cooktop. (You can read about it in It’s a Waiting Game.) I’m hoping these last as long as the manufacturers claim they will.

My Wolf steam and wall ovens have been a lot of fun getting used to. I had a few scary moments of deja vu when the wall oven refused to leave daylight savings time.

No matter how many times we reset the time, it kept leaping forward an hour. Isn’t this how the last one broke? Then I remembered the app that likes to text me when I’m out on the deck, watching the sunset, and the timer’s going off. Sure enough, the app let us leave daylight savings behind.

And now my appliances are all set for some heavy cooking this holiday season. Baby Girl will be taking a graduate program abroad in the new year, so we’re planning on a festive season to send her off.

Do you change out your appliances when you want to or when your forced to?

A Bear Ate My Pears

This has been a good year for the garden and orchard. When you’re sheltering in place, there’s not a lot else to do. Finally, they’re getting the attention they deserve. First lets talk apples–it’s been a banner year. We have applesauce, apple butter, blueberry-apple jam, and frozen apple pies to prove it. We’ve processed over 40 pounds of apples and still have more in the fridge waiting to be cut up for snacks or made into cobbler and other treats.

The tomatoes have also been doing well. We have pasta sauce, jam, and stewed tomatoes. We had an early fall storm with heavy rains for several days last week, so I sent baby girl to pick all of the tomatoes with even a hint of color. Those have ripened on the counter, and if my circuit of the garden is right, we’re going to have a lot more tomatoes to deal with. Some of them have split, but many look really healthy. In the orchard, we were super excited to see that we were going to have a few pears this year–not a ton, maybe 10–but after eight years of waiting this was good news.

Sadly, the MR headed down to the orchard this morning and found trouble. Remember that buffalo fence I was bragging about earlier this summer? (Check out Bring on the Buffalo for details.) Well, apparently bears are more persistent than buffaloes when it comes tearing down fences and eating pears and grapes. We saw a bear checking it out a few months ago, and we figure he came back or told his friends about it. The fence was down and our fruit was gone. At least the trees appeared to be undamaged. I guess we’ll wait till next year for homegrown pears. The MR was able to fix the fence without too much trouble.

Remember all those tomatoes I was talking about? I prepared 10 pounds of stewed tomatoes this morning. One jar broke almost immediately after going into the canner and another popped as soon as I took it out of the water bath. It’s one of those years where it feels like you take 2 steps forward and one step back. The broken jar is a loss, I’m not willing to tempt having glass in my food, but the jar that popped will go into dinner later this week.

We’re currently enjoying lots of broccoli from the garden, and I’ve got cabbage, brussels sprouts, carrots, and onions planted for fall. I still have a few heads of lettuce, but even with Sluggo, I can’t seem to keep ahead of the slugs. Looking at my pantry, I feel like Laura Ingalls getting ready for the long winter. It does feel good knowing where my food comes from. Of course, I have the grocery store, local farm stands, and Amazon to help round things out.

How did your garden do this year? Is it all put to bed for winter or still going strong?

I Love It When…

I was going to write a post on how much I love it when the foxgloves are in bloom, and then I got to thinking.

I love it when the daffodils are in bloom, and let me know there is hope for spring in the dark days of winter. I love it when the red day lilies bloom, and remind me of when I was too lazy to plant them on a rainy Monday, and Cocoa dragged them all over the driveway.

I love it when the chives bloom, and I think of how we’ve outsmarted the deer by planting potent herbs. I love it when the daisies in the meadow bloom, and the MR mows around them, so we can enjoy their simple beauty.

I love it when the lavender blooms, and I can imagine that swath of purple. I love it when the apples bloom, and I can dream of a bountiful harvest.

I love it when the crocosmia blooms, and I remember the little clump from the old house that has spread across our acreage, and the joy it brings to the hummingbirds.

We have California poppies and foxgloves trying to take over the tennis court. We have butterfly bushes decked in beauty out in the meadow. We have yellow blossoms filling in the space that used to be covered in blackberry bushes.

In the midst of a lot of awful, there is still plenty of beauty.

What makes you smile? What flowers tell your story?

Catching Up

The other day, the morning started with a phone call from my aunt. She lives halfway cross the country, and it’s been ages since I heard from her.

She was calling to thank me for a cowl I sent. I made it for the shop, and when my boss returned it I immediately thought of her. With vibrant oranges and violets, it matches both her bubbly personality and her hair. It’s always fun when a gift is well-received.

One nice thing about staying home is getting a chance to catch up on all those projects that get put aside. I came across the cowl for my aunt when I was cleaning out the sewing room. I don’t care if it’s hotter than hot in Kansas in July—I sent her a chunky wool winter garment before it got lost again.

The sunny weather in April and May gave me plenty of time to put in my garden. Rainy days, new dirt, and lots of slugs have given me mixed success. My spinach stagnated until a few sunny days sent it bolting. The carrots have been spotty at best, but the lettuce has finally (with the aid of Sluggo) outpaced the slugs and started to produce.

On a super-positive note, the tomato starts I got from a local farm and the FFA are doing great. They’ve been enjoying a pampered life in their walls-of-water for the last few months, and I finally released them and staked them out. I have two in the fenced garden area and one in the overflow. I thought the one outside the walls would be fine, since tomato leaves are poisonous, right? Wrong, something bit it off down to the plastic. With some extra netting, I hope it’ll be safe.

In the orchard, it’s a mixed bag as well. We replaced the area where the currant bush died last year with some strawberry plants from a friend. We haven’t had tons of strawberries, but they are incredibly sweet. I hope these are everybearing so we get another crop.

The other two current bushes are doing pretty well. One has some black branches like the one that died, but the other is healthy and green. We are coming to the end of that season just in time for the blueberries to really get going. We have three different plants, three different kinds that all harvest at a slightly different rate. I picked a quart of each this afternoon and am looking forward to some currant/raspberry popsicles this week.

The two apple trees and the yellow plum are both loaded with fruit, and we have a few pears coming on for the first time. The pears look awful. I may have to let the MR have his way and tear them out. I keep thinking this will be the year they start producing. A few cracked and scaly-looking fruit wasn’t what I had in mind.

While my projects here and there are pretty much the same as every other spring, the MR has been busy with something amazing. I’ve talked about paths for years. My January posts predicting what was going to happen would mention paths…

I’m finally done talking. The MR did it in an amazing way.

First we have stairs down from the garage to end of the house by the well-room. I tried to get Cocoa to show you how great they are, but I guess if you have four-legs, you don’t need stairs. I need stairs. I may have bounced off people more than once trying to negotiate that hill.

But that’s not all. Now, we have stairs from the bottom of the deck up to the well room and down toward the garden. Me and the MR have both fallen on that slope down to the meadow after a bit of rain or on a dewy morning. While I’m a fan of using a hoe in the garden, it also comes in really handy as a walking stick. And in the middle of winter when there’s a problem with the well, or there’s a problem with the boiler, and believe me there’s always some problem, it’ll be nice to have an easy step up to the well room.

I’ve been trying to wait till he had them all done, but he ran out of materials and good weather. He doesn’t like to work in the rain, but he also doesn’t want to be out when it’s 80-plus. New brick arrived today, and pavers are on back order. Soon I’ll be heading down to the garden in style.

What kind of projects have you been working on while sheltering in place? Caught up with any of your favorite people lately?

The MR has his work cut out for him. It’s going to be wonderful when it’s all done.

Something Light

My heart has been heavy these last few weeks. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, millions are out of work, and systemic racism and bias has come to the forefront once again. How can I make the world a better, safer place?

In the midst of all this, who cares about what’s going on at my house?

And then a few days ago, a friend posted on Facebook asking for some good news. Life is hard; maybe a little light reading offers a needed distraction.

So in the midst of chaos; there is hope, there is love, there is peace, and faith, and joy.

Baby Girl graduated from the University of Oregon on Saturday via YouTube. We did our own mock ceremony. Unfortunately, I videotaped the floor the first time around, so she had to go through it all again.

UO Graduation 2020

We are super pleased and proud and know she will do amazing things.

Earlier this spring when the MR, BG, and I were sniffling and sneezing, I bought an Air Doctor air purifier. I thought maybe we had a problem with indoor air. It turns out the purifier is in low mode except for when I’m cooking. I guess that means we should eat out more often.

We’ve also purchased a spotting scope and a new table for the deck. We’ve always loved watching large birds circle the valley, but this year, we’ve been seeing them close by much more often. Along with juvenile bald eagles, we saw this red-tailed hawk that the MR captured on camera.

The table (from Pottery Barn) has lived in the garage for a few months. It’s simply been too rainy to be of much use. But with a string of sunny days in the forecast, the MR decided it was time. Good thing BG was at home to help move the top. It was definitely a three-man job.

Our old set had served us well, but the mesh seat was beginning to fray, and the square shape fought with the angles of the railing. We christened it with an evening of dinner and games. Since the table is round, and the chairs don’t have armrests, we can easily add a few more seats when visitors come to call.

While I haven’t seen any kiwi berries just yet (cross your fingers); I did see a whole lot of blooms. The apple tree is less of a tease. These blossoms have turned into a bumper crop of apples. I’ve thinned them twice already and am looking forward to a banner harvest this fall.

On cool, rainy days, I’ve been knitting, crocheting, and sewing. I’ve made six sweaters, two pairs of socks (one of which I’ve already felted), two pairs of mitts, and a baker’s dozen of Christmas gift bags. I started making sourdough bread and have been trying new recipes highlighting vegetables. I’m reading up on racial injustice, and have listened to summits on healthy eating, growing your own food, healthy living, and sewing.

Using leftover scraps from Christmas pjs, I’m crafting gift bags.

Our state issued a stay at home order in March. We have celebrated BG’s birthday, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Father’s Day at home. Most of our interactions with others are still online or via FaceTime. While businesses are beginning to open up, the yarn shop is still closed, and we haven’t eaten in a restaurant in months.

Tomorrow, our state will enact mandatory masks outdoors and in, in response to an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Stay safe; stay healthy.